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 I asked Tommy Aldridge to name 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 I asked Tommy Aldridge to name 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 Allmans’ 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 Allmans’ live album and a lady said he wasn’t home

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 while Brian Johnson and Malcolm Young 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 while Brian Johnson and Malcolm Young 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 A couple of weeks ago I interviewed Rob Halford in advance of Judas Priest‘s doubleheader at the Hard Rock Casino Vancouver October 27 and 28. 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 … Continue reading Rob Halford says that Priest, Maiden, AC/DC, KISS, Metallica, and Slayer have all stood the test of time

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

That time Alex Van Halen told me how early on he discovered the fascinating power of live music

By Steve Newton We’ve all heard the old joke before: “What do you call somebody who hangs around with musicians? A drummer.” I think it’s fair to say that drummers don’t always get the credit they deserve. I haven’t interviewed that many over the years–for the simple fact that I prefer talking to guitarists–but some … Continue reading That time Alex Van Halen told me how early on he discovered the fascinating power of live music

That time I asked Joe Satriani who his best guitar student was and he said Steve Vai caught on the quickest

By Steve Newton Back in January of 1990 I did the first of my seven interviews with Joe Satriani. At the time he was touring behind his latest album, Flying in a Blue Dream, and the buzz about him was growing fast. People were learning that he’d spent several years as a guitar instructor, teaching … Continue reading That time I asked Joe Satriani who his best guitar student was and he said Steve Vai caught on the quickest

That time I called up 22-year-old Jeff Healey and asked him about his role in the upcoming bouncer flick Roadhouse

By Steve Newton I was fortunate enough to have interviewed Canadian guitar wizard Jeff Healey three times. Man could that guy wail on the Strat! The first interview took place in June of 1988, when he was just 22, and still three months away from releasing his incredible debut album, See the Light. When I … Continue reading That time I called up 22-year-old Jeff Healey and asked him about his role in the upcoming bouncer flick Roadhouse

That time Richie Sambora told me why Bon Jovi switched producers from Bruce Fairbairn to Bob Rock

By Steve Newton Bon Jovi may have been hugely popular back in the day, but I actually enjoyed guitarist Richie Sambora’s solo debut album, Stranger in This Town, more than any Bon Jovi band release. I even preferred Sambora’s lead vocals over Jon Bon Jovi’s, especially on solo tunes like “Ballad of Youth”. So it … Continue reading That time Richie Sambora told me why Bon Jovi switched producers from Bruce Fairbairn to Bob Rock

That time 18-year-old Kenny Wayne Shepherd told me about meeting his idol Stevie Ray Vaughan

By Steve Newton I’ve interviewed Kenny Wayne Shepherd four times, ’cause I’m a sucker for folks who can play the shit out of a Strat. The first time was back in December of 1995, when he was only 18 and touring behind his platinum-selling debut album, Ledbetter Heights. At one point in the conversation I … Continue reading That time 18-year-old Kenny Wayne Shepherd told me about meeting his idol Stevie Ray Vaughan

That time I asked Justin Hayward if he knew the Moody Blues’ “Nights in White Satin” was special as soon as it came to him

By Steve Newton As April Wine once said, “I Like to Rock”. I like to rock as well, but once in a while a beautiful, gentle ballad is, as Ted Nugent once said, “Just What the Doctor Ordered”. But enough about April Wine and Ted Nugent. This little blog’s about a softer-rockin’, more prog-oriented band … Continue reading That time I asked Justin Hayward if he knew the Moody Blues’ “Nights in White Satin” was special as soon as it came to him