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.
Sunday 30th September
“I was the geek on Beavis & Butt-head and Metallica threw darts at my poster, but there’s only one way to come back from that… get a Grammy nomination for classical composition. Fuck you, motherfucker!”
Kip Winger’s sixth solo Borderline show offered many of its usual ingredients – entertaining chat, swoon-inducing songs and a refreshingly intimate, spontaneous vibe - but it also embraced a few changes. Having skipped a year in 2017, Kip began this show earlier to play for longer, filling out the now traditional mix of Winger hits and solo treasures with songs he’d learned especially from fan requests, ‘Ever Wonder’ and ‘So Long China’ representing Winger (the band)’s most recent record, 2014’s ‘Long Time Comin’’. The keyboard at the side of the stage was there to facilitate ‘Pages And Pages’ and ‘Where Will You Go’, both from the solo set ‘From The Moon To The Sun’. Most fascinating of all, Kip sang to a backing track whilst previewing ‘A Requiem For Nothing’, a piece from Get Jack, a musical he has been working on for the past three years that’s based on “the five women killed by Jack The Ripper who come back to take their revenge.”
Should that sound indulgent… well, the likes of ‘Headed For A Heartbreak’, ‘Madalaine’, ‘Under One Condition’, ‘Rainbow In The Rose’, ‘Spell I’m Under’, ‘Hungry’, ‘Down Incognito’, ‘Seventeen’, ‘How Far Will We Go’, ‘Blind Revolution Mad’ and ‘Miles Away’ (the latter accompanied by audience member Tessa) all represented far more familiar ground.
This Borderline event is always Kip’s fave show of any given year – it’s one of mine, too! – and I’m happy to say that he promised to return again in September 2019.
Saturday 29th September
As if a collective CV that features members past ‘n’ present of Dream Theater, GN’R, Mr Big, Journey and many more, doesn’t provide sufficient warning, Sons Of Apollo took to the stage armed with double-necked geetars, twin-necked basses, multiple banks of keys and an artillery of drums. If such a thing as a V-shaped stand with two microphones existed, you know darned well that Jeff Scott Soto would have used it. This was not a night for minimalism.
Over the course of two sublime hours the quintet performed the best bits of their debut album, ‘Psychotic Symphony’, plus some choice hand-picked covers, including DT’s ‘Just Let Me Breathe’ and ‘Lines In The Sand’. The level of musical proficiency was, at times, exhausting. "I want to hear you playing air-keys, air-guitar, air-drums and... no, don't even bother trying to play air-bass,” JSS joked. Amazingly, everybody got a solo section of their own… save for drummer Mike Portnoy. This includes JSS, who belted out a remarkable, Mercurial one-man rendition of Queen’s ‘The Prophet Song’ before guitarist Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal returned to back him for a stirring stab at the same band’s ‘Save Me’ (commencing the former Jeff spotted yours truly in the crowd and issued a friendly greeting of: ‘Hey, what's up Dave Ling - I can see you out there’, haha).
Later on Bumblefoot led the other three instrumentalists through ‘The Pink Panther Theme’. During the encore JSS roared out Van Halen’s ‘And The Cradle Will Rock’ whilst making a walkabout from the bar to the stage, Bumblefoot finger-tapping like a demon on both necks.
Afterwards, still lost in admiration, Uriah Heep’s ever-smiling Mick Box and I joked about the sheer overwhelmingly widdle-tastic properties of what we’ve seen. "Maybe they'll get onto the tour bus, chat about what happened and realise: 'Shit! There was one teeny, tiny little widdle that we forgot!'" he laughed.
For the life of me, I cannot conceive how another could possibly be shoe-horned into the mix – not even a wafffer-thin one!
Friday 28th September
Oh look, the Eagles are back. No, not the ones from SE25... we're talking about the band that made country rock into an art-form. Obviously it won't be the same without Glenn Frey but really hope I can get to see this next summer at Wembley Stadium. Today is officially an Eagles Day here in sunny Catford. Think I'm gonna dust off my private Minidisc of the time I saw the band at the IndigO2 back in 2007, in promotion of 'Long Road Out Of Eden'. God, I love some of those songs! 'Busy Being Fabulous'... sublime!
Tuesday 25th September
The mighty Palace took a comfortable path into the last 16 of the League Cup. A couple of quality goals from Townsend, another scorcher from PVA and a useful run-out for some squad members. Scumwall in the next round please... oh, wait! The knuckledraggers are out already! Lol... bye-bye losers of South London.
Monday 24th September
Wow... what fabulous stage-side seats we were given for Europe's brilliant gig at the Royal Albert Hall. You could almost smell the hairspray in the air! King King, the special guests, were also a bit special. It's great to see them playing on bigger stages at last. But nobody was going to steal the thunder of Joey T and company.
Sunday 23nd September
I had hoped to post something reasonably informative about yesterday's gig by The Treatment, Airrace and Tequila Mockingbyrd, which took place at the Camden Underworld. However, a drunken visit to Selhurst Park for the game against Newcastle took its toll upon my powers of recollection (It finished 0-0, incidentally).
I do know that much fun was had. How could it have been a poor night, Airrace's new album 'Untold Stories' is one of the finest melodic hard rock releases of 2018, while the headliners also have some formidable material. But the fine details? Um no... they escape me right now. Sorry ’bout that...
Friday 21st September
You're probably sick to death of hearing about Steve Perry’s visit to London by now, but he insisted we take this one yesterday when I interviewed him for the Classic Rock website.
"My hair-r-r-r-r-r-r!" he purred after checking out my T-shirt from the 'For The Love Of Strange Medicine' tour, "Oh, look how long it was!" File that one under 'life highlights'.
Thursday 20th September
This just in from my Dad: the old bugger only fulfilled a lifelong ambition by taking to the skies above Kent and Sussex in a Spitfire... even flew the darned thing for a minute or two!! Y'see... anything Bruce Dickinson can do…
Wednesday 19th September
What a genuine thrill and privilege to visit RAK Studios for a playback of Steve Perry's new album 'Traces'. Mr P was on hand to provide a lengthy, heartfelt explanation of the reasons he returned from the wilderness to make the record and introduced it track by track.
Afterwards Steve fielded a few questions and even mingled a while, revealing that besides the shock release of his new album ‘Traces’, some selected live dates are not out of the question. Perry was great company, and very friendly – even when my pal Xavier Russell bored him shitless with boasts of Spurs having the biggest ground in North London (yawn - but will it ever open?!), and it was great to hang with my distinguished journo pals Malcolm Dome, Jerry Spewing, Paul Elliott and Xavier, and later in the pub with Phil Alexander and Mark Blake. Did Jon Hotten, who was rumoured to be attending, simply vanish into the Bermuda Triangle?!
Sunday 16th September
Yesterday's away win at Huddersfield Town was scrappy, admittedly, but Palace soar up to eleventh and I can watch MOTD tonight. How lovely that Wilf Zaha, who was booed by the home fans every time he touched the ball, scored the all-important goal. Take that, you jealous Northern monkeys! COYP!
Saturday 15th September
Last night Amanda and I attended a gig at the Forum in Kentish Town. Technically speaking it was Quireboys show - they were the headliners - but holy shiiiiiiiit, special guests H.e.a.t set the standard to be judged by. Truly awesome stuff! Check out this set-list: 'Bastard Of Society', 'Midnight Lady', 'Mannequin Show', 'Redefine', 'Beg Beg Beg' (including segments of 'Whole Lotta Rosie' and' Piece Of My Heart'), 'Tearing Down The Walls Again'', 'Emergency', ' Inferno' and 'Living On The Run'.
I felt a wee bit sorry for Spike and company, who were playing an in-its-entirety set to celebrate the tenth anniversary of their album 'Homewreckers & Heartbreakers'. Though said disc houses some great chewns ('I Love This Dirty Town and 'Mona Lisa Smiled') it's not consistent enough. In many ways the QBs are damned if they do and damned if they don't; though people want to hear the same songs over and over, they at least tried something different here. However, with 35 minutes to go we decided food was more important than anther pint.
Elsewhere on the bill was Aaron Buchanon And The Cult Classics. I'm always wary of those that hail artists as 'a bit of a showman' as it tends to mask other important deficiencies. On this evidence there isn't a hint of anything classic about them right now.
The same doesn't apply to the group that opened the show. With a style that offers a contemporary reboot of the greats (names), Those Damn Crows - love their album and enjoyed the set, but sound was a bit murky and unnervingly quiet. A brand new song called 'Behind These Walls' suggests there's plenty more to come. I could almost forgive the buggers for being Welsh.
Friday 14th September
Rose Tattoo rolled into town for an excellent gig at the Islington Academy, with special guests Girlschool. Before the show I conducted a wide-ranging pre-show interview with Angry Anderson. We discussed life, death, politics, violence, loyalty, religion, honour and much, much more. When I asked whether, at 71, he still considered himself a hardman he fixed me with a steely glare and replied: "Yes." I didn't argue.
Tuesday 11th September
What an incredible, emotional, dramatic conclusion at the Oval as England thrashed the world's best-rated Test Match side 4-1. Having taken the final wicket to become the most successful fast bowler in Test cricket, Jimmy Anderson couldn't hide his tears as his best mate Alastair Cook headed to the pavilion for the final time, breaking down in a Sky TV interview. Must admit, I nearly had a blub of my own.
Monday 10th September
It's melodic rock review time once again... the office is ringing to the strains of newies from Midnite City, White Widdow and a solo debut from Houston's Hank Erix. Quality stuff...
Following Schenker's revelation a few days ago, a quote at Pete Way's official Facebook page suggests that the bass player is not up for any sort of participation, either. Though, my understanding is that, like Michael, he has yet to be asked, and I don't know where the advertising about the tour is "misleading". It's sad, all the same...
Here's what he says: "After the publicity which is currently surrounding Michael Schenker's announcement that he most definitely will NOT be joining in with UFO's advertised outing I would like to make sure that nobody is under the illusion that I will be appearing. It is not made clear in the advertising. I will be touring with my new band (Paul Chapman will not be on guitar sadly but it was a pleasure to see him again). I wish UFO all the luck in the world and I am sure fans would like to see the original line up but for me I can only say RIP UFO."
Here is this month's Playlist and also the first YouTube Of The Month in a while. I promise it's well worth the wait.
Sunday 9th September
Oh wow... what a Ling-friendly bill this is! Sweet, FM, H.e.a.t, Vega and Cats in Space are all among the names confirmed for next year's Giants Of Rock Festival in Minehead. And, barring a favourable draw in the FA Cup, Palace have no home game over the late January weekend concerned. Methinks a little more coastal hi-de-hi action might be in order!
I was disappointed by last night's England-Spain game in the new competition, the Nations League. What a great goal to take the lead in the 11th minute! But I didn't last long and Gareth's Three Lions struggled against worthy opponents. However, the disallowed last minute equaliser from Rashford should have stood, Goddammit!!! Well said to Harry Kane for the ref for being a "bottle job". Overall, a point was probably deserved. Instead, England were left ruing their first competitive defeat at Wembley since a Euro 2008 qualifier to Croatia wa-a-a-a-a-y back in November 2007.
I interrupted a spell watching the cricket for a lively Sunday afternoon phone interview with Gunnar Nelson, of half of the soft-rocking twins Nelson. Choice question: "You've just returned home from church; can you place your hand on your heart and tell me that you don't harbour a grudge of any sort towards John Kalodner, your bête noire at Geffen Records who shelved the band's intended second album, 'Imaginator'?" He took it well, in fairness...
Saturday 8th September
Oh dear... here's a tell-tale sign that my old gig-going buddy Andy Beare and his missus Tracey paid us a Friday night visit. It's midday and I've only just stumbled out of the put, that's most unlike me. The Scrumpy has taken me to the cleaners. I must go and buy some more! Hehehe.
Friday 7th September
Where does the time go? Almost three years had passed since my last sighting of the mighty Raven. but what a brilliantly hooliganistic racket they still make (indeed, back in the 1980s it was known as 'athletic rock'). Bouncing around the stage and throwing all manner of silly poses, the frontline of bassist/vocalist John and his guitar-playing sibling Mark move so quickly it's hard to get a decent photo of them. For an hour and ten cartoonish, decibel-charged minutes, the shrapnel flew thick 'n' fast - golden oldies 'Rock Until You Drop' and 'Hell Patrol' jostling for space with a handful of tracks from the most recent set, 'ExtermiNation'. Apart from the sense of fun they exude, also that terrific canon of songs, what I like most about Raven is their sheer strength of character. Back in the 1980s they toured America with an up 'n' coming young act called Metallica as their support act. Had fate treated them a little more kindly the Geordies could and should have been enormous, but in 2018 here they are, playing to a half-full pub and, seemingly, enjoying every second of the experience. Some might consider that sad. To me, it's a beautiful thing. Long may they continue crashing, banging, and, er... walloping.
For anyone that cares, here's the set-list: 'Take Control', 'Destroy All Monsters', 'Hell Patrol', 'All For One', 'Hung Drawn And Quartered', 'Rock Until You Drop', Guitar Solo, 'Faster Than The Speed Of Light', 'Tank Treads (The Blood Runs Red)', 'Mind Over Metal', 'On And On', 'Break The Chain' and 'Crash Bang Wallop'.
Thursday 6th September
The Classic Rock website has run a segment of my most recent phone interview with Michael Schenker, conducted a few days ago during his tour of Japan. The mercurial guitarist reveals that should such an opportunity arise he would not be prepared to jam with UFO on next year's farewell tour due to a personality clash with Phil Mogg. Read about it here.
Wednesday 5th September
What a wonderfully chilled evening with The Devon Allman Project and special guest Duane Betts at London's Islington Assembly Hall. These two first met in 1989 when their respective dads Gregg and Dickey played with The Allman Brother Band and, based upon the strength of some shared North American touring, have begun working together - a collaborative album is now on the cards. It's easy to see why the solo projects have been shelved; the chemistry between them is obvious. Duane began the show, summoning a delicious tone from a Gold Top Les Paul whilst playing songs from his own album, 'Sketches Of America Music'. Devon and his band then took to the stage for a selection of solo tunes and choice covers, a remake of The Spinners' 1972 hit 'I'll be Around' fitting like a glove.
It wasn't long before Betts returned to the stage. A brief sit down, semi-acoustic session revisited Gregg Allman's solo track 'Multi Coloured Lady' ("a song my dad wrote for my mum"), but afterwards Devon vanished, leaving the mic to the keyboard player for 'What's Going On'. Annoyingly, his voice was so low in the mix the song was almost rendered pointless. However, a spine-tingingly good three song encore - Don Henley's 'The Boys Of Summer' and the ABB's 'Dreams (I'll Never See)' and 'Midnight Rider' - rendered that small, blip obsolete. I can't wait to hear Devon and Duane's album, and it's great that they're keeping the Brothers' music alive. in a respectful, non-opportunistic way.
There's also a downside that worried me when I began thinking about it - going to see the sons of famous rock stars is all well and good. We're used to it now. But consider this - Devon is now 46 and Duane 41. It can only be a matter of time before we find ourselves listening to their music of. ulp. the grandchildren of rock icons. Hold that thought and I'll see you in the Post Office pension queue.
Tuesday 4th September
It was very kind of Monsieur Corky Lang of Mountain fame to send me the newly re-mastered version of his 'Secret Session'... featuring Messrs Clapton, Hunter, Ronson, West, Pappalardi, Rundgren and Betts among others. Pressed on luvvvvly banana-yellow vinyl.
Monday 3rd September
My high hopes for Palace's new season are sinking faster than a round of Sambuca shots at the Crobar. Not only are the team underperforming, our 'Holmesdale Fanatics' - the noisy ones in the corner of the ground that generate most of Selhurst's famous atmosphere - have disbanded in protest over the club's refusal to let them relocate to Block E of the Holmesdale Road stand... the place where Eddie, Amanda and I sit. Some of the posts are the FB groups are as outrageous as their grammar. Debate at the CPFC bulletin board now runs to 229 pages of flaming and counter-flaming. A lot of people talking bollox but very loudly, basically. These are the titles of a few discussions:
'Those in Block E not giving up their seats are selfish and not supporting the club. Those who won't let up their seats for the better of the club hang your heads in shame.'
'Block E destroying our club.'
'Enough is enough kick all those out of block E and give there seats to the HF.'
'Block E out ! Block E out ! Block E out ! Block E out ! Block E out ! Block E out ! Block E out !'
'Block E hang your heads in shame youve killed our famous atmosphere move over and bring back the HF.'
It's tantamount to bullying. I chose my seats wearing a hard hat when the stand was built more than twenty years ago. I've sat there through ups and downs (mostly downs) ever since. I sing, shout, leap up and down and get involved in the game... and now somebody wants to take them away from me? I won't give up with a fight. These so-called 'ultras' are the selfish ones. Downing tools simply and holding the club to ransom because they cannot get their way doesn't seem very Fanatical to me.
Sunday 2nd September
Another underwhelming visit to Selhurst, where the visitors (Southampton) ran out winners by two goals to nil. FFS!
And after the disappointment of the football, it was time for rock music and ale. That's life. It was bloody great to get my first live sighting of Shiraz Lane - a great young Finnish band in the style of Skid Row. I felt a bit sorry for the guys, playing for maybe thirty or forty people at the smaller of the Islington Academy's two rooms and with a slightly dodgy front of house sound that sunk Hannes Kett's vocals deep in the mix.
However, the lack of punters didn't seem to discourage them. A few months ago I reviewed the group's second album, 'Carnival Days', in the pages of Classic Rock, suggesting that after a so-so debut, 'For Crying Out Loud', they now "have the talk to match the walk". I stand by that verdict. Frontiers - get 'em on a decent tour and they'll really tear it up.
As I type I'm pounding it out on the treadmill in a deserted gym, my BlackBerry held against the ear as England claim a flurry of wickets to seal a series win over India, currently rated as the best Test Match side in the world. Pleasure and pain!!
Saturday 1st September
Regular visitors to this page will know that I've struggled with its maintenance, but thanks to my glamorous webmistress, who worked overtime on a diet of Tesco Bulgarian Merlot and Ferrero Rochers, hurrah, we're up to date again. Feel free to go back to March for a good ol' catch-up; read about Mr Dan Reed playing a gig at Ling Towers, Palace staying in the Premier League (again) and some waffle about the summer festivals (or at least, those I could afford to attend).
Yeah, the last few months have been difficult, and for reasons I'd rather not get into right now the next six are set to be even more trying still. It's nothing health- or profession-related, nor have I given up the Demon Booze; it's just time to make a few changes. I've cut down on the amount of gigs I attend - I've had to. Money is very tight. But music still moves me as much as it ever did.
From now on I will endeavour to update this page every couple of days. Thanks to the many people that cared enough to collar me at gigs and ask the question: 'What the heck's happened to the Diary?', and to those that wrote nice emails cajoling me back into action, including Matt Claridge and Robert Cook. Ta for taking the time, chaps - it meant a lot to know that some folks read and enjoy this bollox.
Oh, and... COYP!