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

That time I asked Mick Mars if Mötley Crüe made enough money for Vince Neil to pay off his deadly drunk-driving fine

By Steve Newton Back in November of 1985 I sat down with Mötley Crüe guitarist Mick Mars for an interview before the band played Vancouver on its Theatre of Pain tour. That was just two months after Crue singer Vince Neil had been sentenced to 30 days in jail (he served 19), five years’ probation, … Continue reading That time I asked Mick Mars if Mötley Crüe made enough money for Vince Neil to pay off his deadly drunk-driving fine

That time Joan Jett told me how she was inspired to write “Don’t Surrender” by actress Jill Ireland

By Steve Newton Back in January of 1992 I interviewed Joan Jett while she was promoting her latest album, Notorious. At one point in the conversation we started talking about potential singles on the album, which led to her explaining the inspiration for her latest video/single, “Don’t Surrender”. Turns out it was inspired by British … Continue reading That time Joan Jett told me how she was inspired to write “Don’t Surrender” by actress Jill Ireland

Phil Lynott and Thin Lizzy freaks get a primo double-shot with new concert/documentary package

By Steve Newton Today I received a press release from Kayos Productions regarding an upcoming CD/DVD by one of my all-time favourite bands. The promo material started off like this: “With their driving hooks, twin lead guitars, lyrics saturated in working-class lore, and the charismatic presence of singer, songwriter, and bassist Phil Lynott, Thin Lizzy … Continue reading Phil Lynott and Thin Lizzy freaks get a primo double-shot with new concert/documentary package

That time Bob Rock told me that Metallica never have and never will sell out

By Steve Newton Bob Rock is the famed producer best known for helming several Metallica albums, including their hugely popular Black Album of 1991. I’ve interviewed Rock a few times, both for his role as a producer and as a rockin’ guitarist in bands like the Payola$, Rock and Hyde, and Rockhead. Back in February of … Continue reading That time Bob Rock told me that Metallica never have and never will sell out

That time John Cougar told me that he was looking forward to the US Festival (but then he didn’t go)

By Steve Newton I interviewed John Mellencamp for the first time when he was still called John Cougar. Back in May of 1983 he was touring behind his latest album, American Fool, but for some reason the Vancouver show got canceled and the interview I did with him never ran. At one point in the … Continue reading That time John Cougar told me that he was looking forward to the US Festival (but then he didn’t go)

That time Cy Curnin of the Fixx told me about his love for Tina Turner

You’d smile if you were next to Tina too! By Steve Newton Way back in October of 1984 I interviewed Cy Curnin, lead vocalist for the Fixx. That was one year after the band released its most popular album, Reach the Beach, which went platinum in the States on the strength of hits like “Saved … Continue reading That time Cy Curnin of the Fixx told me about his love for Tina Turner

That time Styx guitarist James Young told me about getting drunk with Thin Lizzy’s Phil Lynott

By Steve Newton I remember buying the Styx album The Grand Illusion when it came out back in 1977, but they were never one of my favourite bands. I enjoyed a few of their more rockin’ tunes (“Too Much Time on My Hands”, “Blue Collar Man [Long Nights]”), but there was also something about them–a … Continue reading That time Styx guitarist James Young told me about getting drunk with Thin Lizzy’s Phil Lynott

That time blues legend Charlie Musselwhite told me what it was like moving to Chicago as a teen

By Steve Newton I interviewed Charlie Musselwhite, one of the greatest blues harpists of all time, on February 19, 2002. That was one week before the official release of Musselwhite’s 21st studio album, One Night in America–a fine platter that featured such ace guitarists as G.E. Smith, Robben Ford, and Marty Stuart–and exactly one month … Continue reading That time blues legend Charlie Musselwhite told me what it was like moving to Chicago as a teen

That time Deep Purple guitarist Steve Morse thanked me for bringing up the topic of Hendrix

By Steve Newton The vast majority of my music interviews over the last 40 years were originally published in the Vancouver weekly, Georgia Straight, but I’ve also done some writing for other publications. Back in 1998 I interviewed guitar god Steve Morse–who’d been with Deep Purple for four years at that point–for Experience Hendrix, a … Continue reading That time Deep Purple guitarist Steve Morse thanked me for bringing up the topic of Hendrix