That time Doyle Bramhall II told me that he was “all over” B.B. King and Eric Clapton’s Riding With the King

By Steve Newton I absolutely loved the B.B. King and Eric Clapton album Riding With the King when it came out in 2000. It was a shoo-in for my Top 10 Albums of the Year list, alongside other guitar-centic offerings like Joe Satriani‘s Engines of Creation and Steve Vai‘s The 7th Song. But with such … Continue reading That time Doyle Bramhall II told me that he was “all over” B.B. King and Eric Clapton’s Riding With the King

That time B.B. King told me that Eric Clapton could make him do whatever he wants

By Steve Newton I’ve been lucky enough to have interviewed blues legend B.B. King twice, once way back in 1984, then again in 2002. The last time was a couple of years after he and Eric Clapton had recorded the awesome Riding With the King album, which was a shoo-in for my Top 10 albums … Continue reading That time B.B. King told me that Eric Clapton could make him do whatever he wants

That time I asked B.B. King who his “King of the Blues” would be

By Steve Newton A few days ago I posted an audio excerpt from an interview I did with blues legend Albert King back in 1990, in which he talked about his biggest musical influences. As a followup, I thought I’d post a soundbite from another King I loved. Way back in 1984 I did my … Continue reading That time I asked B.B. King who his “King of the Blues” would be

R.I.P. B.B. King: the nicest bluesman I ever met

By Steve Newton As you’ve most likely heard by now, B.B. King, the beloved “King of the Blues”, passed away last night at the age of 89. He was receiving hospice care at his home in Las Vegas, where the longtime diabetic was recovering from dehydration. You can read all about the great man’s numerous … Continue reading R.I.P. B.B. King: the nicest bluesman I ever met

B.B. King says that Eric Clapton was like his girlfriend on Riding With the King

  ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 31, 2002 By Steve Newton Trying to reach blues legend B.B. King at his Arkansas hotel takes some doing. Even when you have the phone number of the hotel, the room he’s in, and a predetermined time to call, you can’t argue with a busy signal. After … Continue reading B.B. King says that Eric Clapton was like his girlfriend on Riding With the King

20-year-old slide-guitar ace Derek Trucks wants to jam with B.B. King

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 2, 1999 By Steve Newton Teenage blues-rocker Kenny Wayne Shepherd has a great story about how he got inspired to take up guitar. It has something to do with him, as a little kid, watching Stevie Ray Vaughan perform from atop one of the Texas guitar legend’s amp … Continue reading 20-year-old slide-guitar ace Derek Trucks wants to jam with B.B. King

Big-hearted blues god B.B. King offers guitar picks and hugs backstage in Vancouver

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 13, 1998 “Come on in!” urged B.B. King to the gaggle of well-wishers and autograph hounds gathered outside his dressing room in the bowels of GM Place. It was 12:30 a.m., about 45 minutes after King had finished his set on the first night of the 44-date B.B. … Continue reading Big-hearted blues god B.B. King offers guitar picks and hugs backstage in Vancouver

The Life of Riley shows B.B. King’s talent flowing from a huge heart

There’s a ton of incredible musicians who make appearances in B.B. King: The Life of Riley, a documentary about the Mississippi blues legend released on DVD and Blu-ray today (July 1). The lineup includes such amazing guitarists as Buddy Guy, Carlos Santana, Derek Trucks, Eric Clapton, Joe Bonamassa, Jonny Lang, Johnny Winter, Bonnie Raitt, Kenny Wayne … Continue reading The Life of Riley shows B.B. King’s talent flowing from a huge heart

B.B. King’s busted guitar string becomes treasure for Tinsley Ellis

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MARCH 19, 1992 By Steve Newton When one of your biggest idols gives you a souvenir—whether it be a quickly scribbled autograph or a worn-out guitar pick—that thing automatically becomes priceless. I’ve got a two-inch mirror badge that Thin Lizzy guitarist Scott Gorham gave me during my first backstage … Continue reading B.B. King’s busted guitar string becomes treasure for Tinsley Ellis

B.B. King plays North Vancouver in 1984, Newt gets the scoop

By Steve Newton On January 21, 1984, B.B. King was in the midst of a two-week stand at the Plazazz Showroom in North Vancouver, and I got the thrill of my blues-loving life when I sat down with him in his hotel room and asked him a bunch of questions. Some of them were pretty … Continue reading B.B. King plays North Vancouver in 1984, Newt gets the scoop

B.B. King: The nicest bluesman I ever met

By Steve Newton I’ve interviewed a lot of incredible bluesmen over the years, including Stevie Ray Vaughan, Albert King, Albert Collins, and Roy Buchanan. But far and away the nicest was B.B. King. Famed Vancouver punk-rock photographer Bev Davies snapped this shot of me ‘n’ B.B. in his hotel room at the Plazazz Showroom in … Continue reading B.B. King: The nicest bluesman I ever met

That time Nick Gilder told me about Bryan Adams taking his place in Sweeney Todd

By Steve Newton If you were a rock-loving Canadian teenager in the mid-seventies you no doubt heard “Roxy Roller”, the big hit by Vancouver glam-rock band Sweeney Todd, on the radio. It wasn’t one of my personal favourite tunes, but I do remember buying the album, because back in ’76 I was all about the … Continue reading That time Nick Gilder told me about Bryan Adams taking his place in Sweeney Todd

That time Jason Bonham told me about taking Bonzo’s spot to jam with Led Zeppelin as a teen

By Steve Newton Led Zeppelin freaks may recall the first time John Bonham’s son Jason performed with his dad’s old band, back in 1988 as part of the Atlantic Records 40th anniversary concert. But that was only young Jason’s first “official” performance with Zeppelin. When I did my first interview with 23-year-old Jason a year later he … Continue reading That time Jason Bonham told me about taking Bonzo’s spot to jam with Led Zeppelin as a teen

That time I asked Alex Van Halen when he first figured out that Eddie had the makings of a guitar legend

By Steve Newton Everybody remembers the first time they heard Eddie Van Halen. Or they should, anyway. For me it was sometime in early ’78 when the band’s first single, “You Really Got Me”, scorched the airwaves. It was clear right away that the guy creating the six-string racket had the makings of a guitar … Continue reading That time I asked Alex Van Halen when he first figured out that Eddie had the makings of a guitar legend

That time Joe Bonamassa told me that Rolling Stone’s ranking of Robert Johnson on its 100 Greatest Guitarists list was “f***ed up”

By Steve Newton I did the second of my three interviews with American blues-rock guitar virtuoso Joe Bonamassa in December of 2011, when he was touring behind his Dust Bowl album. Shortly before our chat Rolling Stone had published its 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time list, so we spent some time ridiculing that, and … Continue reading That time Joe Bonamassa told me that Rolling Stone’s ranking of Robert Johnson on its 100 Greatest Guitarists list was “f***ed up”

That time Tommy Emmanuel told me about first meeting Chet Atkins, and looking after Lenny Breau

By Steve Newton Tommy Emmanuel is one helluva guitarist; maybe the most amazing acoustic player I’ve ever seen live. I interviewed the Aussie picker back in May of 1994 when he was headed to Vancouver for gigs at the big Music West festival. His latest album at the time was The Journey, which featured a performance … Continue reading That time Tommy Emmanuel told me about first meeting Chet Atkins, and looking after Lenny Breau

That time 29-year-old Steve Vai told me that he suffered making “For the Love of God”, but that blowjobs also do the trick

By Steve Newton I did my first interview with Steve Vai when he was touring with Whitesnake in May of 1990, but I was more interested in talking about his brand-new solo album, Passion and Warfare. I was particularly blown away by the track “For the Love of God”, which still stands up as one … Continue reading That time 29-year-old Steve Vai told me that he suffered making “For the Love of God”, but that blowjobs also do the trick

That time Geoff Tate told me that making Queensrÿche’s prog-metal masterpiece, Operation: Mindcrime, was a “magical” experience

By Steve Newton Queensrÿche’s Operation: Mindcrime is one of my favourite progressive hard-rock albums of all time. It’s right up there with Rush’s best work, if you ask me. When I did my first interview with Queensrÿche frontman Geoff Tate back in 1991 the band was touring behind its hit Empire album, but playing Mindcrime … Continue reading That time Geoff Tate told me that making Queensrÿche’s prog-metal masterpiece, Operation: Mindcrime, was a “magical” experience

That time I asked Jake E. Lee if there was much pressure taking over Randy Rhoads’ spot with Ozzy

By Steve Newton Way back in April of 1992 I interviewed Jake E. Lee in advance of a Vancouver show by his group Badlands, which was touring behind its second album, Voodoo Highway. At one point in the interview I started asking Jake about his time with Ozzy Osbourne, which led to me wondering if … Continue reading That time I asked Jake E. Lee if there was much pressure taking over Randy Rhoads’ spot with Ozzy

That time Warren Haynes told me that Albert King might be the biggest influence on rock guitar ever

By Steve Newton When it comes to blues guitar, everybody’s got their favourite King. Lots love B.B. Some prefer Freddie. And then there’s others who think Albert is tops. Warren Haynes is one of those. When I interviewed Haynes in October of 1994, he was touring with the Allman Brothers, who were out promoting their … Continue reading That time Warren Haynes told me that Albert King might be the biggest influence on rock guitar ever

That time I asked Warren Haynes if he was daunted by the prospect of taking over Duane Allman’s spot opposite Dickey Betts

By Steve Newton The first time I ever saw Warren Haynes perform live was back in 1989, when he was a member of the Dickey Betts Band. The group played Vancouver’s 86 Street Music Hall, touring behind its debut album Pattern Disruptive, and holy crap was Haynes a killer on the slide guitar. Five years … Continue reading That time I asked Warren Haynes if he was daunted by the prospect of taking over Duane Allman’s spot opposite Dickey Betts

Burt Reynolds’ death two weeks after Ed King’s gets me raving about “Saturday Night Special”

  By Steve Newton I never thought Lynyrd Skynyrd’s third album, 1975’s Nuthin’ Fancy, was anywhere near as fine as its first two albums, but holy fvck did I love the opening track, “Saturday Night Special”. It boasted a killer main riff by guitarist Ed King, and some seriously kick-ass, southern-fried solos by Gary Rossington. … Continue reading Burt Reynolds’ death two weeks after Ed King’s gets me raving about “Saturday Night Special”

That time Albert King tried telling me that he wrote “As the Years Go Passing By”

By Steve Newton As a blues fan I’ve been extremely lucky to have interviewed some of the genre’s greatest talents, including B.B. King, Albert Collins, Roy Buchanan, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Buddy Guy. But I was particularly thrilled when I got to chat with Albert King, back in 1990, two years before “The Velvet Bulldozer” … Continue reading That time Albert King tried telling me that he wrote “As the Years Go Passing By”

That time Malcolm Young told me that if AC/DC started looking a little “cabaret” they wouldn’t be around much longer

By Steve Newton When I interviewed some of the guys from AC/DC back in ’83, on the eve of the Flick of the Switch tour, I asked them which groups they liked listening to in their spare time. Both Brian Johnson and Malcolm Young mentioned ZZ Top. “I just like their attitude and all ya … Continue reading That time Malcolm Young told me that if AC/DC started looking a little “cabaret” they wouldn’t be around much longer

That time I tried telling Albert King that Elmore James was his biggest influence

By Steve Newton When I look back over my 39-year career in music journalism, there are some folks that I’m really, really glad I got to talk to. Like Albert King. Of the three big Kings–sorry B.B. and Freddie–I think I appreciate Albert the most. There was something about the way he could wring deep, … Continue reading That time I tried telling Albert King that Elmore James was his biggest influence

That time Kate Bush told me about working with David Gilmour and experiencing the “profound” Pink Floyd

By Steve Newton Back in 1985 I interviewed British art-pop legend Kate Bush, who was promoting her new album Hounds of Love, which you may recall spawned the hit single “Running Up That Hill”. At one point in the conversation she told me about working with David Gilmour as a teenager, discovering Pink Floyd, and … Continue reading That time Kate Bush told me about working with David Gilmour and experiencing the “profound” Pink Floyd

That time Donald “Duck” Dunn told me about working with Eric Clapton and John “the Godfather” Belushi

By Steve Newton Back in 1985 Eric Clapton played a show in Vancouver, but he wasn’t doing any interviews with the likes of me. I was happy as hell just to chat with bass-guitar legend Donald “Duck” Dunn, who you may recall for his work with Booker T & the MG’s. During the course of our … Continue reading That time Donald “Duck” Dunn told me about working with Eric Clapton and John “the Godfather” Belushi