That time The Pursuit of Happiness’s Moe Berg told me how much of a Todd Rundgren fan he was

By Steve Newton I loved Canadian rockers The Pursuit of Happiness back in the day. Their 1988 debut album, the Todd Rundgren-produced Love Junk, was jam-packed with catchy power-pop tunes. The band’s 1990 followup, One-Sided Story, was also produced by Rundgren, and though not as consistently impressive as Love Junk, boasted some strong tracks as … Continue reading That time The Pursuit of Happiness’s Moe Berg told me how much of a Todd Rundgren fan he was

That time Todd Rundgren told me that one of the greatest recording experiences of his life was with TPOH

By Steve Newton Todd Rundgren has some amazing credits as a producer. He’s helmed such influential and/or successful albums as Badfinger‘s Straight Up, the New York Dolls‘ selt-titled debut, Grand Funk’s We’re an American Band, and Meat Loaf‘s multiplatinum Bat Out of Hell. He also helmed an LP near and dear to the hearts of … Continue reading That time Todd Rundgren told me that one of the greatest recording experiences of his life was with TPOH

Newt’s Rock Hall inducts Rainbow, BTO, Steve Earle, Judas Priest, Little Feat, Todd Rundgren, and Mahogany Rush

By Steve Newton As you may aware, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame crapped the bed again yesterday, inducting the likes of Whitney Houston and Depeche Mode over nominees like Thin Lizzy, Soundgarden, Judas Priest, and the MC5. So today Newt’s Rock Hall is gonna match their six additions, and add a seventh to … Continue reading Newt’s Rock Hall inducts Rainbow, BTO, Steve Earle, Judas Priest, Little Feat, Todd Rundgren, and Mahogany Rush

The Pursuit of Happiness leaves Todd Rundgren for The Downward Road

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, APRIL 1, 1993 By Steve Newton Recalling the televised carnage of last year’s L.A. riots, it’s hard to believe that a happy-go-lucky Canadian band was simultaneously recording its breezy, good-time pop music within shooting distance of the scary stuff. A grungy thrash or hardcore rap band laying down a … Continue reading The Pursuit of Happiness leaves Todd Rundgren for The Downward Road

That time Todd Kerns told me that AC/DC replacing Brian Johnson with Axl Rose was the most surreal thing he’d heard in a long time

By Steve Newton I’ve interviewed Todd Kerns a few times, because he’s one of my favourite Canadian rockers. A few years ago I actually dubbed him “The Rockingest Canadian Bass Player of the 21st Century,” partly because of his unwavering enthusiasm on stage. The title didn’t really catch on in the media, but I stand … Continue reading That time Todd Kerns told me that AC/DC replacing Brian Johnson with Axl Rose was the most surreal thing he’d heard in a long time

Moe Berg on leaving Edmonton, loving Rundgren, and the Pursuit of Happiness’s One Sided Story

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 12, 1990 When Moe Berg left Edmonton for Toronto five years ago, the city of the Oilers didn’t exactly react like it was losing The Great One. There wasn’t a big hullabaloo in the press, nor were there many tears shed, either by Berg himself or the gaggle … Continue reading Moe Berg on leaving Edmonton, loving Rundgren, and the Pursuit of Happiness’s One Sided Story

Nick Gilder on his new LP and his “ironic” replacement in Sweeney Todd, Bryan Adams

  ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 25, 1985 By Steve Newton You remember Nick Gilder, don’t you? He goes way back. So far back, actually, that Bob Geldof once interviewed him for this publication. Gilder was the lead singer for Sweeney Todd, one of Vancouver’s more popular glam/glitter rock bands. Named after the … Continue reading Nick Gilder on his new LP and his “ironic” replacement in Sweeney Todd, Bryan Adams

Album review: Various Artists, Kiss My Ass (1994)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 7, 1994 By Steve Newton The first time I ever laid eyes on Kiss–I think it was on Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert–I thought the band was just a bunch of Alice Cooper copycats. A short time later, though, I heard Kiss’s 1974 debut album and became a huge … Continue reading Album review: Various Artists, Kiss My Ass (1994)

Album review: Mick Ronson, Heaven and Hull (1994)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MAY 27, 1994 By Steve Newton From his early-’70s glory-and-glitter days as the muscular, platinum-haired axeman in David Bowie‘s Spiders from Mars to his workmanlike late-’80s club gigs with Ian Hunter, Mick Ronson always proved himself a rock guitarist of the highest order. When Ronson succumbed to cancer on … Continue reading Album review: Mick Ronson, Heaven and Hull (1994)

That time me ‘n’ Ferg went backstage to meet Warren Haynes but he was too tuckered to smile

By Steve Newton I’m a huge fan of Warren Haynes. I love everything he’s done, whether with Gov’t Mule, the Allman Brothers, or as a solo artist. Hey, I wouldn’t have interviewed him six times if I didn’t think he was the shit. So one time when he brought Gov’t Mule to Vancouver’s Commodore Ballroom–I … Continue reading That time me ‘n’ Ferg went backstage to meet Warren Haynes but he was too tuckered to smile

That time “Mess” Messal of Flies on Fire told me that the Tragically Hip were the best band in the world

By Steve Newton Back in July of 1991 the Tragically Hip played five straight sold-out nights at the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver on its Road Apples Tour. The band was smokin’ hot–at least on the night that I saw them–but also impressive was the opening act, Flies on Fire, a little-known guitar-rock band from L.A. … Continue reading That time “Mess” Messal of Flies on Fire told me that the Tragically Hip were the best band in the world

Bill Priddle says Treble Charger had a mandate to rock with Wide Awake Bored

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 12, 2000 By Steve Newton Treble Charger’s current record-company bio states that for its latest CD, Wide Awake Bored, the Toronto power-pop quartet was “united with a singular vision: to follow in the footsteps of the old masters of the true rock song—bands like Cheap Trick, Steve Miller, … Continue reading Bill Priddle says Treble Charger had a mandate to rock with Wide Awake Bored

That time some chick called me “a Skynyrd-loving moron” so I hummed a few bars of “Free Bird”

By Steve Newton Back in June of 2000 the Vancouver newspaper I’m still working at (god willing), the Georgia Straight, introduced a new column called Payback Time, where ticked-off readers could write in and vociferously complain about the music critics’ opinions, before the scribe under attack was allowed to defend himself with a potentially witty … Continue reading That time some chick called me “a Skynyrd-loving moron” so I hummed a few bars of “Free Bird”

Jethro Tull guitarist Martin Barre says it’s “outrageous” that Johnny Winter isn’t in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

go Johnny, go! By Steve Newton A couple months ago I interviewed legendary rock guitarist Martin Barre, best known for his work on all of Jethro Tull‘s top albums and hits. At one point in the conversation we got to talking about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which has famously refused to induct … Continue reading Jethro Tull guitarist Martin Barre says it’s “outrageous” that Johnny Winter isn’t in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Matthew Sweet channels Phil Spector, goes session-player crazy on In Reverse

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 4, 1999 By Steve Newton Matthew Sweet is best-known for stripped-down, three-and-a-half-minute pop-rock tunes that require no more than five people to perform. But on his new CD, In Reverse, the Nebraska native goes hog-wild in the personnel department, lining up as many as 17 musicians to play … Continue reading Matthew Sweet channels Phil Spector, goes session-player crazy on In Reverse

Kiss lip-synchs and air-guitars its way through “Psycho Circus” for a Halloween episode of Millennium

Paul, Ace, and Newt on the set of Millennium. Would it have killed them to smile? ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 1, 1998 By Steve Newton A rocking Halloween came early for a couple of hundred lucky Vancouverites at the Rage nightclub last Tuesday (September 29). American glam-metal kings Kiss were in town, … Continue reading Kiss lip-synchs and air-guitars its way through “Psycho Circus” for a Halloween episode of Millennium

Frank Steffen Mueller releases original instrumental for Irish guitar legend Gary Moore

By Steve Newton Woke up today to find that German guitarist, session musician, composer, and teacher Frank Steffen Mueller had shared a link to my Facebook group, Newt’s Flaming Colossal Rockatorium. The link is for a YouTube video Mueller just posted of himself playing a ’69 Les Paul goldtop, performing an original song in the … Continue reading Frank Steffen Mueller releases original instrumental for Irish guitar legend Gary Moore

Something I wrote after the death of the Beat Farmers’ Country Dick Montana, who might be my dad

photo by kevin statham ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 16, 1995 By Steve Newton On Halloween day in 1987, I did my first interview with Country Dick Montana of the Beat Farmers. At the time, the big, bearded mountain of a man was looking forward to an All Hallows’ Eve gig in “some … Continue reading Something I wrote after the death of the Beat Farmers’ Country Dick Montana, who might be my dad