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

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MARCH 5, 1992 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 Coliseum last Wednesday (February … 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 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 in Vancouver

That time Warren Haynes told me how he came to record the haunting “John the Revelator” on Gov’t Mule’s Dose

By Steve Newton I’ve interviewed Warren Haynes six times, because he’s one of my favourite musicians of all time. I can’t get enough of his voice, his guitar, and his songs. And even if they aren’t his actual songs I’m crazy about ’em. Like when Gov’t Mule recorded the traditional gospel-blues tune “John the Revelator” … Continue reading That time Warren Haynes told me how he came to record the haunting “John the Revelator” on Gov’t Mule’s Dose

That time I asked Edgar Winter about his old pal Rick and his big brother Johnny

By Steve Newton The best musicians always try to surround themselves with the best musicians. For Edgar Winter that wasn’t hard. When he was born he already had a big brother named Johnny waiting at home, and they would become close musical collaborators throughout their lifetimes. Another hugely talented player that Edgar hooked up with … Continue reading That time I asked Edgar Winter about his old pal Rick and his big brother Johnny

That time I asked Elliot Easton if he felt like a mercenary playing John Fogerty’s licks in Creedence Clearwater Revisited

By Steve Newton I’ve long felt that John Fogerty was the biggest triple-threat in rock: as a songwriter, singer, and guitarist, few can match him. I’ve also always hated how, for years after the breakup of Creedence Clearwater Revival, Fogerty couldn’t even perform the incredible CCR songs he’d written, for legal reasons. The old CCR … Continue reading That time I asked Elliot Easton if he felt like a mercenary playing John Fogerty’s licks in Creedence Clearwater Revisited

That time I asked the Doobie Brothers’ Tom Johnston if he thought “Listen to the Music” would be a hit as soon as he wrote it

By Steve Newton I was a teenager in the seventies, so yeah, I liked the Doobies. Toulouse Street, The Captain and Me, What Were Once Vices are Now Habits–it was all good. Back in 1991 it was cool to interview singer-guitarist and cofounder Tom Johnston, ’cause he wrote my fave Doobie Brothers tune, “Ukiah”. That … Continue reading That time I asked the Doobie Brothers’ Tom Johnston if he thought “Listen to the Music” would be a hit as soon as he wrote it

That time Warren Haynes told me that it felt strange being chosen best slide player over Johnny, Sonny, and Ry (“The Man”)

By Steve Newton Warren Haynes is one helluva slide-guitar player, as anyone who’s heard him will attest. There’s a reason why Dickey Betts brought him along to handle Duane Allman’s slide parts when he rejoined the Allman Brothers back in ’89. When I interviewed Haynes in November of 1998 he’d won the latest Guitar Player … Continue reading That time Warren Haynes told me that it felt strange being chosen best slide player over Johnny, Sonny, and Ry (“The Man”)

That time I asked Johnette Napolitano about Concrete Blonde covering Thin Lizzy

By Steve Newton Concrete Blonde were a pretty great L.A. rock band from the mid-’80s. I interviewed singer, bassist, and main songwriter Johnette Napolitano back in June of 1990, three weeks after the release of the group’s most popular album, 1990’s Bloodletting, which featured the hit “Joey”. That album was produced with Chris Tsangarides, who’d … Continue reading That time I asked Johnette Napolitano about Concrete Blonde covering Thin Lizzy

That time Zakk Wylde and I agreed that Lynyrd Skynyrd were right to return with Johnny Van Zant

By Steve Newton The first time I interviewed Zakk Wylde, back in 1994, he was still a member of the southern-rock band Pride & Glory, which was previously known as Lynyrd Skynhead. So knowing he was a huge Skynyrd fan, I asked him how he felt about the surviving band members getting back together seven years … Continue reading That time Zakk Wylde and I agreed that Lynyrd Skynyrd were right to return with Johnny Van Zant

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 John Sykes told me how he got Tony Franklin and Carmine Appice to commit to Blue Murder

By Steve Newton If you’ve been reading my blogs for any length of time you must know that Thin Lizzy is one of my all-time favourite bands. I just love anything to do with them. John Sykes had something to do with Thin Lizzy–like playing on their final studio album, and their last live one … Continue reading That time John Sykes told me how he got Tony Franklin and Carmine Appice to commit to Blue Murder

That time John Doe from X couldn’t believe that I’d seen the Viggo Mortensen horror flick Prison

  By Steve Newton Just heard recently that L.A. punk-rockers X were back together, so to celebrate I figured I’d digitize my old interview with X vocalist-bassist John Doe from 1990. At the time Doe had just released his debut solo album, the alt-country/roots offering Meet John Doe. At one point in the conversation, for … Continue reading That time John Doe from X couldn’t believe that I’d seen the Viggo Mortensen horror flick Prison

That time Shannon Hoon of Blind Melon told me about his love/hate relationship with John Lydon

By Steve Newton I only got to interview Blind Melon frontman Shannon Hoon once before his tragic drug-overdose death at the age of 28. It was December of 1992, and earlier in the year Hoon’s band had been part of the MTV 120 Minutes Tour, opening for Public Image Ltd., Big Audio Dynamite II, and … Continue reading That time Shannon Hoon of Blind Melon told me about his love/hate relationship with John Lydon

Album review: John Fogerty, Premonition (1998)

  ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 11, 1998 By Steve Newton The one concert that got me foaming at the mouth last year was John Fogerty’s Orpheum gig, and I did everything within my power as a Media Slut From Hell to make the most of it. I wangled front-row-centre seats to get … Continue reading Album review: John Fogerty, Premonition (1998)

That time Jeff Beck told me that John McLaughlin was “the greatest player around”

me ‘n Jeff By Steve Newton In my 35 years of writing about rock musicians I’ve never been as psyched as I was back in January 2001 when I got the chance to interview Jeff Beck. He was heading to Vancouver for a rare club appearance at the historic Commodore Ballroom, and I contacted him in … Continue reading That time Jeff Beck told me that John McLaughlin was “the greatest player around”

Hangin’ with AC/DC on the Flick of the Switch tour while Malcolm Young and Brian Johnson talk Bon Scott

By Steve Newton I guess one of the cooler in-person interviews I’ve ever done was that time back in October of ’83 when I hung out with three members of AC/DC–singer Brian Johnson, rhythm-guitarist Malcolm Young, and then-new drummer Simon Wright–at the Four Seasons Hotel in Vancouver. The Aussie earbusters were in town to launch … Continue reading Hangin’ with AC/DC on the Flick of the Switch tour while Malcolm Young and Brian Johnson talk Bon Scott

John Fogerty does things his own way on Blue Moon Swamp

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 21, 1997 By Steve Newton David Letterman has never been known to ask his musical guests to return the very next night after a Late Show appearance, but the gap-toothed TV talk-show host broke with tradition a couple of months back when he got John Fogerty to pull … Continue reading John Fogerty does things his own way on Blue Moon Swamp

Bob Dylan Blu-ray smokes with Johnny Winter, Neil Young & Tom Petty

By Steve Newton Back in October of ’92 a mindblowing array of the world’s top recording artists performed at New York’s Madison Square Garden for Bob Dylan’s 30th anniversary concert celebration, and this Tuesday (March 4) a deluxe edition of the concert is being released on CD, DVD and Blu-ray. I watched the Blu-ray this … Continue reading Bob Dylan Blu-ray smokes with Johnny Winter, Neil Young & Tom Petty