Happy Newt Year: a social-studies teacher really likes my book on Gord Downie

By Steve Newton Happy Newt Year everybody! January 1 is often a day of reflection, going over the previous year’s highlights, so let’s get reflectin’. As a rock writer, 2018 had some memorable moments. I pulled off my eighth interview with guitar hero Joe Satriani, for one thing. I had my first chat with Gerry … Continue reading Happy Newt Year: a social-studies teacher really likes my book on Gord Downie

One year gone: remembering Gord Downie through the Hip’s last gig

By Steve Newton The following is an excerpt from my beer-table book, Gord Downie, published February 2018 by Sterling Books, New York. The tour’s final show at Kingston’s Rogers K-Rock Centre was the one everyone was talking about. It was broadcast live on the tube by the CBC, with no commercial breaks, and watched by … Continue reading One year gone: remembering Gord Downie through the Hip’s last gig

Back to the ‘Wack: Newt signs Gord Downie book in Chilliwack

By Steve Newton In case you haven’t heard, my first book came out last month. It’s called Gord Downie, and it’s about a poetic Canadian guy who rocked his ass off for decades and won over his home country before bravely succumbing to brain cancer and winning over his home country even more. When the … Continue reading Back to the ‘Wack: Newt signs Gord Downie book in Chilliwack

Exclusive excerpt from my new book, Gord Downie, about the late frontman of the Tragically Hip

By Steve Newton The following is the Preface from my new coffeetable book, Gord Downie, published by Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. of New York City and currently available at Indigo, Coles, and Chapters outlets across Canada. ———————————————————————- The first time I spoke to Gord Downie he was a longhaired 25-year-old rocker touring behind his band’s first full-length … Continue reading Exclusive excerpt from my new book, Gord Downie, about the late frontman of the Tragically Hip

Win a signed copy of my new book, Gord Downie

By Steve Newton My coffee-table book on Gord Downie comes out on Tuesday, but one lucky person will get by without having to pay the suggested list price. I’m doing a contest, with the prize being a copy signed by yours truly. I could even inscribe “in Gord we trust” on it if the winner … Continue reading Win a signed copy of my new book, Gord Downie

Hey, I wrote a book about Gord Downie, and it looks freakin’ awesome!

By Steve Newton After more than 35 years as a journalist, I’m finally moving up in the world. I’m gonna be an author! Yeah, that’s right. Shove over Stephen King, there’s an unstoppable new force in the publishing world. Just kidding. But I do have a damn nice-looking book comin’ out. On February 6 Indigo … Continue reading Hey, I wrote a book about Gord Downie, and it looks freakin’ awesome!

That time Gord Downie wanted to meet in person and I turned him down, feeling like a bit of a knob

By Steve Newton Regrets? I’ve had a few. Like that time Gord Downie called me up for a phone interview in January of ’95 and the first thing he asked was whether I’d rather wait and talk to him in person when he arrived in Vancouver the next day. He sounded like he wanted to … Continue reading That time Gord Downie wanted to meet in person and I turned him down, feeling like a bit of a knob

15 minutes on the phone with 25-year-old Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip

By Steve Newton Back in 1989 I did the first of my five Georgia Straight interviews with Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip. I know a lot of my fellow Hip fans are hurting right now with the news of his passing, so here’s something I hope brings a bit of comfort: 15 minutes of Gord … Continue reading 15 minutes on the phone with 25-year-old Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip

That time Gord Downie told me that he thought the Tragically Hip was a success from day one

By Steve Newton As I mentioned in a blog last month, the last time I interviewed Gord Downie he got a little “cunty” (his word) when I brought up the subject of how the Tragically Hip hadn’t enjoyed nearly the same level of success in the States as it had in Canada. After that minor … Continue reading That time Gord Downie told me that he thought the Tragically Hip was a success from day one

That time Gord Downie got all “cunty” when I picked his scab about the Hip’s perplexing lack of success in the States

david bastedo photo By Steve Newton I turned 60 today, and sometimes when you reach a milestone I guess maybe you look back on things in your life or career that struck you as special or interesting or memorable in some way. While sipping on the peach vodka my wife bought me for the occasion, … Continue reading That time Gord Downie got all “cunty” when I picked his scab about the Hip’s perplexing lack of success in the States

That time Gord Downie told me his original lyrics for the Tragically Hip’s “Ahead By a Century”

By Steve Newton In October of 1996 I did my fifth and final interview with the Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie, which became a main source for my 2018 coffeetable book on him. At one point during the lengthy conversation I brought up “Ahead By a Century”, the band’s highest charting single, off their ’96 … Continue reading That time Gord Downie told me his original lyrics for the Tragically Hip’s “Ahead By a Century”

The Gord Downie Tapes, 1995, Part II: “We’d love to make a record every month”

By Steve Newton Here’s the last audio excerpt I’m gonna post from the fourth interview I did with Gordon Downie, back in July of ’95. As the interview wound down I asked the legendary Canuck rocker if the Tragically Hip ever got pressure from its record label to crank records out by a particular date. According … Continue reading The Gord Downie Tapes, 1995, Part II: “We’d love to make a record every month”

The Gord Downie Tapes, 1995, Part II: “I just love meeting other musicians. Period.”

By Steve Newton As most Canadian rock fans know, the Tragically Hip ended its final major tour last Saturday with a gig in its Kingston hometown that was broadcast (and celebrated) nationwide. Touring has always been at the heart of what the Hip is all about. Sure, making amazing records is a biggie too, but … Continue reading The Gord Downie Tapes, 1995, Part II: “I just love meeting other musicians. Period.”

The Gord Downie Tapes, 1995, Part II: “The 15 minutes or so after a show are usually my favourite time of the day”

By Steve Newton If you’re a Canuck rock fan, there’s a damn good chance you watched the big Tragically Hip concert from Kingston that was aired on the CBC last night. I didn’t see it live–I was busy watching the kids get their jollies at opening day of the PNE–but I made sure to record … Continue reading The Gord Downie Tapes, 1995, Part II: “The 15 minutes or so after a show are usually my favourite time of the day”

15 of the best quotes I ever got from Gord Downie

By Steve Newton The big Tragically Hip show in their hometown of Kingston, Ontario, is happening tomorrow, broadcast live on the CBC starting at 5:30 pm Vancouver time. I might not be back from opening day at the PNE in time to watch the gig unfold live, but I sure as shit plan to record … Continue reading 15 of the best quotes I ever got from Gord Downie

The Gord Downie Tapes, 1995, Part II: that Saturday Night Live gig

By Steve Newton With the big nationwide broadcast of the Tragically Hip‘s Kingston concert just two days away, it’s time to travel back to another time when Canada as a whole was psyched about seeing Gord and the boys do their thing on the small screen. On March 25, 1995, the Hip played Saturday Night Live, when one … Continue reading The Gord Downie Tapes, 1995, Part II: that Saturday Night Live gig

The Gord Downie Tapes, 1995, Part II: on touring with Page & Plant and the Rolling Stones

By Steve Newton When I interviewed Gord Downie in July of 1995 the Tragically Hip was flying high. Since I’d talked to him six months earlier, the band had won group of the year at the Junos, performed on Saturday Night Live, toured widely with Page & Plant, and opened for the Rolling Stones. Not … Continue reading The Gord Downie Tapes, 1995, Part II: on touring with Page & Plant and the Rolling Stones

The Gord Downie Tapes, 1995, Part II: life on the road with the Tragically Hip

By Steve Newton On July 2, 1995, I did my fourth Georgia Straight interview with the Tragically Hip’s Gord Downie. It had only been six months since our previous chat, and it was unusual–even back then, when newspapers were thriving–to publish two feature stories on the same band within such a short span of time. But … Continue reading The Gord Downie Tapes, 1995, Part II: life on the road with the Tragically Hip

The Gord Downie Tapes, 1995: “I don’t think Canadians need someone to tell them that it’s okay to like what they like”

By Steve Newton As we wind down to the Tragically Hip’s “last-ever show” on August 20, folks all across Canada are contemplating the legacy of the group. One subject that commonly gets bandied about is the Hip’s famous inability to “break through” in the States, and to garner the same degree of commercial success down there as they … Continue reading The Gord Downie Tapes, 1995: “I don’t think Canadians need someone to tell them that it’s okay to like what they like”

The Gord Downie Tapes, 1995: raving about tourmates Change of Heart and the Odds

By Steve Newton One thing I figured out about Gord Downie during the five interviews I did with him between 1989 and 1995 was that he really, really likes musicians. Especially musicians who play in bands. He was always quick to rave about the new groups he’d heard lately, or maybe the ones the Tragically … Continue reading The Gord Downie Tapes, 1995: raving about tourmates Change of Heart and the Odds

The Gord Downie Tapes, 1995: “I like to think of [Nautical Disaster] in different ways every time I listen to it.”

By Steve Newton When I interviewed the Tragically Hip’s Gord Downie in January of 1995 it was less than four months after the release of the band’s fourth full-length album, Day for Night, and I was still playing the crap out of it. I would also play “Nautical Disaster” over and over again, until it … Continue reading The Gord Downie Tapes, 1995: “I like to think of [Nautical Disaster] in different ways every time I listen to it.”

The Gord Downie Tapes, 1995: talkin’ hockey right after the lockout

By Steve Newton When I interviewed Tragically Hip singer Gord Downie on January 18, 1995, it had been exactly once week since the end of the historic NHL lockout that had started the previous October. That lockout caused the 1994-1995 hockey season to be shortened from 84 games to 48, the shortest season in 53 years. Tonight … Continue reading The Gord Downie Tapes, 1995: talkin’ hockey right after the lockout

The Gord Downie Tapes, 1995: “Even ‘The Inevitability of Death’ I think is kind of a funny song, more than anything”

By Steve Newton Okay Tragically Hip fans–or in other words, all of Canada. I’ve been posting audio excerpts from my interviews with Gord Downie from 1989 and 1992, and now here’s the first one from 1995. Actually, I did two interviews with Downie in ’95–one in January and another in July–because the band were touring maniacs … Continue reading The Gord Downie Tapes, 1995: “Even ‘The Inevitability of Death’ I think is kind of a funny song, more than anything”

The Gord Downie Tapes, 1992: analyzing the wild cover art of Fully Completely

By Steve Newton This last audio excerpt from my 1992 interview with Tragically Hip singer Gord Downie concerns the intriguing album-cover art for Fully Completely, which the band released less than a month before our little chat. At the time I was still trying to make sense of the weird kind of collage that would … Continue reading The Gord Downie Tapes, 1992: analyzing the wild cover art of Fully Completely

The Gord Downie Tapes, 1992: wishing he was a Thin Lizzy freak

By Steve Newton This sixth entry in “The Gord Downie Tapes” sees me still plundering the conversation I had with the Tragically Hip frontman in November of ’92, shortly after the release of the unforgettable Fully Completely album. It was the only Hip album to be produced by Chris Tsangarides, the same guy who helmed Thin … Continue reading The Gord Downie Tapes, 1992: wishing he was a Thin Lizzy freak

The Gord Downie Tapes, 1992: the story behind “50 Mission Cap”

By Steve Newton On this glorious Canada Day weekend I can’t think of a better choice for the fifth entry in my “Gord Downie Tapes” series than a snippet of my ’92 interview with him in the wake of the Fully Completely album release. As you may already know, that’s the best Hip album ever, partly … Continue reading The Gord Downie Tapes, 1992: the story behind “50 Mission Cap”