That time Mike Fraser told me what it was like recording AC/DC without Malcolm Young

By Steve Newton There’s been a lot of rumours in the past year or so–some started by yours truly–about AC/DC making a new album in Vancouver with Mike Fraser. But nothing has been announced officially by the band, so at this point it’s still possible that 2014’s Rock or Bust could be AC/DC’s last studio … Continue reading That time Mike Fraser told me what it was like recording AC/DC without Malcolm Young

AC/DC in Vancouver: Mike Fraser spotted with Brian Johnson and Phil Rudd, maybe calling Cliff Williams on his phone?

photo courtesy Glenn Slavens and Crystal Lambert (cgrocker18@gmail.com) By Steve Newton Hardcore AC/DC fans and photographic rumour-spreaders Glenn Slavens and Crystal Lambert are at it again. The dynamic Vancouver duo–he has the camera, she has the pad–have shared another photo with Ear of Newt that furthers the idea that everybody’s fave hard-rock band is working … Continue reading AC/DC in Vancouver: Mike Fraser spotted with Brian Johnson and Phil Rudd, maybe calling Cliff Williams on his phone?

Joe Satriani on the intricacies of amplification and producer Mike Fraser’s “perfect set of ears”

By Steve Newton When Joe Satriani phones from his home in the San Francisco Bay Area, he apologizes right away for being a few minutes late with the scheduled call. He explains that he was playing his guitar, composing a song, and lost track of time. That’s when it’s my turn to feel regretful, because … Continue reading Joe Satriani on the intricacies of amplification and producer Mike Fraser’s “perfect set of ears”

Mike Fraser helps AC/DC get back on top, sets his sights on Sabbath

The first time he ever saw AC/DC, Mike Fraser had no idea what band he was seeing. He’d gone to an Aerosmith show at the Pacific Coliseum back in ’78 and showed up early enough to catch the warmup act. “Usually you kinda miss the opening band,” recalls Fraser from his home in Langley, “but … Continue reading Mike Fraser helps AC/DC get back on top, sets his sights on Sabbath

AC/DC studio ace Mike Fraser is happy Phil Rudd doesn’t tickle the drums

Today is the big day for AC/DC fans, when the Aussie blues-metal legends release their new album Rock or Bust. The band has been making a lot of headlines in the past few months, though not the positive kind you’d expect from a group that has, for over 40 years, been giving the world some of … Continue reading AC/DC studio ace Mike Fraser is happy Phil Rudd doesn’t tickle the drums

Rock or Bust mixer Mike Fraser picks his all-time favourite AC/DC song, and it’s a Bon Scott tune!

The new AC/DC album, Rock or Bust, hits stores tomorrow, boasting 11 songs crammed into 35 minutes. Maybe your all-time favourite AC/DC tune will be among them. Maybe not. It’s pretty hard to beat the old AC/DC stuff–just ask Langley’s Mike Fraser, who engineered and mixed Rock or Bust, and has been working with the band since 1990. … Continue reading Rock or Bust mixer Mike Fraser picks his all-time favourite AC/DC song, and it’s a Bon Scott tune!

Ear of Newt exclusive: Mike Fraser says AC/DC was “all business” on Rock or Bust

The anticipation surrounding the impending release of the new AC/DC album, Rock or Bust, has been building for months. The fact that it’s the legendary Aussie hard-rockers’ first release without original rhythm-guitarist and co-songwriter Malcolm Young has been making headlines, and this Tuesday (December 2) the physical product will hit stores. With or without Malcolm, I’m … Continue reading Ear of Newt exclusive: Mike Fraser says AC/DC was “all business” on Rock or Bust

World exclusive: Rock or Bust engineer/mixer Mike Fraser gives Newt the scoop on new AC/DC

Today I got a call from Langley’s own Mike Fraser, who engineered and mixed the new AC/DC album, Rock or Bust, which is currently streaming on iTunes and hits stores this Tuesday (December 2). It was the first interview Fraser has given about the highly anticipated album, the only one ever recorded without original rhythm-guitarist Malcolm Young, … Continue reading World exclusive: Rock or Bust engineer/mixer Mike Fraser gives Newt the scoop on new AC/DC

Mike Fraser: Langley’s master of the hard-rock mix in 1998

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MAY 28, 1998 Yesterday I went all nutty and posted the 1998 Georgia Straight cover story I did on famed Vancouver rock producer Bruce Fairbairn. That got me thinkin’ that maybe I should post the cover story I did earlier that same year on Fairbairn’s former protege, Mike Fraser. … Continue reading Mike Fraser: Langley’s master of the hard-rock mix in 1998

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 I asked Mike Campbell if he thought “Refugee” was a hit as soon as he wrote the music for it

By Steve Newton Tom Petty was one helluva songwriter, as we all know, but every once in a while he’d get help composing a tune from his guitarist and mainman Mike Campbell. Like on “Refugee”, the second single from 1980’s Damn the Torpedoes. I love that tune, so when I interviewed Campbell in the summer … Continue reading That time I asked Mike Campbell if he thought “Refugee” was a hit as soon as he wrote the music for it

That time Tom Petty guitarist Mike Campbell told me that Lynyrd Skynyrd’s success gave him hope

  mudcrutch photo by red slater By Steve Newton When I interviewed Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell back in the summer of 1999 we got to talking about his early days playing with Petty in the Gainesville, Florida band Mudcrutch. At one point Campbell told me about how that band would sometimes … Continue reading That time Tom Petty guitarist Mike Campbell told me that Lynyrd Skynyrd’s success gave him hope

That time Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell told me how he got into Tom Petty’s band

By Steve Newton Tom Petty is one of my favourite rockers, and I’m really bummed that I never got to interview him. But I did get to do the next best thing, which was chat with his forever guitarist, Mike Campbell. I interviewed Campbell in August of 1999, before Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers played … Continue reading That time Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell told me how he got into Tom Petty’s band

That time I asked Mike Rutherford about the biggest highlights of Genesis’ career

By Steve Newton Way back in December of 1983 I did an interview with Mike Rutherford, who at the time was the guitarist-bassist in Genesis, joined by singer-drummer Phil Collins and keyboardist Tony Banks. Two months earlier the band had released a self-titled album that was a huge success, spawning the hits “Mama”, “That’s All”, … Continue reading That time I asked Mike Rutherford about the biggest highlights of Genesis’ career

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 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

That time I asked Justin Hayward if he knew the Moody Blues’ “Nights in White Satin” was special as soon as it came to him

By Steve Newton As April Wine once said, “I Like to Rock”. I like to rock as well, but once in a while a beautiful, gentle ballad is, as Ted Nugent once said, “Just What the Doctor Ordered”. But enough about April Wine and Ted Nugent. This little blog’s about a softer-rockin’, more prog-oriented band … Continue reading That time I asked Justin Hayward if he knew the Moody Blues’ “Nights in White Satin” was special as soon as it came to him

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 Wayne Kramer told me about the MC5’s political consciousness in the ’60s

By Steve Newton I missed out on the MC5 when they were a major musical force on the American counterculture scene in the late ’60s. And it’s not just ’cause I’m Canadian. I was only 11 when their groundbreaking Kick Out the Jams debut album came out, and at that point all I listened to … Continue reading That time Wayne Kramer told me about the MC5’s political consciousness in the ’60s

That time Joe Satriani told me how his mind works when he’s playing wicked guitar on stage

By Steve Newton Some guitarists learn how to play by ear, and others–like Joe Satriani–learn how to play by the book. Satch knows music theory better than most, so when I did my first interview with him back in 1990–just after the release of Flying in a Blue Dream–I asked him how that relates to … Continue reading That time Joe Satriani told me how his mind works when he’s playing wicked guitar on stage

That time Randy Hansen told me about recording his atmospheric, Hendrix-style guitar parts for Apocalypse Now

By Steve Newton Back in August of 2001 I interviewed Jimi Hendrix tribute artist Randy Hansen because he was coming up from Seattle for a gig at a Vancouver club. This was right around the time that Apocalypse Now Redux, an extended version of Francis Ford Coppola’s epic 1979 Vietnam war movie, was being released. … Continue reading That time Randy Hansen told me about recording his atmospheric, Hendrix-style guitar parts for Apocalypse Now

That time Bob Rock told me that he just wakes up in the morning and music is what he does

By Steve Newton Being a rock journalist in Vancouver during the ’80s and ’90s meant that I was close to where a lot of the top-selling albums of the time were made. That was mainly down at Little Mountain Sound, where local producers, engineers, and mixers–guys like Bruce Fairbairn, Bob Rock, and Mike Fraser–were tweaking … Continue reading That time Bob Rock told me that he just wakes up in the morning and music is what he does

That time Steve Vai told me about the “cornball arrangements” on his Zappesque debut album Flex-Able

By Steve Newton When I did my first interview with Steve Vai, just after he’d released Passion and Warfare in 1990, we got to talking about his previous album, Flex-Able. Turns out the success of Passion and Warfare was pushing sales of the six-year-old Flex-Able, even though the music on it was the opposite of … Continue reading That time Steve Vai told me about the “cornball arrangements” on his Zappesque debut album Flex-Able

That time Guess Who guitarist Randy Bachman told me about creating the riff for “American Woman”

By Steve Newton Canada doesn’t seem to have an overabundance of rock-guitar heroes. Sure, you’ve got your Lenny Breau when it comes to jazz, and your Jeff Healey if you’re talkin’ blues. But when it comes to Canadian rock-guitar heroes, I can’t think of tons. Alex Lifeson, Kim Mitchell… Obviously Neil Young, but isn’t he … Continue reading That time Guess Who guitarist Randy Bachman told me about creating the riff for “American Woman”

That time Nick Gilder told me about Bryan Adams taking his place in Sweeney Todd

By Steve Newton If you were a rock-loving Canadian teenager in the mid-seventies you no doubt heard “Roxy Roller”, the big hit by Vancouver glam-rock band Sweeney Todd, on the radio. It wasn’t one of my personal favourite tunes, but I do remember buying the album, because back in ’76 I was all about the … Continue reading That time Nick Gilder told me about Bryan Adams taking his place in Sweeney Todd

That time Ann Wilson told me about the heartfelt dedication on Heart’s “These Dreams”

By Steve Newton I was a huge fan of Heart back in the seventies. I remember they played a show at the hockey rink in my hometown of Chilliwack, B.C. when I was just out of high school. With Ann Wilson’s killer voice, Roger Fisher’s killer guitar, and killer songs like “Magic Man” and “Crazy … Continue reading That time Ann Wilson told me about the heartfelt dedication on Heart’s “These Dreams”