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

Three months after Cliff Burton’s death Metallica’s James Hetfield told me “You can’t give up”

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 26, 1986 By Steve Newton “Beware the Merciless Onslaught” were the words that came to me when Metallica vocalist James Hetfield opened the door of his Hyatt Regency hotel room. That message was emblazoned on orange across Hetfield’s black t-shirt. Straggly blonde hair hung across his rough face and thick sideburns, and … Continue reading Three months after Cliff Burton’s death Metallica’s James Hetfield told me “You can’t give up”

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 Robert Randolph told me that he was inspired by the passion and soul of Stevie Ray Vaughan

By Steve Newton Back in April of 2003 I did my first interview with pedal-steel virtuoso Robert Randolph, who was just 24 at the time. At one point in the conversation I asked him about the time five years earlier when somebody gave him a tape of Stevie Ray Vaughan, which made a huge impression … Continue reading That time Robert Randolph told me that he was inspired by the passion and soul of Stevie Ray Vaughan

That time the B-52s’ Keith Strickland told me that Lux Interior of the Cramps suggested “Rock Lobster” as their first single

By Steve Newton Back in March of 2008 I interviewed B-52s guitarist and founding member Keith Strickland. Strickland had taken over on lead guitar after the 1985 AIDS death of Ricky Wilson, but originally he was the band’s drummer. That’s him pounding away on “Rock Lobster”, the decidedly kooky debut single that brought the band … Continue reading That time the B-52s’ Keith Strickland told me that Lux Interior of the Cramps suggested “Rock Lobster” as their first single

That time David Johansen of the New York Dolls told me my son was gonna need a shrink

By Steve Newton When I heard the sad news that original New York Dolls guitarist Syl Sylvain had died of cancer three days ago, it made me remember how much I adored the Dolls as a teenager in the seventies. It also got me thinking about any New York Dolls interviews I might have done … Continue reading That time David Johansen of the New York Dolls told me my son was gonna need a shrink

AC/DC dropped fake American dollar bills on its fans during the 1990-’91 Razors Edge world tour, and I’ve still got mine

By Steve Newton It’s not too often you take home a free souvenir from an AC/DC concert. Most likely you’ll be dropping $40 for a t-shirt, $25 for a tour program, and maybe seven or eight bucks for a “Have a Drink on Me” shotglass or a “Highway to Hell” keychain. Mind you, if you’re … Continue reading AC/DC dropped fake American dollar bills on its fans during the 1990-’91 Razors Edge world tour, and I’ve still got mine

That time Nathan Followill told me that the Kings of Leon didn’t know a right way or a wrong way to play rock ‘n’ roll when they started

By Steve Newton I interviewed Kings of Leon drummer Nathan Followill on September 19, 2003, exactly one month after the release of the band’s debut album, Youth and Young Manhood. Exactly five years after that–on September 19, 2008–the band released its fourth album, Only by the Night, which spawned the hit single “Sex on Fire” … Continue reading That time Nathan Followill told me that the Kings of Leon didn’t know a right way or a wrong way to play rock ‘n’ roll when they started

That time I asked Leslie West if he was excited to hook up with Jack Bruce in West, Bruce & Laing

By Steve Newton Most of the music news regarding the passing last month of guitar legend Leslie West has focused on his work with Mountain, and justifiably so, since that band recorded timeless tracks like “Mississippi Queen” and “Nantucket Sleighride” and “Theme for an Imaginary Western”. But after Mountain produced those gems West and Mountain … Continue reading That time I asked Leslie West if he was excited to hook up with Jack Bruce in West, Bruce & Laing

That time Todd Kerns told me that AC/DC replacing Brian Johnson with Axl Rose was the most surreal thing he’d heard in a long time

By Steve Newton I’ve interviewed Todd Kerns a few times, because he’s one of my favourite Canadian rockers. A few years ago I actually dubbed him “The Rockingest Canadian Bass Player of the 21st Century,” partly because of his unwavering enthusiasm on stage. The title didn’t really catch on in the media, but I stand … Continue reading That time Todd Kerns told me that AC/DC replacing Brian Johnson with Axl Rose was the most surreal thing he’d heard in a long time

Ten weeks after Randy Rhoads’ death Ozzy told me that the fallen guitar hero could do anything

By Steve Newton I did my first interview with Ozzy Osbourne in early June of 1982, ten weeks after his beloved guitarist, Randy Rhoads, perished in a fiery plane crash at the age of 25. No wonder he sounded bummed out. Rhoads’ place on the Diary of a Madman Tour had been taken first by … Continue reading Ten weeks after Randy Rhoads’ death Ozzy told me that the fallen guitar hero could do anything

That time Leslie West told me that Ozzy Osbourne said Mountain really turned him on to American rock

By Steve Newton If you liked Black Sabbath in the seventies, you probably liked Mountain as well. Both bands were well versed in the art of the killer riff. Sabbath’s Tony Iommi and Mountain’s Leslie West were good buddies, as West told me during an interview in 2002. He also said that Ozzy Osbourne once … Continue reading That time Leslie West told me that Ozzy Osbourne said Mountain really turned him on to American rock

That time I asked Bill Payne if Little Feat had any thoughts of calling it quits when Lowell George died

By Steve Newton Just finished watching the documentary Little Feats: The Life & Times of Lowell George on Amazon Prime and that got me thinking about that time back in August of 2002 when I interviewed Little Feat keyboardist Bill Payne. Payne had cofounded the band with singer-guitarist and main songwriter Lowell George back in … Continue reading That time I asked Bill Payne if Little Feat had any thoughts of calling it quits when Lowell George died