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

That time I asked famed producer Bruce Fairbairn what he thought of famed producer Bob Rock

By Steve Newton Back in December of 1991 I wrote a Georgia Straight cover story on Vancouver producer Bob Rock, best known for his work with Metallica, and one of the Big Three of Vancouver hard-rock producers (along with fellow Little Mountain Sound-men Bruce Fairbairn and Mike Fraser). While putting the story together I gave … Continue reading That time I asked famed producer Bruce Fairbairn what he thought of famed producer Bob Rock

Moist releases Creature, opens for Neil Young, and waits for reality to set in

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 17, 1996 By Steve Newton Whenever I feel like getting a rise out of my 16-year-old niece, all it takes is a quick mention of her former fondness for New Kids on the Block. So what if she was only in Grade 3 at the time of the … Continue reading Moist releases Creature, opens for Neil Young, and waits for reality to set in

Jim Foster gets his “Steely Dan opportunity” at Mushroom Studios in Vancouver

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, APRIL 4, 1986 By Steve Newton Until the release of the album Power Lines, Jim Foster had not been heard from for many years. It makes one wonder whether the Alberta-raised singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist is on somewhat of a comeback. "Well gosh," says Foster. "How can you make a comeback when … Continue reading Jim Foster gets his “Steely Dan opportunity” at Mushroom Studios in Vancouver

Skywalk guitarist Harris Van Berkel makes like Larry Carlton for The Bohemians

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MARCH 28, 1986 By Steve Newton Skywalk guitarist Harris Van Berkel carefully ponders the suggestion that his group's new album has sort of a West Coast sound to it. "There's a slight one... There's a kind of a West Coast affiliation, I guess. We definitely don't have an East Coast … Continue reading Skywalk guitarist Harris Van Berkel makes like Larry Carlton for The Bohemians

Kris Schulz plays beautiful tune by Columbia River, beckons Phil Lynott’s thunderous soul

By Steve Newton Vancouver guitar ace Kris Schulz posted a clip on his Facebook page today in which he's playing a beautiful instrumental next to an equally gorgeous river. "Wild Mountain Thyme has always been a favorite of mine to play," says Schulz in the post, "and yesterday's setting alongside the banks of the Columbia river was … Continue reading Kris Schulz plays beautiful tune by Columbia River, beckons Phil Lynott’s thunderous soul

Nick Gilder on his new LP and his “ironic” replacement in Sweeney Todd, Bryan Adams

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 25, 1985 By Steve Newton You remember Nick Gilder, don't you? He goes way back. So far back, actually, that Bob Geldof once interviewed him for this publication. Gilder was the lead singer for Sweeney Todd, one of Vancouver's more popular glam/glitter rock bands. Named after the demon … Continue reading Nick Gilder on his new LP and his “ironic” replacement in Sweeney Todd, Bryan Adams

Cold Chain revives the spirit of ’75 at the Chilliwack Senior High 40-year reunion

By Steve Newton Back in January I blogged about the "major concert news" that my old buddy's cover band, Cold Chain, was gonna play the 40-year reunion for my Chilliwack Senior High School class of 1975. At the time I put a request in for what was probably my fave tune that year, Ian Hunter's … Continue reading Cold Chain revives the spirit of ’75 at the Chilliwack Senior High 40-year reunion

Craig Northey covers Art Bergmann’s “Faithlessly Yours” to show support for The Apostate

By Steve Newton Vancouver music great and all-around good guy Craig Northey recently recorded a version of Art Bergmann's 1991 song "Faithlessly Yours" to show support for Bergmann's new album, The Apostate. If you want to follow Northey's lead, you can help in the creation of Art's new music via Pledge Music. Here's the original video … Continue reading Craig Northey covers Art Bergmann’s “Faithlessly Yours” to show support for The Apostate

Don’t call Vancouver’s Skywalk jazz or fusion, it’s just “a music band”

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, APRIL 8, 1983 By Steve Newton "When it comes to Skywalk," says the group's drummer and veteran session player Kat Hendrikse, "the word jazz is inappropriate. It's got a lot of jazz influences, but basically it's a modern concept. It's modern music in that it's very composition-oriented as opposed … Continue reading Don’t call Vancouver’s Skywalk jazz or fusion, it’s just “a music band”

Jim Byrnes on the Vancouver blues scene in ’85 and his idol Magic Sam

By Steve Newton On May 6, 1985, Vancouver blues legend Jim Byrnes was in the midst of a week-long stint at a nightclub in the West End. That's no big whoop as far as Vancouver music history goes, but considering how much Byrnes has contributed to the city's blues scene since then, I figured it … Continue reading Jim Byrnes on the Vancouver blues scene in ’85 and his idol Magic Sam

Kick Axe feels that if you can make metal work in Vancouver, you can make it work anywhere

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, APRIL 15, 1983 By Steve Newton "If people can look at a band, "say Kick Axe guitarist Larry Gillstrom, "and see that everybody's coming from the same direction and are together on it, then I think they can relate to it a lot better. At least that's what we noticed … Continue reading Kick Axe feels that if you can make metal work in Vancouver, you can make it work anywhere

Art Bergmann plays Sexual Roulette on behalf of downtrodden rockers everywhere

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, APRIL 20, 1990 By Steve Newton It's a sunny Friday afternoon on Granville Island. Art Bergmann and I are negotiating our way through armies of cars—parked and mobile—in search of a suitable spot to have a chat. "I don't have any money," confides Bergmann as we head over to … Continue reading Art Bergmann plays Sexual Roulette on behalf of downtrodden rockers everywhere

Bob Rock on the Payola$ reunion and the influence of Mick Ronson as a producer

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 27, 2003 By Steve Newton At one point during the exceptional Blackie & the Rodeo Kings show at Sonar a couple of weeks back, guitarist-vocalist and former Junkhouse member Tom Wilson casually leaned into the mike and said: “Roll out red carpet, here come China boys.” His group … Continue reading Bob Rock on the Payola$ reunion and the influence of Mick Ronson as a producer

Limblifter’s Ryan Dahle developed his skill set out of survival

photo by Rebecca Blissett By Steve Newton You know that stereotype of the lazy rock musician who sleeps till noon, then sits around the rest of the day waiting to play a gig at night? Well, it sure as hell doesn’t fit Ryan Dahle. For most of his 44 years, the singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and … Continue reading Limblifter’s Ryan Dahle developed his skill set out of survival

Vancouver guitar ace Todd Taylor shows off his New Vehicle

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 21, 2003 By Steve Newton On the sidewalk outside the Fairview Pub, dreadlocked hippies and shaggy snowboarder types gather in small groups as the familiar odour of B.C. bud wafts sweetly through the air. North Vancouver–based promoter Upstream Entertainment has drawn its typical jam-band crowd, portions of which … Continue reading Vancouver guitar ace Todd Taylor shows off his New Vehicle

54•40 walks the walk with first indie release since the ’80s

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 walks the walk with first indie release since the ’80s

Gordie Johnson finds where the rock is on John Ford’s Bullets for Dreamers

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MAY 1, 2003 By Steve Newton One could be excused for presuming that the “Armagideon Time” on the new John Ford CD is the same song the Clash released in ’79 as the B side to “London Calling”. After all, the members of John Ford take a fairly Clash-like … Continue reading Gordie Johnson finds where the rock is on John Ford’s Bullets for Dreamers

Craig Northey sung, plunked, plinked, and originally thinked Giddy Up

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MARCH 3, 2003 By Steve Newton On the cover of his debut solo CD, Giddy Up, former Odds member Craig Northey is pictured on-stage in front of a huge outdoor crowd, playing guitar while kicking his left leg up to a painful-looking height. It’s the kind of acrobatic stunt … Continue reading Craig Northey sung, plunked, plinked, and originally thinked Giddy Up

Vancouver’s rough ‘n’ tumble Twisters take the Long Hard Road

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 29, 2002 By Steve Newton When the time comes to track down Brandon Isaak and get the scoop on his local blues band, the Twisters, the red-haired guitarist with the monster tone is not around. He’s up in the Yukon, where his parents own the only blues bar … Continue reading Vancouver’s rough ‘n’ tumble Twisters take the Long Hard Road

Bob Rock says Metallica “never have and never will sell out”

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, APRIL 25, 2002 By Steve Newton What could possibly cause any sane person to willingly abandon the balmy paradise of Hawaii for the frigid climes of Vancouver in January? Well, if you’re record producer Bob Rock, your last name is reason enough. Good old riff-riddled rock is what draws … Continue reading Bob Rock says Metallica “never have and never will sell out”

The Falcons’ Mike Beddoes never thought it would be radical to play instro-rock

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 4, 2001 The little room on the top floor of Falcons guitarist Mike Beddoes’s Kitsilano townhouse contains some of the musical goodies you would expect from a picker who’s been actively plying his trade for more than 30 years. Crammed away in one closet is a cache of … Continue reading The Falcons’ Mike Beddoes never thought it would be radical to play instro-rock

Gary Comeau surrounds himself with Vancouver talent on Letters From Eve

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 5, 2001 Judging by the quality of players Gary Comeau surrounded himself with on his third and latest CD, Letters From Eve, you’d think the local singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist is seriously well connected. First off, you’ve got drummer Pat Steward and bassist Doug Elliott, that hot-as-hell rhythm … Continue reading Gary Comeau surrounds himself with Vancouver talent on Letters From Eve

Static in Stereo sets the controls for the heart of the seventies

    ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 5, 2001 A silver Keith Richards–style skull ring catches the glare of the dressing-room lights as Todd Kerns wraps his fist around a can of Coke. The blue and red dragon etched on his right bicep, a ringer for Ozzy Osbourne’s chest tattoo, quivers slightly as he … Continue reading Static in Stereo sets the controls for the heart of the seventies

Matthew Good and the great Radiohead controversy of 2000

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 28, 2000 Matthew Good is a loud rocker. That’s easily discernible from a quick spin of his band’s latest CD, Beautiful Midnight. Matthew Good is also a loud talker, as I discover for myself when he calls the Straight from his West End apartment prior to his five … Continue reading Matthew Good and the great Radiohead controversy of 2000

Bob Rock brings his golden ears and guitars to Paul Hyde’s Living Off the Radar

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 16, 2000 Former Vancouverite Bob Rock is one of the most in-demand rock producers in the world today. The man who helped platinum acts like Metallica, Bon Jovi, Mötley Crüe, and the Cult move mountains of CDs now lives and works on the Hawaiian island of Maui, where … Continue reading Bob Rock brings his golden ears and guitars to Paul Hyde’s Living Off the Radar

Neil Osborne calls 54-40’s Casual Viewin’ “the band’s feel-good groove record”

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 12, 2000 When it came to choosing a title for their latest album, Casual Viewin’, local guitar-rockers 54•40 didn’t follow previous procedures and look to their ideals (Fight For Love) or early gigging days (Smilin’ Buddha Cabaret). For their ninth studio album, they simply culled a lyric from … Continue reading Neil Osborne calls 54-40’s Casual Viewin’ “the band’s feel-good groove record”