Dave's Diary
This journal of the comings'n'goings and musings'n'enthusings of Dave Ling will be updated daily
(except after nights of excess)

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Saturday 30th November
Oh listen, Megadeth are one of my all-time favourite groups but Dave Mustaine is talking out of his arse with his latest outburst. To these ears ‘Super Collider’ was a pile of poop, its relative failure was nothing whatsoever to do with ‘mob mentalities’. I played it once, shrugged my shoulders and filed the thing away – not because I didn’t have time to spend getting to know it but because it set my teeth on edge! What poppycock!
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Friday 29th November
If you’re feeling down in the dumps, and frankly I had been, an interview with Mick Box is always guaranteed to raise a smile. The Uriah Heep mainman really is the nicest geezer in rock. His conversations should be available on the National Health!
Okay, here’s something that I didn’t see coming: Phil Collins has hinted at a reunion with Genesis. Not sure I really give a toss about Genesis anymore, didn’t bother with their gig at Twickenham in 2007 and it’s a pretty long stretch to think that they might be good if they played again, but… well, it’s interesting I suppose. Maybe not. Haha!
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Thursday 28th November
I was left unimpressed by yesterday’s press conference to welcome Tony Pulis as the new manager of Crystal Palace FC. As previously stated, I cannot abide the ex-Stoke boss or his roughhouse tactics. The first question (which admittedly was facile to say the least): “So why have you joined Crystal Palace, Tony?” Pulis (flippantly): “Why not?” The arrogance of the man… I almost put my foot through the TV screen…
Though gigs are a little more scarce than usual, I’ve plenty of good reading material to keep me busy. Prog magazine has asked me to review book entitled Emerson, Lake & Palmer – The Show That Never Ends… Encore, a revised edition of an acclaimed ELP handbook first published back in 2000. Its three authors certainly know their facts. We learn that the other members of The Shame, an early band featuring Greg Lake, became so irked by the bassist’s infamously lackadaisical attitude towards getting out of bed that they hid his clothes; undeterred, Lake turned up for that evening’s show in his jim-jams. Better still at the height of ELP’s fame, the book claims that Greg actually employed a roadie for his fur coat!
I’ve been dipping in and out of #36 of Dave Lewis’ excellent Led Zeppelin magazine, Tight But Loose, which features Percy Plant on the cover and an interview with my old colleague from RAW magazine, Paul Rees, in promotion of the latter’s new tome on Plant. Disappointingly, Dave fails to raise the subject of Rees’ astonishing similarity to failed pop star Chesney Hawkes, something I did on just every day that we worked together (when not dropping ‘The One And Only’ onto the office stereo and watching him erupt with fury) – that’s a yellow card, Mr Lewis.
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Wednesday 27th November
Interviewing Rudolf Schenker of the Scorpions is always fun, though following yesterday morning’s chat my left ear is still slightly sore from the volume that came out of the receiver! The Scorps have a new MTV Unplugged album and DVD on the way. Of course I asked about any plans for the group to play in the UK again… I’m paraphrasing here, but the answer seemed to be: Don’t hold your breath. They’d *like* to do it, especially as the clock is ticking towards the end of a farewell tour that has dragged on for several years, but the offer has to be right.
Also got the lowdown on Mastodon’s soon-to-be-recorded album from guitarist Bill Killiher for the Metal Hammer website. Though I’m a huge fan of the band from Atlanta, Georgia, it was my first conversation with a member of the group. This is perhaps surprising given both Mastodon’s stature (their fifth album, 2011’s ‘The Hunter’, was a Top 20 record here in the UK) and longevity (they have existed for almost 14 years), also given that my friend Malcolm Dome were lucky enough to have seen them as a support act at the Camden Underworld way back in 2003 and were both completely blown away by their sheer ferocity and class. Can’t wait to hear what they do next!
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Tuesday 26th November
Feeling more than a tad groggy this morning after last night’s playback party for the new Transatlantic album, ‘Kaleidoscope’ (released on January 27, 2014), at London’s Sanctum Hotel and followed by a nightcap or two at the Crobar. Conducted in the presence of the neo-prog quartet’s bass player Pete Trewavas, the event also marked the 20th anniversary of their label InsideOut Music and all drinks were free (if you had the right wristband! Haha!). Featuring two epic pieces, ‘Into The Blue’ and the title cut, plus three shorter tracks, ‘Kaleidoscope’ sounded as majestic and classy as we’ve come to expect… can’t wait to hear in the more controlled setting of my office here at Ling Towers – i.e. away from the distraction of gossip, banter and flutes of bubbly! Hic!
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Monday 25th November
Last night’s Steve Price show on ARFM unveiled some amazing news: Shy (with Tony Mills on vocals) are to play the final Firefest… niiiiiiiiice! Coney Hatch, too! My flabber is well and truly ghasted. Much respect to Kieran, Bruce and the gang for an absolute corker of a bill. The original Danger Danger line-up (with Andy Timmons), H.E.A.T., Firehouse, Autograph and Black ‘N Blue, and for the connoisseurs among us Boulevard, From The Fire, Babylon AD, Tower City… the list goes on. It’s such a shame that Shy’s late, great Steve Harris won’t be there but that bill’s just insane!

Dave Ling Online

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Sunday 24th November
Ten-man Palace beat Hull Shitty at the KC Stadium – what an incredible result, masterminded by caretaker boss Keith Millen (*not* the newly arrived Tony Pulis, who watched from the stands). It was a plucky display from the Eagles, who can consider themselves unlucky over Yannick Bolasie’s ridiculous dismissal. Eddie and I watched a live web stream, gnawing at our fingernails as the game went into injury time and the Tigers hit the post and had a shot cleared off the line before the oh so precious sound of the final whistle. Get in, you beaut! And take that St**e Br**e… bet you wish you were still on gardening leave?!
Beer time sounded as I headed off to Shepherd’s Bush Empire for the Black Star Riders’ debut London show – a bottle of wine on the train? That’ll do nicely! There was a slightly scary run in at London Bridge Underground with trainload of depressed Clowntown fans who dared to mock my scarf: Cue a loud cry of: “What division are you in?!” A bit lucky to get away unscarred from that, to be honest…
Frankly, a state of inebriation was mandatory in order to get through the support act, the Dead Pansies… er, Daisies. What kind of a name is that?! And listen, I don’t care if you have two members of Guns N’ Roses – guitarist Richard Fortus and keysman Dizzy Reed – and a singer that used to be in INXS (Jon Stevens), your songs are forgettable!
Considerable debate has surrounded the decision to rebrand Thin Lizzy as Black Star Riders. Well, this wonderful show vindicated the move in the most emphatic manner possible. The band played nine originals from their debut album, ‘All Hell Breaks Loose’ (count ’em: ‘All Hell Breaks Loose’, ‘Bloodshot’, ‘Before The War’, ‘Hoodoo Voodoo’, ‘Kingdom Of The Lost’, ‘Hey Judas’, ‘Kissin’ The Ground’, ‘Valley Of The Stones’ and ‘Bound For Glory’), plus an equal quantity of Lizzy classics (‘Are You Ready?’, ‘Bad Reputation’, ‘Jailbreak’, ‘Massacre’, ‘Southbound’, ‘Emerald’, ‘Cowboy Song’, ‘The Boys Are Back In Town’ and ‘Rosalie/Cowgirl’s Song’. Of the new ’uns, just one – ‘Valley Of The Stones’ – didn’t really work, sounding too much like The Almighty, though that’s still a pretty solid success rate. It’s hard to deny the fact that ‘Bound For Glory’ is an unashamed cross between ‘Waiting For An Alibi’ and ‘Whitesnake’s ‘Guilty Of Love’, but at the end of the day who cares a damn?! There were some very minor niggles: Damon Johnson’s guitar solo included the theme from ‘Black Rose’ – a song I’d rather have heard the band perform than ‘Whiskey In The Jar’, which Scott Gorham didn’t even play on. ‘Don’t Believe A Word’ was another glaring omission, but WTF… BSR passed with flying colours!
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Saturday 23rd November
My Friday ended by placing a late-evening phone call to Jake E Lee, the former Ratt, Rough Cutt, Ozzy Osbourne and Badlands guitarist who apart from the release of an instrumental solo album a few years back seemed to drop off the map following the regrettable demise of the last-named band in 1993. Lee, whose new project Red Dragon Cartel release a self-titled debut via Frontiers in January, was happy to explain the reasons for what his record company biog calls a “self-imposed exile from the music industry”, and of course how he’d filled his time during the ‘Lord Lucan years’. It’s hard to describe RDC’s music, as it’s not really blues-laden like Badlands were, and it doesn’t sound anything like the by-numbers stuff that Frontiers are often guilty of releasing. However I really like the record, which has Darren Smith of Harem Scarem fame on vocals and Ronnie Mancuso of Beggars & Thieves fame on bass (the line-up is completed by drummer Jonas Fairly), plus a diverse selection of special guests that includes Cheap Trick’s Robin Zander, Paul Di’Anno, ex-Pantera/Down bassist Rex Brown, former Kyuss man Scott Reeder and the incredible Sass Jordan, also, curiously, Maria Brink of alt-metallers In This Moment. A gigging schedule is being arranged right now, reveals Jake. Count me in; I’ll go along…
Oh dear, one of my worst fears has come true. Crystal Palace have confirmed Tony Constipated (Poo-less… geddit?) as their new manager. I cannot abide Pulis as an individual – take that chavvy baseball cap and shove it up yer arse, mate! – and loath his tactics. However, I suppose I will have to grit my teeth and back him whilst he occupies the hot seat at Selhurst.
The new ish of Prog magazine (dated December, Zappa on cover) is here. How much do I love the fact that Bob ‘n’ Toyah Fripp have supplied a Christmas cake recipe?! That is so, so cool!
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Friday 22nd November
Two years had evaporated since my last live sighting of Tigertailz, still fronted at the time by the Valleys' answer to Paul Stanley, the one and only Kim Hooker. Jules Millis of Australian pomp merchants White Widdow has since taken over the microphone. I will admit, I didn't think he'd be too much cop in such a specialised role but fair play to him and the group – they still kick major amounts of butt. Shame about Damn Dice, one of the most excruciating support acts I've had the misfortune to endure, but despite Rob Wylde's bass sound swamping the other instruments for much of the show, only a determined party pooper could have walked away from the Underworld without a smile plastered across their face in the wake of the national anthem of Glam Rock, ’Love Bomb Baby'.
The 'Tailz still perform a big chunk of their masterpiece statement, ’Bezerk', which let us not forget was a Top 40 album at the start of the 1990s, but also threw in four songs from a new EP entitled ’Knives'. I really liked them all, particularly ’Punched In The Nuts' which has a chorus that goes: “I've been punched in the nuts/I've been kicked in the guts/I've been burgled by sluts”… yeah, I've been to Cardiff, too! Despite an ultra-cheesy video for ’The Shoe Collector', the song worked surprisingly well onstage. A wonderful night was had by all… The set-list ran as follows: ’Sicksex!' ’Hollywood Killer', ’Living Without You', ’Don't Bite The Hand', ’I Can Fight Dirty Too', ’Love Overload', ’One Life', ’I'll Tear Your Fucking Heart Out', ’Heaven' (dedicated to their late, much missed bassist Pepsi Tate), ’Twist And Shake', ’Punched In The Nuts' and ’Call Of The Wild', followed by ’Star Attraction', ’The Shoe Collector' and the God-like ’Love Bomb Baby'.
Re: the cricket… what the f**k happened??!! Following the 'Tailz gig I had sat up till England were something like 50-1, having swept up the Aussie tail thanks to Broad's sixth wicket, and with Trott and Carberry in control, despatching the bad ball with what looked like apparent ease, only to wake up five hours later to a complete bloodbath for the tourists. I'm *still* lost for words.
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Thursday 21st November
Uggh. Feeling a wee bit groggy following a late night/early morning viewing session but despite losing the toss on a beautifully flat batting surface that should encourage some stroke playing, England's cricketers have begun the new Ashes series in fine style. With Stuart Broad, known only as “a 27-year-old English medium-pace bowler” to the local tabloids that are refusing to mention him by name, having collected five wickets for 65 runs, this morning's reports in those same papers should make interesting reading!
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Wednesday 20th November
My preparations for last night’s England international game were perfect: The fridge was filled. I took a nice park run and shower and then hit the ale early doors before plonking myself down in front of the telly well before the kick off… There’s no such thing as a friendly against the Germans, after all.
The dismal result – against a friggin’ B-side – made me feel so darned miserable, I cannot bear to type anymore. Over and out: Off to kick the cat…
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Tuesday 19th November
No… before you ask I didn’t go to see Mott The Hoople at the O2 Arena. I read the reviews of the regional shows, took the poor ticket sales into account and much as I’d like to have seen opening acts Thunder and Fish decided to stick with my cherished memories of the reunion show I saw at Hammersmith in 2009. My spies tell me that made the right call. Fish was hurried onstage a mere 20 mins after the doors opened, playing for just a half-hour (as the big Scotsman later joked, he’s done longer encores!) and Thunder’s set was flawed by poor sound.
I’ve been getting stuck into the new issue of Classic Rock Presents AOR. Derek Oliver’s cover story on Styx, which focuses on the classic ’Pieces of Eight’ album, is an excellent read… though when push comes to shove I will always be a ’Grand Illusion’ man myself!

Dave Ling Online

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Monday 18th November
Managed to cram a lot into my Sunday: A trip to the Music Mania Record Fair an Olympia, a face to face interview with Carl Palmer and a trip to the Forum in Kentish Town, where a huge crowd had gathered the Metal Hammer-sponsored Defenders Of The Faith show.
At Olympia I picked up a handful of vinyl goodies including a mint condition missing Chicago album from the Peter Cetera era (1979’s ’Street Player’) and the Average White Band’s 1977 collaboration with Ben E King (’Benny And Us’), a still-shrinkwrapped album by US soft-rockers Orleans and Joe Vitale’s Albert Bros-produced ’Roller Coaster Weekend’, which features Joe Walsh and Rick Derringer, plus two CDs by UK blues rockers Roadhouse – I was disappointed to get them home and find that my good mate Danny Gwilym, a current group member, isn’t on either. Bah!
Being brutally honest, I’m a moderate fan of headliners Amon Amarth but the only two bands that I *really* wanted to see at Defenders Of The Faith were Carcass and Hell. The latter’s theatrical and tuneful approach to fist-pumping, bulletbelt-friendly heavy metal was more fun than should be allowed on a Sunday. Followed by a bout of mock self-flagellation with a cat o’nine tails, singer David Bower’s cry of: “Are you with us?” during opening song ’The Age Of Nefarious’ was greeted by a surprisingly loud roar. Heads were banged onstage and off to ’Something Wicked This Way Comes’ and ’The Quest’. Half an hour was way too short!
Such were the levels of tedium, I actually found myself jotting down a shopping list during an interminable and extremely dull set by the ridiculously out of place Glaswegian metalcore (!) combo Bleed From Within – ’nuff said.
Back after 17 years, Carcass were a revelation. Combining beautifully focussed brutality with brain-syringing yet often melodic guitar runs and bassist/vocalist Jeff Walker’s caustic wit, backed by some graphic b/w cinematic images to accompany the music, they’re as good as they ever were. Heavy metal as it used to be; heavy metal as it should be.
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Saturday 16th November
England’s 0-2 defeat to Chile at Wembley was disappointing, but in fairness to Roy Hodgson the side he picked for last night’s friendly game was largely experimental, and let us not forget the quality of the opposition. I’m sure that many familiar faces will return for Tuesday night’s game against the Germans.
Check this out – Brian Tatler has just emailed me a link to a YouTube clip of a very interesting version of his band’s song ’Am I Evil?’ played by Rob Zombie and featuring Munky and Head from nu-metallers Korn. It’s surprisingly good, I think...
Anyway, it’s been a helluva week so I might have a bit of a Crobar night this evening. Pavlov’s Dog are playing next door at the Borderline. Normally, I’d go in and have a look but they were so extraordinarily good last time out, making their UK debut at the same venue (see Diary, 22.8.12), there’s no way it could be as pleasurable an experience, so I might just concentrate on the ale.
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Friday 15th November
I’m back from last night’s Classic Rock Awards, another star-studded evening at the London Roundhouse. As ever I was on duty as a ‘roving reporter’, thrusting my tape recorder under the noses of several winners allocated to me, namely The Temperance Movement, Ozzy Osbourne of Black Sabbath (who picked up no less than three awards!), Alex Lifeson of Rush and Rick Wakeman who presented Lifeson with Spirit Of Prog), Alice Cooper’s manager Shep Gordon and various assorted partygoers, including one James Patrick Page… we are not worthy.
Had there been an award for Nicest Man Of The Night it would surely have gone to Alex Lifeson. If the guitarist stopped smiling it was for a nano-second, he also made a great comedy double act with Rick Wakeman when I interviewed them together – they are huge fans of each other’s music.
I really need to get myself a better camera but here’s something you don’t see every day of the week: Messrs Butler, Page, Iommi, Lifeson and Osbourne sharing a laugh together in Ross Halfin’s backstage grotto.

Dave Ling Online

Mr Halfin took this rather fine shot of myself and Thunder’s Harry James, caught comparing our matching Crystal Palace ties… the best-dressed guys in the building, and no mistake!

Dave Ling Online

Here’s a list of who won what. And be sure to check out Nicky Horne’s backstage interviews.
Album Of The Year: Black Sabbath – ‘13’
Reissue Of The Year: Fleetwood Mac – ‘Rumours’ 35th Anniversary Edition
Band Of The Year: The Rolling Stones
Best New Band: The Temperance Movement
Breakthrough Award: Virginmarys
Event Of The Year: Black Sabbath go to number one
Film Of The Year: Led Zeppelin – ‘Celebration Day’
Classic Album: John Mayall – ‘Blues Breakers With Eric Clapton’
Outstanding Contribution: Mott The Hoople
The Living Legend Award: Black Sabbath
The Musicians' Union Maestro: James Dean Bradfield
Tommy Vance Inspiration Award: Rory Gallagher
VIP Award: Shep Gordon
Metal Guru: Zakk Wylde
Spirit Of Prog: Alex Lifeson
The Showmen: The Darkness
Innovator: Wilko Johnson
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Thursday 14th November
I absolutely loved last night’s gig from Blackberry Smoke and The Western Sizzlers, which took placed at a jam-packed Barfly club in Camden. Both groups were making their UK debuts, which gave the evening a really special feel.
Featuring former Georgia Satellites legend Rick Richards on guitar and fronted by Kevin Jennings – who my mate Andy Beare thought looked a bit like Arfur Daley… never a bad thing! – The Western Sizzlers play a gnarly, authentic brand of Southern barroom boogie. Though he chips in with certain lead solos and slide guitar parts, Richards is like human rhythm machine – America’s answer to Rick Parfitt, if you will, and this comparison held water as the band blazed through a shit-kicking rendition of the Frantic Four’s own ‘Break The Rules’. Praise is also due for their own songs such as ‘One Day Closer To Crazy’ and ‘One More Beer’, the latter of which is worthy of the Satellites themselves.
Such was the anticipation for the Atlanta band’s first UK visit, the 200 lucky tickets to see Blackberry Smoke apparently sold out in less than an hour. A five-date tour now takes place in the springtime, just as their most recent album, ‘The Whippoorwill’, arrives on this side of the pond. Sporting some truly alarming facial hair and with three albums in a decade-long existence, the headliners were considerably less breakneck than their opening act, sounding more like the Black Crowes or the Allman Brothers, and it was no surprise when a snippet of the latter’s ‘Midnight Rider’ bled into a mid-set ‘Let Sleeping Dogs Lie’. Luckily, the annoying country rock tendencies that tend to permeate their records were left at the door (though ‘Ride My Pony’ was a close call…) but my own favourite of the band’s songs, ‘Up In Smoke’, really got the crowd pumped up. BBS cannot return to the UK quickly enough for yours truly, and the campaign to reinstall the Sizzlers as their tour’s support act starts here.
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Wednesday 13th November
Ever since their eponymously titled debut album found its way to the top of my ‘to play’ pile (which I’m ashamed to admit took far, far longer than it should’ve done), I’d been dying to check out the Stockport-based hard rockin’ blues band Federal Charm. Last night they rolled into London as part of the New Generation Blues tour, which also featured Laurence Jones and Mitch Laddie. The venue? The Borderline in Manette Street. Hang on a cotton pickin’ moment… don’t we know a little watering hole just a few doors away?! So I rounded up my pal Mark Taylor who’s always up for both a small sherry and a look at new musical talent, and off we jolly well set.
Astoundingly, only 75 or so peeps were inside the venue as we arrived – including bar and merch staff. Jeez! However, FC played as though they didn’t notice – or care about – the lack of punters. A generous whiff of Zep and Bad Company permeates ‘I’m Not Gonna Beg’ and ‘There’s A Light’ and the slow, heartfelt blues of ‘Reconsider’ was delightful. They also received kudos for covering ‘Radar Love’ by the mighty Golden Earring. As their song title suggests: ‘Tell Your Friends’!
Next up was master Jones, who I had seen and reviewed for Classic Rock’s Blues magazine mere months ago. The experience made me feel like an elderly auntie or uncle who only sees their relative at family gatherings; it was alarming to note how Laurence had grown and matured via his own material and a choice cover of ‘All Along The Watchtower’.
Introducing a short but rather great new song that might’ve been titled ‘Open Your Eyes’, Mitch Laddie maintained the evening’s high standards, picking out the notes superbly on his white Strat and singing with soulful power. In a nice touch ‘This Time Around’ was dedicated to the mentor that got him his record deal, the one and only Walter Trout (whose lovely wife Marie was in the crowd). In short, this was a show that deserved to have been seen by a *lot* more people.
Afterwards, Mark and I headed back to the Crobar for a few too many nightcaps in the company of Phil Allen from the UK blues combo The Idle Hands, who proved to be a fine fellow. It was a cool if somewhat fuzzy end to a most pleasurable evening.
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Tuesday 12th November
Past experience has taught me that attempts to conduct three phone interviews in the space of one day are invariably doomed – somewhere down the line, someone will f**k up along the way. Amazingly, yesterday proved an exception to this rule. First up, Roger Chapman explained why Family – who defied the odds to reunite last year after four decades of inactivity – have agreed to play further shows in 2014. A few hours later I chatted to Spike about the Quireboys’ upcoming acoustic tour, also their long-running Spinal Tap-esque problems with drummers. The result of our conversation was somewhere along the lines of this link, though we also touched upon Keith Boyce of the Heavy Metal Kids’ recent blink-and-you-missed-it spell with the group. And finally, Paul O’Neill, the mastermind behind the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, called to set the scene for the group’s first UK gigs in three years. ’Twas a busy day!
What sad news about ex-UFO bassist Pete Way, the latest rock star to be diagnosed with prostate cancer. 62-year-old Pete feels “good, positive and determined to beat it”. I add my voice to those that are including him in their prayers.
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Monday 11th November
How better to spend one’s Sunday evening than a nostalgic trip back to the 1970s? Last night I took a train to Dartford’s Orchard Theatre for another live experience of my boyhood heroes, Sweet, who are touring the country’s theatres with fellow glam rock titans Slade… or what passes for them (i.e. they’re still Noddy-less, more’s the pity).
With Brian Connolly and Mick Tucker both long gone and Steve Priest involved in a quest to stuff his face with every last hamburger in America, Andy Scott remains this version of Sweet’s only survivor from the 1970s, but the band pack a mightier punch than many will have expected. Scott’s guitar sound was little short of monstrous, as was rhythm guitarist/keysman Tony O’Hora’s very heavy meta-a-a-al cry-out at end of ‘Teenage Rampage’ (just as you might expect from a former member of Onslaught!). Having seen the band just a few months ago at the Merton Manor Club it was amusing to watch the faces around me as recognition of their turbo-charged remake of Dead Or Alive’s ‘You Spin Me Round’ began to dawn. Though they missed out ‘Turn It Down’ this time – it was a now distinctly adult version of a teenybopper-friendly crowd, after all – the 65-minute set-list remained almost the same (see Diary, 14.9.13). It was also great to buy a new Sweet T-shirt for the collection!

Dave Ling Online

I hung around for three numbers by the alleged Slade (‘Gudbuy T’Jane’, ‘Lock Up Your Daughters’ and ‘Far Far Away’), who now comprise Dave Hill and Don Powell with vox from Mal McNulty who used to be with Sweet, plus a Jim Lea lookalike bassist that I didn’t recognise, but it was all a bit naff so an early exit to ensure I could get home seemed provident. My pal Andy Beare, who stuck things out for a while longer, reckons that I made the right decision. Phew!
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Sunday 10th November
A stalemate against European-bound Everton? Okay… I’ll take that, in fact I’ll bite your Goddamned hand off. Coming in the wake of so many disappointing results yesterday’s game at Selhurst felt more like a victory than a goalless draw. If the Eagles had been able to sign a decent striker during the summer then the Toffees could have found themselves heading back up the M6 empty handed; the best two chances of the game certainly went the way of the home side. I took great heart from both result and the still manager-less team’s gutsy display. Blow me down, the Sunday Times has actually dared to write: “Premier League survival may yet be within Palace’s reach.”
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Saturday 9th November
Islington’s Assembly hall is fast becoming one of my favourite London venues, so I wasn’t going to turn down the opportunity to take a look at John Lees’ Barclay James Harvest – especially as Prog magazine had asked me to handle reviewing duties.
Gordon Giltrap and Oliver Wakeman began the evening with a set of largely instrumental songs based upon their collaborative album, ‘Ravens & Lullabies’, plus Giltrap’s own ‘Roots’ and ‘Heartsong’ and a vocal-free rendition of ‘Wonderous Stories’ by Yes. It was fun but things stepped up a gear or five when vocalist Paul Manzi joined them for ‘Maybe Tomorrow’ and the lovely ‘Ravens Will Fly’. Here’s hoping that some electric gigs, fronted by Manzi, are not too far away.
Ciders of differing flavours (including a pomegranate jobbie that I suspect will really open up the sluices at both ends) had flown down the neck by the time the headliners took the stage. JLBJH were on fine form, mixing material from their rather decent current disc, ‘North’, with a slew of classic tunes from the 1970s. My friend and beer roadie Neil Pudney became one of the stars of the show when he roared out for ‘One Night’. Lees threw Neil’s suggestion to the crowd, who when given a choice preferred ‘Taking Some Time On’ instead. Cue one peed-off Pudders! Seriously, it was an excellent performance, the new material standing its ground among a repertoire filled with bona fide catalogue gems. The set-list ran as follows: ‘Ball And Chain’, ‘If You Were Here Now’, ‘Ancient Waves’, ‘Child Of The Universe’, ‘Crazy City’, ‘Hymn For The Children’, ‘On Leave’, ‘The Real Deal’, ‘Poor Man’s Moody Blues’, ‘Poor Wages’, ‘Song For Dying’, ‘North’, ‘Unreservedly Yours’, ‘Taking Some Time On’ and ‘For No One’, followed by a glorious encore of ‘Mockingbird’ and ‘Hymn’.
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Friday 8th November
Although he was here in London to talk to the press about the new album ‘Bridge The Gap’, my awkward schedule and the fact that youngest son Arnie was home from school on a so-called ‘inset day’ meant that yesterday’s interview with Michael Schenker was conducted by phone – shame. The German labours under the belief that a reunion of UFO’s ‘Strangers In The Night’ line-up is “still a possibility” – oh look, there goes a flying pig piloted by Lord Lucan, being chased by Shergar! – but otherwise Michael seems in a very good place right now… long may it remain so.
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Thursday 7th November
Here’s my pre-Mott The Hoople tour interview with Ian Hunter, conducted by phone on Monday morning. Hunter was great value for money, as usual. I love the bit about “[The promoters] must think we’re Beyoncé or something.” It’s an easy mistake to make, hahaha! He’s a great artist and a decent, likable fella. It’s somewhat rare to be able to tick both boxes.
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Wednesday 6th November
Aw, bless. Leigh Matty from Romeo’s Daughter just found a cute photo of her and I from ‘back in the day’, probably on her band’s tour with FM for the ‘Tough It Out’ album in 1989. Look at those hamster cheeks of mine; so glad I’m now a runner! Most unusual that I’ve a beer in my hand, too. (Ahem…)
Just got off the phone with Jeff Scott Soto for an end-of-year interview for Classic Rock. W.E.T.’s second album, ‘Rise Up’, is among the mag’s Top 50 releases of 2013 – JSS was pleased and a little shocked by the news, I think!

Dave Ling Online

I’m very happy, too. Have just been asked to work at the Classic Rock Awards which take place in London in about a week’s time. It’s the biggest night of the year in this genre of music… always a huge thrill to be there, tape recorder in hand!! Fish is this year’s guest presenter – fantastic!
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Tuesday 5th November
Crikey, what a hangover following the second instalment of a gathering that's now taken on the title of the Monday Night Supper Club. Along with 17 other loonies we began the evening in the Crobar before fine dining, reservoirs of white wine and mucho silliness and storytelling at Bistro 1 in Firth Street. Back to the Cro again for a few nightcaps and a sprint down Charing Cross Road for the last train back to Catford Bridge. Somehow managed to rouse the kids from their pits and get them off to school before a 90-min catnap. What a fantastic night!
Have just been reading a great new interview with ex-Kiss guitarist Ace Frehley. No doubt Gene $immons’ ears are burning! It contains some great quotes – “Gene’s living in the past. He’s become a caricature of himself. From the very beginning his only motivation was money. The guy has no friends; he’s not respected by his peers and he’s pissed off thousands of fans” – but perhaps a bit silly of Ace to have added: “He’s never had a hit single, like I’ve had.”
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Monday 4th November
How was my Sunday occupied? Some work on the accounts, a quick run, a trip to the cinema with youngest son Arnie (the new Thor movie… neither of us were especially thrilled) and onto Camden for my debut live sighting of Orchid, the San Franciscan Sabbath-alikes whose second full-length disc, ‘The Mouths Of Madness’, was among my fave albums of 2013.
Arriving in time for the closing song by the opening act Zodiac (sorry!), I was blown away by a bunch of European psych-rockers called Blues Pills. It’s becoming a bit of a cliché to play the Janis card in connection to any female singer with a foghorn voice and a metaphorical set of cajones, but Elin Larsson was a revelation and ‘Devil Man’ transpired to be one of several impressive songs. Newly signed to Nuclear Blast and in the process of recording their debut album, I’d like to have seen them play for more than half an hour. High hopes indeed.
I’m still not sure what to make of Scorpion Child, the Texans whose self-debut has caused quite a few waves. They looked awful, like a bunch of roadies, except for singer Aryn Jonathan Black who had a veritable artillery of rock star shapes. However, the sound mix was such that his voice was only heard to full capacity in fits and starts. And to the tubby guitarist who thought it was cool to throw beer cans into the crowd… you utter dickhead. However, Scorpion Child played just about all of their debut, several selections from which broke down into, or in some cases were linked by, spacey freakout interludes. They were interesting, at the very least. I’d like to see them again, preferably with the voice much higher in the mix.
At times the headliners’ audacious thievery caused a smirk of amusement. As much as I love ‘The Mouths Of Madness’, the quartet’s live show is a mash-up of familiar riffs and vocal melodies, and it doesn’t help that Theo Mindell actually looks a little like a younger version of John ‘Ozzy’ Osbourne. It was all too much for a certain very tall member of the Classic Rock posse who exited in disgust after a half-dozen songs, calling them “such shamelessly pilfering twatbadgers that it actually offended me”. I wouldn’t go anywhere near that far though I was disappointed not to have heard far more from ‘TMOM’; many of the show’s best bits (‘Capricorn’, ‘Black Funeral’, ‘Eyes Behind The Wall’, ‘Masters Of It All’) being culled from other records in their catalogue. I shall be seeking a copy of 2011’s ‘Capricorn’ post haste.
Meanwhile, my good pal malcolm Dome has said it far better than I ever could with this more expansive précis of the night, viewable over at the CR website.
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Sunday 3rd November
In an ideal world I’d have joined my friends Neil and Louise Pudney at the Hawthorns for Palace’s game at West Brom. However, with things at Ling Towers being far from ideal I had to make do with watching events via a live weblink. The Eagles played rather well but, as ever, were punished by a mistake that they might have got away with this time last year in the Championship. Pushing up for an equaliser, which in my view would have been deserved, it was pretty inevitable that the Baggies would score a second. Another decent performance… fuck all to show for it – yet again. Most disheartening.
On a lighter note, I’ve been enjoying Classic Rock’s exclusive fan pack presentation of the new Motörhead album, ‘Aftershock’. As if the music wasn’t great enough, the package contains some terrific interviews with Lem, Phil and Mikkey. The Q&A with the former is particularly frank. Asked about the proudest moment of his life, Kilmister replies: “Going straight to Number One with ‘No Sleep Til Hammersmith’ [in 1981],” adding: “I just wish that wasn’t when all of the recognition stopped.” He makes a good point.
Editor Paul ‘Gooner’ Elliott commissioned me to file a track-by-track of ‘Aftershock’, a retro review of the fabled Heavy Metal Holocaust gig at Port Vale FC in 1981 and a lengthy historical piece detailing the happenings in the group’s world from 1984-’95. Order it here.
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Saturday 2nd November
My Friday evening was cheered by the news of Paul Gambaccini’s arrest on suspicion of historical sexual offences as part of Scotland Yard’s Operation Yewtree. Why? Well, at last October’s premiere for the Hello Quo! movie, Gambaccini publicly embarrassed yours truly by pointing out what he felt to be a resemblance between yours truly and Jimmy Savile – the latter a man with whom he’d shared an office at the Beeb for several years. During the fallout, Gambo actually suggested – without evidence – that Savile was a necrophiliac . As I wrote in my web diary at the time: “What a repulsive, conceited, attention-seeker. When the Beeb’s internal housekeeping mission is done ‘n’ dusted, he’d better be squeaky clean…” Though of course I have the utmost sympathy to his alleged victim(s), given the circumstances some kind of refreshing beverage was in order. I believe it’s called karma? I felt like leaping into a paddling pool-sized Tesco wine pouch!
BTW, from conversations we’ve had since *the incident*, I’m pretty sure that Quo’s own Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt will be allowing themselves a wry smile apiece. Rick was certainly less than amused by Gambo’s gratuitous revelation that he had always fancied him (though I’m paraphrasing, that’s the gist of what he informed the gathered audience).
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Friday 1st November
I've got another hangover. Following a late-afternoon interview with John Schaffer and Stu Block of Iced Earth in Camden I headed to the Crobar for what turned out to be a rather bibulous evening in the company of a large gang of herberts that included my old mate Steve McTaggart, the current manager of DragonForce. Road tales abounded, many delivered in less than clean language – great fun! Managed to get the last train home… somehow, thank the Lord.
Compiling a list of the rock musicians that we lost during 2013 for Classic Rock’s final edition was a very, very depressing task. RIP to Trevor Bolder, Clive Burr, Alvin Lee, Kevin Ayers, Jeff Hanneman, Storm Thorgerson, Ray Manzarek, Allen Lanier, Jan Kuehnemund, Lou Reed and the rest of my heroes/heroines. And now… Pete Haycock of the Climax Blues Band is no longer with us. Christ, what an awful year it’s been.
Click on these links for the monthly Playlist and YouTube updates. Talking of which, I’ve just selected my end-of-year-charts for Classic Rock and Prog magazines. Steven Wilson's ‘The Raven That Refused To Sing (And Other Stories)’ sat atop both lists and will no doubt repeat the feat should Metal Hammer request that I do likewise. Anyone that has yet to ample its delights should do themselves a favour and click here.
A lie-in till ten o’clock, Lars Ulrich interview transcript, roast dinner and Strictly Come Dancing, a mid-afternoon 10K run and long soak in bath, then drinks with Neil Pudney and Pudney before Steven Wilson’s gig at the Royal Albert Hall. Well, I’ve definitely had worse Sundays!
With no game for my beloved Crystal Palace till Monday evening, I departed Ling Towers happy in the knowledge that fellow strugglers Sunderland, Hull, Cardiff and Norwich (sorry Tony Crowley) had all suffered defeats… heavy ones in most cases. My destination was the Live Evil Festival at the Garage. With a bus replacement on the Overground link and the Northern line out of action, the journey across London took three times as long as usual. As I arrived the Chilean variety of Pentagram, who play Slayer-esque thrash (as opposed to the better known Virginian-based doom-metal veterans of the same name) had ownership of the stage. Rather good they were, too.
The venue was rammed to the hilt with a crowd that looked like it had spent the entire day on the ale. Luckily apart from some loonies at the front they were too pissed (and in many cases far too ancient) to mosh around! What many of them did do, however, was smoke – defiantly and pointedly in opposition to those of us that pointed out it is no longer permitted. Dickheads.
Luckily, headliners Satan made it all worthwhile. With the line-up responsible for their 1983 ‘Court In The Act’ album recently reunited, back in the spring – an incredible three decades later (!) – the NWOBHM combo released an excellent follow-up entitled ‘Life Sentence’. Brian Ross’ eyesight might have deteriorated to the point where the set-list became illegible, but his voice remains surprisingly strong. Songs such as ‘Time To Die’ and ‘Siege Mentality’ from ‘Life Sentence’ were as strong as anything offered on Satan’s cult favourite debut. No wonder they did six of the buggers! So amazing was the response that Ross took his life in his hands and announced: “I’d forgotten was it was like to play for a decent crowd in England. We’re from Newcastle and people just don’t wanna know; it sucks. You guys should tell Newcastle how to enjoy themselves.” That comment might come back to bite him! Till then, here’s the set-list: ‘Into The Fire (Intro)’/‘Trial By Fire’, ‘Blades Of Steel’, ‘Time To Die’, ‘Twenty Twenty-Five’, ‘Oppression’, ‘Break Free’, ‘Incantations’, ‘The Ritual’, ‘Siege Mentality’, ‘Hunt You Down’, ‘Testimony’, ‘No Turning Back’, ‘Cenotaph’, ‘Alone In The Dark’ and an encore of ‘Kiss Of Death’. Superb stuff!