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 four years ago this month, 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 … 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.”

That time I told Tony Iommi that “Supernaut” was my fave Black Sabbath riff, and he said that it was Zappa’s too

By Steve Newton I’ve interviewed Tony Iommi, the Riffmaster General, twice: the first time was back in ’84 when the Ian Gillan-fronted Black Sabbath was touring behind the Born Again album, and the last time was in 2007 when he was back with Ronnie James Dio in the Heaven and Hell format. As the second … Continue reading That time I told Tony Iommi that “Supernaut” was my fave Black Sabbath riff, and he said that it was Zappa’s too

That time Steve Stevens told me that he thought Sweet’s “Action” was a Queen song

By Steve Newton I was a pretty big Billy Idol fan back in the ’80s, around the Rebel Yell period, but my attraction to his music had as much to do with his guitarist and cosongwriter as the sneering blonde rocker himself. I thought Steve Stevens was a wicked picker who had his own unique … Continue reading That time Steve Stevens told me that he thought Sweet’s “Action” was a Queen song

That time I asked Billy Idol why he got Texas Chain Saw Massacre director Tobe Hooper to shoot the video for “Dancing With Myself”

By Steve Newton I interviewed Billy Idol at the height of his solo artist fame, when he was touring behind his hit-packed Rebel Yell album in March of 1984. If you’re old enough, you may recall that music videos were all the rage back then, and the timing couldn’t have been better for Idol, who … Continue reading That time I asked Billy Idol why he got Texas Chain Saw Massacre director Tobe Hooper to shoot the video for “Dancing With Myself”

That time I told Stuart Adamson that “Long Way Home” was my fave tune on the new Big Country album

By Steve Newton Most people probably remember Scottish rock band Big Country for its anthemic single “In a Big Country”, which was a massive radio hit in North America in 1983. But ten years later they released an album called The Buffalo Skinners that included a song called “Long Way Home”, which I liked a … Continue reading That time I told Stuart Adamson that “Long Way Home” was my fave tune on the new Big Country album

That time I asked Ian Anderson how Jethro Tull’s show went last night and it took him a while to answer

By Steve Newton I did my second interview with Jethro Tull mainman Ian Anderson in October of 1992, a month after the band had released its live album A Little Light Music. When I called him up in L.A. I asked him how the show had gone there the previous night, but he’s not the … Continue reading That time I asked Ian Anderson how Jethro Tull’s show went last night and it took him a while to answer

That time Warren Haynes told me about leaving the Allman Brothers to ride Gov’t Mule full time

By Steve Newton I did my first interview with Warren Haynes in 1994, when he was a member of the Allman Brothers Band, and I did my second interview with him in 1998, the year after he and bassist Allen Woody had left them. Haynes and Woody had quit the Allmans to put all their … Continue reading That time Warren Haynes told me about leaving the Allman Brothers to ride Gov’t Mule full time

That time I asked John Bell about Widespread Panic being the first act signed to the newly reborn Capricorn Records

By Steve Newton If you were a southern-rock lovin’ kid in the seventies, like me, you no doubt owned an LP or two with the Capricorn Records label on it. Capricorn released classic Allman Brothers albums like At Fillmore East, Eat a Peach, and Brothers and Sisters, as well as discs by Wet Willie, the … Continue reading That time I asked John Bell about Widespread Panic being the first act signed to the newly reborn Capricorn Records

That time Zakk Wylde told me what he really thought of Randy Rhoads, Jake E. Lee, and Tony Iommi

By Steve Newton Whether you think Ozzy Osbourne is a genius or not, ya gotta admit that he’s a mastermind when it comes to finding killer guitarists. Tony Iommi, Randy Rhoads, Jake E. Lee, Zakk Wylde–those are some pretty smokin’ pickers. When I interviewed 27-year-old Wylde back in 1994 I asked him what he thought … Continue reading That time Zakk Wylde told me what he really thought of Randy Rhoads, Jake E. Lee, and Tony Iommi

That time Robben Ford told me that hearing Mike Bloomfield made him want to be a guitar player

By Steve Newton I did the first of my three interviews with American guitar ace Robben Ford in April of 1993, when he was touring behind the first Robben Ford & the Blue Line album. There was some damn tasty guitar playing on that platter if I recall correctly. At one point in the conversation … Continue reading That time Robben Ford told me that hearing Mike Bloomfield made him want to be a guitar player

That time Doyle Bramhall II told me about his dad’s connections to Jimmie and Stevie Ray Vaughan

By Steve Newton If you’re a Stevie Ray Vaughan fan who also likes reading liner notes you’ve no doubt noticed the name Doyle Bramhall on a number of Stevie Ray Vaughan albums. Bramhall is credited with cowriting such SRV tunes as “Dirty Pool” (from Texas Flood) and In Step‘s “The House is Rockin’”, “Tightrope”, “Wall … Continue reading That time Doyle Bramhall II told me about his dad’s connections to Jimmie and Stevie Ray Vaughan

That time Golden Earring frontman Barry Hay told me about touring with Lynyrd Skynyrd and getting beaten up with Ronnie Van Zandt

By Steve Newton It’s amazing what a person can find when they listen to old interviews they recorded on cassette back in 1984. Like that time I was chatting with Golden Earring vocalist and cosongwriter Barry Hay and asked him about touring with Lynyrd Skynyrd back in the seventies. Have a listen:   To hear … Continue reading That time Golden Earring frontman Barry Hay told me about touring with Lynyrd Skynyrd and getting beaten up with Ronnie Van Zandt

That time Joan Jett told me that what the Runaways did was right, and that girls can play rock ‘n’ roll

By Steve Newton I interviewed Joan Jett back in January of 1992, when she was touring with her band the Blackhearts, supporting the new album Notorious. At one point in the conversation I asked her if she ever heard from her old bandmates in the Runaways at all, and it turns out that she did. … Continue reading That time Joan Jett told me that what the Runaways did was right, and that girls can play rock ‘n’ roll

In praise of the unreal Allan Holdsworth

By Steve Newton A few days ago I posted my 1986 interview with Allan Holdsworth on the Facebook group The unReal Allan Holdsworth. With over 16,000 members, the page offers “everything pertaining to his music, his history, his friends and the influence he’s had on the music scene and on guitarists.” One of the comments on … Continue reading In praise of the unreal Allan Holdsworth

That time Jason Isbell told me he was in a Ford Econoline E350 van and his band cracked up at that

FSimani photo By Steve Newton The Drive-By Truckers are probably my favourite band right now. They were also my favourite band back when Jason Isbell was in the lineup. I did my first interview with him in 2007, after he’d left the DBTs and was promoting his debut solo album, Sirens of the Ditch. I … Continue reading That time Jason Isbell told me he was in a Ford Econoline E350 van and his band cracked up at that