Peter Green’s masterful guitarwork lights up vinyl release of unearthed Fleetwood Mac live and demo tracks

By Steve Newton The blues-guitar world lost one of its finest practitioners last month when Peter Green passed away at the age of 73. But hardcore Greeny fans can take some solace in the fact that a new collection of previously unreleased recordings, Fleetwood Mac Before the Beginning Vol 2: Live & Demo Sessions 1970, … Continue reading Peter Green’s masterful guitarwork lights up vinyl release of unearthed Fleetwood Mac live and demo tracks

That time Joe Satriani told me why Neil Young was such a great guitarist

By Steve Newton Back in 1990 I did the first of my eight interviews with American guitar wizard Joe Satriani. At the time Satch was touring behind his Flying in a Blue Dream album, which is one fine batch of tunes. At one point in the conversation I asked him about a quote in Kerrang! … Continue reading That time Joe Satriani told me why Neil Young was such a great guitarist

Peter Green shunned the guitar-hero status of Clapton, Beck, and Page, but Mick Fleetwood says “he was the guy”

Steve Newton Sad news for music fans today. Peter Green, the British guitarist who made a name for himself with his stunning work in the Bluesbreakers and Fleetwood Mac, has passed away at the age of 73. Long before the pop-minded duo of Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham put their radio-friendly stamp on Fleetwood Mac, … Continue reading Peter Green shunned the guitar-hero status of Clapton, Beck, and Page, but Mick Fleetwood says “he was the guy”

That time I called up Albert Collins and asked what attracted him to the blues

By Steve Newton Sometimes when I'm feeling a little down, uncertain about the future, I like to go through my piles of interview cassettes, pick something out, and just listen to bits of conversations I had with legendary bluesmen decades ago. Fight the blues with the blues, I reckon. Here's what it sounded like back … Continue reading That time I called up Albert Collins and asked what attracted him to the blues

That time Steve Hackett told me about hearing Queen’s demo tapes and thinking Genesis’ label should sign them

By Steve Newton Before Queen became one of the top rock bands on the planet, they were just another struggling band trying to score a record deal. That's how Steve Hackett remembers it, anyway. When I interviewed the former Genesis guitarist back in 1993 I asked him about his relationship with Queen guitarist Brian May, … Continue reading That time Steve Hackett told me about hearing Queen’s demo tapes and thinking Genesis’ label should sign them

54-40 guitarist Dave Genn recalls his chance meeting with Stevie Ray Vaughan just weeks before his tragic death

By Steve Newton One of my favourite guitar-hero memories involves that time back in the early '80s when I went backstage at Vancouver's Pacific Coliseum and met Stevie Ray Vaughan. I'll never forget it because he signed my vinyl copy of Texas Flood, and when I shook his hand it felt like a freakin' vice! … Continue reading 54-40 guitarist Dave Genn recalls his chance meeting with Stevie Ray Vaughan just weeks before his tragic death

That time Zakk Wylde told me that he’d always be Ozzy Osbourne’s guitarist

By Steve Newton If Randy Rhoads hadn't died in that tragic plane crash in 1982, do you think he'd still be playing with Ozzy Osbourne? I kinda doubt it. He was so fiercely talented that I bet he would have left heavy-metal in the dust and moved on to creating adventurous, technically mind-boggling instrumental music … Continue reading That time Zakk Wylde told me that he’d always be Ozzy Osbourne’s guitarist

That time I asked Yngwie Malmsteen if he’d ever been tempted to “cheat” on the Strat

By Steve Newton Yngwie Malmsteen is synonymous with the Fender Stratocaster. Since the get-go he's proclaimed the superiority of Leo Fender's classy creation. He's even gone so far as to compare the competition to "bad copies" and "furniture". So when I interviewed him back in 2014 I asked him if he'd ever been tempted to … Continue reading That time I asked Yngwie Malmsteen if he’d ever been tempted to “cheat” on the Strat

That time Buddy Guy told me that he was a bluesman from his heart, as if I didn’t know

By Steve Newton I've interviewed Buddy Guy five times, because I freakin' love Buddy Guy. The second time we chatted was in March of 1993, three weeks after the release of his Feels Like Rain album, which featured guest appearances by Bonnie Raitt, John Mayall, and Paul Rodgers. Rodgers performed on a version of the … Continue reading That time Buddy Guy told me that he was a bluesman from his heart, as if I didn’t know

That time Autograph guitarist Steve Lynch told me about the crazy times touring with Van Halen

By Steve Newton Way the heck back in October of 1985 I interviewed Autograph guitarist Steve Lynch because his band was headed to Vancouver as opening act on Motley Crue's Theatre of Pain tour. Back then two-handed tapping was very popular among guitarists in hard rock and metal bands, and Lynch was among its top … Continue reading That time Autograph guitarist Steve Lynch told me about the crazy times touring with Van Halen

That time Steve Vai told me that he had to make Passion and Warfare when he did make Passion and Warfare

By Steve Newton When I did my first interview with Steve Vai, back in May of 1990, he was touring with Whitesnake while at the same time promoting his new solo album, Passion and Warfare. As he explained to me quite vehemently, it was the album that he had to make at that time. I … Continue reading That time Steve Vai told me that he had to make Passion and Warfare when he did make Passion and Warfare

That time Randy Hansen told me about exchanging ideas and creating animal sounds with Stevie Ray Vaughan

By Steve Newton When I interviewed Jimi Hendrix tribute artist Randy Hansen back in 2001 I learned that he had known Stevie Ray Vaughan quite well. I was cool to hear Hansen reminisce about Stevie Ray opening shows for him in Austin, Texas, and the two of them creating animal sounds on guitar. Have a … Continue reading That time Randy Hansen told me about exchanging ideas and creating animal sounds with Stevie Ray Vaughan

That time I told Tony Iommi that “Supernaut” was my fave Black Sabbath riff, and he said that it was Zappa’s too

By Steve Newton I've interviewed Tony Iommi, the Riffmaster General, twice: the first time was back in '84 when the Ian Gillan-fronted Black Sabbath was touring behind the Born Again album, and the last time was in 2007 when he was back with Ronnie James Dio in the Heaven and Hell format. As the second … Continue reading That time I told Tony Iommi that “Supernaut” was my fave Black Sabbath riff, and he said that it was Zappa’s too

That time Warren Haynes told me how he came to record the haunting “John the Revelator” on Gov’t Mule’s Dose

By Steve Newton I've interviewed Warren Haynes six times, because he's one of my favourite musicians of all time. I can't get enough of his voice, his guitar, and his songs. And even if they aren't his actual songs I'm crazy about 'em. Like when Gov't Mule recorded the traditional gospel-blues tune "John the Revelator" … Continue reading That time Warren Haynes told me how he came to record the haunting “John the Revelator” on Gov’t Mule’s Dose

That time I asked Yes guitarist Trevor Rabin whether Steve Howe was a hard act to follow

By Steve Newton Way back in April of 1984 I interviewed Trevor Rabin, who at the time was the new guitarist in Yes. The band was on a world tour supporting its latest album, 90125, which had spawned the hit single "Owner of a Lonely Heart" and was topping the charts. At one point in … Continue reading That time I asked Yes guitarist Trevor Rabin whether Steve Howe was a hard act to follow

That time I asked Albert Lee how it was different touring with the Everly Brothers than with Eric Clapton

By Steve Newton I interviewed British guitar legend Albert Lee back in July of 1986, when he was touring with the Everly Brothers as their musical director. After chatting with Albert about how he first got involved with the Everlys, I asked him how it was different touring with them than with Eric Clapton, whose … Continue reading That time I asked Albert Lee how it was different touring with the Everly Brothers than with Eric Clapton

That time I asked Robert Cray if he was surprised that Eric Clapton covered his song “Bad Influence” on August

By Steve Newton I've interviewed Robert Cray four times, 'cause I reckon he's one of the tastiest guitarists who's ever strapped on a Strat. This was the first time, back in January of 1996, when he was touring behind his Some Rainy Morning album. Ten years earlier Cray had gotten a bit of a boost … Continue reading That time I asked Robert Cray if he was surprised that Eric Clapton covered his song “Bad Influence” on August

That time I asked Joe Satriani who his best guitar student was and he said Steve Vai caught on the quickest

By Steve Newton Back in January of 1990 I did the first of my seven interviews with Joe Satriani. At the time he was touring behind his latest album, Flying in a Blue Dream, and the buzz about him was growing fast. People were learning that he'd spent several years as a guitar instructor, teaching … Continue reading That time I asked Joe Satriani who his best guitar student was and he said Steve Vai caught on the quickest

That time I called up 22-year-old Jeff Healey and asked him about his role in the upcoming bouncer flick Roadhouse

By Steve Newton I was fortunate enough to have interviewed Canadian guitar wizard Jeff Healey three times. Man could that guy wail on the Strat! The first interview took place in June of 1988, when he was just 22, and still three months away from releasing his incredible debut album, See the Light. When I … Continue reading That time I called up 22-year-old Jeff Healey and asked him about his role in the upcoming bouncer flick Roadhouse

That time 18-year-old Kenny Wayne Shepherd told me about meeting his idol Stevie Ray Vaughan

By Steve Newton I've interviewed Kenny Wayne Shepherd four times, 'cause I'm a sucker for folks who can play the shit out of a Strat. The first time was back in December of 1995, when he was only 18 and touring behind his platinum-selling debut album, Ledbetter Heights. At one point in the conversation I … Continue reading That time 18-year-old Kenny Wayne Shepherd told me about meeting his idol Stevie Ray Vaughan

That time I asked Elliot Easton if he felt like a mercenary playing John Fogerty’s licks in Creedence Clearwater Revisited

By Steve Newton I've long felt that John Fogerty was the biggest triple-threat in rock: as a songwriter, singer, and guitarist, few can match him. I've also always hated how, for years after the breakup of Creedence Clearwater Revival, Fogerty couldn't even perform the incredible CCR songs he'd written, for legal reasons. The old CCR … Continue reading That time I asked Elliot Easton if he felt like a mercenary playing John Fogerty’s licks in Creedence Clearwater Revisited

That time Joe Satriani told me how his mind works when he’s playing wicked guitar on stage

By Steve Newton Some guitarists learn how to play by ear, and others--like Joe Satriani--learn how to play by the book. Satch knows music theory better than most, so when I did my first interview with him back in 1990--just after the release of Flying in a Blue Dream--I asked him how that relates to … Continue reading That time Joe Satriani told me how his mind works when he’s playing wicked guitar on stage

That time Randy Hansen told me about recording his atmospheric, Hendrix-style guitar parts for Apocalypse Now

By Steve Newton Back in August of 2001 I interviewed Jimi Hendrix tribute artist Randy Hansen because he was coming up from Seattle for a gig at a Vancouver club. This was right around the time that Apocalypse Now Redux, an extended version of Francis Ford Coppola's epic 1979 Vietnam war movie, was being released. … Continue reading That time Randy Hansen told me about recording his atmospheric, Hendrix-style guitar parts for Apocalypse Now

That time Steve Vai told me about the “cornball arrangements” on his Zappesque debut album Flex-Able

By Steve Newton When I did my first interview with Steve Vai, just after he'd released Passion and Warfare in 1990, we got to talking about his previous album, Flex-Able. Turns out the success of Passion and Warfare was pushing sales of the six-year-old Flex-Able, even though the music on it was the opposite of … Continue reading That time Steve Vai told me about the “cornball arrangements” on his Zappesque debut album Flex-Able

That time Guess Who guitarist Randy Bachman told me about creating the riff for “American Woman”

By Steve Newton Canada doesn't seem to have an overabundance of rock-guitar heroes. Sure, you've got your Lenny Breau when it comes to jazz, and your Jeff Healey if you're talkin' blues. But when it comes to Canadian rock-guitar heroes, I can't think of tons. Alex Lifeson, Kim Mitchell... Obviously Neil Young, but isn't he … Continue reading That time Guess Who guitarist Randy Bachman told me about creating the riff for “American Woman”

Andy Powell on the awesomeness of Wishbone Ash’s Argus, up-and-comer Doyle Bramhall II, and “old friend” the Flying V

brian ferguson photo By Steve Newton I loved Wishbone Ash in the seventies. The dual lead-guitar stylings on albums like Argus and There's The Rub really turned my crank. So it was cool to finally do a little interview with founding member Andy Powell back in 2003, before the band played a gig at Vancouver's … Continue reading Andy Powell on the awesomeness of Wishbone Ash’s Argus, up-and-comer Doyle Bramhall II, and “old friend” the Flying V

That time Doyle Bramhall II told me that he was “all over” B.B. King and Eric Clapton’s Riding With the King

By Steve Newton I absolutely loved the B.B. King and Eric Clapton album Riding With the King when it came out in 2000. It was a shoo-in for my Top 10 Albums of the Year list, alongside other guitar-centic offerings like Joe Satriani's Engines of Creation and Steve Vai's The 7th Song. But with such … Continue reading That time Doyle Bramhall II told me that he was “all over” B.B. King and Eric Clapton’s Riding With the King