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 A few days ago I posted my 1986 interview with Allan Holdsworth on the Facebook group The unReal Allan Holdsworth. With over 16,000 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 Since I got “temporarily” laid off from work yesterday–after 35 years with the Georgia Straight newspaper in Vancouver–I’ve been wondering which of my hundreds of old interviews I should digitize next. Then I figured that the one with guitar legend Allan Holdsworth from 1983 should take precedence because apparently cassette tapes don’t … 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 told Bill Elm that I wished Friends of Dean Martinez had recorded Santo & Johnny’s “Sleepwalk”

By Steve Newton I usually write about loud rock and roll music, but every once in a while I get turned on to something else. Back in September of 1995 I interviewed Bill Elm, lap-steel guitarist for the instrumental group Friends of Dean Martinez. The band was formed in Tucson, Arizona as an experimental side-project by … Continue reading That time I told Bill Elm that I wished Friends of Dean Martinez had recorded Santo & Johnny’s “Sleepwalk”

That time Simon Townshend told me what it was like growing up with one of the world’s most famous rock guitarists for a brother

By Steve Newton Back in February of 1984 I interviewed Simon Townshend, the 23-year-old kid brother of Pete Townshend from the Who. The younger Townshend was touring behind his debut album, the Pete-produced Sweet Sound, and trying to distance himself from the shadow of his 16-years-older bro. At one point in the conversation I asked … Continue reading That time Simon Townshend told me what it was like growing up with one of the world’s most famous rock guitarists for a brother

Aldo Nova on touring with Blue Öyster Cult, covering Coney Hatch, and the new Subject…Aldo Nova

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DECEMBER 23, 1983 By Steve Newton “It was supposed to be a post-nuclear holocaust type thing,” says Aldo Nova, referring to the initial concept idea for his latest album, Subject…Aldo Nova. Over the phone from Shreveport, Louisiana last week, Nova (his real name’s Caporuscio) outlined the proposed plan for … Continue reading Aldo Nova on touring with Blue Öyster Cult, covering Coney Hatch, and the new Subject…Aldo Nova

That time Mark Kelly told me that Marillion were touring with Rush and I questioned the matchup

By Steve Newton Way back in March of 1986 Marillion keyboardist Mark Kelly called me up from a tour stop in Quebec City. As the interview kicked off he told me that his band was opening for Rush there, which caught me off guard. I figured Rush, which was touring behind its Power Windows album, … Continue reading That time Mark Kelly told me that Marillion were touring with Rush and I questioned the matchup

That time new Anthrax vocalist John Bush told me that he thought the band’s weakest link had always been its singer

By Steve Newton When I interviewed metal vocalist John Bush back in August of 1993 he was touring with Anthrax, who had released their first album with him, Sound of White Noise, three months earlier. The 30-year-old Bush, formerly of Armored Saint, had been brought in to replace the fired Joey Belladonna, who had sung … Continue reading That time new Anthrax vocalist John Bush told me that he thought the band’s weakest link had always been its singer

That time Aldo Nova told me that the guys in Blue Öyster Cult were not as wild as you’d think they are

By Steve Newton I interviewed Aldo Nova back in December of 1983, when he was touring with one of my favourite all-time bands, Blue Öyster Cult. This was a month after BOC released the Bruce Fairbairn-produced The Revolution By Night, which isn’t one of my fave Cult albums. But it does include a pretty cool … Continue reading That time Aldo Nova told me that the guys in Blue Öyster Cult were not as wild as you’d think they are

That time Steven Adler told me that he wished he’d checked out Iron Maiden when Guns N’ Roses opened for them in the ’80s

By Steve Newton I interviewed original Guns N’ Roses drummer Steven Adler back in August of 2011, the same year he appeared in Season 5 of Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew. At the time he was heading to Vancouver for a club show with his own band, Adler’s Appetite, performing originals and the tunes he … Continue reading That time Steven Adler told me that he wished he’d checked out Iron Maiden when Guns N’ Roses opened for them in the ’80s

America’s Dewey Bunnell says “A Horse with No Name” is all about the feeling of the desert

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 16, 1983 By Steve Newton America, the masters of mellow, have just released their 13th album. Produced by Russ Ballard, Your Move continues the collaboration between Dewey Bunnell and Gerry Beckley that began in 1970 when–along with Dan Peek–they had a huge hit in their first single, “A … Continue reading America’s Dewey Bunnell says “A Horse with No Name” is all about the feeling of the desert

That time I called Mick Ronson up in Oklahoma and asked him how the tour with Ian Hunter was going

By Steve Newton Mick Ronson is one of my favourite guitar players of all time. He’s an underrated musical genius, and I can’t fathom why the dimwits down at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame refuse to even nominate him. Those twits in Cleveland really burn my ass. Anyway, for my second interview with … Continue reading That time I called Mick Ronson up in Oklahoma and asked him how the tour with Ian Hunter was going