This year’s Keithmas Food Bank benefit at the Rickshaw will rock your freakin’ socks off

By Steve Newton Anyone who knows me knows that I never skip a chance to post the photo I have of me touching skull rings with Keith Richards. The latest opportunity came with today's announcement of the lineup for this year's Keithmas concert. The annual Vancouver Food Bank benefit, which takes place at the Rickshaw … Continue reading This year’s Keithmas Food Bank benefit at the Rickshaw will rock your freakin’ socks off

When Graham Brown plugs in his Telecaster he’s 12 years old again

rob bubek photo ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON JUNE 23, 2022 By Steve Newton When I try calling Graham Brown at the time specified for our interview there's no answer, so I leave a message and try again a few minutes later. This time we do connect, only to have the local rocker apologize and explain that … Continue reading When Graham Brown plugs in his Telecaster he’s 12 years old again

Rob Frith’s Neptoon Records marks 40 years of bringing vinyl joy to Vancouver

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON MARCH 23, 2021 By Steve Newton Rob Frith knows exactly where and when his lifelong love affair with vinyl started. From the basement of Neptoon Records, where he sits surrounded by thousands upon thousands of albums, Frith recalls how, when he was four years old, his mother owned an old flip-top record … Continue reading Rob Frith’s Neptoon Records marks 40 years of bringing vinyl joy to Vancouver

Roy Forbes looks back on half a century in the music biz

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON OCT. 16, 2021 By Steve Newton Roy Forbes is celebrating 50 years in the music business right now, because back in 1971--18 years old and fresh out of Dawson Creek--he showed up in Vancouver to launch his career as a singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer. Back then, though, he was better known as … Continue reading Roy Forbes looks back on half a century in the music biz

Robert Connely Farr brings his deep and dirty southern blues up north

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON FEB. 20, 2021 By Steve Newton When Louisiana slide-guitar wizard Sonny Landreth played the Rio Theatre in August of 2019, those who arrived early enough to see the opening act got a real treat. It was a local Mississippi transplant named Robert Connely Farr, who'd been blowing people away with his album … Continue reading Robert Connely Farr brings his deep and dirty southern blues up north

Paul Pigat has been told that Cousin Harley are like “the Motorhead of rockabilly”

adam pw smith photo ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON JAN. 23, 2021 By Steve Newton When COVID-19 killed concerts last year, professional musicians who relied heavily on revenue from live shows were put in financial peril. That fact wasn't lost on Vancouver guitar ace Paul Pigat, who normally chocks up plenty of gigs with his bands Cousin … Continue reading Paul Pigat has been told that Cousin Harley are like “the Motorhead of rockabilly”

54•40’s Neil Osborne says that Greater Vancouver is not all about the mountains in the tourist brochures

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 31, 2003 By Steve Newton Although they started out in the early ’80s as indie artists on MoDaMu Records, local guitar-rockers 54•40 have been signed to major labels since 1986, first with Warner Bros. and then with Columbia/Sony. But with its 10th studio album, Goodbye Flatland, the band … Continue reading 54•40’s Neil Osborne says that Greater Vancouver is not all about the mountains in the tourist brochures

Corey White thanks the peelers at No. Five Orange for shakin’ it to “Bonecracker”

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 24, 2003 By Steve Newton Anyone who’s spent time ogling female flesh down at No. Five Orange in the past couple of years has probably heard some of Shocore’s music. In the liner notes to the local hard-rock act’s new CD, Evilution, vocalist Corey White thanks “all the … Continue reading Corey White thanks the peelers at No. Five Orange for shakin’ it to “Bonecracker”

Scott Smith was thinking about both Duane and Dickey on Terminal Station’s Allman-like tune

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 16, 2020 By Steve Newton The coronovirus pandemic is a global catastrophe that has led to massive death, economic ruin, and untold suffering. But it hasn't stopped Scott Smith from rocking out. It did slow him down a bit, though, as he admits on the line from his … Continue reading Scott Smith was thinking about both Duane and Dickey on Terminal Station’s Allman-like tune

Michael Schau dedicates Livin’ the Blues to Stevie Ray, Hendrix, and the two Alberts

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, FEB. 9, 1995 By Steve Newton During my years as a rock scribbler I’ve been fortunate enough to have interviewed lots of amazing guitarists. Unfortunately, many of them aren’t around anymore. Roy Buchanan hanged himself in a jail cell (or so the story goes). Danny Gatton shot himself in … Continue reading Michael Schau dedicates Livin’ the Blues to Stevie Ray, Hendrix, and the two Alberts

Bob Rock resurrects the Payola$ with Paul Hyde and sets up a helluva three-night benefit for B.C.’s Children’s Hospital

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 8, 1994 By Steve Newton When the time comes to interview Bob Rock about the recent resurrection of the Payola$, the prospect is particularly appealing. Rumour has it that the big-time Vancouver producer (the Cult, Bon Jovi, Mötley Crüe) is to work with Metallica again soon, and I’m … Continue reading Bob Rock resurrects the Payola$ with Paul Hyde and sets up a helluva three-night benefit for B.C.’s Children’s Hospital

The Harvesters’ Chris Springer thinks improvisational rock is replacing grunge

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MAY 5, 1994 By Steve Newton The resurgence in recent years of rootsy, improvisational music—as exemplified by jam-happy recording acts like Blues Traveler, Phish, and Widespread Panic—has been a balm to anyone whose appreciation of instrumental ability has been tested by the nonmusical grate of rap or the mind-numbing … Continue reading The Harvesters’ Chris Springer thinks improvisational rock is replacing grunge

Vancouver blues vets Incognito keep the music rough and tough

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 23, 1992 By Steve Newton You don’t have to prowl Vancouver’s smoky blues hang-outs to hear local blues-rockers Incognito—all you need is a radio and chances are you’ll come across the rockin’ jingle the quartet recorded for Grower’s Cider. The catchy ad might even be followed by Incognito’s … Continue reading Vancouver blues vets Incognito keep the music rough and tough

The seriously rockin’ Last Wild Sons can’t compete with the Beat Farmers’ comical escapades

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MARCH 14, 1991 By Steve Newton The scene is the roughly furnished, graffiti-blasted band room in the basement of the Town Pump. The characters are several members of local blues-rockers the Last Wild Sons and sundry friends and relatives who saunter in and out, taking care not to bump … Continue reading The seriously rockin’ Last Wild Sons can’t compete with the Beat Farmers’ comical escapades

Happy Man’s Jay Homenchuk and Graham Brown were Born to Entertain

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 5, 1992 By Steve Newton Happy Man singer/guitarist Jay Homenchuk has been involved with Vancouver’s independent rock scene for a number of years—either as a guitar roadie for Brilliant Orange or as a member of Green House and his current group. Born and raised in Lotusland, he’s seen … Continue reading Happy Man’s Jay Homenchuk and Graham Brown were Born to Entertain

That time I asked Long John Baldry if he was the King in “Don’t Try to Lay No Boogie Woogie on the King of Rock and Roll”

By Steve Newton Back in 1985 I did an interview with British blues legend Long John Baldry, who'd recently moved to Vancouver, where he would stay until his death 20 years later. In 1971 Baldry had released an album called It Ain't Easy that was produced by his buddies, Rod Stewart and Elton John. It … Continue reading That time I asked Long John Baldry if he was the King in “Don’t Try to Lay No Boogie Woogie on the King of Rock and Roll”

Devin Townsend, 19, scores opening gig for Michael Schenker with his first band, Gray Skies

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MARCH 19, 1992 By Steve Newton Decisions, decisions. Tearing open the shrink-wrap from a tape by a local band called Gray Skies, I see that one side of the six-song demo is labelled the Juvenile Side, while the other promises the Dyslexic Side. Just as I’m ready to go … Continue reading Devin Townsend, 19, scores opening gig for Michael Schenker with his first band, Gray Skies

Vancouver guitar ace Scott Smith sends out a Lifeboat for pedal-steel fans in these trying times

By Steve Newton I first became aware of the six-string talents of Vancouver's Scott Smith when he sent me a copy of his blues-rock trio Terminal Station's Rolling All Night album back in 2009. I also knew of his fine work with Bottleneck, the country-roots quartet he fronted with Robyn Carrigan, and his guest appearances … Continue reading Vancouver guitar ace Scott Smith sends out a Lifeboat for pedal-steel fans in these trying times