That time I asked Michael Schenker which UFO album he was most impressed with himself

By Steve Newton In March of 1992 I did an interview with Michael Schenker, one of my favourite hard-rock guitarists of all time, whose work with Scorpions, UFO, and MSG totally blew me away. Especially the UFO stuff. When the Phenomenon album came out in 1974 I had just turned 17, and tunes like “Doctor … Continue reading That time I asked Michael Schenker which UFO album he was most impressed with himself

Album review: UFO, Making Contact (1983)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, APRIL 15, 1983 By Steve Newton While we’re on the subject of riff-riddled hard rock, take into consideration the latest UFO release, Making Contact. The man who now holds Michael Schenker’s old position on lead guitar, Paul Chapman, is no lightweight when it comes to intense blues bastardization. UFO … Continue reading Album review: UFO, Making Contact (1983)

Newt’s Rock Hall inducts UFO, Robin Trower, Blue Oyster Cult, Mott the Hoople, and Ten Years After

By Steve Newton Tonight the much-maligned Rock and Roll Hall of Fame officially inducts Deep Purple, Cheap Trick, Steve Miller, Chicago, and, unbelievably, legendary rock ‘n’ rollers N.W.A. Now, this is better work than you commonly expect from the RRHOF, which, back in 2013, had the audacity to induct Cat Stevens instead of fellow nominee Link … Continue reading Newt’s Rock Hall inducts UFO, Robin Trower, Blue Oyster Cult, Mott the Hoople, and Ten Years After

Bittersweet Gin Blossoms encounter UFOs and Alice Cooper in their ‘hood

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, FEB. 29, 1996 By Steve Newton If there were such a thing as a Webster’s Dictionary of Pop Music, you could probably look up the word bittersweet and find a picture of Arizona’s Gin Blossoms nearby. Like fellow southerner Matthew Sweet and local buddies the Odds—who will tour with … Continue reading Bittersweet Gin Blossoms encounter UFOs and Alice Cooper in their ‘hood

UFO sightings and mining disasters fuel Weeping Tile’s Cold Snap

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 9, 1995 By Steve Newton Only six years ago, Kingston, Ontario, was a place best-known for its contrasting institutions of promise and penance (Queens University, Kingston Penitentiary), but the Tragically Hip’s breakthrough Up to Here album put a quick stop to that. The Hip’s burgeoning popularity has put … Continue reading UFO sightings and mining disasters fuel Weeping Tile’s Cold Snap

UFO box set celebrates the hard-rock guitar genius of Michael Schenker

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, SEPT. 6, 2011 By Steve Newton When I wrote the first Ear of Newt blog I mentioned that one of my goals was to shine a light on the more underrated rock acts of the ’70s, and UFO was one that I pointed to. It always bugs me that I never get … Continue reading UFO box set celebrates the hard-rock guitar genius of Michael Schenker

The ghost of Buford Pusser rises on the Drive-By Truckers’ Dirty South

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, OCT. 21, 2004 By Steve Newton On the back of the booklet that comes with the Drive-By Truckers’ latest CD, The Dirty South, there’s a photo of a bare-chested toddler standing in front of Buford Pusser’s gravestone. For the uninitiated, Pusser was the Tennessee sheriff whose brutal approach to law ‘n’ … Continue reading The ghost of Buford Pusser rises on the Drive-By Truckers’ Dirty South

God bless Chuck Leavell’s piano solo on the Allman Brothers’ “Southbound”

By Steve Newton As most readers of Ear of Newt have probly figured out by now, I’m something of a guitar freak. I just love the sound of a guitar, especially when it’s in the hands of someone really, really good. (I also spell the word probably as “probly” because that’s how it sounds to me, … Continue reading God bless Chuck Leavell’s piano solo on the Allman Brothers’ “Southbound”

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

Rock Hall hits rock bottom, inducts Whitney Houston instead of Thin Lizzy

By Steve Newton Just when you think the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame might not necessarily be a total waste of space, they go and screw up big-time again. And this time it’s a real doozy. Today the Rock Hall announced the inductees for its class of 2020, and guess what? They had a … Continue reading Rock Hall hits rock bottom, inducts Whitney Houston instead of Thin Lizzy

Braindead twats at the Rock Hall nominate Whitney Houston, spurn Rory, Link, and Johnny

By Steve Newton I’ve been lobbying for years to get the three most deserving rockers I can think of–Rory Gallagher, Link Wray, and Johnny Winter–inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I keep hoping that one day Jann Wenner and his braindead RRHOF cohorts will pull their heads out of their asses long … Continue reading Braindead twats at the Rock Hall nominate Whitney Houston, spurn Rory, Link, and Johnny

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

Rory Gallagher’s stunning Blues should be his ticket to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

By Steve Newton Life is full of unanswered questions. Like, is there life after death? Are UFOs real? And why the hell isn’t Rory Gallagher in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? I’ve been asking that last question for a few years now, via various blog posts, and the usual response from dedicated Gallagher … Continue reading Rory Gallagher’s stunning Blues should be his ticket to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

The 70 greatest opening tracks of the ’70s

By Steve Newton Remember how you’d set the needle down on the opening track of a new rock album and the first tune would just blow you the funk away? Me too. “(Ain’t Nothin’ But a) House Party” (Bloodshot, J. Geils Band, 1973) “All the Way From Memphis” (Mott, Mott the Hoople, 1973) “Already Gone” … Continue reading The 70 greatest opening tracks of the ’70s

Newt’s Rock Hall inducts Mountain, the Cramps, Roy Buchanan, Nazareth, the Georgia Satellites, the New York Dolls, and the Tragically Hip

  By Steve Newton As you may have already heard, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced its Class of 2019 a couple of days ago. It includes: Stevie Nicks, the Cure, Def Leppard, the Zombies, Roxy Music, Radiohead, and Janet Jackson. That’s right: Janet Freakin’ Jackson. That legendary rock and roller finally got … Continue reading Newt’s Rock Hall inducts Mountain, the Cramps, Roy Buchanan, Nazareth, the Georgia Satellites, the New York Dolls, and the Tragically Hip

Idiots at the Rock Hall think Janet Jackson is more deserving of nomination than Johnny Winter, Link Wray, and Rory Gallagher

By Steve Newton The nominations for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s class of 2019 were announced recently and, as expected, Jann Wenner and the other dimwits in charge of the place proved themselves jackasses of the highest order. For the past eight years I’ve been keeping tabs on the RRHOF’s shameful derelictions of … Continue reading Idiots at the Rock Hall think Janet Jackson is more deserving of nomination than Johnny Winter, Link Wray, and Rory Gallagher

That time Robin Trower told me that most of the pop music in England was “rubbish”

By Steve Newton Robin Trower is one of my fave guitarists of all time. His string of wicked albums in the seventies–in particular Twice Removed from Yesterday, Bridge of Sighs, and For Earth Below–were a major part of the soundtrack to my teenage existence. He’s never gotten the cred he deserves, partly due to the … Continue reading That time Robin Trower told me that most of the pop music in England was “rubbish”

That time Motörhead’s “Fast” Eddie Clarke told me he just wanted to be a member of a really hot band

By Steve Newton The heavy-metal world is still in mourning after yesterday’s news that former Motörhead and Fastway guitarist “Fast” Eddie Clarke has passed away from pneumonia at the age of 67. Clarke was part of the “classic” Motörhead lineup, with also included singer-bassist Lemmy Kilmister and drummer Phil “Philthy Animal” Taylor–both of whom died in … Continue reading That time Motörhead’s “Fast” Eddie Clarke told me he just wanted to be a member of a really hot band

Newt’s Rock Hall inducts Motörhead, T. Rex, Free, the MC5, Humble Pie, and the J. Geils Band

By Steve Newton In yesterday’s blog denouncing the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s continued refusal to induct Link Wray, I mentioned that today I planned to induct six acts into Newt’s Rock Hall, to keep up with the Joneses (a.k.a. that other, crappier Hall in Cleveland). And since I don’t like to disappoint people, … Continue reading Newt’s Rock Hall inducts Motörhead, T. Rex, Free, the MC5, Humble Pie, and the J. Geils Band

Link Wray loses to Bon Jovi as the Rock Hall’s uncanny ineptness soars

By Steve Newton If you’re a fan of real rock ‘n’ roll you’ve probably already heard the bad news: Link Wray has been snubbed yet again by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. And to put the poo-flavoured icing on the cake, Bon Jovi got in instead. Yeah, that’s right. The eighties hair-metal band was … Continue reading Link Wray loses to Bon Jovi as the Rock Hall’s uncanny ineptness soars

Rock Hall ignores Johnny Winter and Rory Gallagher yet again, proves its head is still lodged firmly up its ass

charles campbell photo By Steve Newton It’s been 10 days since the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced its nominees for induction in 2018, choosing a whopping 19 bands and artists this time around. They include, in alphabetical order: Bon Jovi, Kate Bush, the Cars, Depeche Mode, Dire Straits, Eurythmics, J. Geils Band, Judas Priest, LL Cool J, MC5, … Continue reading Rock Hall ignores Johnny Winter and Rory Gallagher yet again, proves its head is still lodged firmly up its ass

album reviews

Aerosmith: Honkin’ on Bobo (2004) Eric Clapton: Me and Mr. Johnson (2004) Jimi Hendrix: Axis Outtakes (2003) ZZ Top: Mescalero (2003) Nickelback: The Long Road (2003) Joe Jackson Band: Volume 4 (2003) Led Zeppelin: How the West Was Won (2003) Yardbirds: Birdland (2003) Jimmy Thackery: Guitar (2003) Various Artists: We’re a Happy Family, A Tribute … Continue reading album reviews

That time Circus Magazine’s editorial department sent me a rejection letter :(

By Steve Newton Thirty-six years ago today somebody at Circus Magazine sent me a rejection letter. They could have at least signed it. Back in the seventies I devoured Circus. It was a total fanzine, but it really covered the bands I was interested in. On any given issue you’d see capitalized band names like MOTT, … Continue reading That time Circus Magazine’s editorial department sent me a rejection letter 🙁

Newt’s Rock Hall inducts Warren Zevon, Rick Derringer, Albert Collins, Ronnie Montrose, Gary Moore, and Jethro Tull

By Steve Newton So the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame did it again. Today the poorly-named musical dumping ground in Cleveland inducted six acts into its fold, including folkie Joan Baez and rapper Tupac Shakur. Sure, they’re both great at what they do, but are they rock ‘n’ roll? Kinda doubt it. The other … Continue reading Newt’s Rock Hall inducts Warren Zevon, Rick Derringer, Albert Collins, Ronnie Montrose, Gary Moore, and Jethro Tull

Rock Hall boneheads once again choose Chic over Johnny Winter, Rory Gallagher, and Link Wray

By Steve Newton The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame apparently believes that Depeche Mode outrocks Johnny Winter, that Chic blows Rory Gallagher away, and that Joan Baez is more rock than Link Wray. Whatta buncha boneheads. Yep, Jann Wenner and his gaggle of dimwits at the Rock Hall have done it again, blindly ignoring three … Continue reading Rock Hall boneheads once again choose Chic over Johnny Winter, Rory Gallagher, and Link Wray

Humble guitar master Allan Holdsworth always struggles to pay the rent

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 4, 1986 By Steve Newton Today he’s regarded by critics and musicians alike as one of the most distinctive guitarists in the world. He’s been the principal soloist for the likes of U.K., Gong, Bill Bruford, Soft Machine, Tony Williams’ Lifeime and Jean-Luc Ponty. And he’s one of … Continue reading Humble guitar master Allan Holdsworth always struggles to pay the rent

That time I asked 24-year-old Bruce Dickinson why Iron Maiden had replaced Clive Burr with new drummer Nicko McBrain

By Steve Newton I’ve seen Iron Maiden in concert most every time they’ve played Vancouver since 1982, the year I interviewed original drummer Clive Burr, who sadly succumbed to multiple sclerosis in 2013 at the age of 56. In ’83 I did another Maiden interview, this time with singer Bruce Dickinson, before the band played Vancouver … Continue reading That time I asked 24-year-old Bruce Dickinson why Iron Maiden had replaced Clive Burr with new drummer Nicko McBrain