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.
Tuesday 18th November
Alas, somewhat embarrassingly, my week of gig-going was destined to fall the very first hurdle. News pages were still being closed as the clock ticked towards show-time for Santa Cruz. At gone 7pm there was no way I could shower, grab some nosebag and make it to the Barfly in Camden in time for the show. An evening of cooking for kids, laundry and I'm A bleedin' Celebrity… Gah!
Monday 17th November
The start of a new week and some great nights ahead: Santa Cruz (tonite), Diamond Head/Girlschool (tomorrow), Bigelf (Weds), Threshold (Thurs) and Romeo's Daughter (Fri). I might just need the weekend to recover...
A-ha! It seems we have the title of the new UFO album at last. 'A Conspiracy Of Stars' is released via SPV on February 23, accompanied by a lengthy UK tour in May. Should all go to plan then I will be at London's Forum on the 7th, and maybe try to fit in a trip behind enemy lines to That Unmentionable Place On The South Coast a couple of days earlier.
Sunday 16th November
Back from the Olympia Record Fair with a bagful o'vinyl. Spent a wee bit more than I intended, but you only live once. The bad news: an afternoon of tape transcript awaits. Ho hum…
The date of Julian Speroni's testimonial has been announced. Though the opponents have yet to be revealed, fans will get to celebrate the 'keeper's ten years as CPFC custodian on Tuesday May 26, 2015, at Selhurst Park. In football today such loyalty is rare as rocking horse shit. It deserves to be rewarded.
Saturday 15th November
I've just given Eddie some fatherly advice: Never, ever drink tequila. Last night was spent at Metropolis Studios in West London, checking out the new-look (i.e. McCafferty-less) line-up of Nazareth as they performed a special filmed-for-DVD concert for 125 fans. Could their new singer Linton Osborne cut it? I really hoped so, and approached the gig with an open mind. Osborne is a great vocalist, no doubt of that… but he cannot do gruff – an instant, monumental minus point when following in the Size Tens of an icon such as McCafferty. The falsetto on 'May The Sun Shine' sounded a bit forced to these ears, and he lit up a ciggie to introduce 'Bad Bad Boy' before proceeding to sing it like Vince Neil might have done before middle age set in. The band had tweaked the set-list nicely, which was welcome, ditto the absence of Dan's gruesome bagpipe effect. Their performance was enjoyable enough but something was amiss, and it wasn't purely due to technical issues or the intense heat. 'Miss Misery' and 'Hair Of The Dog', were both started several times over, curious given that the latter is a song that Nazareth must have played thousands of times before ("Don't put this in your blogs", we were told from the stage – whoops… sorry!)
The Ling Towers verdict on Linton Osborne: He's not Dan, but he's good. Whether that will prove sufficient, only time will tell. Meanwhile, the song-list ran follows: 'Silver Dollar Forger', 'Sleeptalker', 'When The Light Comes Down', 'Rock 'N' Roll Telephone', 'Razamanaz', 'Miss Misery', 'May The Sun Shine', 'See Me', 'Dear John', 'Turn On Your Receiver', 'Radio', 'Bad Bad Boy', 'Shanghaid In Shanghai', 'Heart's Gown Cold', 'Holiday', 'One Set Of Bones', 'This Flight Tonight', 'Broken Down Angel', 'Hair Of The Dog', 'Love Hurts' and 'Expect No Mercy'.
I grinned at the news that there would be free tequila at the after-show meet & greet. Curiously, however, there were few takers. After a while the barman started to see me coming and lined them up. Later on, when Jerry Ewing and I ventured over for the umpteenth time, he shrugged: "Nobody's drinking the stuff… you'd better have doubles." Oh, go on then. I recall being at the Bar Of Cros and then waking up on the wrong night bus, luckily in Lewisham from where I could stagger home through the park. (EDIT... Eddie just asked: "Can we get some tequila for this afternoon's England game?" Kids, they never learn).
Talking of which, I was proud to see Nat Clyne get his debut England cap against Slovenia. Clyne is a CPFC youth academy graduate that Kevin Denman and I had tipped for international honours when we saw him in the Palace reserves. I wish he was still an Eagle. Despite a scare when the Slovenians pulled it back to 2-1, the score-line of 3-1 was pretty satisfying.
Friday 14th November
Two days ago Arnie's cat, Nellie, disappeared. I felt so sorry for the little guy standing in the garden calling her name and banging the food dish. There are so many foxes around here and still some idiots with fireworks, my heart of hearts told me she was gone for good but Nellie was by the back door this morning looking disheveled and possibly with a slight limp. It's great to have her home again, the three of us missed her!
Thursday 13th November
Wow… Opeth have announced a special 25th anniversary show at the London Palladium. October 18th, 2015, seems a long way off but I really hope I can get in to see this. The last band I witnessed at the London Palladium was The Sweet!
Fellow Palace fans, and those who were amused when the Rodgers' Reds threw away a three-goal lead at Selhurst Park at the tail end of last season, may like to check out this side-splitting YouTube clip of how things might have sounded had the commentator been a Scouser.
Wednesday 12th November
Eddie and I are watching The Nation's Favourite Queen Song on ITV. Sadly, the lad doesn't have much interest in rock music but he appeared in his school's version of We Will Rock You and we always sing along together to 'Don't Stop Me Now' whenever it's played at Selhurst Park (which is often). It's always been 'You're My Best Friend' for me, but the show certainly made you realise how many all-time classic tunes the group recorded. 'Who Wants To Live Forever' is just gorgeous, ditto the god-like 'Somebody To Love' and 'Killer Queen'. And at the other end of the spectrum, youngest lad Arnie has just walked into the room during the Coronation Street-themed 'I Want To Break Free', given us both a very queer look and walked straight back out again! Haha!
Tuesday 11th November
I'm absolutely loving the new Harem Scarem album, 'Thirteen', as I write my next melodic column for Classic Rock. The way it's looking it will be completed by White Widdow ('Crossfire'), Bailey ('Long Way Down'), Nubian Rose ('Metal Revolution') and Wicked Sensation ('Adrenaline Rush')… all terrific releases!
Whilst date-checking I've just stumbled upon this YouTube gem, a Friday Rock Show recording of the Scorpions' 1979 set at the Reading Festival… check it out.
Still in the realms of YouTube, my good friend Malcolm Dome has just sent over a 'What the fuck was he thinking' moment from Motörhead guitarist Phil Campbell. Click here and prepare to be staggered!
Monday 10th November
Well, I didn't see that coming – Starz have signed a deal with Frontiers Records and will record a new album – their first since 1978's 'Attention Shoppers' – early next year with Bruno Ravel of Danger Danger acting as producer. As you'll recall, the Long-running American hard rockers made their UK debut at London's Garage last December, after… ulp… 37 years of existence.
I've been catching up on a bit of telly. I must say I've been enjoying Fox TV's Tyrant, and not just 'cos it shares a title with a classic Judas Priest song. Anyone else looking forward to the weekend's conclusion of series one? Will Barry/Bassam's coup be a success, or has his evil brother Jamal twigged?
Sunday 9th November
ManUre 1 Crystal Palace 0, and another game of 'what ifs'. Yesterday's fixture was the Eagles' best chance in many years of a league victory at O*d Tr***rd, and the sides were equally matched throughout the first half. If only Fraiser Campbell had put away his chance in a one-on-one. The home side's goal came from distance and arrived out of almost nothing at all, and for once Julian Speroni seemed at fault.
Oh almighty feck. The caller ID of 'Accountant' revealed it was the one I'd been dreading: "How soon can I have your data for 2012/13?" Arse, arse, arse!!!!! I'd vowed to be much better prepared this year but of course it hasn't happened.
On a happier note, Thunder are "over the moon" that guitarist/keysman Ben Matthews has been given the all-clear by the oncologist. Apparently, Ben was well enough to have participated in yesterday's cover shoot for the group's new album, "though he was quite tired, he did a fine job (with his new short hair)." Fantastic news!
As the final whistle blew in Palace's game I headed across town to the Garage for a few beers with my old gig buddy Ian Mansell and the chance to see Vega and their special guests Newman. Newman's drummer Pete Newdeck was in the pub and broke the bad news: The singers of both bands had been struck down by laryngitis. Nick Workman's was so bad that Vega actually considered cancelling the show, though with fans have coming from as far afield as Spain, Brazil, Germany and California they decided the show must go on.
It's not often the support act plays for twice as long as the headliner, though these were exceptional circumstances. Newman (the band) played a blinder and as well as great, hummable songs with quality musicianship there was lots of messing around between the songs, including a spontaneous version of the theme from Postman Pat.
When he threw a selection of plectrums into the crowd before the final song, 'One Step Closer', Steve Newman roared with laughter when a pick hit yours truly in the face. "Okay, I'm not gonna start this till Dave Ling sticks a plectrum to his forehead," he challenged. "Come on, Dave… lick it first." Hilarious!
Shortly before Vega took to the stage they were informed that due to a stupid curfew, they had a mere 25 minutes left. Much respect to them for managing to put on a performance of any description. "Anyone who's reviewing, please put your pens away," requested Workman. Though nobody can halt a medical condition, some anger seemed to bubble away beneath the surface.
Justifiably, 'What The Hell!' became 'What The Fuck?', and as Nick introduced one of two songs from the new album 'Stereo Messiah', he grimaced: "Tonight we really are giving you 'All Or Nothing At All'." I look forward to seeing Vega on tour with Joe Elliott's Down 'N' Outz in December.
Saturday 8th November
Saddle up! The joke's getting a bit old, I know, but I love Hayseed Dixie's new version of 'Don't Stop Believing'. They've also banjo-ed up 'Eye Of The Tiger', 'The Final Countdown', 'Pour Some Sugar On Me' and '(Don't Fear) The Reaper' on their new album, 'Hair Down To My Grass', due in January. Its version of 'Livin' On A Prayer' is also pretty hilarious, though they sadly resist the temptation to have re-named Tommy and Gina as Billy-Bob and Daisy. Oh well. The NWOHAOR (New Wave Of Hillbilly AOR) starts here.
Friday 7th November
I really enjoyed Thunder's 'secret' free gig at the Brooklyn Bowl, a new venue housed inside the O2 Arena. To read my review at the Classic Rock website go here. Drinks flowed before during and after the show as we celebrated the birthday of my friend Tyrina Gallagher, but I was happy to accept the offer of a lift home from my friends Darryl and Andy, as it was raining cats and dogs outside. We got soaked to skin walking back to Darryl's car. I'd have caught pneumonia returning by public transport.
During the afternoon I had spoken to Klaus Meine of the Scorpions, who sounded very excited about the prospect of playing at next year's Ramblin' Man Festival, and an hour or so later to Leslie West. Also managed to sneak in a park run before the heavens opened… Now that's what I call a productive day!
Thursday 6th November
Brrrrrrrrr... winter is finally here and that's quite enough shivering. It's time to start warming up the office before I come out here to my office, and although I'm at a Thunder show tonite the central heating in the house is going on.
Wednesday 5th November
Last night I had a phone chat with Ricky Warwick, followed by a call from Scott Gorham. Both men gave me the lowdown on the forthcoming second album from Black Star Riders. Ricky and Scott couldn't have been more complimentary about Nick Raskulinecz, the Grammy-winning producer that the band worked with in Nashville when scheduling difficulties prevented Joe Elliott from manning the console. When I asked Warwick whether the results sound less like Thin Lizzy and more like Black Star Riders, he chortled: "That's a great question". You'll have to pick up the next issue of Classic Rock to read his full response.
Tuesday 4th November
It's hard to find the words to sum up my disappointment. With Palace's rivals all losing or drawing at the weekend, a win against Sunderland would have lifted the club several places in the table. Sinking a few pre-game ciders with pals the talk was of taking the game to our opponents, using the wing play of Zaha and Bolasie to get in their faces. Sure enough, the Eagles came out of the traps at high speed and should have had a penalty within a minute. But to my dismay Sunderland took the lead completely against the run of play. Selhurst erupted in howls of fury as somehow the Black Cats survived what looked like another stonewall penalty – referee Phil 'Specsavers' Dowd really is a colossal wanker. Palace equalised in the second half but went on to concede two further goals. Worse still, captain Mile Jedinak – our most important player – was sent off in the final stages after being shown a second yellow card, and will be suspended for Saturday's trip to ManUre. Eddie and I slunk back home in silence with our tails between our legs.
Monday 3rd November
Under normal circumstances last night I'd have been at Shepherd's Bush Empire to see the new line-up of Asia. I was invited, and the offer of free beer was every bit as tempting as the chance to have kept an eye on the fortunes of a band that I've loved for decades. But I couldn't get my mind off John Wetton's Tweet about my review of the current album 'Gravitas' (see Diary, March 27), so in the end I replied: "Thanks very much but I think I've an appointment to rearrange my sock drawer."
Well, it's official! Dunno how I kept this one to myself for so long! From the makers of the High Voltage Festival, it's the Ramblin' Man Fair : The Scorpions, Gregg Allman, Camel, and the Marills together in the UK next summer... and that's just for starters!
Sunday 2nd November
Last nite was spent the at Islington Academy watching Bay Area melodic rock legends Y&T, such a consistent band. Amazingly, they're now four decades old. "1974 to 2014, 40 years of rock n roll – that's older than me!!" quipped guitarist/frontman Dave Meniketti. A stupid Saturday night curfew ensured that time ran out on a promised 'Knock You Out', though the quartet played for two hours and ten minutes. 'All American Boy', from 1985's 'Down For The Count', was an interesting addition to the set and had never been played live till last month, while 'Cold Day In Hell' sounded so good it made me think I should go back and reinvestigate the album from which it was lifted, 1995's somewhat overlooked 'Musically Incorrect'. 'I Believe In You' is one of those songs that I just got lost in each time I hear them play it live... it would be definitely in my Top 30 Desert Island Discs.
Here's the full 22-song set-list: 'Hurricane', 'Black Tiger', 'Boys Night Out', 'Lucy', 'Lipstick & Leather', 'Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark', 'Meanstreak', 'Dirty Girl', 'All American Boy', 'Midnight In Tokyo', 'Cold Day In Hell', 'Winds Of Change', 'I'm Coming Home', 'I'll Cry For You', 'Surrender', 'Rescue Me', 'Contagious', 'I Want Your Money', 'Summertime Girls' and 'Rescue Me' plus 'Open Fire' and 'Forever'.
I've just been to the local Harvester for Sunday lunch with my dad and the boys. Dad happened to mention that next year he turns 80 and, inevitably, I asked whether he's going to have some party. "I expect so," he replied. "Oh that's great!" remarked Eddie casually, "will there be any strippers?!!" I've never been so lost for words in all of my life.
Saturday 1st November
What a great quote given to me last nite by Rival Sons vocalist Jay Buchanan: "Music journalists… most of you are very evil characters. Everybody knows that. You are the scum and the dregs of what music should be." Why, thanks! None taken! On paper that looks pretty provocative, right? But he said it in a nice way, complimenting Classic Rock's writers for bucking the stereotype, so Buchanan is excused.
Awesome!! In exchange for my spare copy of the Quo Live box, Ross Halfin said he'd bring me back a bootleg treat from Japan. You can't beat a numbered 4 x disc set of Judas Priest's 'Unleashed In The East'… two shows (4pm and 7pm) with the full set-list, including non-vinyl tracks 'Delivering The Goods', 'Starbreaker', 'Rock Forever' and 'Well Bent For Trevor'. Domo arigato, Ross!!
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