This journal of the comings'n'goings and musings'n'enthusings of Dave Ling will be updated daily - except after days of stress and nights of excess.
Friday 30th September
As I type I'm recovering from a tremendous boozy night with Cats In Space and Space Elevator as half of London's gig going community upped sticks for the night to Redhill in Surrey. The Harlequin was a great l'il theatre equipped with a large stage and very decent sound system (Space Elevator frontwoman The Duchess wore her Pete Way-esque chequerboard catsuit in honour of its name – I, of course, was wearing my red 'n' blue striped catsuit under my civvies!)
Turn-out was very strong, and it was nice to see Danny, Luke and Ben from Thunder all enjoying the show, along with a certain Mr Speroni. Two superb bands on one amazing bill. I'm *really* looking forward to the sophomore albums from both!
Thursday 29th September
Here's another of my l'il interview-ettes: the eleven records that changed Biff Byford's life. The Saxon frontman is a huge Velvet Underground and Sex Pistols fan... who knew?! And how nice that he says such lovely things about the mighty Heep.
Wednesday 28th September
I'm getting more than a little bit peeved with people making mention of a certain failed Welsh rockbilly pop star over at my Facebook page. It all began when I complained of receiving emails about the tossbag, but now it's getting out of control. Just about every thread ends up with a gag about 'This Ole House' or a 'Green Door' – it's doing my head in!
And it gets worse. This morning I was on the phone with Francis Rossi, nattering away for the sleeve essays of what will most likely be the final three classic-era Quo deluxe editions ('Blue For You', 'Just Supposin'...' and 'Never Too Late') and without warning he blurts out: "Have you heard that new single by Shakin' Stevens? It's the dogs nuts!" Aaaaaaarggg! That bugger Ewing must have paid him to say it… this is a conspiracy, I tell ya!
Oh blimey, that's a bit previous... Classic Rock is requesting Albums Of The Year from its writers in late September?! Hmmm. It's best start with 'The Prelude Implicit' by Kansas and work backwards, and then hope that for the remaining two months nothing sneaks under the radar like Cats In Space did in 2015.
Tuesday 27th September
Last night was spent at a central London boozer located a stone's throw from the offices of Iron Maiden's management, sampling the group's new ale Trooper Red And Black. It's pretty decent, I must say. I'm not a big fan of bitter but it has a very nice flavour. Bruce Dickinson was on hand to pour a few pints. Prog's art ed Russ Fairbrother is a real ale loony, and together we spent quite a while chatting to Bruce, who made a big point of explaining how he was involved in the tasting/selection process, and actually stayed till almost end of the night. Perhaps inevitably, I've a bit of a sore head as I type this – you're probably not supposed to drink eight pints of the stuff on an empty stomach! Hehehe.
On a far more sombre note, it's impossible to think that three decades have passed since the tragic loss of Metallica bassist Cliff Burton. I remember getting a phone call from Mike Shannon of Shades Records telling me the dreadful news. Mere nights earlier Jeff Braithwaite of Chariot and I had been swigging with the band – including Cliff – at a party after their now legendary Hammersmith Odeon gig (supported by Anthrax). We were in disbelief. What a major talent Cliff Burton was… he is still sorely missed.
Monday 26th September
I'm approaching this new arrival with a good deal of trepidation. 'Tales From Topographic Oceans', the *difficult* sixth album from Yes, now given the expanded bells and whistles treatment, including a renix from Steven Wilson. It's been many years since I last played this (on double gatefold vinyl 'natch). Some consider 'TFTO' a masterpiece, others a piece of self-indulgent poo poo. It's hardly music for a Monday morning, I suspect!
Sunday 25th September
Buck & Evans last night at the Crowndale (which until fairly recently used to be known as The Purple Turttle)... I think you'd have to file that one under 'pulled it out of the bag'.
The show had everything: an abysmal soundman, great performance (all four of the band members excel – and not simply guitarist Chris Buck and vocalist/keys lady Sally Ann Evans… it's a team), terrible chattering and disrespectful Camden-ite audience... but a definite winner overall. I'd caught bits of previous sets, including a rather good showing at the Steelhouse Festival but this was my first full-length experience (so to speak). I will deffo be seeing them again in a better/more suitable venue.
Saturday 24th September
My Friday night was spent indoors, *finally* watching Stranger Things on Netflix with Arnie and an enormous multi-pack of Monster Munch. No spoilers pls!
Fast forward a while and Ling Towers erupts with joy as Palace come back from 2-0 down at the loathed Scumderland to seal a dramatic 3-2 win, thanks to a late, late header by Christian Benteke. I'm off to Camden for a gig by Buck & Evans, and also to drink flagons of ale!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That's three consecutive victories! Get in!!!!!
Friday 23rd September
*Smiles contentedly as he puts May 27 into the desk diary*. Yeah, Iron Maiden have lived up to their promise of indoor gigs in 2017 – and plenty of ‘em. Besides a single date at London’s O2 Arena (there are more to follow, surely…?), they’ll be heading out all over the UK and mainland Europe, to such Godforsaken holes as Liverpool, Newcastle at Nottingham… only kidding all of you regional dudes and dudettes. And we also have Shinedown as support. Perhaps not a band I’d have thought would sit comfortably alongside the mighty Maiden but personally speaking I love ‘em, if you can put aside all of that slightly cringeworthy touchy-feely hug-your-neighbour bollocks they come out with onstage.
Still in Maiden World, here’s a bit of fun to celebrate the announcement of those long awaited Maiden dates. CR asked if I would compile a list of my favourite Eddie-related garments. If you wondered about the horrors that lurk within my wardrobe... click here and step inside.
On a less positive note, I’m getting increasingly pissed off about multiple emails concerning a new Shakin' Stevens album, also receiving adverts about his tour in my Facebook news feed. I actually find it quite offensive that someone could think I give a shit about such a talentless tosser. And then I hear another ping... there's an Octoberfest in Camden from the 8th to the 15th... "traditional German beers and cuisine and live music from Oom Pah Pah party bands," it says here. Wow! Random messages ain't always so bad!
Thursday 22nd September
What a great day. Three phone interviews of varying depth and duration - Biff Byford from Saxon, Drivin' N' Cryin's Kev'n Kinney (a man who clearly likes his apostrophes) and the ever fascinating, unflichingly honest Beth Hart, who somehow managed to avoid breaking down mid-chat – unlike the last time we met face to face over a tape recorder. Throw in a second consecutive day at the gym - I call that a bit of a result!
Wednesday 21st September
No, I don’t want to talk about the fucking League Cup. Go away please, I’m a wee bit annoyed.
I never tire of seeing this great ol’ photograph of myself and Andy Fraser, which popped up as a four-year-old memory on today’s Facebook timeline. What a talented dude, he’s very much missed indeed.
Tuesday 20th September
Awesome. Thunder have announced a lengthy tour of the UK, their biggest in many, many years. It includes a date at the Hammersmith Odeon on March 28. I love the fact that it adds the disclaimer: “If we’re not playing the city/town/village hall/wedding/shed in the garden where you live that’s because we tried, but it wasn’t available in the time frame. We did not do it on purpose.”
This guide to the best German heavy metal bands of all time was another of my interviews... Kai Hansen is a top bloke, with a great sense of humour! And no, I’m not gonna say, ‘For a German’. He really does!
Anyway, it’s mid-evening and I’m back at Ling Mansions after a drink, some tasty nosebag and a bit of a gossip session with Danny Vaughan of Tyketto in the West End of London. No official interview business – we did that a few weeks ago – just a general catch up… great fun! If you deserve a bit of abuse and your ears were burning… well, there’s no need to visit the doctor to find out why! Hahaha.
Monday 19th September
Oh dear. My inability to take a decent photograph of last night’s gig by Mitch Malloy suggests that I might have over-celebrated Palace's fine victory over Stoke. Just a teensy-weensy bit… lol.
Mere hours after arriving back at Ling Towers after the Kip Winger show I was in the pub at Norwood Junction, imbibing as if there was no tomorrow. We always beat Stoke. They are a tin-pot team of overrated wankers. So it was no surprise when Palace ran riot over the Potters. 4-1 did not flatter the home team. Carried away in the spirit of a magnificent victory my footie mate Kevin Denman accompanied me across town to the Underworld, where we met my pal Tyrina Gallagher for further continued alcohol abuse.
Given that he has made one of the very finest melodic records of the year it’s annoying that I didn’t appreciate the show from Mr Malloy as fully as I’d been hoping. It’s hard to do that when you find yourself talking Martian and struggling to remain vertical, also to prevent one’s self from emitting spontaneous, violent chants of “Eagles! Eagles! Eagles!” and “Mark Hughes, you are a c**t”.
Luckily, Get Ready To Rock’s ever reliable Andy Nathan was once again on hand to provide a more reasoned critique of the occasion. Read it here. Well done, that man!
Sunday 18th September
One of these men is an international sex symbol and playboy, respected by the rock community (except Lars Ulrich), and still in the prime of his life, pursued by women wherever he goes. The other is Kip Winger. He he he. Love you Kip!
Yeah, what a truly great show. Kip gave me a nice namecheck when he played my favourite song of his, the mega-ballad ‘Under One Condition’, complete with special guest Fiona Flanagan and her band. Same time again in 2017 please, Mr Kipmeister!!!
Into the Crobar for and a night bus home… sheesh… After so many beers, I couldn’t begin to describe how enjoyable the night was. I suggest you read a more considered review written by my good friend (and fellow Crystal Palace supporter) Andy Nathan. Click here.
Saturday 17th September
So I made it home intact following my first ever punk rock gig (I’ve seen the Pistols, the Damned and the Stranglers, but those were all outdoor or festival appearances). The Ruts DC at the Camden Underworld – a thoroughly enjoyable experience save for the burly, shaven-headed bloke that pushed past me trying to get to the front with a sarcastic scowl of: “’Scuse me, sweetheart”, and the show’s three reggae songs; I’d forgotten this is a band that had a single called ‘Staring At The Rude Boys’. To these ears reggae is the most unlistenable form of music ever conceived. It’s worse even than hip-hop or Ska. But on the upside, when Ruts DC rocked they *really* rocked. I can now go to my grave happy to have seen ‘Babylon’s Burning’ performed live, and the tracks from the newie ‘Music Must Destroy’ were uniformly excellent. I’d go and watch them again anytime.
My rock ‘n’ roll weekend continues with tonight’s annual unplugged gig from Kip Winger. These shows are always pretty special… I can hardly wait!
Friday 16th September
I’ve always loved 'Babylon's Burning', a 1979 hit for The Ruts – one of those singles that almost defies description – is it punk, is it rock… who really cares? So tonight I'm checking out Ruts DC, the band's post-Malcolm Owen incarnation, at the Camden Underworld. The new album, 'Music Must Destroy', was a bit of a revelation to me. "We have tapped into our record collections, nodding at the Pink Fairies and Hawkwind to Nirvana and Killing Joke, even The Who and T. Rex, but that punk energy still remains," bassist/vocalist John ‘Segs’ Jennings told me in a recent interview for Classic Rock. Here's their excellent new single, ‘Music Must Destroy’, which features a cameo from Henry Rollins.
Thursday 15th September
“Rick Parfitt may have performed his last show with Quo,” reveals the band’s manager, Simon Porter. It’s the news that the fans had been dreading (though I was fully aware of the sad details and had been sworn to secrecy until the story broke officially). 67-year-old Parfitt “died for several minutes” after suffering a heart attack after a concert in Turkey in June.
In a story that can be seen here, Rick has just told Sky News: "I do not want to tax myself in any way. I've been told medically not to. So whether it's a full gig or a cameo I'd still get fairly nervous and I do not want to get out on stage and drop dead in front of the fans. I do not want to do that.”
He adds: “I've got to apologise to the fans really because it's my fault. You live the rock and roll lifestyle and at some stage you've got to pay for it. And I'm now paying for it. So it's my fault that I'm not with the band now.”
Potentially, of course, it’s the end of an era… an glorious time-spell that concluded quite a while ago in truth, but my very best wishes go to Mr P for his recovery - that's paramount. It’s time for Quo to bow out after those electric dates at Christmas, surely?
PS: Intriguingly... that management statement makes no mention of refunds?!
Wednesday 14th September
What an absolutely fantastic photograph of Kayla the eagle, Palace’s matchday mascot perched on to of a goalpost at the Homesdale Road End. It was stolen shamelessly from the Facebook wall of a fella called Shiva Govinden – good work, fella! Eeaaaa-Gulllllllllls!
Tuesday 13th September
I’m sitting at my desk smiling and laughing as I transcribe a new phone interview with ‘Fast’ Eddie Clarke. The current Fastway/ex-Motörhead guitarist is a plain speaker if ever there was one. If only all other rock stars were half as truthful and/or entertaining.
And talking of supergobs – though I hesitate to include ‘Fast’ Eddie among that category; it implies he’s a bit of a shameless publicity seeker, which really isn’t the case – I must wish a happy 55th birthday to Mr Dave Mustaine. The Classic Rock website has just posted one of my favourites of the many interviews that Megadeth’s leader and I did together down the decades. Check it out here. The questions are very Paxman-like, and the answers - "David Ellefson has been a professional ass-licker for his whole career, so fuck him" - equally uncompromising. It first appeared in November 2004. Monday 12th September
RIP to Leonard Haze, the original drummer of San Francisco facemelters Yesterday And Today. Sadly, I never met the guy but I will always be a fan of Y&T. He was only 61 years old.
Sunday 11th September
And the goalscorer for Crystal Palace... Christian Benteke! The first of many I hope. Get in, my son! Yes, Palace’s summer signing from Liverpool opened the scoring during yesterday’s game up at Middlebrough, the Eagles going on to secure a valuable 2-1 win. The club’s first three points of the new campaign made me very happy indeed.
I’ve been here at my desk since 7.30am. Written my phone interview with Kai Hansen and just about to go for a run before it gets too hot. Some Scott Gorham transcript is up next and then it’s time for Sunday lunch with Dad and the Linglets. I also need to finish a melodic rock/AOR column for Classic Rock and talk to the Voice Of Rock this evening... phew-eee, it's all go!
Saturday 10th September
What a brilliant photograph of myself and 'Rhino' Edwards' taken in the bar following last night's 'Aquostick 2' gig… one too many bad reviews of the non-Frantic Four line-up, I guess. When Edwards saw me lurking, he made a beeline across the room. His opening line was, and I quote: "What the fuck are you doing here?!" It was too late to run away!
Although pretty short, the set wasn't anywhere near as bad as I'd feared. We got 60 minutes, including two repeated tracks at encore time – pretty steep when admission cost £45. My pal Nige Glazier and I were up in the balcony stage-right, and the sound was decent. When somebody downstairs roared out: "Where's Rick?!" Rossi made a point of ignoring the comment and, yeah, it did feel strange watching the band without their faithful rhythm guitarist, especially when salt was rubbed into the wound as Andrew Bown took over lead vocals for a rather horrendous version of 'Whatever You Want'.
I sat with fingers in ears throughout the ever-ghastly 'B***ing B**dges', though mostly the show was okay. Ish. And I say that through gritted teeth. Here's the set-list: 'Pictures Of Matchstick Men', 'Paper Plane', 'Caroline', 'What You're Proposing', 'Claudie', 'That's A Fact', 'Hold You Back', 'Rollin' Home', 'Down Down', 'Whatever You Want' and 'Rockin' All Over The World', followed by 'B***ing B**dges', 'That's A Fact' and 'Hold You Back'.
Friday 9th September
When you're invited to an album launch party by an email that promises: "No Bullshit, no ballads… PLENTY OF BOOZE!", then you know exactly what to expect. That's why I'm currently nursing a hangover of King Kong proportions. Though the band themselves were unable to be present, Spinefarm Records really pushed out the boat to celebrate 'Breakin' Outta Hell', the newie from Aussie headcases Airbourne with a free bar and a custom-made T-shirt that will never be repeated. Incredibly, I made it home without my shirt despite visiting the Crobar for a couple of nightcaps (and you can take that statement however you like). How on earth I managed this feat, I've really no idea.
I said that I'd never go to see Status Quo again without Rick. Okay... so I guess that I lied. Guest tix were offered and I had nothing planned tonight I'm off to the Union Chapel in Islington for an unplugged warm-up for the weekend's show in Hyde Park. This is gonna be quite strange. At least I get to catch up with my old gig-going buddy Nige Glazier, who is using the other ticket.
Thursday 8th September
Damian Wilson's one-man gigs are always pretty special, but last night's intimate show on board a barge in Battersea was incredible: two and a half hours of music and stories fleshed out by a full band (albeit drummer-less) in promotion of 'Built For Fighting', the Threshold/Headspace singer's fifth solo release.
As ever Wilson was reluctant to remain on the stage, turning the microphone across to friends and members of the band including local lad Doogie White, the current singer of Michael Schenker's band, who stepped up to join in the fun towards the show's riotous conclusion. At times Wilson's voice was quite literally jaw-dropping, the songs from 'Build For Fighting' purpose-built for its fruity, emotive delivery. Check out the record's single, 'Thrill Me', by clicking here.
I've just done my first phone interview with Damon Johnson of Black Star Riders/Thin Lizzy fame. What a top fella. I've been a fan since the days of his band Brother Cane. This is such a great song!
Wednesday 7th September
I'm not the happiest of budgies right now. For the first time in several months I'd planned to visit my local blues venue, the Beaverwood in Chislehurst, for a show from Devon Allman and his band. As the fly crows… sorry, as the crow flies… the place is only a few miles away from Chateau Ling, but I don't drive and the only realistic public transport route is by bus. It's just one direct journey, but it takes almost an hour. So there I was, stood outside Catford Town Hall awaiting its arrival. A 15-minute wait soon became a half-hour. I began to shuffle around nervously. Waiting my arrival at the other end, Andy Beare sent a text; 'Are you on the bus yet?' My reply would have made a Navvy blush with shame. Soon it was a painfully fruitless three-quarters-of-an hour. I texted Andy, 'If it's not here in 15 mins, I'm not waiting any longer than an hour – I'll f**k off back home'. And that's exactly what happened. Cue a night in front of the telly and much annoyance. So sorry, Devon… I guess I'll see you next time.
And talking of gigs, it's a case of two steps forward, one step back. Arnie enjoyed the Reading Festival and said that he'd definitely go again. Tonight, however, he's got a ticket to see the Libertines at the O2 Arena... *facepalms*...
At least things are going well at Selhurst Park, with former Arsenal midfielder Mathieu Flamini having a medical. Should that deal get over the line, blimey! What a transfer window it's been! I mean, look at the list of upgrades:
Gayle out, Benteke in
Bolasie out, Townsend in
Chamakh out, Remi in
McCarthy out, Mandanda in...
That's amazing! And the whole thing has been underwritten by a mere £9m in outlay!
Sunday 4th September
'Kin 'ell! Last night Glenn Hughes invited his formed Hughes/Thrall band-mate up onstage at a gig in Las Vegas, and they performed two songs from that classic debut album of theirs ('Muscle And Blood' and 'First Step Of Love'). You've no idea how much I wish I'd been there to have seen that, though thankfully there is at least some excellent quality YouTube footage of the occasion. Their pair have attempted without success to craft a follow-up to their cult favourite debut. Last night's events suggest that with a little luck such a dream could actually come to pass.
After the shame of the Iceland debacle I had vowed never to watch another England international game. But here I am tuned in at the start of the Fat Sam era, feet up and drink in hand for the game in Slovakia. It's bound to end in tears. [Edit: The first half display was as poor as the internet haters are suggesting, almost as bad as the team that underperformed at the Euros but things improved after the break and a blushes-saving, last-gasp winner from Adam Lallana was probably just about deserved].
Saturday 3rd September
There's no game today for the Palace - it's an international weekend; England play Slovenia in a World Cup qualifier tomorrow - but Ed and I are enjoying Soccer Saturday and the growing gloom of host Jeff Stelling as his beloved Hartlepool United concede goal after goal at lowly Stevenage. You can tell that the show's lovely roving reporter Bianca Westwood is enjoying passing on the news flashes to her boss! We want seven!
Friday 2nd September
No, I wasn't at yesterday's Prog Awards, but my day did just start with a breakast-time phoner with Steve Hackett! So put that in your pipe and smoke it!
In fact, my Thursday night was spent at Club Noir, a bit of a posh gaff in central London, at the 'end of summer' party of my old workmate Phil Alexander (we suspect it was actually a secret 50th birthday) and his equally ageless other half Tania. My photo shows myself with Phucking Phil (centre) and Steve McTaggart, previously RAW's ad manager, now guiding the careers of DragonForce and Cradle Of Filth – well, someone has to. Phil was probably the best editor I have worked under… no jokes pls. Those days spent at RAW magazine (in its heyday, prior to that regrettable Britpop nadir) were among the best of my life: I learned my trade, met, interviewed, drank with (and sometimes insulted) my heroes, travelled the world and had no sense of responsibility whatsoever. Among the other revellers were Xavier Russell in his Tankard T-shirt, Ross Halfin and filthy Kaz, Paul Elliott, Peter Makowski, Andy Copping, Tony Linkin, Wag, Mark Blake, Dave Henderson (the editor of RAW who we all fucking hated when he arrived for being a non-rock fan but ended up growing to like; how amusing that the regrettable mullet has now transposed onto the front of his face, albeit in grey), Jason 'Ladies' Hair' Arnopp and, though I didn't see them over in the VIP area, Roy Harper and Jools Holland. Best moment of the night, and a bit of a 'did that really happen?' moment: Jimmy Page waving across the room to me as he left (McT says that said friendly gesture was aimed towards him, I say: that's bollox).
Thursday 1st September
It's September already, huh? Here are the latest updates at the Playlist and YouTube pages.