This journal of the comings'n'goings and musings'n'enthusings of Dave Ling
will be updated daily - except after days of stress and nights of excess.
Sunday 29th November
The score yesterday's game at Selhurst Park: Crystal Palace 5 - yes, FIVE!, Newcastle 1. And the Geordies scored first! Who else but Cisse, who always seems to notch one against us? The prat made a complete fool of himself in front of the Holmesdale Fanatics, and no-one likes an over-celebrator do they? So it was great to thrust his empty gesture right back down his throat. As Palace goal after Palace goal flew in the cries got louder: "Cisse, what's the score? Cisse, Cisse, what's the score?" Palace, who could have scored ten, climb to sixth in the table. It was the very first time that the Eagled had scored five goals in a Premier League game. Toon slip into the dreaded relegation zone. I'll say it again: "Cisse, what's the score?"
Anyway, as usual Sunday is a day of work for yours truly and I've been playing phone tag with Chas Hodges from Chas & Dave this afternoon... that doesn't happen every day of the week! With hindsight it was a wee bit foolish of us to set up an interview with him while his beloved Tottenham were playing live on the tellybox, hahaha! But Chas suggested the bloody time!
Saturday 28th November
Unable to sleep, I'm up early to catch up on some telly. As much as I welcomed the idea of TFI Friday's return, I've just forwarded thru last night's hour-long episode in about 12 mins. Apart from Jeff Lynne, last week was worse still. Appalling, smug, scattergun garbage. #deleteserieslink
[Edit: Check out the alcoholic carnage at the Victory Club in South Norwood before Palace's game with Newcastle. Pitchers, pints and shorts fill the table... and so far there's just three of us - myself, Eddie and my buddy Kev Denman, pictured. This one is gonna get messy].
Friday 27th November
Still in Quo-world, where we left of yesterday, I've just seen the set-list for the group's latest winter tour which began last night in Holland. 'Caroline' returns as the opener, which is nice, but look at song #5. 'The Oriental' also retains its place AGAIN. It's just so, so stale. No, not for me again this year.
Thursday 26th November
Here's a development that I didn't see coming. A short video teaser for Firefest 2016 has been posted online. Kieran and company were adamant that the 2014 event would be the last. Indeed, it was replace by Rockingham at the same venue (Nottingham Rock City) over the same calendar weekend. But now... well, obviously, the statement sets the cat among the pigeons. Where will FF '16 take place? Who will appear? I can't wait to find out. Firefest is dead... long live Firefest!
And yet more good news: The next set of deluxe double-disc Status Quo re-masters is here. I'm very proud indeed to have been involved. Oh, and the new rock-friendly mix of 'Rockin'...', which sees keys reduced, guitars boosted, running order re-jigged, and the addition of some studio banter, is really, really good!
Wednesday 25th November
I'm very sorry to learn that Geoff Banks has passed on. I first knew of Geoff in his days as a writer for Sounds and later with Kerrang!, but we became acquainted when he worked for a management company that represented Nazareth and IQ, among others. When our paths crossed at gigs it was a pleasure to see him, grab a pint and listen to his tales. In 1986 we travelled together to see Wishbone Ash, Bernie Torme and other acts at an open-air Live Aid spin-off fundraiser in Folkestone… missed the last train back to London and got into all sorts of juvenile shenanigans. Last time I saw him was at Big Big Train's gig at Kings Place, he was in a lot of pain but continued to flyer upcoming shows. Geoff was a music man first and foremost, that's how I'll remember him. RIP to a great guy.
What a fantastic piece at the Classic Rock website by Geoff Barton in praise of Whitesnake's blues hard rock early years. C'mon, you've gotta read a story entitled "The Coverdale I recall was a vain, preposterous oaf" , doncha? I'm gonna bung on 'Lovehunter' in a few mins...
And here's a story of my own, conducted by phone a couple of days ago. Mr Rob Trujillo of Metallica paying tribute the Lemmy Kilmister - the musician. His story about introducing The Great Man to Joni Mitchell, and her calling him "Lenny", is fabulous.
Tuesday 24th November
I cannot remember the last time that I was left feeling so upset and annoyed by a game of football. Sunderland arrived at Selhurst still in search of their first away victory of the campaign. In some ways what happened next felt all but inevitable. With 67% of the possession and 19 shots (seven of which were on target), Palace launched wave after wave of attacks but just couldn't make a breakthrough. And then ten minutes from time, that gap-toothed wankbag Defoe stole the ball from a dithering Scott Dann and poked it into the net. It was a classic smash & grab; the Mackems took us on at our own game… we were out-Palaced. I feel sick as the proverbial parrot, and that feeling probably won't go away anytime soon.
Monday 23rd November
I'm still buzzing after last night's Sweet gig in Dartford. Even allowing for the fact that stand-in drummer Adam Booth stood in for Bruce Bisland who was taking time out for muscle fatigue at doctor's orders, it was bloody superb. How great to hear guitarist Andy Scott sing 'Lady Starlight' at last… maybe they should add 'You're Not Wrong For Loving Me' to the unplugged section (which also included a medley of 'CoCo', 'Funny Funny' and 'Poppa Joe'?) The rest, however, was balls-out all the way, with the crowd on their feet just four songs in thanks to 'Hellraiser'. 'Defender,' one of two newly recorded tracks for the double-anthology 'Action: The Ultimate Story', worked amazingly well onstage, this morning I cannot stop humming the bugger, check out its rather charming animated video here. And the best news of all? "We've called this tour Finale but as each of the gigs goes by... well, it's not gonna be the final tour," revealed Mr Scott. "I'm not qualified to do anything else. We've got an agent planning Finale 2 – we're into sequels already."
The full set-list ran as follows: 'Action', 'New York Groove', 'Peppermint Twist', 'Hellraiser', 'Defender', 'Lady Starlight' (Acoustic), Medley: 'CoCo'/'Funny Funny'/'Poppa Joe' (Acoustic), 'Teenage Rampage', 'Wigwam Bam', 'Little Willy', 'Love Is Like Oxygen' and 'Fox On The Run', with an encore of 'Blockbuster!' and 'The Ballroom Blitz'.
It's been sitting in the 'to be played' pile for a few days but I've finally got around to spending some time with the collector's edition of 'Jagged Little Pill by Alanis Morissette'. I absolutely LOVED this when it first came out, and I saw the Canadian singer at London's Subterranea (a show that fills Disc Four... her band included future Foo Fighters man Taylor Hawkins on drums). It's so great to hear it again! The live recording is well worth owning. It revived a very particular memory: As I stood outside afterwards there was a flurry of flashbulbs and Madonna came walking past surrounded by minders. Obviously, Alanis was signed to her label.
Sunday 22nd November
What an emotional Saturday night spent at the Forum with Walter Trout, my friend Tyrina Gallagher and… er, a bottle of cherry brandy. It's not too long ago that the veteran bluesman was almost literally on his last legs, battling the complications of the very liver transplant that had appeared to save his life.
Fast forward a couple of years and Trout, promoting a quite brilliant and very appropriately entitled 'Battle Scars', is not only playing music again but is has regained the kind of form that most artists would envy. Nicky Horne was giving a lovely introduction just as we took our places in the balcony, a packed crowd listening attentively. 'Almost Gone' and 'Omaha' were early highlights of the show, Walter's son Jon playing nice solo on 'Rock Me Baby', with further guest appearances from Danny Bryant on 'I Can Tell' and guitar tech Andrew Elt adding vocals to 'Going Down' (if you're as old as me, you might remember Elt's band Sleeze Beez).
Y'see… some stories *do* have happy endings.
Saturday 21st November
You might recall that a few days ago I posted about feeling a little down in the dumps. Well, scratch that... the 50th anniversary re-masters of 'Taken By Force', 'Tokyo Tapes', 'Lovedrive', 'Animal Magnetism', 'Blackout', 'Love At First Sting', 'World Wide Live' and 'Savage Amusement' are here!
And holy fucking shit... Jimmy Page has been onstage again, making a surprise appearance to jam on a version of 'Rock And Roll' to end all-star Seattle benefit show. Check out this story in Rolling Stone, the video is well worth watching - the relevant part starts at 4.55. My ol' mate Brian 'Shredded' Wheat of Tesla is in on the action, too!
The office heating has been fired up for the first time this year, and I'm starting another long working weekend with a blast of this - two discs of classic Spock's Beard, including a brand new 20-minute epic that features all of the band's members past & present (including all three of their lead singers; Neal Morse, Nick D'Virgillio and Ted Leonard) and a DVD covering the group's history in the 1990s. Oh look, I wrote the sleeve intro! If you've been thinking of taking the leap, here's where to start.
Friday 20th November
Gruhhhh... I'm doing my best to recover from last night's showcase gig by Inglorious, and a nightcap or nine at the Crobar. Introduced as "the future of rock 'n' roll" by Planet Rock's Paul Anthony - talk about digging yourself a big hole (but then Paul calls Liverpool a football club! Haha!) - the Anglo-Swedish five-piece are certainly a cut above the average. Any band that Dr Brian May refers to as: "...like a potent, young Deep Purple but with a new slant – very classic!" must be in with a shout, and Nathan James is a superb vocalist. I liked what I heard, and my CDr of the album (due in February 2016) will receive a bloody good airing today and over the coming weekend. Yeah, it was a great night - topped of by some free drinks and all the sausage rolls you could eat. They were extremely tasty. Mr Andy Beare had 24 of them, but he's a pig.
Thursday 19th November
Cherie Currie last night @ the Underworld – er, no polite way of saying this except that it was a bit hit and miss. Cherie said from the stage that her voice was at 50 per cent of its normal power due to illness. So, understandably, she played a really short set and I thought that some of the (non-Runaways) material was pretty dire. Currie gave it everything she had, though, and the audience – a fairly large one, which included plenty of female screams – loved every second. "Is it hot in here, or is it my menopause?" she joked.
On the upside, Cherie got quite emotional, especially following a guest spot from Suzi Quatro on 'Rock 'N' Roll Rosie': "My voice is not at its a finest, but this could well be one of the best nights I've had since giving birth to my son." It's a shame I wasn't really able to tap into the party mood that so many others were clearly experiencing... but by golly if felt good to be at a gig for the first time in almost a fortnight!
Wednesday 18th November
There are big smiles again here in Catford as, following two weekends of intense candle-burning and scribbling about 'On The Level', '...Stand The Heat...' and 'Whatever You Want', Alan Lancaster writes back in an email: "I like these — they're a nice read."
Tuesday 17th November
Truthfully, I have been feeling a bit down in the dumps with assorted doom 'n' gloom (the atrocities in Paris, writing too many obituaries), relentless pressure of work, cack weather, worry about bills, etc. But just sent my final bits 'n' pieces to Classic Rock's Dec 2 issue and at last some gigs are on the way - Cherie Currie (tomorrow), Inglorious showcase (Thurs), Walter Trout (Saturday) and Sweet in Dartford (Sunday), plus CPFC vs the Mackems under the Selhurst floodlights on Monday night. So, bring it on... all of it!
Meanwhile, well done to England's footballers, fans and the FA for the way this evening's friendly between England and France was handled. It was lovely to see Wembley's arch lit up in red, white and blue, and to hear just about everyone in the stadium having a bash at attempt at singing the French national anthem, La Marseillaise. In some ways the result was irrelevant, it was all about carrying on in the face of adversity, not letting the terrorists win, but England played well and deserved a 2-0 victory.
Oh yeah, and I'm still getting used to hearing the commentator saying: "... passes to Johan Cabaye of Crystal Palace..." – it ever fails to make me smile.
Monday 16th November
This story in the Daily Mail reveals the Bataclan massacre in chilling, sickening detail. The merciless ISIS gunmen even butchered fans in wheelchairs... what utter vermin.
Saturday 14th November
I awoke hungover and still in disbelief following the utter madness that took place last night in Paris. I had sat up till the early hours watching with growing horror at the rolling news coverage. For me, there was a small degree of familiarity; I had seen UFO (with special guests bassist Billy Sheehan) and Spider at the Bataclan Theatre back in '83. Boulevard Voltaire, the street outside the venue where I had queued for several hours, looked very familiar. Eighty people are reported killed after gunmen burst in and took hostages during a show by Eagles Of Death Metal, before security forces stormed the hall. I had always considered the revolting possibility that these bastards would unleash their twisted sickness at a musical event, and now the question remains: Will the world ever be the same again?
Edit: It's evening as I type, and I've just finished my sleeve essay for the expanded re-issue of 'On The Level'. Very pleased with it, and thought I'd bung on the vinyl to round off the working day. And then I realised that the way Francis Rossi has signed my copy, he's drawn a giant willy onto himself! Wishful thinking, Frame...
Friday 13th November
Oh, FFS. 'Philthy Animal' Taylor, the drummer of Motörhead from 1975-1984 and 1987-1992, has died of liver failure. Taylor was just 61 years old. Lemmy Kilmister posts the following: "Lil' Philthy...he who once shouted 'stop wincing about' on an album...he who fuelled many a young boy's punk/metal hairstyles...he who played the drums with fury and intent...he who liked to call people 'wazzocks' once in a while...friend, Roman, Derbyshireman...rest in peace...with much love..."
My own tribute, with additional quotes from 'Fast Eddie Clarke, is here.
As I type, I'm watching the friendly international between Spain and England, the former having taken the lead via a flying scissors volley from right-back Mario. It was gonna take something spectacular to transform such a close game. England's response? Bring on that Fat Grannyshagger Rooney. Yawn. What about some new blood? Why isn't Palace's Scott Dann in the team? And more to the point, why am I even bothering to watch this shit?
Thursday 12th November
Up early to begin transcribing my interviews conducted last night at yet another fantastic Classic Rock Awards. It's not every day that you get to thrust the tape recorder under the noses of a cast as diverse as Steven Wilson, Cleo Rocos, 'Fast' Eddie Clarke, Toby Jepson, Steve Hogarth, Danny Bowes and, er, Bill Oddie... and that's before we get onto the ceremony's winners. Here I am looking a bit sweaty and flustered towards the night's end with the one and only Brian May, clutching his Living Legend statuette. It's not the most flattering piccie in the history of the universe of yours truly, but Holy F**k.... I'm standing next to Brian May!!!
Here's a full list of the winners:
Best New Band: We Are Harlot
Film/DVD Of The Year: Foo Fighters's Sonic Highways
Re-issue Of The Year: Led Zeppelin
Album Of The Year: Iron Maiden The Book Of Souls
Band Of The Year: AC/DC
The Comeback: Europe
Classic Album: Alice Cooper Welcome To My Nightmare
The Showman: Noddy Holder
The Maestro: Joe Satriani
Tommy Vance Inspiration: Jimi Hendrix
The VIP: Rod MacSween
Outstanding Contribution: Nils Lofgren
Living Legends: Queen
Wednesday 11th November
What great news... a brand new indoor festival called Stone Free is happening next summer a mere busride away from Chateau Ling. Marillion and Rick Wakeman, the latter peforming his multi-million-selling album 'The Myths & Legends Of King Arthur & The Knights Of The Round Table' for the first time since 1975, are among the acts confirmed. Awesome! Details are here.
Anyway, I'm suited n booted and off to do some interviewing at this evening's Classic Rock Awards. Do I scrub up okay?
Tuesday 10th November
How great was last night's sold-out headline gig from The Cadillac Three at the Islington Academy?! They're a band who I first saw at the same London venue as complete unknown, last minute additions, kicking off a three-act bill topped by Blackberry Smoke in March 2014, but you know what? I think that they boot BS's ass to kingdom come and back. The Cadillac Three are ten times as exciting and fifty times more charismatic. Don't miss 'em in Jan/Feb with the brilliant Whiskey Myers as support!
Monday 9th November
Jurgen was well and truly Klopped yesterday evening at Anfield!!! Liverpool 1, Crystal Palace 2. Defender Scott Dann (a boyhood LFC season ticket holder) scores the winner as the Eagles overturn the Reds *yet again*. The best song of the afternoon: "You must be sick of us!!!" The infamous 9-0 rout now seems like a previous lifetime ago... and we've been paying the bin-dipping Scousers back in steady instalments ever since... Long may it continue.
Sunday 8th November
The name's Ling. Dave Ling. I like my cider stirred but not shaken. Or something. Saturday night was movie night with the Linglets, taking in the new Bond blockbuster at our local cinema, Greenwhich Picturehouse, preceded by a lovely Chinese meal. I really enjoyed it, and getting way from the desk for an evening proved a most welcome distraction in what's otherwise been a focused weekend of work. I've been writing new sleeve essays for the next batch of Quo re-issues, transcript of interviews with Rossi, Lancaster, Coghlan, Bob Young, Andrew Bown and Pip Williams (Rick declined this time - s'okay, I've got bags of old quotes). The bonus discs of extras are superb!!!! Did I just write that this was 'work'??!!
[Edit... Sunday... Back at the PC at 7.21am for yet more Quo transcript. Okay, it feels a bit like work now, haha].
Saturday 7th November
So... my trusty BlackBerry captures the moment that Mötley Crüe leave the stage in London for the final time, having encored with 'Home Sweet Home' on a podium behind the mixing desk. I enjoyed their Wembley show much more than expected. The set-list, which contained just about all of their classics plus a couple of token latterday tunes such as 'Motherfucker Of The Year' and 'Saints Of Los Angeles', ticked the required boxes, Vince Neil sang adequately (though quite possibly with some assistance) and the presentation was, of course, out of this world. Much has been written about Tommy Lee's drum solo which takes place on a rollercoaster and sees him playing upside down on his journey to the centre of the arena and back, and save for the hip-hop soundtrack that acts as its soundtrack it's undeniably impressive, just like the moment that Vince and Nikki Sixx are swept out above the audience's heads on gigantic mechanic arms. Downsides? Mick Mars' guitar solo... turgid, just turgid. And I could never forgive the stealing of Sweet's 'Hell Raiser' for 'Kickstart My Heart', but *that reaction* from the crowd... what an outpouring of love. Enjoy the retirement you silly ol' sods. Contract or no contract, I have little doubt that we will see you again in around 2020 when the pension fund needs a top-up.
Oh... and an honourable mention to Special Guest star Alice Cooper, who delivered 55 minutes of almost uninterrupted, undiluted catalogue gems and damned nearly stole the show. Anyone who can come out onto the Wembley stage and barrel through 'The Black Widow', 'No More Mr Nice Guy', 'Under My Wheels', 'I'm Eighteen', 'Billion Dollar Babies' and 'Poison', seemingly without drawing breath, truly deserves the accolade of living legend.
Friday 6th November
That unexpected moment when you begin the day by interviewing Andrew Bown, the keyboardist that supposedly "ruined Status Quo", for the next set of re-issues ('Long Legged Linda' from 'If You Can't Stand The Heat...' is such an underrated tune) and he turns out to be a bloody good bloke with some wonderful stories and a great sense of humour. #knockmedownwithafeather
Saying goodbye to Mötley Crüe at Wembley this evening is bound to bring back loads of great memories. I've been going to see them since Donington '84. I've interviewed them on both sides of the Atlantic, including one memorable time in the boardroom of Geffen Records in Hollywood circa 'Girls, Girls' and on other numerous occasions. I even followed them around on the entire UK leg of the 'Theatre Of Pain' tour in '86 (supported by Cheap Trick) with a gang of mates including Ian Taff Mansell in a vehicle that Dee Snider later named "the Bad News Van". In Edinburgh, never having experienced 11am-11pm drinking, I had to be carried out of the Playhouse. They're well past their sell-by date in 2015 – barring any great shocks – but I'd like to thank them for some downright lüdicröus entertainment.
Thursday 5th November
I'm very happy to have received Classic Rock's fan pack edition of the brand new self-titled Def Leppard album (thanks to Alex Burrows). I have been dying to hear the music, dip into those exclusive interviews, also re-read the waffle wot I wrote. Paul Elliott's interview with his vocalist namesake Joe is a massive 10,000 words long... Jeez! And Malcolm Dome goes into his best Paxman-style mode with Vivian Campbell, who spills the secrets of his relationships with RJD and Old Cov, also the *real* reason why Shadow King split up. It's grisly but unmissable stuff (is that a bag of cocaine see before me?!)... fair play to everyone for partaking in the true spirit of honesty, we're all grown-ups here, ain't we?
Wednesday 4th November
It's a bit of a quiet few days for gigs, and today, whilst surfing at Girlschool bassist Enid Williams' new website [www.enidwilliams.com], I've found myself reminiscing about Motörhead's quasi-legendary Heavy Metal Barn Dance at Stafford Bingley Hall back in July 1980. What a bill: Lemmy and company as headliners, Saxon, the Gals, Angel Witch, Mythra, Vardis and White Spirit. I went with my school friend, Dave Gray. We lied to our parents and said we were staying at each other's houses... we slept on Stafford Station. *Sighs nostalgically*.
Tuesday 3rd November
In yet another of those 'didn't see that coming' moments, Vardis have signed a deal with SPV Records for their comeback disc – the reunited NWOBHM group's fifth in total. Titled 'Red Eye', it will be released in 2016, with guitarist/singer Steve Zodiac promising: "The most heartfelt, hard-edged Vardis record yet, with that same rock n roll spirit at the centre of everything we do."
Meanwhile, here are the latest updates at the Playlist and YouTube pages.
Monday 2nd November
Wow, last night Glenn Hughes and Doug Aldrich tore the Electric Ballroom a brand new rectum. There was also a livewire opening set from Jared James Nichols, whose debut album 'Old Glory And The Wild Revival' has been spinning here at Chateau Ling (on glorious cherry-red vinyl) for the past few months. The Wisconsin-born, LA-based singer-songwriter/guitarist has the look of a young Ted Nugent crossed with Glenneth circa 1975, and his music kicks serious quantities of butt. Along with covers of 'Rock 'N' Roll Hoochie Koo' by Rick Derringer, the slow blues of Robert Johnson's 'Come Home In My Kitchen' and the Mountain standard 'Mississippi Queen', self-penned selections such as 'Blackfoot', 'Crazy' and 'Playin' For Keeps' really connected with the steadily growing crowd. Jared James Nichols – a real name to watch out for.
Singing the way he still does at 64 years old, Glenn Hughes is nothing less than a biological freak of nature. Okay, here's still a worrying tendency to remind us of his prowess, and the solo segments of the show left something of a sour taste in the mouth, but the chemistry between Hughes and ex-Whitesnake/Dio guitarist Aldrich was apparent for all to see. It ain't often that you get to experience such effortless, primal groove.
Though his most contemporary group California Breed went unrepresented, the show's repertoire tapped into the lion's share of Glenn's adult professional catalogue, from Trapeze's 'Way Back To The Bone' and 'Touch My Life' to the criminally underrated Hughes/Thrall ('First Step Of Love'), a hatful of Deep Purple classics ('Stormbringer', 'Sail Away' and 'Burn', and what a fabulous version of 'Mistreated'... compared to the one that's out there on YouTube by Whitesnake 2015 we are talking a Rolls Royce-roller skate scenario), plus the solo tracks 'Orion', 'Can't Stop The Flood' and a hip-shakin', ass-wagglin' 'Soul Mover'. Hughes also revisited his more recent past with a couple of Black Country Communion tunes, 'One Last Soul' and 'Black Country'. Perhaps surprisingly, in honour of Aldrich, there was also a stab at Whitesnake's 'Good To Be Bad'.
"This train's not stopping, we're going to be touring all next year. I'm going to do this until they put me in the dirt," The Voice Of Rock roared from the stage. That's great news.
Meanwhile, still in Purple-associated territory, Ritchie Blackmore has announced that his UK show will take place at Birmingham's Genting Arena on Saturday 25th June. That location, in the heartland of England and easy to access for those from all over the country, makes good sense, and at least it's indoors! According to the press release, the Man In Black will be playing "the classic rock anthems of Rainbow and Deep Purple". The line-up for his summer shows, including the identity of his all-important mystery frontman, will be announced on November 4.
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