North Mississippi Allstars ramp up the rock on 51 Phantom

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 18, 2001 By Steve Newton For last year’s debut CD, Shake Hands With Shorty, the North Mississippi Allstars thoroughly plumbed the catalogues of Mississippi hill-country blues icons Fred McDowell, R.L. Burnside, and Jr. Kimbrough. On their new disc, 51 Phantom, the band took a different tack, including only … Continue reading North Mississippi Allstars ramp up the rock on 51 Phantom

The North Mississippi Allstars debut with that crazy hill-country sound

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 3, 2000 By Steve Newton When North Mississippi Allstars guitarist-vocalist Luther Dickinson calls the Straight from the band’s tour bus in Chicago, he’s all apologetic about missing a scheduled phone interview the day before. Seems that Luther, his drummer brother Cody, and bassist Chris Chew had performed on … Continue reading The North Mississippi Allstars debut with that crazy hill-country sound

North Mississippi Allstars shake ’em on down in Vancouver

photos by the Newt By Steve Newton Saw my first concert at the Rio Theatre last night, and I gotta say, I love that venue for live music. The sound was great. And not only that, you can buy PBR in a can and walk around with it. Mind you, it helps if the band … Continue reading North Mississippi Allstars shake ’em on down in Vancouver

The North Mississippi Allstars bring it on home with help from Robert Plant

There’s something be said for sticking to your roots, and on their latest album, World Boogie Is Coming, the North Mississippi Allstars really do bring it on home. They went to the heart of the Mississippi hill country on tunes by such area legends as R.L. Burnside, Junior Kimbrough, and Otha Turner, and cranked the authenticity … Continue reading The North Mississippi Allstars bring it on home with help from Robert Plant

The North Mississippi Allstars’ Luther Dickinson says corn liquor is the secret ingredient of hill-country blues

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, SEPT. 22, 2005 By Steve Newton With its new CD, Electric Blue Watermelon, the North Mississippi Allstars head straight back to the hypnotic roots of the hill-country sound. On the track “Moonshine”, singer-guitarist Luther Dickinson relives the group’s youthful experiences jamming with late blues legend Otha Turner and playing all-night boogie at … Continue reading The North Mississippi Allstars’ Luther Dickinson says corn liquor is the secret ingredient of hill-country blues

That time I asked Gary Moore if he’d ever write a song about “the Troubles” in Northern Ireland

By Steve Newton I did my one and only interview with Irish guitar legend Gary Moore on May 11, 1984. Five months earlier the Provisional wing of the Irish Republican Army had exploded a car bomb outside Harrods department store in central London, killing three police officers and three civilians, and injuring 90 people. (The … Continue reading That time I asked Gary Moore if he’d ever write a song about “the Troubles” in Northern Ireland

That time I asked Leslie West about the awesome cowbell on Mountain’s “Mississippi Queen”

By Steve Newton Check out this snapshot of five teenagers on summer vacation in the mid-’70s: That’s me and some buddies from Chilliwack Senior High School, class of 1975, one our way up to the annual piss-up-and-puke-off in the interior of British Columbia, Canada. (I’m the geeky one with the fingers in my face, if … Continue reading That time I asked Leslie West about the awesome cowbell on Mountain’s “Mississippi Queen”

That time I asked Steve Clark what the guys in Def Leppard liked to do to pass time on the road

By Steve Newton When I interviewed Def Leppard guitarist Steve Clark back in June of 1988 his band was flying about as high as it would ever get, touring behind its most popular album, Hysteria. As a group of fun-loving rock ‘n’ rollers in their twenties, selling millions of albums and packing arenas, Clark and … Continue reading That time I asked Steve Clark what the guys in Def Leppard liked to do to pass time on the road

That time Rob Halford called me up from the Defenders of the Faith tour and said that Judas Priest had been playing “lethal” shows

By Steve Newton I’ve interviewed Rob Halford five times between 1984 and 2015–four times when he was in Judas Priest and once when he was in the industrial-metal project Two. This was the first time, on May 14, 1984, four months after Priest had released its platinum Defenders of the Faith album (the one with … Continue reading That time Rob Halford called me up from the Defenders of the Faith tour and said that Judas Priest had been playing “lethal” shows

That time I asked Long John Baldry who his favourite blues people were these days and he went with Stevie Ray Vaughan

By Steve Newton I did my one and only interview with blues legend Long John Baldry on September 8, 1985, shortly after he’d moved to Vancouver, where he would remain until his death 20 years later. Ten days earlier I’d gone to an incredible Vancouver concert by another blues legend, Stevie Ray Vaughan, whose third … Continue reading That time I asked Long John Baldry who his favourite blues people were these days and he went with Stevie Ray Vaughan

Dan Hartman flying high 12 years after taking his “Free Ride” with the Edgar Winter Group

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JAN. 18, 1985 By Steve Newton Dan Hartman likes to pull people’s legs. That’s why, for the video of his big 1984 hit “I Can Dream About You”, he had four black guys doing the song, singing and dancing and sliding around. The first impression is that one of … Continue reading Dan Hartman flying high 12 years after taking his “Free Ride” with the Edgar Winter Group

That time Sean Costello told me about recording with Susan Tedeschi at 17 and playing with Derek Trucks at 12

anthony pepitone photo By Steve Newton Sean Costello is one of those guitarists who blows you away with his amazing talent and then you look around and he’s gone. The fast-rising blues guitarist and singer-songwriter –who suffered from bipolar disorder–died of an overdose 16 months after I interviewed him in December of 2006. He was … Continue reading That time Sean Costello told me about recording with Susan Tedeschi at 17 and playing with Derek Trucks at 12

Newt’s Top 10 albums of 2005

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 15, 2005 By Steve Newton Both young upstarts and grizzled old-timers made my Top 10 this year, proving yet again that good rock ‘n’ roll transcends generational boundaries. And needs lots of guitars. Audioslave Out of Exile With the help of producer Rick Rubin and mixer Brendan O’Brien, former … Continue reading Newt’s Top 10 albums of 2005

That time I asked Roger Hodgson why he left Supertramp anyway

By Steve Newton Like most kids growing up in the seventies who were into prog rock, I liked Supertramp. Probably not as much as my sisters did, though. They were crazy about Supertramp. I interviewed one of the band’s two main guys, singer-songwriter-guitarist Roger Hodgson, in March of 1998, long after he’d quit the group … Continue reading That time I asked Roger Hodgson why he left Supertramp anyway

That time Brian Blush told me about the Refreshments recording the “King of the Hill” theme song

By Steve Newton The Refreshments were a great rock band from Tempe, Arizona that was around for a few years in the mid-’90s. I interviewed lead guitarist Brian Blush in October of 1997, two weeks after the release of the band’s third and final album, The Bottle & Fresh Horses. The Refreshments are perhaps best … Continue reading That time Brian Blush told me about the Refreshments recording the “King of the Hill” theme song

That time Joe Elliott told me that Def Leppard wasn’t a big-hair band, and didn’t belong in “the Winger/Warrant/Ratt category”

By Steve Newton Joe Elliott is the fourth Def Leppard member I’ve interviewed. I started off with bassist Rick Savage in 1983, hooked up with guitarist Steve Clark in ’88, and chatted with VIvian Campbell–the guy who took Clark’s place after he died–in 1992. I didn’t get around to talking with Elliott until 2003, when … Continue reading That time Joe Elliott told me that Def Leppard wasn’t a big-hair band, and didn’t belong in “the Winger/Warrant/Ratt category”

That time Heart’s Ann Wilson told me that the only movie scripts she ever got were for hard-drinking, Janis Joplin-type roles

By Steve Newton Heart were one of the first great rock bands I ever saw. Back in the early seventies they would play gigs in my hometown of Chilliwack, showcasing wicked tunes like “White Lightning and Wine” and “Magic Man” that would eventually appear on their 1975 debut album, Dreamboat Annie. I didn’t get to … Continue reading That time Heart’s Ann Wilson told me that the only movie scripts she ever got were for hard-drinking, Janis Joplin-type roles

That time Vinnie Paul told me about experiencing “the ultimate high” when Judas Priest fanatics Pantera jammed with Rob Halford

By Steve Newton Back on February 20, 1992, I did my one and only interview with Pantera drummer Vinnie Paul. That was five days before the Texas metal band released its most popular album, the double-platinum Vulgar Display of Power. At one point in the conversation I asked Vinnie about Rob Halford’s professed love for … Continue reading That time Vinnie Paul told me about experiencing “the ultimate high” when Judas Priest fanatics Pantera jammed with Rob Halford