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”

Album review: Little Jimmy King, Something Inside of Me

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 29, 1994 By Steve Newton The death of blues guitarist Albert King in December of ’92 was a real downer for anyone who had followed the stellar career of the big bulldozer operator and master of the Flying V. King’s influence on the likes of Jeff Beck, Eric … Continue reading Album review: Little Jimmy King, Something Inside of Me

Jimmie Vaughan’s supertasty live licks tell the story of brother Stevie’s final flight

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 12, 1994 By Steve Newton I count myself among the lucky few who got to see Jimmie Vaughan‘s little brother, Stevie Ray, play the Commodore in the mid-’80s. Back then, when you went to an SRV show you knew what to expect: bass, drums, and the wildest blues-rock … Continue reading Jimmie Vaughan’s supertasty live licks tell the story of brother Stevie’s final flight

Album review: the Allman Brothers Band, Where It All Begins (1994)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 15, 1994 By Steve Newton Like a hearty handshake from a rarely see high-school buddy, every new Allman Brothers release is a hazy reminder of my teenage glory days, when the purchase of a southern-rock LP such as the Allmans’ Eat A Peach made everything right in my … Continue reading Album review: the Allman Brothers Band, Where It All Begins (1994)

Album review: John Mellencamp, Dance Naked (1994)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 15, 1994 By Steve Newton Talk about cutting out the fat. John Mellencamp just keeps making his instrumentation leaner as the years go by; now he’s gotten to the point where he’ll pass up bass and go with drums and guitars only, and the effect–on bare-bones tunes like … Continue reading Album review: John Mellencamp, Dance Naked (1994)

That time Aerosmith’s Tom Hamilton told me that he smoked a big bone right before thinking up the bass lick for “Sweet Emotion”

By Steve Newton The first time I interviewed Aerosmith bassist Tom Hamilton was back in 1983, during the period when Joe Perry and Brad Whitford were out of the band, and the group was touring behind its Rock in a Hard Place album. The second time we chatted was when the original lineup had been … Continue reading That time Aerosmith’s Tom Hamilton told me that he smoked a big bone right before thinking up the bass lick for “Sweet Emotion”

Album review: Various Artists, Kiss My Ass (1994)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 7, 1994 By Steve Newton The first time I ever laid eyes on Kiss–I think it was on Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert–I thought the band was just a bunch of Alice Cooper copycats. A short time later, though, I heard Kiss’s 1974 debut album and became a huge … Continue reading Album review: Various Artists, Kiss My Ass (1994)

Album review: Mick Ronson, Heaven and Hull (1994)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MAY 27, 1994 By Steve Newton From his early-’70s glory-and-glitter days as the muscular, platinum-haired axeman in David Bowie‘s Spiders from Mars to his workmanlike late-’80s club gigs with Ian Hunter, Mick Ronson always proved himself a rock guitarist of the highest order. When Ronson succumbed to cancer on … Continue reading Album review: Mick Ronson, Heaven and Hull (1994)

That time me ‘n’ Ferg went backstage to meet Warren Haynes but he was too tuckered to smile

By Steve Newton I’m a huge fan of Warren Haynes. I love everything he’s done, whether with Gov’t Mule, the Allman Brothers, or as a solo artist. Hey, I wouldn’t have interviewed him six times if I didn’t think he was the shit. So one time when he brought Gov’t Mule to Vancouver’s Commodore Ballroom–I … Continue reading That time me ‘n’ Ferg went backstage to meet Warren Haynes but he was too tuckered to smile

That time “Mess” Messal of Flies on Fire told me that the Tragically Hip were the best band in the world

By Steve Newton Back in July of 1991 the Tragically Hip played five straight sold-out nights at the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver on its Road Apples Tour. The band was smokin’ hot–at least on the night that I saw them–but also impressive was the opening act, Flies on Fire, a little-known guitar-rock band from L.A. … Continue reading That time “Mess” Messal of Flies on Fire told me that the Tragically Hip were the best band in the world

That time some chick called me “a Skynyrd-loving moron” so I hummed a few bars of “Free Bird”

By Steve Newton Back in June of 2000 the Vancouver newspaper I’m still working at (god willing), the Georgia Straight, introduced a new column called Payback Time, where ticked-off readers could write in and vociferously complain about the music critics’ opinions, before the scribe under attack was allowed to defend himself with a potentially witty … Continue reading That time some chick called me “a Skynyrd-loving moron” so I hummed a few bars of “Free Bird”

Jethro Tull guitarist Martin Barre says it’s “outrageous” that Johnny Winter isn’t in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

go Johnny, go! By Steve Newton A couple months ago I interviewed legendary rock guitarist Martin Barre, best known for his work on all of Jethro Tull‘s top albums and hits. At one point in the conversation we got to talking about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which has famously refused to induct … Continue reading Jethro Tull guitarist Martin Barre says it’s “outrageous” that Johnny Winter isn’t in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Matthew Sweet channels Phil Spector, goes session-player crazy on In Reverse

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 4, 1999 By Steve Newton Matthew Sweet is best-known for stripped-down, three-and-a-half-minute pop-rock tunes that require no more than five people to perform. But on his new CD, In Reverse, the Nebraska native goes hog-wild in the personnel department, lining up as many as 17 musicians to play … Continue reading Matthew Sweet channels Phil Spector, goes session-player crazy on In Reverse