That time I asked J.J. Cale who he’d been listening to in his spare time and he wasn’t exactly sure

By Steve Newton When you’ve been interviewing musicians for as long as I have you tend to develop some trusty old standby questions that you can ask pretty well anybody in a pinch. One of those for me has always been “So, who have you been listening to in your spare time?” I like to … Continue reading That time I asked J.J. Cale who he’d been listening to in his spare time and he wasn’t exactly sure

That time I asked J.J. Cale which covers of his songs he liked best and Clapton’s didn’t even come up

By Steve Newton When you think about the J.J. Cale songs that other artists have covered and made famous, Eric Clapton’s versions of “After Midnight” and “Cocaine” usually make the cut. (Lynyrd Skynyrd’s take on “Call Me the Breeze” and Santana’s rendition of “The Sensitive Kind” also come to mind.) But when I did my … Continue reading That time I asked J.J. Cale which covers of his songs he liked best and Clapton’s didn’t even come up

That time J.J. Cale told me that, like Eric Clapton, Lynyrd Skynyrd also helped his bank account

By Steve Newton Lynyrd Skynyrd‘s Second Helping was released the day after my 17th birthday, so the timing was right for it to become one of the major soundtracks to my rock-loving ’70s existence. I didn’t mind its smash-hit lead-off single, “Sweet Home Alabama”, but I liked its rollicking closing track, “Call Me the Breeze”, … Continue reading That time J.J. Cale told me that, like Eric Clapton, Lynyrd Skynyrd also helped his bank account

That time J.J. Cale told me that any help I could give him, he’d appreciate

By Steve Newton I realize I’ve mentioned it before–maybe more than once–but holy crap do I love J.J. Cale. He left us in 2013, but my fondness for the guy hasn’t dwindled at all since he shuffled off this mortal coil. He was the personification of laidback cool–not to mention criminally underrated guitar prowess. My … Continue reading That time J.J. Cale told me that any help I could give him, he’d appreciate

That time J.J. Cale told me that he was an old man by the time he made his first album

By Steve Newton Man, I just love listening to my old tapes of me talkin’ with J.J. Cale. It’s not as great as listening to his music, obviously, but there’s something about J.J.’s Oklahoma accent–if there is such a thing–and his laidback tone that just makes me feel good. Here’s a short audio excerpt from my … Continue reading That time J.J. Cale told me that he was an old man by the time he made his first album

That time I asked J.J. Cale what it was like growing up in Tulsa

By Steve Newton “Livin’ on Tulsa time Livin’ on Tulsa time Well, you know I’ve been through it When I set my watch back to it Livin’ on Tulsa time” Eric Clapton recorded the Don Williams song “Tulsa Time” on his 1978 Backless album, and liked it so much he recorded a live version for his Just … Continue reading That time I asked J.J. Cale what it was like growing up in Tulsa

That time I asked J.J. Cale if he’d bought anything nice with his Clapton money

By Steve Newton Back in 1990 I did my first interview with J.J. Cale, who you may recall is one of the wickedest damn songwriters and guitar players that the United States of America has ever produced. A couple of years earlier there was a TV commercial for Michelob beer in heavy rotation, featuring Cale’s … Continue reading That time I asked J.J. Cale if he’d bought anything nice with his Clapton money

That time I asked J.J. Cale why it took him seven years to get an album out

By Steve Newton I feel extremely fortunate to have interviewed J.J. Cale a couple of times during the legendary songwriter’s lifetime. The first time was back in 1990, when he was touring behind his first album on the Silvertone label, Travel-Log, which featured the incredible James Burton on guitar. It was Cale’s first album in seven … Continue reading That time I asked J.J. Cale why it took him seven years to get an album out

That time J.J. Cale told me that Eric Clapton had paid his rent for the last 30 years

By Steve Newton J.J. Cale is the coolest musician I’ve ever interviewed, and I’ve interviewed quite a few. Talk about laid back and down to earth. And what a wicked guitar player, as if being one of the world’s finest songwriters weren’t enough. I did my first interview with him in 1990, and my second … Continue reading That time J.J. Cale told me that Eric Clapton had paid his rent for the last 30 years

Laid-back legend J.J. Cale tells me “there’s no hurry”

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MARCH 1990 By Steve Newton Eric Clapton has a lot of admirers, most of them appreciative of the fine music the British guitarist has delivered over the years. But J.J. Cale has another reason for feeling indebted to Clapton, and you spell it with a dollar sign. If Clapton … Continue reading Laid-back legend J.J. Cale tells me “there’s no hurry”

Eric Clapton’s J.J. Cale tribute features Derek Trucks, Albert Lee, and Doyle Bramhall II

By Steve Newton FULL DISCLOSURE: I fuckin’ love J.J. Cale. Universal Music Canada has announced that Eric Clapton will release a star-studded album honouring J.J. Cale’s legacy this summer. Titled The Breeze, An Appreciation of JJ Cale, the 16-track disc will feature guitar by Clapton on all tracks, with guest appearances by such shit-hot pickers as Derek … Continue reading Eric Clapton’s J.J. Cale tribute features Derek Trucks, Albert Lee, and Doyle Bramhall II

Paul Simon makes the Newt think of J.J. Cale in Vancouver

photo by Mrs. Newt, who loves Paul Simon Between the two of them, pop legends Paul Simon (72) and Sting (62) have recording careers that span over 90 years. And when you consider how hugely popular the two have been, both as solo artists and with the acts that first brought them fame—Simon & Garfunkel … Continue reading Paul Simon makes the Newt think of J.J. Cale in Vancouver

J.J. Cale, 2009: “I’m ridin’ on the bus, so talk real loud.”

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT, COM, JULY 29, 2013 By Steve Newton If you’re a music fan you’ve probably already heard that legendary songwriter J.J. Cale died of a heart attack last Friday (July 26) at the age of 74. He’s the guy whose deathless blues-roots songs have been interpreted by countless artists over the years. … Continue reading J.J. Cale, 2009: “I’m ridin’ on the bus, so talk real loud.”

Yngwie Malmsteen shreds on what he once called “a piece of furniture”: the Gibson Les Paul

By Steve Newton One of my most popular posts on Ear of Newt is the one where Yngwie Malmsteen calls Ibanez guitars “a bad copy” of the Strat and says Les Pauls are “furniture”. Well, if you ever wondered what the Swedish Fender freak would sound like shredding on a piece of furniture, here ya … Continue reading Yngwie Malmsteen shreds on what he once called “a piece of furniture”: the Gibson Les Paul

That time Derek Trucks told me about watching a hip Barack Obama mouth Howlin’ Wolf lyrics

By Steve Newton I’ve interviewed slide-guitar master Derek Trucks three times so far, including back in 1999 when he was only 20 years old. We had our second conversation 13 years later, when he was touring with his wife Susan and their 11-piece band, Tedeschi Trucks. Four months earlier Trucks had performed for Barack Obama … Continue reading That time Derek Trucks told me about watching a hip Barack Obama mouth Howlin’ Wolf lyrics

That time J.D. Fortune told me about the pressure of competing in the reality show Rock Star: INXS

By Steve Newton I interviewed INXS vocalist J.D. Fortune in January of 2006, two weeks before the band kicked off a North American Tour in Vancouver. The Canadian singer had earned the frontman position with the Aussie group the year before by winning the 11-week reality-TV competition Rock Star: INXS. So at one point in … Continue reading That time J.D. Fortune told me about the pressure of competing in the reality show Rock Star: INXS

Skynyrd’s Live at Knebworth ’76 makes me pine for Ronnie and the shitkicker days of southern-rock

By Steve Newton There’s quite a few bands that I really wish I’d seen perform live in their prime, but Lynyrd Skynyrd is right up there at the top. On August 21, 1976–the day Skynyrd played the Knebworth Festival along with the likes of Todd Rundgren’s Utopia, 10cc, and the Rolling Stones–I was still a … Continue reading Skynyrd’s Live at Knebworth ’76 makes me pine for Ronnie and the shitkicker days of southern-rock

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