Album review: Various Artists, We’re a Happy Family—A Tribute to Ramones (2003)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, FEB. 27, 2003 By Steve Newton You don’t fuck with the Ramones. And one of the best ways to not fuck with them is to not change their music around; i.e., slow it down. Somebody should have pointed that obvious fact out to Marilyn Manson before they let the … Continue reading Album review: Various Artists, We’re a Happy Family—A Tribute to Ramones (2003)

That time Johnny Ramone told me why the Ramones covered the Doors’ “Take It as It Comes”

By Steve Newton I got to interview legendary punk-rock guitarist Johnny Ramone a couple of times, once way back in 1983 and again in ’92, when the Ramones were touring Brazil in support of their Mondo Bizarro album. That album featured a pretty nifty cover of the Doors’ 1967 tune “Take It As it Comes”, with … Continue reading That time Johnny Ramone told me why the Ramones covered the Doors’ “Take It as It Comes”

That time I called Johnny Ramone up in Rio and he said the Ramones were huge down there

By Steve Newton Back in September of 1992 I did my second interview with punk-rock guitar legend Johnny Ramone. (Here’s my first one, from 1983.) At the time the Ramones were touring South America, promoting their brand new album Mondo Bizarro. Johnny took my call at his hotel in Rio, just as he was about … Continue reading That time I called Johnny Ramone up in Rio and he said the Ramones were huge down there

The Ramones stay fast and furious on Mondo Bizarro

ORIGINALLY POSTED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 1, 1992 By Steve Newton The Ramones have come a long way since their ear-bustin’ brand of music first helped kick-start the late-’70s punk-rock craze. The band is still delivering the same barrage of noise—three-minute, three-chord tunes played fast and furious, with humorous lyrics and wacky titles like … Continue reading The Ramones stay fast and furious on Mondo Bizarro

Ramones box set boasts over 75 tunes on six discs

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, NOV. 13, 2013 By Steve Newton Like the band itself, there’s nothing fancy about the new Ramones boxed set, The Sire Years: 1976-1981. The seminal NYC punks just collected their first six albums—Ramones (’76), Leave Home and Rocket to Russia (’77), Road to Ruin (’78), the Phil Spector-produced End of the Century (’80), and Pleasant Dreams (’81)—and stuck ’em in a little box. … Continue reading Ramones box set boasts over 75 tunes on six discs

Johnny Ramone says being in the Ramones “beats working”

By Steve Newton Whether you remember or not, May of 1983 was a great month for historic rock concerts in Vancouver. On May 9 Roxy Music played the Pacific Coliseum, performing tunes from its final studio album, Avalon. Then on the 25th a little band from Ireland named U2 played the Queen E., blasting out political … Continue reading Johnny Ramone says being in the Ramones “beats working”

That time I asked Mick Mars if Mötley Crüe made enough money for Vince Neil to pay off his deadly drunk-driving fine

By Steve Newton Back in November of 1985 I sat down with Mötley Crüe guitarist Mick Mars for an interview before the band played Vancouver on its Theatre of Pain tour. That was just two months after Crue singer Vince Neil had been sentenced to 30 days in jail (he served 19), five years’ probation, … Continue reading That time I asked Mick Mars if Mötley Crüe made enough money for Vince Neil to pay off his deadly drunk-driving fine

That time Joan Jett told me how she was inspired to write “Don’t Surrender” by actress Jill Ireland

By Steve Newton Back in January of 1992 I interviewed Joan Jett while she was promoting her latest album, Notorious. At one point in the conversation we started talking about potential singles on the album, which led to her explaining the inspiration for her latest video/single, “Don’t Surrender”. Turns out it was inspired by British … Continue reading That time Joan Jett told me how she was inspired to write “Don’t Surrender” by actress Jill Ireland

Phil Lynott and Thin Lizzy freaks get a primo double-shot with new concert/documentary package

By Steve Newton Today I received a press release from Kayos Productions regarding an upcoming CD/DVD by one of my all-time favourite bands. The promo material started off like this: “With their driving hooks, twin lead guitars, lyrics saturated in working-class lore, and the charismatic presence of singer, songwriter, and bassist Phil Lynott, Thin Lizzy … Continue reading Phil Lynott and Thin Lizzy freaks get a primo double-shot with new concert/documentary package

That time Bob Rock told me that Metallica never have and never will sell out

By Steve Newton Bob Rock is the famed producer best known for helming several Metallica albums, including their hugely popular Black Album of 1991. I’ve interviewed Rock a few times, both for his role as a producer and as a rockin’ guitarist in bands like the Payola$, Rock and Hyde, and Rockhead. Back in February of … Continue reading That time Bob Rock told me that Metallica never have and never will sell out

That time John Cougar told me that he was looking forward to the US Festival (but then he didn’t go)

By Steve Newton I interviewed John Mellencamp for the first time when he was still called John Cougar. Back in May of 1983 he was touring behind his latest album, American Fool, but for some reason the Vancouver show got canceled and the interview I did with him never ran. At one point in the … Continue reading That time John Cougar told me that he was looking forward to the US Festival (but then he didn’t go)

That time Cy Curnin of the Fixx told me about his love for Tina Turner

You’d smile if you were next to Tina too! By Steve Newton Way back in October of 1984 I interviewed Cy Curnin, lead vocalist for the Fixx. That was one year after the band released its most popular album, Reach the Beach, which went platinum in the States on the strength of hits like “Saved … Continue reading That time Cy Curnin of the Fixx told me about his love for Tina Turner

That time Styx guitarist James Young told me about getting drunk with Thin Lizzy’s Phil Lynott

By Steve Newton I remember buying the Styx album The Grand Illusion when it came out back in 1977, but they were never one of my favourite bands. I enjoyed a few of their more rockin’ tunes (“Too Much Time on My Hands”, “Blue Collar Man [Long Nights]”), but there was also something about them–a … Continue reading That time Styx guitarist James Young told me about getting drunk with Thin Lizzy’s Phil Lynott

That time blues legend Charlie Musselwhite told me what it was like moving to Chicago as a teen

By Steve Newton I interviewed Charlie Musselwhite, one of the greatest blues harpists of all time, on February 19, 2002. That was one week before the official release of Musselwhite’s 21st studio album, One Night in America–a fine platter that featured such ace guitarists as G.E. Smith, Robben Ford, and Marty Stuart–and exactly one month … Continue reading That time blues legend Charlie Musselwhite told me what it was like moving to Chicago as a teen

That time Deep Purple guitarist Steve Morse thanked me for bringing up the topic of Hendrix

By Steve Newton The vast majority of my music interviews over the last 40 years were originally published in the Vancouver weekly, Georgia Straight, but I’ve also done some writing for other publications. Back in 1998 I interviewed guitar god Steve Morse–who’d been with Deep Purple for four years at that point–for Experience Hendrix, a … Continue reading That time Deep Purple guitarist Steve Morse thanked me for bringing up the topic of Hendrix

That time Lars Ulrich told me that Metallica just wasn’t a let’s-sit-around-and-drink-beers-all-day-with-the-support-act type of band

By Steve Newton I’ve interviewed Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich four times because, hey, the guy likes to talk. The last time was back in August of 1998, when his band was touring behind its Reload album. Two years earlier Metallica had headlined Lollapalooza, sharing the stage with the likes of Soundgarden, the Ramones, Rancid, and … Continue reading That time Lars Ulrich told me that Metallica just wasn’t a let’s-sit-around-and-drink-beers-all-day-with-the-support-act type of band

That time Tinsley Ellis told me that it was a dream come true playing with keyboard legend Chuck Leavell

Ellis playing with Leavell in 2016 By Steve Newton Back in March of 1992 I did my first interview with Atlanta blues-rocker Tinsley Ellis, who was touring behind his third album, Trouble Time. One of the attractions of the album–apart from Ellis’s smokin’ guitarwork–was the keyboard wizardry of one Chuck Leavell. (As you may recall, … Continue reading That time Tinsley Ellis told me that it was a dream come true playing with keyboard legend Chuck Leavell

That time Matt Minglewood told me that MacLean & MacLean were good people

By Steve Newton Back in the early ’80s I used to laugh my ass off to the comedy stylings of the Canadian musical-comedy duo MacLean & MacLean. They were rude ‘n’ crude and downright hilarious at times. They were comically abusing the F-word long before the Trailer Park Boys made a career out of it. … Continue reading That time Matt Minglewood told me that MacLean & MacLean were good people