That time I thanked Ace Frehley for all those awesome Kiss guitar licks that got me riled up as a teen

By Steve Newton If you’d told me when the first Kiss album came out in ’74 that one day I’d be interviewing the guy playing all those wicked Les Paul licks on “Deuce” and “Strutter” my teenaged self mighta hollered “Hell yeah!” And 34 years later there I was, talkin’ on the phone with Ace … Continue reading That time I thanked Ace Frehley for all those awesome Kiss guitar licks that got me riled up as a teen

That time Ace Frehley told me that deep down inside Gene Simmons was a teddy bear

By Steve Newton When it comes to legendary rocker Gene Simmons, you either love him or hate him. Some say he’s an arrogant, money-hungry, womanizing prick; others say that he’s a legendary rocker, so who cares. When I got the opportunity to interview Simmons’ former Kiss bandmate Ace Frehley back in 2008 I asked him … Continue reading That time Ace Frehley told me that deep down inside Gene Simmons was a teddy bear

That time I asked Ace Frehley if he ever feared an onstage attack like the one that killed Dimebag

By Steve Newton We’ve all seen violence at rock concerts, but usually it only involves some guy in the crowd who’s had too much to drink and decides to give another guy a punch in the head. Rarely does it involve the actual band members on stage, although there are exceptions. Like that time, as … Continue reading That time I asked Ace Frehley if he ever feared an onstage attack like the one that killed Dimebag

That time I told Ace Frehley that I thought the first Kiss album was the best Kiss album

By Steve Newton I was crazy about Kiss when their first album dropped back in the Year of Our Lord, 1974. I was 16 at the time, which is all you need to know. I think it’s their best album–love “Strutter”, “Deuce”, “Black Diamond”–so when the opportunity came to interview Ace Frehley back in 2008 … Continue reading That time I told Ace Frehley that I thought the first Kiss album was the best Kiss album

Wallflowers guitarist more influenced by Ace Frehley than Jakob Dylan’s dad

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MARCH 20, 1997 Most guitarists for hire would jump at the opportunity to join a band featuring Bob Dylan’s son as singer-songwriter; name recognition alone would give that group an instant edge in the competitive rock ’n’ roll game. When Jakob Dylan was on the lookout for a new … Continue reading Wallflowers guitarist more influenced by Ace Frehley than Jakob Dylan’s dad

Former KISS man Ace Frehley still has a few tricks up his sleeve

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, MARCH 12, 2008 By Steve Newton When Kiss played the Commodore Ballroom back in early 1975, the band had just released its second album, Hotter Than Hell, and was about to embark on a rocket ride to untold riches and fame. Thirty-three crazy years later and KISS guitarist Ace Frehley is … Continue reading Former KISS man Ace Frehley still has a few tricks up his sleeve

That time I asked veteran studio ace David Lindley what his favourite recording session had been

By Steve Newton David Lindley is widely hailed as one of the finest players of stringed instruments in the world. As well as acoustic and electric guitar, he’s been known to handle upright and electric bass, banjo, lap steel guitar, mandolin, hardingfele, bouzouki, cittern, bağlama, gumbus, charango, cümbüş, and zither. When I interviewed him back … Continue reading That time I asked veteran studio ace David Lindley what his favourite recording session had been

That time 24-year-old Grace Potter told me that she wasn’t too young to appreciate the Allman Brothers

By Steve Newton The first time I ever saw Grace Potter perform live I was blown away. Her band the Nocturnals opened for Gov’t Mule in Vancouver, and she joined the Mule on a killer version of “Honky Tonk Women”, displaying a whole lotta soul. A couple months later, in January of 2008, I interviewed … Continue reading That time 24-year-old Grace Potter told me that she wasn’t too young to appreciate the Allman Brothers

That time Nick Gilder told me about Bryan Adams taking his place in Sweeney Todd

By Steve Newton If you were a rock-loving Canadian teenager in the mid-seventies you no doubt heard “Roxy Roller”, the big hit by Vancouver glam-rock band Sweeney Todd, on the radio. It wasn’t one of my personal favourite tunes, but I do remember buying the album, because back in ’76 I was all about the … Continue reading That time Nick Gilder told me about Bryan Adams taking his place in Sweeney Todd

Vancouver guitar ace Scott Smith sends out a Lifeboat for pedal-steel fans in these trying times

By Steve Newton I first became aware of the six-string talents of Vancouver’s Scott Smith when he sent me a copy of his blues-rock trio Terminal Station’s Rolling All Night album back in 2009. I also knew of his fine work with Bottleneck, the country-roots quartet he fronted with Robyn Carrigan, and his guest appearances … Continue reading Vancouver guitar ace Scott Smith sends out a Lifeboat for pedal-steel fans in these trying times

That time I asked Rickey Medlocke about rejoining Lynyrd Skynyrd–and why he’d left in the first place

By Steve Newton Lynyrd Skynyrd was one of my fave bands in the seventies, but I never got to see them live with Ronnie, to my infinite regret. I did get to see them for the first time in Vancouver back in ’97 on the Legends Tour, and that was cool because the lineup at … Continue reading That time I asked Rickey Medlocke about rejoining Lynyrd Skynyrd–and why he’d left in the first place

AC/DC rumours regarding Phil Rudd and Vancouver come from the right place

I don’t care how tiny Angus is, the world needs his killer riffs. By Steve Newton There’s been a lot of rumour and speculation flying around the music world since yesterday, when I posted a blog on the Georgia Straight website reporting that Phil Rudd and Stevie Young had been spotted in downtown Vancouver. The … Continue reading AC/DC rumours regarding Phil Rudd and Vancouver come from the right place

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

AC/DC studio ace Mike Fraser is happy Phil Rudd doesn’t tickle the drums

Today is the big day for AC/DC fans, when the Aussie blues-metal legends release their new album Rock or Bust. The band has been making a lot of headlines in the past few months, though not the positive kind you’d expect from a group that has, for over 40 years, been giving the world some of … Continue reading AC/DC studio ace Mike Fraser is happy Phil Rudd doesn’t tickle the drums

20-year-old slide-guitar ace Derek Trucks says his goal is not to play like Duane Allman

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 2, 1999 By Steve Newton Teenage blues-rocker Kenny Wayne Shepherd has a great story about how he got inspired to take up guitar. It has something to do with him, as a little kid, watching Stevie Ray Vaughan perform from atop one of the Texas guitar legend’s amp … Continue reading 20-year-old slide-guitar ace Derek Trucks says his goal is not to play like Duane Allman

Yngwie Malmsteen shreds on what he once called “a piece of furniture”: the Gibson Les Paul

By Steve Newton One of my most popular posts on Ear of Newt is the one where Yngwie Malmsteen calls Ibanez guitars “a bad copy” of the Strat and says Les Pauls are “furniture”. Well, if you ever wondered what the Swedish Fender freak would sound like shredding on a piece of furniture, here ya … Continue reading Yngwie Malmsteen shreds on what he once called “a piece of furniture”: the Gibson Les Paul

That time Derek Trucks told me about watching a hip Barack Obama mouth Howlin’ Wolf lyrics

By Steve Newton I’ve interviewed slide-guitar master Derek Trucks three times so far, including back in 1999 when he was only 20 years old. We had our second conversation 13 years later, when he was touring with his wife Susan and their 11-piece band, Tedeschi Trucks. Four months earlier Trucks had performed for Barack Obama … Continue reading That time Derek Trucks told me about watching a hip Barack Obama mouth Howlin’ Wolf lyrics

That time J.D. Fortune told me about the pressure of competing in the reality show Rock Star: INXS

By Steve Newton I interviewed INXS vocalist J.D. Fortune in January of 2006, two weeks before the band kicked off a North American Tour in Vancouver. The Canadian singer had earned the frontman position with the Aussie group the year before by winning the 11-week reality-TV competition Rock Star: INXS. So at one point in … Continue reading That time J.D. Fortune told me about the pressure of competing in the reality show Rock Star: INXS