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”

Eric Clapton ends his 1985 North American tour in Vancouver, Duck Dunn proclaims “GODDAMN!”

mila geran photo ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 2, 1985 By Steve Newton “Here’s one from 1967,” said Eric Clapton at the Coliseum last Saturday (July 26). “I hope you recognize it.” Then he launched into “White Room”, a hit from his days with Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker in the power trio … Continue reading Eric Clapton ends his 1985 North American tour in Vancouver, Duck Dunn proclaims “GODDAMN!”

Led Zeppelin’s 20 best songs, from wicked to freakin’ awesome

By Steve Newton I realize millions of Zep fans might complain about “Stairway to Heaven” not being Number One, but they’ll get over it. 20. “Ten Years Gone” (Physical Graffiti, 1975) 19. “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You” (Led Zeppelin, 1969) 18. “Celebration Day” (Led Zeppelin III, 1970) 17. “Achilles Last Stand” (Presence, 1976) 16. “In … Continue reading Led Zeppelin’s 20 best songs, from wicked to freakin’ awesome

That time Rickey Medlocke told me that the rebel flag was just a symbol of where Skynyrd came from

By Steve Newton Lynyrd Skynyrd doesn’t fly the rebel flag in concert anymore, from what I’ve heard. But back in 1997 they sure did. So when I interviewed guitarist Rickey Medlocke before a ’97 show in Vancouver I asked him if, from his Native American perspective, he found there to an intolerance among southern-rock fans … Continue reading That time Rickey Medlocke told me that the rebel flag was just a symbol of where Skynyrd came from

Creedence Clearwater Revival’s 20 best songs, from wicked to freakin’ awesome

By Steve Newton There might be a more impressive triple-threat musician–singer, songwriter, and guitarist–than John Fogerty. But I have no idea who it is. 20. “Long As I Can See the Light” (Cosmo’s Factory, 1970) 19. “Penthouse Pauper” (Bayou Country, 1969) 18. “Susie Q” (Creedence Clearwater Revival, 1968) 17. “Someday Never Comes” (Mardi Gras, 1971) … Continue reading Creedence Clearwater Revival’s 20 best songs, from wicked to freakin’ awesome

That time Joe Perry told me that Aerosmith’s best album, it’s Exile on Main Street, was yet to come

By Steve Newton I’ve interviewed Joe Perry four times so far, ’cause back when I was teenager in the ’70s, Aerosmith ruled. I went crazy for albums like Get Your Wings, Rocks, and Draw the Line. Our last chat was in September of 2010, which was long after I’d grown disenchanted with Aerosmith albums, which … Continue reading That time Joe Perry told me that Aerosmith’s best album, it’s Exile on Main Street, was yet to come

That time I took my nephew backstage for autographs on Mötley Crüe’s Theatre of Pain tour and naughty Nikki scribbled “do drugs”

bev davies photo By Steve Newton Way back in November of 1985 I took my nephew Jeff to see Mötley Crüe at the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver. It was the second big concert of his 15-year life, the first being Iron Maiden the previous year. I took him to that one too, thinking the more … Continue reading That time I took my nephew backstage for autographs on Mötley Crüe’s Theatre of Pain tour and naughty Nikki scribbled “do drugs”

That time I asked Slash if he was having more fun with Slash’s Snakepit than he was with GN’R

By Steve Newton When I interviewed American guitar hero Slash in April of 1995 he was playing with his own band, Slash’s Snakepit, which originally included two of his Guns N’ Roses bandmates—drummer Matt Sorum and guitarist Gilby Clarke—as well as Alice in Chains bassist Mike Inez and former Jellyfish member Eric Dover on lead … Continue reading That time I asked Slash if he was having more fun with Slash’s Snakepit than he was with GN’R

Ian Hunter’s 20 best songs, from wicked to freakin’ awesome

Man, this was hard, trying to keep a list of Ian Hunter’s best songs down to just 20 tunes. By Steve Newton 20. “I Get So Excited” (Ian Hunter, 1975) 19. “All American Alien Boy” (All American Alien Boy, 1976) 18. “Cleveland Rocks” (You’re Never Alone with a Schizophrenic, 1979) 17. “Boy” (Ian Hunter, 1975) … Continue reading Ian Hunter’s 20 best songs, from wicked to freakin’ awesome

Mott the Hoople’s 20 best songs, from wicked to freakin’ awesome

Mott the Hoople are not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Neither is Ian Hunter, or either of the Micks (Ralphs and Ronson). Screw the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. By Steve Newton 20. “Death May Be Your Santa Claus” (Brain Capers, 1971) 19. “Walkin’ with a Mountain” (Mad Shadows, 1970) 18. … Continue reading Mott the Hoople’s 20 best songs, from wicked to freakin’ awesome

That time Steve Vai told me that he only got offered demonic roles in movies after Crossroads

By Steve Newton Way back in May of 1990 I did my first interview with guitar virtuoso Steve Vai, who was 29 at the time. Four years earlier Vai had portrayed Jack Butler, the devil’s guitar player, in the blues movie Crossroads, which was inspired by the legend of Robert Johnson. The climax of the … Continue reading That time Steve Vai told me that he only got offered demonic roles in movies after Crossroads

God bless Hughie Thomasson’s guitar solo on the Outlaws’ “Hurry Sundown”

By Steve Newton I really, really enjoy guitar solos sometimes. When a geetar player hits just the right notes with just the right feel, it’s almost like a religious experience for me. That’s why I’ve asked God to bless exquisite guitar solos by Scott Gorham on Thin Lizzy’s “Romeo and the Lonely Girl”, Donald “Buck … Continue reading God bless Hughie Thomasson’s guitar solo on the Outlaws’ “Hurry Sundown”