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

Robben Ford on playing with George Harrison and his new pal Long John Baldry

  ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JAN. 16, 2003 By Steve Newton Blues fans planning to attend Long John Baldry’s annual birthday bash at the Commodore on Saturday (January 18) will get a little extra bang for their buck this year. Along with long-time Baldry backers such as Jim Byrnes and Johnny Ferreira, American … Continue reading Robben Ford on playing with George Harrison and his new pal Long John Baldry

Robben Ford scoops up Keith Richards’ rhythm section for Tiger Walk

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 13, 1997 By Steve Newton When the time came for California guitar great Robben Ford to record his latest CD, Tiger Walk, he had a pretty good idea which rhythm section he wanted backing him up. He’d heard it on a Keith Richards album. “I’m not really a … Continue reading Robben Ford scoops up Keith Richards’ rhythm section for Tiger Walk

Robben Ford bounces back from exhaustion, brings the Blue Line to Vancouver

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 12, 1995 I’ve been reviewing bands in the Georgia Straight since 1982—“Geez, when’s that old hack gonna pack it in?”—but this is the first time I’ve reviewed a gig at Richard’s on Richards. Since its inception, the upscale downtown club has been prone to hiring nondescript Top 40 … Continue reading Robben Ford bounces back from exhaustion, brings the Blue Line to Vancouver

Robben Ford wanted to be a guitar player when he heard Mike Bloomfield

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, APRIL 22, 1993 By Steve Newton In 1973 the Doobie Brothers recorded a tune called “Ukiah”, about a place in Northern California with “green trees and timberlands; people workin’ with their hands”. Judging by the lyrics, it was a pretty nice place to be. And for Ukiah-raised guitar great … Continue reading Robben Ford wanted to be a guitar player when he heard Mike Bloomfield

That time I told Rob Halford that “Freewheel Burning” was my fave tune on Judas Priest’s new album

By Steve Newton I’ve interviewed Rob Halford five times over the years, the first being way the funk back in 1984, when Judas Priest was headed to Vancouver on the Defenders of the Faith tour. At one point in the conversation I asked Rob which tune on the new album was his personal favourite, and … Continue reading That time I told Rob Halford that “Freewheel Burning” was my fave tune on Judas Priest’s new album

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

Rob Halford says that Priest, Maiden, AC/DC, KISS, Metallica, and Slayer have all stood the test of time

By Steve Newton Back in 2015 I interviewed Rob Halford in advance of Judas Priest‘s doubleheader at the Hard Rock Casino Vancouver. When I asked him if there were any newer metal bands that had blown him away lately the 64-year-old “metal god” went off on a bit of a tangent. “They’re all over the place, … Continue reading Rob Halford says that Priest, Maiden, AC/DC, KISS, Metallica, and Slayer have all stood the test of time

Rob Halford loves what Iron Maiden does with three guitars, but he’s “content” with what Priest does with two

By Steve Newton I interviewed Rob Halford a couple of weeks ago in advance of Judas Priest’s upcoming shows at Hard Rock Casino Vancouver, and we had a pretty nice chat. We go way back, to that time he called me up to promote the Defenders of the Faith tour in ’84. At one point we … Continue reading Rob Halford loves what Iron Maiden does with three guitars, but he’s “content” with what Priest does with two

Judas Priest’s Rob Halford calls “Black Sabbath” the most evil song that’s ever been written: “It’s very f***ing scary!”

By Steve Newton Back in 2015 I interviewed Rob Halford in advance of Judas Priest’s two shows at the Hard Rock Casino Vancouver and, as old-school rockheads will do, we got to talkin’ Sabbath. I’d known that Halford had sang with the metal legends three times–twice covering for Ronnie James Dio, and once for Ozzy … Continue reading Judas Priest’s Rob Halford calls “Black Sabbath” the most evil song that’s ever been written: “It’s very f***ing scary!”

Tony Furtado dedicates song on American Gypsy to Americana great John Hartford

  ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 5, 2002 By Steve Newton Twelve seems to be an age that many musicians—and music fans—look back on as being influential in the formation of their musical tastes. I can remember spending countless hours as a 12-year-old sprawled on my parents’ living-room rug, poring over the lyrics … Continue reading Tony Furtado dedicates song on American Gypsy to Americana great John Hartford

Judas Priest’s Rob Halford calls heavy metal “a young musical force” in 1984

By Steve Newton On May 14, 1984, Judas Priest vocalist Rob Halford called me up from a gig in Portland, Oregon, to chat about his band’s new album, Defenders of the Faith. At the time Priest was riding high in the metal world, their last two albums–1981’s Point of Entry and ’82’s Screaming for Vengeance–having both … Continue reading Judas Priest’s Rob Halford calls heavy metal “a young musical force” in 1984

Rob Halford forced to defend Judas Priest’s name against suicide lawsuit

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 25, 1990 By Steve Newton You don’t have to be a riff-hungry young metal-head to know who Judas Priest is these days—all you’ve got to do is read the papers. The British band received world-wide publicity recently during its trial in Reno, Nevada, which questioned whether subliminal messages … Continue reading Rob Halford forced to defend Judas Priest’s name against suicide lawsuit

Yngwie Malmsteen shreds on what he once called “a piece of furniture”: the Gibson Les Paul

By Steve Newton One of my most popular posts on Ear of Newt is the one where Yngwie Malmsteen calls Ibanez guitars “a bad copy” of the Strat and says Les Pauls are “furniture”. Well, if you ever wondered what the Swedish Fender freak would sound like shredding on a piece of furniture, here ya … Continue reading Yngwie Malmsteen shreds on what he once called “a piece of furniture”: the Gibson Les Paul

That time Derek Trucks told me about watching a hip Barack Obama mouth Howlin’ Wolf lyrics

By Steve Newton I’ve interviewed slide-guitar master Derek Trucks three times so far, including back in 1999 when he was only 20 years old. We had our second conversation 13 years later, when he was touring with his wife Susan and their 11-piece band, Tedeschi Trucks. Four months earlier Trucks had performed for Barack Obama … Continue reading That time Derek Trucks told me about watching a hip Barack Obama mouth Howlin’ Wolf lyrics

That time J.D. Fortune told me about the pressure of competing in the reality show Rock Star: INXS

By Steve Newton I interviewed INXS vocalist J.D. Fortune in January of 2006, two weeks before the band kicked off a North American Tour in Vancouver. The Canadian singer had earned the frontman position with the Aussie group the year before by winning the 11-week reality-TV competition Rock Star: INXS. So at one point in … Continue reading That time J.D. Fortune told me about the pressure of competing in the reality show Rock Star: INXS

That time Fernando von Arb called and told me that Krokus was kicking Sammy Hagar’s ass on tour

By Steve Newton If you’re old like me you may remember Swiss metal band Krokus for that early-’80s tune “Long Stick Goes Boom” and for the fact that they sounded a lot like AC/DC. I interviewed guitarist Fernando von Arb on November 12, 1984, three months after the release of the group’s Vancouver-made, Bruce Fairbairn-produced … Continue reading That time Fernando von Arb called and told me that Krokus was kicking Sammy Hagar’s ass on tour

That time I told Gary Moore it was the shits that he wasn’t coming to Vancouver with Rush

By Steve Newton It’s Gary Moore‘s birthday today–he would have been 69–so I figured I’d post an audio excerpt from my one and only interview with the Irish guitar legend, one of the finest pickers to ever pick up the instrument. It was May 11, 1984, and Moore was opening for Rush on their Grace … Continue reading That time I told Gary Moore it was the shits that he wasn’t coming to Vancouver with Rush