I just did the Toddcast Podcast, with a little help from Stevie Ray Vaughan, Ronnie James Dio, Gregg Allman, and Bruce Fairbairn

By Steve Newton I can’t believe I opened for Corey Hart today! Okay, it wasn’t like I warmed up the audience for the “Sunglasses at Night” guy on his Back from the ’80s Seeking Cash Tour or anything. But I did make my first-ever guest appearance on a podcast, so that’s pretty cool. Todd Hancock–the … Continue reading I just did the Toddcast Podcast, with a little help from Stevie Ray Vaughan, Ronnie James Dio, Gregg Allman, and Bruce Fairbairn

That time Ronnie James Dio told me what he really thought of Ritchie Blackmore and Yngwie Malmsteen as guitarists

By Steve Newton Back in 1985 I did my only interview with Ronnie James Dio, who was headed to Vancouver on the Sacred Heart Tour, with Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force opening up. At one point in the conversation the legendary heavy-metal crooner compared the guitar-playing abilities of his former bandmate Ritchie Blackmore to those of … Continue reading That time Ronnie James Dio told me what he really thought of Ritchie Blackmore and Yngwie Malmsteen as guitarists

That time I asked Tony Iommi how Ronnie James Dio compared to Ozzy Osbourne in Black Sabbath

  By Steve Newton Since time immemorial–or at least since Dio replaced Ozzy in Sabbath back in ’79–armchair rock critics have debated the merits of the two singers. It’s hard to complain about anything Ozzy did with the band up until the awesome Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath album of 1973; then again, after three spotty LPs, … Continue reading That time I asked Tony Iommi how Ronnie James Dio compared to Ozzy Osbourne in Black Sabbath

That time I asked Tony Iommi about Ronnie James Dio replacing Ozzy Osbourne in Black Sabbath

By Steve Newton In the past I’ve had fun posting audio excerpts from my first interview with legendary Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi, which took place in 1984, during the group’s misguided Born Again phase. Fast-forward 23 years and I got Iommi on the phone again, this time to talk about the Heaven and Hell … Continue reading That time I asked Tony Iommi about Ronnie James Dio replacing Ozzy Osbourne in Black Sabbath

That time I asked Ronnie James Dio about stepping into Ozzy Osbourne’s shoes in Black Sabbath

By Steve Newton There’s no denying that Ronnie James Dio did an incredible job replacing Ozzy Osbourne as the singer in Black Sabbath. The moment I heard “Neon Nights”, the opening track on Dio’s first Sabbath album, Heaven and Hell, I knew the heavy-metal stars had aligned. The music had way more power and feel than … Continue reading That time I asked Ronnie James Dio about stepping into Ozzy Osbourne’s shoes in Black Sabbath

That time Ronnie James Dio told me a fib about Priest and Maiden contributing songs to Hear ‘n Aid

By Steve Newton Tomorrow (May 21) the Ride For Ronnie motorcycle ride and concert takes place in L.A., raising money for the Ronnie James Dio Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund. Coincidentally, exactly 31 years ago tomorrow the charity project Dio spearheaded, Hear ‘n Aid, finished recording its video/single “Stars” at A&M Studios in Tinseltown. … Continue reading That time Ronnie James Dio told me a fib about Priest and Maiden contributing songs to Hear ‘n Aid

That time Ronnie James Dio told me about the entity that tried to kill his wife during the recording of Rainbow’s Long Live Rock and Roll

By Steve Newton In celebration of the 40th anniversary of Rainbow Rising–one of the greatest metal albums of all time–I’ve been posting blogs with soundbites from interviews I did with former Rainbow members Ronnie James Dio (in 1985) and Tony Carey (in ’84). The first one I did on Carey last Tuesday did not go over well … Continue reading That time Ronnie James Dio told me about the entity that tried to kill his wife during the recording of Rainbow’s Long Live Rock and Roll

That time Ronnie James Dio got me backstage on the Sacred Heart Tour

By Steve Newton I did my one and only interview with Ronnie James Dio back in December of 1985. The metal legend, 43 at the time, was headed to Vancouver for a show on his Sacred Heart tour, with opening act Yngwie Malmsteen‘s Rising Force. I’d been a fan of his since I first heard Elf … Continue reading That time Ronnie James Dio got me backstage on the Sacred Heart Tour

Ronnie James Dio: the Lost Interview of 1985, an Ear of Newt exclusive

By Steve Newton On December 20, 1985, Ronnie James Dio called me up at home and we chatted for 20 minutes or so. How cool was that? The legendary heavy-metal artist was doing press promoting his Sacred Heart tour, which was scheduled to play Vancouver’s Pacific Coliseum on December 28, with guest Yngwie Malmsteen. We talked … Continue reading Ronnie James Dio: the Lost Interview of 1985, an Ear of Newt exclusive

Metal legend Ronnie James Dio dead at 67

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, MAY 16, 2010 Heavy metal vocalist Ronnie James Dio, best known for his work with Rainbow and Black Sabbath, passed away today at the age of 67. He had been battling stomach cancer. His wife Wendy posted the following message on his web site. “Today my heart is broken, Ronnie passed … Continue reading Metal legend Ronnie James Dio dead at 67

That time Golden Earring frontman Barry Hay told me about touring with Lynyrd Skynyrd and getting beaten up with Ronnie Van Zandt

By Steve Newton It’s amazing what a person can find when they listen to old interviews they recorded on cassette back in 1984. Like that time I was chatting with Golden Earring vocalist and cosongwriter Barry Hay and asked him about touring with Lynyrd Skynyrd back in the seventies. Have a listen:   To hear … Continue reading That time Golden Earring frontman Barry Hay told me about touring with Lynyrd Skynyrd and getting beaten up with Ronnie Van Zandt

That time Stevie Ray Vaughan told me how much he liked Colin James

By Steve Newton When I interviewed Stevie Ray Vaughan in July of 1990, six weeks before his death, I asked him what he’d been listening to in his spare time–if he had any. “Well I really haven’t had time to look up!,” he declared, before adding that he’d been mostly paying attention to the record … Continue reading That time Stevie Ray Vaughan told me how much he liked Colin James

That time 23-year-old James Hetfield told me that Metallica’s new bassist was “fairly goofy”

By Steve Newton Back in 1986 I interviewed Metallica’s James Hetfield in his messy Vancouver hotel room. The band had just hired Jason Newsted, who had beaten out a barrage of hopefuls for the prized role of bassist, taking over from the deceased Cliff Burton. At one point Hetfield explained how Metallica had found Newsted, how … Continue reading That time 23-year-old James Hetfield told me that Metallica’s new bassist was “fairly goofy”

That time I asked Metallica’s 23-year-old James Hetfield who his fave metal bands were

By Steve Newton Back in 1986 I met James Hetfield in his hotel room in Vancouver, and we talked for a bit about heavy metal, the death of Cliff Burton, new bassist Jason Newsted, and Metallica’s latest album, Master of Puppets. I’m not sure which day in ’86 the interview happened, but it was sometime … Continue reading That time I asked Metallica’s 23-year-old James Hetfield who his fave metal bands were

That time I tried telling Albert King that Elmore James was his biggest influence

By Steve Newton When I look back over my 39-year career in music journalism, there are some folks that I’m really, really glad I got to talk to. Like Albert King. Of the three big Kings–sorry B.B. and Freddie–I think I appreciate Albert the most. There was something about the way he could wring deep, … Continue reading That time I tried telling Albert King that Elmore James was his biggest influence

Vancouver rockers, radio hosts, and record-store owners reflect on the power of Black Sabbath

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 15, 1999 By Steve Newton Because of its brutal sound and satanic overtones, Black Sabbath was never as widely accepted as the Beatles or the Stones, but its influence among rock fans is incredibly far-reaching. We asked a few local hard-rock aficionados and musicians to divulge their fondest … Continue reading Vancouver rockers, radio hosts, and record-store owners reflect on the power of Black Sabbath

Dio brings medieval fantasy and better-than-Ozzy vocals to Vancouver, Yngwie just shows off

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JAN. 3, 1986 By Steve Newton Heavy metal veteran Ronnie James Dio played his own game of Dungeons & Dragons at the Pacific Coliseum last Saturday (December 28)–and 5,000 or so of his young fans came out winners. The show started when curtains surrounding the stage were pulled to … Continue reading Dio brings medieval fantasy and better-than-Ozzy vocals to Vancouver, Yngwie just shows off

James Cotton on blowing harp for Muddy Waters at Newport Jazz Festival

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MARCH 7, 2002 By Steve Newton Throughout the classic 1960 blues album Muddy Waters at Newport—which fans of the late legend should note was recently released on CD in remastered form, with bonus studio tracks—a young James Cotton can be heard blowing some serious harp at the Newport Jazz … Continue reading James Cotton on blowing harp for Muddy Waters at Newport Jazz Festival

Dio-era Rules of Hell box proves Sabbath thrived after Ozzy

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, DEC. 3, 2008 By Steve Newton Just as there are many who feel that Van Halen turned to crap when David Lee Roth left the fold, there are scads of metalheads who believe that Black Sabbath wasn’t worth shite without Ozzy Osbourne at the mike. Screw them. There’s no denying that … Continue reading Dio-era Rules of Hell box proves Sabbath thrived after Ozzy

That time I told Tony Iommi that “Supernaut” was my fave Black Sabbath riff, and he said that it was Zappa’s too

By Steve Newton I’ve interviewed Tony Iommi, the Riffmaster General, twice: the first time was back in ’84 when the Ian Gillan-fronted Black Sabbath was touring behind the Born Again album, and the last time was in 2007 when he was back with Ronnie James Dio in the Heaven and Hell format. As the second … Continue reading That time I told Tony Iommi that “Supernaut” was my fave Black Sabbath riff, and he said that it was Zappa’s too

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