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 30th September
Here’s what I got up to this morning! A face to face interview with Gene $immons at the Classic Rock office, followed by a chat with Alan G Parker about the upcoming Kiss movie. I’ve had ups & downs in the past with Gene but he was in a surprisingly conciliatory mood; he even invited me to check whether his hair was real! (And thus it seemed - incredibly).
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Sunday 29th September
Palace’s Premier League disappointment continues. Yesterday’s trip to St Mary’s was always going to be difficult but I managed to find a live weblink and, full of trepidation, sat down to watch the game (under normal circumstances it’s a trip I’d have made but – surprise, surprise – demand for tix from so-called gloryhunters now makes such opportunities rather more difficult). The Eagles turned in a disciplined first-half performance and deserved to go in level at half time. As the second half kicked off I turned off the volume to conduct a phone interview with UK blues star Joanne Shaw Taylor, a lady whose music I really enjoy. Then… BOSH! Two minutes later Saints took the lead and I bit my tongue… “So, how much of your show is improvised?” I asked… (KICKS DESK… PUNCHES WALL… AARRRG!) BOSH! Two minutes later a second goal for Saints sees me struggling to maintain my professionalism… FOR FUCK’S SAKE, PALACE! “How much do you know about your support act, King King; presumably you have played with them before…?” Luckily, I don’t think she noticed! Haha.
Talking of Palace, Eddie and I have just returned from an excellent charity game that saw a team of club legends, managed by Sir Steve Coppell and featuring Eddie McGoldrick, Kenny Sansom, Richard Shaw, Neil Shipperley and Stevie Kember, pit their skills against local pub the White Horse (including my good friend Paul Newcomb, who actually got to switch sides and play alongside his heroes – lucky git!). It finished 5-5, raising a couple of grand for Geoff Thomas’ leukaemia charity. Great fun, and for a good cause.
My Sunday evening concluded with the final episode of Dexter, a once great series that has now quite rightly been put out of its misery. For me, it ceased to be believable when sister Deb learned of the subject’s dark secret, but Jeez… what a non-event of a conclusion.
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Saturday 28th September
Back to the Islington Academy for the 2nd time in 24 hours. Last night was the closing show of Y&T’s latest tour of the UK. There was no sign of Jeff Scott Soto, whose guest appearances at the US group’s London shows are now almost de rigeur, but once again the quartet played a set of quality and distinction.
Drinking partner Mr Beare and I managed to arrive by 6.45pm, in time for a short yet rather sweet opening slot from Night By Night, a young UK-based band who have caught the ear of Def Leppard’s Rick Savage (“Real songs with great riffs and vocal harmonies”) – apt, as they sound quite a lot like the Leps circa the ‘High & Dry’ album. I hadn’t seen them with their new singer, but they put on a very creditable display.
Mr Beare and I both agreed that Dave Meniketti had sounded a little throaty for the first couple of numbers of the headline act’s set, but he sang himself over the obstacle as Y&T rolled out another unstoppable display. Containing three very decent songs from current disc ‘Facemelter’ (‘How Long’, ‘I Want Your Money’ and ‘I’m Coming Home’), at two hours and five minutes the set was perhaps a little shorter than usual but that was probably down to curfew issues. Boasting a brilliant, emotive solo from Meniketti, ‘I Believe In You’ was the night’s real showstopper, and it was cool to see the Night By Night gang joining in with a little tomfoolery during the encore. The set-list ran as follows: ‘Mean Streak’, ‘Hard Times’, ‘Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark’, ‘Don’t Stop Running’, ‘Black Tiger’, ‘Dirty Girl’, ‘Midnight In Tokyo’, ‘How Long’, ‘Lipstick And Leather’, ‘Hurricane’, ‘Winds Of Change’, ‘Contagious’, ‘I Want Your Money’, ‘Rescue Me’, Meniketti’s Slow Blues number, ‘Squeeze’, ‘Summertime Girls’, ‘I Believe In You’ and ‘I’m Coming Home’, followed by ‘Barroom Boogie’ and ‘Forever’.
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Friday 27th September
Someone call a glazier… last night Uli Jon Roth blew the doors off the Islington Academy!! The former Scorpions/Electric Sun guitarist was in truly incredible form as part of a co-headline tour with Diamond Head. Nathan James, who is probably best known for an unsuccessful attempt at winning the reality TV show The Voice, and ex-Persian Risk vocalist Carl Sentance took turns to accompany Uli for an 80-minute set of tracks culled from the first five Scorps albums (okay, I know that ‘All Night Long’ didn’t appear on a studio record, but let’s not quibble). “40 years ago I joined that band and it was an important time in my life, so we’re revisiting the sins of my youth,” he grinned. To my great shame I’d only heard Nathan James sing once before, with JSS at the Underworld, but last night his flamboyant delivery was the perfect complement for Uli’s evocative playing during ‘We’ll Burn The Sky’ and ‘In Trance’. I swear that I almost wiped away a tear during the Hendrix-esque ‘Fly To The Rainbow’, which saw Uli take to the mic to deliver that classic line about “The lake made out of crystal raindrops”. You can rest assured that I will be catching a full-length set from Mr Roth during this current tour. Meanwhile, here’s the set-list: ‘All Night Long’, ‘Longing For Fire’, ‘Crying Days’, ‘The Sails Of Charon’, ‘Sun In My Hand’, ‘We’ll Burn The Sky’, ‘In Trance’, ‘Fly To The Rainbow’, ‘I’m Not Your Stepping Stone’, ‘Dark Lady’, ‘Pictured Life’ and ‘Catch Your Train’.
Fair play to Diamond Head, who managed to avoid being overshadowed by responding with one of the best gigs I’ve seen from mainstay Brian Tatler since the departure of vocalist Sean Harris almost a decade ago. The wonderfully-named frontman Nick Tart has been a staple of the DH picture since that point, and last night there were times when he sounded alarmingly like Harris – that’s a good thing, obviously. However, with between-song comments such as: “Y’all from round here, are ya? Local?” and: “I can see all of your faces when the lights come up, it scares the fuck out of me” (which was inflicted upon us TWICE!), his stage patter is bloody diabolical. Musically, however, with just three songs culled from the post-Harris years, Tatler wound up a great night by giving the audience almost exactly what they wanted to hear, viz: ‘Play It Loud’, ‘I Feel No Pain’, ‘Dead Reckoning’, ‘Come Alive’, ‘To Heaven From Hell’, ‘In The Heat Of The Night’, ‘Shoot Out The Lights’, ‘It’s Electric’, ‘Give It To Me’, ‘Sucking My Love’, ‘The Prince’ and ‘Am I Evil?’, followed by an encore of ‘Lightning To The Nations’ and ‘Helpless’ (the latter of which included a Drum Solo… yes, really).
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Thursday 26th September
My friend Paul Newcomb emailed to ask whether I was attending last night’s gig by Royal Souther Brotherhood at (…whisper its name quietly…) Under The Bridge, the venue situated beneath the stand of an insignificant little West London football club whose name I forget. Having caught last year’s gig at the Jazz Café of course I was planning to go. But, as I made quite plain, I would *not* be drinking at the show. So how on earth did I end up glassy-eyed at Trafalgar Square waiting for a night bus home? Well, it was the fault of RSB, who played a truly fabulous gig, and Mr Newcomb who “forgot” my sobriety pledge and thrust a pint of cider into my hands, thus triggering another libation-fuelled evening. The band, whose essence is an irresistibly distilled blend of rock, soul, blues and good ol’ Southern Rock, played and sang wonderfully. Once again their cover of the Grateful Dead’s ‘Fire On The Mountain’ was to prove the centrepiece of the show. I’ve never had any interest in the Dead before, but its sheer magnificence made me consider picking up a ‘best-of’ anthology, just to say that I gave ’em a try. Astonishingly, the main set also closed with a bluesed-up cover of ‘Working Man’ by Rush that I hope someone will have caught for YouTube. At encore time they were joined by support act Samantha Fish for a run-through of Tom Petty’s ‘Stop Dragging Mt Heart Around’ before closing with ‘One My Out’ by the Allmans (guitarist Devon is, of course, the son of ABB legend Gregg) and, finally, a version of ‘Gimme Shelter’ that didn’t appear on the set-list. At one point I turned around to survey the audience and was gobsmacked to see Roman Abramovic standing just a few feet away, his face etched with its usual gormless grin. That I resisted the temptation to try to lamp one of the men that I consider responsible for the beautiful game’s ruination should inform you just how much fun I was having!

Dave Ling Online

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Wednesday 25th September
I have been wading through the newly arrived ninth issue of Classic Rock Presents AOR, with Derek Oliver’s Heart retrospective piece as its cover story. As ever there’s lots and lots to read, including my interviews with Robin Beck, Graham Bonnet, Micke Larsson from ColdSpell and the elusive Robert Tepper (whose UK tour was cancelled just as the issue was put to bed – bah).
Fantastic news for my fellow prog-rock fans… King Crimson are back. I didn’t see that one coming! At all!!
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Tuesday 24th September
Someone had left a so-called ‘celeb’ mag on the bus as I came home from yesterday’s trip to the chiropractor. What a fascinatingly compulsive if downright absurd piece of literature it turned out to be. Kerry Katona – pregnant for 5th time and unwed at 33 (“I thought it was a dodgy Chinese”). Should I know who Kim Kardashian is, because Reveal failed to, er, reveal any of her distinguishing achievements except for “going blonde”. And as for the real life reader tale of a 22-year-old hairdresser who was almost cut in half after venturing onto a live railway line to retrieve a handbag worth just twenty quid, well… good grief! Um… let’s just say I reside within a bubble that can be considered somewhat ‘niche’, and long may it stay that way. Hahaha!
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Monday 23rd September
Palace 0, Swansea 2. A very disappointing result. There was no shame in losing to a Swans side that only a few days earlier had enjoyed a famous, emphatic European result, but conceding a goal in the 2nd minute was incredibly frustrating. The Eagles had seemed to be clawing their way back into proceedings until doing the exact same thing at the start of the 2nd half – game over, effectively.
As I type I’m up with dawn chorus, defying am Everest-sized hangover, to complete a track-by-track of the new Motörhead album, ‘Aftershock’, for Classic Rock’s FanPack edition. What can I say… it’s magnificent, maintaining the band’s purple patch of the last few years.
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Sunday 22nd September
How much had I been looking forward to Kip Winger’s second annual one-man gig at the Borderline…? Let’s just say *a heck of a lot*!! And what fun it turned out to be. Kip wandered out onto the stage, 12-string guitar in hand, and mused: “Who do we have here, anybody I know? Everybody I know! There's my buddy Dave [referring to yours truly in the front rows]”, before launching into a stunning 105-minute routine that merged Winger tunes, solo material and a liberal dose of stand-up comedy.
“I just turned 52 in June… what the fuck is this thing with having to piss all the time?” he mused. Remarried to an Englishwoman after his first wife died in a car crash, newly sober and having reinvented himself as a writer of classical music, Winger doesn’t take himself too seriously anymore. “I take requests,” he announced, “but the set-list is the same old shit.”
Along the way he revealed that the recording of a fifth Winger album is underway, playing the crowd a fantastic new Reb Beach riff on his mobile phone, also unveiling a segment of a track co-written by ex-Kix bassist Donnie Purnell (“Whenever I’m dry on lyrics I call up the guy that wrote all the cool Kix shit”) and phoning Beach to trade some amusing banter. Having just as much fun as the crowd, Kip proved gregarious, magnificently indiscreet and far more self deprecating than you’d expect. “What people don’t know is that ‘Miles Away’ and ‘Without The Night’ are the same fucking song”, he grinned and proceeded to play choruses of both, inviting a member of the crowd called Belinda to duet with him on ‘Miles Away’. “Winger just did a 25th anniversary thing [in America] – we should come back and do that show here [at the Borderline], right?” he teased, “let me give you all the number of my agent.” Don’t hold your breath on that one, but now into its second year Winger (the man) hopes to make this an annual shindig, so don’t miss the 2014 event. Meanwhile, here’s the set-list: ‘Cross’, ‘Easy Come Easy Go’, ‘Who’s The One’, ‘Steam’, ‘Blind Revolution Mad’, ‘Free’, ‘Headed For A Heartbreak’, ‘Rainbow In The Rose’, ‘Miles Away’, ‘Can’t Get Enuff’, ‘Deal With The Devil’, ‘Blue Suede Shoes’, ‘Spell I’m Under’, ‘Under One Condition’, ‘Without The Night’, ‘Down Incognito’, ‘Madeleine’ and ‘Seventeen’ (now sensibly amended to ‘She’s Only 43’!)
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Saturday 21st September
Had to bail on last night’s plans for ‘curry evening’ in the West End with the confirmation of two important transatlantic phone interviews. I was taken aback by the modesty of Robbie LaBlanc from the US-Swedish band Find Me, who appeared genuinely gobsmacked that anyone would express an interest in his music, despite the rapturous reviews for the act’s Frontiers Records debut, ‘Wings Of Love’. And it was also hilarious to chat with Coney Hatch’s Andy Curran… he of Kerrang!’s infamous ‘Wanger Of The Week’ fame.
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Friday 20th September
I’ve been having a bit of a Small Faces morning after receiving a very attractive pic disc of ‘Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake’ in the mail (thanks to the wonderful Rob Caiger). Followed it with the 2CD deluxe edition of the same band’s debut… complete 17 bonus tracks! Nice.
The same postal haul also offered the new issue of Prog magazine’s October issue, with Camel on the cover and my own three-page Dream Theatre article which includes the following quote from singer James LaBrie: “Dream Theater has become a much more free-thinking, positive-spirited, camaraderie-based band than it’s ever been.” Ouch!
Elsewhere it’s been a case of editing Classic Rock news stories and preparing questions for two phone interviews. Am looking forward to asking Andy Curran from Coney Hatch about his near-legendary “trouser-snake”, which won the bassist a Wanger Of The Week award in Kerrang! back in the 1980s. The Canadian band’s comeback album, ‘Four’, has been on repeat all afternoon… it’s great.
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Thursday 19th September
Listened to – and enjoyed – Stryper’s new album, ‘No More Hell To Pay’, before last night’s interview with vocalist Michael Sweet, who turned out to be a nice fella. You’ve gotta love that the legendary Christian rockers have covered the Doobies’-popularised ‘Jesus Is Just Alright’ on said disc… Haha!
I was feeling a wee bit down in the dumps so I have just gone online and booked a hotel for the Dan Reed Network’s first live show in the UK for over 20 years at the Enchanted Festival in, of all places, Chelmsford! I figured that having come perilously close to going to Portland, Oregon, for last NYE’s reunion, then a road trip to the wilds of Essex has gotta be done!!! Roll on October 12!
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Wednesday 18th September
Another night, another record release party… Jeez, I’m turning into Mark ‘I Had A Night In With The Missus Back In 1995’ Taylor. Or perhaps not! I fancied taking a quick look at The Graveltones, a duo nominated as ‘Best New Band of 2013’ at the upcoming Classic Rock Awards, and who will shortly be opening on some gigs with The Temperance Movement.
Here’s a tip on how not to start a gig, lads. Coming onstage and spending nine mins thanking everyone but the bar staff (including your tatt artist and your cousin’s milkman) really isn’t very advisable. No, not at all. Neither is going straight back again to the dressing room to return six minutes later… it does kinda deflate the atmosphere a little.
The music, on the other hand, was rather agreeable. With a drummer that looks a little like a younger Brian Blessed and a furry-faced vocalist/guitarist whose heavily synthesized axe effects covered for a lack of bass, their sound is a primal howl of blues-laden, fuzz-toned hard rock, though the underlying feel is decidedly garage-like in its approach. I really enjoyed a couple of their songs (two tracks in, one that might’ve been called ‘I Don’t Care About The Trouble’ had a groovy, thunderous, almost Zeppelin-ish vibe; likewise another more superior offering could’ve had ‘I Got The Blues’ in its title) but hearing them all for the first time induced a slight air of sameyness. The occasional addition of female co-vocalist and keyboard player served to spice things up, and I crept out a little before the show’s end… but I shall certainly keep an ear open for their full-length record, ‘Don’t Wait Down’.
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Tuesday 17th September
Congratulations to The Temperance Movement (see Diary, Friday 13th), whose self-titled debut has entered the UK’s national album chart at Number Eight, a place above the newie from Placebo! A great achievement. [Edit: This was a mid-week position, the album actually debuted at No. 12… still a feat to be proud of!]

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Monday 16th September
Sunday was pretty much a write-off, though I did manage to complete my latest melodic rock column for the next issue of Classic Rock. I really enjoyed the second album from Sweden’s Impera, ‘Pieces Of Eden’, which includes a widdlesome remake of ‘Goodbye’, from Paul Stanley’s flawless 1978 solo album. I was also delighted to stumble upon the fact that John Fannon, once of the criminally underrated pomp-rockers New England, whose sublime self-titled debut from 1979 was actually produced by Starchild Stanley, has a new solo record entitled ‘Saved All The Pieces’. One quick email to Mr Fannon via his website and the album was in my ‘in’ box – the internet can sometimes be a wonderful thing, right? Though the newie is far more based in singer/songwriter territory it still made me want to go away and watch this classic New England song, later covered by Bronz, on a permanent loop-tape.
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Sunday 15th September
*Ouch, my head*. My friend Kev Denman journeyed to Ling Towers for yesterday’s televised clash between ManUre and Palace. Bacon sarnies and a shedful of beer and wine paved the way for a game that – once again – turned on a dubious penalty shout. If anything, the decision to award the home side with a spot kick in the 44th minute was even more disappointing than the one that decided the opening season’s home game against Spurs. Ashley Young was clearly outside the box when he threw himself to the ground after an admittedly desperate challenge from Palace defender KG. Though the lino couldn’t shed any light on the claim’s validity, the ref – some dim-witted ponce called Jon Moss, who really should go back to Culture Club – awarded it anyway. More calamitous still, Moss deemed that KG was the last man between Young and the goal (obviously too blind to have noticed Danny Gabbidon between the collision and Julian Speroni), and reduced the Eagles to ten men. My mobile began chattering with texts from supporters of Palace and other clubs: “Never a pen”… “Disgraceful decision!”… “F**king cheats!”… “1-0 to the referee!”… sentiments that the studio pundits seemed to agree with.

Dave Ling Online

OK, I’m not saying Palace would have won the game, nor even managed to keep their net intact for another 45 minutes, but we were defending resolutely, and to have reached the interval goalless would’ve been a priceless moral boost. Thanks to the oafish officiating the eventual result – 2-0 to ManUre – became a foregone conclusion.
The sense of injustice only served to increase our thirst. As the afternoon wound on, and we watched England’s cricketers actually win a one-day international, Kev finished off a crate of Stella Artois bottles and I sank two and a half bottles of wine, with cider chasers – before venturing out for yet more beer and a pricey but bloody fantastic Indian meal at the Babur restaurant in Brockley Rise. How we ordered I’ve no clue; I must’ve been talking Martian by that point…
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Saturday 14th September
No doubt about it, 2013 has already been quite a year. Status Quo’s ‘Frantic Four’ line-up reunited (so much for Francis Rossi’s classic quote: “That’d be like trying to get your dick up your own arse – impossible”), my beloved Crystal Palace defied the odds to return to the Premier League and last night I saw Sweet play their classic ‘Desolation Boulevard’ album track ‘Turn It Down’ for the very first time. As Mick Box would say: “Appy daze!”
Given the glamour of Sweet in their Top Of The Pops heyday, the location for such an unexpected delight – the Merton Manor, a working men’s club on the outskirts of south London – couldn’t have been any more unlikely. But this was no ordinary gig, more of a fundraiser for Ingrid Paasch, a popular rock fan struck down by an aneurism, whose specialist treatment is not available on the NHS. Paasch is long-time friend and fan of Paddy Goes To Holyhead, whose frontman Danny Hynes organised and closed the show (its opening act was Weapon UK). In a further nice touch, Danny Bowes and Luke Morley from Thunder played a couple of numbers, ‘Brown Sugar’ and ‘Addicted To Love’. Reuben Archer also joined in with the perennial ‘Doctor Doctor’ as I made a return journey across a rain-swept South London. Thanks for the lift back to Catford, Jeff and Phillipa!
But for me, the night was all about Sweet. Save for two of their cheesiest bubblegum hits, ‘Wigwam Bam’ and ‘Little Willy’ (check out this clip, filmed by my friend Sally Newhouse), guitarist Andy Scott elected to focus on the band’s tougher, hard rocking alter-ego with turbo-charged renditions of the band’s biggest hits from the 1970s. There were no complaints from me. Scott has surrounded himself with an impressive line-up that can both rock like dervishes and cover the group’s trademark harmonies (keyboardist Tony O’Hora’s higher-pitched contribution was wonderful). My friend Mark Taylor stood a few yards away headbanging like a loon, and who could blame him?
There were also a couple of selections from last year’s hugely underrated covers set ‘New York Connection’. Russ Ballard’s ‘New York Groove’ interpolated the Alicia Keys section of Jay Z’s ‘Empire State Of Mind’, while a metalized remake of ‘You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)’ by Dead Or Alive followed a tease of Sweet’s classic anthem ‘Sweet FA’ – yes, really… and both worked magnificently. The set-list ran as follows: ‘New York Groove’ (including ‘Empire State Of Mind’), ‘Hellraiser’, ‘Turn It Down’, ‘The Sixteens’, ‘Wigwam Bam’, ‘Little Willy’, ‘Teenage Rampage’, Medley: ‘Sweet FA’/‘You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)’, ‘Love Is Like Oxygen’ (including ‘Fanfare For The Common Man’), ‘Blockbuster’, ‘Fox On The Run’, ‘Action’, Bruce Bisland’s Drum Solo and, inevitably, ‘The Ballroom Blitz’.
Get well soon, Ingrid. Here’s hoping that the funds raised by this most excellent of nights will speed your recuperation.
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Friday 13th September
You know it's gonna be a lo-o-o-o-ng Friday when you switch on Paul Anthony’s Planet Rock breakfast show to be greeted by Quo’s ‘In The Army Now’ as a soundtrack to the making of the kids’ sandwiches. And you know you are still royally f**ked up on champagne from the night before when you find yourself singing along… Oh, the shame. Shoot me now.
How did I end up in such a pathetic state? Blame it on The Temperance Movement, who threw a launch party for their excellent self-titled debut, which in keeping with their retro spirit is available on CD, double gatefold white vinyl and… er… cassette! What can I saw except that I overindulged in the champers and failed abysmally to line my stomach with canapés. I’ve been a big fan of these guys since seeing them opening for Little Angels and Skin at Shepherd’s Bush Empire several months back and since then they’ve come on in leaps and bounds. The album is just as fantastic as I’d hoped and the group played an intimate set for those gathered at London’s Gibson Studios. Happy to say that it included my fave track from the record, the truly delicious ‘Smouldering’. Check it out here and buy the album – it’s wonderful.
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Thursday 12th September
Still on heavy rotation here at Cheateau Ling, the fabulous new albums from Fish (‘A Feast Of Consequences’) and Michael Monroe (‘Horns And Halos’). Listening to the former, which largely dwells upon the First World War, and I understand why Fish snorted with laughter during a phone interview that we conducted few months ago, during which I asked whether ‘Feast…’ was a little more upbeat than its predecessor, ‘13th Star’. D’oh!
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Wednesday 11th September
Blimey… England’s game with Ukraine in Kiev finished goalless and was pretty forgettable, being truthful, but the point gained cements our place in the box seat of the qualifying group. Overcome Montenegro and Poland at Wembley next month and the plane tickets to Brazil in 2014 can be booked.
I had to laugh at the fact the Robb Flynn of Machine Head has posted spoof congratulations to Avenged Sevenfold for the success of their new “covers album”. The record concerned topped the charts in several countries including here in the UK and the group’s homeland of the United States and is, of course, comprised of original tunes (in the loosest possible sense). One listen to ‘This Means War’, which shamelessly, blatantly rips off ‘Sad But True’ by Metallica, is enough to justify Flynn’s sarcasm. “Who knew that re-recording Metallica, Guns N’ Roses and Megadeth songs could be such a worldwide hit!!??” he quips. Brilliant.
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Tuesday 10th September
Last night was spent at the Royal George public house, just off London’s Charing Cross Road, where a launch party for ‘Oceans Of Time’, a new album by the female-fronted UK proggers Touchstone, took place. Fun and a few drinkies were had by all.
Okay, my no-holds-barred interview with Francis Rossi has been posted at the Classic Rock website. I respect Rossi’s unflinching honesty but if he's trying to scupper the next FF reunion... well, he might just have got his way. As expected, its contents have really set the cat among the pigeons over at Quo’s unofficial message board. One of my favourite postings says simply: “The trouble with Mr R is that you want to kiss him, then slap him.”
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Sunday 8th September
After a bit of a crap week (Friday night not included), I decided to stop work and take some ‘me time’, nipping over to Greenwich for a Saturday afternoon root around the bargain basement at the Record & Tape Exchange. I scooped up a couple of interesting-looking, mint condition vinyls by obscure Christian rock artists from the 1980s – one of which (‘Equator’ by Randy Stonehill) was rather good. Elsewhere the cheapo CD racks overflowed with decent stuff, most of which I already owned on vinyl yet was well worth the minimal asking price. I bought material by Nazareth, Lou Reed, The Doors, the Small Faces, Michael McDonald, Alice In Chains, James Taylor, Paul Weller, Jackson Browne, David Bowie (‘The Best of 1974-’79’… niiice!) and even the debut from the Stone Temple Toilets which I’d never even had on vinyl, my favourite of theirs being ‘Purple’. 13 albums for £13 quid… is that VFM, or what?
As a long-time fan of the often hilarious TV series I thought I’d check out the new Alan Partridge movie, which happened to be showing at a small cinema just over the road. Having bought a cold bottle of cider and some nice grub I was astonished (in a nice way) to find that, once inside the theatre, the seated area actually had its own bar! What a result! The film had some laugh aloud moments but didn’t really stand up as a bona fide cinematic statement. ’Twas a pleasant way to have killed a solo, footie-less Saturday night, though.
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Saturday 7th September
Eldest lad Eddie and I were thrilled to be invited to last night’s World Cup Qualifier between England and Moldova. The Mastermind question was... how many Tesco wine pouches would it take to get from Catford to Wembley Stadium? Two, three, four...? In the end I required four, plus a couple of Old Rosie ciders at the North Star in Finchley Road. Goals from Gerrard, Lambert and Welbeck (two) sealed an emphatic victory, and with Poland having been held 1-1 by Montenegro the Three Lions now sit atop Group H. Splendid.
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Friday 6th September
Well, the Winery Dogs get a big thumbs up from me. Having reviewed their debut album for the current issue of Metal Hammer (8/10 – “If you expect one big muso wank, think again”), last night I joined a sold-out crowd at London’s Islington Academy to determine whether they could recreate the same magic onstage. What a great gig! Richie Kotzen sang like a rock God and besides playing the record in its entirety, their encore of Elvin Bishop’s ‘Fooled Around And Fell In Love’ was exquisite. Pre-show I had chatted with a friend about Mike Portnoy’s uncharacteristically stripped-down approach to playing drums, joking that compared to his usual super-busy technique it felt like he was playing one-handed with the Winery Dogs. Imagine the roar of surprise and approval from the crowd when Portnoy played a section of ‘We Are One’ in that exact same way! The audacity of the man!
Inevitably, there were some solo sections. Portnoy kept his tastefully short at around a minute long, though Billy Sheehan, who battered his bass like a demon throughout, was a little more indulgent. Credit to Kotzen, who played an actual song (Poison’s ‘Stand’) when allowed a showcase of his own. The show also featured another of Kotzen’s tunes, ‘You Can’t Save Me’, before segueing into ‘Shine’, from Mr Big’s 2001 album ‘Actual Size’. For me, the only negative aspect of the night didn’t come from the band but a small section of the crowd, who instead of upping their attention levels during the show’s quieter moments (‘Damaged’, ‘You Saved Me’ and especially the soulful brilliance of ‘The Dying’) merely talked loudly through its subtleties. How incredibly disrespectful. Anyway, here’s the set-list: ‘Elevate’, ‘Criminal’, ‘We Are One’, ‘One More Time’, ‘Time Machine’, ‘Damaged’, ‘Six Feet Deeper’, Drum Solo, ‘The Other Side’, Bass Solo, ‘You Saved Me’, ‘Not Hopeless’, ‘Stand’, ‘You Can’t Save Me (Excerpt)’, ‘Shine’, ‘I’m No Angel’, ‘The Dying’ and ‘Regret’, plus ‘Fooled Around And Fell In Love’ and ‘Desire’.
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Thursday 5th September
I’ve been researching for Classic Rock’s new Motörhead fan pack edition of the ‘Aftershock’ album . Am so glad I kept all of my vintage cuttings from Sounds, NME, Record Mirror and more. Just found hand-written questionnaires from Lem, Fast Eddie and Philthy from my days on a teenage magazine. It has some great answers from Lemmy:
    SCHOOL REPORT: Eventful
    CHILDHOOD AMBITION: To burrow through an elephant
    LIVES: Eratically
    COOKS: Too many spoil the broth
    FIRST CRUSH: Champion The Wonder Horse
    FIRST KISS: Champion The Wonder Horse
    SLEEPS: Face down in a pool of vomit
    RECORDS: Rock'n'rollmoreeasylisteningassocationfootball
    FURRY FREINDS: Phil Taylor, Wile E Coyote
    GIGS: The spontenous ones are best. I like wandering into places and finding a good band. Recently: Rock Goddess at the Marquee
    LUSTS: Blondes, brunettes, redheads, Dobermans
    TURN OFFS: Men wearing suspender belts
    CONFESSIONS: I have a chemical toilet
    I WISH… I didn't have one.
Do me a favour: When I die… please don’t throw all of this into a skip!
Aaaah… Just found what I was looking for… some dog-eared old reviews of the Heavy Metal Holocaust festival at Port Vale FC in 1981 (co-starring Ozzy Osbourne, Triumph, Frank Marino & Mahogany Rush, Riot and Vardis, amplified by what has since been called “the biggest PA system ever used in Britain”). I will never forget Lemmy asking us: “Is it loud enough? 135,000 decibels and you want me to turn it up? ...Alright then!” Equally amusing: A group of elderly residents had objected to the festival taking place on noise pollution grounds till the promoter, Straight Music, offered them all a free day trip to Blackpool on the same day! Haha!
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Wednesday 4th September
Yesterday’s phone interviews included Camel guitarist Andy Latimer and Al Stewart. It was a great opportunity to engage with two artists whose music has fascinated me for many years. Thumbing through the racks as a naïve teenager I often used to see ‘Year Of The Cat’, which has a slieeve featuring Stewart in feline face make-up and would wonder whether he had something to do with Peter Criss. How ridiculous! Stewart, who is about to launch a UK tour that includes a Royal Albert Hall revival of ‘Year Of The Cat’, was a fine, jovial and talkative fellow. We laughed a lot, especially when discussing the fact that he once played guitar in what he called a “tuppeny-ha’penny band from Bournemouth” called The Sabres that featured Tony Blackburn on vocals and future Fleetwood Mac bassist Bob Brunning (“Tony was a cross between Cliff Richard and Elvis – he had a gold lamé jacket and would occasionally rip his shirt open! In the end I think he thought that I played too loud”). Suffice to say that I’m well and truly overloaded with material for my story, but it’s always better to have too much to work to work with than the reverse.
Latimer is another great raconteur. Ten years ago doctors gave him just 20 months to live but a bone marrow transplant has turned his life around to spectacular effect. In October, Camel will be revisiting their 1975 album ‘The Snow Goose’ on a European tour that includes four UK shows. Having retired from the stage a decade ago, Latimer’s enthusiasm for this second lease of artistic life is contagious. As our chat wound down he kindly offered to put me on the guest list for the London show. In return I stated how nice it was to hear him sounding so chirpy and said that I hoped that his improving health will allow more tours and interviews to come. “Wouldn’t that be nice?” he replied. “My last wish would be to go out in a few years’ time with a heart attack after a fourth encore at the Royal Albert Hall… or maybe in the dressing room, that wouldn’t be so messy. Yeah, that would be quite good, I think!”
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Tuesday 3rd September
Yesterday was the final day of the transfer window. Usually this means hiding behind the sofa, remote control in hand, trying not to listen to news of some cash-rich club seducing away one of our Academy starlets. Amazingly, though, the current timeframe saw the Eagles using their own chequebook as the list of purchases grew – Barry Bannan from Aston Villa, Reading’s Jimmy Kebe and Adrian Mariappa, the highly rated Adlene Guedioura from Nottm Florist – and even a (failed) last ditch attempt to lure the admittedly injury prone Andrew Johnson back to SE25, something a loan of Stoke’s Cameron Jerome could well cover. At one point during the televised mad dash to the finish line (“This just in from the Crystal Palace training ground!”) Sky Sports News said that Ollie’s men were the 12th biggest spenders in Prem, having shelled out £17.6m. They look very sensible buys, too! I’m stunned!
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Monday 2nd September
Okay, I believe in the gods of Karma. After so much CPFC-inspired joy, it’s time for some more pain at the chiropractor. My shoulder injury is taking longer to heal than I’d expected.
With a dearth of good gigs on the horizon I’ve been catching up on telly time. The return of The Newsroom is something I’ve been dying for.
Meanwhile, for those that give a rat’s arse, I’ve finally found the time for the usual monthly updates of my Playlist and YouTube pages.
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Sunday 1st September
Here’s a great photograph of eldest son Eddie and I celebrating the final whistle at Selhurst Park: Crystal Palace 3 Sunderland 1. It had been 3,052 days since the Eagles’ last victory in the Premier League. No wonder things got completely and utterly out of control. I’m *still* violently hung over – at 4pm the following day. That really was quite a sesh. The sight of my pal Kevin Denman waltzing with some old bird at the Victory Club will stay with me till the day I die. I had no idea he is such a good dancer. Kev really should be in the next series of Strictly..., but he’d better keep his hands off my future wife, the CPFC-supporting secret rock chick Suzanna Reid of BBC Breakfast Time fame!

Dave Ling Online