That time Tal Wilkenfeld told me about her switching from guitar to bass

By Steve Newton Anyone who’s aware of the monstrous talent of Tal Wilkenfeld only knows her for her skills on the bass guitar, which she’s used to showcase her abilities with the likes of Jeff Beck, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, and scores of other famous players. But when she first came over to the States from … Continue reading That time Tal Wilkenfeld told me about her switching from guitar to bass

That time I asked bass goddess Tal Wilkenfeld what her career highlight was and she thought about it really…really…hard

By Steve Newton Last month I interviewed bass-guitar superstar Tal Wilkenfeld on the phone before going to see her gig at the Biltmore Cabaret in Vancouver–which was wicked, by the way. What a band she’s got! At one point in the conversation I asked Tal–realizing that she’d already accomplished a helluva lot for someone still … Continue reading That time I asked bass goddess Tal Wilkenfeld what her career highlight was and she thought about it really…really…hard

Bass virtuoso Tal Wilkenfeld raves about her band before they blow Vancouver away

By Steve Newton Tal Wilkenfeld played the Biltmore Cabaret in Vancouver a couple nights ago, and man, did she impress. Aside from the stunning bass playing she’s best known for, the 29-year-old showed great promise as a singer-songwriter as well. My wife kept raving about the poetry in her original tunes, and I had to … Continue reading Bass virtuoso Tal Wilkenfeld raves about her band before they blow Vancouver away

Tal Wilkenfeld on life’s defining points, like auditioning for Jeff Beck in an altered state

By Steve Newton Tal Wilkenfeld has accomplished an awful lot since emigrating to the U.S. from Australia in 2002 as a teen. She’s performed with jazz greats Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, and Wayne Shorter, and at the age of 20 recorded her 2007 debut album, the all-instrumental Transformation, which she composed, produced, arranged, and played … Continue reading Tal Wilkenfeld on life’s defining points, like auditioning for Jeff Beck in an altered state

Bass superstar Tal Wilkenfeld only had three CDs to her name as a kid, but Hendrix was one of them

By Steve Newton When I interviewed bass goddess Tal Wilkenfeld last week–in advance of her Vancouver show at the Biltmore this Thursday–I asked her what kind of music she was first drawn to in her life. Considering what an amazing musician she’s become, I figured her childhood would have been overflowing with music. But apart … Continue reading Bass superstar Tal Wilkenfeld only had three CDs to her name as a kid, but Hendrix was one of them

That time I asked bass goddess Tal Wilkenfeld how she got so goddamn good

By Steve Newton Sometimes when I listen to a musician perform I wonder to myself, “How did they get so goddamn good?” And sometimes–if I meet said musician in my capacity as a music writer–I’ll just flat out ask them how they got so goddamn good. I did it with guitarist Guthrie Govan in 2015, and … Continue reading That time I asked bass goddess Tal Wilkenfeld how she got so goddamn good

Joey Belladonna talks rap/metal crossover while Anthrax and Public Enemy bring the noise on tour

By Steve Newton Back in the eighties there was a thing called “The Big Four” which meant the top four American thrash-metal bands, including Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax, and Slayer. I never interviewed anybody in Slayer, but I have interviewed two members of Metallica (James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich), three members of Megadeth (Dave Mustaine, Marty … Continue reading Joey Belladonna talks rap/metal crossover while Anthrax and Public Enemy bring the noise on tour

That time Lars Ulrich told me how Cliff Burton came up with the title for Metallica’s Kill ‘Em All

By Steve Newton Way the funk back in March of 1985 I did my first interview with Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich. At the time Ulrich was only 21, and his band was touring behind its second album, Ride the Lightning. At one point in the conversation I asked him why the group went with such … Continue reading That time Lars Ulrich told me how Cliff Burton came up with the title for Metallica’s Kill ‘Em All

That time 21-year-old Lars Ulrich woke up early to call and tell me how Metallica’s new Ride the Lightning album was doin’

By Steve Newton I’ve interviewed Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich four times because, hey, I like Metallica. This is the first time, way the funk back in March of 1985, when the band was still touring behind its second album, Ride the Lightning. Lars called me up from L.A. and filled me in on how the … Continue reading That time 21-year-old Lars Ulrich woke up early to call and tell me how Metallica’s new Ride the Lightning album was doin’

That time I asked Steve Morse if the success of Joe Satriani and Steve Vai boded well for instrumental-rock artists

By Steve Newton When I interviewed Steve Morse for the first time in May of 1991, the American instrumental-rock scene was making great strides. While Morse himself was winning over critics with his Southern Steel album, both Joe Satriani and Steve Vai were heading toward gold-album status with their most recent discs, Flying in a … Continue reading That time I asked Steve Morse if the success of Joe Satriani and Steve Vai boded well for instrumental-rock artists

That time Geoff Tate told me that making Queensrÿche’s prog-metal masterpiece, Operation: Mindcrime, was a “magical” experience

By Steve Newton Queensrÿche’s Operation: Mindcrime is one of my favourite progressive hard-rock albums of all time. It’s right up there with Rush’s best work, if you ask me. When I did my first interview with Queensrÿche frontman Geoff Tate back in 1991 the band was touring behind its hit Empire album, but playing Mindcrime … Continue reading That time Geoff Tate told me that making Queensrÿche’s prog-metal masterpiece, Operation: Mindcrime, was a “magical” experience

Rory Gallagher’s fierce talent exposed by unearthed live tracks, but will the Rock Hall even notice?

bob geldof photo By Steve Newton Rory Gallagher is quite likely the most underrated rock-guitar player of all time. Even though his instrumental prowess has been constantly raved about by such longtime fans as Slash, Brian May, and The Edge, a lot of music fans have never even heard him. Perhaps most shocking is the … Continue reading Rory Gallagher’s fierce talent exposed by unearthed live tracks, but will the Rock Hall even notice?

That time Tommy Aldridge told me that Randy Rhoads was 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 Tommy Aldridge told me that Randy Rhoads was the most talented guitarist he ever played with

Iron Maiden was the world’s best metal band in Vancouver last night

all photos by Jeff Sutherland By Steve Newton Your first concert is a big deal–or that’s what my nephew Jeff says, anyway. Thirty-five years ago I took him to his very first rock show, at the Pacific Coliseum. It was Iron Maiden on the Powerslave tour. He was 14. It ruled. Last night (Sept. 3) … Continue reading Iron Maiden was the world’s best metal band in Vancouver last night

That time I called Susan Tedeschi to talk about Just Won’t Burn and her mom said she was in the tub

By Steve Newton I did my first interview with Susan Tedeschi in November of 1998, just eight months before she met husband-to-be Derek Trucks while opening for the Allman Brothers and they started the relationship that would result in two beautiful kids and the formation of the equally stunning Tedeschi Trucks Band. At the time … Continue reading That time I called Susan Tedeschi to talk about Just Won’t Burn and her mom said she was in the tub

That time I called Dickey Betts to talk about the Allman Brothers’ new live album and a lady said he wasn’t home

kirk west photo By Steve Newton I’ve interviewed Allman Brothers guitarist Dickey Betts four times, which is pretty cool, since he was one of my main guitar heroes in the seventies. Over the last year or so I’ve been posting audio excerpts from my 1991 interview with Dickey, when the Allmans were touring behind their … Continue reading That time I called Dickey Betts to talk about the Allman Brothers’ new live album and a lady said he wasn’t home

That time Yngwie Malmsteen slagged W.A.S.P. and told me that heavy metal is “all crap”

By Steve Newton The first time I interviewed Yngwie Malmsteen was back in December of 1985, when he was opening act on Dio’s Sacred Heart tour. Malmsteen was only 22 at the time, full of piss and vinegar–kinda like he is now!–and ready to toss opinions around like they were notes flying off his fretboard. … Continue reading That time Yngwie Malmsteen slagged W.A.S.P. and told me that heavy metal is “all crap”

Three months after Cliff Burton’s death Metallica’s James Hetfield told me “You can’t give up”

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 26, 1986 By Steve Newton “Beware the Merciless Onslaught” were the words that came to me when Metallica vocalist James Hetfield opened the door of his Hyatt Regency hotel room. That message was emblazoned on orange across Hetfield’s black t-shirt. Straggly blonde hair hung across his rough face and thick sideburns, and … Continue reading Three months after Cliff Burton’s death Metallica’s James Hetfield told me “You can’t give up”

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”

Hangin’ with AC/DC on the Flick of the Switch tour while Malcolm Young and Brian Johnson talk Bon Scott

By Steve Newton I guess one of the cooler in-person interviews I’ve ever done was that time back in October of ’83 when I hung out with three members of AC/DC–singer Brian Johnson, rhythm-guitarist Malcolm Young, and then-new drummer Simon Wright–at the Four Seasons Hotel in Vancouver. The Aussie earbusters were in town to launch … Continue reading Hangin’ with AC/DC on the Flick of the Switch tour while Malcolm Young and Brian Johnson talk Bon Scott

Rudy Sarzo talks Ozzy Osbourne and Randy Rhoads while Quiet Riot storms the charts

By Steve Newton One day back in the summer of ’83 I stopped by the Vancouver offices of CBS Records and did an interview with Rudy Sarzo, who was one of the top hard rock/metal bassists around at the time. Sarzo was in town promoting Metal Health, the new release from his band Quiet Riot, which … Continue reading Rudy Sarzo talks Ozzy Osbourne and Randy Rhoads while Quiet Riot storms the charts

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

Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid” chosen as the top heavy-metal song of all time

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 4, 2003 By Steve Newton Toronto-based music writer Martin Popoff is Canada’s top expert on heavy metal. Senior editor of metal mag Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles and author of The Collector’s Guide to Heavy Metal, the Trail, B.C.–raised Popoff certainly knows his stuff when it comes to … Continue reading Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid” chosen as the top heavy-metal song of all time

Carlos Santana chides firecracker-blasting moron in Vancouver, says “This isn’t a heavy-metal concert!”

kevin statham photo ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 2, 2000 By Steve Newton Carlos Santana has been blowing folks away with his fiery, straight-from-the-soul fret work for more than 30 years now, but at GM Place on October 26, he never let his status as a guitar god override his main goal for … Continue reading Carlos Santana chides firecracker-blasting moron in Vancouver, says “This isn’t a heavy-metal concert!”

Metallica are masters of metal wherever they may roam, including Vancouver

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 22, 1994 By Steve Newton What better way to get primed for a Metallica gig than to take a four-hour cruise around the harbour with a smokin’ blues-rock band and 75 beer-crazed party animals? None, thought I, so I hopped on board the Boomtown at noon on Sunday (July 17) and … Continue reading Metallica are masters of metal wherever they may roam, including Vancouver

Metallica delivers on Lars Ulrich’s promise to “kick f***in’ ass” while touring behind The Black Album

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MAY 28, 1992 By Steve Newton You don’t have to be a big fan of Metallica’s furiously thrashy—albeit recently refined—sound to give the band credit for blazing a formidable trail since its inception in ’81. The group has always gone against the grain and done things its own way, … Continue reading Metallica delivers on Lars Ulrich’s promise to “kick f***in’ ass” while touring behind The Black Album

Steve Vai talks Frank Zappa, dream states, blowjobs, and Passion & Warfare

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 7, 1990 By Steve Newton In rock guitar circles, Steve Vai is the type of personality that Entertainment Tonight might giddily term hot. Walk into any magazine shop, glance at the rock ’n’ roll section, and chances are you’ll see the handsome, raven-haired guitarist grinning wickedly from a cover … Continue reading Steve Vai talks Frank Zappa, dream states, blowjobs, and Passion & Warfare