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

That time I asked David Ellefson if there was any competition between Megadeth and Metallica

By Steve Newton I interviewed Megadeth bassist David Ellefson back in November of 1992. when he was 27. That was four months after the band released its most popular album, Countdown to Extinction, the one with “Symphony of Destruction” on it. Man I love that tune. (As you may have heard, founding member Ellefson recently … Continue reading That time I asked David Ellefson if there was any competition between Megadeth and Metallica

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 Scott Ian told me that, if there’d been a Big Five Tour, Exodus could have joined Anthrax, Metallica, Slayer, and Megadeth

By Steve Newton Back in September of 2012 I interviewed Scott Ian. He’s the fourth Anthrax member I’ve chatted with, having hooked up with Joey Belladonna in ’91, John Bush in ’93, and Frank Bello in 2005. That band likes to talk. Anyway, two years before my chat with Ian, Anthrax had hooked up with … Continue reading That time Scott Ian told me that, if there’d been a Big Five Tour, Exodus could have joined Anthrax, Metallica, Slayer, and Megadeth

That time Ratt’s Robbin Crosby told me that Jethro Tull winning the metal Grammy in ’89 was “bullshit’

By Steve Newton Few award presentations in the history of rock music have caused as much controversy as the one that took place at the Grammys back on February 6, 1989. That was when Jethro Tull’s Crest of a Knave album won the Grammy for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance, shockingly beating out the odds-on favourite, … Continue reading That time Ratt’s Robbin Crosby told me that Jethro Tull winning the metal Grammy in ’89 was “bullshit’

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