Stateside guitar frenzy: Pat Travers, Jeff Beck, Slash, Jake E. Lee & Yngwie-fucking-Malmsteen!

For some reason a lotta old-school rock-guitar heroes don’t play in Vancouver. They head on up for gigs in Washington State, but then turn around and cruise back down to keep on feeding those riff-starved Americans. Are the border guards at Canada Customs really that daunting? Take Pat Travers, for instance. He’s half Canadian, but … Continue reading Stateside guitar frenzy: Pat Travers, Jeff Beck, Slash, Jake E. Lee & Yngwie-fucking-Malmsteen!

Pat Travers in 1983: “I’m a good enough guitarist. We don’t need another one.”

By Steve Newton On January 21, 1983, Canadian rock-guitar hero Pat Travers played Vancouver, opening for a Joe Perry-less Aerosmith at the Pacific Coliseum. Ear of Newt was there, of course. There was no way I was gonna miss two of my fave acts from the ’70s. Besides, it was a Friday night. I don’t remember … Continue reading Pat Travers in 1983: “I’m a good enough guitarist. We don’t need another one.”

That time I asked Tommy Aldridge to name the most talented guitarist he ever played with

By Steve Newton Drum legend Tommy Aldridge has played with some of the greatest rock guitarists of all time: Gary Moore, Steve Vai, Randy Rhoads, Pat Travers, Tony MacAlpine, Scott Gorham, John Sykes. Heck, even his first band of note, Black Oak Arkansas, featured some pretty heavy-duty pickers. When I interviewed Aldridge back in 2001 … Continue reading That time I asked Tommy Aldridge to name the most talented guitarist he ever played with

That time Tommy Aldridge told me why Black Oak Arkansas wasn’t mentioned in his bio

By Steve Newton When it came to hard rock drummers in the ’70s, there were a couple who particularly turned my crank. One was Cozy Powell, mainly for his work with Rainbow, and the other was Tommy Aldridge, mainly for his work with Black Oak Arkansas and the Pat Travers Band. (In the ’80s he’d … Continue reading That time Tommy Aldridge told me why Black Oak Arkansas wasn’t mentioned in his bio

Album review: Hughes/Thrall Band, Hughes/Thrall (1982)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 19, 1982 By Steve Newton The formation of the Hughes/Thrall band is somewhat of a marriage made in heaven for heavy-rock fanatics. Glenn Hughes, it will be remembered, was an essential driving force to the latter-day Deep Purple. His bass and vocal abilities highlighted the red-hot Burn and Stormbringer albums, … Continue reading Album review: Hughes/Thrall Band, Hughes/Thrall (1982)

Album review: Various Artists, A Tribute to Stevie Ray Vaughan (1996)

  ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 29, 1996 By Steve Newton The folks behind this latest tribute to blues-rock guitar legend Stevie Ray Vaughan could hardly lose when they got Vaughan’s older brother (and biggest influence) Jimmie to organize and host a one-off concert featuring Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy, B.B. King, Bonnie Raitt, … Continue reading Album review: Various Artists, A Tribute to Stevie Ray Vaughan (1996)

The one-hit wonders behind “I Wanna Be a Cowboy” got Lemmy in their video for a bottle of vodka

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 11, 1986 By Steve Newton When Britain’s Boys Don’t Cry open for Platinum Blonde at Expo Theatre this Monday and Tuesday (July 14 and 15), it’s a sure thing that their current hit “I Wanna Be a Cowboy” will be a highlight of the set. A funky rocker … Continue reading The one-hit wonders behind “I Wanna Be a Cowboy” got Lemmy in their video for a bottle of vodka

Tommy Aldridge talks Black Oak Arkansas, Whitesnake, Ozzy, and the brilliance of Randy Rhoads

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MAY 10, 1990 By Steve Newton After several years in the rock critic biz, it’s easy for a writer to pick up the ONNTD syndrome. That’s an affliction that occurs when you request an interview with a big-name band and the record company won’t let you talk to the … Continue reading Tommy Aldridge talks Black Oak Arkansas, Whitesnake, Ozzy, and the brilliance of Randy Rhoads

The Newt’s 300 Best Rock Albums of the 1970s

By Steve Newton You had to be there. Abraxas: Santana (“Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen”, “Oye Coma Va”, “Samba Pa Ti”) 1970 A Day at the Races: Queen (“Tie Your Mother Down”, “Somebody to Love”, “Long Away”) 1976 Aerosmith: Aerosmith (“Make It”, “Dream On”, “Mama Kin”) 1973 After the Gold Rush: Neil Young (“Tell Me Why”, “Southern Man”, “When You … Continue reading The Newt’s 300 Best Rock Albums of the 1970s

From Black Oak to Thin Lizzy, Tommy Aldridge has been a monster on the kit

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 25, 2001 By Steve Newton Tommy Aldridge is one of the most recognizable hard-rock drummers in the world. His name may not be a household word along the lines of Moon or Bonham, but anyone who’s followed the careers of Pat Travers, Whitesnake, Ozzy Osbourne, Ted Nugent, and … Continue reading From Black Oak to Thin Lizzy, Tommy Aldridge has been a monster on the kit

Meat Loaf plays Vancouver, threatens to kick 900 asses

On August 31, 1989, Meat Loaf played Vancouver’s 86 Street Music Hall, so I went. Here’s my review, published in the September 8-15 issue of the Georgia Straight under the headline “The Bat Out of Hell returns for another bite”. Meat Loaf was one of the most unusual rock personalities of the ’70s. First off, unlike … Continue reading Meat Loaf plays Vancouver, threatens to kick 900 asses

Guitar legend Rick Derringer has soloed for everyone from Alice Cooper to Air Supply

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 22, 1999 By Steve Newton When most people hear the name Rick Derringer, they probably think of his ’70s hit “Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo”, which typified the randy guitar-boogie of the free-love era. Others may remember him for “Hang On Sloopy”, the 1965 sing-along number Derringer did … Continue reading Guitar legend Rick Derringer has soloed for everyone from Alice Cooper to Air Supply

Hey guitar freaks: Yngwie-fucking-Malmsteen is coming to Vancouver after all! Slash too!

Last month I did a blog about how a lot of amazing rock guitarists—Pat Travers, Jake E. Lee, Yngwie Malmsteen, Slash, et cetera—were playing Stateside gigs this year but weren’t crossing the border to bring us Canucks a taste of their wild licks. Well, over the weekend Travers played a whiskey-snortin’ gig at some place in … Continue reading Hey guitar freaks: Yngwie-fucking-Malmsteen is coming to Vancouver after all! Slash too!

Mr. Big guitarist Paul Gilbert can deal with a number-one single at 25

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MARCH 19, 1992 By Steve Newton Some recording artists come off as self-absorbed types whose only musical interest involves what they’re doing. They claim not to listen to anybody else’s tunes, lest their precious art be influenced away from its predestined place in history. But sometimes you come across … Continue reading Mr. Big guitarist Paul Gilbert can deal with a number-one single at 25

Ozzy Osbourne live in ’82: midgets, executioners, and maybe a dead bat

Ozzy was so wasted that he didn’t notice Sammy Hagar was his new guitarist ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 18, 1982 By Steve Newton As anyone at his June 10 Coliseum show could have figured out, subtlety is not Ozzy Osbourne’s claim to fame. Whereas most acts open with the drawing of a … Continue reading Ozzy Osbourne live in ’82: midgets, executioners, and maybe a dead bat

Ear of Newt’s Top 30 Rock Albums of 1979

Ah, 1979. According to my calculations, that was the last year of the ’70s, which was the greatest decade for guitar-based rock music ever. I’d like to thank Fender, Gibson, Marshall, and everyone else who created the instruments of my enjoyment back then. A Million Vacations: Max Webster (“Paradise Skies”, “A Million Vacations”, “Let Go … Continue reading Ear of Newt’s Top 30 Rock Albums of 1979

Ear of Newt’s Top 30 Rock Albums of 1976

The spirit of ’76 will never falter because that’s the year Thin Lizzy put out two LPs instead of just one. Albums listed in alphabetical order according to title, otherwise Jailbreak would be right there at the top. I’ve included three song titles to help you remember how awesome the music was, and one clip to bring it … Continue reading Ear of Newt’s Top 30 Rock Albums of 1976

Tom Hamilton talks Aerosmith without Joe Perry and the new Rock in a Hard Place

  ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JAN. 21, 1983 By Steve Newton “Yeah, we’re loud alright,” says Tom Hamilton, bassist for American supergroup Aerosmith. “We’re definitely not any quieter than we used to be–we’re just better sounding.” Aerosmith has never been known for quietness or subtlety. Theirs is not the kind of music for … Continue reading Tom Hamilton talks Aerosmith without Joe Perry and the new Rock in a Hard Place

Ozzy Osbourne in ’82: fallen guitar heroes and bitten bats

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 11, 1982 By Steve Newton Over the years, few heavy metal frontmen have proven their stamina and staying power like Ozzy Osbourne. After eight years and eight albums with the legendary Black Sabbath, Osbourne left the group in 1979 and it looked as though he was hanging up … Continue reading Ozzy Osbourne in ’82: fallen guitar heroes and bitten bats

interviews

Some of my interviews, arranged alphabetically, from AC/DC to ZZ Top AC/DC Malcolm Young & Brian Johnson, 1983 AEROSMITH Joe Perry, Sept. 2010 AEROSMITH Steven Tyler, 1997 AEROSMITH Joe Perry, 1997 AEROSMITH Tom Hamilton, 1994 AEROSMITH Joe Perry, 1988 AEROSMITH Tom Hamilton, 1983 TOMMY ALDRIDGE 2001 ALICE IN CHAINS Jerry Cantrell, 1991 ALL Bill Stevenson, 1993 … Continue reading interviews

Rush kicks the asses of ailments to deliver the goods in Vancouver

By Steve Newton For 40 years now the trio of Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, and Neil Peart has been traversing the world, taking their patented brand of challenging prog-rock to the masses, proving to all and sundry that Canada is more than just hockey, beer, and maple syrup. And weed. I guess ya gotta add … Continue reading Rush kicks the asses of ailments to deliver the goods in Vancouver

Interviewing Jeff Goldblum and Alicia Silverstone on the set of Dean Koontz’s Hideaway

  By Steve Newton Vancouver has not been kind to Dean Koontz. First you had his awesome 1987 suspense novel, Watchers, being turned into a godawful Corey Haim vehicle up here in 1988. Then seven years later you had his fine 1982 supernatural thriller, Hideaway, becoming the type of B.C.-shot trainwreck he tried to sue to … Continue reading Interviewing Jeff Goldblum and Alicia Silverstone on the set of Dean Koontz’s Hideaway

Horror review: Joshua

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, JULY 18, 2007 Now here’s a certifiable nightmare maker for people with young kids. Anyone who’s ever heard (or just imagined) troubling sounds coming from a fuzzy baby monitor or fretted while their fifth-grader traversed a big-city crosswalk will have their nerves seriously jangled by Joshua. It’s a wonderfully absorbing shocker … Continue reading Horror review: Joshua

Pride Tiger wears its Thin Lizzy influence proudly

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 14, 2007 By Steve Newton ROADIES DON’T NORMALLY earn applause for slipping and landing flat on their backs while lugging gear down ramps, but when it happens to one poor sap at the Virgin Festival’s second stage, a small cheer goes up among the onlookers. Witnesses to the wipeout … Continue reading Pride Tiger wears its Thin Lizzy influence proudly