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 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 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 Fernando von Arb called and told me that Krokus was kicking Sammy Hagar’s ass on tour

By Steve Newton If you’re old like me you may remember Swiss metal band Krokus for that early-’80s tune “Long Stick Goes Boom” and for the fact that they sounded a lot like AC/DC. I interviewed guitarist Fernando von Arb on November 12, 1984, three months after the release of the group’s Vancouver-made, Bruce Fairbairn-produced … Continue reading That time Fernando von Arb called and told me that Krokus was kicking Sammy Hagar’s ass on tour

That time I told Gary Moore it was the shits that he wasn’t coming to Vancouver with Rush

By Steve Newton It’s Gary Moore‘s birthday today–he would have been 69–so I figured I’d post an audio excerpt from my one and only interview with the Irish guitar legend, one of the finest pickers to ever pick up the instrument. It was May 11, 1984, and Moore was opening for Rush on their Grace … Continue reading That time I told Gary Moore it was the shits that he wasn’t coming to Vancouver with Rush

That time Steve Clark told me why it took Def Leppard so long to follow up Pyromania with Hysteria

By Steve Newton Back in the ’80s, most successful recording bands liked to put an album out every year. Sometimes they’d skip a year, to vacation in the Bahamas or release a live or best-of LP. After three years their fans would start to get a bit worried, and so would their record label–especially if … Continue reading That time Steve Clark told me why it took Def Leppard so long to follow up Pyromania with Hysteria

That time Long John Baldry told me that he inspired Eric Clapton to take up guitar

By Steve Newton Long John Baldry had a huge influence on the British blues scene in the sixties. In fact, when I interviewed Baldry back in 1985, he confirmed that none other than Slowhand himself was urged to take up the guitar after seeing him perform. Have a listen: To hear the full audio of … Continue reading That time Long John Baldry told me that he inspired Eric Clapton to take up guitar

That time Robin Gibb told me that the Bee Gees had never been a disco group

By Steve Newton Back in the ’70s when rock music was having a huge impact on me I was rabidly anti-disco. I didn’t go so far as to wear a “Disco Sucks” t-shirt like one of my high school buddies, but I was with him in spirit. But in 1977, when the blockbuster Saturday Night … Continue reading That time Robin Gibb told me that the Bee Gees had never been a disco group

That time I told “Gatemouth” Brown that he played pretty good boogie for a 73-year-old

By Steve Newton Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown was one of those old blues guys who didn’t talk much–especially during interviews. When I chatted with him back in 1997 he was 73, and touring behind an album called Long Way Home that featured guest spots by Leon Russell, Eric Clapton, Ry Cooder, and Sonny Landreth. At one … Continue reading That time I told “Gatemouth” Brown that he played pretty good boogie for a 73-year-old

That time I asked Danny Gatton, the world’s greatest unknown guitarist, if he wished he were better known

By Steve Newton Danny Gatton has long been described as “the world’s greatest unknown guitarist.” Some have argued that that title is more suited to Roy Buchanan, but I think it’s safe to say that Gatton is the lesser known of the two relatively unheralded Telecaster masters. At least it seemed that way to me … Continue reading That time I asked Danny Gatton, the world’s greatest unknown guitarist, if he wished he were better known

That time 21-year-old Exodus guitarist Gary Holt told me that he couldn’t say enough bad things about Mötley Crüe

By Steve Newton Way back on July 24 of 1985 I interviewed the guitarists from three fast-rising (but still kinda underground) thrash metal bands: Gary Holt of Exodus, Kurdt Vanderhoof of Metal Church, and John Ricci of Exciter. All three groups were headed to Vancouver for a three-night “Metal Massacre” at the New York Theatre, … Continue reading That time 21-year-old Exodus guitarist Gary Holt told me that he couldn’t say enough bad things about Mötley Crüe

That time I asked Guns N’ Roses keyboardist Dizzy Reed if Metallica ever blew his band off the stage

By Steve Newton I interviewed Guns N’ Roses keyboardist Dizzy Reed on August 5, 1992, while his band was in the midst of a coheadlining stadium tour with Metallica. The tour was scheduled to hit Vancouver’s BC Place Stadium on August 17–with openers Faith No More–but three days after this chat James Hetfield got badly … Continue reading That time I asked Guns N’ Roses keyboardist Dizzy Reed if Metallica ever blew his band off the stage

That time Albert King told me that Gary Moore could play guitar: “I guarantee it”

By Steve Newton During my 40 years of writing about music, I’ve been extremely fortunate, especially when it comes to interviewing guitar players. I’ve been able to interview some of the world’s greatest guitarists several times over, including amazing players like Joe Satriani (eight times), Warren Haynes (six times), Buddy Guy (five times), and Dickey … Continue reading That time Albert King told me that Gary Moore could play guitar: “I guarantee it”

That time Scott Ian told me that, if there’d been a Big Five Tour, Exodus could have joined Anthrax, Metallica, Slayer, and Megadeth

By Steve Newton Back in September of 2012 I interviewed Scott Ian. He’s the fourth Anthrax member I’ve chatted with, having hooked up with Joey Belladonna in ’91, John Bush in ’93, and Frank Bello in 2005. That band likes to talk. Anyway, two years before my chat with Ian, Anthrax had hooked up with … Continue reading That time Scott Ian told me that, if there’d been a Big Five Tour, Exodus could have joined Anthrax, Metallica, Slayer, and Megadeth

That time Dick Dale told me that the way he played guitar was “ticka-ticka-tucka-tucka ticka-ticka-tucka-tucka ticka-ticka-ta”

By Steve Newton I was fortunate enough to have interviewed Dick Dale–the “King of the Surf Guitar”–twice, in 1993 and 2000. Wow–what a totally unique and interesting guy. So outgoing and full of life and passion. At one point during the second conversation I brought up the topic of his highly percussive approach to guitar … Continue reading That time Dick Dale told me that the way he played guitar was “ticka-ticka-tucka-tucka ticka-ticka-tucka-tucka ticka-ticka-ta”

That time Steve Howe told me that it was “inappropriate” to ask if he’d had a falling out with original Yes singer Jon Anderson

By Steve Newton I’ve interviewed Steve Howe three times over the years because, hey, he’s Steve Howe, and I’ve been a fan of his ever since high school, when I used to proudly display the triple-disc Yessongs album–with its awesome Roger Dean artwork–on my bedroom dresser. The last time we chatted, though, in 2017, I … Continue reading That time Steve Howe told me that it was “inappropriate” to ask if he’d had a falling out with original Yes singer Jon Anderson