That time back in ’88 when Jeff Keith told me why his band took its name from Nicola Tesla

By Steve Newton Back in June of 1988--which was a pretty rockin' summer, if I recall correctly--I did an interview with Jeff Keith, the lead singer of a Sacramento band called Tesla that was making waves with its platinum debut album, Mechanical Resonance. The band was headed to Vancouver on tour with Def Leppard, which … Continue reading That time back in ’88 when Jeff Keith told me why his band took its name from Nicola Tesla

That time I asked Dewey Bunnell why his band named itself America

By Steve Newton If you've been reading this blog for a while, you might have figured out that I'm not the world's biggest soft-rock fan. But when it's time to take a break from the Blue Oyster Cult and Thin Lizzy I've got nothing against throwing on America's Greatest Hits and mellowing out with easygoing … Continue reading That time I asked Dewey Bunnell why his band named itself America

That time Nathan Followill told me that the Kings of Leon didn’t know a right way or a wrong way to play rock ‘n’ roll when they started

By Steve Newton I interviewed Kings of Leon drummer Nathan Followill on September 19, 2003, exactly one month after the release of the band's debut album, Youth and Young Manhood. Exactly five years after that--on September 19, 2008--the band released its fourth album, Only by the Night, which spawned the hit single "Sex on Fire" … Continue reading That time Nathan Followill told me that the Kings of Leon didn’t know a right way or a wrong way to play rock ‘n’ roll when they started

That time I asked legendary tunesmith John Hiatt if writing songs came easy for him or if it’s always been hard

ron baker photo/wikipedia By Steve Newton John Hiatt has written some of my favourite tunes. Sometimes he records them himself ("Paper Thin", "Tennessee Plates", "Perfectly Good Guitar"), sometimes people like Jeff Healey ("Confidence Man") and Bonnie Raitt ("Thing Called Love") cover them. It was a real honour to chat with a legendary songwriter of John … Continue reading That time I asked legendary tunesmith John Hiatt if writing songs came easy for him or if it’s always been hard

That time Justin Townes Earle told me that it was Jason Isbell’s songs that made him a big Drive-By Truckers fan

By Steve Newton Very sad to hear the news tonight of the passing of Americana artist Justin Townes Earle. He was a helluva singer-songwriter. I only got to interview him once, back in May of 2009, when he was touring behind his third album, Midnight Movies. Having interviewed his father Steve Earle numerous times, I … Continue reading That time Justin Townes Earle told me that it was Jason Isbell’s songs that made him a big Drive-By Truckers fan

That time Steve Earle raved to me about the influence of Elvis and the generosity of Springsteen

By Steve Newton I've interviewed Steve Earle five times, 'cause he's one of my favourite all-time songwriters. The first time was back in May of 1987, two weeks before the official release of his second album, Exit O. ("It's Exit Zero", he explained to me when I tried pronouncing it "Exit Oh".) At one point … Continue reading That time Steve Earle raved to me about the influence of Elvis and the generosity of Springsteen

That time the Cadillac Tramps’ Gabby Gaborno told me that if he feels something he does it

By Steve Newton The Cadillac Tramps were one of the wildest live bands around in the early nineties. They were right up there with the Beat Farmers. Matter of fact, when I interviewed Tramps frontman Gabby Gaborno in November of 1991 the punk-rockers from Orange County, California were on tour opening for the Farmers. Now … Continue reading That time the Cadillac Tramps’ Gabby Gaborno told me that if he feels something he does it

That time the Goo Goo Dolls’ John Rzeznik told me that his big sister first turned him on to music

By Steve Newton I did my first interview with Goo Goo Dolls singer-guitarist John Rzeznik three months after the release of A Boy Named Goo, when the band was headed to Vancouver for a club gig. This was just three months before the release of the hit single "Name", which shot the Goo to the … Continue reading That time the Goo Goo Dolls’ John Rzeznik told me that his big sister first turned him on to music

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

That time Jason Isbell told me he was in a Ford Econoline E350 van and his band cracked up at that

FSimani photo By Steve Newton The Drive-By Truckers are probably my favourite band right now. They were also my favourite band back when Jason Isbell was in the lineup. I did my first interview with him in 2007, after he'd left the DBTs and was promoting his debut solo album, Sirens of the Ditch. I … Continue reading That time Jason Isbell told me he was in a Ford Econoline E350 van and his band cracked up at that

That time John Doe from X couldn’t believe that I’d seen the Viggo Mortensen horror flick Prison

  By Steve Newton Just heard recently that L.A. punk-rockers X were back together, so to celebrate I figured I'd digitize my old interview with X vocalist-bassist John Doe from 1990. At the time Doe had just released his debut solo album, the alt-country/roots offering Meet John Doe. At one point in the conversation, for … Continue reading That time John Doe from X couldn’t believe that I’d seen the Viggo Mortensen horror flick Prison

That time Shannon Hoon of Blind Melon told me about his love/hate relationship with John Lydon

By Steve Newton I only got to interview Blind Melon frontman Shannon Hoon once before his tragic drug-overdose death at the age of 28. It was December of 1992, and earlier in the year Hoon's band had been part of the MTV 120 Minutes Tour, opening for Public Image Ltd., Big Audio Dynamite II, and … Continue reading That time Shannon Hoon of Blind Melon told me about his love/hate relationship with John Lydon

That time I asked Kenny Aronoff who his favourite drummer was and who he’d most like to drum with

By Steve Newton On this day in 1986 I saw John Mellencamp, when he was still part Cougar, in concert on the Scarecrow tour. Kenny Aronoff was kicking ass on drums, so that made me think about digitizing that interview I did with the American drum great back in 1999 and posting it on my … Continue reading That time I asked Kenny Aronoff who his favourite drummer was and who he’d most like to drum with

That time I asked Ace Frehley if he ever feared an onstage attack like the one that killed Dimebag

By Steve Newton We've all seen violence at rock concerts, but usually it only involves some guy in the crowd who's had too much to drink and decides to give another guy a punch in the head. Rarely does it involve the actual band members on stage, although there are exceptions. Like that time, as … Continue reading That time I asked Ace Frehley if he ever feared an onstage attack like the one that killed Dimebag

That time I said hello to Little Steven from Jon Bon Jovi and then things got political

By Steve Newton June 18, 1987 was kind of an interesting day as far as my endless adventures in rock journalism go. That was the day I interviewed Little Steven--who was promoting his highly political Freedom--No Compromise album--just minutes after interviewing Jon Bon Jovi--who was promoting his highly non-political Slippery When Wet album. They're both … Continue reading That time I said hello to Little Steven from Jon Bon Jovi and then things got political

That time 82-year-old badass bluesman T-Model Ford told me he didn’t want to murder no more

By Steve Newton As far as I know, I haven't interviewed many murderers. I've unknowingly interviewed some sick, twisted fucks--like child-raper Ian Watkins--but as far as chatting with people who've intentionally taken a life, I think the count is pretty low. It might be a grand total of one. Back in 2004 I interviewed bluesman … Continue reading That time 82-year-old badass bluesman T-Model Ford told me he didn’t want to murder no more

That time I asked Poison Ivy what inspired the Cramps’ “Bikini Girls with Machine Guns”

By Steve Newton Back in April of 1990 I did my first interview with Cramps guitarist Poison Ivy Rorschach, in advance of a show at the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver. At the time the band was touring behind its new Stay Sick album, which she produced herself, and which included the song "Bikini Girls with Machine Guns", … Continue reading That time I asked Poison Ivy what inspired the Cramps’ “Bikini Girls with Machine Guns”

That time I asked Country Dick Montana what he liked best about playing live with the Beat Farmers

kevin statham photo By Steve Newton Here's another audio excerpt from my 1990 interview with the legendary Country Dick Montana, because it's Sunday afternoon and posting this seems like way more fun than the other crap I should be doing instead. Please note: you can hear the entire interview--all 20 minutes of Dick being Dick--by … Continue reading That time I asked Country Dick Montana what he liked best about playing live with the Beat Farmers