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

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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 Richie Sambora told me why Bon Jovi switched producers from Bruce Fairbairn to Bob Rock

By Steve Newton Bon Jovi may have been hugely popular back in the day, but I actually enjoyed guitarist Richie Sambora’s solo debut album, Stranger in This Town, more than any Bon Jovi band release. I even preferred Sambora’s lead vocals over Jon Bon Jovi’s, especially on solo tunes like “Ballad of Youth”. So it … Continue reading That time Richie Sambora told me why Bon Jovi switched producers from Bruce Fairbairn to Bob Rock

That time 18-year-old Kenny Wayne Shepherd told me about meeting his idol Stevie Ray Vaughan

By Steve Newton I’ve interviewed Kenny Wayne Shepherd four times, ’cause I’m a sucker for folks who can play the shit out of a Strat. The first time was back in December of 1995, when he was only 18 and touring behind his platinum-selling debut album, Ledbetter Heights. At one point in the conversation I … Continue reading That time 18-year-old Kenny Wayne Shepherd told me about meeting his idol Stevie Ray Vaughan

That time I asked Justin Hayward if he knew the Moody Blues’ “Nights in White Satin” was special as soon as it came to him

By Steve Newton As April Wine once said, “I Like to Rock”. I like to rock as well, but once in a while a beautiful, gentle ballad is, as Ted Nugent once said, “Just What the Doctor Ordered”. But enough about April Wine and Ted Nugent. This little blog’s about a softer-rockin’, more prog-oriented band … Continue reading That time I asked Justin Hayward if he knew the Moody Blues’ “Nights in White Satin” was special as soon as it came to him

That time I asked Elliot Easton if he felt like a mercenary playing John Fogerty’s licks in Creedence Clearwater Revisited

By Steve Newton I’ve long felt that John Fogerty was the biggest triple-threat in rock: as a songwriter, singer, and guitarist, few can match him. I’ve also always hated how, for years after the breakup of Creedence Clearwater Revival, Fogerty couldn’t even perform the incredible CCR songs he’d written, for legal reasons. The old CCR … Continue reading That time I asked Elliot Easton if he felt like a mercenary playing John Fogerty’s licks in Creedence Clearwater Revisited

That time Wayne Kramer told me about the MC5’s political consciousness in the ’60s

By Steve Newton I missed out on the MC5 when they were a major musical force on the American counterculture scene in the late ’60s. And it’s not just ’cause I’m Canadian. I was only 11 when their groundbreaking Kick Out the Jams debut album came out, and at that point all I listened to … Continue reading That time Wayne Kramer told me about the MC5’s political consciousness in the ’60s

That time Joe Satriani told me how his mind works when he’s playing wicked guitar on stage

By Steve Newton Some guitarists learn how to play by ear, and others–like Joe Satriani–learn how to play by the book. Satch knows music theory better than most, so when I did my first interview with him back in 1990–just after the release of Flying in a Blue Dream–I asked him how that relates to … Continue reading That time Joe Satriani told me how his mind works when he’s playing wicked guitar on stage

That time Randy Hansen told me about recording his atmospheric, Hendrix-style guitar parts for Apocalypse Now

By Steve Newton Back in August of 2001 I interviewed Jimi Hendrix tribute artist Randy Hansen because he was coming up from Seattle for a gig at a Vancouver club. This was right around the time that Apocalypse Now Redux, an extended version of Francis Ford Coppola’s epic 1979 Vietnam war movie, was being released. … Continue reading That time Randy Hansen told me about recording his atmospheric, Hendrix-style guitar parts for Apocalypse Now

That time Bob Rock told me that he just wakes up in the morning and music is what he does

By Steve Newton Being a rock journalist in Vancouver during the ’80s and ’90s meant that I was close to where a lot of the top-selling albums of the time were made. That was mainly down at Little Mountain Sound, where local producers, engineers, and mixers–guys like Bruce Fairbairn, Bob Rock, and Mike Fraser–were tweaking … Continue reading That time Bob Rock told me that he just wakes up in the morning and music is what he does

That time Steve Vai told me about the “cornball arrangements” on his Zappesque debut album Flex-Able

By Steve Newton When I did my first interview with Steve Vai, just after he’d released Passion and Warfare in 1990, we got to talking about his previous album, Flex-Able. Turns out the success of Passion and Warfare was pushing sales of the six-year-old Flex-Able, even though the music on it was the opposite of … Continue reading That time Steve Vai told me about the “cornball arrangements” on his Zappesque debut album Flex-Able

That time Guess Who guitarist Randy Bachman told me about creating the riff for “American Woman”

By Steve Newton Canada doesn’t seem to have an overabundance of rock-guitar heroes. Sure, you’ve got your Lenny Breau when it comes to jazz, and your Jeff Healey if you’re talkin’ blues. But when it comes to Canadian rock-guitar heroes, I can’t think of tons. Alex Lifeson, Kim Mitchell… Obviously Neil Young, but isn’t he … Continue reading That time Guess Who guitarist Randy Bachman told me about creating the riff for “American Woman”