Josh Homme’s grinding overdrive helps Screaming Trees wake up Vancouver on a Sunday night

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MARCH 20, 1997 Last Sunday night (March 16) I had three pretty good reasons for not wanting to drag my butt off a comfy couch and head downtown in the rain to review a rock show at the Rage. First off, I was tuckered out after the previous night’s … Continue reading Josh Homme’s grinding overdrive helps Screaming Trees wake up Vancouver on a Sunday night

Screaming Trees find themselves suddenly cool with Sweet Oblivion

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 10, 1992 By Steve Newton A little while back, the Screaming Trees were musical guests on Late Night with David Letterman. Dressed in grubby alternative garb, the band raunched it up with its latest single, “Nearly Lost You”, and everything was fine. But Letterman, noting the wide girths … Continue reading Screaming Trees find themselves suddenly cool with Sweet Oblivion

The Screaming Trees help ignite Seattle’s “explosion of vinyl” with major-label debut

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MARCH 7, 1991 By Steve Newton Getting signed to a major label is usually the first big goal of a rock band—that’s what all the monetary investment and tireless rehearsals are for. And some bands luck out, snagging a record contract in no time and going on their merry … Continue reading The Screaming Trees help ignite Seattle’s “explosion of vinyl” with major-label debut

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

That time Steve Clark told me why it took Def Leppard so long to follow up Pyromania with Hysteria

By Steve Newton Back in the ’80s, most successful recording bands liked to put an album out every year. Sometimes they’d skip a year, to vacation in the Bahamas or release a live or best-of LP. After three years their fans would start to get a bit worried, and so would their record label–especially if … Continue reading That time Steve Clark told me why it took Def Leppard so long to follow up Pyromania with Hysteria

That time Long John Baldry told me that he inspired Eric Clapton to take up guitar

By Steve Newton Long John Baldry had a huge influence on the British blues scene in the sixties. In fact, when I interviewed Baldry back in 1985, he confirmed that none other than Slowhand himself was urged to take up the guitar after seeing him perform. Have a listen: To hear the full audio of … Continue reading That time Long John Baldry told me that he inspired Eric Clapton to take up guitar

That time Robin Gibb told me that the Bee Gees had never been a disco group

By Steve Newton Back in the ’70s when rock music was having a huge impact on me I was rabidly anti-disco. I didn’t go so far as to wear a “Disco Sucks” t-shirt like one of my high school buddies, but I was with him in spirit. But in 1977, when the blockbuster Saturday Night … Continue reading That time Robin Gibb told me that the Bee Gees had never been a disco group

That time I told “Gatemouth” Brown that he played pretty good boogie for a 73-year-old

By Steve Newton Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown was one of those old blues guys who didn’t talk much–especially during interviews. When I chatted with him back in 1997 he was 73, and touring behind an album called Long Way Home that featured guest spots by Leon Russell, Eric Clapton, Ry Cooder, and Sonny Landreth. At one … Continue reading That time I told “Gatemouth” Brown that he played pretty good boogie for a 73-year-old

That time I asked Danny Gatton, the world’s greatest unknown guitarist, if he wished he were better known

By Steve Newton Danny Gatton has long been described as “the world’s greatest unknown guitarist.” Some have argued that that title is more suited to Roy Buchanan, but I think it’s safe to say that Gatton is the lesser known of the two relatively unheralded Telecaster masters. At least it seemed that way to me … Continue reading That time I asked Danny Gatton, the world’s greatest unknown guitarist, if he wished he were better known

That time 21-year-old Exodus guitarist Gary Holt told me that he couldn’t say enough bad things about Mötley Crüe

By Steve Newton Way back on July 24 of 1985 I interviewed the guitarists from three fast-rising (but still kinda underground) thrash metal bands: Gary Holt of Exodus, Kurdt Vanderhoof of Metal Church, and John Ricci of Exciter. All three groups were headed to Vancouver for a three-night “Metal Massacre” at the New York Theatre, … Continue reading That time 21-year-old Exodus guitarist Gary Holt told me that he couldn’t say enough bad things about Mötley Crüe

That time I asked Guns N’ Roses keyboardist Dizzy Reed if Metallica ever blew his band off the stage

By Steve Newton I interviewed Guns N’ Roses keyboardist Dizzy Reed on August 5, 1992, while his band was in the midst of a coheadlining stadium tour with Metallica. The tour was scheduled to hit Vancouver’s BC Place Stadium on August 17–with openers Faith No More–but three days after this chat James Hetfield got badly … Continue reading That time I asked Guns N’ Roses keyboardist Dizzy Reed if Metallica ever blew his band off the stage

That time Albert King told me that Gary Moore could play guitar: “I guarantee it”

By Steve Newton During my 40 years of writing about music, I’ve been extremely fortunate, especially when it comes to interviewing guitar players. I’ve been able to interview some of the world’s greatest guitarists several times over, including amazing players like Joe Satriani (eight times), Warren Haynes (six times), Buddy Guy (five times), and Dickey … Continue reading That time Albert King told me that Gary Moore could play guitar: “I guarantee it”

That time Joe Satriani told me that Jeff Beck’s Blow By Blow was just the kind of music his generation wanted to hear

By Steve Newton Man, was 1975 the best year for guitar-based rock or what? That’s the year I graduated high school, and spent countless hours cramming my head with riffs from LPs like Thin Lizzy‘s Fighting, Led Zeppelin’s Physical Graffiti, Bad Company‘s Straight Shooter, Heart‘s Dreamboat Annie, and the self-titled debuts by Ian Hunter, the … Continue reading That time Joe Satriani told me that Jeff Beck’s Blow By Blow was just the kind of music his generation wanted to hear

That time Alex Van Halen told me that the first drummer who really blew him away style-wise was Ginger Baker

By Steve Newton Everybody has their favourite all-time rock drummer. Mine, for example, was the Who’s Keith Moon, who won me over forever with his frenzied work on Quadrophenia. Many others point to the precise timekeeping of Led Zeppelin skinbasher John Bonham. When I interviewed Alex Van Halen back in 1995 he told me that Moon … Continue reading That time Alex Van Halen told me that the first drummer who really blew him away style-wise was Ginger Baker