That time Lars Ulrich told me how Cliff Burton came up with the title for Metallica’s Kill ‘Em All

By Steve Newton Way the funk back in March of 1985 I did my first interview with Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich. At the time Ulrich was only 21, and his band was touring behind its second album, Ride the Lightning. At one point in the conversation I asked him why the group went with such … Continue reading That time Lars Ulrich told me how Cliff Burton came up with the title for Metallica’s Kill ‘Em All

That time 21-year-old Lars Ulrich woke up early to call and tell me how Metallica’s new Ride the Lightning album was doin’

By Steve Newton I’ve interviewed Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich four times because, hey, I like Metallica. This is the first time, way the funk back in March of 1985, when the band was still touring behind its second album, Ride the Lightning. Lars called me up from L.A. and filled me in on how the … Continue reading That time 21-year-old Lars Ulrich woke up early to call and tell me how Metallica’s new Ride the Lightning album was doin’

Album review: Metallica, Load (1996)

  ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 27, 1996 By Steve Newton Load is probably the most highly anticipated heavy-metal album ever. Not only is it Metallica’s first studio recording in five years, but it’s the follow-up to the breakthrough self-titled disc that brought metal to the mainstream via the resounding radio hit “Enter … Continue reading Album review: Metallica, Load (1996)

Three months after Metallica bassist Cliff Burton’s death James Hetfield told me “You can’t give up”

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 26, 1986 By Steve Newton “Beware the Merciless Onslaught” were the words that came to me when Metallica vocalist James Hetfield opened the door of his Hyatt Regency hotel room. That message was emblazoned on orange across Hetfield’s black t-shirt. Straggly blonde hair hung across his rough face and thick sideburns, and … Continue reading Three months after Metallica bassist Cliff Burton’s death James Hetfield told me “You can’t give up”

That time 23-year-old James Hetfield told me that Metallica’s new bassist was “fairly goofy”

By Steve Newton Back in 1986 I interviewed Metallica’s James Hetfield in his messy Vancouver hotel room. The band had just hired Jason Newsted, who had beaten out a barrage of hopefuls for the prized role of bassist, taking over from the deceased Cliff Burton. At one point Hetfield explained how Metallica had found Newsted, how … Continue reading That time 23-year-old James Hetfield told me that Metallica’s new bassist was “fairly goofy”

That time I asked Metallica’s 23-year-old James Hetfield who his fave metal bands were

By Steve Newton Back in 1986 I met James Hetfield in his hotel room in Vancouver, and we talked for a bit about heavy metal, the death of Cliff Burton, new bassist Jason Newsted, and Metallica’s latest album, Master of Puppets. I’m not sure which day in ’86 the interview happened, but it was sometime … Continue reading That time I asked Metallica’s 23-year-old James Hetfield who his fave metal bands were

Lars Ulrich picks Metallica’s fave bands in 1985, gives personal shout-out to Deep Purple

By Steve Newton Ha! Here’s a good one! Today I was digitizing my very first Metallica interview–which I did with Lars Ulrich back in March of ’85. At one point during our 20-minute chat I asked the 21-year-old skinbasher what his group’s favourite bands were–and was pleasantly surprised to hear that the list included Kate … Continue reading Lars Ulrich picks Metallica’s fave bands in 1985, gives personal shout-out to Deep Purple

Rob Halford says that Priest, Maiden, AC/DC, KISS, Metallica, and Slayer have all stood the test of time

By Steve Newton A couple of weeks ago I interviewed Rob Halford in advance of Judas Priest‘s doubleheader at the Hard Rock Casino Vancouver October 27 and 28. When I asked him if there were any newer metal bands that had blown him away lately the 64-year-old “metal god” went off on a bit of a … Continue reading Rob Halford says that Priest, Maiden, AC/DC, KISS, Metallica, and Slayer have all stood the test of time

My first Metallica interview, back when they were too heavy for me

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MARCH 15, 1985 By Steve Newton Metallica are the type of band that puts the “heavy” in heavy metal. Actually, drummer Lars Ulrich–who called the Straight from L.A. last week–prefers to call his band’s music “speed metal” or “thrash metal”. Their sound crew are known as “The Sonic Decapitation … Continue reading My first Metallica interview, back when they were too heavy for me

Metallica must kick ass at Super Bowl 50

By Steve Newton Okay, by now we should all be over the disappointment (yeah, right) of the Seahawks handing the Super Bowl over to the “Boston” Patriots at the last minute and proving once and for all that Nirvana is not in the same league as Aerosmith. Now it’s time to ponder which musical act would … Continue reading Metallica must kick ass at Super Bowl 50

Bob Rock says Metallica “never have and never will sell out”

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, APRIL 25, 2002 By Steve Newton What could possibly cause any sane person to willingly abandon the balmy paradise of Hawaii for the frigid climes of Vancouver in January? Well, if you’re record producer Bob Rock, your last name is reason enough. Good old riff-riddled rock is what draws … Continue reading Bob Rock says Metallica “never have and never will sell out”

Lars Ulrich cuddles firstborn, doubts fatherhood will make Metallica wimp out

  ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 27, 1998 By Steve Newton If there’s one thing you can bet on about a Metallica concert, it’s that Lars Ulrich will not pussyfoot around behind his drum kit. The diminutive Dane always plays like a man possessed, fiercely punishing the skins while his face contorts in … Continue reading Lars Ulrich cuddles firstborn, doubts fatherhood will make Metallica wimp out

Metallica prove themselves masters of metal in Vancouver, and wherever they may roam

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 22, 1994 By Steve Newton What better way to get primed for a Metallica gig than to take a four-hour cruise around the harbour with a smokin’ blues-rock band and 75 beer-crazed party animals? None, thought I, so I hopped on board the Boomtown at noon on Sunday (July 17) and … Continue reading Metallica prove themselves masters of metal in Vancouver, and wherever they may roam

Metallica’s young guns of sonic mayhem slay Vancouver on the …And Justice for All Tour

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 9, 1989 By Steve Newton The Pacific Coliseum may as well have been a Roman coliseum last Wednesday (May 31), because things got about as uncivilized as they’ve ever been in the home of the Canucks. Not since the Broad Street Bullies took their orange jerseys into the … Continue reading Metallica’s young guns of sonic mayhem slay Vancouver on the …And Justice for All Tour

Lars Ulrich denies that Grammy “loser” Metallica is mellowing out with …And Justice For All

By Steve Newton On May 31, 1989, Metallica played Vancouver’s Pacific Coliseum on a bill with the Cult. This was just three months after the band had its expected Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance stolen away by Jethro Tull–whose Crest of a Knave album somehow beat out Metallica’s mighty …And Justice for All–and metal … Continue reading Lars Ulrich denies that Grammy “loser” Metallica is mellowing out with …And Justice For All

Metallica delivers on Lars Ulrich’s promise to “kick f***in’ ass” while touring behind The Black Album

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MAY 28, 1992 By Steve Newton You don’t have to be a big fan of Metallica’s furiously thrashy—albeit recently refined—sound to give the band credit for blazing a formidable trail since its inception in ’81. The group has always gone against the grain and done things its own way, … Continue reading Metallica delivers on Lars Ulrich’s promise to “kick f***in’ ass” while touring behind The Black Album

Metallica: Through the Never shows the Bay Area earbusters still fucking rule

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, SEPT. 25, 2013 Last year, American metal legends Metallica played three shows in Vancouver, during which director Nimród Antal (Vacancy, Predators) shot the brunt of this 3-D IMAX film. Earplugs are optional. The movie opens with stunning nighttime aerial footage that takes viewers soaring over beautiful downtown Van toward the glowing … Continue reading Metallica: Through the Never shows the Bay Area earbusters still fucking rule

James Hetfield on addiction, rehab, and channelling the anger with Metallica

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, MARCH 25, 2004 By Steve Newton Reno, Nevada, isn’t the ideal place for a man battling addictions to be, but Metallica main man James Hetfield seems up to the challenge. When he calls the Straight from a tour stop in the renowned party town, the newly rehabilitated rocker makes it clear … Continue reading James Hetfield on addiction, rehab, and channelling the anger with Metallica

Metallica’s lateness redeemed by sheer metal greatness in Vancouver

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, AUG. 25, 2012 By Steve Newton Metallica put on a stunning show at Rogers Arena last night (August 24), but, man, did it ever take them a while to get going. The L.A. metal legends—who play the same venue tonight (August 25) and again on Monday (at a special $5-per-ticket film … Continue reading Metallica’s lateness redeemed by sheer metal greatness in Vancouver

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 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 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