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)

Back to the Diary Archives

Friday 30th September
These days I seem to spend quite a lot of time at the Beaverwood in Chislehurst; indeed I shall be going back there again to see Stan Webb’s Chicken Shack (October 20), the Hawklords (Oct 27) and Blackfoot (November 8).
Last night at the Beaverwood, Virgil & The Accelerators played a great gig to launch their debut album, ‘The Radium’. Virgil McMahon is a frighteningly young but quite wonderful blues-rock guitarist and a name to watch out for. Beaverwood promoter Pete Feenstra has taken to referring to ‘The Radium’ as “The best blues-rock debut I’ve heard from a young band in many, many years”, and it’s tough to find fault in that statement. Virgil’s music offers echoes of Bonamassa, Clapton and SRV, with some hard rocking ZZ Top-esque licks thrown in for good measure. When joined by the evening’s support act, Mitch Laddie, for a couple of tunes that included an incendiary taken on Freddie King’s ‘Going Down’, the sparks flew so high that they were probably visible in John O’Groats. However, there was one teensy-weensy problem: Virgil’s manager promised to buy me as much beer as I could drink for a rave review of ‘The Radium’ that appeared in the last issue of Classic Rock. Sadly, I ended up returning home in a sober(-ish) state. This was thoroughly unacceptable, and I shall be charging interest at the next Accelerators gig I attend. Until then, here’s the set-list: ‘Working Man’, ‘Bad Girl’, ‘Backstabber’, ‘88’, ‘Racing With Life’, ‘Scuttle Buttin’’, ‘What Am I To Do’, ‘Somehow, Somewhere, Someday’, ‘Don’t Shake My Hand’, ‘So Excited’ (with Mitch Laddie) and ‘Going Down’ (ditto), with an encore of the record’s final offering, ‘Silver Giver’, a slow and beautiful piece which McMahon introduced as “a song I wrote to say thanks to all the guitar players that inspired me to pick up the instrument; people like Jimi Hendrix, Steve Ray and Philip Sayce, but most of all my father.”
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Thursday 29th September
The past few days were spent thumbing through many towering piles of Metal Hammer magazine. This year marks the title’s 25th anniversary, and as the last remaining member of the original launch team, also one of the few people in the country to own just about every copy that’s been published, responsibility for penning a huge retrospective story fell to yours truly. Looking back at some of the earliest issues and scanning the covers made me feel very nostalgic: the magazine has come so far, I’m happy to say.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Wednesday 28th September
The result of Crystal Palace’s most important game in five years: Seaweed 1, Eagles 3. Bragging rights have been well and truly claimed... get in there! I spent the afternoon with Mark Cousins and Kev Denman in an almost deserted public house down in The Lanes, consuming copious amounts of Hoegarden and enjoying a nice Thai curry. We then negotiated a very heavy police presence and laughable public transport links to The Scum’s rather pathetic new home. Give me a **real** football ground any day of the week. Having taken the lead early on Shiteon looked set for a first victory over their fierce rivals on home soil since 1988, but Palace fought back into the game and deserved an equaliser ten minutes from time. Two more quick goals sent the plastic fans scurrying for the exit, inciting complete and utter decibel-enhanced delirium for the travelling fans. God, my throat is sore this morning… but I’m Glad All Over.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Tuesday 27th September
I was among a regrettably threadbare though enthusiastic crowd of just 50 or 60 people that witnessed last night’s gig by Keel. The US band hadn’t performed in Britain since a trek with Dio on the latter’s ‘Sacred Heart’ tour back in May 1986 (I caught the pair’s gig at the NIC in Birmingham). Kudos to vocalist Ron Keel, guitarist Marc Ferrari and the band (featuring the brilliantly named new bassist Geno Arce as replacement for Kenny Chaisson) who pulled out all the stops to please those that had bothered to turn up. The four tracks aired from their comeback disc ‘Streets Of Rock ‘N’ Roll’ sounded superb, as did a fan-pleasing array of catalogue gems, including a promised revision of ‘Cold Day In Hell’, a song by Steeler, Ron Keel’s previous group with Yngwie Malmsteen. Ron still has a great voice and is charismatic enough to win over just about any rock crowd, but is it likely they’ll return after such a feeble turnout? Despite his promise to the contrary, I kinda doubt it. So this might just be a historic set-list: ‘Hell Or High Water’, ‘Somebody’s Waiting’, ‘Electric Love’, ‘Speed Demon’, ‘Push And Pull’, ‘Does Anybody Believe’, ‘Streets Of Rock ‘N’ Roll’, ‘Wrong Thing To The Right Girl’, ‘Let's Spend The Night Together’, ‘Because The Night’, ‘Here Today Gone Tomorrow’, ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Outlaw’, ‘Cold Day In Hell’, ‘Looking For A Good Time’, ‘Tears Of Fire’ and ‘The Right To Rock’, with an encore of ‘United Nations’ and ‘You’re The Victim (I’m The Crime)’.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Monday 26th September
[**Sighs deeply**]: Yet more sporting disappointment. My friend Neil Pudney had won a pair of tickets for England’s second T20 game against the Windies, and I accepted a kind offer to accompany him to the Oval. Having bowled out the tourists for a paltry score of 113, England then proceeded to collapse for a feeble 88 runs. After becoming the world’s best one-day side and the massacres of Australia, India and Sri Lanka, one can only agree with skipper Graeme Swann’s description of the game as “a horror show”. In fact, that doesn’t do it justice…
My only consolation: The postman has delivered a finished copy of the expanded edition of Leslie West’s newie, ‘Unusual Subjects’, a release for which I was honoured to have written the sleeve notes. It’s a really great hard rockin’ blues record, with cameos from Slash, Billy Gibbons, Steve Lukather and Joe Bonamassa. I’ve also received Gary Moore’s ‘Live At Montreux 2010’, a CD, DVD, BluRay package that features a liner essay penned by yours truly. Nice!
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Sunday 25th September
Aaaah, the highs and lows of being a sports fan. You set the alarm clock early for England’s landslide win in the Rugger World Cup, then watch the highlights of the same country’s cricketers stuffing the Windies at T20. This is great… the footie’s up next… what can possibly go wrong? Trust Crystal Palace to go and ruin it all. And it would have to be an Eagles reject to seal the points for bottom of the table and winless Doncaster – with a 30-yard screamer; the bastard’s first goal in 18 months. To top it all we had a blatant pen turned down! FFS!!!!!!
My Saturday morning was spent at a huge record fair over at Olympia. On the way there I digested the new issue of Dave Lewis’ fine Led Zeppelin publication Tight But Loose, which among other matters turns the spotlight on ‘Stairway To Heaven’. It’s always a great read.
Returned home with, among other things, a CD bootleg of a Black Sabbath gig I attended at the Orpheum Theatre in Boston back in 1992 – nice! – also an interesting-looking collaboration between Stanley Clarke and George Duke, an anthology of an English psychedelic rock band from the 1960s called Kaleidoscope, four mint condition vinyls of the Average White Band and an official bootleg CD of Mountain from the Ritz Theatre in NY in 1985 that features former Uriah Heep man Mark Clarke on bass. They’ll keep me busy for a while.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Saturday 24th September
I’m rather partial to a bit of thrash metal, so there was only one place I’d have spent last nite – at the Garage for a four-band bill headlined by my old mates Onslaught, an event compered by none other than former Acid Reign frontman H, who now earns a living as a stand-up comedian.
I was pleasantly surprised by Fallen Fate, a quartet from the North East with a fulsome, crisp sound and some very advanced levels of professionalism, notably guitarist Piers Donno-Fuller. The destiny of the genre is in good hands with young dudes like these.
If Fallen Fate were a swish, shiny Ikea flatpack then Nightlord were an oak sideboard – perhaps requiring a coat of varnish and a few handy reinforcement pins, yet an altogether more stately piece of furniture. Less reliant on out ‘n’ out pace than the whippersnappers that preceded them, notably during ‘Cult Of The Moon’ which began slowly and grew ever more gnarled, the long-absent Londoners were obviously enjoying being back after an absence of 17 years. With another gig in London on November 19, it looks like they’ll be hanging around awhile… which is pretty good news, I guess.
To be honest, Ireland’s Gama Bomb bored me shitless, racing out of the traps as a living, breathing, lager-spilling clusterbomb of appalling jokes, metallic clichés and hand-me-down Anthrax riffs. Dull, dull, dull…
So thank fuck for Onslaught, whose dazzling romp through a shamefully underrated catalogue rescued the night. The ‘All Dwarf Rhythm Section’ (Steve Grice and Jim Hinder having been somewhat vertically challenged) is now a thing of the past – Lilliputians are conspicuous by their absence in Onslaught, whose front row looks like a rugby pack! – but by f**k did the Bristolians deliver. I was never much of a fan of Sy Keeler during the band’s first incarnation, but he’s grown into the role of a great frontman. The 85-minute set touched upon all stages of the group’s career, even a song (‘Shellshock’) from ‘In Search Of Sanity’, the album they made with Steve Grimmett on vocals. Material from the reunion discs ‘Killing Peace’ and ‘Sounds Of Violence’ was the match of anything from the band’s heyday, standing its ground alongside an array of Godzilla-sized golden oldies that delved all the way back to 1985’s debut album ‘Power From Hell’ for ‘Thermonuclear Devastation’. The set-list ran as follows: ‘Killing Peace’, ‘Born For War’, ‘Let There Be Death’, ‘Sound Of Violence’, ‘Angels Of Death’, ‘Planting Seeds Of Hate’, ‘Metal Forces’, ‘Code Black’, ‘Shellshock’, ‘Flame Of The Antichrist’, ‘Demoniac’, ‘Burn’ and ‘Power From Hell’, followed by Motorhead’s ‘Bomber’ and ‘Thermonuclear Devastation’.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Friday 23rd September
You’ve no idea how happy I am that R.E.M. have split up… finally! Whiny, annoying indie-pop bitches – begone! And good riddance to you!
I celebrated R.E.M.’s demise with a few extra beers at last night’s Warrior Soul gig at the Underworld. The show was opened by Cheerleader, a Stockholm-based combo whose ‘Vegas Or Bust’ album shows plenty of potential. With guitarist Rille Lundell, also member of the headliners, firing out some superb riffs, their greasy yet eclectic rock ‘n’ roll hit the spot.
Looking like a cross between Big Jim Dandy and David St Hubbins, Kory Clarke is a fascinating and unpredictable frontman. For all his ability as an erudite, political thinker, he has a darker side. I was sure that he was ‘on something’, indeed a friend who had interviewed the singer earlier in the evening had brought back tales of a particularly garbled conversation. Asked about memories of being signed to Geffen Records, Clarke offered an unintelligible sequel to E**c Can***a’s infamous monologue of “When the seagulls follow the trawler, it’s because they think that sardines will be thrown into the sea” by stating: “I can always equate to this. Watching a man masturbate in a little chef on a tiled floor and releasing giant wads into the sky”. Er… eh? (Check out Noel Buckley’s story here).
Anyway, the gig was pretty lively. Warrior Soul napalmed the audience’s faces with ‘The Fourth Reich’ and ‘Fuck The Pigs’, but Clarke was becoming ever more angry over the soundman’s treatment of his vocals – “I want some delay… the same thing Axl Rose gets; he’s so much better than me, I need more of that shit” – and eventually stormed back into the dressing room after 65 minutes onstage in a remarkable, full-blown rock-star tantrum. When he returned, he was like a man possessed, and the remainder of the 95-minute show was superb, though the incident only served to reveal both sides of the singer’s twisted dual personality. Here’s the set-list: ‘The Fourth Reich’, ‘Fuck The Pigs’, ‘No No No’, ‘Rotten Soul’, ‘Song In Your Mind’, ‘Shock Um Down’, ‘Love Destruction’, ‘Blown Play’, ‘Shine Like It’, ‘The Party’, ‘Intro’, ‘Interzone’, ‘The Drug’, ‘Downtown’, ‘Hero’ and ‘Wasteland’.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Thursday 22nd September
You know what they say about the best of intentions…? After last night’s trip to Selhurst I’d resigned myself to a sober viewing of Saint Jude at the Hard Rock Café for the first of Classic Rock’s exclusive Subscriber Sessions gigs. It didn’t turn out that way. I met my friend Bruce Osborne for a pre-show sherbert or two, and it all went downhill from there. The band were playing semi-acoustically – their manager Danny Bowes told me afterwards that all of his considerable persuasive skills were in employed in getting them to agree to do so – but the more stripped-down format provided a better than usual platform than usual for the exquisite soulful vocals of Lynne Jackaman, who positively excelled on ‘Garden Of Eden’, ‘Little Queen’, ‘Angel’, ‘Southern Belles’, the video track ‘Soul On Fire’ and an encore rendition of The Small Faces/Temptations-popularised ‘(I Know) I’m Losing You’. The inclusion of two songs, ‘Layhee’ and ‘Black Rum And White Lies’, written since the release of their debut album made the night more special still. I’d seen Saint Jude on maybe a half-dozen previous occasions, but the Hard Rock Café spot was probably the best of the lot.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Wednesday 21st September
Crystal Palace’s progression into the third round of the League Cup brought an annoying headache – a clash with Mr Big’s gig at Shepherd’s Bush Empire. Having seen Eric Martin and company at the same venue two years ago, and again at this summer’s Download Festival, I decided that I simply had to be at Selhurst Park. The result was Palace 2, Boro 1. I’d rather the Eagles had won Saturday’s league game against the Teesiders but my boy Eddie was excited as hell to witness the mighty Eagles soaring into the last 16 of the competition for the first time in his life, thanks to Wilfried Zaha (man of the match, in my opinion) and an all too rare strike from the hapless Calvin Andrew (which looked more like an own goal to me). A few voddie and Diet Cokes beforehand, a great end-to-end game and we even got to see Steve 'No Relation' Way wearing a shabby ol’ cardigan that he must have borrowed from Val Doonican. Priceless stuff.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Tuesday 20th September
I couldn’t claim to be in full possession of all the facts, but the news that Mike Portnoy is suing Dream Theater is a little disappointing. Things will always get messy whenever someone leaves their job (voluntarily in Portnoy’s case) yet retains a stake in the company – I’m assuming that’s the case here? – but the lawyers are the only winners in these situations. The legalities must put an end to any lingering hopes that MP will someday return to DT. And how regrettable that the court documents, which contain the addresses of all concerned, have spilled onto the net.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Monday 19th September
Unlike many who have celebrated the fact that W.E.T. and the Steve Augeri Band have taken their place on the bill, I was disappointed by the cancellation of Warrant’s spot at the Firefest. Don’t get me wrong, it’ll be fabulous to see W.E.T. (comprising Messrs Jeff Scott Soto, Erik Martensson and Robert Säll of the bands Work Of Art, Eclipse and Talisman – hence the acronym) but as a fan of Warrant’s new album ‘Rockaholic’ I expected them to be one of the show’s highlights. It’s an even bigger shame that Warrant’s ‘people’ appear to have handled the situation in a rather shabby manner, having signed (and apparently reneged upon) an agreement to appear. How very classy. Not. Oh well, at least we’ll also get a little bit more Strangeways as a consequence.
Still on the subject of W.E.T., an email from Mario de Riso of Frontiers Records reprimands me for stating – erroneously, of course – in a review of Work Of Art’s new album that Lars Säfsund is a member of W.E.T., when of course I meant to have said Robert Säll. The only remotely feasible excuse I can offer is that there’s such a big overlap with bands such as W.E.T., W.O.A. and the involvement of their members in various outside projects such as Lionville, Toby Hitchcock’s album (which was written and produced by Erik Martensson) and the newie from Bobby Kimball and Jimi Jamison (which also includes three terrific Martensson-penned tunes, and a couple from Säll). I can only offer an apology and agree to accept the sternest of all punishments: This afternoon I shall spin Nirvana’s ‘In Utero’. In its entirety. Twice.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Sunday 18th September
Incredibly, given that I had spent just about all of the previous 24 hours with a glass poised at my lips, this morning I managed haul myself from the pit at 6am – to watch the highlights of Friday’s one-dayer between England and India, which the home side won by six wickets, followed by England’s less than convincing 41-10 victory over Georgia in the Rugby World Cup.
I’m still rather disappointed that Crystal Palace failed to take a point from yesterday’s home game against Middlesbrough, which was settled by a great strike from Marvin Emnes in the 65th minute. With the Scum (Shiteon) losing to Leicester, Boro are now top of the table and have spent heavily. Results might have slipped a little in the league, but I remain convinced that my beloved Eagles will still finish mid-table this season.
At full time I grabbed a bottle of wine for the tube journey to Camden to check out a gig by Alexa De Strange & The Sisters Of Seduction at the Labyrinth Club in the Fiddler’s Arms. I had a great time, though it had been a very long day and I’d like to see the female-fronted group (which features the excellent Robin Guy of GMT on drums) again when I’m – how can we put this? – a little more steady on my feet. Ahem.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Saturday 17th September
My Friday was spent transcribing interviews with Andy Parker, Michael Schenker and Ron Nevison, piecing together a retrospective story on UFO’s immortal double-live set ‘Strangers In The Night’. There are far, far worse ways of earning a living!
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Friday 16th September
Okay I’ll come clean: Veteran soft-rock duo Air Supply have always been a bit of a guilty pleasure of mine, so I jumped at the chance of not only seeing the band live but also conducting a pre-show interview with them. Given some of the pix of the Australia-based duo at their be-mulletted, platinum-selling peak, I expected them to be a little precious. Not a bit of it. We had a right old laugh and they provided some great quotes. In attempting to pinpoint their sound, singer Russell Hitchcock spread his hands apart and announced: “The way I look at it… you’ve got Metallica over here [at one extreme], and The Osmonds over here [at the other]. Air Supply are somewhere in the middle.” They also told a great anecdote about working with Jim Steinman which I’ll save for my story. As I prepared to leave the room, Graham Russell remarked: “Actually, Dave, you remind me a little of Jim.” Well, I wish I had his bank balance.
Killing time before the show at the Jazz Café in Camden I picked up some interesting, mint condition vinyl bargains in the Record & Tape Exchange – ‘You Had To be There’, a 1978 double-gatefold live album from Jimmy Buffett, a self-titled solo album from the Clapton/Oldfield/Bowie/Waters/Byron guitarist Tim Renwick which features a cameo from Procol Harum’s Gary Brooker. Also invested 50 whole pence on an album from Sally Oldfield (no, not the one featuring ‘Mirrors’) which may turn out to be complete and utter crud but it won’t break the bank.
I wasn’t sure what to expect of Air Supply live. Hitchcock is now 62 years old, and their catalogue relies upon quite a few high notes. Graham Russell, the writer of most of the band’s songs is only a year younger, but both have retained fine voices. Watching Hitchcock reminded me a little of Bob Catley; besides all the silly hand gestures he’s a bit of a ham, but you can tell that he adores the role of being a frontman and feels passionately about the band’s music. And why not? Air Supply are responsible for some of the most quintessential wimp-rock ever recorded. My friend Jerry Ewing, who was over on the other side of the room, later told me that when the band burst into the timeless strains of ‘All Out Of Love’ it was all too much for the fella standing next to him, who wept like a baby from the song’s start to its arm-waving, tissue-soaking climax. Truly fantastic stuff.
Here’s the set-list: ‘Even The Nights Are Better’, ‘Just As I Am’, ‘Every Woman In The World’, ‘Here I Am’, ‘Chances’, ‘Sanctuary’, ‘The Power Of Love’, ‘Everywhere’ (“A brand new song that’s only a few days old”, according to Russell), ‘The One That You Love’, ‘Lost In Love’, ‘Dance With Me’ and the Steinman-penned/produced ‘Making Love Out of Nothing At All’, plus an encore of ‘We Love You’ and ‘All Out Of Love’, which was introduced by Russell with the immortal words: “This is a very simple little song that we hope finds a place in your heart and burns as a flame until we shall meet again. If we leave you with one song, it must be this one. There can be no other…”. Hahaha, genius!
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Thursday 15th September
I’m fast developing a love for my BlackBerry. It was great to go to the Oval last Friday, sip on an ice-cold Pimms with the sound of leather on willow in the background whilst setting up a photosession with Brummie rockers Shy. However… is it just me, or do the batteries on these things have a ridiculously short life?
I was en route to the first of yesterday’s interviews – with Roy Davis, Lee Small and Joe Basketts of the aforementioned Shy – when, ‘Fzzzzzzzzzzz’, the bloody thing died on me. How fuggin’ infuriating. Following a good conversation with Shy about their rather good new album (entitled ‘Shy’, it’s released via Escape Music on October 7) I trekked to Status Quo’s management office in Middlesex to natter with Francis Rossi and Roy Wood about the QuoFest tour in December. Rossi is a long-time personal hero that can be relied upon to give great interviews but he **always** gives me shit about my hair! He and Roy were in fine form, with lots of good natured banter. Towards the end of the interview, responding to a question about whether Quo would consider playing at next year’s High Voltage festival, perhaps even making it extra special by revisiting a ‘classic’ album such as ‘Hello!’, ‘On The Level’ or ‘Blue For You’, he threw a complete curveball. This would not be the time or place in which to share it, but suffice to say that my flabber was truly gasted (in a very nice way).
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Wednesday 14th September
I was among a gaggle of British and European journos to attend a pre-release playback of the new Nightwish album at a North London facility where some of ‘Imaginaerum’ (due on December 2) was recorded. The Finnish band are big favourites here at Ling Towers, and although ‘Imaginaerum’ is not as instant as their last two albums ‘Once’ (2004) or ‘Dark Passion Play’ (’07), the artistic vision of mainman Tuomas Holopainen never disappoints. This time Holopainen has outdone himself with 13 hugely overblown individual songs that are conceptually linked – there will also be a movie with a connecting storyline. Pip Williams, the man responsible for producing the symphonic parts that represent Nightwish’s own Spector-esque wall of sound – as much a trademark of their oeuvre as the vocal trade-off between Anette Olzon and bassist Marco Hietala – introduced things with the words: “This is Tuomas’ masterpiece”. Although I had to shoot out the door during the last song (the record’s title cut), to zoom across London to Selhurst Park, it was hard to disagree. I did manage to collect a nice album-sized bag bearing the motto: ‘Nightwish, Sept 13th, 2011’ that will come in handy for those vinyl-buying excursions.
The delicious food and wine at the playback had whetted my appetite, so when I saw a nice bottle of strawberry wine in an Islington supermarket I thought: ‘Hmmm, that’ll do nicely for the train journey’. The night was complete was Crystal Palace cruised past the Premier League opposition of Wigan Pathetic (AKA CPFC Reserves, thanks to the amount of our former players that now wear their kit) to reach the Third Round of the Carling Cup. First half goals from Darren Ambrose and Academy wonderkid Jonathan Williams had deservedly put the Eagles ahead, though old boy Ben Watson kept things interesting by pulling one back at the death. A great game of football to end a fine day…
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Tuesday 13th September
So it’s official: Jeff Beck is to be honoured as a Living Legend at this year’s Classic Rock Roll Of Honour, in a ceremony hosted by Kiss bassist Gene Simmons. Now that’s an interesting combination! Roll on November 9th!
Thunder have also announced their Christmas show, which takes place at Nottingham Rock City on December 21, also a string of gigs from Danny Bowes and Ben Matthews in January – great news on both counts!
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Monday 12th September
If only there were more rock stars like Peter Frampton. In the wake of a phone interview I did at the tail end of last week, Frampton’s office re-contacted me to say that Peter wanted to speak again. This time we would call me; what time was I available? All of my requests for some clarification regarding the problem were brushed aside: “Peter would rather talk than write an email”. It sounded a tad worrying. Had I pissed him off with my line of questioning, I wondered? Anyway, last night at 6.30pm prompt the office line rang and Frampton’s inimitable mid-Atlantic tones were audible once again. Aw… how lovely… he’d remembered an additional anecdote that he thought I’d like to include in my story. What a guy!
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Sunday 11th September
Yet another visit to Smelland Road, yet another frustrating defeat. For the second successive season the Eagles were in what appeared to be a winning position with mere minutes to go, only to capitulate to home pressure. Last year was maddening enough but this time Palace had actually come from behind to take the lead, only to throw it away again… grrrrrrr. Until the 71st and 84th minutes things had been going so well. I’d had a great, smooth journey from south London to Yorkshire with my friend Neil Jeffries, an advance CD of The Union’s newie, ‘Siren’s Song’, on near-constant repeat in his car. Served in the hospitality of box of Showsec, a lunch of roast liver with gravy was mouth-wateringly succulent, and the drinks kept coming during the build-up to kick-off and beyond (thanks to Uriah Heep’s manager Martin Darvill for the generous invitation). But then Messrs Becchio and McCormack had to go and f**k up a perfect day. It was all too much; I simply couldn’t face the idea of putting on a plastic smile during in the evening so I bailed on the Martin Turner’s WA gig in Hull in favour of three bottles of wine and a barrel full of self pity on the way back to London. Football… sometimes it can be a complete load of shit.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Saturday 10th September
Though the game was interrupted by rain, which meant the Duckworth-Lewis Method of scoring took its affect upon an exciting floodlit run chase, I had a fantastic, cider-soaked time at the Oval with my pal Neil Pudney and his Rush-mad mates Neil Perriam and Paul Berry. It was fitting that Ravi Bopara, the subject of torrents of abuse from the Indian fans sat around me, would help England over the line as the home side took an unassailable 2-0 series lead. Wish I was going to Lord’s on Sunday, but I don’t think my liver or indeed my wallet could stand to do so.
This is rather cool – a fella named Andy has a new website that will post vintage clippings from the much-missed RAW magazine, a title that I help to co-found back in the summer of 1988. His first batch of revisions covers Issue #33 (Nov 29-Dec 12, 1989) and features my live review of the near-legendary Skid Row and Vain gig at the Hammy Odeon. Check it out here. Nice work, Andy!
Okay… I’m off to the Leeds-Palace game. Come on you Eagles!
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Friday 9th September
There’s nothing like an early morning run to get the blood pumping. Bob the faithful border collie has begun to gaze at me in the most quizzical manner each time I go to pick up his lead. It’s almost like he’s trying to say: “Are you actually gonna throw the Frisbee for me this time, or are we doing five laps of the park? ’Cos if it’s the latter, you can bleedin’ well count me out”.
In a short while I shall head across South London to the Oval for the third one-dayer between England and India. Nice! Tomorrow I’m off to Yorkshire to see Crystal Palace’s game against Leeds at Elland Road (followed, quite possibly, by a gig from Martin Turner’s Wishbone Ash in the somewhat unlikely locale of Hessle Town Hall, near Hull). Think that I’ve earned some time away from my desk after all of the stress I’ve endured, and also thanks to the hours of work that I’ve put in during this week. No less than eight interviews were conducted over the last four days – the most recent of which, with fabled record producer Ron Nevison (UFO, MSG, Led Zeppelin, Bad Co, Heart, etc), wound up at 10.30pm last night. Phew! It’s time to kick back a little… Should you need me, then I’m on the BlackBerry, yah, dahling? (Yes, I’ve actually worked out how to collect my emails!)
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Thursday 8th September
It’s pretty unbelievable to think that FM’s debut album ‘Indiscreet’ was released 25 years ago today, on September 8th 1986. The band are planning some pretty cool celebrations of this anniversary including, I think, some special album-themed shows. Next month also marks the quarter-century birthday of the UK’s own Metal Hammer, the first edition having been published in October of the same year, with ZZ Top on the cover. I’m proud to say that I was involved with the title’s launch. To say that it was a somewhat steep learning curve would be a significant understatement!! But my… what a momentous time in my life.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, there’s an FM feature penned by yours truly in #1 of Hammer. It includes the memorable exchange:
Dave Ling: Why does ‘Indiscreet’ include so many songs about girls?
Pete Jupp: “Because we like girls. We think they’re nice. And besides, you tend to get called an old bender if you sing about boys.”
Merv Goldsworthy: “It’s funny because all of the next album will probably be about girls too.”
“Unless Didge [Digital, keys] happens to write a couple of songs,” interjects Chris Overland. “Then they will be about boys.”

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Wednesday 7th September
I thoroughly enjoyed The Treatment’s album launch party at the Borderline, though with hindsight it was perhaps unwise to have sunk a bottle of wine before the pre-gig drinking began in earnest. Falling asleep on the final train home is never fun; neither is the lengthy and very solitary walk back to Ling Towers during the wee small hours of the morning.
The Borderline was sold out for the Cambridge band’s first ever headline show in London, with many of its excited attendees having accepted the challenge of dressing up as doctors or nurses. After seeing them onstage six times previously, I make no bones about my admiration of The Treatment. Beginning with Nikki Sixx’s favourite song of the moment, ‘Drink! Fuck! Fight!’, they always put on a great show and Matt Jones is definitely among the scene’s best up ‘n’ coming frontmen, with an amiable presence and a fantastic voice. ‘This Might Hurt’ is the band’s sole album so far, so they had issues in filling out the set-list. Though I count myself a huge fan of NWOBHM combo More, I felt it might have been a mistake to cover two of that band’s songs – ‘Road Rocket’ and ‘Way Of The World’ – even though they fit The Treatment’s remit like a rubber globe (for those that don’t know, the band’s manager/producer Laurie Mansworth, also of Airrace fame, was a guitarist with More). To my way of thinking the decision to revive the old Hurricane Party tune ‘Killer’ also sent out the wrong signals, something I may have bent Mansworth’s ears about in the bar afterwards (sorry again, Laurie!), though their encore revision of the old Dr Feelgood classic ‘She Does It Right’ was terrific. With a tour supporting Alice Cooper approaching this was a night of triumph for a band with a great future ahead. Here’s the set-list: ‘Drink! Fuck! Fight!’, ‘Shake The Mountain’, ‘Coldest Place On Earth’, ‘The Doctor’, ‘I Fear Nothing’, ‘Road Rocket’, ‘Winter Sun’, ‘Just Tell Me Why’, ‘Departed’, ‘Killer’, ‘Nothing To Lose But Our Minds’ and ‘Way Of The World’, plus a repeated version of ‘The Doctor’ and ‘She Does It Right’.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Tuesday 6th September
I’m really looking forward to this evening. One of my fave new bands, the Nikki Sixx-approved The Treatment, are set to play one of my favourite venues, The Borderline, in a booze-soaked album launch party. In keeping with the group’s name, attendees have been encouraged to dress as nurses or doctors. Dunno about that, but with several of my best mates set to turn up I’ve already taken the liberty of pre-booking an ambulance home. Will also be doing my best to take a first peek at Lauren Harris’ new band, Six Hour Sundown.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Monday 5th September
Discovering music from ‘new’ sources is such a great feeling. Until a few days ago I’d only heard the name of the B.E. Taylor Group; their records had passed me by. Then I received a package from German re-issue label Yesterrock Records. I bunged ‘Our World’ into the CD player and… Holy Moly! What a truly superb AOR release! My ears were seduced by immaculate vocals, quality musicianship and one fantastic pomp-tinged song after another (we’ll draw a veil over the album’s sole ill-advised moment, a track entitled ‘Reggae Rock ‘N’ Roll’ – ’nuff said). B.E. Taylor Group, where have you been all my life?!? I shall be buying the rest of your catalogue.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Sunday 4th September
I’m both delighted and flabbergasted. My two young sons are back in Catford again. To cut a long story short their mother arrived at the new house in Stockport, realised that she had made a huge mistake and returned them (and herself) to the family home. The boys seem relieved to be back where they belong in the bosom of their native Saaarf Lundaahnn, and I don’t blame them. A happy ending? Well… how the four of us will live here beneath the same roof remains to be seen, especially considering some of the extreme vitriolic bile that spewed between their mother and myself prior to her abandonment for pastures new - which were not quite so green as she envisaged (and also considering that during the intervening months it’s quite possible from my perspective that another person may have entered the equation), but I shall do everything in my power to make the kids as comfortable as possible. Fingers are crossed firmly that their school places can be reclaimed.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Saturday 3rd September
With my connection to Sky Sports having been terminated due to household budgetary cuts, I jumped on a bus to the Jolly Sailor pub in Norwood Junction to join my friend Mark Kentfield for a few cold bevvies and last night’s international between Bulgaria and England. The emphatic 3-0 victory leaves England within touching distance of qualification for the Euro Championships. Watch now as they win the group with ease, only to turn in the usual Keystone Cops-style display at the finals.
Look out for monthly updates at the Playlist and YouTube pages.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Thursday 1st September
Well, it took a while but I’ve just finished Michael J K Walsh’s book Runaway Dreams: The Story Of Mama’s Boys And Celtus. I was slightly irritated by a few minor errors – for instance, Walsh spells the name of Chris Tsangarides several different ways – but as somebody that used to walk from Omagh to Enniskillen (a distance of 27 miles!) following their earliest gigs, he tells the story of the three brothers with all the knowledge of an insider, without coming over as an anorak. The book begins with a selection of testimonies to the talents of the McManus trio, with contributions from celeb ‘fans’ Ricky Medlocke, Andy Powell, Warren DeMartini, Chris Tsangerides (sic), Biff Byford, ‘Fast’ Eddie Clarke, Barry Devlin of Horslips and more… including yours truly (!). One thing’s for sure: It’s the first and last time that I will ever see my name adjoined to those of Barry McGuigan and Angela Rippon!! Up next in the reading department is Bad Reputation: The Unauthorized Biography Of Joan Jett by Dave Thompson.