That time I asked Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready what he thought was so great about Neil Young

By Steve Newton I like Pearl Jam a lot. And I really love Neil Young. So when those two got together for the Mirror Ball album back in 1995 I was in hog heaven. I would listen to my favourite track, “I’m the Ocean”, over and over again. When I interviewed Pearl Jam guitarist Mike … Continue reading That time I asked Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready what he thought was so great about Neil Young

Album review: Pearl Jam, Vs. (1993)

  ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 25, 1993 By Steve Newton Although I became a fan of Pearl Jam the first time I heard its debut album, Ten, I must admit that I haven’t played that disc a lot since scoring a review copy back in ’91. Shortly after its release I saw … Continue reading Album review: Pearl Jam, Vs. (1993)

Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready on Ticketmaster, Neil Young, Nickelback, and the new Riot Act

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MAY 29, 2003 By Steve Newton Pearl Jam is one of those hugely influential, multiplatinum rock acts that’s notorious for refusing to talk to the press, often for extended periods of time. So when PJ guitarist Mike McCready calls from the “lovely offices” of Vandenberg Public Relations in Seattle, … Continue reading Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready on Ticketmaster, Neil Young, Nickelback, and the new Riot Act

Patriots vs. Seahawks = Aerosmith vs. Nirvana, Cars vs. Pearl Jam, J. Geils vs. Soundgarden

By Steve Newton Today I just realized that the New England Patriots–who play some big football game with fancy TV commercials tomorrow–are from the greater Boston area. I didn’t know that. In my blissful ignorance of American geography–which may be unconscious payback for the Yanks’ legendary cluelessness about all things Canada–I always thought New England was a … Continue reading Patriots vs. Seahawks = Aerosmith vs. Nirvana, Cars vs. Pearl Jam, J. Geils vs. Soundgarden

Pete Droge’s Pearl Jam connection led him to Find a Door

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 12, 1996 When you think Seattle rock, you picture plaid shirts, baggy shorts, vein-bulging vocals, and propulsive guitar noise comin’ at you in heavily amplified blasts. You don’t necessarily envision a guy like Pete Droge, whose rootsy, laid-back style has more in common with Tom Petty’s breezy, melodic … Continue reading Pete Droge’s Pearl Jam connection led him to Find a Door

Stone Gossard says Pearl Jam’s hard work is all paying off

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 19, 1991 By Steve Newton When a rock writer does a lot of “phoners”—media slang for telephone interviews—with bands that are coming to town, once in a while wires get crossed. This scribbler was planning to speak to Pearl Jam vocalist Eddie Vedder last week, but guitarist Stone … Continue reading Stone Gossard says Pearl Jam’s hard work is all paying off

Pearl Jam pulls off a loud one at the Town Pump in Vancouver

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 3, 1991 By Steve Newton I’d been warned by someone who caught Pearl Jam’s sound check at the Town Pump last Thursday afternoon (September 26) that the Seattle band was extremely loud. My second clue, upon entering the busy club around midnight, was the abundance of black leather … Continue reading Pearl Jam pulls off a loud one at the Town Pump in Vancouver

Pearl Jam releases Vs., and the Newt’s right into it

By Steve Newton Twenty years ago Seattle grunge masters Pearl Jam released their second album, Vs., and seeing as the band is playing Vancouver’s Rogers Arena this Wednesday, I figured it was time to take a quick look back at the disc. Vs. sold 950,378 copies its first week of release, and outperformed all other entries … Continue reading Pearl Jam releases Vs., and the Newt’s right into it

That time Colin James told me that playing electric slide-guitar was a challenge for him

By Steve Newton Back in August of 1995 I interviewed Canadian blues-rocker Colin James, who I’d been a fan of since his self-titled 1988 debut album. At the time he was touring behind his fourth album, Bad Habits, which saw him playing quite a bit of slide guitar on tunes like “Real Stuff” and “Walkin’ … Continue reading That time Colin James told me that playing electric slide-guitar was a challenge for him

That time Jason Bonham told me about taking Bonzo’s spot to jam with Led Zeppelin as a teen

By Steve Newton Led Zeppelin freaks may recall the first time John Bonham’s son Jason performed with his dad’s old band, back in 1988 as part of the Atlantic Records 40th anniversary concert. But that was only young Jason’s first “official” performance with Zeppelin. When I did my first interview with 23-year-old Jason a year later he … Continue reading That time Jason Bonham told me about taking Bonzo’s spot to jam with Led Zeppelin as a teen

That time Zakk Wylde told me about jamming with Skynyrd and covering for Dickey Betts in the Allmans

By Steve Newton Zakk Wylde may be best known as the guitarist and songwriter who took over from Jake E. Lee to help Ozzy Osbourne stay on the charts with tunes like “No More Tears” and “Perry Mason”, but southern-rock fans also know him as the frontman in the power trio Pride & Glory, which was … Continue reading That time Zakk Wylde told me about jamming with Skynyrd and covering for Dickey Betts in the Allmans

That time I asked Alex Van Halen about his earliest memories of jamming with Eddie

By Steve Newton I haven’t interviewed that many drummers over the years–mainly because I like talking to guitarists more–but when Van Hagar was heading to Vancouver for a show in 1995 and the opportunity came to chat with Alex Van Halen I didn’t turn it down. And boy was I glad I didn’t, because he … Continue reading That time I asked Alex Van Halen about his earliest memories of jamming with Eddie

That time Peter Frampton told me that he and David Bowie used to jam at school as kids

By Steve Newton Back in August of ’87 I interviewed Peter Frampton in a Vancouver hotel room. At the time he was playing guitar with David Bowie on the Glass Spider tour, in support of Bowie’s Never Let Me Down album, which he also played on. So of course I started the conversation off by … Continue reading That time Peter Frampton told me that he and David Bowie used to jam at school as kids

That time Ronnie James Dio told me what he really thought of Ritchie Blackmore and Yngwie Malmsteen as guitarists

By Steve Newton Back in 1985 I did my only interview with Ronnie James Dio, who was headed to Vancouver on the Sacred Heart Tour, with Yngwie Malmsteen‘s Rising Force opening up. At one point in the conversation the legendary heavy-metal crooner compared the guitar-playing abilities of his former bandmate Ritchie Blackmore to those of … Continue reading That time Ronnie James Dio told me what he really thought of Ritchie Blackmore and Yngwie Malmsteen as guitarists

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

That time I asked Tony Iommi about Ronnie James Dio replacing Ozzy Osbourne in Black Sabbath

By Steve Newton In the past I’ve had fun posting audio excerpts from my first interview with legendary Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi, which took place in 1984, during the group’s misguided Born Again phase. Fast-forward 23 years and I got Iommi on the phone again, this time to talk about the Heaven and Hell … Continue reading That time I asked Tony Iommi about Ronnie James Dio replacing Ozzy Osbourne in Black Sabbath

That time Ronnie James Dio told me a fib about Priest and Maiden contributing songs to Hear ‘n Aid

By Steve Newton On May 20 and 21, 1985, the charity project spearheaded by Ronnie James Dio, Hear ‘n Aid, recorded its video/single “Stars” at A&M Studios in L.A. “Stars” was a one-time collaboration featuring an array of the biggest hard rock/heavy metal artists of the ’80s. Contributing lead vocals on the track were Dio, … Continue reading That time Ronnie James Dio told me a fib about Priest and Maiden contributing songs to Hear ‘n Aid

That time Ronnie James Dio told me about the entity that tried to kill his wife during the recording of Rainbow’s Long Live Rock and Roll

By Steve Newton Back in 2016, in celebration of the 40th anniversary of Rainbow Rising–one of the greatest metal albums of all time–I posted blogs with soundbites from interviews I did with former Rainbow members Ronnie James Dio (in 1985) and Tony Carey (in ’84). The first one I did on Carey did not go … Continue reading That time Ronnie James Dio told me about the entity that tried to kill his wife during the recording of Rainbow’s Long Live Rock and Roll