John Mellencamp and Kenny Aronoff on the amicable demise of their singer-drummer dream team

Mellencamp middle, Aronoff far right By Steve Newton For many years the resounding thwump of Kenny Aronoff’s drumwork could be heard worldwide on the heartland-rock hits of John Mellencamp. People first came to notice Aronoff’s skin-bashing abilities big time on the massive 1982 blockbuster “Hurts So Good”, but his percussive powers would continue to meld perfectly … Continue reading John Mellencamp and Kenny Aronoff on the amicable demise of their singer-drummer dream team

That time I asked John Mellencamp what a heart attack feels like and he said “they don’t feel good!”

By Steve Newton The first time I interviewed John Mellencamp was way the funk back in the spring of 1983, after he’d released his multiplatinum breakthrough album American Fool (the one with “Hurts So Good” and “Jack and Diane” on it) and before he’d released his multiplatinum followup Uh-Huh (the one with “Pink Houses” and “Authority … Continue reading That time I asked John Mellencamp what a heart attack feels like and he said “they don’t feel good!”

Album review: John Mellencamp, Mr. Happy Go Lucky (1996)

  ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 12, 1996 By Steve Newton In 1994, John Mellencamp was scheduled to perform here in support of his Dance Naked release, but the show was cancelled when the then–four-pack-a-day smoker suffered a heart attack. He hasn’t toured since, and from the sound of this new CD, Mellencamp … Continue reading Album review: John Mellencamp, Mr. Happy Go Lucky (1996)

Album review: John Mellencamp, Whenever We Wanted (1991)

  ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 14, 1991 By Steve Newton First it was Johnny Cougar, then John Cougar, then John Cougar Mellencamp, and now John Mellencamp. On his next album he’ll probably just be John. But that’s okay, ’cause names aren’t important when your music’s as brilliant as it is on Whenever … Continue reading Album review: John Mellencamp, Whenever We Wanted (1991)

Perfecting the lost art of the backstage meet ‘n’ greet at John Mellencamp in Vancouver

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MAY 20, 1999 By Steve Newton I like John Mellencamp, but my sister Julie and cousin Cory are crazy about him, so I did some serious scroungin’ and wangled three backstage passes to meet the Indiana rocker before he went on-stage at GM Place last Saturday (May 15). Now, … Continue reading Perfecting the lost art of the backstage meet ‘n’ greet at John Mellencamp in Vancouver

John Mellencamp cuts back on smokes, ramps up songwriting after heart attack

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MAY 13, 1999 By Steve Newton John Mellencamp had the biggest-selling album of 1982 with American Fool, which boasted such huge radio hits as “Hurts So Good” and “Jack and Diane”. I interviewed him in advance of a show at the PNE Forum that year, and at the time … Continue reading John Mellencamp cuts back on smokes, ramps up songwriting after heart attack

New John Mellencamp box set crams 19 discs into one tidy package

  By Steve Newton If you’re a hardcore John Mellencamp fan and you just lost your entire Mellencamp CD collection because your house burned down, and now you’ve gotta go live in a small apartment without a lot of space for discs, have I got the thing for you. This Tuesday (July 22), Universal Music Canada is … Continue reading New John Mellencamp box set crams 19 discs into one tidy package

John Mellencamp’s killer repertoire runs fast and loose in Vancouver

@shotbykevin ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MARCH 5, 1992 By Steve Newton A couple of weeks back, the Straight ran a John Mellencamp interview in which the Indiana man characterized his debut acting/directing effort, Falling from Grace, as “a very slow and methodical movie”. Fortunately for the 13,000 or so rowdies who packed the … Continue reading John Mellencamp’s killer repertoire runs fast and loose in Vancouver

John Cougar Mellencamp sells seats, not principles, in Vancouver

chris cameron photo ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MARCH 25, 1988 By Steve Newton Some guys have it and some guys don’t. A great band, that is. Springsteen had one when he played here in 1984. And the latest hero of the American heartland, John Cougar Mellencamp, had one at the sold-out Coliseum last Saturday (March 19). … Continue reading John Cougar Mellencamp sells seats, not principles, in Vancouver

Album review: John Cougar Mellencamp, Scarecrow (1985)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 8, 1985 By Steve Newton “The Authority Song” from last year’s Uh-Huh album was one of my fave rock tunes of 1984, right up there with Van Halen’s “Panama” and the Pretenders’ “Back On the Chain Gang”. But I wasn’t too crazy about the album on a whole. … Continue reading Album review: John Cougar Mellencamp, Scarecrow (1985)

John Cougar Mellencamp may be little but he’s no bastard on the Scarecrow Tour in Vancouver

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, APRIL 25, 1986 By Steve Newton He calls himself Little Bastard on his album productions credits, and after meeting John Cougar Mellencamp backstage before last week’s (April 16) Coliseum show, I half understood why. He’s not a bastard. On the contrary he seemed like a very nice fellow, all … Continue reading John Cougar Mellencamp may be little but he’s no bastard on the Scarecrow Tour in Vancouver

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 I asked “Honeyboy” Edwards if he thought that his friend Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil at the crossroads

Robert Johnson was tight with “Honeyboy” Edwards By Steve Newton I’m pretty sure that David “Honeyboy” Edwards was the oldest musician I’ve ever interviewed. He was 87 in March of 2003 when I called him up in Chicago to get the scoop on his early days with Mississippi Delta blues legends like Big Joe Williams, … Continue reading That time I asked “Honeyboy” Edwards if he thought that his friend Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil at the crossroads

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

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 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 legendary tunesmith John Hiatt if writing songs came easy for him or if it’s always been hard

ron baker photo/wikipedia By Steve Newton John Hiatt has written some of my favourite tunes. Sometimes he records them himself (“Paper Thin”, “Tennessee Plates”, “Perfectly Good Guitar”), sometimes people like Jeff Healey (“Confidence Man”) and Bonnie Raitt (“Thing Called Love”) cover them. It was a real honour to chat with a legendary songwriter of John … Continue reading That time I asked legendary tunesmith John Hiatt if writing songs came easy for him or if it’s always been hard

That time the Goo Goo Dolls’ John Rzeznik told me that his big sister first turned him on to music

By Steve Newton I did my first interview with Goo Goo Dolls singer-guitarist John Rzeznik three months after the release of A Boy Named Goo, when the band was headed to Vancouver for a club gig. This was just three months before the release of the hit single “Name”, which shot the Goo to the … Continue reading That time the Goo Goo Dolls’ John Rzeznik told me that his big sister first turned him on to music