That time Randy Bachman told me what it felt like when the Guess Who’s “American Woman” hit number one

By Steve Newton Canadian rock legend Randy Bachman has accomplished a helluva lot in his musical career. For one thing, how many musicians can say that they've reached the top in two different bands? Before Bachman-Turner Overdrive was ruling the airwaves in the mid-seventies, he'd already hit the big time with the Guess Who, whose … Continue reading That time Randy Bachman told me what it felt like when the Guess Who’s “American Woman” hit number one

The Tragically Hip’s rhythm guitarist figures I owe him 10 bucks because the Hip played a sloppy show 25 years ago

By Steve Newton Can't think of anything else to blog about right now, so I'll do this: On July 12, 1995, the Tragically Hip played a food-bank benefit at the Railway Club in Vancouver. Yesterday, to mark the 25th anniversary of that gig, I tweeted out a link to the short review of the gig … Continue reading The Tragically Hip’s rhythm guitarist figures I owe him 10 bucks because the Hip played a sloppy show 25 years ago

That time I made Gordie Johnson’s day by telling him that Bruce Fairbairn admired his production work

By Steve Newton It's fun to pass on compliments sometimes. Like when I was interviewing Big Sugar frontman Gordie Johnson back in October of 1998. A couple weeks earlier I'd interviewed famed Vancouver producer-to-the-stars Bruce Fairbairn, who'd mentioned that he was impressed by the production on Big Sugar's latest album, Heated. When I told Johnson … Continue reading That time I made Gordie Johnson’s day by telling him that Bruce Fairbairn admired his production work

The Vat owner Terry Cave puts his beloved Red Deer venue up for sale

By Steve Newton Just heard that my long-time friend, musician and proprietor Terry Cave, has put his much-loved Red Deer pub, The Vat, up for sale. "Terr Bear" made the announcement on the Vat's Facebook page today: Hi everyone. It's with mixed emotions that I am making this announcement. After 21 years of having the … Continue reading The Vat owner Terry Cave puts his beloved Red Deer venue up for sale

That time Nick Gilder told me about Bryan Adams taking his place in Sweeney Todd

By Steve Newton If you were a rock-loving Canadian teenager in the mid-seventies you no doubt heard "Roxy Roller", the big hit by Vancouver glam-rock band Sweeney Todd, on the radio. It wasn't one of my personal favourite tunes, but I do remember buying the album, because back in '76 I was all about the … Continue reading That time Nick Gilder told me about Bryan Adams taking his place in Sweeney Todd

That time Myles Goodwyn told me how April Wine’s “Roller” got on the Joe Dirt soundtrack

By Steve Newton The 2001 David Spade white-trash comedy Joe Dirt isn't the best movie ever made, but it sure featured a rockin' soundtrack. Some of my all-time fave bands are on there, including Thin Lizzy, Blue Oyster Cult, Van Halen, Foghat, BTO, the James Gang, and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Canada's own April Wine also shows … Continue reading That time Myles Goodwyn told me how April Wine’s “Roller” got on the Joe Dirt soundtrack

That time I told Randy Bachman that my fave Guess Who song was “Undun”

By Steve Newton Everybody has their favourite Guess Who tune, I reckon. Some go for the riff-driven rocker "American Woman". Others might appreciate the piano-based ballad "These Eyes". Me, I'm an "Undun" kinda guy. When I interviewed Guess Who guitarist Randy Bachman back in 2001 I told him that his jazz-tinged 1969 B-side was tops … Continue reading That time I told Randy Bachman that my fave Guess Who song was “Undun”

That time Rob Baker told me that when Paul Langlois joined the Hip he only knew four or five chords

By Steve Newton I did my last Tragically Hip interview in June of 1997, a month after the band had released its concert album Live Between Us. Lead guitarist Rob Baker (I still called him Bobby back then) rang me up from his home in Kingston, and we talked about the live disc and the … Continue reading That time Rob Baker told me that when Paul Langlois joined the Hip he only knew four or five chords

Neil Peart, rock drummer extraordinaire, dead at 67

By Steve Newton Neil Peart, arguably the world's greatest rock drummer, has died at age 67. According to a statement issued today by family spokesperson Elliot Mintz, Peart died Tuesday in Santa Monica, California, after having been diagnosed with brain cancer. Born in Hamilton and raised in St. Catherines, the Ontario rocker joined Rush guitarist Alex … Continue reading Neil Peart, rock drummer extraordinaire, dead at 67

That time 20-year-old Sebastian Bach sang me a line from his Schooner beer commercial

By Steve Newton Way the hell back in 1989 I did an interview with Skid Row singer Sebastian Bach. That was less than a month after the release of the band's self-titled debut album, which would go on to sell five-million copies and spawn the hits "Youth Gone Wild", "18 and Life", and "I Remember You". … Continue reading That time 20-year-old Sebastian Bach sang me a line from his Schooner beer commercial

Happy Newt Year: a social-studies teacher really likes my book on Gord Downie

By Steve Newton Happy Newt Year everybody! January 1 is often a day of reflection, going over the previous year's highlights, so let's get reflectin'. As a rock writer, 2018 had some memorable moments. I pulled off my eighth interview with guitar hero Joe Satriani, for one thing. I had my first chat with Gerry … Continue reading Happy Newt Year: a social-studies teacher really likes my book on Gord Downie

One year gone: remembering Gord Downie through the Hip’s last gig

By Steve Newton The following is an excerpt from my beer-table book, Gord Downie, published February 2018 by Sterling Books, New York. The tour's final show at Kingston's Rogers K-Rock Centre was the one everyone was talking about. It was broadcast live on the tube by the CBC, with no commercial breaks, and watched by … Continue reading One year gone: remembering Gord Downie through the Hip’s last gig

Colin Linden connects with “unjaded” hero Rick Danko on stellar When the Spirit Comes

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 23, 1988 By Steve Newton A lot of people have rock dreams, whereby they imagine themselves up on stage, performing with their favourite musical idols. Most of the time these fantasies never come true. But once in a while--as in the case of Toronto's Colin Linden--they do. His … Continue reading Colin Linden connects with “unjaded” hero Rick Danko on stellar When the Spirit Comes

Killer Dwarfs stand tall and start to shine with Big Deal on CBS/Epic

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 8, 1988 By Steve Newton Long-time Toronto bar-rockers the Killer Dwarfs have finally signed to a major label and released a new album, Big Deal. And now they've got a slick new tour bus, which was parked out back of the Metro last Thursday (June 30), waiting to … Continue reading Killer Dwarfs stand tall and start to shine with Big Deal on CBS/Epic

Todd Kerns promises the most classic of Canadian classic-rock at Toque’s Juno Fest shindig

By Steve Newton Whenever Todd Kerns hits Vancouver--whether it's playing bass with Slash or fronting the Age of Electric--I try to get out and cheer him on. Dude's hugely talented and nice as hell. I stand by my claim that he's "the most rockin' Canadian bass player of the 21st century." Kerns won't be handling … Continue reading Todd Kerns promises the most classic of Canadian classic-rock at Toque’s Juno Fest shindig

Back to the ‘Wack: Newt signs Gord Downie book in Chilliwack

By Steve Newton In case you haven't heard, my first book came out last month. It's called Gord Downie, and it's about a poetic Canadian guy who rocked his ass off for decades and won over his home country before bravely succumbing to brain cancer and winning over his home country even more. When the … Continue reading Back to the ‘Wack: Newt signs Gord Downie book in Chilliwack

Exclusive excerpt from my new book, Gord Downie, about the late frontman of the Tragically Hip

By Steve Newton The following is the Preface from my new coffeetable book, Gord Downie, published by Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. of New York City and currently available at Indigo, Coles, and Chapters outlets across Canada. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- The first time I spoke to Gord Downie he was a longhaired 25-year-old rocker touring behind his band's first full-length … Continue reading Exclusive excerpt from my new book, Gord Downie, about the late frontman of the Tragically Hip

Win a signed copy of my new book, Gord Downie

By Steve Newton My coffee-table book on Gord Downie comes out on Tuesday, but one lucky person will get by without having to pay the suggested list price. I'm doing a contest, with the prize being a copy signed by yours truly. I could even inscribe "in Gord we trust" on it if the winner … Continue reading Win a signed copy of my new book, Gord Downie

The Tragically Hip causes traffic havoc before getting messy with a surprise gig at Vancouver’s wee Railway Club

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 20, 1995 By Steve Newton Canadian guitar-rock heroes the Tragically Hip took all of Vancouver by surprise on July 12 when they announced a last-minute concert that night at the wee Railway Club (capacity 176). When word went out over local rock station 99.3 the Fox that 75 … Continue reading The Tragically Hip causes traffic havoc before getting messy with a surprise gig at Vancouver’s wee Railway Club

Hey, I wrote a book about Gord Downie, and it looks freakin’ awesome!

By Steve Newton After more than 35 years as a journalist, I'm finally moving up in the world. I'm gonna be an author! Yeah, that's right. Shove over Stephen King, there's an unstoppable new force in the publishing world. Just kidding. But I do have a damn nice-looking book comin' out. On February 6 Indigo … Continue reading Hey, I wrote a book about Gord Downie, and it looks freakin’ awesome!

Rock and Hyde gets a boost from ex-Kick Axe picker “Hitman” Harvey

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 25, 1987 By Steve Newton Since the U.S. release of Rock and Hyde's Under the Volcano nine months ago, the album has sold more copies stateside than all of the duo's previous work put together. That's a fair accomplishment given that Bob Rock and Paul Hyde released four albums … Continue reading Rock and Hyde gets a boost from ex-Kick Axe picker “Hitman” Harvey

That time Gord Downie wanted to meet in person and I turned him down, feeling like a bit of a knob

By Steve Newton Regrets? I've had a few. Like that time Gord Downie called me up for a phone interview in January of '95 and the first thing he asked was whether I'd rather wait and talk to him in person when he arrived in Vancouver the next day. He sounded like he wanted to … Continue reading That time Gord Downie wanted to meet in person and I turned him down, feeling like a bit of a knob

“Nautical Disaster” is the greatest Tragically Hip song ever, says Newt

By Steve Newton I love a lot of Tragically Hip songs, but if you asked me which one was my all-time favourite, I'd have to say "Nautical Disaster", off the 1994 Day for Night album. I adore every second of that tune, like the way it calmly opens up before Rob Baker and Paul Langlois' guitars fabulously … Continue reading “Nautical Disaster” is the greatest Tragically Hip song ever, says Newt

15 minutes on the phone with 25-year-old Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip

By Steve Newton Back in 1989 I did the first of my five Georgia Straight interviews with Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip. I know a lot of my fellow Hip fans are hurting right now with the news of his passing, so here's something I hope brings a bit of comfort: 15 minutes of Gord … Continue reading 15 minutes on the phone with 25-year-old Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip

Annihilator’s bizarre path in metal has given Jeff Waters “the funnest job in the world”

By Steve Newton When Jeff Waters picks up the phone at his home in Ottawa to talk about his metal band, Annihilator, and plug its upcoming (June 15) show at Vancouver's Rickshaw Theatre, I remind him that we go way back. I last interviewed him in 1990, just after Annihilator had released its second album, … Continue reading Annihilator’s bizarre path in metal has given Jeff Waters “the funnest job in the world”

Wide Mouth Mason’s Shaun Verreault says work your butt off live, then get good management

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MAY 29, 1997 By Steve Newton When it came time to record his band’s major-label debut last year, Wide Mouth Mason singer-guitarist Shaun Verreault took the old adage “Go west, young man” to heart. With bassist Earl Pereira and drummer Safwan Javed in tow, Verreault left the flatlands of … Continue reading Wide Mouth Mason’s Shaun Verreault says work your butt off live, then get good management

Former Metal Queen Lee Aaron says you can’t build a career on a pretty face

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 24, 1991 By Steve Newton Although Toronto’s Lee Aaron has been a fixture on the Canadian music scene since the early ’80s, her first taste of substantial commercial success didn’t come until her 1990 album, Bodyrock. It’s been a long road, but the 29-year-old singer—who plays 86 Street … Continue reading Former Metal Queen Lee Aaron says you can’t build a career on a pretty face