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 Allan Holdsworth told me that he respects guitarists like Eddie Van Halen whose playing evolves naturally, on its own

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 that he respects guitarists like Eddie Van Halen whose playing evolves naturally, on its own

That time I asked Steve Vai if he was daunted by stepping into Eddie Van Halen’s shoes with David Lee Roth

By Steve Newton I did my first interview with Steve Vai in May of 1990, when he was just 29. He had just released his solo album Passion and Warfare, and was touring with Whitesnake, which was then basking in the glory of its multiplatinum Slip of the Tongue album. Before Whitesnake Vai had played … Continue reading That time I asked Steve Vai if he was daunted by stepping into Eddie Van Halen’s shoes with David Lee Roth

That time Leslie West told me that Eddie Van Halen inspired him to get back into guitar after rehab

By Steve Newton In the Year of Our Lord, 1974, Mountain was one of my favourite bands. Back then I played the crap out of their new live album, Twin Peaks, marvelling at how totally rockin’ a cowbell could sound on “Mississippi Queen”. And Leslie West’s guitar playing wasn’t too bad either. Four years later another American … Continue reading That time Leslie West told me that Eddie Van Halen inspired him to get back into guitar after rehab

Roy Buchanan on turning down the Rolling Stones, loving Eddie Van Halen, and being flattered by Jeff Beck

me ‘n Roy backstage at the Pump, February 10, 1986 ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, FEB. 7, 1986 By Steve Newton Not many guitarists can say they were invited to join the Rolling Stones. Not many can say they turned the offer down either. But Roy Buchanan–quite possibly the best white blues guitarist in … Continue reading Roy Buchanan on turning down the Rolling Stones, loving Eddie Van Halen, and being flattered by Jeff Beck

The ferocious fire of Eddie Van Halen lights up early soundboard recording

By Steve Newton Well, hey–good things come in pairs, I suppose. No sooner had I finished blogging about the possibility of the Foo Fighters playing some Van Halen in Vancouver tomorrow than I came across this newly uploaded video of VH performing the Kinks’ “All Day and All Of the Night” live at the Pasadena Civic … Continue reading The ferocious fire of Eddie Van Halen lights up early soundboard recording

That time Guthrie Govan told me that the Aristocrats recreated Eddie Van Halen’s echo from Fair Warning at L.A.’s Sunset Sound

By Steve Newton In 2015 I interviewed Guthrie Govan of the Aristocrats for the Georgia Straight newspaper, but there wasn’t enough room in that issue to include all the cool shit the guitar genius had to say to me. So I banged out one blog on the influence of Joe Satriani and Zal Cleminson, and … Continue reading That time Guthrie Govan told me that the Aristocrats recreated Eddie Van Halen’s echo from Fair Warning at L.A.’s Sunset Sound

Nicolette Larson talks Neil Young, Eddie Van Halen, and roommate Linda Ronstadt

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, FEB. 24, 2013 By Steve Newton On February 22, 1983, Nicolette Larson played Vancouver’s Commodore Ballroom. It wasn’t a major concert event by any means, but it was definitely a potential night out for Larson fans who’d been following her career since ’78, when her debut album Nicolette spawned a hit version of … Continue reading Nicolette Larson talks Neil Young, Eddie Van Halen, and roommate Linda Ronstadt

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

Eddie’s off-the-cuff raunch blasts save Van Halen’s ass while Jimmy Page watches from the wings

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 21, 1991 By Steve Newton Twice during Van Halen’s show at B.C. Place last Wednesday (November 13), shaggy-maned vocalist Sammy Hagar apologized for having throat problems and not being able to sing up to par. The second time, he added, “But the band’s hot, and that’s all that … Continue reading Eddie’s off-the-cuff raunch blasts save Van Halen’s ass while Jimmy Page watches from the wings

That time I asked Alex Van Halen what the best thing was about being in Van Halen

By Steve Newton Here’s the last excerpt I’m gonna post from my 1995 interview with Alex Van Halen. I’d like to thank author Greg Renoff for his help in getting these audio clips to the hardcore Van Halen fans. I highly recommend his book Van Halen Rising: How a Southern California Backyard Party Band Saved … Continue reading That time I asked Alex Van Halen what the best thing was about being in Van Halen

That time Alex Van Halen told me that the first drummer who really blew him away style-wise was Ginger Baker

By Steve Newton Everybody has their favourite all-time rock drummer. Mine, for example, was the Who’s Keith Moon, who won me over forever with his frenzied work on Quadrophenia. Many others point to the precise timekeeping of Led Zeppelin skinbasher John Bonham. When I interviewed Alex Van Halen back in 1995 he told me that Moon … Continue reading That time Alex Van Halen told me that the first drummer who really blew him away style-wise was Ginger Baker

That time I asked Nancy Wilson if Heart were Canadians from Vancouver or Americans from Seattle

By Steve Newton Heart was one of the first great rock bands I saw live. I was still in high school when they came and played the hockey rink in Chilliwack around the time of their debut Dreamboat Annie LP, which–with songs like “Magic Man”, “Crazy on You”, and “White Lightning & Wine”–is still my … Continue reading That time I asked Nancy Wilson if Heart were Canadians from Vancouver or Americans from Seattle

That time Autograph guitarist Steve Lynch told me about the crazy times touring with Van Halen

By Steve Newton Way the heck back in October of 1985 I interviewed Autograph guitarist Steve Lynch because his band was headed to Vancouver as opening act on Motley Crue‘s Theatre of Pain tour. Back then two-handed tapping was very popular among guitarists in hard rock and metal bands, and Lynch was among its top … Continue reading That time Autograph guitarist Steve Lynch told me about the crazy times touring with Van Halen

That time Alex Van Halen told me how early on he discovered the fascinating power of live music

By Steve Newton We’ve all heard the old joke before: “What do you call somebody who hangs around with musicians? A drummer.” I think it’s fair to say that drummers don’t always get the credit they deserve. I haven’t interviewed that many over the years–for the simple fact that I prefer talking to guitarists–but some … Continue reading That time Alex Van Halen told me how early on he discovered the fascinating power of live music

That time I asked Klaus Meine if the Scorpions were blowing Van Halen off the stage on the Monsters of Rock Tour

By Steve Newton Way back in July of 1988 I made the trek from Vancouver to see the Monsters of Rock Festival at the Seattle Kingdome. The lineup featured Van Halen, Scorpions, Metallica, Dokken, and Kingdom Come, and at the time–since David Lee Roth was no longer in VH–I was particularly psyched to see the … Continue reading That time I asked Klaus Meine if the Scorpions were blowing Van Halen off the stage on the Monsters of Rock Tour

That time Alex Van Halen told me how Van Halen would “raise a stink” across L.A. until it paid off

By Steve Newton If you want to know the real story of how Van Halen went from being a backyard party band to America’s hard-rock kings, check out author Gregg Renoff’s 2015 book Van Halen Rising. And for the condensed version, check out this excerpt from my 1995 interview with Alex Van Halen. Have a listen: … Continue reading That time Alex Van Halen told me how Van Halen would “raise a stink” across L.A. until it paid off

That time I asked Alex Van Halen which of Van Halen’s David Lee Roth-era albums was his fave

By Steve Newton If you asked me which of Van Halen‘s David Lee Roth-era albums was my fave, I’d probably have to say the first one. I mean, that album is pretty freakin’ hard to beat. I liked Van Halen II a lot as well, but there was nothing like hearing Eddie for the first … Continue reading That time I asked Alex Van Halen which of Van Halen’s David Lee Roth-era albums was his fave

That time Jake E. Lee of Badlands told me that hearing Van Halen got him back into hard rock

By Steve Newton Millions of rock fans around the world were mesmerized by Van Halen’s sheer rockingness when it blasted onto the music scene in the late seventies. And Jake E. Lee was mightily impressed as well. When I interviewed Lee back in 1992 before a Badlands show in Vancouver we got to talking about … Continue reading That time Jake E. Lee of Badlands told me that hearing Van Halen got him back into hard rock

That time Alex Van Halen told me that Sammy Hagar was almost Van Halen’s first singer

By Steve Newton Everybody knows that David Lee Roth was Van Halen’s first singer. But not everybody knows that he almost wasn’t Van Halen’s first singer. At least that’s the “little dirt” that Alex Van Halen dished up for me when I interviewed him a quarter-century ago. Have a listen: To hear my full 21-minute interview … Continue reading That time Alex Van Halen told me that Sammy Hagar was almost Van Halen’s first singer

That time I asked David Lee Roth if he regretted leaving Van Halen

By Steve Newton I did my first interview with David Lee Roth in June of 1994, when he was promoting his Nile Rodgers-produced album Your Filthy Little Mouth. He called me from L.A., where 10 days earlier O.J. Simpson had gone on his murderous rampage, so we chatted about the media circus surrounding that, among other things. … Continue reading That time I asked David Lee Roth if he regretted leaving Van Halen

AC/DC in Vancouver: Mike Fraser spotted with Brian Johnson and Phil Rudd, maybe calling Cliff Williams on his phone?

photo courtesy Glenn Slavens and Crystal Lambert (cgrocker18@gmail.com) By Steve Newton Hardcore AC/DC fans and photographic rumour-spreaders Glenn Slavens and Crystal Lambert are at it again. The dynamic Vancouver duo–he has the camera, she has the pad–have shared another photo with Ear of Newt that furthers the idea that everybody’s fave hard-rock band is working … Continue reading AC/DC in Vancouver: Mike Fraser spotted with Brian Johnson and Phil Rudd, maybe calling Cliff Williams on his phone?

AC/DC rumours regarding Phil Rudd and Vancouver come from the right place

I don’t care how tiny Angus is, the world needs his killer riffs. By Steve Newton There’s been a lot of rumour and speculation flying around the music world since yesterday, when I posted a blog on the Georgia Straight website reporting that Phil Rudd and Stevie Young had been spotted in downtown Vancouver. The … Continue reading AC/DC rumours regarding Phil Rudd and Vancouver come from the right place

Van Halen and Scorpions battle it out for stadium-rock supremacy as the Monsters of Rock tour hits Seattle

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 5, 1988 By Steve Newton About 40,000 people paid $38.50 (Cdn) to see the marathon Monsters of Rock show at the Seattle Kingdome last Wednesday (July 27). My calculator blew up when I tried to figure out the night’s take, but I do know that the Kingdome is … Continue reading Van Halen and Scorpions battle it out for stadium-rock supremacy as the Monsters of Rock tour hits Seattle

Album review: Van Halen, OU812 (1988)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 8, 1988 By Steve Newton So this album is selling like hotcakes, eh? I hear they shipped a million copies, and are still running out at a lot of record stores. Well, I know that it’s hard not to like a band that includes two stars like Eddie … Continue reading Album review: Van Halen, OU812 (1988)

Album review: Van Halen, 5150 (1986)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, APRIL 11, 1986 By Steve Newton One of the most talked about lineup changes in rock these days involves Van Halen’s switch from David Lee Roth to Sammy Hagar. “Nobody could replace Diamond Dave”, said some, while others pointed to the fine work Hagar did with influential metal band … Continue reading Album review: Van Halen, 5150 (1986)