That time 18-year-old Kenny Wayne Shepherd told me about meeting his idol Stevie Ray Vaughan

By Steve Newton I’ve interviewed Kenny Wayne Shepherd four times, ’cause I’m a sucker for folks who can play the shit out of a Strat. The first time was back in December of 1995, when he was only 18 and touring behind his platinum-selling debut album, Ledbetter Heights. At one point in the conversation I … Continue reading That time 18-year-old Kenny Wayne Shepherd told me about meeting his idol Stevie Ray Vaughan

18-year-old Kenny Wayne Shepherd recalls being seven and watching Stevie Ray Vaughan from Stevie’s amp case

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 28, 1995 By Steve Newton If a longhaired, bearded, beer-bellied guy in a teal Precidia pulls up next to you on a rain-soaked Vancouver street, there’s a good chance it’ll be me. And if the unmistakable strains of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s guitar are escaping the vehicle’s minute confines, … Continue reading 18-year-old Kenny Wayne Shepherd recalls being seven and watching Stevie Ray Vaughan from Stevie’s amp case

Kenny Wayne Shepherd never played with Stevie Ray, but still has hope for Clapton

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 7, 2000 By Steve Newton When Kenny Wayne Shepherd calls the Straight on a crapping-out cellphone from the wasteland of Duluth, Minnesota, it feels like a mixed blessing. On one hand, I’m happy to chat with anyone who’s helping to keep the Strat-ified blues-raunch spirit of Stevie Ray … Continue reading Kenny Wayne Shepherd never played with Stevie Ray, but still has hope for Clapton

Texas Strat-strangler Kenny Wayne Shepherd goes all Stevie Ray on Vancouver’s ass

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JAN. 14, 1999 Guitar legend Stevie Ray Vaughan had a profound effect on a lot of people, and 21-year-old blues-rock whiz kid Kenny Wayne Shepherd is one of them. As the story goes, Shepherd developed his Stevie Ray obsession at the age of seven when the Texas Strat-strangler sat … Continue reading Texas Strat-strangler Kenny Wayne Shepherd goes all Stevie Ray on Vancouver’s ass

20-year-old Kenny Wayne Shepherd has the guitar world by the balls

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 7, 1997 By Steve Newton Some guys have all the luck—and a fair whack of talent, too. Take Kenny Wayne Shepherd, for instance. He just turned 20, yet he’s one of the biggest names on the blues-rock scene, with a debut CD that has moved more than 750,000 … Continue reading 20-year-old Kenny Wayne Shepherd has the guitar world by the balls

Kenny Wayne Shepherd gets swamp cred with Days

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, MAY 30, 2007 By Steve Newton The last few times I’ve pitched Straight music editor Mike Usinger stories on white blues artists, he’s flippantly responded with the bewildering phrase “Blues Hammer!” I had no clue what the guy was on about until he forwarded me a clip from Terry Zwigoff’s quirky … Continue reading Kenny Wayne Shepherd gets swamp cred with Days

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 Yes guitarist Trevor Rabin whether Steve Howe was a hard act to follow

By Steve Newton Way back in April of 1984 I interviewed Trevor Rabin, who at the time was the new guitarist in Yes. The band was on a world tour supporting its latest album, 90125, which had spawned the hit single “Owner of a Lonely Heart” and was topping the charts. At one point in … Continue reading That time I asked Yes guitarist Trevor Rabin whether Steve Howe was a hard act to follow

That time I asked Albert Lee how it was different touring with the Everly Brothers than with Eric Clapton

By Steve Newton I interviewed British guitar legend Albert Lee back in July of 1986, when he was touring with the Everly Brothers as their musical director. After chatting with Albert about how he first got involved with the Everlys, I asked him how it was different touring with them than with Eric Clapton, whose … Continue reading That time I asked Albert Lee how it was different touring with the Everly Brothers than with Eric Clapton

That time Jason Bonham told me that his famous father in Led Zeppelin was “just dad to me”

By Steve Newton When I did my first interview with Jason Bonham back in 1989, I asked him what it was like growing up with a father who was world-famous for being the drummer in Led Zeppelin. Turns out it wasn’t that big of a deal to him. Have a listen: To hear the full … Continue reading That time Jason Bonham told me that his famous father in Led Zeppelin was “just dad to me”

That time Joan Jett told me that it was the power of the people that made “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” a hit

By Steve Newton When I interviewed Joan Jett back in 1992 she was touring behind her Notorious album, which, while not a bad album, wasn’t exactly racing up the charts. Jett explained to me that it didn’t help that the record wasn’t getting much promotional push from Sony, the major label handling distribution. Then she … Continue reading That time Joan Jett told me that it was the power of the people that made “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” a hit

That time I asked Robert Cray if he was surprised that Eric Clapton covered his song “Bad Influence” on August

By Steve Newton I’ve interviewed Robert Cray four times, ’cause I reckon he’s one of the tastiest guitarists who’s ever strapped on a Strat. This was the first time, back in January of 1996, when he was touring behind his Some Rainy Morning album. Ten years earlier Cray had gotten a bit of a boost … Continue reading That time I asked Robert Cray if he was surprised that Eric Clapton covered his song “Bad Influence” on August

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 Tony Carey told me that he thought “The First Day of Summer” was going to break his new album wide open

By Steve Newton Way back in May of 1984 I interviewed Tony Carey, who I’d been a fan of since I heard him playing keyboards on Rainbow’s colossal Rising album of 1976. At the time of our chat he was promoting his new solo album Some Tough City, which was doing well on the charts … Continue reading That time Tony Carey told me that he thought “The First Day of Summer” was going to break his new album wide open

That time Ian Hunter told me that what sells Ian Hunter is Ian Hunter–or what doesn’t sell Ian Hunter is Ian Hunter

By Steve Newton Mott the Hoople is one of my all-time favourite bands, and Ian Hunter is one of my all-time favourite rockers. I interviewed him and Mick Ronson separately on the same day–September 9, 1988–when they were headed to Vancouver for a show in advance of recording their awesome 1989 album YUI Orta. At … Continue reading That time Ian Hunter told me that what sells Ian Hunter is Ian Hunter–or what doesn’t sell Ian Hunter is Ian Hunter

That time Alex Van Halen told me how early on he discovered the fascinating power of live music

By Steve Newton We’ve all heard the old joke before: “What do you call somebody who hangs around with musicians? A drummer.” I think it’s fair to say that drummers don’t always get the credit they deserve. I haven’t interviewed that many over the years–for the simple fact that I prefer talking to guitarists–but some … Continue reading That time Alex Van Halen told me how early on he discovered the fascinating power of live music

That time I asked Joe Satriani who his best guitar student was and he said Steve Vai caught on the quickest

By Steve Newton Back in January of 1990 I did the first of my seven interviews with Joe Satriani. At the time he was touring behind his latest album, Flying in a Blue Dream, and the buzz about him was growing fast. People were learning that he’d spent several years as a guitar instructor, teaching … Continue reading That time I asked Joe Satriani who his best guitar student was and he said Steve Vai caught on the quickest

That time I called up 22-year-old Jeff Healey and asked him about his role in the upcoming bouncer flick Roadhouse

By Steve Newton I was fortunate enough to have interviewed Canadian guitar wizard Jeff Healey three times. Man could that guy wail on the Strat! The first interview took place in June of 1988, when he was just 22, and still three months away from releasing his incredible debut album, See the Light. When I … Continue reading That time I called up 22-year-old Jeff Healey and asked him about his role in the upcoming bouncer flick Roadhouse

That time Richie Sambora told me why Bon Jovi switched producers from Bruce Fairbairn to Bob Rock

By Steve Newton Bon Jovi may have been hugely popular back in the day, but I actually enjoyed guitarist Richie Sambora’s solo debut album, Stranger in This Town, more than any Bon Jovi band release. I even preferred Sambora’s lead vocals over Jon Bon Jovi’s, especially on solo tunes like “Ballad of Youth”. So it … Continue reading That time Richie Sambora told me why Bon Jovi switched producers from Bruce Fairbairn to Bob Rock

That time Rickey Medlocke told me that he was hired to play Allen Collins’ guitar parts in Skynyrd

By Steve Newton Back in 1997 Lynyrd Skynyrd was headed to Vancouver for a show with Paul Rodgers and Kenny Wayne Shepherd, so you bet your ass I was gonna go. I was also gonna interview Rickey Medlocke, who had rejoined the band to play guitar alongside founding member Gary Rossington and former Outlaws picker … Continue reading That time Rickey Medlocke told me that he was hired to play Allen Collins’ guitar parts in Skynyrd

That time Mick Mars told me that Yngwie Malmsteen could be the world’s best guitarist if he’d just change his attitude

By Steve Newton Back in November of 1985 I interviewed Motley Crue guitarist Mick Mars the same day his band played Vancouver on its Theatre of Pain tour. At one point in the conversation we were talking fave guitar players–his (and mine) being Jeff Beck–and I asked him how he felt about the new superstars … Continue reading That time Mick Mars told me that Yngwie Malmsteen could be the world’s best guitarist if he’d just change his attitude

Iron Maiden was the world’s best metal band in Vancouver last night

all photos by Jeff Sutherland By Steve Newton Your first concert is a big deal–or that’s what my nephew Jeff says, anyway. Thirty-five years ago I took him to his very first rock show, at the Pacific Coliseum. It was Iron Maiden on the Powerslave tour. He was 14. It ruled. Last night (Sept. 3) … Continue reading Iron Maiden was the world’s best metal band in Vancouver last night

That time I asked Telecaster master Danny Gatton if he liked playing slide with beer bottles

By Steve Newton I did my one and only interview with Danny Gatton, “the world’s greatest unknown guitarist”, back in 1993, just before the release of his Cruisin’ Deuces album. Tragically, he took his own life the following year. A close friend said he thought Gatton had suffered from depression for over two decades. He … Continue reading That time I asked Telecaster master Danny Gatton if he liked playing slide with beer bottles

Dickey Betts curses the “goddamn heroin” that took Allen Woody and opines the casualties of rock

By Steve Newton On August 20, 2001, I did my fourth interview with guitar legend Dickey Betts. The date can be seen as significant in a couple of ways, because it was one week before the first anniversary of former Allman Brothers bassist Allen Woody’s suspected overdose death, and just 11 days after the bizarre … Continue reading Dickey Betts curses the “goddamn heroin” that took Allen Woody and opines the casualties of rock

Jeff Healey jams at Vancouver’s Yale Pub before tearing up the Town Pump with a feedback-laden “Oh Canada”

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 8, 1988 By Steve Newton Jeff Healey loves to play guitar. Two long, sweat-soaked nights at the Town Pump obviously weren’t going to be enough for the blind blues ace. So he could be seen down at the Yale Saturday afternoon (July 2), taking part in the pub’s … Continue reading Jeff Healey jams at Vancouver’s Yale Pub before tearing up the Town Pump with a feedback-laden “Oh Canada”

Def Leppard makes a triumphant in-the-round return to Vancouver on the Hysteria tour

kevin statham photo ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 7, 1988 By Steve Newton Being a rock critic is not all fun and games. “Sure, Steve,” you’re probably saying, “all those free concerts and backstage brewskies must be real tough.” Okay, so there are worse occupations, but like anything else it can get boring. … Continue reading Def Leppard makes a triumphant in-the-round return to Vancouver on the Hysteria tour

Joe Satriani responds to Yngwie Malmsteen’s claim that Ibanez guitars are “a bad copy” of the Strat

By Steve Newton I did my eighth interview with Joe Satriani a couple years ago, and finally got to ask him about something that his former G3 tourmate Yngwie Malmsteen once said to me. Back in 2014 I had interviewed Yngwie in advance of his Guitar Gods show in Vancouver, and that was when he … Continue reading Joe Satriani responds to Yngwie Malmsteen’s claim that Ibanez guitars are “a bad copy” of the Strat