Rik Emmett ponders the pros and cons of heavy metal while Triumph tours behind Thunder Seven

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MARCH 15, 1985 By Steve Newton Canadian power trio Triumph will be headlining at the Pacific Coliseum tomorrow (Saturday) night with Australia’s Angel City, in what promises to be an evening of intense, thundering rock and roll. Mssrs. Rik Emmett (guitar), Mike Levine (bass), and Gil Moore (drums) are … Continue reading Rik Emmett ponders the pros and cons of heavy metal while Triumph tours behind Thunder Seven

Def Leppard makes a triumphant in-the-round return to Vancouver on the Hysteria tour

kevin statham photo ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 7, 1988 By Steve Newton Being a rock critic is not all fun and games. “Sure, Steve,” you’re probably saying, “all those free concerts and backstage brewskies must be real tough.” Okay, so there are worse occupations, but like anything else it can get boring. … Continue reading Def Leppard makes a triumphant in-the-round return to Vancouver on the Hysteria tour

Triumph’s Rik Emmett on the merits of the power trio and his secret song for Randy Rhoads

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, FEB. 11, 1983 By Steve Newton Triumph’s Rik Emmett is a man of many moods on guitar. Though best known for supplying the driving rhythms and rapid-fire leads that are trademarks of his group’s two-fisted sound, Emmett never hesitates delving into the subtle and contemplative realms of classical and jazz … Continue reading Triumph’s Rik Emmett on the merits of the power trio and his secret song for Randy Rhoads

The B-52’s make a triumphant return to Vancouver in the wake of Cosmic Thing

photo by Kevin Statham ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JAN. 26, 1990 By Steve Newton Why, on why, did the B-52’s have to get booked into the Orpheum? As one of the prime providers of bouncy, shake-your-booty pop-rock, the band would have been so much better in a place where it’s okay to move … Continue reading The B-52’s make a triumphant return to Vancouver in the wake of Cosmic Thing

Rik Emmett embarks on solo career after unhappy breakup of Triumph

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 4, 1990 By Steve Newton Following Ted Nugent is not an enviable prospect for anybody, but Terrible Ted opened for yours truly—in the journalistic sense, anyway—just last week. As guest host for Detroit rock station WRIF’s morning show, the Nuge—who had once jammed on a Zeppelin tune with … Continue reading Rik Emmett embarks on solo career after unhappy breakup of Triumph

Album review: John Mellencamp, Dance Naked (1994)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 15, 1994 By Steve Newton Talk about cutting out the fat. John Mellencamp just keeps making his instrumentation leaner as the years go by; now he’s gotten to the point where he’ll pass up bass and go with drums and guitars only, and the effect–on bare-bones tunes like … Continue reading Album review: John Mellencamp, Dance Naked (1994)

That time Aerosmith’s Tom Hamilton told me that he smoked a big bone right before thinking up the bass lick for “Sweet Emotion”

By Steve Newton The first time I interviewed Aerosmith bassist Tom Hamilton was back in 1983, during the period when Joe Perry and Brad Whitford were out of the band, and the group was touring behind its Rock in a Hard Place album. The second time we chatted was when the original lineup had been … Continue reading That time Aerosmith’s Tom Hamilton told me that he smoked a big bone right before thinking up the bass lick for “Sweet Emotion”

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

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

Gibson picked the top 50 guitar solos of all time, and boy did they ever blow it

Geez, even Jimi knew Johnny ruled. By Steve Newton Back in September of 2010 Gibson.com posted what it felt were the 50 greatest guitar solos of all time, and boy did they ever blow it. Most conspicuous by his absence is Texas blues-rock legend Johnny Winter. I for one am getting sick and tired of … Continue reading Gibson picked the top 50 guitar solos of all time, and boy did they ever blow it

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