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 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

That time Ratt’s Robbin Crosby told me that Jethro Tull winning the metal Grammy in ’89 was “bullshit’

By Steve Newton Few award presentations in the history of rock music have caused as much controversy as the one that took place at the Grammys back on February 6, 1989. That was when Jethro Tull’s Crest of a Knave album won the Grammy for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance, shockingly beating out the odds-on favourite, … Continue reading That time Ratt’s Robbin Crosby told me that Jethro Tull winning the metal Grammy in ’89 was “bullshit’

Leslie West’s absence from the Rock Hall is as shocking as the exclusion of Rory, Johnny, and Link

By Steve Newton Since the news hit yesterday about the death of beloved guitar legend Leslie West, accolades have been pouring in from some of the world’s finest pickers. “Leslie’s playing and sound was just superb,” said Tony Iommi, whose band Black Sabbath used to open for West’s group Mountain. “One of the GOAT,” declared … Continue reading Leslie West’s absence from the Rock Hall is as shocking as the exclusion of Rory, Johnny, and Link

That time Joe Satriani told me that he strove for a live sound worthy of Yes, Pink Floyd, and the Grateful Dead

By Steve Newton I did the first of my eight interviews with Joe Satriani back in January of 1990, when he was touring behind his awesome Flying in a Blue Dream album. As the conversation wound down I asked him if it was tricky controlling the acoustics at some venues, playing at the volume that … Continue reading That time Joe Satriani told me that he strove for a live sound worthy of Yes, Pink Floyd, and the Grateful Dead

That time the Bee Gees’ Robin Gibb told me that he thought the Saturday Night Fever movie was “awful”

By Steve Newton I was never a huge fan of the Bee Gees. But that didn’t stop me from interviewing one of its members, Robin Gibb, back in August of 1984. At the time he was promoting a solo album called Secret Agent, which featured nine songs cowritten with his twin brother Maurice Gibb. Their … Continue reading That time the Bee Gees’ Robin Gibb told me that he thought the Saturday Night Fever movie was “awful”

That time bass legend Tommy Shannon told me who his favourite musician of all time was

By Steve Newton Tommy Shannon is perhaps best known as the bassist for Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble, but dedicated blues-guitar freaks will also know him as the guy who brought the bottom end on Johnny Winter’s first three albums. I interviewed Shannon back in 1998 when he was in the band Storyville, and … Continue reading That time bass legend Tommy Shannon told me who his favourite musician of all time was

That time Alejandro Escovedo told me that the Modernettes’ “Rebel Kind” was a great song

By Steve Newton A couple days ago Alejandro Escovedo posted a fun little blog I’d written in 2015 on his Facebook page. It was about “the greatest guitar solo of all time”, which I attributed to Mick Ronson for his solo on Ian Hunter’s “Once Bitten Twice Shy”. Alejandro must be a big Ronson fan … Continue reading That time Alejandro Escovedo told me that the Modernettes’ “Rebel Kind” was a great song

That time I called up Albert King and asked how life was treatin’ him these days and he said “shit”

By Steve Newton On August 18, 1990, I did my one and only interview with blues legend Albert King. I was very fortunate to have scored that interview, because a little over two years later he was gone. I called Albert up when he was on the road in Poughkeepsie, New York, and asked him … Continue reading That time I called up Albert King and asked how life was treatin’ him these days and he said “shit”

That time Eric Carr told me that new Kiss guitarist Mark St. John was “absolutely astounding”

By Steve Newton I interviewed Kiss drummer Eric Carr in August of 1984, shortly before the band released its Animalize LP. You may recall that album for the hit single “Heaven’s on Fire”. I doubt you’ll recall it for much more. Anyway, at one point in the conversation I asked Carr about the band’s new guitarist, … Continue reading That time Eric Carr told me that new Kiss guitarist Mark St. John was “absolutely astounding”

That time I asked Randy Hansen what he thought was so great about Hendrix when he first heard him

By Steve Newton Few guitar players have proven as influential as Jimi Hendrix. As the years go passing by, the rock legend’s influence just keeps growing and growing. Back in 2001 I interviewed Randy Hansen, the world’s best-known Hendrix tribute artist, and at one point I asked him what he thought was so great about … Continue reading That time I asked Randy Hansen what he thought was so great about Hendrix when he first heard him

That time the Cult’s Billy Duffy told me that Thin Lizzy was his number-one “teenie band”, and that it all boils down to the Les Paul

By Steve Newton Way back on April 7 of 1989 I interviewed the Cult guitarist Billy Duffy. That was three days before the band released its fourth album, the Bob Rock-produced Sonic Temple, which would go platinum on the strength of tunes like “Fire Woman”, “Sweet Soul Sister”, and “Edie (Ciao Baby)”. At one point … Continue reading That time the Cult’s Billy Duffy told me that Thin Lizzy was his number-one “teenie band”, and that it all boils down to the Les Paul

That time Megadeth’s Marty Friedman told me that distortion was the common thread on the Clash of the Titans Tour

By Steve Newton Megadeth has featured a fair whack of wicked guitarists over the years. Alongside mainstay Dave Mustaine, the band has boasted such primo players as Chris Poland, Jeff Young, Marty Friedman, Al Pitrelli, Glen Drover, and Chris Broderick. When I did my first Megadeth interview, back in May of 1991, Friedman was the … Continue reading That time Megadeth’s Marty Friedman told me that distortion was the common thread on the Clash of the Titans Tour

Guitar wizard Dave Martone calls his mentor Joe Satriani a member of “the Good Guy Club”

By Steve Newton I interviewed Dave Martone last week for a story in the Georgia Straight‘s annual Best of Vancouver issue, because when I think about who might be the best guitarist in Vancouver, he always comes to mind. At one point in the conversation I asked Martone about his relationship with Joe Satriani, because … Continue reading Guitar wizard Dave Martone calls his mentor Joe Satriani a member of “the Good Guy Club”