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 19th June
Yessssssssss! Iron Maiden have announced the details of their new studio record. 'The Book Of Souls' will be unveiled on September 4th. Set to be a double-CD (triple vinyl!!!), it contains an unfeasible amount of music. Fucking hell! The final track 'Empire Of The Clouds' (penned by Bruce Dickinson) lasts for 18:01! Not unreasonably, this has caused speculation that 'TBOS' will be the über-proggy record that the band have always threatened to make. Indeed, my friend Jerry Ewing, the editor or Prog magazine, just posted on my Facebook page that the spoke to Steve Harris at Download. "He reckoned if you like prog then you'll enjoy this," says Mr Spewing. How exciting!!!
What a fantastic, rib-tickling interview with Biff Byford, who was just telling me about Saxon's recent spot on the Rock On The Range Festival in Columbus, Ohio. He couldn't quite recall the name of the stage that they'd played on. "Was it the Jägermiester stage? It might've been the fucking... Big Tits stage, I dunno?" That's food for thought for Andy Copping at Download next year, maybe?
Oh, and have a look at these moving scenes at the Royal Albert Hall from a few nights ago as Walter Trout returned to the stage for the first time following the illness that almost took his life. It's great to see him looking so well as during our last interview from a hospital bed, during which he broke down and wept, Walter had expressed uncertainty over the return of his voice and the strength with which to grip a guitar. I really wish I could've been there!
Thursday 18th June
Eddie was up nice 'n' early yesterday and sat before Sky Sports News as the fixtures for the new footie campaign were announced. Palace are set to play the Arse, Chelksi and Man Shitty in the first half a dozen games… that's a very tough start. But you know what? Results in the last third of the previous term were such that I'm entering the 2015/'16 season with a renewed sense of optimism. I do hope that I can get some tix for the opening game, at newly promoted Norwich on August 8. That one's always a bloody good awayday!
There's fantastic news for fellow Nazareth fans. We've a London gig at last for the new line-up (now fronted by Carl Sentance of Persian Risk, Krokus, Don Airey Band, Uli Roth fame) – and it's a mere bus ride away! They play the Brooklyn Bowl (located inside the O2 Arena) on September 2. I'll be there!
Wednesday 17th June
So you might've been wondering what had happened to St Jude, the Ronnie Wood-approved, female fronted band who made so many new friends at the High Voltage Festival in 2011? The bad news is that they fell apart during the recording of their widely praised debut album, 'Diary Of A Soul Fiend'. However, frontwoman Lynne Jackaman is returning to the fray with a project that carries her surname. Last night, to celebrate the release of a second EP, 'No Halo', Jackaman and band – including the Quireboys duo of guitarist Guy Griffin and bass player Nick Mailing – played at the Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen, an intimate, rather pleasant North London venue.
The place was packed, and it didn't take long for the band to find its groove. Later repeated as an encore, 'Wasted' was bold, immediate and fulsome, though the slower, quieter 'So Cruel' provided a more superior still platform for Jackaman's exquisite voice. Revised with just acoustic guitar and keys, her performance of St Jude's 'Angel' was simply breathtaking. It could be argued that she depended a little too much on the cover versions that filled the latter part of the show, including Blind Faith's 'Can't Find My Way Home' and an encore of Aretha Franklin's '(You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman' but she's become a better, more confident frontperson, conducting both sides of the crowd against one another during '(I Know) I'm Losing You' by The Temptations and getting visibly carried away by the reaction to the music.
Yes, this was a hugely encouraging start for Jackaman (the band). Oh, and can we have more gigs at Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen please?!
Tuesday 16th June
I'm just about to make a start on the transcription of last week's face to face chat with Mick Mars, guitarist of the Crüe. How's this for a cool 'before' and 'after' shot? Together at Monsters Of Rock in 1984, and in London 31 years later?
In case you wondered, here's the story of pic #1: I interviewed Mars in London before Donington and requested he autograph my vinyl bootleg of the band's show at the US Festival. Mick wanted a couple of copies for himself and pressed £50 into my palm with the instructions to return to my source at Notting Hill Gate. A week later, when I found him backstage he couldn't believe I did so instead of simply pocketing the dough. #trustworthy
Monday 15th June
There's some interesting news via the Classic Rock website; Van Halen's first four albums are being re-mastered in July… or should that be re-re-re-mastered, as the process has now been undertaken on a number of occasions. I've only got the CD re-masters from 2010, but I don't think I will ever be replacing these little vinyl treasures, though! Each one is signed by the four original members.
I'm *really* digging 'Legacy', the fantastic new studio album from Praying Mantis, out via Frontiers on August 21. What a majestic, melodic, hard rocking beauty from the new line-up, which now features two Dutchmen; vocalist John 'Jaycee' Cuijpers and drummer Hans in't Zandt. It even sports a Rodney Matthews-drawn sleeve… quality!
Sunday 14th June
Well, that was a little strange. Immediately before the Euro Qualifier between Slovenia and England I conducted a phone interview with an American band that had just played a set in the rain at Drownload… er… Download – him on a mobile phone in a backstage Portacabin in Derbyshire and me here in my office in South London. All rather surreal.
Though Hodgson's men fell behind against the run of play, the England game was extremely entertaining. The vile grannyshagger Rooney claimed what turned out to be the winner with four minutes to go. As usual, I leapt in the air until realising the identity of the goalscorer. However, the win maintained England's unblemished record in the group stages, something their appalling defending had done its best to undermine. England have now gone through an entire season unbeaten for the first time in 24 years, and Wilshere's two goals were just fucking magnificent.
Saturday 13th June
For a variety of reasons – though it's due to childcare, mostly – I couldn't make it up to Donington Park for this weekend's Download Festival, but it's been great to sit in my office read everybody's Facebook posts from the site. It sounds like Thunder went down a treat... and given the torrential conditions their name was pretty apt!
Given my newly financially challenged status, the offer of doing a little extra work here in London was most welcome. So, defying a post-Oval hangover, this morning my alarm went off at 6.30am and I trundled off to Islington for a breakfast-time interview with two groups (one of whom had played at Donington Park only the day before).
Off the back of several epic working days – 7am until 9pm or 10pm – I literally dragged my carcass back across London, seved up some lich for the Linglets and prompty went back to bed for an extended catnap. Crikey, I must be getting old… or something.
As afternoon subsides to evening I'm *really* enjoying Spike's new album '100% Pure Frankie Miller' on glorious, sexy white vinyl... accompanied by a tall glass of something strong! The songs are great, and there's an impressive guest list that includes Ronnie Wood, Ian Hunter, Andy Fraser (RIP), Simon Kirke, Luke Morley, Mark Stanway, several members of the Quireboys, Tyla, Pat McManus, Cherry Lee Mewis and Bonnie Tyler, who duets on 'Fortune'.
Friday 12th June
Oh no, how very sad. Horror icon Christopher Lee died yesterday at the grand old age of 93. I once had the immense privilege of a short interview when he attended Metal Hammer's Golden Gods ceremony (some may not know that during his later years Lee recorded several heavy metal albums). When I asked why he liked the genre so much he fixed me with *those eyes* and replied in *that voice*, "It's the power! THE POWER!" This was an encounter that I shall never forget. RIP to a true legend.
Anyway… I'm at my 'other office' today. No calls unless they're super-urgent pls!
Thursday 11th June
As a favour to a work colleague I agreed to spend yesterday afternoon at a hotel in Kensington, conducting interviews with all four members of Mötley Crüe. It's a tough life, eh?
Though we had spoken by phone a few times during the intervening years, I hadn't met bass player Nikki Sixx in person since the days of John Corabi fronting the band back in the 1990s. Sheesh – what a pleasure. Back in their golden era, I once spent an afternoon at the Geffen Records office in LA waiting for him to turn up circa 'Girls Girl Girls'. Night and day when compared with now! The guy is a human quote machine, and so easy to deal with. During the course of our conversation Nikki said that Mötley Crüe will never agree to be inducted into the R&R Hall Of Fame, before correcting himself – if they did so they'd smuggle Deep Purple into the hall and as the curtain went up Purple would stun everyone by bursting into 'Burn'. Genius!
Wednesday 10th June
Yesterday morning was spent in a soave central London location chairing a 'round table'-style discussion about the state of Britain's rock music scene with the lead singers of four very different home-grown acts. It was a lot of fun and along the way some extremely interesting comments were made. I won't spoil the surprise by naming them here, but look out for it in the next issue of Classic Rock.
Before heading back at Catford I decided to have a quick root around bargain basement of the Record & Tape Exchange in nearby Berwick Street. It had been quite a while since I had last bought any LPs of CDs. So how upsetting to discover the place closed. I had scoured the racks in the place for many, many years. It had traded for almost two decades but moved out due to plans to build of an up-market 100-bedroom hotel. Following the closure of the R&TA up the road in Camden, this is yet another bitter blow for all connoisseurs of the second-hand music trade.
Tuesday 9th June
Last night was spent all alone, the Linglets having gone to Essex for their mother's wedding. I don't love her anymore – quite the opposite! – but in the silence it was quite hard not to look back at the two decades that we shared. For the sake of the good times (and there were quite a few) I tried to avoid dwelling on the ugliness of four years of enforced cohabitation 'for the sake of the kids' that, mercifully, are coming to an end. Her new start is just beginning while mine still awaits. Err… can it hurry up get here fairly soon please?! It could've been a depressing evening, but I had bought in a big fuck-off pizza and some nice crisps, and the Sky+ box was full of programmes I'd been saving till a rainy day, so to speak. Oh, and I stayed off the ale!
Ooooooh look, The Edgar Winter Band are playing at London's Koko on December 1st. I've never seen him/them before. Might have a bit o'that!
Monday 8th June
Setting the seal on a fabulous weekend last night I joined those gathered at the Borderline for Spike's Free House, the Quireboys frontman's tribute to the music of one of this country's best ever vocalists and songwriters, Frankie Miller. What a line-up… Thunder's Luke Morley on guitar, Magnum keyboardist Mark Stanway and one-half of the classic Free rhythm section, Simon Kirke on drums. Of course, Andy Fraser had originally been slated to play bass, and following his untimely demise in March, and after an ill fated attempt to induce Dukk McKagan on board, Spike brought in his QBs colleague Nick Mailing to plug the gap. And he did a very tidy job.
What followed as a really great 75-minute mix of tunes from the excellent album '100% Pure Frankie Miller' and Free perennials, delivered with all of Spike's usual boozy bonhomie. Following Frankie's 'Cocaine' (not to be confused with the JJ Cale alternative) he deadpanned: "I tried it once but it's so expensive… so I didn't do it again." And later on, to much laughter: "I deliberately sang the wrong words to 'All Right Now' so that Classic Rock will have something to moan about!"
Highlights were numerous, notably those interpretations of Free standards such as 'Mr Big' and 'The Hunter' though Miller's contagious boogie shuffle caused Spike to remark: "When did you last hear Mark Stanway play piano like that?" before adding: "We do that round his house every night!"
There are plans for further gigs by Spike's Free House towards the year's end, so don't miss them. Meanwhile, here's the set-list: 'Be Good To Yourself', 'Wishing Well', 'Cocaine', 'My Brother Jake', 'A Bottle Of Whisky', 'Intensive Care', 'Fortune', 'Mr Big', 'The Other Side Of Town', 'Living In A Cheap Hotel', 'The Hunter', 'Cold Cold Nights', 'The Brooklyn Bridge' and 'All Right Now', with an encore of the 1979 hit single 'Darlin''.
Sunday 7th June
What an utterly amazing night at yesterday's Spider 'Meet & Greet' event over at The Grange in Ealing, West London. Though rhythm guitarist/frontman Colin Harkness and lead axeman Dave 'Sniffa' Bryce still reside in Britain the band are now spread out all over the globe, but Brian Burrows (vocals and bass… though this time he stuck to singing) and his now moustache-less drumming sibling Rob E had flown in from France and Australia respectively. Likewise, fans had travelled from all over Britain. Though the band called it a day back in 1986, Jezza Locke regularly adds new members to his Facebook website page, the Spider Boogie Fanwagon. Jezza had done a fantastic job of organising the event over several months and many of the group's backroom team were also present, including original road crew, manager Maggi Farran and producer Tony Wilson. Nostalgia hung heavy in the air as the pint tally began to escalate. With Col being an Evertonian and Brian a staunch Red, there was plenty of footie banter – when it threatened to get out of control I reminded the pair how many points the mighty Eagles had taken this season from both of the teams across Stanley Park.
The band *did* get up play a few numbers together at the end of an acoustic set from Sniffa's current group Sniffa's Web, and what a reaction! Towards the end of the night Harkness joined in for 'Feel Like A Man' (B-side of 'All The Time' and a bit of a cult classic) before the announcement that we'd all been waiting for: "It's time to bring up the other two." And up stepped the Burrows brothers. Just like the old days, some crowd participation took place during 'Did You Like It Baby', encouraged as ever by Brian's offer of a sweetie, though all these years later he issued the tongue in cheek disclaimer: "[We'll do this] as long as I don't end up on some register… Operation Yewtree."
Col reclaimed the mic for 'Rock 'N' Roll Forever Will Last' and 'Here We Go Rock 'N' Roll', and the impromptu set ended with a rousing 'All The Time'. The crowd wouldn't allow anyone to leave the stage without an additional number, 'Rock 'N' Roll Gypsies'. What can I say? It was a thrill and a privilege to have been in the room. And having spoken to all four members, I'm happy to report that the band shared the audience's delight. Don't be too surprised if a slightly more official reunion of Spider takes place before too long, though exactly what sort of a form it might take remains to be seen.
All the same… wow. What a fucking great night. And to make matters complete, in the raffle I won a couple of bottles of Trooper Ale (one of which was polished off by Monsewer Beare on board the night bus back into central London) and a terrific Iron Maiden fridge magnet…
Saturday 6th June
A fairly tough week lies ahead so I am *really* looking forward to this evening's invite-only fan evening for my ol' mates Colin Harkness, Dave Sniffa Bryce, Rob E Burrows and Brian Burrows – AKA the eight-legged boogie machine Spider. Will they take to the stage together again? We can only hope so. But being the birthday of Andy Beare, one thing's for sure: A few medium-sweet sherries will be supped. Here's a nice pic of me and the lads and their producer Tony Wilson at a gig at Hackney Stadium way back in '82 (headline act was the Brian Robertson-era Motörhead).
Friday 5th June
Check out this piccie of the Asylum in Peckham – what a fantastic location for the first official worldwide playback of 'Meliora', the new album from the Dave Grohl-approved Swedish Satanic metal band Ghost. Satanism in Peckham? Who knew??!! I was among approximately 25 media hounds prepared to face up to warm wine, exploding beers and spooky surroundings in the name of metaaaaaal!
Out via Spinefarm on August 21, 'Meliora' is a big improvement upon ghost's previous album, 'Infestissumam'. At times it was quite Alice Cooper-ish, and my friend Mark Taylor reckoned that it reminded him of the amazing Blue Öyster Cult… a rather fine compliment to be sure. I was really impressed by track #3, 'Cirice', and, no surprise, learned later that it's to be the album's first single. Of course, the biggest test will be hearing 'Meliora' in the usual surroundings of my office, as opposed to a dilapidated Georgian chapel built in 1827, but I'm sure it'll stand up okay.
Before I forget… I was asked to write one of those Thursday Death Match thingamajigs for the Classic Rock website, flying the flag for the Mk III line-up of Deep Purple against its Gillan-fronted predecessor. Which incarnation did *you* prefer?
Thursday 4th June
Though they were mostly positive, my feelings over last night's gig by The Angels were mixed. With a reconfigured line-up with Dave Gleeson of the Screaming Jets, whose birthday it was, taking the place of the late Doc Neeson on vocals, and Sam Brewster (son of guitarist John) succeeding bass player Chris Bailey, who died in 2013, the veteran Aussies leapt out of the traps to hold me almost spellbound for the show's first half, revealing why they were an influence upon Guns N' Roses, Pearl Jam, Nirvana and Great White.
A little surprisingly, there was plenty of elbow room within The Garage – the place was maybe half full – but those that turned up sang along with gusto. Before asking the audience to raise a glass to Neeson and Bailey whilst introducing 'Be With You', John Brewster reminisced of having written said song on acoustic guitars by himself and Neeson in the piano room of Alberts Studios while Angus Young and company were next door laying down 'Let There Be Rock', revealing a mutual appreciation society that had existed between the Angels and AC/DC back in the 1970s ("We'd be hanging out with them while they were recording, and they'd be in with us when it was our turn to record – wonderful days").
The Angels had me gripped until 'Face The Day', a huge US hit for Great White in 1984, and then for some reason things kinda dropped off a bit. For the life of me I couldn't understand why they threw in a cover of ZZ Top's 'La Grange' at such a crucial moment in the set, and it wasn't until the room shook to 'Will I Ever See Your Face Again' – complete with its legendary audience participation cry of: "No way, get fucked, fuck off!" that things really got back on track. Would I go and see them again? Undoubtedly, though given the turnout for this show and the distances and expense involved, it's gotta be pretty unlikely that they'll return for a third visit.
Here's the set-list: 'After The Rain', 'Shadow Boxer', 'Comin' Down', 'Fashion And Fame', 'We've Gotta Get Out of This Place', 'I Ain't The One', 'No Secrets', 'Be With You', 'Face The Day', 'La Grange', 'After Dark', 'No Exit', 'Talk The Talk', 'Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again', 'Take A Long Line' and 'Marseilles', with an encore of 'Can't Shake It'.
Wednesday 3rd June
Nnnnoooooooooooooooooo! Please say it ain't so. Sweet have announced what's being reported as their last tour, topping a bill that includes Mud 2 (original members? Zero…) and the Rubettes. Andy Scott commented: "For Sweet to be going back out on tour in the UK on such a big scale for what will probably be the last time is a real thrill"... I can only hope that he means this'll be their final jaunt as headliners in venues as large as Edinburgh Playhouse, Bournemouth Pavilion and Oxford New Theatre, etc. A brand new studio album is being completed as I type, so a complete farewell would be rather strange. If they *are* bowing out for good, I demand that they sign off with full-blown rock set in a packed, sweaty club. No 'Poppa Jo', 'Wigam Bam' or 'Little Willy' this time. Let's have 'Windy City', 'Set Me Free', 'Rock And Roll Disgrace' and 'Burn On The Flame' et al.
What joy! The odious Sepp Blatter has finally stepped down after 17 years in charge of Fifa, though the bad news is that his reign will continue till a successor if appointed. Here's hoping it's only a matter of time before he's sharing a cell with a seven-foot muscleman sadist who bats for the other side, with a passion for 79-year-old conmen.
This evening I'm off to see Aussie legends The Angels perform their first UK show in 35 years. Hope it lives up to the expectations. Here's my recent interview with the Brewster brothers.
Tuesday 2nd June
Oh my gawwwwwwddd… this new YouTube clip of Whitesnake playing the Deep Purple classic 'Mistreated' is unbelievably ghastly. To make matters worse, it's just been announced that ex-Whitesnake Doug Aldrich has joined Glenn Hughes for this autumn's world tour dates. DC and GH will have discussed this, I'm sure, but it's hard to imagine Coverdale being completely, 100% cool with it. The air is probably rather blue in Lake Tahoe right about now.
The estimable Sir Peter of Way has posted a snippet of a new song on his FB page, complete with Slash on guitar. It has a line that goes: "Wish I had some Peruvian cocaine". So he's still a reformed character, then! Hahaha!
Monday 1st June
Is anyone else enjoying the return of the brilliant, riotous comedy Man Down on C4? We've lost Rik Mayall since series #1, which of course is tragic, but Greg Davies is such a funny dude... there were several belly laughs in last night's episode. I might even watch it again at lunchtime.
For those that are interested, the Playlist and YouTube pages have received their monthly updates.
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