Graham Bonnet on that infamous MSG gig of ’82: “If your pants had split down the front and your cock fell out, what would you do?”

By Steve Newton Back in 1984 I interviewed British hard-rock vocalist Graham Bonnet, who at the time was fronting a band called Alcatrazz, which boasted a hot-shot (but barely known) guitarist by the name of Yngwie Malmsteen. Two years earlier Bonnet had gotten kicked out of the Michael Schenker Group, who he recorded the 1982 … Continue reading Graham Bonnet on that infamous MSG gig of ’82: “If your pants had split down the front and your cock fell out, what would you do?”

Graham Bonnet was bandmates with Ritchie Blackmore, Michael Schenker, and Yngwie Malmsteen, but called Gary Moore his hero

By Steve Newton When I interviewed Graham Bonnet back in 1984 he was fronting a hard-rock/metal band called Alcatrazz that featured an unknown guitarist named Yngwie Malmsteen, who would not stay unknown for long. Two years earlier Bonnet had been a member of the Michael Schenker Group, which also boasted an amazing guitar player, a guy … Continue reading Graham Bonnet was bandmates with Ritchie Blackmore, Michael Schenker, and Yngwie Malmsteen, but called Gary Moore his hero

That time Graham Bonnet told me that Ritchie Blackmore isn’t moody at all, just a real nice, shy guy

By Steve Newton Ritchie Blackmore is one of my favourite guitarists of all time. As a 15-year-old when Machine Head was released in 1972, I could barely comprehend how great his guitar solo on “Highway Star” made me feel. Over and over again. Two years later he did it again with the lead break on “Burn”. … Continue reading That time Graham Bonnet told me that Ritchie Blackmore isn’t moody at all, just a real nice, shy guy

That time Graham Bonnet told me about unknown Alcatrazz guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen: “He’s one day gonna be a star”

By Steve Newton Back in the ’80s one of my jobs at the Georgia Straight newspaper in Vancouver was to cover the hard-rock/heavy metal beat. Soon after getting hired as a proofreader/typesetter in ’82 I was doing articles on Priest, Scorps, Maiden, and Ozzy, which–to my utter delight–often ended up as the cover story. Metal was … Continue reading That time Graham Bonnet told me about unknown Alcatrazz guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen: “He’s one day gonna be a star”

Ann Wilson on making the Heart album: “Lookout! Three gals and a bottle of Dubonnet!”

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 16, 1985 By Steve Newton It’s been ten years since Heart recorded their debut album Dreamboat Annie at Vancouver’s Mushroom Studios. At a time when Saturday Night Fever was running rampant that LP–with songs like “Magic Man” and “Crazy On You”–struck an important blow for guitar-driven rock and … Continue reading Ann Wilson on making the Heart album: “Lookout! Three gals and a bottle of Dubonnet!”

That time Kim Simmonds told me that Eric Clapton was the greatest white blues guitar player he’d ever seen

By Steve Newton I was a huge Foghat fan in the seventies. I couldn’t get enough of their hard-driving boogie-blues on albums like Energized and Rock and Roll Outlaws. When I learned that most of their original members had come from a band called Savoy Brown I went and checked them out as well, and … Continue reading That time Kim Simmonds told me that Eric Clapton was the greatest white blues guitar player he’d ever seen

That time Joe Satriani told me how an unsolicited Mastercard application got Not of This Earth off the ground

By Steve Newton You know how you’re always getting those unsolicited credit-card applications in the mail? The ones that say “Dear [insert your name here]. You’ve been approved for a shitload of money, so just sign up here.” Well, Joe Satriani got one of those once, and it turned out to be exactly what he … Continue reading That time Joe Satriani told me how an unsolicited Mastercard application got Not of This Earth off the ground

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 Tom Cochrane railed against the “trendy bullshit” in pop music after Red Rider released Neruda

By Steve Newton I’ve interviewed Canadian rocker Tom Cochrane half a dozen times over the years. I was a fan long before he hit it big with “Life is a Highway” in 1991. The first time we talked was in April of 1983, three months after the release of Red Rider’s fine Neruda album, the … Continue reading That time Tom Cochrane railed against the “trendy bullshit” in pop music after Red Rider released Neruda

That time Roger Glover told me that he felt very bitter towards Deep Purple’s Mark III lineup, didn’t like Burn much

By Steve Newton Deep Purple is one of my all-time favourite bands. As a teenager in the seventies I grew up on albums like Fireball, Made in Japan, and Burn. Forget Clapton: Ritchie Blackmore was God in my books. So it was cool when, while still in my 20s, I got to interview Purple bassist … Continue reading That time Roger Glover told me that he felt very bitter towards Deep Purple’s Mark III lineup, didn’t like Burn much

That time I asked Taj Mahal which blues artists were making him smile lately

By Steve Newton I’ve interviewed American blues great Taj Mahal (real name Henry Saint Clair Fredericks) a couple of times. The first time was back in November of 2001, before he headed to Vancouver for a solo acoustic show at the historic Commodore Ballroom. At one point in the conversation I asked the 59-year-old Grammy-winner … Continue reading That time I asked Taj Mahal which blues artists were making him smile lately

That time I asked Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready what he thought was so great about Neil Young

By Steve Newton I like Pearl Jam a lot. And I really love Neil Young. So when those two got together for the Mirror Ball album back in 1995 I was in hog heaven. I would listen to my favourite track, “I’m the Ocean”, over and over again. When I interviewed Pearl Jam guitarist Mike … Continue reading That time I asked Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready what he thought was so great about Neil Young

That time Steve Vai told me that his body language changes a lot when he’s playing rock ‘n’ roll

By Steve Newton When I did my first interview with Steve Vai, back in May of 1990, he had just released his sophomore solo album, Passion and Warfare, a technically dazzling instrumental guitar opus. At the same time, he was also touring with Whitesnake, whose straightforward, radio-friendly rock tunes were not nearly as challenging to … Continue reading That time Steve Vai told me that his body language changes a lot when he’s playing rock ‘n’ roll

That time I asked veteran studio ace David Lindley what his favourite recording session had been

By Steve Newton David Lindley is widely hailed as one of the finest players of stringed instruments in the world. As well as acoustic and electric guitar, he’s been known to handle upright and electric bass, banjo, lap steel guitar, mandolin, hardingfele, bouzouki, cittern, bağlama, gumbus, charango, cümbüş, and zither. When I interviewed him back … Continue reading That time I asked veteran studio ace David Lindley what his favourite recording session had been

That time Megadeth’s Marty Friedman told me about the satanic bonfires in Dallas on the Clash of the Titans tour

By Steve Newton Megadeth has featured some wicked guitar players over the years, but arguably non wickeder than Marty Friedman, who did his thing on killer albums like Countdown to Extinction and Youthanasia. When I called Friedman up in May of 1991 he was in El Paso, Texas, where Megadeth was playing as part of … Continue reading That time Megadeth’s Marty Friedman told me about the satanic bonfires in Dallas on the Clash of the Titans tour

That time Joe Satriani told me that Jeff Beck’s Blow By Blow was just the kind of music his generation wanted to hear

By Steve Newton Man, was 1975 the best year for guitar-based rock or what? That’s the year I graduated high school, and spent countless hours cramming my head with riffs from LPs like Thin Lizzy‘s Fighting, Led Zeppelin’s Physical Graffiti, Bad Company‘s Straight Shooter, Heart‘s Dreamboat Annie, and the self-titled debuts by Ian Hunter, the … Continue reading That time Joe Satriani told me that Jeff Beck’s Blow By Blow was just the kind of music his generation wanted to hear

That time I asked legendary tunesmith John Hiatt if writing songs came easy for him or if it’s always been hard

ron baker photo/wikipedia By Steve Newton John Hiatt has written some of my favourite tunes. Sometimes he records them himself (“Paper Thin”, “Tennessee Plates”, “Perfectly Good Guitar”), sometimes people like Jeff Healey (“Confidence Man”) and Bonnie Raitt (“Thing Called Love”) cover them. It was a real honour to chat with a legendary songwriter of John … Continue reading That time I asked legendary tunesmith John Hiatt if writing songs came easy for him or if it’s always been hard

AC/DC’s undying influence on Vancouver rockers, record-store owners, and radio personalities

ORIGINALLY POSTED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, APRIL 19, 2001 By Steve Newton The members of AC/DC aren’t doing any interviews in advance of their two shows at the Pacific Coliseum on Sunday and Monday (April 22 and 23), but that’s okay, because if they were, they’d probably just want to talk about their latest album, Stiff Upper Lip. … Continue reading AC/DC’s undying influence on Vancouver rockers, record-store owners, and radio personalities

That time Justin Townes Earle told me that it was Jason Isbell’s songs that made him a big Drive-By Truckers fan

By Steve Newton Very sad to hear the news tonight of the passing of Americana artist Justin Townes Earle. He was a helluva singer-songwriter. I only got to interview him once, back in May of 2009, when he was touring behind his third album, Midnight Movies. Having interviewed his father Steve Earle numerous times, I … Continue reading That time Justin Townes Earle told me that it was Jason Isbell’s songs that made him a big Drive-By Truckers fan

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 made Gary Moore laugh by asking what drives him

By Steve Newton I’ve interviewed scads of incredible guitarists over the years, but I can’t think of any more amazing than Gary Moore. Everything about his playing just blew me away. So I was mighty psyched when I did my one and only interview with him way back on May 11, 1984. At the time … Continue reading That time I made Gary Moore laugh by asking what drives him

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 Jeff Golub told me that, as a kid in Akron, Ohio, you could either be a juvenile delinquent or a guitarist

Rod Stewart Fan Club photo By Steve Newton One summer day back in July of 1989 Rod Stewart played Vancouver’s BC Place Stadium on his Out of Order World tour. It would have been great to meet Rod the Mod down at the pub and do a little interview, but he wasn’t available, so I … Continue reading That time Jeff Golub told me that, as a kid in Akron, Ohio, you could either be a juvenile delinquent or a guitarist

That time Edgar Winter told me about playing Carnegie Hall for Les Paul’s 90th birthday celebration

Carl Lender photo By Steve Newton When I interviewed Edgar Winter in July of 2005 it had only been one month since he’d performed at Carnegie Hall as part of Les Paul’s 90th birthday celebration. He’d been joined at that event by the likes of Steve Miller, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Steve Lukather, Stanley Jordan, Peter … Continue reading That time Edgar Winter told me about playing Carnegie Hall for Les Paul’s 90th birthday celebration

That time The Pursuit of Happiness’s Moe Berg told me how much of a Todd Rundgren fan he was

By Steve Newton I loved Canadian rockers The Pursuit of Happiness back in the day. Their 1988 debut album, the Todd Rundgren-produced Love Junk, was jam-packed with catchy power-pop tunes. The band’s 1990 followup, One-Sided Story, was also produced by Rundgren, and though not as consistently impressive as Love Junk, boasted some strong tracks as … Continue reading That time The Pursuit of Happiness’s Moe Berg told me how much of a Todd Rundgren fan he was

That time Todd Rundgren told me that one of the greatest recording experiences of his life was with TPOH

By Steve Newton Todd Rundgren has some amazing credits as a producer. He’s helmed such influential and/or successful albums as Badfinger‘s Straight Up, the New York Dolls‘ selt-titled debut, Grand Funk’s We’re an American Band, and Meat Loaf‘s multiplatinum Bat Out of Hell. He also helmed an LP near and dear to the hearts of … Continue reading That time Todd Rundgren told me that one of the greatest recording experiences of his life was with TPOH

That time Joe Satriani told me that he vowed to take up guitar on the day Jimi Hendrix died

By Steve Newton Jimi Hendrix has to be the most influential electric guitarist of all time. Joe Satriani surely wouldn’t argue the point. When I did the first of my eight interviews with Satch back in 1990, after the release of Flying in a Blue Dream, I asked him if it was true that he … Continue reading That time Joe Satriani told me that he vowed to take up guitar on the day Jimi Hendrix died