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 September
Doncha just hate it when two potentially killer gigs happen on the same night? Would love to have been at the Astoria to see Porcupine Tree, but in the end opted for Y&T's return to the Mean Fiddler. The addition of GPS - featuring former Asia alumni John Payne, Guthrie Govan and Jay Schellen, plus the eccentric Ryo Okumoto from Spock's Beard on keys - as support certanly helped to swing the decision. Their album 'Window To The Soul' is a strong collection of songs, and their decision to ignore Asia material was a wise one. Allotted just 45 minutes, they ran through 'The Objector', 'All My Life', 'Since You've Been Gone', 'Window To The Soul', 'New Jerusalem' and 'Taken Dreams' with enviable levels of musical skills, birthday boy Payne marshalling the show with all his usual humour. Nipped into the GPS dressing room afterwards to congratulate the fellas, and none other than Chris Squire of Yes was hanging out there, too.
Y&T's last Fiddler appearance, back in June '05, was one of those gigs that'll stay with you forever. Sadly, as often seems to be the case when a band return quickly after decades away, they couldn't surpass such a sterling display. All credit to Dave Meniketti and company for mixing up the set, adding a pair of numbers from 1990's 'Ten' album ('Surrender' and 'Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark'). 'Dirty Girl', 'Hurricane', 'Rescue Me', 'I Believe In You', 'Don't Stop Runnin'', 'Forever' and 'Black Tiger' all remain pedigree face-melters, but the list of songs senselessly overlooked - 'Summertime Girls', 'Squeeze', '25 Hours A Day', 'Knock You Out' and, incredibly, 'Open Fire' - ended up counting against the San Franciscans in the end.

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Thursday 28th September
Swoon! It's melodic rock heaven - not only have Journey confirmed details of a full UK tour in March (I'm reliably informed that Jeff Scott Soto will continue to front the band for these dates), but John Waite is to play a handful of British shows in November. Incredible news.
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Wednesday 27th September
See what I meant back on Sept 4 about Michael Schenker being a Jedi master in the art of crying wolf? Well, according to the neurotic guitarist's semi-legendary website it seems that MSG's touring commitments are mysteriously back ON again, with Japanese shows commencing on November 13 and British gigs a fortnight later. There's no explanation for this change of heart nor news of the latest band line-up... and the Teutonic One wonders why he's leaking fans faster than the Titanic?
Talking of all things German, last night I caught Blind Guardian's first ever London show. When you consider the power-metal band have existed since 1984, that's what you call keeping their fans waiting. So the euphoric reaction of a packed Koko club should have been little surprise. However, the fans roared along to every Tolkien-fuelled lyric during a 105-minute set, and vocalist Hansi Kursch was gobsmacked by their volume not only during the singalong section of 'Valhalla' but by the way they continued to bellow its chorus of "Valhalla, deliverance! Why you've forgotten me" even after the song was over. Eventually Blind Guardian just stood back and let the crowd continue for a few minutes, until Kursch barked: "Stop!" (all that was missing was the part about "or you vill be schottt!"). By the final encores of 'Bard's Song' and 'Mirror Mirror' some of the audience's tear ducts were starting to moisten, and quite rightly so.
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Tuesday 26th September
Last night it was off again to my old haunt, the Underworld. 'In My Blood (En Mi Sangre)', the third album from London-based Gibraltans Breed 77, has been on heavy rotation at Ling Towers of late, but although I'd caught them playing the odd number or two whilst they opened for various other bands, I'd never seen a complete headline show. I'm pleased to report that they're good enough to justify a record that'll surely be in my Top 20 come year's end. Laughingly dubbed "an Elton John moment" by singer Paul Isola, the piano lighter-waving ballad 'Look At Me Now' was a fine centrepiece of the performance, equally colourful though harder-rocking moments like 'Petroleo (You Will Be King)', 'Empty Words' and 'Alive' pairing their maraca-shaking Latino roots and considerable dexterity with a Flamenco guitar with unforeseen levels of heaviosity. The trouble is, these new songs are so strong that they make Breed 77's older tunes sound pretty amateur. And next time I'd like them to hang around for a good deal longer than 65 minutes please.
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Monday 25th September
Combatting the hangover from hell, the whole of yesterday was spent scanning all the covers of Classic Rock magazine so far, from #1 (starring Guns N' Roses) in November 1998, to the currently available #98 (featuring Freddie Mercury). Why was I engaged in this mind-numbingly tedious task? Well, believe it or not I'm the magazine's only employee with a full set of issues, and our hundredth volume now looms ever nearer. Aside from the fact that the marvellous debut album from Frost was playing in the background - as superlative and challenging piece of prog rock as you'll hear all year - you won't believe how nostalgic it made me feel to see some of those old magazines again. The bullshit we faced in putting them together was unbelievable, but our inner belief never wavered. When we do reach the grand old age of 100, I'll raise a glass and a middle finger to all those who tittered and said there was no market for a magazine that covered Yes, Quo, Zeppelin, Leppard and Cheap Trick. With an ABC figure (monthly average sale) of 56,037, Classic Rock is now up 26.4% year on year, making us the UK's fastest growing music title. Chew on that, bitches!
But here's the inevitable 'glass half empty' moment. Former Bad Company/King Crimson bassist Raymond (better known as 'Boz') Burrell died over the weekend, at his home in Spain. He was 60 years old. I never met Boz, but his artistic value speaks for itself and my sympathies go to all who knew him.
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Sunday 24th September
Imagine Battersea Dogs Home merging with Crufts, then throw in Girls Aloud for good measure. That's how dog-rough I feel this morning. Palace ascended to fifth in the table by beating Coventry at home yesterday, an opportunistic goal from Clinton Morrison negating all the referee's attempts to turn the game in the visitors' favour, and with almost all my most despised teams (Scumwall, Shiteon, Charlton Pathetic, Birmingham Shitty, the vile R*y K***e's Scumderland) failing to win points, the evening's celebrations spiralled into a bit of a cider and wine-fuelled bender. I know that I went to see Juicy Lucy at the Borderline but apart from the somewhat disappointing attendance have very little recollection of the actual show (a shame, as their 'Do That And You'll Lose It' album is tasty) - somehow managing to board the wrong train on the way home. Makes mental note: I will attempt to act my age and not my shoe size in future.
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Saturday 23rd September
Based on what I'd read beforehand, my expectations of night's Brixton Academy gig from The Cult were almost nil. I've never been what you'd call an especially big fan, the best show I ever saw them play coming as openers for Metallica at New York's Nassau Coliseum in July 1989. Back then Messrs Astbury and Duffy were zooming towards Platinum status with a newly-released fourth album, 'Sonic Temple'. The last Cult disc, 'Beyond Good & Evil', dates back to 2001 so one can only speculate why they're back now. At one point Astbury launched into a rant about the evils of nostalgia, but if that's not what this tour's about where are their new songs? What self-obsessed bilge.
Before the show Astbury had been slammed as "an overweight joke", the band lambasted for an overall lack of commitment and a (gasp!) 75-minute set. In London they stretched things out for another 10 minutes and the tunes they played - 'Lil' Devil', 'Sweet Soul Sister' (with Astbury barking out the chorus annoyingly), 'Electric Ocean', 'The Witch', 'Spirit Walker', 'Revolution', 'Rain', 'Wonderland', an unplugged 'Edie (Ciao Baby)', 'Fire Woman', 'Peace Dog', 'Rise' (the night's sole song from this millennium... what was that about nostalgia again?), 'Wild Flower', 'Love Removal Machine', 'Phoenix' and 'She Sells Sanctuary' - weren't bad at all. But with no support band, and a show billed as 'An evening with The Cult', the brevity of their time onstage hardly reflected value for money. If Ian and Billy honestly claim to call 85 minutes 'an evening', the pair's respective missuses must be frustrated by their definition of three and a half minutes. Put it this way: if I'd shelled out 25 hard-earned smackeroonies to see last night's show, and waited two and a half hours for it to commence, I'd have left Brixton furious.
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Friday 22nd September
Caught a great gig from Joe Bonamassa at the Borderline last night. This fella from upstate New York is like greased lighting on the frets, and has oodles of personality. Although the latest album 'You And Me' is a huge step in the right direction, I wouldn't say that all of his songs are good enough to achieve mainstream attention, but the slide guitar-fuelled 'The River' was a definite highlight and an encore of the ZZ Top classic 'Just Got Paid' that segued into a powerful instrumental snippet of 'Dazed And Confused' by Led Zeppelin was a great way to send people home salivating.
I've just been over at the new Classic Rock website, where there's a highly amusing item about Joe Lynn Turner and his fear that scaly alien shapeshifters are taking over the world. Yes, the former Rainbow/Deep Purple/Yngwie singer has become a devotee of David Icke, he even believes that Princes Diana was "murdered". And the reason? "She was pregnant with an alien reptile!" You gotta read it...
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Thursday 21st September
Did a great phone interview with Paul Stanley last night. The Kiss guitarist/singer releases his second solo disc, 'Live To Win', on October 23. It's a really good album, sung with all Stanley's usual gusto, though his list of collaborators (including Bon Jovi/Britney Spears hitmaker Andreas Carlsson, John 5 of Rob Zombie/Marilyn Manson fame and the ubiquitous one-trick pony that is Desmond Child) have given the project an appealing modern rock sheen. Although it's something he insists he'd like to do, Stanley was unable to say for sure if he'll bring his solo tour to the UK, or indeed whether Kiss are likely to play here again. Although he wouldn't state it directly I got the impression that Paul is tiring of working with Gene $immons, though the quote "Do I question some of Gene's decisions? Constantly. He does things that I'm at a loss to comprehend" was a pretty big hint, as was Paul's admission that he'd only consider making another Kiss record if he could assume complete creative control ("I'm tired of too many people with too many opinions, and too many people bringing in mediocre material"). Look out for the story in an issue of Classic Rock that hits the stands on October 18.
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Wednesday 20th September
Thanks to my friend Nige Glazier for one of the funniest links I've ever seen. With its strap-line of 'You ain't a real man till you've had a 'Wall fan!', Millwall FC's Pink Lions Forum is the meeting place for knuckledraggers with a heart, and maybe a hard-on for Julian Clary. I laughed so much whilst trawling through this message board that I damned near wet myself. One thread was titled simply 'Nigel Spackman' (the name of the second-from-bottom League One club's beleaugered manager), and included the immortal phrase: "He has to go. He is totally clueless. I bet he's good in bed, though...". Well, the law of averages suggests that Spacko must be okay at something, and being shagged by other men's a pretty good place for him to start.
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Tuesday 19th September
Looks like Michael Schenker might be serious about retiring after all. The content of his website has been mysteriously removed, leaving only an upside-down MSG logo. Ulp!
Poor old Norwich City fan and site regular Matt had the ill fortune to sit behind my boy Eddie and I at Saturday's game and has left a good-natured (I think!) message at the guest book, slating "scummer" Shefki Kuqi for his magnificent winning goal and damning my eldest son as a gloryhunter ("he only sings when he's winning"). I have only one thing to say to you, Matt. Click on this link, then get orrrrfa moi land and back to your farm.
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Sunday 17th September
Well, I've been the subject of a vile wind-up. That 'Penis Wise for Palace' rumour was propogated by two individuals that should know better, hoping I'd be dumb enough to take the bait. Sadly, it worked. However, all thoughts of replacing Peter Taylor vanished into the ether (for the time being, at least) after yesterday's injury time win at Norwich. The home side had dominated the first half and should've been two or three up by the interval, but the Eagles were once again rejuvenated after the break - Taylor must give sensational team talks, or be a dead-eye with a teacup - and after having a goal disallowed the three points were snatched in the game's dying embers, Shefki Kuqi heading home powerfully from a pinpoint Mark Kennedy corner (how long has it been since Palace had anyone to do that?). Kuqi used to play for Norwich's arch rivals Ipswich, a fact that no doubt fuelled a spectacular celebration that took place right in front of us. "Us?" Yes... I took along my eldest son Eddie for his first CPFC awayday fixture, so it was great that the train home was full of Palace fans singing, "Kuqi in the 90th". Enjoy it while you can, Ed. Those moments don't come along too often.
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Saturday 16th September
Palace boss Peter Taylor insists there's "no crisis" at the club, despite slipping from top to 12th in the table after a win-less run of five league and cup games. And yet I'm hearing disturbing rumours about chairman Simon Jordan having approached Penis Wise - sorry, you probably know him as ex-Chelsea/Scumwall dwarf-like tosspot Dennis - to take over should the slump continue. This is most likely utter fabrication, but should it happen I'd seriously have to consider terminating my support of the club. I'm off to see us play in Norwich in a while... let's bring home those three points, lads.
Oh yeah, it's interesting to note that Magnum are to call their forthcoming studio disc 'Princess Alice & The Broken Arrow'. Seems that odd titles are de rigeur again, given that Thunder have gone for the somewhat unlikely 'Robert Johnson's Tombstone' with their own upcoming newie. As my pal Jerry Ewing constantly reminds me, though, the one to beat is Dave Greenslade's tongue-twisting 'The Pentateuch Of The Cosmogony'... er, you wot?!
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Friday 15th September
Logged on to find an email from Z Records boss Mark Alger insisting this weekend's Z Rock gig will definitely be proceeding, despite growing rumour to the contrary. Surfing on over to my regular early morning port of call, the ever-entertaining noticeboard at melodicrock.com, the same message was posted, explaining that headliners Firehouse (whose own website insists they've pulled the gig) have "already had their fee paid in full", also that flights were booked and hotels settled up for in advance. The real problem? "A drum pedal, which is now resolved." This statement - one of the most tragic excuses since the Crüe cancelled a UK tour when the venues had "snow on the roof" - caused me to spit out my tea, and literally howl with laughter. Mr Alger, on top of shelling out for this now legendary rhythm accessory, you also owe me a new PC monitor. Will let you know whether Firehouse actually materialise for Z Rock - or indeed if it even takes place.
One show that happened for sure was last night's London appearance from Anathema. This fine yet disgracefully unsung Liverpudlian outfit are becoming harder to categorise by the album, and for 100 minutes they had the Scala eating from their collective hand, silently appreciating subdued moments like 'A Natural Disaster', 'Lost Control' and 'Judgement', and baying like wolves for the harder-edged 'Hope' and 'A Simple Mistake' - the latter dedicated to my pal Malcolm Dome. The brand new track 'Everything' was pretty splendid, too. Although they experienced sound problems at the start (a regular occurence at the Scala), Swedish prog-metallers Wolverine's opening set also turned out to be rather good.
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Wednesday 13th September
I'm in an utterly foul mood. Not only did Palace lay down lamely and allow themselves to be steamrollered 2-0 by Southampton last night, they also gave arguably the worst display I've seen at Selhurst in yonks. The Saints are an okay side, but the Eagles were never in the game. New signings Matt Lawrence and Stuart Green - the former an ex-Scumwall carthorse who looks way out of his depth outside of pub football, the latter... (ulp!)... manager Peter Taylor's son-in-law! - don't seem to be the answer to the club's ingnominious slide down the division - we're now in 12th place. And as for Shefki Kuqi, well the words 'panic' and 'buy' spring to mind. What made it more galling still was that I chose to attend this farcical game above two choice gigs - Buckcherry at the Underworld, or the even more appealing combination of Enslaved, Zyklon and 1349 at the Mean Fiddler.
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Monday 11th September
Palace dropped down to fifth after a rather upsetting 2-1 defeat at Luton on Saturday, then another place following Wolves beating Leeds in yesterday's televised game. Of course, it all pales into insignificance after what happened in New York five years ago. I'll never forget where I was when the Twin Towers began blazing on TV; trying to get through a previously arranged phone interview with Rory Gallagher's brother, Donal. In the end, neither of us could concentrate and ended up re-scheduling for another day. Even watching the plethora of documentaries on the subject that filled our screens this past week, many of which used re-cycled footage seen countless times before, those feelings of revulsion and horror simply refuse to fade.
And how about this? Edward Van Halen phoned into the Howard Stern Show over the weekend, telling the US shock jock that not only is he now up for a VH reunion with David Lee Roth, but that instrumentally speaking the band has now become himself, brother Alex on drums and son Wolfgang (presumably on bass). Michael Anthony, who EVH sarcastically refered to by his real name of Michael Sobolewski, can apparently "do whatever he wants" in future... Ouch! From being one of the finest groups on the face of the planet, what a sorry mess Van Halen has descended into.
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Thursday 7th September
Here's a public health warning: No matter how cold and refreshing it might look, never drink Frosty Jack extra-strong cider. I use that last word with extreme caution, as there can't have been a solitary apple in the three litres of chemically contrived piss that I found myself supping while last night's awful England game meandered towards its painful conclusion. The 'new-look' (i.e. Beckham-less) international side ended up scraping past Macedonia with a disputed goal that must've crept over the line by a hair's breath. Painful, frustrating stuff - especially as the bloody Krauts were busy banging 13 (count 'em!) past hapless San Marino at the same time. For me, the so-called McLaren revolution disappeared up its own sphincter during those cider-soaked 90 minutes of torture.
But there's also some uplifting news. The reunited It Bites have announced their initial batch of tour dates, with shows in Workington, Rotherham, Glasgae, Brum and Manchester. You won't find me anywhere but London's Islington Academy on December 7.
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Wednesday 6th September
It'd been almost three weeks since my last gig, so I was greatly anticipating seeing the Bottle Rockets at the Borderline last night. Despite some false info causing me to miss the show's commencement, the quartet from St Louis (Missouri) are a seriously underrated live band. Their sound is an incisive combination of blues, Southern rock, soul and country, with lashings of Wishbone Ash-style twin harmony lead guitar thrown in for good measure. Much of the set was lifted from current album 'Zoysia' (their sixth full-length offering). Among the highlights was 'Blind'; its scathing attack upon American Idol now directed at good-looking stars like Gwen Stefani who, to quote the lyrics, "ain't got much talent and can barely sing". I can't recommend the Bottle Rockets highly enough and promise to be there in time for the start next time.
Before that, during the afternmoon, I had a lot of fun transcribing my Kip Winger interview. The reunited Winger are coming in to play the Firefest at the end of next month, and a funny moment ensued on the tape whilst the two of us attempted to work out when Winger had last appeared on a UK stage. We agreed that the band didn't come here for their last album 'Pull', which was released an incredible 13 years ago. "You know what, Dave?" announced Kip sagely, after a moment or two of silent mathematical contemplation. "We're both getting really, really old." Oi! Speak for yourself, matey.
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Tuesday 5th September
Freddie Mercury would've been 60 years old today, and thus as a pensioner eligible to travel for free on London Transport. Hard to imagine, eh? RIP, Freddie. I'll be spinning a few of your old discs today.
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Monday 4th September
The living soap opera that is Michael Schenker once again excels himself. Last week Michael announced that MSG's US tour was cancelled due to (and I'm quoting the statement directly) "serious familiar problems of MSG singer Jari Tiura". Over the past weekend the band's UK booking agent emailed me with the news that the band's British shows were also being pulled. Now via Michael's all-too-intimate website we learn that the fracas with Tiura has become the straw to break the camel's back, apparently forcing Herr Schenker to "quit playing" for good. "I'm tired of changing musicians and singers," writes Michael in a response to an email from his latest ex-employee. "MSG is finished and I am not inspired [to play music] anymore". As we all know, Schenker is a Jedi Master when it comes to crying wolf, and I'm pretty sure that's what he's doing again here. Let's hope so anyway...
A big thanks to my former tape-trading buddy Tony Crowley from Norfolk, who has very generously burned me a three-CD set of demos, outtakes, alternate versions and different mixes of songs by glam-metal icons The Sweet. The collection includes some darned fascinating stuff and hearing it brought back several truly great memories.
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Sunday 3rd September
Apologies for the site being temporarily offline. We've had so many hits of late that webmistress Batttttty had to add a few extra gigabytes to the data-transfer levels. Thanks to everyone that's stopped by - I'll keep on writing this rubbish for as long as people continue to read it.
I won't waste time praising the new-look England's five-goal victory over Anodorra in the Euro 2008 qualifiers. The part-time opposition was so appalling they made Broken & Homo Albion look like Brazil on steroids; the total should really have reached double figures. But points on the board are still points, I suppose. With Mrs L and the Linglets away, I sat back, poured a few cold ones and got carried away by some real football - a long-overdue encounter with Crystal Palace's splendid centenary DVD. CPFC have experienced more ups 'n' downs than even Paris Hilton's knickers during their now 101-year existence... that's why there's never a dull moment supporting them. This fine two-disc set is worth every penny of its £30 pricetag, tracing the club's history from an outfit that began by wearing Aston Villa's cast-off strip to its current status as a colossus in the world game (cough!). I wiped away a nostalgic tear or two whilst reliving a 5-0 trouncing of Man United during the club's first run in the top flight, stealing the Second Division championship from under Br***ton's noses in front of 51,000 fans in 1979 (witnessed as a schoolkid - one of the greatest nights of my life), the Malcolm Allison-inspired FA Cup giant-killings of Leeds, Chelsea and Sunderland, the Wright and Bright years (including the FA Cup semi-final and final in 1990), Dougie Freedman saving the club from relegation to Division Two with a last-minute wonder-goal at Stockport and the Dowie-era promotion run to the Premier League. Awesome, awesome stuff. Palace till I die, and no mistake.
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Saturday 2nd September
Holding the fort here in drizzly and windswept Catford while the rest of Clan Ling takes a few days away. A sleeve essay for a Yes boxed set (you might call it a Yessay?) must be completed by Monday. So that second bottle of wine at the Crobar last night was probably a big mistake. Got a mouth like one of Osama bin Laden's flipflops, but I don't deserve sympathy.