That time Justin Townes Earle told me that it was Jason Isbell’s songs that made him a big Drive-By Truckers fan

By Steve Newton Very sad to hear the news tonight of the passing of Americana artist Justin Townes Earle. He was a helluva singer-songwriter. I only got to interview him once, back in May of 2009, when he was touring behind his third album, Midnight Movies. Having interviewed his father Steve Earle numerous times, I … Continue reading That time Justin Townes Earle told me that it was Jason Isbell’s songs that made him a big Drive-By Truckers fan

That time Jason Isbell told me he was in a Ford Econoline E350 van and his band cracked up at that

FSimani photo By Steve Newton The Drive-By Truckers are probably my favourite band right now. They were also my favourite band back when Jason Isbell was in the lineup. I did my first interview with him in 2007, after he’d left the DBTs and was promoting his debut solo album, Sirens of the Ditch. I … Continue reading That time Jason Isbell told me he was in a Ford Econoline E350 van and his band cracked up at that

Alabama’s joys and troubles inspire Jason Isbell’s songs

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, JUNE 8, 2011 By Steve Newton Being from Alabama certainly has its benefits, one being the fact that you can really put your heart into it when you sing the chorus of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s biggest hit. But for Jason Isbell, one of the joys of growing up in northern Alabama was … Continue reading Alabama’s joys and troubles inspire Jason Isbell’s songs

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 Jason Bonham told me about taking Bonzo’s spot to jam with Led Zeppelin as a teen

By Steve Newton Led Zeppelin freaks may recall the first time John Bonham’s son Jason performed with his dad’s old band, back in 1988 as part of the Atlantic Records 40th anniversary concert. But that was only young Jason’s first “official” performance with Zeppelin. When I did my first interview with 23-year-old Jason a year later he … Continue reading That time Jason Bonham told me about taking Bonzo’s spot to jam with Led Zeppelin as a teen

Ex-Trucker Isbell heeds the siren call of the ditch

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, JULY 25, 2007 By Steve Newton When the Straight hooks up with former Drive-By Truckers guitarist-vocalist Jason Isbell on his cellphone, he and his backing band are trying to escape from Manhattan, searching for the Holland Tunnel enroute to a gig at Pennsylvania State College. A casual query about the type … Continue reading Ex-Trucker Isbell heeds the siren call of the ditch

Yngwie Malmsteen shreds on what he once called “a piece of furniture”: the Gibson Les Paul

By Steve Newton One of my most popular posts on Ear of Newt is the one where Yngwie Malmsteen calls Ibanez guitars “a bad copy” of the Strat and says Les Pauls are “furniture”. Well, if you ever wondered what the Swedish Fender freak would sound like shredding on a piece of furniture, here ya … Continue reading Yngwie Malmsteen shreds on what he once called “a piece of furniture”: the Gibson Les Paul

That time Derek Trucks told me about watching a hip Barack Obama mouth Howlin’ Wolf lyrics

By Steve Newton I’ve interviewed slide-guitar master Derek Trucks three times so far, including back in 1999 when he was only 20 years old. We had our second conversation 13 years later, when he was touring with his wife Susan and their 11-piece band, Tedeschi Trucks. Four months earlier Trucks had performed for Barack Obama … Continue reading That time Derek Trucks told me about watching a hip Barack Obama mouth Howlin’ Wolf lyrics

That time J.D. Fortune told me about the pressure of competing in the reality show Rock Star: INXS

By Steve Newton I interviewed INXS vocalist J.D. Fortune in January of 2006, two weeks before the band kicked off a North American Tour in Vancouver. The Canadian singer had earned the frontman position with the Aussie group the year before by winning the 11-week reality-TV competition Rock Star: INXS. So at one point in … Continue reading That time J.D. Fortune told me about the pressure of competing in the reality show Rock Star: INXS

That time Fernando von Arb called and told me that Krokus was kicking Sammy Hagar’s ass on tour

By Steve Newton If you’re old like me you may remember Swiss metal band Krokus for that early-’80s tune “Long Stick Goes Boom” and for the fact that they sounded a lot like AC/DC. I interviewed guitarist Fernando von Arb on November 12, 1984, three months after the release of the group’s Vancouver-made, Bruce Fairbairn-produced … Continue reading That time Fernando von Arb called and told me that Krokus was kicking Sammy Hagar’s ass on tour

That time I told Gary Moore it was the shits that he wasn’t coming to Vancouver with Rush

By Steve Newton It’s Gary Moore‘s birthday today–he would have been 69–so I figured I’d post an audio excerpt from my one and only interview with the Irish guitar legend, one of the finest pickers to ever pick up the instrument. It was May 11, 1984, and Moore was opening for Rush on their Grace … Continue reading That time I told Gary Moore it was the shits that he wasn’t coming to Vancouver with Rush

That time Steve Clark told me why it took Def Leppard so long to follow up Pyromania with Hysteria

By Steve Newton Back in the ’80s, most successful recording bands liked to put an album out every year. Sometimes they’d skip a year, to vacation in the Bahamas or release a live or best-of LP. After three years their fans would start to get a bit worried, and so would their record label–especially if … Continue reading That time Steve Clark told me why it took Def Leppard so long to follow up Pyromania with Hysteria

That time Long John Baldry told me that he inspired Eric Clapton to take up guitar

By Steve Newton Long John Baldry had a huge influence on the British blues scene in the sixties. In fact, when I interviewed Baldry back in 1985, he confirmed that none other than Slowhand himself was urged to take up the guitar after seeing him perform. Have a listen: To hear the full audio of … Continue reading That time Long John Baldry told me that he inspired Eric Clapton to take up guitar

That time Robin Gibb told me that the Bee Gees had never been a disco group

By Steve Newton Back in the ’70s when rock music was having a huge impact on me I was rabidly anti-disco. I didn’t go so far as to wear a “Disco Sucks” t-shirt like one of my high school buddies, but I was with him in spirit. But in 1977, when the blockbuster Saturday Night … Continue reading That time Robin Gibb told me that the Bee Gees had never been a disco group

That time I told “Gatemouth” Brown that he played pretty good boogie for a 73-year-old

By Steve Newton Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown was one of those old blues guys who didn’t talk much–especially during interviews. When I chatted with him back in 1997 he was 73, and touring behind an album called Long Way Home that featured guest spots by Leon Russell, Eric Clapton, Ry Cooder, and Sonny Landreth. At one … Continue reading That time I told “Gatemouth” Brown that he played pretty good boogie for a 73-year-old

That time I asked Danny Gatton, the world’s greatest unknown guitarist, if he wished he were better known

By Steve Newton Danny Gatton has long been described as “the world’s greatest unknown guitarist.” Some have argued that that title is more suited to Roy Buchanan, but I think it’s safe to say that Gatton is the lesser known of the two relatively unheralded Telecaster masters. At least it seemed that way to me … Continue reading That time I asked Danny Gatton, the world’s greatest unknown guitarist, if he wished he were better known

That time 21-year-old Exodus guitarist Gary Holt told me that he couldn’t say enough bad things about Mötley Crüe

By Steve Newton Way back on July 24 of 1985 I interviewed the guitarists from three fast-rising (but still kinda underground) thrash metal bands: Gary Holt of Exodus, Kurdt Vanderhoof of Metal Church, and John Ricci of Exciter. All three groups were headed to Vancouver for a three-night “Metal Massacre” at the New York Theatre, … Continue reading That time 21-year-old Exodus guitarist Gary Holt told me that he couldn’t say enough bad things about Mötley Crüe

That time I asked Guns N’ Roses keyboardist Dizzy Reed if Metallica ever blew his band off the stage

By Steve Newton I interviewed Guns N’ Roses keyboardist Dizzy Reed on August 5, 1992, while his band was in the midst of a coheadlining stadium tour with Metallica. The tour was scheduled to hit Vancouver’s BC Place Stadium on August 17–with openers Faith No More–but three days after this chat James Hetfield got badly … Continue reading That time I asked Guns N’ Roses keyboardist Dizzy Reed if Metallica ever blew his band off the stage