That time Richie Sambora told me why Bon Jovi switched producers from Bruce Fairbairn to Bob Rock

By Steve Newton Bon Jovi may have been hugely popular back in the day, but I actually enjoyed guitarist Richie Sambora’s solo debut album, Stranger in This Town, more than any Bon Jovi band release. I even preferred Sambora’s lead vocals over Jon Bon Jovi’s, especially on solo tunes like “Ballad of Youth”. So it … Continue reading That time Richie Sambora told me why Bon Jovi switched producers from Bruce Fairbairn to Bob Rock

That time Bob Rock told me that he just wakes up in the morning and music is what he does

By Steve Newton Being a rock journalist in Vancouver during the ’80s and ’90s meant that I was close to where a lot of the top-selling albums of the time were made. That was mainly down at Little Mountain Sound, where local producers, engineers, and mixers–guys like Bruce Fairbairn, Bob Rock, and Mike Fraser–were tweaking … Continue reading That time Bob Rock told me that he just wakes up in the morning and music is what he does

That time Chris Robinson of the Black Crowes told me he wasn’t here to make Bruce Fairbairn or Bob Rock famous

By Steve Newton There’s been a lot of buzz in the music world lately about the Black Crowes–in particular formerly feuding brothers Chris and Rich Robinson–getting back together for a 30th anniversary tour. So I figured I’d celebrate the good news by digging up the old Swing C-90 cassette I used to record my interview … Continue reading That time Chris Robinson of the Black Crowes told me he wasn’t here to make Bruce Fairbairn or Bob Rock famous

That time I asked famed producer Bruce Fairbairn what he thought of famed producer Bob Rock

By Steve Newton Back in December of 1991 I wrote a Georgia Straight cover story on Vancouver producer Bob Rock, best known for his work with Metallica, and one of the Big Three of Vancouver hard-rock producers (along with fellow Little Mountain Sound-men Bruce Fairbairn and Mike Fraser). While putting the story together I gave … Continue reading That time I asked famed producer Bruce Fairbairn what he thought of famed producer Bob Rock

That time I asked Bruce Fairbairn if Bob Rock had tried stealing his AC/DC project, The Razors Edge

By Steve Newton Back in December of 1991 I wrote an article in the Georgia Straight–the weekly Vancouver newspaper I still work for–on local producer-to-the-stars Bob Rock, who’d made a name for himself in recent years with bands like Blue Murder, Motley Crue, and especially Metallica (he’d helmed their breakthrough Black Album, which was released four … Continue reading That time I asked Bruce Fairbairn if Bob Rock had tried stealing his AC/DC project, The Razors Edge

Bob Rock on the Payola$ reunion and the influence of Mick Ronson as a producer

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 27, 2003 By Steve Newton At one point during the exceptional Blackie & the Rodeo Kings show at Sonar a couple of weeks back, guitarist-vocalist and former Junkhouse member Tom Wilson casually leaned into the mike and said: “Roll out red carpet, here come China boys.” His group … Continue reading Bob Rock on the Payola$ reunion and the influence of Mick Ronson as a producer

Bob Rock says Metallica “never have and never will sell out”

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, APRIL 25, 2002 By Steve Newton What could possibly cause any sane person to willingly abandon the balmy paradise of Hawaii for the frigid climes of Vancouver in January? Well, if you’re record producer Bob Rock, your last name is reason enough. Good old riff-riddled rock is what draws … Continue reading Bob Rock says Metallica “never have and never will sell out”

Bob Rock brings his golden ears and guitars to Paul Hyde’s Living Off the Radar

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 16, 2000 Former Vancouverite Bob Rock is one of the most in-demand rock producers in the world today. The man who helped platinum acts like Metallica, Bon Jovi, Mötley Crüe, and the Cult move mountains of CDs now lives and works on the Hawaiian island of Maui, where … Continue reading Bob Rock brings his golden ears and guitars to Paul Hyde’s Living Off the Radar

Ex-Thin Lizzy guitarist John Sykes on Blue Murder, Bob Rock, and the Little Mountain sound

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 16, 1989 By Steve Newton By now, most every rock fan in Vancouver must be aware that many of North America’s best-selling bands–Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, and the Cult to name a few–have been making their latest chart-topping records right here in town. Little Mountain Sound on West 7th … Continue reading Ex-Thin Lizzy guitarist John Sykes on Blue Murder, Bob Rock, and the Little Mountain sound

Issues with Bob Rock and Sharon Osbourne leave the Quireboys Bitter Sweet & Twisted

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MAY 27, 1993 After Bob Rock hit the big time by producing Motley Crue’s No. 1 album, Dr. Feelgood—and then accomplished the incredible feat of making former thrash-masters Metallica a mainstream rock-radio fave—it seemed the Vancouver producer could do no wrong. And although Rock’s reputation as a producer with … Continue reading Issues with Bob Rock and Sharon Osbourne leave the Quireboys Bitter Sweet & Twisted

Bob Rock plays every lick he knows on Rockhead’s “dumb old hard-rock album”

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, APRIL 15, 1993 By Steve Newton The first time I interviewed veteran Vancouver musician and producer extraordinaire Bob Rock, he was in the middle of helming Bitter Sweet & Twisted, the new release by British blues-rockers the Quireboys. The last time we chatted, he was heavily involved in the … Continue reading Bob Rock plays every lick he knows on Rockhead’s “dumb old hard-rock album”

Star producer Bob Rock just wants to play guitar in a band

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 12, 1991 By Steve Newton Vancouver’s Bob Rock is one of the most in-demand rock producers in the world today. The albums he’s worked on in the last few years have sold millions of copies and—in the case of Motley Crüe’s Dr. Feelgood—made it to number one in … Continue reading Star producer Bob Rock just wants to play guitar in a band

Bob Rock gets his guitar jollies with riff-based Rockhead

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 10, 1991 By Steve Newton After producing hit records by the likes of Motley Crue, the Cult, and Metallica, Vancouver’s Bob Rock is tying on the gloves and stepping into the ring with Rockhead, his new hard-rock four-piece. The band’s been playing at various local top-40 bars, and … Continue reading Bob Rock gets his guitar jollies with riff-based Rockhead

Bob Seger’s killer band helps the rock legend shine in Vancouver

  photos by Jet Sutherland By Steve Newton Bob Seger’s choice of walk-on music for his current tour is “The Old Man Down the Road”, which could be Seger’s way of acknowledging that he’ll turn 70 in two months. Or it could be that he just loves John Fogerty’s swamp-rock classic from ’84. Either way, it was … Continue reading Bob Seger’s killer band helps the rock legend shine in Vancouver

Carlos Santana cleans Bob Dylan’s clock in the clash of the Yankee rock titans

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 26, 1993 By Steve Newton It was the clash of the American rock titans last Sunday (August 22) at the Coliseum, and after Big Bad Bobby D. took on Carlos “The Fret Strangler” Santana in a four-hour, 15-man battle royal, only one man remained standing as a certified … Continue reading Carlos Santana cleans Bob Dylan’s clock in the clash of the Yankee rock titans

Rory Gallagher’s fierce talent exposed by unearthed live tracks, but will the Rock Hall even notice?

bob geldof photo By Steve Newton Rory Gallagher is quite likely the most underrated rock-guitar player of all time. Even though his instrumental prowess has been constantly raved about by such longtime fans as Slash, Brian May, and The Edge, a lot of music fans have never even heard him. Perhaps most shocking is the … Continue reading Rory Gallagher’s fierce talent exposed by unearthed live tracks, but will the Rock Hall even notice?

Newt’s 30 best rock albums of the decade, 2010-2019

By Steve Newton 30. Soundgarden King Animal (2012) The classic Soundgarden lineup of singer Chris Cornell, guitarist Kim Thayil, bassist Ben Shepherd, and drummer Matt Cameron releases its first album in 16 years, and it sounds like it’s never been gone. The raging, three-minute “Attrition” might be the best damn rock tune of the year. 29. … Continue reading Newt’s 30 best rock albums of the decade, 2010-2019

Is Jim McCarty’s lead break on Bob Seger’s “Get Out of Denver” the second-greatest guitar solo of all time?

By Steve Newton Back in 2015 I wrote a fun blog in which I declared that Mick Ronson’s guitar solo on Ian Hunter’s “Once Bitten, Twice Shy was “the greatest guitar solo of all time“. Now, I know as well as anybody that it’s pointless to try and rank guitar solos–or guitar players, for that … Continue reading Is Jim McCarty’s lead break on Bob Seger’s “Get Out of Denver” the second-greatest guitar solo of all time?

The Rainmakers bring a Tornado of rockingly righteous sounds to Vancouver

chris cameron photo ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JAN. 29, 1988 By Steve Newton It didn’t have quite the flat-out crash ‘n’ burn effect of Aerosmith’s show five nights earlier, but the Rainmakers’ gig at the 86 Street Music Hall last Monday (January 25) did sport a fair amount of energy–most of it coming from the stage, and … Continue reading The Rainmakers bring a Tornado of rockingly righteous sounds to Vancouver

Rock and Hyde gets a boost from ex-Kick Axe picker “Hitman” Harvey

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 25, 1987 By Steve Newton Since the U.S. release of Rock and Hyde’s Under the Volcano nine months ago, the album has sold more copies stateside than all of the duo’s previous work put together. That’s a fair accomplishment given that Bob Rock and Paul Hyde released four albums … Continue reading Rock and Hyde gets a boost from ex-Kick Axe picker “Hitman” Harvey

Album review: Aerosmith, Honkin’ on Bobo (2004)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, APRIL 8, 2004 By Steve Newton The concept behind Honkin’ on Bobo—of Boston hard-rock legends Aerosmith recording an all-blues album—is enough to get any fan of ’70s guitar-boogie in a lather. (And if it doesn’t, the CD booklet’s close-up shot of some babe’s sexy midriff with a harmonica stuffed … Continue reading Album review: Aerosmith, Honkin’ on Bobo (2004)

Rock and roll died today: Chuck Berry passes away at age 90

By Steve Newton The man often looked to as the originator of rock ‘n’ roll, Chuck Berry, died today at the age of 90. The singer-songwriter and guitar legend–best known for deathless rock numbers like “Johnny B. Goode”, “Maybelline”, “Roll Over Beethoven”, “Memphis”, and “Nadine”–died this afternoon, St. Charles County Police Department confirmed. The cause of … Continue reading Rock and roll died today: Chuck Berry passes away at age 90

The greatest concert experience of my life: Bob Dylan with Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Greek Theatre, June 13, 1986

By Steve Newton As far as rock concerts go, I’ve been a very lucky mofo. My 30-some-odd years as a music journalist have provided me with scores of awesome memories. But the one that stands out as tops is seeing Bob Dylan with Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers at the Greek Theatre in Berkeley, California, on … Continue reading The greatest concert experience of my life: Bob Dylan with Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Greek Theatre, June 13, 1986

Sorry Canada, but Bob Geldof’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas” beats Bryan Adams’ “Tears Are Not Enough”

By Steve Newton Way back on October 4, 1985, the Tears Are Not Enough music documentary was released in Canadian theatres. You might have seen it. More likely you only heard the song, which was Canada’s response to USA for Africa’s “We Are the World”, which in turn was the United States’ response to Band Aid’s “Do … Continue reading Sorry Canada, but Bob Geldof’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas” beats Bryan Adams’ “Tears Are Not Enough”

Fist takes Thunder in Rock (and keyboards!) on tour with Motorhead and Krokus

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 4, 1982 By Steve Newton Fist, a band made of up four Ottawa natives, is the Canadian entry in the international heavy metal ‘package’ tour that played Kerrisdale Arena last Friday (May 28) and is now in its third week of a gruelling road trip schedule. Along with … Continue reading Fist takes Thunder in Rock (and keyboards!) on tour with Motorhead and Krokus

Roxy Music vinyl box offers a second shot at ’70s art-rock

By Steve Newton I wasn’t the artsiest rock-music fan to grow up in Chilliwack in the seventies; there was way too much Molly Hatchet in my vinyl diet for that. But every now and then I’d venture beyond guitar-based boogie and try something a little more involved, like Roxy Music. I remember buying Stranded when it came … Continue reading Roxy Music vinyl box offers a second shot at ’70s art-rock

Lynyrd Skynyrd founding member Bob Burns dies in car crash at 64

By Steve Newton Sad news for Southern-rock fans–and Lynyrd Skynyrd freaks, in particular. Original Skynyrd drummer Bob Burns–who played drums on the band’s first two albums–died last night after a single-car accident near Catersville, Georgia, when his car went off the road and hit a tree. Hardcore fans of the tragedy-prone band know too well that … Continue reading Lynyrd Skynyrd founding member Bob Burns dies in car crash at 64