That time Joe Bonamassa told me that Rolling Stone’s ranking of Robert Johnson on its 100 Greatest Guitarists list was “f***ed up”

By Steve Newton I did the second of my three interviews with American blues-rock guitar virtuoso Joe Bonamassa in December of 2011, when he was touring behind his Dust Bowl album. Shortly before our chat Rolling Stone had published its 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time list, so we spent some time ridiculing that, and … Continue reading That time Joe Bonamassa told me that Rolling Stone’s ranking of Robert Johnson on its 100 Greatest Guitarists list was “f***ed up”

Joe Bonamassa’s “Guitar Event of the Year” sabotaged by poor sound (at least from where I was sitting)

By Steve Newton Man, was I ever stoked for Joe Bonamassa’s show–the first of three nights–at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver last night. For starters, the dude’s a wicked guitarist, as most folks know, and his latest album, Redemption, blew me away, especially tracks like “Molly O”, “Just ‘Cos You Can Don’t Mean You … Continue reading Joe Bonamassa’s “Guitar Event of the Year” sabotaged by poor sound (at least from where I was sitting)

Booker T. Jones mistook his son Ted for Joe Bonamassa on YouTube

By Steve Newton When Booker T. Jones answers the phone at his Lake Tahoe home he sounds cool, calm, and collected. Mostly cool. That’s no surprise, as Jones has been producing some of the chilliest sounds around for the last 50 years or so. Ever since his instrumental combo the M.G.’s shot to fame with … Continue reading Booker T. Jones mistook his son Ted for Joe Bonamassa on YouTube

Joe Bonamassa says “I’m not a full-time rock ‘n’ roll guy. I like blues.”

By Steve Newton For his latest album, American guitar hero Joe Bonamassa came up with one helluva great idea. Or at least his producer, Kevin Shirley, did. The plan was to record a one-off concert dedicated to the music of blues legends Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf, and the resultant double disc—Muddy Wolf at Red … Continue reading Joe Bonamassa says “I’m not a full-time rock ‘n’ roll guy. I like blues.”

Joe Bonamassa wanted Deep Purple and Free in the Rock Hall “before fucking Green Day”

By Steve Newton American guitar hero Joe Bonamassa called me up today, in advance of his Vancouver double-header, and we mostly talked about his new live album, Muddy Wolf at Red Rocks. But since I also see it as my duty to slag the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame whenever necessary–which is basically all … Continue reading Joe Bonamassa wanted Deep Purple and Free in the Rock Hall “before fucking Green Day”

Aussie rock legend Jimmy Barnes joins Joe Bonamassa on Deep Purple tribute

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, AUG. 11, 2012 By Steve Newton Deep Purple fans saddened by the cancer death of keyboardist Jon Lord last month have something to look forward to, as a 40th-anniversary tribute to the group’s biggest album, Machine Head, is scheduled for release this September. On Re-Machined, some of the world’s loudest bands will be covering songs from … Continue reading Aussie rock legend Jimmy Barnes joins Joe Bonamassa on Deep Purple tribute

Joe Bonamassa has 200 guitars, says he’s “okay for guitars”

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, AUG. 27, 2008 By Steve Newton In their recent autobiographies, famed British rockers Ronnie Wood and Eric Clapton hazily recall how one of their main pastimes while on tour—apart from getting wasted and rattling groupies—was cruising pawnshops and secondhand stores for cool guitars. When blues-rock virtuoso Joe Bonamassa calls from a … Continue reading Joe Bonamassa has 200 guitars, says he’s “okay for guitars”

That time Joe Bonamassa told me to give Jann Wenner a good bashing

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, DEC. 14, 2011 By Steve Newton When blues-guitar great Hubert Sumlin passed away on December 4 at the age of 80, it didn’t take long for the condolences and accolades to hit cyberspace. Within hours, ace picker Joe Bonamassa had tweeted his heartfelt sentiments, saying what a huge effect the “extraordinary” … Continue reading That time Joe Bonamassa told me to give Jann Wenner a good bashing

That time I asked Joe Satriani who his best guitar student was and he said Steve Vai caught on the quickest

By Steve Newton Back in January of 1990 I did the first of my seven interviews with Joe Satriani. At the time he was touring behind his latest album, Flying in a Blue Dream, and the buzz about him was growing fast. People were learning that he’d spent several years as a guitar instructor, teaching … Continue reading That time I asked Joe Satriani who his best guitar student was and he said Steve Vai caught on the quickest

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

Joey Belladonna talks rap/metal crossover while Anthrax and Public Enemy bring the noise on tour

By Steve Newton Back in the eighties there was a thing called “The Big Four” which meant the top four American thrash-metal bands, including Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax, and Slayer. I never interviewed anybody in Slayer, but I have interviewed two members of Metallica (James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich), three members of Megadeth (Dave Mustaine, Marty … Continue reading Joey Belladonna talks rap/metal crossover while Anthrax and Public Enemy bring the noise on tour

That time I asked Joe Satriani why he chose Ibanez guitars instead of Strats and Les Pauls

By Steve Newton I’ve interviewed Joe Satriani eight times because, hey, nobody plays guitar like Satch. He’s one of a kind. The last time I interviewed him was in 2018, and the first time was way the funk back in January of 1990, when he was touring behind his stunning Flying in a Blue Dream album. … Continue reading That time I asked Joe Satriani why he chose Ibanez guitars instead of Strats and Les Pauls

That time I called up the Guess Who’s Randy Bachman and he raved about touring with Joe Cocker

lauren marshall photo By Steve Newton I’ve interviewed at least two guitar legends who liked touring with Joe Cocker. Back in 1990 I talked to Stevie Ray Vaughan about his coheadlining tour with Cocker, and he was right into it. Then in 2001 the Guess Who was sharing a bill with the gravelly voiced Brit, … Continue reading That time I called up the Guess Who’s Randy Bachman and he raved about touring with Joe Cocker

That time Myles Goodwyn told me how April Wine’s “Roller” got on the Joe Dirt soundtrack

By Steve Newton The 2001 David Spade white-trash comedy Joe Dirt isn’t the best movie ever made, but it sure featured a rockin’ soundtrack. Some of my all-time fave bands are on there, including Thin Lizzy, Blue Oyster Cult, Van Halen, Foghat, BTO, the James Gang, and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Canada’s own April Wine also shows … Continue reading That time Myles Goodwyn told me how April Wine’s “Roller” got on the Joe Dirt soundtrack

That time 26-year-old Stevie Salas told me about opening for Joe Satriani on the Blue Dream tour

By Steve Newton Way the funk back in June of 1990 I interviewed singer-songwriter and kick-ass guitarist Stevie Salas, who at the time was promoting his Stevie Salas Colorcode album, which I liked enough to put on my Top 10 list that year. “Hendrix meets Funkadelic in the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ practice space,” was … Continue reading That time 26-year-old Stevie Salas told me about opening for Joe Satriani on the Blue Dream tour

Joe Satriani responds to Yngwie Malmsteen’s claim that Ibanez guitars are “a bad copy” of the Strat

By Steve Newton I did my eighth interview with Joe Satriani a couple years ago, and finally got to ask him about something that his former G3 tourmate Yngwie Malmsteen once said to me. Back in 2014 I had interviewed Yngwie in advance of his Guitar Gods show in Vancouver, and that was when he … Continue reading Joe Satriani responds to Yngwie Malmsteen’s claim that Ibanez guitars are “a bad copy” of the Strat

The Aristocrats’ Guthrie Govan on the influence of Joe Satriani and Zal Cleminson

By Steve Newton Back in 2015 I interviewed guitarist Guthrie Govan, who–while not nearly as well known as the Satrianis and Vais of the world–is equally monstrous when it comes to technical ability and musical inventiveness. He plays in an instrumental rock-fusion trio called the Aristocrats, which made its debut Vancouver appearance at the Rickshaw Theatre. … Continue reading The Aristocrats’ Guthrie Govan on the influence of Joe Satriani and Zal Cleminson

Joe Satriani recalls birthday boy Les Paul making fun of his whammy bar

By Steve Newton Tomorrow is a big day for fans of electric guitar: that’s the day that legendary guitarist, inventor, and innovator Les Paul would have turned 100. The celebration of Paul’s legacy includes a big event at the Hard Rock Café in New York’s Times Square, featuring performances by Joe Bonamassa, Steve Vai, Warren Haynes, Steve Miller, Joan … Continue reading Joe Satriani recalls birthday boy Les Paul making fun of his whammy bar

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

That time I called up 22-year-old Jeff Healey and asked him about his role in the upcoming bouncer flick Roadhouse

By Steve Newton I was fortunate enough to have interviewed Canadian guitar wizard Jeff Healey three times. Man could that guy wail on the Strat! The first interview took place in June of 1988, when he was just 22, and still three months away from releasing his incredible debut album, See the Light. When I … Continue reading That time I called up 22-year-old Jeff Healey and asked him about his role in the upcoming bouncer flick Roadhouse

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 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