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.
Saturday 9th April
Oh I did like to be beside the seaside! Last night was spent in Hastings for a dose of shit-kicking rock 'n' rawwwwll with Nashville Pussy and pardner in crime Andy Beare. The drive to the coast from London was speedier than expected and we had time some kill before the show. To be honest, I was quite freaked out being back in the town where my grandparents on my mother's side had lived for so long. My sister and I used to visit them often, and on the way to the venue we drove past Alexandra Park where I had spent a lot of happy time - *way* too many years ago. I recalled vividly those houses with the long paths of steps leading down St Helens Road; back then the climb had seemed massive to me as a toddler... very spooky.
We grabbed a bite to eat and sought out the gig's location - The Brass Monkey, a great little boozer, with the emphasis on the world 'little'. Maybe 150-200 people? Mr Beare and I claimed a vantage point as soon as the last of the support acts finished, and blimey... we were just two rows from the front of the tiny stage. Guitarist/singer Blaine Cartwright drank beer out of his hat and dedicated 'Up The Doseage' to Status Quo ("we rip them off on every album, this was our attempt to sound just like them"), while his lead guitar-toting missus Ruyter Suys was a blur of headbanging, shape-throwing and squealing notes. The 80-minute set-list included a Pussied-up snippet of the Marshall Tucker Band's 'Can't You See' during 'Go To Hell', while delicious locally brewed cider cost a mere £2.50 per pint - c'mon what more do you want? So here's an official warning: Hastings, we shall return... even if you are a little too close to comfort to that other place we simply cannot mention.
Thursday 7th April
I just conducted a nice phoner with Saxon's Biff Byford for the Download Festival's official programme to start the day. There was no point in asking him about the set-list that's being planned as he's likely to walk out on stage, screw the bloody thing up into a ball and eat it, as he did last year at Ramblin' Man Fair. "Yeah," he agreed with a laugh, "set-lists are very tasty."
Oh look, the Postie's been. I opened the big one first and emitted a very loud cheer. God alone knows what the neighbours must have thought when I saw the contents of the smaller envelope.
Wednesday 6th April
Anyone that continues to moan on and on about the dearth of new(-ish) talent should have been at the 100 Club for last night's gig by Monster Truck. These guys fuse the power of metal, the soul of Southern rock and the wide-tread groove of stoner rock into something that both energises and mesmerises. Heavy-hitters like 'Don't Tell Me How To Live', 'Why Are You Not Rocking?' and 'For The People' (think the Marshall Tucker Group on steroids!) filled the early stages, but a brilliant two-song encore set the seal on a triumphant evening; 'For The Sun', gnarled, bluesy and unusually, tortuously slow, while 'Sweet Mountain River', sounded like the work of a band from deepest, rural Carolina and not Hamilton, Ontario. But a sold-out audience were the night's real stars, echoing every 'woooah woooah!' and leaping around, spilling beer everywhere (at a fiver as pint it was their loss, I guess).
So here's a word of friendly advice, leap on board this Truck when it rolls back into the UK. Don't just take my word for it. "Monster Truck is one of the few really great down to earth rock 'n' roll bands... they're hard, soulful and heavy", says Slash. Twisted Sister's Dee Snider roars: "Holy Fuck, this band rocks!" Mike Inez of Alice in Chains adds: "Monster Truck is the Real deal. Familiar. Comfortable. Lik an old pair of gig boots or sweaty pig sex with an ex-girlfriend." And don't forget Dave Navarro (Red Hot Chili Peppers/Jane's Addiction): "Killer band, great guitar playing."
Tuesday 5th April
So today marks the 22nd anniversary of Kurt Cobain's suicide. I remember it well. I smoked a very large cigar. Now that I'm a grown up (allegedly), and with kids of my own, I feel a little bad about the fact... but it's true, I did celebrate rather wildly. More importantly to yours truly, drummer extraordinaire Cozy Powell also died on this day in 1998 - and it was not his choice to do so. RIP, Cozy.
Monday 4th April
Absolutely gutted and still in disbelief that England did not triumph in yesterday's T20 cricket world cup final. Ben Stokes bowled out a nightmare final over, Carlos Brathwaite smashing four sixes as the West Indies sealed an unlikely victory to steal the trophy from under England's noses. FFS!!
Just conducted a great phone interview with Terry Reid, the now Californian-based Englishman nicknamed 'superlungs' and best known for turning down the lead singer spots in Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple. What a great, humble and funny guy, describing his earliest vinyl appearances as sounding "like a canary on acid" and refusing to be dragged into any negativity about decisions me made in the past, for very good reasons. "You've got to keep your sense of humour about that stuff, mate, or it'll drive you nuts," he advised. Quite right, too.
Sunday 3rd April
There's still no league win for Palace in 2016, but yesterday's away point against Wet Sham... yup, I'll take that, with bells on. Kouyaté was controversially sent off in the second half and Palace had chances to claim the spoils. It is now 14 League matches without a win for the Eagles, but I echo Pardew's comment: "It was a tremendous game of football and [from CPFC's perspective] it was a significant point in the scheme of things."
To be honest, I needed a little pick-me-up after Friday's evening of excess, so thank goodness for these - the new double disc re-mastered editions of 'On The Level', 'If You Can't Stand The Heat…' and 'Whatever You Want', with sleeve essays by a certain resident of Catford. Am currently leaping around the office with a tennis racket grooving out to 'Long Legged Linda'.
A memorable Saturday night was spent cleaning the shower and bathroom. #livingthedream
Saturday 2nd April
Well… what a wonderful Friday night spent watching Romeo's Daughter at Borderline in the company of my eldest lad Eddie and a group of booze-swigging loonies (step forward Andy Beare and Richard Thompson). We enjoyed a few pre-show aperitifs in the Crobar, and exiting to walk to the venue just a few doors down bumped into Merv Goldsworthy of the mighty FM. I'd pre-warned Merv and his missus, Leigh Matty of RD, that Ed was gonna be with me. "Are you looking forward to the gig, then?" he asked, laughing aloud at Ed's super-honest response: "Well, fifty-fifty."
In the end he really enjoyed the show. And why not? It was a top-notch display from a great band, one of the best that I've ever seen them give. They have given up all pretence of replacing Tony Mittman in the line-up, keys are now sampled, and the four-piece band seems to have relaxed. The 17-song set-list was extremely well-balanced; five tunes from the current disc 'Spin', plus a varied selection of tracks from their catalogue. The set list ran as follows: 'Heaven In The Back Seat', 'Velvet Tongue', 'Touch', 'Radio', 'Bittersweet', 'Alive', 'Lightning', 'Already Gone', 'Perfect Plan', 'Enemy', 'Keep Walking', 'Trippin' Out', 'Attracted To The Animal', 'I Cry Myself To Sleep At Night' and 'Inside Out', with an encore of 'Will Be (Acoustic)' and 'Wild Child.
The band were nothing but lovely to Eddie. Introducing 'Alive', Leigh said "This is for a young man who's at his first rock gig", and here's a photo of three of my fave peeps on Planet Earth. Afterwards Merv told me that he'd been standing a few feet away from Ed at the bar and loved watching him punching the air, flying the devil horn and swigging back pints. "He's a real chip off the old block", he said. "It was just like watching you [from the stage, watching FM] back in 1986. You should be very proud." I am, sincerely.
With the Crobar closed due to local sewer problems (being honest the gig had stunk a bit, too), we ended up in in the Royal George, an awful boozer just off Tottenham Court Road that should really have been swallowed up by the Crossrail development. There was a woeful, non-rock clientele but as pissed as I might have been, I managed to avoid strutting my stuff on the dance floor. Just. It was a close thing, tho.
Friday 1st April
Now here's an odd thing. Two generations of Lings will be at this evening's London Borderline gig from Romeo's Daughter. Eddie's taste in music lies on the poppier side of things, which is fair enough, but after I emailed a few YouTube links - the ballad 'I Cry Myself To Sleep At Night' is his favourite "Wow, that one is brilliant!") - he said he'd like to give them a try. Expect a few liveners at the Crobar first, of course. #prouddad
BTW, a very happy 40th birthday to the '2112' album by Rush, such an implausibly fine piece of music. Now where did I put that silk kimono?