Album review: Rainbow, Bent Out of Shape (1983)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 21, 1983 By Steve Newton While not as impressive as last year's Straight Between the Eyes, Rainbow's new album is still likely to please old Deep Purple diehards like myself, who can't seem to get enough of Ritchie Blackmore's furious and fast Stratocations. "The man in black" is … Continue reading Album review: Rainbow, Bent Out of Shape (1983)

Michael Hutchence says INXS hopes to fill up the space between Men at Work and the Birthday Party

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MAY 27, 1983 By Steve Newton INXS (pronounced 'in excess') are a six-piece modern rock band from Sydney, Australia. The group's third album, Shabooh Shoobah, was released last year and hit Top Five in Australia, becoming the group's third gold album Down Under. The members of INXS are vocalist … Continue reading Michael Hutchence says INXS hopes to fill up the space between Men at Work and the Birthday Party

That time Joe Perry called and I let my friend answer it ’cause she was a big Aerosmith fan with a crush

By Steve Newton Sometimes you forget things you did back in the nineties. When I was digitizing my 1993 interview with Aerosmith's Joe Perry so I could post it on my Patreon page today, I realized I'd done something I'd never done before (or since) when talking to rockers. I let somebody else answer the … Continue reading That time Joe Perry called and I let my friend answer it ’cause she was a big Aerosmith fan with a crush

That time slide-guitar ace Ellen McIlwaine told me that Johnny Winter showed her how to go in her own direction

By Steve Newton Back in 2001 I interviewed Alberta-based blues singer-songwriter and guitarist Ellen McIlwaine before a club gig in Vancouver. Realizing she's best known for her slide-guitar expertise, I asked her who her biggest influences were on slide, and wasn't surprised to hear that Johnny Winter was one of her heroes. Have a listen: … Continue reading That time slide-guitar ace Ellen McIlwaine told me that Johnny Winter showed her how to go in her own direction

Bon Jovi tours behind debut album, frontman Jon Bon Jovi claims it’s “not your typical opening act”

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, APRIL 27, 1984 By Steve Newton "Before the album came out we'd play anywhere with anyone at any time," says Jon Bon Jovi. "We were just happy to be playing. But now that we're out in support of a hit record it's a lot nicer--and a lot more luxurious … Continue reading Bon Jovi tours behind debut album, frontman Jon Bon Jovi claims it’s “not your typical opening act”

Yngwie Malmsteen shreds on what he once called “a piece of furniture”: the Gibson Les Paul

By Steve Newton One of my most popular posts on Ear of Newt is the one where Yngwie Malmsteen calls Ibanez guitars "a bad copy" of the Strat and says Les Pauls are "furniture". Well, if you ever wondered what the Swedish Fender freak would sound like shredding on a piece of furniture, here ya … Continue reading Yngwie Malmsteen shreds on what he once called “a piece of furniture”: the Gibson Les Paul

That time Derek Trucks told me about watching a hip Barack Obama mouth Howlin’ Wolf lyrics

By Steve Newton I've interviewed slide-guitar master Derek Trucks three times so far, including back in 1999 when he was only 20 years old. We had our second conversation 13 years later, when he was touring with his wife Susan and their 11-piece band, Tedeschi Trucks. Four months earlier Trucks had performed for Barack Obama … Continue reading That time Derek Trucks told me about watching a hip Barack Obama mouth Howlin’ Wolf lyrics

That time J.D. Fortune told me about the pressure of competing in the reality show Rock Star: INXS

By Steve Newton I interviewed INXS vocalist J.D. Fortune in January of 2006, two weeks before the band kicked off a North American Tour in Vancouver. The Canadian singer had earned the frontman position with the Aussie group the year before by winning the 11-week reality-TV competition Rock Star: INXS. So at one point in … Continue reading That time J.D. Fortune told me about the pressure of competing in the reality show Rock Star: INXS

John Kay says he couldn’t hope to leave a Steppenwolf concert alive without playing “Born to Be Wild”

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, APRIL 27, 1984 By Steve Newton Back in the summer of 1968 you could hardly turn on the radio without hearing the surging power chords and menacing vocals of "Born to Be Wild", a song that became an anthem for the carefree life and a harbinger of seventies hard-rock. … Continue reading John Kay says he couldn’t hope to leave a Steppenwolf concert alive without playing “Born to Be Wild”

Shaun Verreault plays Blue Öyster Cult’s “(Don’t Fear) the Reaper” Tri-Slide style just ’cause I asked

By Steve Newton When I interviewed Shaun Verreault for the Georgia Straight back in January my article wound up focusing on how the Vancouver guitar great had developed his "Tri-Slide" style of playing, where he uses three slides at once on a lap steel guitar. I was blown away by his short, Tri-Slide reimaginings of … Continue reading Shaun Verreault plays Blue Öyster Cult’s “(Don’t Fear) the Reaper” Tri-Slide style just ’cause I asked

Skynyrd’s Live at Knebworth ’76 makes me pine for Ronnie and the shitkicker days of southern-rock

By Steve Newton There's quite a few bands that I really wish I'd seen perform live in their prime, but Lynyrd Skynyrd is right up there at the top. On August 21, 1976--the day Skynyrd played the Knebworth Festival along with the likes of Todd Rundgren’s Utopia, 10cc, and the Rolling Stones--I was still a … Continue reading Skynyrd’s Live at Knebworth ’76 makes me pine for Ronnie and the shitkicker days of southern-rock

That time Fernando von Arb called and told me that Krokus was kicking Sammy Hagar’s ass on tour

By Steve Newton If you're old like me you may remember Swiss metal band Krokus for that early-'80s tune "Long Stick Goes Boom" and for the fact that they sounded a lot like AC/DC. I interviewed guitarist Fernando von Arb on November 12, 1984, three months after the release of the group's Vancouver-made, Bruce Fairbairn-produced … Continue reading That time Fernando von Arb called and told me that Krokus was kicking Sammy Hagar’s ass on tour

Sylvia Tyson and her Great Speckled Bird hit Chilliwack for a three-night stand at Huggy’s Cabaret

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE CHILLIWACK PROGRESS, APRIL 8, 1981 By Steve Newton Famous Canadian singer-songwriter Sylvia Tyson visited Chilliwack last Thursday for the first of three nightly performances at Huggy's nightclub. Five years ago Tyson stepped out of ex-husband Ian's considerable shadow, and since then has earned the reputation as a crowd-pleasing performer in her … Continue reading Sylvia Tyson and her Great Speckled Bird hit Chilliwack for a three-night stand at Huggy’s Cabaret

That time I told Gary Moore it was the shits that he wasn’t coming to Vancouver with Rush

By Steve Newton It's Gary Moore's birthday today--he would have been 69--so I figured I'd post an audio excerpt from my one and only interview with the Irish guitar legend, one of the finest pickers to ever pick up the instrument. It was May 11, 1984, and Moore was opening for Rush on their Grace … Continue reading That time I told Gary Moore it was the shits that he wasn’t coming to Vancouver with Rush

That time Steve Clark told me why it took Def Leppard so long to follow up Pyromania with Hysteria

By Steve Newton Back in the '80s, most successful recording bands liked to put an album out every year. Sometimes they’d skip a year, to vacation in the Bahamas or release a live or best-of LP. After three years their fans would start to get a bit worried, and so would their record label–especially if … Continue reading That time Steve Clark told me why it took Def Leppard so long to follow up Pyromania with Hysteria

That time Long John Baldry told me that he inspired Eric Clapton to take up guitar

By Steve Newton Long John Baldry had a huge influence on the British blues scene in the sixties. In fact, when I interviewed Baldry back in 1985, he confirmed that none other than Slowhand himself was urged to take up the guitar after seeing him perform. Have a listen: To hear the full audio of … Continue reading That time Long John Baldry told me that he inspired Eric Clapton to take up guitar

That time Robin Gibb told me that the Bee Gees had never been a disco group

By Steve Newton Back in the '70s when rock music was having a huge impact on me I was rabidly anti-disco. I didn't go so far as to wear a "Disco Sucks" t-shirt like one of my high school buddies, but I was with him in spirit. But in 1977, when the blockbuster Saturday Night … Continue reading That time Robin Gibb told me that the Bee Gees had never been a disco group

That time I told “Gatemouth” Brown that he played pretty good boogie for a 73-year-old

By Steve Newton Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown was one of those old blues guys who didn't talk much--especially during interviews. When I chatted with him back in 1997 he was 73, and touring behind an album called Long Way Home that featured guest spots by Leon Russell, Eric Clapton, Ry Cooder, and Sonny Landreth. At one … Continue reading That time I told “Gatemouth” Brown that he played pretty good boogie for a 73-year-old