That time Steve Kilbey told me that the Church “rocks like a bitch” on the Gold Afternoon Fix Tour

By Steve Newton Back in June of 1990 I interviewed Steve Kilbey of Aussie pop-rock band the Church. The quartet was touring behind its Gold Afternoon Fix, the followup to its hugely successful Starfish album, which you may remember for the catchy tune "Under the Milky Way". At one point in the conversation I asked … Continue reading That time Steve Kilbey told me that the Church “rocks like a bitch” on the Gold Afternoon Fix Tour

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That time I asked Jimmy Barnes about his boozer reputation, and why he left Cold Chisel

By Steve Newton When I went to Australia for my little sister's wedding in 1986 I managed to see two wicked Aussie bands--Midnight Oil and the Angels (aka Angel City)--play killer shows in Melbourne-area clubs. Unfortunately, I didn't get to see Cold Chisel play a killer show in a Melbourne-area pub because they'd already broken … Continue reading That time I asked Jimmy Barnes about his boozer reputation, and why he left Cold Chisel

That time I asked Midnight Oil’s Rob Hirst if, six weeks after 9/11, “U.S. Forces” was off the setlist

By Steve Newton Sometimes it's fun when you're searching through your stacks of cassettes packed with interviews you've done since 1982 and you find one that captures a crucial moment in history. I just came across an interview I did with Midnight Oil drummer and cosongwriter Rob Hirst that was dated October 26, 2001, which … Continue reading That time I asked Midnight Oil’s Rob Hirst if, six weeks after 9/11, “U.S. Forces” was off the setlist

James Reyne soars as a solo artist after doing the Australian Crawl

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 23, 1988 By Steve Newton Have you ever heard of a fellow named James Reyne? Unless you're from Australia--or were a big fan of the now-defunct Australian Crawl--you probably don't recognize the name. But you will in the future, if Reyne's solo career follows the same pattern that … Continue reading James Reyne soars as a solo artist after doing the Australian Crawl

Pseudo Echo rises from Down Under to turn North America into “Funkytown”

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 11, 1987 By Steve Newton They say that rock 'n' roll is a young man's game, although the number of aging rock stars raking in big bucks today makes you wonder. Still, there are always some fine young whipper-snappers whose youthfulness comes through in the freshness and vitality of their … Continue reading Pseudo Echo rises from Down Under to turn North America into “Funkytown”

Jimmy Barnes goes solo with Canadian connection after Cold Chisel hits its peak

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 6, 1986 By Steve Newton What do you get when you combine the guitarist from Streetheart, the bassist from Headpins, the keyboardist from Sharp Edges, the drummer from the Bryan Adams band, and the lead singer from Cold Chisel? Well, with a little time, you get a pretty … Continue reading Jimmy Barnes goes solo with Canadian connection after Cold Chisel hits its peak

The Hoodoo Gurus’ Dave Faulkner on junk culture, Aussie rockers, and Mars Needs Guitars!

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 29, 1985 By Steve Newton One of the wildest rock and roll sounds to come up from Down Under recently is that of the Hoodoo Gurus. Just last year the Aussie foursome released their debut album, Stoneage Romeos, a thoroughly rocking blend of pop/punk, Merseybeat, and psychedelia--all slapped … Continue reading The Hoodoo Gurus’ Dave Faulkner on junk culture, Aussie rockers, and Mars Needs Guitars!

W.P.A.’s Mick Thomas recalls seeing AC/DC, Cold Chisel, and Midnight Oil play a pub in Geelong

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 21, 1990 By Steve Newton Halifax, Nova Scotia: Could those three words possibly conjure up images of a city full of alluring possibilities and untold enchantment? Well, when Mick Thomas of Australia’s Weddings, Parties, Anything first heard them, his imagination was piqued, and he couldn’t wait to see … Continue reading W.P.A.’s Mick Thomas recalls seeing AC/DC, Cold Chisel, and Midnight Oil play a pub in Geelong

24-year-old Xavier Rudd wants to touch as many emotions as he can

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, FEB. 6, 2003 By Steve Newton I remember seeing a one-man band as a kid once, and if memory serves, it was some middle-aged joker in a funny hat, blowing on a horn, fingering a ukulele, manipulating cymbals and a bass drum with his feet. The music scene has … Continue reading 24-year-old Xavier Rudd wants to touch as many emotions as he can

Neil Finn got passion from his dad and ability from his mom

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 4, 2002 By Steve Newton I might not be the most sensitive guy in the world—what Skynyrd-loving bozo ever could be?—but there are certain heart-rending pop songs that can get even my old throat aclenchin’. Neil Finn’s “Lullaby Requiem” is one such pensive tune. It’s included on the … Continue reading Neil Finn got passion from his dad and ability from his mom

The John Butler Trio just said no to American record labels

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MAY 23, 2002 BY STEVE NEWTON It doesn’t take long to figure out that Australian singer-songwriter and slide-guitar ace John Butler is an issue-oriented kinda guy. In the CD booklet that accompanies his trio’s latest disc, Three, one page is loaded with facts detailing the ongoing destruction of his … Continue reading The John Butler Trio just said no to American record labels

Paul Kelly wonders if “Every Fucking City” will go over in Vancouver

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MARCH 21, 2002 By Steve Newton There are a couple of favourite things that come to mind when I recall my five-week holiday in Australia in ’86. One is what they called the “drive-in bottleshops”. You could just pull in off the street and have some guy hand you … Continue reading Paul Kelly wonders if “Every Fucking City” will go over in Vancouver

Midnight Oil won’t forgo antinationalist songs in wake of 9/11

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 15, 2001 By Steve Newton Midnight Oil is one of the most politically motivated and socially conscious guitar-rock bands in the world. Although best known for embracing Aboriginal land-rights issues in its native Australia via the 1988 hit “Beds Are Burning”, the quintet has always kept an eye … Continue reading Midnight Oil won’t forgo antinationalist songs in wake of 9/11

The Hoodoo Gurus’ Brad Shepherd talks Aussie rock and Magnum Cum Louder

By Steve Newton Twenty-five years ago today--on November 5, 1989--the Hoodoo Gurus played the first of two shows at Vancouver's 86 Street Music Hall. I'd been a fan of the Aussie guitar-rockers since their Stoneage Romeos debut album of '84. They wrote catchy, jangley tunes; didn't take themselves too seriously. They were a lotta fun, and apparently … Continue reading The Hoodoo Gurus’ Brad Shepherd talks Aussie rock and Magnum Cum Louder

Martin Bryant’s rampage inspired Jeff Lang’s gun-control plea on Cedar Grove

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, FEB. 25, 1999 Two years ago I was offered a free trip to Toronto to interview Aerosmith, who were tirelessly promoting their then-new CD Nine Lives. Since I’d never been to T.O., I put on my Media Slut From Hell cap and agreed to spend some of Sony Music’s … Continue reading Martin Bryant’s rampage inspired Jeff Lang’s gun-control plea on Cedar Grove

Steve Kilbey says his band feels like the Church again

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 24, 1998 By Steve Newton That big old vinyl collection of mine sure comes in handy sometimes. Up until last week I had no idea that it included anything by the Church, but in preparation for a chat with singer-bassist Steven Kilbey, I took a hopeful meander through … Continue reading Steve Kilbey says his band feels like the Church again

Neil Finn makes his solo debut with Try Whistling This

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 9, 1998 After making the agonizing decision in 1996 to break up his world-famous Kiwi pop combo Crowded House, Neil Finn wasn’t exactly sure what to do next. An Aussie artist-musician friend of his suggested Finn try painting, so he spent two weeks at a beachside location doing … Continue reading Neil Finn makes his solo debut with Try Whistling This

Aussie songwriting great Paul Kelly hits 40 and treads into Deeper Water

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 23, 1995 By Steve Newton Ever wonder what happened to the Aussie Invasion? Back in the early- to mid-’80s it seemed as if a band wasn’t on top unless it was from Down Under. Two-hit wonders Men at Work kick-started the worldwide interest in the music of koala … Continue reading Aussie songwriting great Paul Kelly hits 40 and treads into Deeper Water

Divinyls are attracted to the seamier side of things

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 11, 1991 By Steve Newton Mark McEntee first met Christina Amphlett, his partner in the Divinyls, after seeing her perform in a religious choir at the Sydney Opera House. That’s right—we’re talking about the same Christina Amphlett who melts TV sets everywhere by prancing lewdly and lasciviously stroking … Continue reading Divinyls are attracted to the seamier side of things

The Church catches a buzz with its Gold Afternoon Fix

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 28, 1990 By Steve Newton The title of the latest Church album could be taken a couple of different ways, depending on whether you gravitate more toward the hippie or the yuppie lifestyle. For ’60s counter-culture rejects, the phrase Gold Afternoon Fix might conjure images of lazy mid-days … Continue reading The Church catches a buzz with its Gold Afternoon Fix

Neil Finn recruits loved ones to reach Dizzy Heights

As a singer-songwriter, Neil Finn has been known to create tunes that are both beautifully simple (Split Enz’s “One Step Ahead”) and simply beautiful (Crowded House’s “Don’t Dream It’s Over”). Simplicity has been part of his oeuvre since day one, but on his latest solo album, Dizzy Heights, things get a bit more involved. As … Continue reading Neil Finn recruits loved ones to reach Dizzy Heights

John Butler ponders fierce addiction and peaceful death on Flesh & Blood

When John Butler answers his phone in New York City he’s got four words to describe the weather in the Big Frozen Apple: “Snowy, snowy, snowy, sno-weee.” It’s a far cry from the toasty beaches and rolling surf of his native Australia, and the vibe has only gotten frostier of late. It’s less than 24 … Continue reading John Butler ponders fierce addiction and peaceful death on Flesh & Blood

John Butler’s deep-groove bassist brings the Snoop Dogg beats

Australian roots-jam singer-songwriter John Butler is quite the groove monster on his new album, Flesh & Blood, but he got a lot of help on one of the funkier numbers from his bassist Byron Luiters. As Butler explained on the line from New York the other day--on a tour that brings him to Vancouver's Commodore … Continue reading John Butler’s deep-groove bassist brings the Snoop Dogg beats

Paul Kelly’s Ways & Means reveals two sides of an Aussie giant

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, MARCH 18, 2004 By Steve Newton When the Straight reaches Paul Kelly by phone at a New York hotel room, he's just hours away from playing Manhattan's famed Knitting Factory. The Aussie rock great has been in the Big Apple for a couple of days, mostly doing radio interviews, but he got out … Continue reading Paul Kelly’s Ways & Means reveals two sides of an Aussie giant

Finn Brothers focus on fraternal harmony with Everyone Is Here

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, JULY 8, 2004 By Steve Newton When you hear the compelling vocal harmonies of the Finn brothers, Neil and Tim, it's easy to imagine that they took a lot of stylistic inspiration from John Lennon and Paul McCartney. But when the Beatles were famously showcasing their collaborative singing skills to the … Continue reading Finn Brothers focus on fraternal harmony with Everyone Is Here

J.D. Fortune went from living in a car to fronting INXS

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, JAN. 12, 2006 By Steve Newton This time last year, few people knew the name of Canadian rock vocalist J.D. Fortune. A lot of them were familiar with INXS, but at that stage in the group's career-eight years after the death by apparent suicide of its enigmatic frontman Michael Hutchence-they wouldn't … Continue reading J.D. Fortune went from living in a car to fronting INXS

John Butler Trio relishes its musical independence

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, MAY 26, 2010 BY STEVE NEWTON History shows that the major record labels have done all right for themselves while bringing Australian music to the masses. Atlantic signed AC/DC to an international distribution deal in 1976, and for years afterward its stockholders reaped the benefits of monumental blues-metal. During the ’80s … Continue reading John Butler Trio relishes its musical independence