That time I asked Johnette Napolitano about Concrete Blonde covering Thin Lizzy

By Steve Newton Concrete Blonde were a pretty great L.A. rock band from the mid-’80s. I interviewed singer, bassist, and main songwriter Johnette Napolitano back in June of 1990, three weeks after the release of the group’s most popular album, 1990’s Bloodletting, which featured the hit “Joey”. That album was produced with Chris Tsangarides, who’d … Continue reading That time I asked Johnette Napolitano about Concrete Blonde covering Thin Lizzy

God bless Scott Gorham’s guitar solo on Thin Lizzy’s “Romeo and the Lonely Girl”

By Steve Newton I freakin’ love guitar solos, where some talented artist carefully chooses the perfect notes and uses vibrato and tremolo and all that other technical shit to come up with something that’ll stick with me for decades and be there whenever I want to retrieve it, replay it in my head, and holler: … Continue reading God bless Scott Gorham’s guitar solo on Thin Lizzy’s “Romeo and the Lonely Girl”

Rock Hall hits rock bottom, inducts Whitney Houston instead of Thin Lizzy

By Steve Newton Just when you think the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame might not necessarily be a total waste of space, they go and screw up big-time again. And this time it’s a real doozy. Today the Rock Hall announced the inductees for its class of 2020, and guess what? They had a … Continue reading Rock Hall hits rock bottom, inducts Whitney Houston instead of Thin Lizzy

That time Tommy Aldridge told me that he “wasn’t a fan” of Brian Downey’s drum parts with Thin Lizzy

By Steve Newton As far as seeing concerts goes, I’ve been very lucky to have been situated in Vancouver since the early ’80s. It’s a major stopping point for bands touring North America–just a quick scoot across the border from Seattle–and being a music writer meant most of the shows were free. Only a few … Continue reading That time Tommy Aldridge told me that he “wasn’t a fan” of Brian Downey’s drum parts with Thin Lizzy

Thin Lizzy’s “The Boys Are Back in Town” gets montage treatment in American Dad–complete with Phil Lynott!

By Steve Newton I was just partaking in my Sunday-night ritual of watching as many Simpsons, Family Guy, and American Dad episodes as possible when I came across something that really made my day. In an American Dad rerun there’s a scene where Stan and Steve are reliving Stan’s old garbageman job and they suddenly … Continue reading Thin Lizzy’s “The Boys Are Back in Town” gets montage treatment in American Dad–complete with Phil Lynott!

Thin Lizzy’s 20 best songs, from wicked to freakin’ awesome

By Steve Newton I’m sure to get some flak for not including the big hit, “The Boys Are Back in Town”, but I honestly don’t believe it’s one of Lizzy’s best tunes. 20. “Slow Blues” (Vagabonds of the Western World, 1973) 19. “Little Girl in Bloom” (Vagabonds of the Western World, 1973) 18. “With Love” … Continue reading Thin Lizzy’s 20 best songs, from wicked to freakin’ awesome

Album review: Thin Lizzy, Life (1983)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JAN. 13, 1984 By Steve Newton While not as well-produced as their first live LP Live and Dangerous, Thin Lizzy’s new double album does hold some interesting surprises for fans of boisterous hard rock. Featuring guest appearances by legendary axemen Gary Moore, Eric Bell, and Brian Robertson, Life is culled from various … Continue reading Album review: Thin Lizzy, Life (1983)

Rock producer Chris Tsangarides, known for his work with Thin Lizzy, Judas Priest, and the Tragically Hip, dead at 61

By Steve Newton Sad news to report today. Chris Tsangarides–who produced such albums as Thin Lizzy’s Thunder and Lightning, Gary Moore’s Back on the Streets, and the Tragically Hip’s Fully Completely–died of heart failure today after battling pneumonia. He was only 61. Tsangarides, who specialized in hard rock, had also worked on albums by Black … Continue reading Rock producer Chris Tsangarides, known for his work with Thin Lizzy, Judas Priest, and the Tragically Hip, dead at 61

Album review: Thin Lizzy, Thunder and Lightning (1983)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, APRIL 29, 1983 By Steve Newton One of the biggest disappointments in hard rock this year is the news that Thin Lizzy–after 14 years and many fine, albeit underrated albums–is calling it quits. Ever since 1974’s magical Vagabonds of the Western World, Phil Lynott and Co. have been churning … Continue reading Album review: Thin Lizzy, Thunder and Lightning (1983)

The Gord Downie Tapes, 1992: wishing he was a Thin Lizzy freak

By Steve Newton This sixth entry in “The Gord Downie Tapes” sees me still plundering the conversation I had with the Tragically Hip frontman in November of ’92, shortly after the release of the unforgettable Fully Completely album. It was the only Hip album to be produced by Chris Tsangarides, the same guy who helmed Thin … Continue reading The Gord Downie Tapes, 1992: wishing he was a Thin Lizzy freak

Backstage with Scott Gorham (and Gary Moore) on Thin Lizzy’s Bad Reputation Tour in 1978

By Steve Newton See that Thin Lizzy mirror pin I’m holding? That’s not just any old Thin Lizzy mirror pin. That’s the one Thin Lizzy guitarist Scott Gorham gave me backstage at Vancouver’s Pacific Coliseum on October 12, 1978. That was an unforgettable moment for me. Lemme tell ya about it. At the time I … Continue reading Backstage with Scott Gorham (and Gary Moore) on Thin Lizzy’s Bad Reputation Tour in 1978

Terry Bozzio on auditioning for Thin Lizzy and wishing he could play with Zappa again

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MAY 29, 2003 By Steve Newton Terry Bozzio is among the most revered drummers in rock, but these days you won’t catch him tearing up the kit in concert or laying down tracks in a studio. The 52-year-old skin basher is more apt to be leading a drum clinic, … Continue reading Terry Bozzio on auditioning for Thin Lizzy and wishing he could play with Zappa again

Thin Lizzy box set is a fitting tribute to hard-rock poet Phil Lynott

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 19, 2002 By Steve Newton Thin Lizzy was among my top-five fave rock bands in the ’70s. I picked up on the group after reading a rave review of 1973’s Vagabonds of the Western World in my magazine of choice at the time, Circus. I rushed out and … Continue reading Thin Lizzy box set is a fitting tribute to hard-rock poet Phil Lynott

Cherry Valence guitarist Cheetie Kumar is big on Thin Lizzy

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 29, 2002 By Steve Newton The Cherry Valence guitarist Cheetie Kumar is napping in the band’s van when the Straight catches up with her. The riff-based guitar-rock quintet is en route to a show in Brooklyn; the night before, it played the first date of a North American … Continue reading Cherry Valence guitarist Cheetie Kumar is big on Thin Lizzy

From Black Oak to Thin Lizzy, Tommy Aldridge has been a monster on the kit

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 25, 2001 By Steve Newton Tommy Aldridge is one of the most recognizable hard-rock drummers in the world. His name may not be a household word along the lines of Moon or Bonham, but anyone who’s followed the careers of Pat Travers, Whitesnake, Ozzy Osbourne, Ted Nugent, and … Continue reading From Black Oak to Thin Lizzy, Tommy Aldridge has been a monster on the kit

Ex-Thin Lizzy guitarist John Sykes on Blue Murder, Bob Rock, and the Little Mountain sound

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 16, 1989 By Steve Newton By now, most every rock fan in Vancouver must be aware that many of North America’s best-selling bands–Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, and the Cult to name a few–have been making their latest chart-topping records right here in town. Little Mountain Sound on West 7th … Continue reading Ex-Thin Lizzy guitarist John Sykes on Blue Murder, Bob Rock, and the Little Mountain sound

Lick Library DVD reveals the secrets of Thin Lizzy’s timeless guitar licks

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, JUNE 13, 2011 By Steve Newton Aspiring skinbashers with dreams of being the next Neil Peart may have abandoned all hope after seeing the Rush drummer’s performance on Late Night With David Letterman last week. But fret freaks who’ve always wondered how the guitarists in Thin Lizzy made their magic can see numerous secrets … Continue reading Lick Library DVD reveals the secrets of Thin Lizzy’s timeless guitar licks

Remembering Thin Lizzy and Phil Lynott on the anniversary of his death

It was 28 years ago today that Thin Lizzy frontman Phil Lynott, suffering from a kidney and liver infection, died of heart failure and pneumonia at a hospital in England. Years of drug and alcohol abuse had taken their toll, and he was taken away from all who loved him—and his exhilirating brand of guitar-heavy … Continue reading Remembering Thin Lizzy and Phil Lynott on the anniversary of his death

Pride Tiger wears its Thin Lizzy influence proudly

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 14, 2007 By Steve Newton ROADIES DON’T NORMALLY earn applause for slipping and landing flat on their backs while lugging gear down ramps, but when it happens to one poor sap at the Virgin Festival’s second stage, a small cheer goes up among the onlookers. Witnesses to the wipeout … Continue reading Pride Tiger wears its Thin Lizzy influence proudly

Idiots at the Rock Hall think Janet Jackson is more deserving of nomination than Johnny Winter, Link Wray, and Rory Gallagher

By Steve Newton The nominations for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s class of 2019 were announced recently and, as expected, Jann Wenner and the other dimwits in charge of the place proved themselves jackasses of the highest order. For the past eight years I’ve been keeping tabs on the RRHOF’s shameful derelictions of … Continue reading Idiots at the Rock Hall think Janet Jackson is more deserving of nomination than Johnny Winter, Link Wray, and Rory Gallagher

Thinking nice thoughts of Rick Parfitt while listening to “Big Fat Mama” from Status Quo’s Piledriver

By Steve Newton Just heard the sad news that Rick Parfitt, guitarist-vocalist for Status Quo, died today from a severe infection at a hospital in Spain. He was 68. I first discovered Status Quo as a teenager when I came upon their 1972 album Piledriver at a record store. I’d never heard Status Quo before, … Continue reading Thinking nice thoughts of Rick Parfitt while listening to “Big Fat Mama” from Status Quo’s Piledriver

The Gord Downie Tapes, 1995: “I don’t think Canadians need someone to tell them that it’s okay to like what they like”

By Steve Newton As we wind down to the Tragically Hip’s “last-ever show” on August 20, folks all across Canada are contemplating the legacy of the group. One subject that commonly gets bandied about is the Hip’s famous inability to “break through” in the States, and to garner the same degree of commercial success down there as they … Continue reading The Gord Downie Tapes, 1995: “I don’t think Canadians need someone to tell them that it’s okay to like what they like”

The Gord Downie Tapes, 1995: “I like to think of [Nautical Disaster] in different ways every time I listen to it.”

By Steve Newton When I interviewed the Tragically Hip’s Gord Downie in January of 1995 it was less than four months after the release of the band’s fourth full-length album, Day for Night, and I was still playing the crap out of it. I would also play “Nautical Disaster” over and over again, until it … Continue reading The Gord Downie Tapes, 1995: “I like to think of [Nautical Disaster] in different ways every time I listen to it.”

The Gord Downie Tapes, 1995: “Even ‘The Inevitability of Death’ I think is kind of a funny song, more than anything”

By Steve Newton Okay Tragically Hip fans–or in other words, all of Canada. I’ve been posting audio excerpts from my interviews with Gord Downie from 1989 and 1992, and now here’s the first one from 1995. Actually, I did two interviews with Downie in ’95–one in January and another in July–because the band were touring maniacs … Continue reading The Gord Downie Tapes, 1995: “Even ‘The Inevitability of Death’ I think is kind of a funny song, more than anything”

Lemmy Kilmister thinks Motörhead should have its own category by now

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MAY 9, 2002 By Steve Newton I’ve always respected Motörhead for what it’s done over the past quarter-century to further the cause of heavy metal, and for its ability to do so, like Rush, within the confines of the power-trio format. But as far as Motörhead albums go, it’s … Continue reading Lemmy Kilmister thinks Motörhead should have its own category by now

Umphrey’s McGee guitarist thinks the jam-band movement is the new rock ‘n’ roll

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, MAY 5, 2005 By Steve Newton The annual Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival is the type of event where jam-happy bands from across the States converge to spread the gospel of anything-goes improv. Umphrey’s McGee makes its fourth appearance at the three-day Tennessee fest this June, joining the likes of the … Continue reading Umphrey’s McGee guitarist thinks the jam-band movement is the new rock ‘n’ roll

Aerosmith shows Vancouver it can still make it through anything

photo by the Newt ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, SEPT. 17, 2010 Thursday (September 16) was a big night in Vancouver for legendary guitar acts from the ’70s. Over on the North Shore you had Johnny Winter at the Centennial Theatre, while, downtown, Aerosmith was packing them in at Rogers Arena. I don’t know how the albino blues-rocker … Continue reading Aerosmith shows Vancouver it can still make it through anything