That time Colin James told me that playing electric slide-guitar was a challenge for him

By Steve Newton Back in August of 1995 I interviewed Canadian blues-rocker Colin James, who I’d been a fan of since his self-titled 1988 debut album. At the time he was touring behind his fourth album, Bad Habits, which saw him playing quite a bit of slide guitar on tunes like “Real Stuff” and “Walkin’ … Continue reading That time Colin James told me that playing electric slide-guitar was a challenge for him

That time Stevie Ray Vaughan told me how much he liked Colin James

By Steve Newton When I interviewed Stevie Ray Vaughan in July of 1990, six weeks before his death, I asked him what he’d been listening to in his spare time–if he had any. “Well I really haven’t had time to look up!,” he declared, before adding that he’d been mostly paying attention to the record … Continue reading That time Stevie Ray Vaughan told me how much he liked Colin James

Colin James lives up to the hype at the second of five straight sold-out Commodore shows

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 18, 1988  By Steve Newton The first time yours truly met Colin James was at the Commodore a couple of years ago. I forget who was playing, but I was hanging out in front of the bar with fellow rock scribbler John “Wacky” Mackie, a member of the … Continue reading Colin James lives up to the hype at the second of five straight sold-out Commodore shows

Album review: Colin James, Bad Habits (1995)

  ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 3, 1995 By Steve Newton They say that life begins at 40, but for 30-year-old Colin James the Big Three-O might well be the milestone signifying delivery to the good life. With Bad Habits, the fresh-faced rocker has turned into a goatee-sporting practitioner of funky, soulful, seasoned-sounding … Continue reading Album review: Colin James, Bad Habits (1995)

Guitar stars Jimmie Vaughan, Neil Schon, Kim Mitchell, and Colin James shine at CFOX birthday bash

charles campbell photo ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, FEB. 20, 1987 By Steve Newton “The Fox rocks” is the motto that local FM station CFOX likes to use whenever possible. And whether you agree with that claim or not, one thing you’ve go to admit is that The Fox knows how to throw a … Continue reading Guitar stars Jimmie Vaughan, Neil Schon, Kim Mitchell, and Colin James shine at CFOX birthday bash

Colin James took some funky pills for his new Bad Habits

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 31, 1995 Some guys have it tough, and then there’s Colin James. When it came time to record his fourth album, the local blues-rocker didn’t hole up in any ice-encased northern studio. James ended up down in the Bahamas, poor guy. But it wasn’t like he went there … Continue reading Colin James took some funky pills for his new Bad Habits

Robert Cray and Colin James can’t match Jeff Healey in Vancouver

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 10, 1992 By Steve Newton The PNE isn’t normally the type of place you’d go to save money, but Vancouver blues-rock fans who paid just $7.50 (plus fair admission) to see guitar heroes Robert Cray, Jeff Healey, and Colin James last Thursday (September 3) got themselves a heckuva … Continue reading Robert Cray and Colin James can’t match Jeff Healey in Vancouver

Colin James shines bright on the talent-packed Limelight

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, NOV. 24, 2005 By Steve Newton On Limelight, his new, Juno Award-worthy CD, Colin James pulls off a sharp cover of Bob Dylan’s “Watchin’ the River Flow”, but the coolest thing about that track is what happens at the end of it. Just as the final strains of the 12-bar-blues number … Continue reading Colin James shines bright on the talent-packed Limelight

That time Ronnie James Dio told me what he really thought of Ritchie Blackmore and Yngwie Malmsteen as guitarists

By Steve Newton Back in 1985 I did my only interview with Ronnie James Dio, who was headed to Vancouver on the Sacred Heart Tour, with Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force opening up. At one point in the conversation the legendary heavy-metal crooner compared the guitar-playing abilities of his former bandmate Ritchie Blackmore to those of … Continue reading That time Ronnie James Dio told me what he really thought of Ritchie Blackmore and Yngwie Malmsteen as guitarists

That time I asked Tony Iommi how Ronnie James Dio compared to Ozzy Osbourne in Black Sabbath

  By Steve Newton Since time immemorial–or at least since Dio replaced Ozzy in Sabbath back in ’79–armchair rock critics have debated the merits of the two singers. It’s hard to complain about anything Ozzy did with the band up until the awesome Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath album of 1973; then again, after three spotty LPs, … Continue reading That time I asked Tony Iommi how Ronnie James Dio compared to Ozzy Osbourne in Black Sabbath

That time I asked Tony Iommi about Ronnie James Dio replacing Ozzy Osbourne in Black Sabbath

By Steve Newton In the past I’ve had fun posting audio excerpts from my first interview with legendary Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi, which took place in 1984, during the group’s misguided Born Again phase. Fast-forward 23 years and I got Iommi on the phone again, this time to talk about the Heaven and Hell … Continue reading That time I asked Tony Iommi about Ronnie James Dio replacing Ozzy Osbourne in Black Sabbath

That time I asked Ronnie James Dio about stepping into Ozzy Osbourne’s shoes in Black Sabbath

By Steve Newton There’s no denying that Ronnie James Dio did an incredible job replacing Ozzy Osbourne as the singer in Black Sabbath. The moment I heard “Neon Nights”, the opening track on Dio’s first Sabbath album, Heaven and Hell, I knew the heavy-metal stars had aligned. The music had way more power and feel than … Continue reading That time I asked Ronnie James Dio about stepping into Ozzy Osbourne’s shoes in Black Sabbath

That time Ronnie James Dio told me about the entity that tried to kill his wife during the recording of Rainbow’s Long Live Rock and Roll

By Steve Newton Back in 2016, in celebration of the 40th anniversary of Rainbow Rising–one of the greatest metal albums of all time–I posted blogs with soundbites from interviews I did with former Rainbow members Ronnie James Dio (in 1985) and Tony Carey (in ’84). The first one I did on Carey did not go … Continue reading That time Ronnie James Dio told me about the entity that tried to kill his wife during the recording of Rainbow’s Long Live Rock and Roll

That time Ronnie James Dio got me backstage on the Sacred Heart Tour

By Steve Newton I did my one and only interview with Ronnie James Dio back in December of 1985. The metal legend, 43 at the time, was headed to Vancouver for a show on his Sacred Heart tour, with opening act Yngwie Malmsteen‘s Rising Force. I’d been a fan of his since I first heard Elf … Continue reading That time Ronnie James Dio got me backstage on the Sacred Heart Tour

Colin Linden inspired by Howlin’ Wolf and George Chuvalo on Raised by Wolves

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 1, 1998 By Steve Newton When you write for a weekly like the Straight, most of your interviews with touring musicians happen over the phone, because the story has to be out before your subject hits town. But once in a while you get to actually meet a … Continue reading Colin Linden inspired by Howlin’ Wolf and George Chuvalo on Raised by Wolves

Canadian blues-roots great Colin Linden is one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, APRIL 15, 1993 By Steve Newton When major-label recording artists do interviews to promote a new release, they usually go on about how it’s the best one they’ve ever made, how making it sapped all the artistic energy their souls could muster—that sort of thing. Then there’s Colin Linden, … Continue reading Canadian blues-roots great Colin Linden is one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet

That time Jack Blades told me about the different playing styles of Night Ranger guitarists Brad Gillis and Jeff Watson

By Steve Newton Back in January of 1984 I interviewed Night Ranger vocalist-bassist Jack Blades while his band was accompanying ZZ Top on its Eliminator Tour. I wasn’t the biggest Night Ranger fan in the world back then. In the midst of the hard rock/metal craze I was more into Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, and … Continue reading That time Jack Blades told me about the different playing styles of Night Ranger guitarists Brad Gillis and Jeff Watson

Eddie Van Halen: what Steve Vai, Allan Holdsworth, Jake E. Lee, Leslie West, and brother Alex told me about “the king”

By Steve Newton One of the biggest regrets of my career in rock journalism–and there aren’t that many, believe it or not–was never getting the opportunity to interview Eddie Van Halen. I did get to chat with his big brother Alex once, and he gave me a really great interview, but it just wasn’t the … Continue reading Eddie Van Halen: what Steve Vai, Allan Holdsworth, Jake E. Lee, Leslie West, and brother Alex told me about “the king”

That time Vivian Campbell told me that he got paid less than the road crew in Dio

By Steve Newton I interviewed Irish guitar hero Vivian Campbell in September of 1992, three weeks after his 30th birthday. Five months earlier he’d joined Def Leppard, one of the world’s most popular rock bands, apparently being chosen over the likes of John Sykes, Gary Hoey, and Adrian Smith from Iron Maiden. So no wonder … Continue reading That time Vivian Campbell told me that he got paid less than the road crew in Dio

54-40 guitarist Dave Genn recalls his chance meeting with Stevie Ray Vaughan just weeks before his tragic death

By Steve Newton One of my favourite guitar-hero memories involves that time back in the early ’80s when I went backstage at Vancouver’s Pacific Coliseum and met Stevie Ray Vaughan. I’ll never forget it because he signed my vinyl copy of Texas Flood, and when I shook his hand it felt like a freakin’ vice! … Continue reading 54-40 guitarist Dave Genn recalls his chance meeting with Stevie Ray Vaughan just weeks before his tragic death

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 I asked Alex Van Halen about his earliest memories of jamming with Eddie

By Steve Newton I haven’t interviewed that many drummers over the years–mainly because I like talking to guitarists more–but when Van Hagar was heading to Vancouver for a show in 1995 and the opportunity came to chat with Alex Van Halen I didn’t turn it down. And boy was I glad I didn’t, because he … Continue reading That time I asked Alex Van Halen about his earliest memories of jamming with Eddie

That time Allan Holdsworth told me about his connections to Eddie Van Halen and Ted Templeman

By Steve Newton If you were reading the top guitar magazines back in the early ’80s you may have heard the buzz about this phenomenal British player named Allan Holdsworth. A lot of the buzz was being generated by one Eddie Van Halen, who was touting Holdsworth’s abilities whenever he got a chance. Right around … Continue reading That time Allan Holdsworth told me about his connections to Eddie Van Halen and Ted Templeman

That time I told Gene Simmons that I saw Kiss in a club on the Hotter Than Hell tour

By Steve Newton Some concert experiences are just seared into memory–if you’re lucky–and one of the most unforgettable for me was seeing Kiss at Vancouver’s Commodore Ballroom in January of 1975. They were on the Hotter than Hell tour, and they were still hungry. They hadn’t earned untold riches yet, hadn’t become masters of marketing, … Continue reading That time I told Gene Simmons that I saw Kiss in a club on the Hotter Than Hell tour

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

God bless Scott Gorham’s guitar solo on Thin Lizzy’s “Romeo and the Lonely Girl”

By Steve Newton I freakin’ love guitar solos, where some talented artist carefully chooses the perfect notes and uses vibrato and tremolo and all that other technical shit to come up with something that’ll stick with me for decades and be there whenever I want to retrieve it, replay it in my head, and holler: … Continue reading God bless Scott Gorham’s guitar solo on Thin Lizzy’s “Romeo and the Lonely Girl”

That time Stevie Ray Vaughan told me about the labour of love he’d never live to see released

By Steve Newton I did my second interview with Stevie Ray Vaughan six weeks before he died in that goddamned helicopter crash, which was itself less than a month before the release of Family Style, the album he’d always wanted to make with his big brother Jimmie. At one point in the conversation I asked … Continue reading That time Stevie Ray Vaughan told me about the labour of love he’d never live to see released