This journal of the comings'n'goings and musings'n'enthusings of Dave Ling
will be updated daily - except after nights of excess.
Saturday 11th October
After what feels like a few months of semi-retirement from gigging it's all kicking in again: Opeth (tonight), Flying Colours (Monday ), Nashville Pussy (Tuesday), a day off on Weds, The Treatment (Thurs) and Mr Big (Fri), followed by Palace-Chelski on Sat and Blackberry Smoke (Sun). Bring it on!! As if we didn't require categorical proof that the Hall Of Fame is a sick, unfunny joke, those talentless jokers The Smiths are among the (No) Class Of 2015 nominees, alongside Lou Reed, Kraftwerk, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, Nine Inch Nails, Green Day, Stevie Ray Vaughan and the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, meaning that Deep Purple, Yes, Bon Jovi, King Crimson, ELP and many more are overlooked – yet again. What a farce…
Friday 10th October
Though the result of 5-0 maintained a 100% record in the competition thus far, England made fairly heavy work of last nite's Euro qualifier against San Marino at Wembley – a team so shit that even Clowntown Pathetic's reserves wouldn't fail to beat. The game made me realise how much I hate W***e R***ey. I sighed deeply when he 'scored' the fifth, and then cheered loudly when it was declared on own goal. He's not fit to lace Jimmy Greaves' boots. Anyway, faced with the prospect of yet another Friday night stuck at home, I have cheered myself up by booking travel to the Firefest weekend. In exactly two weeks I shall be watching a bill that includes Shy, Ten and headliners H.E.A.T. - and that's just the opening nite! Hahaha, leafing through the January 2014 issue of Classic Rock in search of a quote for this afternoon's interview with Jimmy O, vocalist/guitarist of the Graveltones, I was amused to spot this gem from Francis Rossi: "Status Quo unplugged? The idea makes my bottom twitch. It would be good for about 20 minutes…" The man does not lie.
Thursday 9th October
I really enjoyed last night's gig from Kobra & The Lotus, the female-fronted Maple Leaf Mayhem Merchants (© Paul Suter) who were playing songs from their strongest album to date, 'High Priestess'. It was by far the best show of the six shows I've seen them perform. However, three LPs into their career they really should be doing bigger places than the Barfly...
I made a conscious effort to catch the main support act. Not to be confused with 'Monuments', the UK progressive-metal combo, the singular Monument are capital-based, very much in the vein of Maiden and Priest and fronted by Peter Ellis (once of the excellent White Wizzard). Annoyingly, their half-hour slot was beset by technical problems: some mic issues caused a whole chunk of 'Carry On' to become lost, just like a lot of the higher register notes... the very ones that I really wanted to hear!
Luckily those frustrations were not echoed by the headliners, whose supremely versatile Kobra Paige turned in one hack of a vocal masterclass. They're an interesting group, once discovered by Greg Godovitz of the mighty Goddo, fact fans. Stylistically speaking K&TL have been on the money for some time but it's only fairly recently that songs of genuine quality were added to the mix. All but four of the night's 14 tunes were pulled from 'High Priestess'; it seems as though they agree with me! At times the band were reminiscent of a female-fronted Queensrÿche, though the ballad 'Lost In The Shadows' can be viewed as their 'Beyond The Realms Of Death' moment, having supported Halford and company at Hammersmith in 2012 that's certainly the vibe they were aiming for. Here's the full set-list: 'High Priestess', 'Nayana', 'Battle Of Wrath', 'Hold On', 'Warhorse', 'Soldier', 'Welcome To My Funeral', 'Forever One', 'Visionary', 'Willow', 'Lost In The Shadows' and 'I Am, I Am', with encores of 'Heartbeat' and '50 Shades Of Evil'.
Wednesday 8th October
'Play Ball', the new single from AC/DC – and the first thing to be made public since Malcolm Young retired from the group – is better than I'd been fearing... much better. I can almost imagine Jerry Ewing singing its chorus in the Crobar, doing his best Jonno impersonation! Listen to it here.
Anyway, it's another pink 'n' fluffy day here at Ling Towers, I'm writing my melodic rock column for the next issue of Classic Rock. Though it sticks in my throat to say anything complimentary about a record entitled 'Albion', the new album by UK hard rockers Ten is amazing, their best in many a long year. I wish the same could be said of the self-titled debut from Rated X, a unit built around ex-Rainbow/Deep Purple singer Joe Lynn Turner and featuring fretless bassist Tony Franklin (The Firm, Blue Murder) and drummer Carmine Appice (Vanilla Fudge, Ozzy Osbourne, Blue Murder). On paper this one really should be a killer, but barring the odd gripping moment it's just too dull and hackneyed. Far more preferable is the self-titled album by Teri Tims, a ravishing and gifted singer from Keithville, Louisiana, whose husband – the one and only Paul Sabu – co-wrote many of its superb, instantly memorable songs. The press release says that her voice "will make a married man wish he was single, and a teenage boy wish he was a man." I couldn't have put it better myself!
Tuesday 7th October
Hearty congratulations to my colleague Paul Elliott on a superb cover story in the new issue of Classic Rock (dated November). Gooner got on so well with Jimmy Page that the Zep-meister offered him to job of fronting his new solo band ("are you volunteering?"). Dunno why but Paul's reply of: "Come on, Jimmy. Don't be silly" really made me giggle. A great visual image from Ross Halfin, too. JP looks so much better for binning the hair dye a while ago!
I just got off the phone with Eric Bloom, who was talking up Blue Öyster Cult's spot at next month's Hard Rock Hell Festival. Our conversation kinda made me wish I was attending the show, but it's in Wales… *grimaces*… Naah, really can't see that happening.
Monday 6th October
Last night I got around to watching the BBC's documentary on Genesis, Together & Apart… oh dear. So many reservations, where to start? I couldn't agree more with Steve Hackett, whose feathers have been well and truly ruffled by its glaring omission of his solo work. It's almost as though Genesis are trying to airbrush him out of their history – the guitarist was excluded from the Six Of The Best show at Milton Keynes Bowl (till he turned up anyway) and left out of their last reunion tour – disgraceful! Now this!! Not even a mention of the Ray Wilson line-up, either. I daresay the full-length DVD edition will be superior, but whoever edited the footage for telly is a plum of the highest order.
However, there were some unexpectedly good bits, for example Tony Banks on Phil Collins' solo success; "I wanted him to do well... but not that well. For about 15 years he was ubiquitous." But hearing the odious 'I Can't Dance' again for the first time in years reminded me that it is an aural turd to rival Quo's own 'B***ing B***ges'. Overall though, given the level of access they had Together & Apart can only be filed under: 'Missed opportunity'. Once again the Beeb pretends to care about rock music, and fails miserably… Let's all pretend to be shocked.
And in happier news, there's a wonderful six-minute YouTube teaser of Steven Wilson's new album, work on which recently took place at London's AOR Studios. I'm so bloody excited… February 2015 can't come quickly enough!
Sunday 5th October
Despite the Palace result I had an enjoyable Saturday night at Shepherd's Bush Empire where Ian 'Unter & The Rant Band were supported by my mates from Stockport, Federal Charm. Met up for a couple of pre-gig pints in the Defector's Weld with my Classic Rock colleague Neil Jeffries and the inimitable Mark Taylor before scooting across the Green to catch Federal Charm's warm-up set. Although allocated just 25 mins to show what they could do the quartet acquitted themselves admirably, 'I'm Not Gonna Beg' and 'Too Blind To See' displaying a measured, earthy groove, while their cover of Lowell Fulson's 'Reconsider Baby' gets better and better every time I hear them play it. Next up is a series of gigs with ex-Black Crowe Rich Robinson… watch their progress continue.
And so onto Mr 'Unter… Neil and I had a fantastic view of the stage from our seats at the front of the balcony, but it was hot inside the venue and the music was a little one paced, after a while it began to been a bit soporific so I walked about and took a few photos. Def Leppard's Joe Elliott was backstage but just for once declined to join in on the encores, though Ian's Mott buddy Mick Ralphs was less elusive. Being the last night of the tour there was a pleasant, carefree vibe and although I could never claim to be a great student of IH's solo catalogue it was a fun evening all the same. Very glad that I resisted the temptation to drink too much.
Saturday 4th October
Yesssss… get in! Thanks a lot, postie! I've just received a package of goodies from Derek Oliver at Rock Candy Records, including 3 x Toto re-issues ('Toto', 'Hydra' and 'Turn Back'), five of the best ones made by Swiss metalheads Krokus, and the debuts from Danger Danger and the BulletBoys. Now... which to play first? It's gotta be Krokus' 'Metal Rendez-vous', I think!
Ah well, the first defeat of the second Colin Wanker era has just been registered – Hull 2 Palace 0. Watched the game on an internet stream and the result kinda flattered the home team, their second goal coming as the Eagles pushed up in search of an equaliser. I cannot stand losing to Flatnose Bruce, and it rarely happens – the Tigers had beaten Palace only once in 15 meetings – but nothing lasts forever, eh?
Friday 3rd October
Oh look, what a brilliant photo I've just found! My boys with their 'Uncle' Michael Monroe in the Hanoi Rocks dressing room at the Rock & Blues Custom Show way back in 2006. Eddie looks a wee bit nervous but Arnie is loving it! Sax 'n' ligs 'n' rawkenrawl!!!
Thursday 2nd October
Cool… Metal Hammer have asked me to review Opeth's gig at the Roundhouse this weekend! Better still, they also want me to nip backstage afterwards and ask Mikael Åkerfeldt a few 'how was it for you'-type questions. There are worse ways to spend a Saturday nite!
Wednesday 1st October
Ooooh, exciting! Having realised that a reunion of Led Zeppelin "doesn't look likely", Jimmy Page is making plans to reactivate his solo career . Now *that's* something I'd pay to see.
One of the best things about my job is that I never know what's around the corner. For instance, the Jesus & Mary Chain are a band so far off my radar they might as well reside on Uranus. And yet last night I ended up chatting with Jim Reid, their once hard-as-nails frontman, about a series of upcoming dates. I'd prepared a few Qs of my own and some others were sent via a better informed source from the office (hi, Dave Everley). We were getting along fine till I asked one of the 'suggested' questions, namely did the Scotsman - whose violent relationship with sibling William was a thing of legend - mellow out in the late 1980s, or just pretend to? Cue: a frosty silence, and then, emphatically, and sounding offended: "We've never mellowed out. The Mary Chain don't do mellow."
Thank Gawd there were several miles of phone line between us!
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