31 May, 2009
Between the crack-ups I've been trying to write an updated chapter for the paperback version of the Zeppelin book which comes out in the UK later this year. It's strange having to go back to this so soon after the original came out. My fingers ache and my wrists literally go to sleep just trying to type the words 'Led' and 'Zeppelin'. And yet, the story just goes on and on, even when the band aren't doing anything or likely to for a long while. I know what I need to say, it's trying to say it without my mouth becoming disfigured, like a stroke victim trying to call for help. Anyway, that has to be delivered tomorrow and so far I've managed a solitary paragraph so I better get cracking. The in-laws are looking after broken-down wife and never-stop kids today so I have to make the most of it. Can't tell you how much I'd rather just being lying in a deckchair in the garden, though, staring at the clouds.
Meanwhile... the latest episode of the world-conquering Classic Rock Magazine Radio show goes out live today at 2.00pm UK time. Do yourself a favour and go find it at...www.rockradio.co.uk/scotland/
29 May, 2009
Right, so where were we? Wife's back. Oh yeah...
Look, you don't wanna hear about that and I can't get my head round how to tell it here. So...
I was just thinking. It's hot here today. The kind of heat that makes you nostalgic for things that haven't happened yet. Especially when you're young and it still feels like it's all before you. The older you get, the more that changes, of course. You still get the feelings of weird twisted-up nostalgia, only now it's usually for things you know will never come again. And I don't mean mid-life crisis boo-hoos either. I mean like the real thing, baby.
Like... 1983. Coming out of a long - long - white and brown cloud, finding myself falling - falling - into a sudden blue sky. Sinking right to the bottom of the pool and staying there, short legs crossed, thin arms folded, my big blue pretty eyes wide open and seeing absolutely nothing. In the middle of it all I found myself one day lying on my back on Chiswick Green, the warm green grass my bed, the crazy babe with the big red hair and short, short skirt lying next to me, an empty bottle of cider next to us, me in some kind of blind fool's heaven, her in her own approximation of doubled-up hell. And I remember lying there remembering how, over 20 years before, I had run as a child across this same stretch of park and tripped and fallen into dog shit, skidded right into it, both hands, all down my arms and legs my mother going fucking nuts like it was all my fault, the thought of the horrible walk home, the looks of strangers tormenting her, and so her tormenting me. And I went to say something about it, to share the memory, but as I did so some tiny glimmer of understanding made me realise I would be wasting my time. That this queen of the scene I had somehow temporarily wound up with was utterly uninterested. That whatever trip I was now on it was all my own, and probably would be for however long we all had left to endure it. And now, sitting here more than 25 years after THAT, I feel myself skidding towards yet more dog shit, only this time the babe next to me is not crazy - not in that way - and probably does care but really wouldn't know what the fuck I'm on about anyway. And then I remember I shouldn't be sitting here thinking any of this, I should be working. And I understand at last what my mother was always moaning about as she dragged me down the street, my shitty arms and legs and shitty trip all still awaiting me. Us.
Been listening to a lot of James Taylor lately too. Does that have something to do with it?
26 May, 2009
No time for idle chat. Wife still disabled. Life still hobbling behind. A short list then of the tiny things that somehow manage to go on in-between...
Listening to: old Billy Joe Shaver, new Bob Dylan, weird things overheard on the radio as I drive like a madman from A to B and back again.
Reading: Pulp by Charles Bukowski (again), the Times Literary Supplement, as found on the floor, new Classic Rock (v.good Metallica piece, amongst other things), new Tight But Loose (1969 and all that), new scribble on wall done by 3-year-old boy.
Liking: that bit between sleep and wakefulness when life seems bearable. Coffee. Always.
Disliking: emails I don't have time to respond to properly. Bills I can't pay. Blogs: the whole thing seems insufferably bullshitty right now...
19 May, 2009
As you may have noticed, there have been no blog entries for a few days now. That is because my wife has done her back in good and proper and so I have been wearing the apron, as they say. And the wig and slippers too. This has not been easy. Work has all but gone out the window, and as I write this I am already being called away to deal with yet more screechings and wailings from one of the babberoos. Or possibly wife. Doctors, we have had them coming out of our arseholes. Hospitals, they are naming wards after us. Drugs, I have never seen so many, all handed over by the crazy looking gremlin-guy who works behind the pharmacy counter at Tescos. Where was he when I needed him 25 years ago? Anyway, just thought I'd reassure those that may care, as well as those that most definitely do not, that I haven't fallen off the back end of the world. Well, I have, but not forever. Please god, not forfuckingever...
17 May, 2009
Live today from 2.00pm UK time, the Classic Rock Magazine show.www.rockradio.co.uk/manchesterwww.rockradio.co.uk/scotland
13 May, 2009
Wife's back has gone again big time which means my front has gone with it. Trying to work but with her mostly lying on the floor - the only place where the pain gives an inch - it means I have to look after the babberoos. This is OK - for a couple of days. But it is Wednesday and I have reached my own pain threshold. That is, I'm running out of ways of figuring out how to deal with it all and get enough work done. How do you do it, ladies? I mean, seriously, HOW?!? One of the yummy mummy's at school this morning made a joke about how well I was coping and said I should stick a card in the school office window advertising my services as a domestic help. Yeah, funny, ha, yeah...
12 May, 2009
Tired, tired, tired today. It all catches up with you in the end. Sometimes it doesn't wait as long as that. Today I could hardly bring myself to wonder why. Definitely no thoughts of running machines, that's for sure. Couldn't even get myself into my office much before noon and then only to gaze at the screen with my tongue hanging out like an old soldier dying of thirst as he slides slowly down a sand dune. I mean, I gave it a go, transcribing an interview. Managed about 12 minutes the whole afternoon. Mind you, wife's back has gone again so I had to help her too, which also ate into the time. Her back and my brain. Both gone. Again. Meanwhile, the world continues skidding around us, spinning at impossible speed and not even any Mad Men to try and stay awake for on the telly tonight. In the end, we gave up. The girls' had a friend over from school for tea. We bought in. From the chip shop. Kids' caviar. No adult equivalent anywhere in sight for us though. None that I can think of anyway. Seems you get to a certain stage nothing works anymore. Not on a night like today anyway.
11 May, 2009
Mercury is retrograde, I read in the paper, which means, basically, that everything you try and do will be fucked for the rest of the week, perhaps longer. That is, you push it one way it will come back another. You hope for this you will end up with that. And very little of it turning out better than you thought. Very little indeed. Now you may think this is all horseshit, and I might tend to agree with you, but not today, mutha. Things keep bouncing back at me and none of it in a good way. I'd hardly gotten down the stairs this morning than I got an email on the Blackberry telling me a meeting that's been in the diary for weeks has suddenly been cancelled. Don't ask, but I'd been pinning some high hopes on its outcome. Now we're not even having the damn thing. Then I got a phone call from my agent Robert. I always like to hear from Robert, whatever the signs in the sky say, but even here the conversation was more wait-and-see than don't-worry-it'll-be-all-right-baby. Then wife and I were putting a package together I had to send to Paris, books and things, only to discover after we'd sealed it up we'd left half the things we needed to put in there out. Fuck's sake. Rip it up and start again. Then we made the mistake of actually daring to put our feet outside the door and I swear I nearly tripped over my own toes and went headfirst into the gutter. Some might say I already did that years ago and have been struggling to get back up again ever since and some might be right and can go fuck themselves for their trouble, but I could really do without it right now. I'm so far outside the loop that not even having a drink would fix me right now and I haven't had a sip for weeks. Not even the running machine appears to be helping at the moment. I have been jumping on it regularly again for the last 9 or 10 weeks, including yesterday when it nearly killed me. And today, guess what, I feel like shit. I know, I know, there's always somebody worse off than you. Maybe I'll go and read his blog...
10 May, 2009
Live today from 2.00pm UK time, until 5.00pm, the Classic Rock Magazine Show with your host, oh so wonderful me.www.rockradio.co.uk/scotlandwww.rockradio.co.uk/manchester
Go get some.
09 May, 2009
Had two legends of rock on the phone today. The first, Ross Halfin, was in fine form, almost shouting down the phone at one point as he treated me to his, um, colourful opinions of a certain Famous Rock Group who shall remain nameless. Not that anything he said was incorrect, of course. I just couldn't stand the grief we would both get if I published it here. I'd love to tell you more about the rest of our conversation but, actually, thinking about it, pretty much everything else was tainted by what you might call robust opinion-making too. From both of us. Halfway through I noticed people walking by my office window looking in at me with strange expressions on their faces and realised I had all the windows open and that the whole street could probably hear me. If they'd been able to hear Ross too there might have been real trouble.
Then, later, I had that nice Mr Coverdale on the phone again. Fortunately, I'd closed the windows by then so the rest of the street couldn't hear me baying like a donkey with laughter. Again, I'd love to let you in on what we were gassing about but a) I want to save it for the feature in Classic Rock I'm writing, and b) my lawyers just aren't good enough to save me from the overwhelming bucket of shit that would come flying my way if I did.
Off now to hang out with the family. Another good reason to keep the windows closed, you might think, except it's too late for that, at least where our neighbours are concerned. They've seen the blood and hair on the front lawn too many times already, gotten used to the screams late at night. I can only hope wife keeps her promise about getting them all too bed early - they've had a few late nights this week - and that the couch will soon be mine all mine. Not that I hold out much hope.
08 May, 2009
A day of rock with a capital R. Spent the first and longest part of it transcribing an interview I did with Kirk Hammett when Metallica were here a few weeks ago. The last time I interviewed Kirk was four years ago when I was doing a piece about the Master Of Puppets album for Guitar World. I was in a strange place that time, getting over a serious illness and struggling to write. As a result, the piece suffered. What was also weird that time was that Kirk seemed slightly off-centre too. I mean, he was very good at talking about Master and those days but it was like we'd never met. But then it was about 2.00a.m. when he phoned and my head was still half-hanging off my shoulders, so maybe it was me. Anyway, this time was completely different. A lot can change in four years. Four days, actually, if you really want to know. Four minutes, if you're not careful. But we both sound different, listening back to the recordings. Older, of course. But in a good way. Strange, I don't recall him sounding this laidback when we knew each other 20 years ago. But then, I was not exactly laidback in those days, either. The 80s were not the most laidback time for anyone, I suppose. He's even funnier now too. He always had a good sense of humour. But now he's sharp, too. The story should be easy to write up. Just put down what he says and it will write itself.
After that I took a break by knocking myself out on the running machine. They don't call those damn things treadmills for nothing. After that I had a shower and a shave, then fixed myself a bowl of Chinese left over from last night. Followed by red grapefruit. And water. I know, sounds boring. Heaven to be there doing that though as the sun blazed through the windows and the house stood otherwise empty for once, as wife and kids were out visiting long lost relatives over from America.
Then I had another phone interview to do, this time with Simon Kirke, once of Free, now of Bad Company, again. Simon and I have also spoken in the past, though I never knew him in his star-spangled youth the way I did the Metallica boys. I just used to buy his records. It's not that often I get to interview people I did once actually be a genuine fan of, so there's always that extra little vibe you get from talking about those days with them, getting the other side. Especially talking to someone like Simon, who takes the time to try and dig it all out of his memory and be cool and reasonably open about it.
Now I'm sitting here typing this drivel, listening to world war three kicking off upstairs as wife tries to bath the kids as the dog joins in. I'm here, supposedly working, but actually listening to Led Zep in San Francisco, April 1969, via the latest Wolfgang's Vault e-letter. There are lots of times in my life when I feel somehow ambushed by being so associated with this kind of music. Times, like the jazz-obsessed horn player in The Commitments, when I desperately want to show the world there is more to me than just knowing all about good meaty riffs. And then there are times like right now when I realise there are a lot worse things in this short life than being branded a hopeless rocker. Like Lynott used to say, I'm a roller too, baby. Maybe I need to remember that more sometimes. (Christ, much more of this and I'll be ringing Ross begging him to fix me up a trip to LA. Hmmm...)
07 May, 2009
I shouldn't have said all the stuff yesterday about having a good day and etc. You tempt the gods when you come out with crap like that. Almost inevitably then, today was a car crash of unforeseen incidents and stop-start conversations. Bad astrology, maybe, I don't know. As this also happens to be the day each week when I record the Classic Rock radio show, it's a wonder the programme came out any good at all. Anyway, you can be the judge this Sunday. Meanwhile, back at the not-so funny farm... I have to get ready right now for a phone interview with Paul Rodgers. The same one that was cancelled at the last minute a couple of weeks ago. The way the day has gone so far today though, I'm half expecting this one not to happen too. But then maybe Paul's having an entirely different sort of day. One where everything is going exceeding well. I hope I don't spoil it for him. Or me.
06 May, 2009
If you could hand out medals to days I would give today a gold. Or a silver, at least. Like a racehorse coming in at 100/1, it started out bad - the dawn broke all over me like a burst pipe - then little by little, against all expectation, somehow caught up with the field and eventually romped home if not exactly a winner then in the show places. A good each-way bet, and who can really ask for more than that? Not me. You don't learn as much as you should maybe as you get older, or I don't, but one thing you do learn if you hang around long enough and they don't bust your brains out too bad is to be pleased when things at least go well. Example? No one thing, just a lot of little things that mount up, like grass grazed by cows ready for milking. Yes, that's definitely how I see myself right now, horns a bit splintered maybe but tail still swishing. Sometimes. Now if some kindly passing farmer will just leave open the gate...
05 May, 2009
In between transcribing my David Coverdale interview, I went with eldest daughter to the foot doctor today. She has another varooka, I have another set of uncuttable claws digging into what's left of my paws. Fortunately, Paul, the foot doc, was able to fix us both, starting with my Wookie claws. God, I love having this done. Maybe it sounds gay to you but if I could I would go to the foot guru once a week every week, just for the foot massage alone. You come out walking on air, no shit. Even daughter digs the trip, and she has to put up with Paul scraping away at her pads then applying this icy stuff and a big mutha of a plaster. Anyway, it's all good. Meanwhile, back at the grindstone, I have to say I enjoy talking to David. Like Lemmy, like Steven Tyler, like Ozzy, Dio, even Axl and Motley Crue, even poor old please-take-me-seriously Jon Bon Jovi, Coverdale comes from the golden age of rock when it was essential to be a Giant Personality. Didn't matter that we might take the piss on Kerrang! or Sounds or wherever, they could take it and give it back in aces of spades. Now who have the kidz got? Some pantomime goth dressed in his mum's eye-liner from some shithole in Nowheresville, with a stuck-on tattoo? Some lost little twat on the internet dreaming of evil and sucking imaginary pop-rock cock? Don't get me started. I'll take Mrs Coverdale's little lad over that malarky any time. Now where was I? Oh yeah, he was talking about the late Cozy Powell and "the big bag of blow" Cozy brought with him to a meeting one day. One of those meetings that lasted several days that we would have a lot of in those days. Horrid, of course...
04 May, 2009
Felt compelled to get back into my office, even though it was a Bank Holiday today. Too many plates I need to keep spinning, not enough ackers coming in to help me relax. It was OK, though, after I'd sent enough emails to make me feel like my arse was at least haf-covered, I worked on another chapter of my exciting new novel, The Rock'n'roll Detective. I was gonna put the chapters up here as I finish them but now I've decided it's too good an idea and someone might nick it. Delusional? How dare you! Also had fun checking out some of the Mick Wall hate sites on the internet set up by so-called Guns N' Roses fans, or mentals and virgins, as they are known to the medical profession. It's really rather flattering. Made me get up from this seat and polish my gold record for GN'R Lies that Axl gave me, bless his expensively weaved dreadlocks.
03 May, 2009
New start time for the Classic Rock radio show today. No longer an evening deal, we're now on in the afternoon - live, from 2.00pm to 5.00pm UK time, today, at www.rockradio.co.uk
01 May, 2009
Wasn't feeling like it much but forced myself to jump on the runner first thing, hoping it would a) make me feel better and b) change my luck somehow. It kind of did too, sort of. My legs are certainly feeling like their luck has changed. And I'm still off the lash and gorging on apple juice and coffee and water and tea instead and so that can't be bad, right? Spent most of the day in here, though, catching up on all the stuff that needs catching up on. Well, as much as one poor toss can manage without his lid flapping off completely.
Spoke to Ross on the phone earlier. Very entertaining. He sounded like he'd escaped from the dark place momentarily and was actually having fun. Well, what Ross considers fun. I overheard him telling his girlfriend about a screaming match he got into with someone in the car earler on. Whoever it was won't be having a 'barbecue weekend', that's for sure. We also had a good laugh over some things you just had to be there to get. Say, in about 1989. And he gave me a good idea for a book, which has got me thinking. I already have some good ideas for books but you can never have too many and Ross's instincts about these things are usually spot-on.
The rest of the time has been the usual blur of emails, snail mail, fighting wolves from doors, and, oh yeah, listening to Chinese Demcoracy by a group called Guns N' Roses. Well, I say 'group' but you know what I mean. Him. Now the dust has finally settled and the damn thing has been and gone in the wink of a dead dog's eye, I wondered what I actually thought of it. And it's simple really: same as ever. Some great tracks - Better, IRS, There Was A Time, all the obvious ones - and some right old codswallop - Shackler's Revenge, Scraped, blahblahblah. Poor fuck. If he'd put the bitch out 10 years ago we'd have thought it a masterpiece. Well, the media would. But he left it and left it and finally it just sort of squirted out like a wet fart and now it's all been forgotten again. No videos, no tours, no nothing to mark its passing except the usual not so terrifying silence. I mention this because I had a dream about Axl last night. We were together in a room at the Sunset Marquis in LA and we were laughing and joking.
"I'm sorry," I said, "for... everything."
"No, you're not," he said.
"Well, you did put me in the shit with that song..."
"And you put me in the shit with that fucking Motley Crue story."
"And who's fault was that? You were the one that wanted me to go ahead and publish it."
"I know," he said. "Those were the days, huh?"
"Just don't kill yourself," I said.
"I won't," he said. "I'm not that stupid."
Talking to Ross and Axl. Just like old times in dreamworld.