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 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 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 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

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

That time I asked Long John Baldry if he was the King in “Don’t Try to Lay No Boogie Woogie on the King of Rock and Roll”

By Steve Newton Back in 1985 I did an interview with British blues legend Long John Baldry, who’d recently moved to Vancouver, where he would stay until his death 20 years later. In 1971 Baldry had released an album called It Ain’t Easy that was produced by his buddies, Rod Stewart and Elton John. It … Continue reading That time I asked Long John Baldry if he was the King in “Don’t Try to Lay No Boogie Woogie on the King of Rock and Roll”