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”

Graham Goble knows it’s a long way there, so Little River Band recruits John Farnham for the trip

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 14, 1983 By Steve Newton When, after releasing six albums, a group loses both its original lead singer and lead guitarist, there’s a good chance a large number of longtime fans will be next to go. But that shouldn’t be the case with the Little River Band, for … Continue reading Graham Goble knows it’s a long way there, so Little River Band recruits John Farnham for the trip

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!”

Frank Steffen Mueller releases original instrumental for Irish guitar legend Gary Moore

By Steve Newton Woke up today to find that German guitarist, session musician, composer, and teacher Frank Steffen Mueller had shared a link to my Facebook group, Newt’s Flaming Colossal Rockatorium. The link is for a YouTube video Mueller just posted of himself playing a ’69 Les Paul goldtop, performing an original song in the … Continue reading Frank Steffen Mueller releases original instrumental for Irish guitar legend Gary Moore

Something I wrote after the death of the Beat Farmers’ Country Dick Montana, who might be my dad

photo by kevin statham ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 16, 1995 By Steve Newton On Halloween day in 1987, I did my first interview with Country Dick Montana of the Beat Farmers. At the time, the big, bearded mountain of a man was looking forward to an All Hallows’ Eve gig in “some … Continue reading Something I wrote after the death of the Beat Farmers’ Country Dick Montana, who might be my dad

Sandbox guitarist Mike Scott says the band’s perceived connection to Anne Murray is kind of a drag

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MARCH 28, 1995 By Steve Newton Nova Scotia guitar-rockers Sandbox were nominated for a Juno Award in the best-new-group category this year, and considering the critical and commercial (near-gold) success of its Bionic debut, the band had a decent shot at the prize. Then there’s the fact that Sandbox … Continue reading Sandbox guitarist Mike Scott says the band’s perceived connection to Anne Murray is kind of a drag

Bob Rock resurrects the Payola$ with Paul Hyde and sets up a helluva three-night benefit for B.C.’s Children’s Hospital

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 8, 1994 By Steve Newton When the time comes to interview Bob Rock about the recent resurrection of the Payola$, the prospect is particularly appealing. Rumour has it that the big-time Vancouver producer (the Cult, Bon Jovi, Mötley Crüe) is to work with Metallica again soon, and I’m … Continue reading Bob Rock resurrects the Payola$ with Paul Hyde and sets up a helluva three-night benefit for B.C.’s Children’s Hospital

Guitar wizard David Gogo on his new debut LP and the undeniable influence of Stevie Ray Vaughan

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, APRIL 14, 1994 By Steve Newton If there’s a rock ’n’ roll heaven, you know they’ve got a helluva band…and I like to think that there are at least three guitarists in the lineup: Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix, and Randy Rhoads. And when I picture Vaughan, I see … Continue reading Guitar wizard David Gogo on his new debut LP and the undeniable influence of Stevie Ray Vaughan

That time I asked Rob Halford what his personal fave tune was on the new Judas Priest album Painkiller

By Steve Newton I’ve interviewed Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford four times, and he’s always been a very amicable, well-spoken chap. The second time was back in October of 1990, one month after the release of Priest’s Painkiller album. At one point in the conversation I asked Halford what his personal favourite tune was on … Continue reading That time I asked Rob Halford what his personal fave tune was on the new Judas Priest album Painkiller

Blue Rodeo gets grungier and more country on new disc Lost Together

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 23, 1992 By Steve Newton HEDLEY, B.C.—Backstage at the Hedley Blast, Blue Rodeo’s Greg Keelor slumps in his chair and casually scribbles out a song list, pausing now and again to ask roaming band-mates which tunes they want added or dropped from their upcoming set. New drummer Glenn … Continue reading Blue Rodeo gets grungier and more country on new disc Lost Together

The Phantoms’ Jerome Godboo says the world is a playground

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 25, 1990 By Steve Newton The way today’s product-oriented music industry functions, it’s hard for most bands to have their cake and eat it too. But Toronto’s Phantoms are one band that’s licking the icing from its fingers these days. They managed to ink a deal with A&M … Continue reading The Phantoms’ Jerome Godboo says the world is a playground

That time I asked Alain Caron how he felt about UZEB being called “the Van Halen of jazz”

By Steve Newton Way back in May of 1985 I interviewed Alain Caron, the phenomenal bassist for Quebec jazz-fusion band UZEB. His group was touring behind its second studio album, You, Be Easy, and headed to Vancouver for a two-night stand at the Commodore Ballroom. At one point in the conversation I asked Caron about … Continue reading That time I asked Alain Caron how he felt about UZEB being called “the Van Halen of jazz”

That time I asked Bruce Dickinson what his favourite tune was on Iron Maiden’s new album Piece of Mind

By Steve Newton Over the last 40 years I’ve been fortunate enough to have done one-on-one interviews with four members of Iron Maiden: Clive Burr, Steve Harris, Dave Murray, and Bruce Dickinson. I interviewed Dickinson back in June of 1983, when Maiden was touring behind its fourth studio album, Piece of Mind, which had been … Continue reading That time I asked Bruce Dickinson what his favourite tune was on Iron Maiden’s new album Piece of Mind

Nazareth’s 20 best songs, from wicked to freakin’ awesome

By Steve Newton The sad news about Nazareth guitarist Manny Charlton passing away on July 5 inspired me to compile my list of the band’s best songs. Not surprisingly, they’re almost all from the ’70s. 20. “Just to Get Into It” (No Mean City, 1979) 19. “Silver Dollar Forger (Parts 1 & 2)” (Rampant, 1974) … Continue reading Nazareth’s 20 best songs, from wicked to freakin’ awesome

That time I asked ex-David Lee Roth bassist Billy Sheehan if he would jump at the chance to join Van Halen

By Steve Newton Back in August of 1989 I interviewed American bass god Billy Sheehan, who was promoting the new, self-titled debut album by his latest band, Mr. Big. The previous year Sheehan had been playing with Steve Vai in David Lee Roth‘s band, so as the conversation was winding down I asked him whether–if … Continue reading That time I asked ex-David Lee Roth bassist Billy Sheehan if he would jump at the chance to join Van Halen