That time Brian Blush told me about the Refreshments recording the “King of the Hill” theme song

By Steve Newton The Refreshments were a great rock band from Tempe, Arizona that was around for a few years in the mid-’90s. I interviewed lead guitarist Brian Blush in October of 1997, two weeks after the release of the band’s third and final album, The Bottle & Fresh Horses. The Refreshments are perhaps best … Continue reading That time Brian Blush told me about the Refreshments recording the “King of the Hill” theme song

The Refreshments fluked out scoring the King of the Hill theme

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 9, 1997 By Steve Newton If there’s one thing that can lift my spirits on a sombre Sunday night, it’s the driving instrumental theme song of TV’s King of the Hill. I know there’s gonna be some hilarious redneck Texas humour comin’ up, and besides, it’s a damn … Continue reading The Refreshments fluked out scoring the King of the Hill theme

The Refreshments chickened out from calling themselves Pop Enema

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 27, 1996 By Steve Newton When Arizona rockers the Refreshments were starting out, they would do most anything to get a crowd interested. They used to play gigs in shower caps, water wings, and senior’s sunglasses, and give away candies and chocolate milk to first dancers. Hey, you … Continue reading The Refreshments chickened out from calling themselves Pop Enema

Album review: Little Jimmy King, Something Inside of Me

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 29, 1994 By Steve Newton The death of blues guitarist Albert King in December of ’92 was a real downer for anyone who had followed the stellar career of the big bulldozer operator and master of the Flying V. King’s influence on the likes of Jeff Beck, Eric … Continue reading Album review: Little Jimmy King, Something Inside of Me

Jimmie Vaughan’s supertasty live licks tell the story of brother Stevie’s final flight

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 12, 1994 By Steve Newton I count myself among the lucky few who got to see Jimmie Vaughan‘s little brother, Stevie Ray, play the Commodore in the mid-’80s. Back then, when you went to an SRV show you knew what to expect: bass, drums, and the wildest blues-rock … Continue reading Jimmie Vaughan’s supertasty live licks tell the story of brother Stevie’s final flight

Album review: the Allman Brothers Band, Where It All Begins (1994)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 15, 1994 By Steve Newton Like a hearty handshake from a rarely see high-school buddy, every new Allman Brothers release is a hazy reminder of my teenage glory days, when the purchase of a southern-rock LP such as the Allmans’ Eat A Peach made everything right in my … Continue reading Album review: the Allman Brothers Band, Where It All Begins (1994)

Album review: John Mellencamp, Dance Naked (1994)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 15, 1994 By Steve Newton Talk about cutting out the fat. John Mellencamp just keeps making his instrumentation leaner as the years go by; now he’s gotten to the point where he’ll pass up bass and go with drums and guitars only, and the effect–on bare-bones tunes like … Continue reading Album review: John Mellencamp, Dance Naked (1994)

That time Aerosmith’s Tom Hamilton told me that he smoked a big bone right before thinking up the bass lick for “Sweet Emotion”

By Steve Newton The first time I interviewed Aerosmith bassist Tom Hamilton was back in 1983, during the period when Joe Perry and Brad Whitford were out of the band, and the group was touring behind its Rock in a Hard Place album. The second time we chatted was when the original lineup had been … Continue reading That time Aerosmith’s Tom Hamilton told me that he smoked a big bone right before thinking up the bass lick for “Sweet Emotion”

Album review: Various Artists, Kiss My Ass (1994)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 7, 1994 By Steve Newton The first time I ever laid eyes on Kiss–I think it was on Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert–I thought the band was just a bunch of Alice Cooper copycats. A short time later, though, I heard Kiss’s 1974 debut album and became a huge … Continue reading Album review: Various Artists, Kiss My Ass (1994)

Album review: Mick Ronson, Heaven and Hull (1994)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MAY 27, 1994 By Steve Newton From his early-’70s glory-and-glitter days as the muscular, platinum-haired axeman in David Bowie‘s Spiders from Mars to his workmanlike late-’80s club gigs with Ian Hunter, Mick Ronson always proved himself a rock guitarist of the highest order. When Ronson succumbed to cancer on … Continue reading Album review: Mick Ronson, Heaven and Hull (1994)

That time me ‘n’ Ferg went backstage to meet Warren Haynes but he was too tuckered to smile

By Steve Newton I’m a huge fan of Warren Haynes. I love everything he’s done, whether with Gov’t Mule, the Allman Brothers, or as a solo artist. Hey, I wouldn’t have interviewed him six times if I didn’t think he was the shit. So one time when he brought Gov’t Mule to Vancouver’s Commodore Ballroom–I … Continue reading That time me ‘n’ Ferg went backstage to meet Warren Haynes but he was too tuckered to smile

That time “Mess” Messal of Flies on Fire told me that the Tragically Hip were the best band in the world

By Steve Newton Back in July of 1991 the Tragically Hip played five straight sold-out nights at the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver on its Road Apples Tour. The band was smokin’ hot–at least on the night that I saw them–but also impressive was the opening act, Flies on Fire, a little-known guitar-rock band from L.A. … Continue reading That time “Mess” Messal of Flies on Fire told me that the Tragically Hip were the best band in the world

That time some chick called me “a Skynyrd-loving moron” so I hummed a few bars of “Free Bird”

By Steve Newton Back in June of 2000 the Vancouver newspaper I’m still working at (god willing), the Georgia Straight, introduced a new column called Payback Time, where ticked-off readers could write in and vociferously complain about the music critics’ opinions, before the scribe under attack was allowed to defend himself with a potentially witty … Continue reading That time some chick called me “a Skynyrd-loving moron” so I hummed a few bars of “Free Bird”

Jethro Tull guitarist Martin Barre says it’s “outrageous” that Johnny Winter isn’t in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

go Johnny, go! By Steve Newton A couple months ago I interviewed legendary rock guitarist Martin Barre, best known for his work on all of Jethro Tull‘s top albums and hits. At one point in the conversation we got to talking about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which has famously refused to induct … Continue reading Jethro Tull guitarist Martin Barre says it’s “outrageous” that Johnny Winter isn’t in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Matthew Sweet channels Phil Spector, goes session-player crazy on In Reverse

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 4, 1999 By Steve Newton Matthew Sweet is best-known for stripped-down, three-and-a-half-minute pop-rock tunes that require no more than five people to perform. But on his new CD, In Reverse, the Nebraska native goes hog-wild in the personnel department, lining up as many as 17 musicians to play … Continue reading Matthew Sweet channels Phil Spector, goes session-player crazy on In Reverse

Kiss lip-synchs and air-guitars its way through “Psycho Circus” for a Halloween episode of Millennium

Paul, Ace, and Newt on the set of Millennium. Would it have killed them to smile? ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 1, 1998 By Steve Newton A rocking Halloween came early for a couple of hundred lucky Vancouverites at the Rage nightclub last Tuesday (September 29). American glam-metal kings Kiss were in town, … Continue reading Kiss lip-synchs and air-guitars its way through “Psycho Circus” for a Halloween episode of Millennium

Frank Steffen Mueller releases original instrumental for Irish guitar legend Gary Moore

By Steve Newton Woke up today to find that German guitarist, session musician, composer, and teacher Frank Steffen Mueller had shared a link to my Facebook group, Newt’s Flaming Colossal Rockatorium. The link is for a YouTube video Mueller just posted of himself playing a ’69 Les Paul goldtop, performing an original song in the … Continue reading Frank Steffen Mueller releases original instrumental for Irish guitar legend Gary Moore

Something I wrote after the death of the Beat Farmers’ Country Dick Montana, who might be my dad

photo by kevin statham ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 16, 1995 By Steve Newton On Halloween day in 1987, I did my first interview with Country Dick Montana of the Beat Farmers. At the time, the big, bearded mountain of a man was looking forward to an All Hallows’ Eve gig in “some … Continue reading Something I wrote after the death of the Beat Farmers’ Country Dick Montana, who might be my dad