Jeff Germain says Regina’s Queen City Kids have to work twice as hard as big city bands

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 18, 1982 By Steve Newton Canada's prairies are most famous for producing one thing: wheat. But recently a sound has been heard emanating from the nether regions of Canada's hinterland--the sound of crashing drums and furious guitars. The 'breadbasket ' of the country is no longer a place … Continue reading Jeff Germain says Regina’s Queen City Kids have to work twice as hard as big city bands

Canadian Idol champ Melissa O’Neil admits she’s not much of a rocker

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, FEB. 23, 2006 By Steve Newton Some might argue that I'm a bad dad for letting my kids watch The Simpsons, but I can't help it. They refuse to stay in their rooms and play with Hot Wheels or do homework once Danny Elfman's jaunty theme song carries up … Continue reading Canadian Idol champ Melissa O’Neil admits she’s not much of a rocker

Coney Hatch’s Andy Curran on the benefits of working with Kim Mitchell and the challenges of opening for Judas Priest

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 19, 1982 By Steve Newton Things were a little tense backstage in the Coney Hatch dressing room after last week's Pacific Coliseum gig with Judas Priest. A relatively mild crowd response coupled with technical problems and the fact of no soundcheck had the boys from Toronto "bummed out", … Continue reading Coney Hatch’s Andy Curran on the benefits of working with Kim Mitchell and the challenges of opening for Judas Priest

The Mahones’ Finny McConnell on seeing the Pogues in Las Vegas and getting into Thin Lizzy anywhere

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 9, 2006 By Steve Newton When the Straight tracks down Mahones singer-songwriter Finny McConnell on his cellphone in Toronto, he’s at the corner of Bloor and Yonge, on his way to pick up a van for some weekend gigs in Quebec. He’s just back from hanging out with … Continue reading The Mahones’ Finny McConnell on seeing the Pogues in Las Vegas and getting into Thin Lizzy anywhere

Toronto’s Kill Cheerleader earns praise from Lemmy and Nikki Sixx

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, FEB. 21, 2007 By Steve Newton The band photo inside last year's Kill Cheerleader CD, All Hail, shows four sweaty, straggly-haired, apparently shit-faced dudes holding each other up. But a photo sent to the Straight by Spinerazor Records last week includes a fifth member in the group. No biggie, according to … Continue reading Toronto’s Kill Cheerleader earns praise from Lemmy and Nikki Sixx

Recalling the release of the Tragically Hip’s Road Apples in the wake of the new Saskadelphia

By Steve Newton Since the Tragically Hip just put out several unreleased tracks from its 1990 Road Apples sessions, I figured I'd celebrate the occasion in my own little way. So for all the hardcore Hip fans out there who still hold the original Road Apples album dear, here's an unedited excerpt from my 2018 … Continue reading Recalling the release of the Tragically Hip’s Road Apples in the wake of the new Saskadelphia

That time future Trailer Park Boy Mike Smith told me about his band Sandbox snubbing Bon Jovi

By Steve Newton Before he became famous for his role as googley-eyed goofball "Bubbles" on The Trailer Park Boys, Mike Smith was a member of Canadian '90s alt-rock band Sandbox. One day back in March of 1996 I interviewed him in advance of a Sandbox show at a Vancouver bar called the Starfish Room. At … Continue reading That time future Trailer Park Boy Mike Smith told me about his band Sandbox snubbing Bon Jovi

That time Men Without Hats’ Ivan Doroschuk told me about making the video for “Safety Dance”

By Steve Newton I interviewed Men Without Hats singer and main songwriter Ivan Doroschuk in 1984, the year after the band's second single, "The Safety Dance", became a worldwide hit. I was just about to write that the band was a one-hit wonder, but then I remembered they had another hit called "Pop Goes the … Continue reading That time Men Without Hats’ Ivan Doroschuk told me about making the video for “Safety Dance”

That time Tom Cochrane railed against the “trendy bullshit” in pop music after Red Rider released Neruda

By Steve Newton I've interviewed Canadian rocker Tom Cochrane half a dozen times over the years. I was a fan long before he hit it big with "Life is a Highway" in 1991. The first time we talked was in April of 1983, three months after the release of Red Rider's fine Neruda album, the … Continue reading That time Tom Cochrane railed against the “trendy bullshit” in pop music after Red Rider released Neruda

That time The Pursuit of Happiness’s Moe Berg told me how much of a Todd Rundgren fan he was

By Steve Newton I loved Canadian rockers The Pursuit of Happiness back in the day. Their 1988 debut album, the Todd Rundgren-produced Love Junk, was jam-packed with catchy power-pop tunes. The band's 1990 followup, One-Sided Story, was also produced by Rundgren, and though not as consistently impressive as Love Junk, boasted some strong tracks as … Continue reading That time The Pursuit of Happiness’s Moe Berg told me how much of a Todd Rundgren fan he was

That time Todd Rundgren told me that one of the greatest recording experiences of his life was with TPOH

By Steve Newton Todd Rundgren has some amazing credits as a producer. He's helmed such influential and/or successful albums as Badfinger's Straight Up, the New York Dolls' selt-titled debut, Grand Funk's We're an American Band, and Meat Loaf's multiplatinum Bat Out of Hell. He also helmed an LP near and dear to the hearts of … Continue reading That time Todd Rundgren told me that one of the greatest recording experiences of his life was with TPOH

That time I asked Nickelback’s Chad Kroeger who his alltime favourite rock musician was

By Steve Newton It's been said by many that, as far as Nickelback goes, you either love 'em or hate 'em. I disagree. They aren't my favourite band by any stretch, but I'm not a serious hater either. I mean, they've got loud guitars and a wicked drummer. Who hates that? I interviewed mainman Chad … Continue reading That time I asked Nickelback’s Chad Kroeger who his alltime favourite rock musician was

Nickelback and guitar hero Dave Martone join forces on Charlie Daniels’ “The Devil Went Down to Georgia”

By Steve Newton "Shitkicker heaven!" That's what Bill Paxton's vampire character hollers when he enters that redneck bar before chomping on necks in the horror flick Near Dark. It's also what I thought as soon as I saw the promo for Nickelback's version of Charlie Daniels' "The Devil Went Down to Georgia", featuring Vancouver's Dave … Continue reading Nickelback and guitar hero Dave Martone join forces on Charlie Daniels’ “The Devil Went Down to Georgia”

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