Def Leppard makes a triumphant in-the-round return to Vancouver on the Hysteria tour

kevin statham photo ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 7, 1988 By Steve Newton Being a rock critic is not all fun and games. “Sure, Steve,” you’re probably saying, “all those free concerts and backstage brewskies must be real tough.” Okay, so there are worse occupations, but like anything else it can get boring. … Continue reading Def Leppard makes a triumphant in-the-round return to Vancouver on the Hysteria tour

Album review: Def Leppard, Hysteria (1987)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 13, 1987 By Steve Newton You’ve probably heard some of the buzz words used to categorize various types of heavy metal. There’s speed metal, thrash metal, death metal,  and–in the case of bands like Venom–toilet metal. Well, here’s a new one: happy metal. It pretty well sums up … Continue reading Album review: Def Leppard, Hysteria (1987)

Album review: Def Leppard, Adrenalize (1992)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 11, 1992 By Steve Newton “Do you wanna get rocked?” asks Def Leppard singer Joe Elliott at the beginning of the lead-off track from the band’s first album in five years. The answer is sure—but not by a boring, go-nowhere piece of bubblegum pop/metal like “Let’s Get Rocked”. … Continue reading Album review: Def Leppard, Adrenalize (1992)

That time Def Leppard’s Steve Clark told me that Pyromania set the standard for a lot of groups

By Steve Newton Some Def Leppard fans think the band was at its best when Steve Clark was in the lineup. I’m one of them. I interviewed Clark back in 1988 when the band was selling out arenas worldwide, touring behind its massively popular Hysteria album. At one point in the conversation I mentioned a quote from … Continue reading That time Def Leppard’s Steve Clark told me that Pyromania set the standard for a lot of groups

That time I asked Def Leppard guitarist Steve Clark what he liked so much about Gibsons

By Steve Newton My nephew Jeff has been letting me borrow his Gibson Les Paul Standard for a while now, and, holy crap, is that one killer instrument! You wouldn’t have gotten an argument about that from Def Leppard guitarist Steve Clark, who used Gibson guitars to craft some of the band’s finest riffs before … Continue reading That time I asked Def Leppard guitarist Steve Clark what he liked so much about Gibsons

That time I asked Steve Clark if he’d thought Def Leppard could carry on after Rick Allen’s accident

By Steve Newton I became a fan of Def Leppard back in 1980, as soon as I scored their debut album, On Through the Night, at a local record store. I bought it because I liked the sound of the band name and because the album-cover art depicted a huge Les Paul being hauled by … Continue reading That time I asked Steve Clark if he’d thought Def Leppard could carry on after Rick Allen’s accident

Even the kids in Def Leppard can’t make Uriah Heep feel old

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 15, 1983 By Steve Newton Next Wednesday (July 20) at the Pacific Coliseum original Heepsters Mick Box and Lee Kerslake on guitar and drums will be joined by bassist Trevor Bolder, keyboardist John Sinclair, and singer Peter Goalby to give us Uriah Heep ’80s-style. Performing material from their … Continue reading Even the kids in Def Leppard can’t make Uriah Heep feel old

Def Leppard’s “happy metal” makes Vancouver smile

By Steve Newton The first time Def Leppard played Vancouver was in July of 1983, on a coheadlining date at the Pacific Coliseum with ’70s-rock holdouts Uriah Heep. This was six months after the release of its breakthrough Pyromania album, which spawned four singles–“Photograph”, “Rock of Ages”, “Foolin’”, and “Too Late for Love”–and to date has sold … Continue reading Def Leppard’s “happy metal” makes Vancouver smile

Def Leppard’s Steve Clark on the long wait for Hysteria and the legacy of Pyromania

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 17, 1988 By Steve Newton Most successful recording bands like to put an album out every year. Sometimes they’ll skip a year, to vacation in the Bahamas or release a live or best-of LP. After three years their fans start to get a bit worried, not to mention … Continue reading Def Leppard’s Steve Clark on the long wait for Hysteria and the legacy of Pyromania

Def Leppard’s Rick Savage on new guitarist Phil Collen, producer Mutt Lange, and the stunning success of Pyromania

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 18, 1983 By Steve Newton While it is true that Def Leppard’s lyrical messages most often deal with the time-worn teenage pastimes of partying and getting it on, it’s not so much what they’re saying as how they’re saying it–with all the conviction and drive young hands can … Continue reading Def Leppard’s Rick Savage on new guitarist Phil Collen, producer Mutt Lange, and the stunning success of Pyromania

“Our hair was no bigger than Zeppelin or Sabbath,” declares Def Leppard singer Joe Elliott

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 18, 2003 By Steve Newton A lot of bands that were big in the ’80s are now having trouble getting booked into bowling alleys, but Def Leppard’s not one of them. The British melodic-rock quintet—which hit its commercial peak in 1987 with Hysteria, which has sold 16 million … Continue reading “Our hair was no bigger than Zeppelin or Sabbath,” declares Def Leppard singer Joe Elliott

Def Leppard plays Morocco, England, and Canada in the same day, but Vancouver goes mild

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 26, 1995 The big buzz for local rock fans this week circulated around the October 23 appearance at the Commodore of British chart-toppers Def Leppard. In order to get back in the public eye and help promote its upcoming greatest hits package, Vault, the never-say-die quintet—which has dealt … Continue reading Def Leppard plays Morocco, England, and Canada in the same day, but Vancouver goes mild

Three times ain’t the charm as Def Leppard brings the sap to Vancouver

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 8, 1992 Last Saturday (October 3) I saw British rockers Def Leppard for the third—and probably last—time. I’d actually enjoyed their exhilarating brand of “happy metal” on the 1984 Pyromania tour with Uriah Heep, and on the 1988 Hysteria tour with Tesla. This time around they didn’t have … Continue reading Three times ain’t the charm as Def Leppard brings the sap to Vancouver

Def Leppard’s Vivian Campbell never wanted to be Joe Guitar Hero

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 24, 1992 By Steve Newton When Def Leppard guitarist/co-founder Steve Clark died of a drug overdose in 1991—six years after drummer Rick Allen lost his left arm in a New Year’s Eve car accident—rumours were rampant as to who would replace him in one of the world’s most … Continue reading Def Leppard’s Vivian Campbell never wanted to be Joe Guitar Hero

Tal Wilkenfeld on life’s defining points, like auditioning for Jeff Beck in an altered state

By Steve Newton Tal Wilkenfeld has accomplished an awful lot since emigrating to the U.S. from Australia in 2002 as a teen. She’s performed with jazz greats Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, and Wayne Shorter, and at the age of 20 recorded her 2007 debut album, the all-instrumental Transformation, which she composed, produced, arranged, and played … Continue reading Tal Wilkenfeld on life’s defining points, like auditioning for Jeff Beck in an altered state

Foxfest ends on a weak note with a Leppard past its prime

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 8, 1993 By Steve Newton Seabird Island isn’t really an island, and that’s a good thing, because judging by the massive line-ups of cars on the highway heading to the Agassiz site, the wait for ferries would have been brutal. Seabird is actually a great big grassy field … Continue reading Foxfest ends on a weak note with a Leppard past its prime

Blind Melon’s Shannon Hoon defines success as making it last

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 23, 1992 By Steve Newton When he was a headline-making member of the infamous Sex Pistols, John Lydon went to extremes to make sure people either loved or hated his grating, nihilistic Johnny Rotten persona. And, according to Blind Melon vocalist Shannon Hoon, Lydon hasn’t given up his … Continue reading Blind Melon’s Shannon Hoon defines success as making it last

That time Warren Haynes told me how he came to record the haunting “John the Revelator” on Gov’t Mule’s Dose

By Steve Newton I’ve interviewed Warren Haynes six times, because he’s one of my favourite musicians of all time. I can’t get enough of his voice, his guitar, and his songs. And even if they aren’t his actual songs I’m crazy about ’em. Like when Gov’t Mule recorded the traditional gospel-blues tune “John the Revelator” … Continue reading That time Warren Haynes told me how he came to record the haunting “John the Revelator” on Gov’t Mule’s Dose

That time I asked Yes guitarist Trevor Rabin whether Steve Howe was a hard act to follow

By Steve Newton Way back in April of 1984 I interviewed Trevor Rabin, who at the time was the new guitarist in Yes. The band was on a world tour supporting its latest album, 90125, which had spawned the hit single “Owner of a Lonely Heart” and was topping the charts. At one point in … Continue reading That time I asked Yes guitarist Trevor Rabin whether Steve Howe was a hard act to follow

That time I asked Albert Lee how it was different touring with the Everly Brothers than with Eric Clapton

By Steve Newton I interviewed British guitar legend Albert Lee back in July of 1986, when he was touring with the Everly Brothers as their musical director. After chatting with Albert about how he first got involved with the Everlys, I asked him how it was different touring with them than with Eric Clapton, whose … Continue reading That time I asked Albert Lee how it was different touring with the Everly Brothers than with Eric Clapton

That time Jason Bonham told me that his famous father in Led Zeppelin was “just dad to me”

By Steve Newton When I did my first interview with Jason Bonham back in 1989, I asked him what it was like growing up with a father who was world-famous for being the drummer in Led Zeppelin. Turns out it wasn’t that big of a deal to him. Have a listen: To hear the full … Continue reading That time Jason Bonham told me that his famous father in Led Zeppelin was “just dad to me”

That time Joan Jett told me that it was the power of the people that made “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” a hit

By Steve Newton When I interviewed Joan Jett back in 1992 she was touring behind her Notorious album, which, while not a bad album, wasn’t exactly racing up the charts. Jett explained to me that it didn’t help that the record wasn’t getting much promotional push from Sony, the major label handling distribution. Then she … Continue reading That time Joan Jett told me that it was the power of the people that made “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” a hit

That time I asked Robert Cray if he was surprised that Eric Clapton covered his song “Bad Influence” on August

By Steve Newton I’ve interviewed Robert Cray four times, ’cause I reckon he’s one of the tastiest guitarists who’s ever strapped on a Strat. This was the first time, back in January of 1996, when he was touring behind his Some Rainy Morning album. Ten years earlier Cray had gotten a bit of a boost … Continue reading That time I asked Robert Cray if he was surprised that Eric Clapton covered his song “Bad Influence” on August

That time I asked Edgar Winter about his old pal Rick and his big brother Johnny

By Steve Newton The best musicians always try to surround themselves with the best musicians. For Edgar Winter that wasn’t hard. When he was born he already had a big brother named Johnny waiting at home, and they would become close musical collaborators throughout their lifetimes. Another hugely talented player that Edgar hooked up with … Continue reading That time I asked Edgar Winter about his old pal Rick and his big brother Johnny

That time Tony Carey told me that he thought “The First Day of Summer” was going to break his new album wide open

By Steve Newton Way back in May of 1984 I interviewed Tony Carey, who I’d been a fan of since I heard him playing keyboards on Rainbow’s colossal Rising album of 1976. At the time of our chat he was promoting his new solo album Some Tough City, which was doing well on the charts … Continue reading That time Tony Carey told me that he thought “The First Day of Summer” was going to break his new album wide open

That time Ian Hunter told me that what sells Ian Hunter is Ian Hunter–or what doesn’t sell Ian Hunter is Ian Hunter

By Steve Newton Mott the Hoople is one of my all-time favourite bands, and Ian Hunter is one of my all-time favourite rockers. I interviewed him and Mick Ronson separately on the same day–September 9, 1988–when they were headed to Vancouver for a show in advance of recording their awesome 1989 album YUI Orta. At … Continue reading That time Ian Hunter told me that what sells Ian Hunter is Ian Hunter–or what doesn’t sell Ian Hunter is Ian Hunter

That time Alex Van Halen told me how early on he discovered the fascinating power of live music

By Steve Newton We’ve all heard the old joke before: “What do you call somebody who hangs around with musicians? A drummer.” I think it’s fair to say that drummers don’t always get the credit they deserve. I haven’t interviewed that many over the years–for the simple fact that I prefer talking to guitarists–but some … Continue reading That time Alex Van Halen told me how early on he discovered the fascinating power of live music