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

Ace Frehley talks smokin’ guitars, Kiss money, sex videos, and “teddy bear” Gene Simmons

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 Ace Frehley talks smokin’ guitars, Kiss money, sex videos, and “teddy bear” Gene Simmons

Michael Hutchence says INXS hopes to fill up the space between Men at Work and the Birthday Party

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MAY 27, 1983 By Steve Newton INXS (pronounced ‘in excess’) are a six-piece modern rock band from Sydney, Australia. The group’s third album, Shabooh Shoobah, was released last year and hit Top Five in Australia, becoming the group’s third gold album Down Under. The members of INXS are vocalist … Continue reading Michael Hutchence says INXS hopes to fill up the space between Men at Work and the Birthday Party

That time slide-guitar ace Ellen McIlwaine told me that Johnny Winter showed her how to go in her own direction

By Steve Newton Back in 2001 I interviewed Alberta-based blues singer-songwriter and guitarist Ellen McIlwaine before a club gig in Vancouver. Realizing she’s best known for her slide-guitar expertise, I asked her who her biggest influences were on slide, and wasn’t surprised to hear that Johnny Winter was one of her heroes. Have a listen: … Continue reading That time slide-guitar ace Ellen McIlwaine told me that Johnny Winter showed her how to go in her own direction

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

Marillion moves beyond cult status with Misplaced Childhood and “Kayleigh”

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MARCH 7, 1986 By Steve Newton Yessongs. Brain Salad Surgery. Selling England By the Pound. Do those album titles ring a bell? They should if you remember back to 1973. At that time, ‘progressive’ rock was big around the world and its foremost practitioners were British bands such as … Continue reading Marillion moves beyond cult status with Misplaced Childhood and “Kayleigh”

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