Eddie Van Halen: what Steve Vai, Allan Holdsworth, Jake E. Lee, Leslie West, and brother Alex told me about “the king”

By Steve Newton One of the biggest regrets of my career in rock journalism–and there aren’t that many, believe it or not–was never getting the opportunity to interview Eddie Van Halen. I did get to chat with his big brother Alex once, and he gave me a really great interview, but it just wasn’t the … Continue reading Eddie Van Halen: what Steve Vai, Allan Holdsworth, Jake E. Lee, Leslie West, and brother Alex told me about “the king”

In praise of the unreal Allan Holdsworth

By Steve Newton Some time ago I posted my 1986 interview with Allan Holdsworth on the Facebook group The unReal Allan Holdsworth. With over 17,000 members, the page offers “everything pertaining to his music, his history, his friends and the influence he’s had on the music scene and on guitarists.” One of the comments on … Continue reading In praise of the unreal Allan Holdsworth

That time Allan Holdsworth told me that he respects guitarists like Eddie Van Halen whose playing evolves naturally, on its own

By Steve Newton If you were reading the top guitar magazines back in the early ’80s you may have heard the buzz about this phenomenal British player named Allan Holdsworth. A lot of the buzz was being generated by one Eddie Van Halen, who was touting Holdsworth’s abilities whenever he got a chance. Right around … Continue reading That time Allan Holdsworth told me that he respects guitarists like Eddie Van Halen whose playing evolves naturally, on its own

That time Allan Holdsworth told me that a lotta people love the things that he hates…like his old band U.K.

By Steve Newton I’d been wondering which of my hundreds of old interviews I should digitize next when I realized that the one with guitar legend Allan Holdsworth from 1983 should take precedence, because apparently cassette tapes don’t last forever and can deteriorate. Luckily the damn thing still works. Thank you Maxell. When I did … Continue reading That time Allan Holdsworth told me that a lotta people love the things that he hates…like his old band U.K.

That time Allan Holdsworth told me that he didn’t really like playing to guitar players

By Steve Newton In the single week since his death last Saturday, Allan Holdsworth’s name has probably been heard about as many times as it was during his entire life. Outside of the guitar cognoscenti, the pioneering jazz-fusion player has been shamefully overlooked, so much so that he’s had to struggle for years just to … Continue reading That time Allan Holdsworth told me that he didn’t really like playing to guitar players

That time guitar phenomenon Allan Holdsworth told me that he originally wanted to play sax

By Steve Newton If you’re a certified guitar freak, you’ve no doubt already heard the sad news of Allan Holdsworth’s passing. The pioneering British prog-jazz virtuoso has passed away at the age of 70. Yesterday I posted an audio excerpt from the interview I did with Holdsworth back in 1986, in which he talked about … Continue reading That time guitar phenomenon Allan Holdsworth told me that he originally wanted to play sax

That time Allan Holdsworth told me that he still struggles to pay the rent every month

By Steve Newton The guitar world is in mourning today as word of the death of Allan Holdsworth spreads. The British musician died of unknown causes at the age of 70, his daughter Louise posting the news on her Facebook page. I’m not gonna try and explain how phenomenal a player Holdsworth was; you can … Continue reading That time Allan Holdsworth told me that he still struggles to pay the rent every month

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

Guitar phenom Allan Holdsworth says he’s not impressed by flash

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 11, 1983 By Steve Newton Eddie Van Halen calls him “fantastic”. Gary Moore says “he’s frightening. He’s definitely dangerous and getting better all the time.” Carlos Santana gives him “more credit than anyone for just pure expression in soloing.” Journey’s Neil Schon says: “If you play guitar and … Continue reading Guitar phenom Allan Holdsworth says he’s not impressed by flash

Album review: Little Jimmy King, Something Inside of Me

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 29, 1994 By Steve Newton The death of blues guitarist Albert King in December of ’92 was a real downer for anyone who had followed the stellar career of the big bulldozer operator and master of the Flying V. King’s influence on the likes of Jeff Beck, Eric … Continue reading Album review: Little Jimmy King, Something Inside of Me

Jimmie Vaughan’s supertasty live licks tell the story of brother Stevie’s final flight

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 12, 1994 By Steve Newton I count myself among the lucky few who got to see Jimmie Vaughan‘s little brother, Stevie Ray, play the Commodore in the mid-’80s. Back then, when you went to an SRV show you knew what to expect: bass, drums, and the wildest blues-rock … Continue reading Jimmie Vaughan’s supertasty live licks tell the story of brother Stevie’s final flight

Album review: the Allman Brothers Band, Where It All Begins (1994)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 15, 1994 By Steve Newton Like a hearty handshake from a rarely see high-school buddy, every new Allman Brothers release is a hazy reminder of my teenage glory days, when the purchase of a southern-rock LP such as the Allmans’ Eat A Peach made everything right in my … Continue reading Album review: the Allman Brothers Band, Where It All Begins (1994)

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