That time Martha Davis told me that the Motels lost 60 grand a week on their last tour

By Steve Newton I wasn't a huge fan of new-wave music in the mid-'80s--I was too busy banging my head to Maiden and Priest and Scorps and such--but for some reason in November of 1985 I sat down with Martha Davis for an interview that was never actually published. She was promoting the Motels' fifth … Continue reading That time Martha Davis told me that the Motels lost 60 grand a week on their last tour

That time I asked Richard Marx if he was hoping to sell nine million copies of his followup to Repeat Offender

By Steve Newton When I interviewed Richard Marx back in November of 1991 he was one of the most popular singer-songwriters around. His self-titled 1987 debut album had sold three million copies, and his 1989 followup, Repeat Offender--the one with "Right Here Waiting"--had moved six million copies. So, doing the math, I asked him if … Continue reading That time I asked Richard Marx if he was hoping to sell nine million copies of his followup to Repeat Offender

If he doesn’t start making some money, 20 Miles’ Judah Bauer will wish he’s in Blue Explosion

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 6, 2003 By Steve Newton 20 Miles doesn’t seem like the most appropriate name for Judah Bauer’s band. The singer, songwriter, and guitarist—also known for his six-string work with the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion—should be in a group called 2,000 Miles, as he always seems to be covering … Continue reading If he doesn’t start making some money, 20 Miles’ Judah Bauer will wish he’s in Blue Explosion

Oh man, this video of the Beat Farmers doing Neil Young’s “Powderfinger” is bloody awesome

By Steve Newton I always thought the Beat Farmers were one of the world's most underrated rock 'n' roll bands. Their club gigs were legend. But when I usually think about them I picture the latter-day lineup that included dual guitarists/vocalists Jerry Raney and Joey Harris. Lest we forget how incredible the band was before … Continue reading Oh man, this video of the Beat Farmers doing Neil Young’s “Powderfinger” is bloody awesome

The Beat Farmers’ 20 best songs, from wicked to freakin’ awesome

By Steve Newton One of the most underrated rock bands of all time. 20. "Selfish Heart" (Tales of the New West, 1985) 19. "Lost Weekend" (Tales of the New West, 1985) 18. "Big Ugly Wheels" (Van Go, 1986) 17. "Happy Boy" (Tales of the New West, 1985) 16. "Baby's Liquored Up" (Viking Lullabys, 1995) 15. … Continue reading The Beat Farmers’ 20 best songs, from wicked to freakin’ awesome

Vinyl guitarist Billy Frates pulls off a sterling Santana impression on Flea Market

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, APRIL 17, 2003 By Steve Newton Inside Flea Market, the latest CD by Bay Area jam band Vinyl, there’s a gatefold reproduction of a painting by friend Neil Osborn (not the 54•40 guy) that depicts the titular open-air bazaar, with hippie types setting up shop in front of old … Continue reading Vinyl guitarist Billy Frates pulls off a sterling Santana impression on Flea Market

Kelly Joe Phelps is in awe of Steve Dawson’s slide-guitar playing

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JAN. 30, 2003 By Steve Newton Over the course of his first four albums, Kelly Joe Phelps made a name for himself as a singer-songwriter who, according to music critic–turned–film director Cameron Crowe, “speaks to the soul of each and every listener”. Along the way he also gained a … Continue reading Kelly Joe Phelps is in awe of Steve Dawson’s slide-guitar playing

Jim Heath says that he borrowed guitar licks from the same people Brian Setzer did

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 18, 2002 By Steve Newton The leadoff track on the latest Reverend Horton Heat CD, Lucky 7, is titled “Loco Gringos Like a Party”. When I first heard it, I thought it was about a bunch of tequila-guzzling crazies that the Reverend (aka Jim Heath) and his bandmates … Continue reading Jim Heath says that he borrowed guitar licks from the same people Brian Setzer did

Tony Furtado became entranced by slide guitar via Ry Cooder

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MAY 9, 2002 By Steve Newton Who’da thunk that the lowly banjo would ever be perceived as such a cool instrument? Okay, so it isn’t exactly fashionable, but in the hands of innovative pickers like Bela Fleck and Tony Furtado, it’s certainly getting known for more than just “Dueling … Continue reading Tony Furtado became entranced by slide guitar via Ry Cooder

Collective Soul’s Ed Roland is still shocked by the success of “Shine”

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 17, 1994 By Steve Newton In today's high-tech, high-finance music world--where flavour-of-the-month recording "artists" of questionable talent can essentially buy fame with expensive corporated-funded video clips--it's nice to know that devoted, honest folks with simple, strong tunes can still get a shot at the big time. Such is … Continue reading Collective Soul’s Ed Roland is still shocked by the success of “Shine”

Kelly Joe Phelps puts the slide away to focus on his songwriting

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 13, 2001 By Steve Newton After releasing three albums that showcased his superior skill on slide guitar, Kelly Joe Phelps did a complete about-face. His new CD, Sky Like a Broken Clock, contains no slide at all. Nada. Not even a little tweak. It makes you wonder if … Continue reading Kelly Joe Phelps puts the slide away to focus on his songwriting

Christopher Thorn thinks comparing Unified Theory to Blind Melon is an easy out

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 27, 2000 By Steve Newton When Blind Melon vocalist Shannon Hoon died of a drug overdose in New Orleans in 1995, the career of his popular recording group passed away with him. In fact, guitarist Christopher Thorn didn’t even know if he wanted to be in a band … Continue reading Christopher Thorn thinks comparing Unified Theory to Blind Melon is an easy out

The Reverend Horton Heat confesses that he used to drink a lot of Jack Daniel’s

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 6, 2000 By Steve Newton Jim Heath, aka the Reverend Horton Heat, has had some pretty impressive folks produce his records over the years. Back in ’93, Gibby Haynes of the Butthole Surfers put his stamp on The Full Custom Gospel of the Reverend Horton Heat, then a … Continue reading The Reverend Horton Heat confesses that he used to drink a lot of Jack Daniel’s

Atlanta’s Forty Fives employ Lennon-style screams and guitars to Get It Together

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 15, 2000 By Steve Newton Atlanta’s Forty Fives were hugely influenced by the British Invasion of the early ’60s, so it’s no big shock that singer-guitarist Bryan Malone winds up sounding a lot like “Twist and Shout”–era John Lennon on a couple of tunes from the band’s debut … Continue reading Atlanta’s Forty Fives employ Lennon-style screams and guitars to Get It Together

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

The Bomboras’ Farfisa-loving Gregg “Candy Land” Hunt says he’s an Animals fan to the end

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 16, 1998 By Steve Newton I’ve been a horror fan as long as I can remember, so the new Bomboras CD, Head Shrinkin’ Fun, caught my eye immediately. Even before I heard the Southern California quintet’s surf-garage sound, they were winning points with me for the CD jacket, … Continue reading The Bomboras’ Farfisa-loving Gregg “Candy Land” Hunt says he’s an Animals fan to the end

Dave Alvin goes folk, says some Blasters fans will never forgive him for leaving the band

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 16, 1998 By Steve Newton Dave Alvin used to rock Vancouver in the ’80s as lead guitarist for the Blasters, but this weekend (July 17-19) he’ll be turning down and tuning in to the folksy vibe of the Vancouver Folk Music Festival at Jericho Beach Park. He’ll be … Continue reading Dave Alvin goes folk, says some Blasters fans will never forgive him for leaving the band

Jim Heath isn’t big on Dallas music critics or Neil Young’s guitar, but loves the theme from Jonny Quest

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 2, 1998 By Steve Newton Just before Reverend Horton Heat singer-guitarist Jim Heath is due to ring the Straight from his Missouri hotel, I’m checking out his band’s Web site, searching for last-minute interview clues. I see that he personally contributes to the site with sporadic updates from … Continue reading Jim Heath isn’t big on Dallas music critics or Neil Young’s guitar, but loves the theme from Jonny Quest