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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Monday 31st October
Back to London with the mutha of all hangovers. The News Of The Screws reminds me that Palace dropped two points against a team second from bottom of the league. Bah. On a happier note, the train journey is occupied by Slipknot's surprisingly accomplished new double '9.0: Live', 'Have A Nice Day' by Bon Jovi (also far better than expected), Nightwish's best-of 'Highest Hopes' (good luck replacing Tarja, guys - you'll need it) and the throroughly prog-tastic 'Syndestructible', from Chris Squire of Yes's revitalised project from the 1960s, The Syn.
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Sunday 30th October
Yesterday the first cold cider was swigged at 8.09am, cranking up some prime hooligan sounds ('The Best Of The Professionals') on the Discman - it could only be another Palace awayday. Reading the paper on the train from Euston, it seems that Sharon Osbourne has finally flipped. In an astonishing tirade she disses Madonna ("A tart - I'd like to punch her"), Bryan Ferry ("That twat out of Roxy Music"), Mick Jagger ("A social climber"), Bono ("What a twat"), Diana Ross ("Awful woman") and Pete Doherty ("He needs a bloody good slap"). Sharon also admits splashing £3 million on plastic surgery. Some psychiatric treatment or anger management might perhaps have represented better value.
Met my good pal Colin Harkness, former rhythm guitarist of boogie-heads Spider, who'd driven across for the match, at Crewe Station. After coming back from a distinctly offside-looking goal from the Railwaymen, Palace turned the game around and lead 2-1 with the final seconds ticking down. But when the sign for seven minutes of injury time was raised, I knew we'd concede a bloody equaliser. And so it proved.
Post-game it was several more sherberts then off to the Limelight to see Col's mates State Of Quo. I've never understood the appeal of tribute bands, but anyone authentic enough to feature original Quo drummer John Coghlan in their line-up (sporadically, at least) must be worth checking out on a rainy night in Crewe. Musically speaking, SOQ have got it nailed, the set featuring many songs long since abandoned or consigned to medley form. By the show's end I was somewhat refreshed, but (I think) they included 'Something's Going On In My Head', 'Lakky Lady', 'Railroad', 'Spinning Wheel Blues', 'Rain', 'Someone's Learning', 'April, Spring, Summer And Wednesday' - even a full-length 'Forty Five Hundred Times', Mr Harkness jamming on 'Roadhouse Blues'. Vocally is where SOQ fall down, but in fairness few on this planet (except maybe Trevor Francis) are capable of imitating Rossi's nasal whine. I'd give 'em a good seven out of ten.
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Thursday 27th October
I'm feeling delicate again after a hair of the dog (of two head) at last night's Marquee launch party for Status Quo's 40th anniversary DVD, 'The Party Ain't Over Yet'. With free drink tokens liberally distributed, white wine flowed like Niagara Falls as we were treated to a few choice excerpts from what looks like being a pretty decent package. Included in this preview was footage of the band's appearance in Coronation Street, including scenes of them playing at Les and Cilla's wedding (to be screened this coming Monday). It all looked pretty bloody hilarious. Messrs Rossi and Parfitt were interviewed on the stage by DJ and long-time fan David Jensen, and the night's tenderest moment saw Rick leaning across and kissing Francis on the cheek (in a manly way, of course), as he thanked him for the past 40 years.
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Wednesday 26th October
Liverpool fans must be starting to hate Palace. Okay, they once trounced us 9-0 and never let us forget it, but that same season we famously got revenge by stuffing them 4-3 in the semi-final of the FA Cup and have since turned them over several times. Last night it happened yet again, goals from Dougie Freedman and cult hero Marco Reich making Steven Gerrard's strike irrelevant. To be honest, having met my pal and Classic Rock co-founder Andy Ryan (over from New York) for a liquid lunch, I don't recall all the details, but the papers say we deserved the victory. Post-game, Scouse manager Rafael Benitez refused to criticise his players. So let me do it for him: They were woeful, especially Kewell and Peter 'The Freak' Crouch.
Oh yeah... just a quick word of praise for those traditionally pleasant, witty, modest and noisy Liverpool fans (heavy on the sarcasm in all cases) who'd travelled to Selhurst from all four corners of London and the home counties. So sweet was last night, it was even worth missing Dream Theater playing 'Dark Side Of The Moon' at Hammersmith for.
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Tuesday 25th October
Dream Theater continue to set new standards. Last night the US-Canadian prog-metallers celebrated their 20th anniversary by playing for a gargantuan two and a half hours at the Hammersmith Apollo. Their set went right back to the days when they were known as Majesty and included such catalogue gems as 'A Fortune In Lies', 'Peruvian Skies', 'Fatal Tragedy', 'Caught In A Web' and 'Pull Me Under', plus 'Sacrificed Sons' and 'Never Enough' from the new 'Octavarium' album. Staggering. Just staggering.
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Monday 24th October
People often ask me about the best reunions I've seen. Well, it wasn't necessarily the finest, but yesterday I experienced a pretty unusual one. If you're of a certain age, The Goodies require no introduction. A legendary comedy trio from the 70s, they hadn't performed together for 25 years... till last night. Courtesy of my friend Naomi (who seems to get tickets for all sorts of ITV events), myself and Mrs L were part of a small audience that saw Bill Oddie, Tim Brooke-Taylor and Graeme Garden filming an anniversary docu-special to be screened at Christmas. It was a lotta fun, and Mrs L will almost certainly be visible in the show as at one point Brooke-Taylor sat next to her and asked himself a question from the crowd (don't ask me to explain; it'll make sense when you see it).
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Sunday 23rd October
Omi-freakin'-God! Nightwish have sacked Tarja Turunen! I'm astonished, especially as an open letter from keyboard player/band leader Tuomas Holopainen accuses the singer of "diva"-like behaviour. Funnily enough, the last time I interviewed Tarja, she made a point of insisting: "I am not a diva". And as recently as September, in an interview that appears in the latest issue of Classic Rock, I asked Tuomas what might happen should Turunen quit. "We'd have to do some serious thinking," he admitted. I wish him luck - she's the best singer in this realm of music by the proverbial country mile.
Yesterday afternoon I savoured Palace's comfortable 2-0 demolition of Burnley, then whizzed up to the Astoria for one of the finest gigs of all time. Featuring their 1983 classic 'Holy Diver' in its entirety, Dio were in spellbinding form. Prefacing said opus with 'Tarot Woman, 'Sign Of The Southern Cross' and 'One Night In The City', the group's mouth-watering two-hour set also featured 'Gates Of Babylon', 'Heaven And Hell', a medley of 'Man On The Siver Mountain'/Catch The Rainbow'/'Long Live Rock 'N' Roll' and wound up with 'We Rock'. Ronnie's vocals were truly incredible, prompting XFM DJ Ian Camfield and myself to cogitate upon Bruce Dickinson's ability to maintain such Herculean standards by the time he too is in his 60s. Afterwards, Dio's party descended upon an Indian restuarant in the West End, where I found myself on a table with drummer Simon Wright, and his former UFO band-mate Paul Raymond. Not a bad night, by anyone's standards.
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Saturday 22nd October
Phew... just finished an excellent book. Simon Napier-Bell's Black Vinyl White Powder is a fascinating chronology of the British pop and rock scene. As the title implies, drugs references abound. Napier-Bell, who managed the Yardbirds and Wham! among others, tapped up various business acquaintances for their anecdotes. Iron Maiden and Def Leppard receive cursory namechecks, though for once the author misses the point by erroneously suggesting: "They played heavy metal with a tongue in cheek attitude" - possibly true in Leppard's case, but never of Maiden - then adding: "The sheer extravagance of the sets seemed to suggest they were parodying metal rather than endorsing it." Try telling that to Sergeant Major Harris, matey-boy! There's even a coupla pages on Asia, whom Napier-Bell also briefly managed. Despite misspelling the name of John Paine [sic] and alleging that "they liked their cocaine", he speaks of Asia with affection. If you've not read it yet, the
book's well worth checking out.
The postie delivered expanded re-issues of the first five Magnum albums ('Kingdom Of Madness' through 'The Eleventh Hour'). Remastered by Tony Clarkin and with various bonus tracks, they sound better than ever and make awesome packages. The new Aerosmith, 'Rockin' The Joint', is also pretty good - but is there really a point in releasing yet another live album?!
Gotta admit, after Tuesday night's humiliation I'm not exactly anticipating today's visit to Selhurst Park. The idea of seeing Dio play their classic 'Holy Diver' album at the Astoria this evening is far more alluring, as is the the record label's mooted idea of post-gig curry with The Great Man.
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Thursday 20th October
Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me, happy birthday dear diary, happy birthday to me. Yes it's been 365 days since the inuaugural DL Online diary entry, scrawled in a hangover haze following Whitesnake's gig at Hammersmith. I'd like to thank Kate (a.k.a Batttttty) for posting this self-indulgent rubbish for me every few days, and to those who've actually bothered to trawl through it... well, maybe you should think about getting out a little more. Only kiddin' - thanks to you, too. (Message from Batttttty: The pleasure's all mine dear. Self-indulgent rubbish is what I'm best at).
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Wednesday 19th October
Ugggggggh. Feel like I've awoken from a cruel nightmare, in which my over-confident CPFC aristocrats were mugged and buggered up the arse by a bunch of rent boys from the South Coast. Hang on, just checked the paper and it's true. Words fail me. This morning I'm ashamed to be an Eagle.
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Tuesday 18th October
The big day's arrived. Palace cross swords again with our deadliest rivals, B***ton & Homo Albion, tonight. Last time the clubs met at Selhurst, the Eagles romped home by five goals to nil, Andrew Johnson notching a sweet hat-trick. Palace head into the showdown following five undefeated games, fifth in the table and having won our last six home fixtures. It's been seven games since the opposition's last victory, and they're rock bottom (presumably with Rock Hudson up their bottom, too). Both sets of fans assume the same outcome. "If we can keep it down to single figures I'd see that as a moral victory," admits some in-bred poofter from the Seaweeds message board. "I'd be ecstatic if we got a point, but I don't think it'll happen," agrees his boyfriend. Obviously, I'd love to see another drubbing, but given the importance to both clubs things'll probably be far tighter. I certainly plan to numb the senses with as much booze as I can pour down my gob.
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Monday 17th October
Sunday night gigs are a grind, but nobody in their right mind should have missed Spock's Beard at the Mean Fiddler. And although the Californian proggers prioritised quantity above quality with an occasionally laboured two hours and 40 minute-set, it was (mostly) worth doing battle with London's notoriously shit transport system. The band's 'Feel Euphoria' album had validated their decision to continue without Neal Morse, the leader who quit a couple of years ago following a religious conversion. Sadly, this year's 'Octane' wasn't anywhere near as wonderful. And the band's insistence upon playing lengthy solo spots hardly helped. A 33-minute, seven-part suite from 'Octane', 'Flash Before My Eyes' ambitiously kick-started the night, the swoon-inducing ballad 'She Is Everything' also blissfully executed. Other material from the post-Neal era included 'NWC' and 'As Long As We Ride', the classic years represented by 'Strange World', an excerpt from 'Go The Way You Go', 'At The End Of The Day' and 'Harm's Way'. But the biggest shock of all was a guest appearannce from Mike Portnoy, who'd flown in from a rest day on Dream Theater's European tour to play drums on 'The Light', a quite splendid encore that not even a powercut could ruin.

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Sunday 16th October
he Crystal Palace revival continues. We're now up to fifth in the table after yesterday's deserved 4-1 stuffing of Coventry. I missed Macken's injury time goal due to an early exit, but I'm glad I went along. However, City's new ground is pretty underwhelming. Stuck in the middle of a desolate industrial estate which makes it difficult to reach and populated by shamefully quiet fans, the Ricoh Stadium had all the atmosphere of a warehouse (though admittedly it's nowhere near as rusty as Scumwall's own warehouse). If this empty shell of a building represents progress, give me run-down Fortress Selhurst any day.
En route I played Revisited Records' new Pete Townshend two-CD retrospective, 'Anthology' - a fascinating collection of tunes from one of the best songwriters in the business. Gearing up for the game, Anthrax's 'Anthrology: No Hit Wonders (1985-1991)' got the blood pumping, and soaking up a huge vat of cider post-game, I was pleasantly impressed by Demon's new album, 'Better The Devil You Know'. A real return to form from a great little band.
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Saturday 15th October
What a way to start the weekend. It was back to the Underworld last night for a doom metal banquet. Grand Magus played a stonking 45-minute opening set; indeed, their six song reportoire was so good that I wondered if Cathedral could follow it. Oh me of little faith. Despite an initially dodgy sound, Cathedral mixed standards ('Ride', 'Heavy Load', 'Utopian Blaster', 'Skullflower') with offerings from the latest 'The Garden Of Unearthly Delights' ('Corpsecycle', 'Upon Azrael's Wings', 'Tree Of Life & Death'). The biggest shock, though, was the inclusion of all 23 minutes of 'The Garden'. Accompanied by female backing vocals and violin parts, the band's magnum opus undoubtedly had moments of Spinal Tap-like comedic value, yet held the audience in rapture from start to finish. You can ask for nothing more.
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Friday 14th October
The postman just delivered a re-issue of Night Ranger's debut album, 'Dawn Patrol', from 1982 (released through Lemon Recordings). Alas, it doesn't include bonus tracks, but I've never owned 'Dawn Patrol' on CD before, so I almost ran to bung it into the player. It still sounds glorious; not too many albums can boast a song as awesome as 'Don't Tell Me You Love Me'.
While I'm waffling about great releases, Classic Rock and Metal Hammer have both demanded their writers submit 'The Best CDs of 2005'. Yes, it's that time of year already - especially with monthly lead-in times. As both magazines only required 10 choices, and some inevitably overlapping, I found myself with a list that was far too long. So rather than waste what I spent time compiling, CLICK HERE for my personal choice of the year's definitive 20 albums (compilations and live recordings excluded).
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Thursday 13th October
Ah, that's more like it. Last night England turned in a far more satisfying performance than usual against a decent-looking Poland side, a 2-1 victory placing them atop the qualification group. But there's no way we'll win the World Cup next year unless the improvement continues. No siree.
Oh yeah... the blanket radio and TV coverage reminded me that today is Margaret Thatcher's 80th birthday. Frankly, I'm astonished that the Blue-Rinsed Spawn Of Satan made it this far. Somebody should have done us all a favour and shot the evil fucking bitch years ago.
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Wednesday 12th October
Bah. Was dismayed to be copied on an email from Dream Theater's Mike Portnoy. If you're unaware, the band have a tradition of covering a classic album whenever they play two-night stands in the same city. Well, yesterday at the Heineken Music Hall in Amsterdam they ran through Pink Floyd's 'Dark Side Of The Moon' in its entirety, suggesting they'll do it again at Hammersmith on the 25th. Why does this cheese me off? Well, I've got a bloody ticket for Palace's League Cup showdown with Liverpool. I'm going to the previous day's gig, but you just know the Scousers will stuff us 9-0 again, and I'll miss a little piece of rock history.
Needing a quick cheer-up fix, according to my favourite news site, www.blabbermouth.net, Blaze Bayley is holed up "in a secure location" somewhere in Italy preparing material for his new studio album. Does this mean he's finally been committed to a lunatic asylum (which in itself would be funny), or that he's worried another band might bug the studio and hear what he's working on, then copy it (which would be off the chcukle-o-meter)? Shall we toss a coin?
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Monday 10th October
Their current album 'Lipservice' in my Top 10 of 2005, Gotthard are rapidly ascending the pecking order here at Ling Towers. Back in the summer 'Goatherd' (as Mrs L insists upon calling 'em) broke an absence of 13 years with an excellent gig at the Garage. Last night, a mere four months later, the Swiss hard rockers were back in the capital for another exhilarating display. Given the short gap between shows, the set-list was almost identical (see June 27th entry for details), but 'Mountain Mama', 'Firedance' and 'Top Of The World' kicked some serious butt, 'I've Seen An Angel Cry' a poignant reminder that Gotthard also do ballads better than most. Being a Sunday night, the Underworld emptied swiftly following a third encore song, a handful of lucky fans remaining to savour a spontaneous final romp through Led Zeppelin's 'Immigrant Song'. Goatherd, I salute you. Can we have 'em on the bill of Firefest 3 please?
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Sunday 9th October
Hallelujah... even with the hapless Eriksson in charge, England have somehow managed to qualify for next summer's World Cup. What a blessed relief. Our neighbours, the Endeacotts, came round to join us in watching Frank Lampard's penalty seal a tight 1-0 victory over Austria, Holland's 2-0 vanquishing of the Czech Republic later confirming England's path to the Finals in Germany. At least we managed to finish loads of the leftover beer from Lingfest. But given the national side's latest mediocre showing, it all seemed a little anti-climactic.
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Friday 7th October
Just returned from the land of brattwurst, stripy trousers and birthplace of Palace cult hero Wing Commander Marco Reich (that's Germany to you, pal). Regular readers of this column may be aware of my cautionary disdain for most things Teutonic, but the chance of attending a listening party for Dragonforce's third album - not due out till January 9th - and sinking a few tankards with my old pal Steve McTaggart (their record label representative in Berlin) was just too tempting to turn down. I'd already met Dragonforce guitarist Herman Li a few times before, but didn't really know the band's other shred king, Sam Totman. Both were on hand for the first public airing of 'Inhuman Rampage', another set of top quality, blitzkrieg power metal. Totman turned out to be a bit of character, declaring: "If anyone gets bored by the album, just raise your hand and we'll go off and find a bar instead", but there were no takers for his offer. With song titles like 'Through The Fire And Flames', 'Storming The Burning Fields' and 'Operation Ground And Pound', it's no great surprise that 'Inhuman Rampage' is the band's heaviest work so far, its sole ballad 'Trail Of Broken Hearts' bringing the album to an exhausted conclusion. Indeed, during the post-playback press conference Totman and Li were quizzed about the record's surprising lack of mid-paced material. "That's simple," responded Sam with typically casual candour, "it's because we think mid-paced songs are gay." What a darned fine explanation.
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Wednesday 5th October
Ouch... it's the morning after the night before. I've no idea how I got home from yesterday's inaugural Classic Rock Roll Of Honour Awards at the Café De Paris, other than a vague recollection of falling as sleep on the train and getting a night bus (from somewhere) back to Catford. Although it overran a little, the event was a spectacular success. Just about all the bands I spoke to - and there were a few, as it was my job to compile some quotes for the next issue - had a ball. Deep Purple's Ian Gillan was particularly upbeat. He, drummer Ian Paice and ex-keyboard wizard Jon Lord turned up to accept a Classic Album award for 1970's 'In Rock', presented to them by none other than Chris Squire of Yes and Thin Lizzy's Scott Gorham. Lord said a few words from the podium about how nights like the Crocks make him realise the "stupidity" of leaving the band. The night's star was Motörhead icon Lemmy, belying his almost 60 years and fully deserving a Living Legend award. Ian Hunter and wife/manager Trudy flew in from the States, attending with daughter Tracie. Arthur Brown turned up in a wheelchair, then mysteriously arose to walk around the hall - a miracle! Sadly, Judas Priest were on tour in America, but sent a video message to express thanks for their Metal Guru gong, accepted by manager Jayne Andrews. The late, great Tommy Vance's wife Cookie Hope Weston and daughter were present to receive the legendary DJ's honour in the Inspiration category. There was a great spirit of camaraderie, topped of by the honour of having Jimmy Page in our midst. We are not worthy. There was a rumour that Gene Simmons, in the country to promote Rock School, had decided to attend at the last minute.
But there were more than enough stars in the end. In fact, I spent quite a chunk of the night soaking up the vibe with Mick Box of Uriah Heep - always a pleasure to hang out and get sloshed with the nicest man in rock. As one of the magazine's co-founders (along with Jerry Ewing and Andy Ryan), it made me feel particularly proud. Will post some pix in a bit.
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Tuesday 4th October
Oh no! Ronnie Barker is dead. As a young lad I worshipped The Two Ronnies, especially The Phantom Raspberry Blower Of Old London Town. The rib-tickling Porridge wasn't far behind, and Open All Hours is still hilarious. Barker was a true comedy genius, in a league of his own.
On a happier note, Palace's 3-1 victory at Queens Park Rangers (or QP-ha-ha-ha, as they're known at Chateau Ling) was richly deserved, elevating us to seventh in the table. Two more strikes from Marco Reich have already assured the Teutonic Wing Terror of cult status at Selhurst, but it does feel bloody weird celebrating goals scored by a German. Maybe I'll get used to it, I dunno. Afterwards it all got a bit tasty, with police horses and dogs escourting us back to the tube. Just like the old days.
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Monday 3rd October
With an issue of Classic Rock just despatched to the printers, and no gigs or game for Palace, last weekend was a nice opportunity to chill out and catch up on about two weeks worth of telly. So better late than never, a word or two of praise for Status Quo's cameo on Coronation Street. The storyline was great, and I roared at the surreal sight of Les Battersby, his head stoved in by Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt, lying on the pavement outside the Rovers and announcing dreamily: "I've just been beaten up by Status Quo." Whatever next? Cannibal Corpse giving the cast of Midsomer Murders a good leathering? Well, somebody oughtta...
By the way, what's all the bloody fuss about HIM? Just received their new album 'Dark Light'. It's the most dull thing I've heard in ages; slickly executed but like their live show, utterly soulless.
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Sunday 2nd October
Can it really be almost exactly a quarter of a century since John Bonham's demise? I still recall the morning of 26th September, 1980, like it was yesterday. My mum woke me as usual and casually informed me, 'Oh, one of the pop stars that you like is dead, dear'. Bless her, she reassured me it wasn't Francis Rossi or Rick Parfitt, but still couldn't remember the identity of the departed. When I heard on the radio it was Bonzo, I was gutted. It didn't affect me as badly as the senseless departure of Bon Scott, which caused me to wear a black armband for a week, but what a drummer, what a character - and of course what a waste. But as they say life goes on, and congrats go to my old pal Hugh Hackett (a former freelance writer on the much-missed RAW Magazine) for the birth of his baby daughter. In the true spirit of Southern Rawk, the Hacketts have decided to call their latest arrival... Molly. Yee-haw!
P.S. If I'd had a baby girl instead of boys, Crystal Alice was my name of choice. Sadly (though not for Crystal's sake), it just didn't pan out that way.
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Saturday 1st October
I was already a fan of Trivium, but my respect for them just doubled whilst reading the latest Metal Hammer cover story. Sorry to hark back to Eggfest again, but for a young (yet distinctly rising band) the Trivs showed balls of steel in speaking out against the Osbournes and firmly in favour of Iron Maiden. As the Ozzfest continued the day after the San Bernadino debacle, the entire band chose to wear Maiden shirts onstage. "There were gangs of people from the bands on the second stage trying to recruit people to throw eggs at Maiden," reveals guitarist/vocalist Matt Heafy. "We felt we had to make a stand." Guitarist Corey Beaulieu adds: "Kelly Osbourne was there throwing eggs. She said she was in London. She's a fucking liar. She couldn't even take responsibility for what she'd done." As I said, balls of steel.
Somebody else with larger testicles - and at least fifty or sixty times more ego - than most is Gene Simmons of Kiss. Last night was the UK debut of the increasingly tiresome bassist's show, Rock School. It made toe-curlingly compulsive viewing. Basking in self-worship, Simmons and his hairpiece turned up in a strech limo at a boarding school in Sussex, with a sworn goal of grooming a class of retiring classical music-weaned pupils into a rock band capable of supporting Motörhead at the Hammersmith Apollo. He puts up posters of himself all over the walls, plays the unsuspecting dears some DVDs of Kiss in the name of wiping out their modesty, instantly appointing a junior version of John Lydon as the group's lead singer. The school's staff are mortified, but the best comment of all comes from one of the terrified kids: "I still think he's a weirdo." The first episode ended with Gene realising the folly of this task, and possibly echoing the words of whoever produced Kiss' 'Psycho Circus' album: "I don't think we've got a band."
Among the numerous commercial projects that Simmons has on the back-burner is a book titled Ladies of the Night: A Historical And Personal Perspective Of The First And Oldest Profession. Can I suggest that being a dried-up, self-centred old whore of the musical variety, and as someone with no idea that he's long past his sell-by date, Gene's the absolute perfect person to write it?