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 Newsted told me that Black Sabbath were “the inventors” and they could do anything they want

By Steve Newton Jason Newsted is best known as the bassist who played with Metallica for 14 years, during the peak of their popularity, on discs like …And Justice For All and The Black Album. I interviewed him back in July of 2013, when he was fronting his own group, Newsted, three weeks before it … Continue reading That time Jason Newsted told me that Black Sabbath were “the inventors” and they could do anything they want

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

Bonham tours behind The Disregard of Timekeeping and Jason reflects on his dear old dad

By Steve Newton On December 22, 1989, Bonham played the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver, opening for the Cult. The group was named after 23-year-old drummer Jason Bonham, the son of legendary Zeppelin skin-basher John. In advance of the concert, Bonham called me from Toronto to chat about his current album, The Disregard of Timekeeping, and his … Continue reading Bonham tours behind The Disregard of Timekeeping and Jason reflects on his dear old dad

Ex-Metallica bassist Jason Newsted says that, with his new band, you work twice as hard for half as much

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, JULY 25, 2013 By Steve Newton When a veteran rocker calls in the midst of doing a major North American tour, it’s pretty common for him to use terms like amazing and awesome in response to the journalist’s tried-and-true icebreaker: “So, how’s the tour going?” But when Jason Newsted rings in … Continue reading Ex-Metallica bassist Jason Newsted says that, with his new band, you work twice as hard for half as much

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

Frank Steffen Mueller releases original instrumental for Irish guitar legend Gary Moore

By Steve Newton Woke up today to find that German guitarist, session musician, composer, and teacher Frank Steffen Mueller had shared a link to my Facebook group, Newt’s Flaming Colossal Rockatorium. The link is for a YouTube video Mueller just posted of himself playing a ’69 Les Paul goldtop, performing an original song in the … Continue reading Frank Steffen Mueller releases original instrumental for Irish guitar legend Gary Moore

Something I wrote after the death of the Beat Farmers’ Country Dick Montana, who might be my dad

photo by kevin statham ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 16, 1995 By Steve Newton On Halloween day in 1987, I did my first interview with Country Dick Montana of the Beat Farmers. At the time, the big, bearded mountain of a man was looking forward to an All Hallows’ Eve gig in “some … Continue reading Something I wrote after the death of the Beat Farmers’ Country Dick Montana, who might be my dad

Sandbox guitarist Mike Scott says the band’s perceived connection to Anne Murray is kind of a drag

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MARCH 28, 1995 By Steve Newton Nova Scotia guitar-rockers Sandbox were nominated for a Juno Award in the best-new-group category this year, and considering the critical and commercial (near-gold) success of its Bionic debut, the band had a decent shot at the prize. Then there’s the fact that Sandbox … Continue reading Sandbox guitarist Mike Scott says the band’s perceived connection to Anne Murray is kind of a drag

Bob Rock resurrects the Payola$ with Paul Hyde and sets up a helluva three-night benefit for B.C.’s Children’s Hospital

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 8, 1994 By Steve Newton When the time comes to interview Bob Rock about the recent resurrection of the Payola$, the prospect is particularly appealing. Rumour has it that the big-time Vancouver producer (the Cult, Bon Jovi, Mötley Crüe) is to work with Metallica again soon, and I’m … Continue reading Bob Rock resurrects the Payola$ with Paul Hyde and sets up a helluva three-night benefit for B.C.’s Children’s Hospital

Guitar wizard David Gogo on his new debut LP and the undeniable influence of Stevie Ray Vaughan

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, APRIL 14, 1994 By Steve Newton If there’s a rock ’n’ roll heaven, you know they’ve got a helluva band…and I like to think that there are at least three guitarists in the lineup: Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix, and Randy Rhoads. And when I picture Vaughan, I see … Continue reading Guitar wizard David Gogo on his new debut LP and the undeniable influence of Stevie Ray Vaughan

That time I asked Rob Halford what his personal fave tune was on the new Judas Priest album Painkiller

By Steve Newton I’ve interviewed Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford four times, and he’s always been a very amicable, well-spoken chap. The second time was back in October of 1990, one month after the release of Priest’s Painkiller album. At one point in the conversation I asked Halford what his personal favourite tune was on … Continue reading That time I asked Rob Halford what his personal fave tune was on the new Judas Priest album Painkiller

Blue Rodeo gets grungier and more country on new disc Lost Together

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 23, 1992 By Steve Newton HEDLEY, B.C.—Backstage at the Hedley Blast, Blue Rodeo’s Greg Keelor slumps in his chair and casually scribbles out a song list, pausing now and again to ask roaming band-mates which tunes they want added or dropped from their upcoming set. New drummer Glenn … Continue reading Blue Rodeo gets grungier and more country on new disc Lost Together

The Phantoms’ Jerome Godboo says the world is a playground

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 25, 1990 By Steve Newton The way today’s product-oriented music industry functions, it’s hard for most bands to have their cake and eat it too. But Toronto’s Phantoms are one band that’s licking the icing from its fingers these days. They managed to ink a deal with A&M … Continue reading The Phantoms’ Jerome Godboo says the world is a playground

That time I asked Alain Caron how he felt about UZEB being called “the Van Halen of jazz”

By Steve Newton Way back in May of 1985 I interviewed Alain Caron, the phenomenal bassist for Quebec jazz-fusion band UZEB. His group was touring behind its second studio album, You, Be Easy, and headed to Vancouver for a two-night stand at the Commodore Ballroom. At one point in the conversation I asked Caron about … Continue reading That time I asked Alain Caron how he felt about UZEB being called “the Van Halen of jazz”