Ian Hunter and Mick Ronson bring the best of Mott the Hoople to Vancouver

kevin statham photo ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 7, 1988 By Steve Newton Two nights after Eric Clapton and Mark Knopfler sailed through town, on September 30, a couple more British rock greats visited. While not as widely known, Ian Hunter and Mick Ronson have a following that is just as devoted, and … Continue reading Ian Hunter and Mick Ronson bring the best of Mott the Hoople to Vancouver

Ian Hunter and Mick Ronson on reuniting and getting lean and mean after 40: “Might even want to prove something”

kevin statham photo ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 23, 1988 By Steve Newton Whatever happened to Ian Hunter, the former leader of one of Britain’s most influential pre-punk rock bands Mott the Hoople: the corkscrew-haired singer with the ever-present shades and Cockney twang; the gifted songwriter who penned such classics as “All the … Continue reading Ian Hunter and Mick Ronson on reuniting and getting lean and mean after 40: “Might even want to prove something”

Mick Ronson’s little sister Maggi liked my post on her legendary bro

By Steve Newton A lot of people are considering deleting their Facebook accounts these days, but I’ve got at least one good reason to keep mine intact. Just today I received a Facebook message from Maggi Ronson, the younger sister of one of my all-time guitar heroes, Mick Ronson. She was responding to my posting … Continue reading Mick Ronson’s little sister Maggi liked my post on her legendary bro

That time Mick Ronson told me he was a rocker, as if I didn’t know

By Steve Newton I watched that recently released documentary on Mick Ronson, Beside Bowie, the other day, and it inspired me to digitize another snippet off my first interview with Ronno, from 1988. You’re welcome, fellow Ronson freaks! The conversation happened on September 9, ’88, in advance of a show by the Hunter-Ronson Band at … Continue reading That time Mick Ronson told me he was a rocker, as if I didn’t know

That time I called up Mick Ronson and asked what he’d been doin’ the last few years

By Steve Newton I’ve got a lotta guitar heroes, and as a rock journalist for 35 years now, I’ve managed to interview quite a few. One of my all-time faves has to be Mick Ronson. I’ve been crazy about him since I heard my first David Bowie album, Aladdin Sane, back in April of ’73. … Continue reading That time I called up Mick Ronson and asked what he’d been doin’ the last few years

That time I asked Mick Ronson what he thought of Great White’s version of “Once Bitten, Twice Shy”

By Steve Newton I graduated from high school in 1975, and, holy crap, was that ever a great year for rock music! Lizzy‘s Fighting, Floyd‘s Wish You Were Here, Zep’s Physical Graffiti, Neil‘s Zuma, Beck‘s Blow By Blow, Seger‘s Beautiful Loser–the list of killer albums went on and on. But none of them thrilled me more … Continue reading That time I asked Mick Ronson what he thought of Great White’s version of “Once Bitten, Twice Shy”

The greatest guitar solo of all time: Mick Ronson on Ian Hunter’s “Once Bitten Twice Shy”

By Steve Newton I’ve heard a lotta amazing guitar solos in my life, but today I decided to just go ahead and pick the greatest one of all time. I’m goin’ with Mick Ronson‘s 30-second blast on Ian Hunter’s classic boogie number “Once Bitten Twice Shy”. It’s not because that’s the best rock song of 1975–the year I graduated … Continue reading The greatest guitar solo of all time: Mick Ronson on Ian Hunter’s “Once Bitten Twice Shy”

Bob Rock on the Payola$ reunion and the influence of Mick Ronson as a producer

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 27, 2003 By Steve Newton At one point during the exceptional Blackie & the Rodeo Kings show at Sonar a couple of weeks back, guitarist-vocalist and former Junkhouse member Tom Wilson casually leaned into the mike and said: “Roll out red carpet, here come China boys.” His group … Continue reading Bob Rock on the Payola$ reunion and the influence of Mick Ronson as a producer

Concrete Blonde’s Johnette Napolitano thinks Mick Ronson was a genius

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JAN. 23, 2003 By Steve Newton Last year, Los Angeles–bred guitar-rockers Concrete Blonde released Group Therapy, a CD that reunited the original lineup of vocalist-bassist Johnette Napolitano, ex-Sparks guitarist James Mankey, and drummer Harry Rushakoff. It was the group’s first record in almost a decade, so when Napolitano calls … Continue reading Concrete Blonde’s Johnette Napolitano thinks Mick Ronson was a genius

Ian Hunter and Mick Ronson tour behind YUI Orta, so the Newt talks to Ronno

By Steve Newton On December 19, 1989, Ian Hunter and Mick Ronson played the 86 Street Music Hall in Vancouver. For me, it didn’t get any better than that. I’d been a huge fan of Hunter ever since I first heard his old band, Mott the Hoople, and Ronson…well, if you liked David Bowie in … Continue reading Ian Hunter and Mick Ronson tour behind YUI Orta, so the Newt talks to Ronno

The spirit of Mick Ronson inspires the Payola$ at the Town Pump

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 20, 1994 Ya gotta like that Bob Rock guy. When he gets tired of producing platinum-plus CDs for bands like Metallica and Mötley Crüe, he forms his own group, Rockhead, and gets back to his ’70s-rock roots with melodic, radio-friendly sing-along tunes such as “Bed of Roses” and … Continue reading The spirit of Mick Ronson inspires the Payola$ at the Town Pump

The Payola$’ Paul Hyde talks Alex Harvey, Ian Hunter and Mick Ronson

On February 18, 1984, the Payola$ played the PNE Gardens with opening act Darkroom. At the time the band–which also included guitarist Bob Rock, bassist Alex Boynton, drummer Chris Taylor, and keyboardist Christopher Livingston–was basking in the success of its latest album, Hammer on a Drum. That disc was produced with one of my alltime … Continue reading The Payola$’ Paul Hyde talks Alex Harvey, Ian Hunter and Mick Ronson

That time Mick Mars told me that Yngwie Malmsteen could be the world’s best guitarist if he’d just change his attitude

By Steve Newton Back in November of 1985 I interviewed Motley Crue guitarist Mick Mars the same day his band played Vancouver on its Theatre of Pain tour. At one point in the conversation we were talking fave guitar players–his (and mine) being Jeff Beck–and I asked him how he felt about the new superstars … Continue reading That time Mick Mars told me that Yngwie Malmsteen could be the world’s best guitarist if he’d just change his attitude

That time Mick Fleetwood told me that Peter Green shunned the guitar-hero status of Clapton, Beck, and Page

By Steve Newton Legendary drummer Mick Fleetwood called me up a couple days ago to plug his upcoming gig at the Hard Rock Casino Vancouver, and I made sure to ask him all about his long-ago bandmate Peter Green. Fleetwood’s current outfit, the Mick Fleetwood Blues Band, is performing several Green-penned songs from the early … Continue reading That time Mick Fleetwood told me that Peter Green shunned the guitar-hero status of Clapton, Beck, and Page

That time Ian Hunter told me that what sells Ian Hunter is Ian Hunter–or what doesn’t sell Ian Hunter is Ian Hunter

By Steve Newton Mott the Hoople is one of my all-time favourite bands, and Ian Hunter is one of my all-time favourite rockers. I interviewed him and Mick Ronson separately on the same day–September 9, 1988–when they were headed to Vancouver for a show in advance of recording their awesome 1989 album YUI Orta. At … Continue reading That time Ian Hunter told me that what sells Ian Hunter is Ian Hunter–or what doesn’t sell Ian Hunter is Ian Hunter

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 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

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