That time I asked Billy Gibbons what the glue was that kept ZZ Top together for so long

By Steve Newton Being a teenaged devotee of guitar-driven boogie in the seventies put me directly in line with what was required to be a hardcore ZZ Top fan. I have vivid memories of the band, like that time I walked into the Chilliwack Second Hand Store and found a near-mint copy of the Tres … Continue reading That time I asked Billy Gibbons what the glue was that kept ZZ Top together for so long

Album review: ZZ Top, Afterburner (1985)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 8, 1985 By Steve Newton The “l’il ole band from Texas” have done it again. They’ve come up with another album’s worth of unstoppable boogie -blues, and you can bet the coin they’ll make off this one will keep them in Jack Daniels and real estate for many years … Continue reading Album review: ZZ Top, Afterburner (1985)

Album review: ZZ Top, Mescalero (2003)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 13, 2003 By Steve Newton It’s hard to believe that the same three guys who gave the world Tres Hombres are content to dump 16 tracks of crap on unsuspecting fans who might think the “Lil Old Band from Texas” still has a reason to be around. Guitarist … Continue reading Album review: ZZ Top, Mescalero (2003)

Album review: ZZ Top, Rhythmeen (1996)

  ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 31, 1996 By Steve Newton I’m having lots of ’70s flashbacks lately, but they’re not being caused by ancient run-ins with tiny squares of coloured paper. There’s a woman in the Straight editorial office researching the paper’s history, scanning every issue published since 1967, and right now … Continue reading Album review: ZZ Top, Rhythmeen (1996)

Album review: ZZ Top, Antenna (1994)

  ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MARCH 17, 1994 By Steve Newton Twenty years or so ago, I impulsively laid down $2.50 for a used copy of ZZ Top’s Tres Hombres LP, which sounded like hard-rock heaven on my $175 Phillips stereo system. Back then I viewed ZZ Top as a great new heavy-metal … Continue reading Album review: ZZ Top, Antenna (1994)

Album review: ZZ Top, Recycler (1990)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 29, 1990 By Steve Newton Playing the rock critic game can be tough, especially when you have to give the thumbs-down to bands that you’ve loved ever since you were a kid. The recent AC/DC album wasn’t up to snuff, and now another band I used to kill … Continue reading Album review: ZZ Top, Recycler (1990)

ZZ Top goes heavy on the ’70s with Chrome, Smoke & BBQ box

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 18, 2003 By Steve Newton In 1987, blues-rockers ZZ Top released a three-disc compilation of their early work titled The ZZ Top Sixpack, which included such stellar mid-’70s albums as Tres Hombres, Fandango, and Tejas. If you own that collection, you’ve already acquired most of the trio’s best … Continue reading ZZ Top goes heavy on the ’70s with Chrome, Smoke & BBQ box

Billy Gibbons gets ornery in Vancouver on ZZ Top’s Afterburner Tour

mila geran photo ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 20, 1985 By Steve Newton Shortly before his death, somebody asked Jimi Hendrix if he knew of any up-and-coming guitarists to watch out for. One of the players Hendrix mentioned was Billy Gibbons. Sixteen years later, Gibbons is living up to Jimi’s expectations. At the … Continue reading Billy Gibbons gets ornery in Vancouver on ZZ Top’s Afterburner Tour

Steve Earle might cover Jimi Hendrix and ZZ Top in Vancouver, but either way, it’s all good

By Steve Newton Back in the day you didn’t have easy access to what songs your fave touring performers might be playing when they made it to your town. I mean, even when Steve Earle played the Commodore in Vancouver 15 years ago you weren’t sure he was gonna do “Copperhead Road” until you maybe heard that … Continue reading Steve Earle might cover Jimi Hendrix and ZZ Top in Vancouver, but either way, it’s all good

ZZ Top guitarist Billy Gibbons tells me “them low-down blues ain’t bad”

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 1994 By Steve Newton When famous rock guitarists reminisce about their first instruments, the talk tends toward dirt-cheap acoustics with heavy strings set so high off the fretboard that it hurts just to look at them. Not with Billy Gibbons, though. The incomparable guitarman for ZZ Top got … Continue reading ZZ Top guitarist Billy Gibbons tells me “them low-down blues ain’t bad”

ZZ Top snoozes through its Rhythmeen tour stop in Vancouver

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 5, 1997 Strolling over the Georgia Viaduct en route to GM Place last Sunday (June 1), I gazed down at the arena’s parking lot to see what kind of fancy tour buses ZZ Top is travelling in these days. I expected to see an outline of Texas on … Continue reading ZZ Top snoozes through its Rhythmeen tour stop in Vancouver

ZZ Top’s Vancouver fans wimp out while the band delivers the goods

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 4, 1990 ZZ Top has always been one of the coolest bands in the land. Those wacky beards, those nifty suits, those fuzzy guitars—not to mention those barnstormin’ boogie tunes that make you wanna rock ’n’ roll all night and party every day. But after last Tuesday’s (October … Continue reading ZZ Top’s Vancouver fans wimp out while the band delivers the goods

ZZ Top’s current setlist includes nods to Jimi Hendrix and Muddy Waters

Jimi with Billy’s old band, the Moving Sidewalks. Elizabeth Avedon photo. Guitar legend Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top e-mailed me a few days ago and–among other things–replied to a question put forth by Nanaimo blues-rocker David Gogo, who wanted to know what Gibbons thought Jimi Hendrix would be up to if he was still around. … Continue reading ZZ Top’s current setlist includes nods to Jimi Hendrix and Muddy Waters

ZZ Top box set will include original mixes of three early albums

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, MAY 1, 2013 By Steve Newton Remember how ZZ Top’s Tejas album sounded back in ’76 when you tossed it on your Yamaha turntable, cranked up the Kenwood amp, and blasted it through those Pioneer speakers? Well, I sure do. It sounded wicked! Especially when it got to “Pam Am Highway Blues”. Fellow … Continue reading ZZ Top box set will include original mixes of three early albums

Anybody got a question for ZZ Top guitarist Billy Gibbons?

One of my all-time fave bands from the ’70s, ZZ Top, is playing Vancouver on March 22. Their albums made my personal Top 30 charts in 1971, ’72, ’73, ’75, ’76, and ’79. Sadly, they didn’t release any LPs in ’70, ’74, ’77, and ’78, not that the seventies had room for even one more shitkicker … Continue reading Anybody got a question for ZZ Top guitarist Billy Gibbons?

ZZ Top’s been rockin’ with the same dudes for nigh on 45 years

ZZ Top is the only major rock band from the ’70s that still exists in the exact same form as on its first album, and for that you’ve got to give the bearded wonders credit. Rush would be up for similar acclaim were it not for John Rutsey playing on their debut album before Neil … Continue reading ZZ Top’s been rockin’ with the same dudes for nigh on 45 years

ZZ Top to play first-ever Vancouver theatre show this March

I’ve been lucky enough to have seen ZZ Top a number of times over the years, the first being at the Pacific Coliseum back in 1976 or so. I think it was on the Fandango tour, but I can’t find any mention of that gig anywhere online. Anybody else see that show, before the big-beard period? Pretty … Continue reading ZZ Top to play first-ever Vancouver theatre show this March

ZZ Top, the Pretenders, and Brian Setzer bring ’70s-rock magic to Vancouver

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, AUG. 29, 2007 I saw some very cool things at the big Jack FM classic-rock triple bill at GM Place last Thursday (August 23). First off, local punk-rock legend Joey “Shithead” Keithley could be seen strolling along the mezzanine, where he was accosted every 10 paces by a wide-eyed fan who … Continue reading ZZ Top, the Pretenders, and Brian Setzer bring ’70s-rock magic to Vancouver

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”

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

Eric Clapton stopped the car when he heard Stevie Ray Vaughan’s guitar solo on “Let’s Dance”

By Steve Newton Where were you when you first heard Stevie Ray Vaughan‘s killer guitar playing on David Bowie’s 1983 hit single, “Let’s Dance”? It was definitely the type of thing that caught your ear, because you sure as shit didn’t hear much Albert King-style soloing on commercial radio up until that point. According to … Continue reading Eric Clapton stopped the car when he heard Stevie Ray Vaughan’s guitar solo on “Let’s Dance”

Newt’s Top 10 Albums of 2018

By Steve Newton This year I picked some instrumental rock, some hard rock, some southern rock, and some Beatles, but the underlying thread running through most of this stuff is the blues. You just can’t beat the blues. Joe Satriani What Happens Next Bay Area guitar wizard hooks up once again with Langley producer Mike Fraser … Continue reading Newt’s Top 10 Albums of 2018

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)

Newt’s Top 10 albums of 2017

By Steve Newton Welcome to the old-rocker department. You won’t find much in the hip-and-happening realm here, but it’s not all about the kids, ya know. Gregg Allman Southern Blood One of the hardest-hitting musician deaths this year was southern-rock legend Gregg Allman’s passing in May of complications from liver cancer. But he left his millions … Continue reading Newt’s Top 10 albums of 2017

Jon Bon Jovi talks strippers, scenery, and hype as Slippery When Wet tops the charts

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 26, 1987 By Steve Newton Talk about moving up in the world! It was a little more than a year ago that New Jersey rockers Bon Jovi played the now-defunct Embassy on Davie. They were in town recording their Slippery When Wet album, and they wanted to see … Continue reading Jon Bon Jovi talks strippers, scenery, and hype as Slippery When Wet tops the charts

Newt’s Top 10 albums of 1990

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 1990 By Steve Newton A good portion of my album picks for the year turned out to be from ageing rock veterans. Maybe 1990 wasn’t a great year for new artists—or maybe I just missed ’em—but the tunes that really got me going were by artists I’ve followed … Continue reading Newt’s Top 10 albums of 1990