That time COC’s Pepper Keenan told me that Warren Haynes “nailed it” with his slide playing on “Stare Too Long”

a closeup shot of Haynes nailing it By Steve Newton Back in January of 2001 I did my first interview with Pepper Keenan of Corrosion of Conformity, whose band was touring behind its America's Volume Dealer album. At one point in the conversation I asked Keenan how he had hooked up with Warren Haynes, who … Continue reading That time COC’s Pepper Keenan told me that Warren Haynes “nailed it” with his slide playing on “Stare Too Long”

That time Derek Trucks told me that Duane Allman’s slide was one of the first sounds he ever heard

By Steve Newton I've interviewed Derek Trucks three times so far, including back in 1998 when he was 18 years old. Our second conversation happened 14 years later, when he was touring with his wife Susan and their 11-piece band, Tedeschi Trucks. Four months before that the group had been awarded the Grammy for Best … Continue reading That time Derek Trucks told me that Duane Allman’s slide was one of the first sounds he ever heard

That time B.B. King told me how playing guitar was like telling the truth

bev davies photo By Steve Newton I've been very fortunate to have interviewed several legendary bluesmen over the last 40 years, guys like Albert King, Albert Collins, Buddy Guy, Roy Buchanan, and Stevie Ray Vaughan. But the very first legendary bluesman I ever interviewed was B.B. King. In January of 1984 he was playing a … Continue reading That time B.B. King told me how playing guitar was like telling the truth

That time Mick Ronson told me that he could live anywhere in the world

By Steve Newton I did the second of my two interviews with Mick Ronson in September of 1988, before he and Ian Hunter kicked off a tour in Vancouver. I called Mick up in New York, and at one point in the conversation I asked him whether he liked living there. He said that he … Continue reading That time Mick Ronson told me that he could live anywhere in the world

Brian Robertson’s wicked solo from Thin Lizzy’s “Don’t Believe a Word” played on harmonica

By Steve Newton The wicked guitar solos cranked out over the years by the various Thin Lizzy guitarists--Eric Bell, Scott Gorham, Brian Robertson, Gary Moore, Snowy White, and John Sykes--are many. But I've got a few faves. Definitely in my Top 10 is Robertson's 30-second solo from "Don't Believe a Word", the best track on … Continue reading Brian Robertson’s wicked solo from Thin Lizzy’s “Don’t Believe a Word” played on harmonica

That time I asked Danny Gatton what Washington, D.C. was like as a music city to grow up in

By Steve Newton I interviewed Telecaster master Danny Gatton back in April of 1993 before he appeared at a Music West event in Vancouver. I called him up at his home in Washington, D.C., and at one point in the conversation I asked him what the U.S. capital was like as a music city to … Continue reading That time I asked Danny Gatton what Washington, D.C. was like as a music city to grow up in

That time slide-guitar ace Ellen McIlwaine told me that Johnny Winter showed her how to go in her own direction

By Steve Newton Back in 2001 I interviewed Alberta-based blues singer-songwriter and guitarist Ellen McIlwaine before a club gig in Vancouver. Realizing she's best known for her slide-guitar expertise, I asked her who her biggest influences were on slide, and wasn't surprised to hear that Johnny Winter was one of her heroes. Have a listen: … Continue reading That time slide-guitar ace Ellen McIlwaine told me that Johnny Winter showed her how to go in her own direction

Yngwie Malmsteen shreds on what he once called “a piece of furniture”: the Gibson Les Paul

By Steve Newton One of my most popular posts on Ear of Newt is the one where Yngwie Malmsteen calls Ibanez guitars "a bad copy" of the Strat and says Les Pauls are "furniture". Well, if you ever wondered what the Swedish Fender freak would sound like shredding on a piece of furniture, here ya … Continue reading Yngwie Malmsteen shreds on what he once called “a piece of furniture”: the Gibson Les Paul

That time Derek Trucks told me about watching a hip Barack Obama mouth Howlin’ Wolf lyrics

By Steve Newton I've interviewed slide-guitar master Derek Trucks three times so far, including back in 1999 when he was only 20 years old. We had our second conversation 13 years later, when he was touring with his wife Susan and their 11-piece band, Tedeschi Trucks. Four months earlier Trucks had performed for Barack Obama … Continue reading That time Derek Trucks told me about watching a hip Barack Obama mouth Howlin’ Wolf lyrics

Shaun Verreault plays Blue Öyster Cult’s “(Don’t Fear) the Reaper” Tri-Slide style just ’cause I asked

By Steve Newton When I interviewed Shaun Verreault for the Georgia Straight back in January my article wound up focusing on how the Vancouver guitar great had developed his "Tri-Slide" style of playing, where he uses three slides at once on a lap steel guitar. I was blown away by his short, Tri-Slide reimaginings of … Continue reading Shaun Verreault plays Blue Öyster Cult’s “(Don’t Fear) the Reaper” Tri-Slide style just ’cause I asked

That time I told Gary Moore it was the shits that he wasn’t coming to Vancouver with Rush

By Steve Newton It's Gary Moore's birthday today--he would have been 69--so I figured I'd post an audio excerpt from my one and only interview with the Irish guitar legend, one of the finest pickers to ever pick up the instrument. It was May 11, 1984, and Moore was opening for Rush on their Grace … Continue reading That time I told Gary Moore it was the shits that he wasn’t coming to Vancouver with Rush

That time I asked Danny Gatton, the world’s greatest unknown guitarist, if he wished he were better known

By Steve Newton Danny Gatton has long been described as "the world's greatest unknown guitarist." Some have argued that that title is more suited to Roy Buchanan, but I think it's safe to say that Gatton is the lesser known of the two relatively unheralded Telecaster masters. At least it seemed that way to me … Continue reading That time I asked Danny Gatton, the world’s greatest unknown guitarist, if he wished he were better known

That time Albert King told me that Gary Moore could play guitar: “I guarantee it”

By Steve Newton During my 40 years of writing about music, I've been extremely fortunate, especially when it comes to interviewing guitar players. I've been able to interview some of the world's greatest guitarists several times over, including amazing players like Joe Satriani (eight times), Warren Haynes (six times), Buddy Guy (five times), and Dickey … Continue reading That time Albert King told me that Gary Moore could play guitar: “I guarantee it”

That time Dick Dale told me that the way he played guitar was “ticka-ticka-tucka-tucka ticka-ticka-tucka-tucka ticka-ticka-ta”

By Steve Newton I was fortunate enough to have interviewed Dick Dale--the "King of the Surf Guitar"--twice, in 1993 and 2000. Wow--what a totally unique and interesting guy. So outgoing and full of life and passion. At one point during the second conversation I brought up the topic of his highly percussive approach to guitar … Continue reading That time Dick Dale told me that the way he played guitar was “ticka-ticka-tucka-tucka ticka-ticka-tucka-tucka ticka-ticka-ta”

That time Tommy Shannon told me that the song he dedicated to Stevie Ray Vaughan poured out like water

By Steve Newton Back in March of 1998 I did my first interview with Tommy Shannon, who is best known as the bassist from Stevie Ray Vaughan's old band, Double Trouble. At the time Shannon was touring with his group Storyville, promoting the album Dog Years, which featured a song of his called "There's a … Continue reading That time Tommy Shannon told me that the song he dedicated to Stevie Ray Vaughan poured out like water

That time Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielsen told me that nobody under 21 gets to play his five-neck guitar

By Steve Newton I loved Cheap Trick in the seventies, especially the In Color and Heaven Tonight albums of '77 and '78. By the time of 1979's Dream Police I'd kind of lost interest. But that didn't stop me from interviewing guitarist Rick Nielsen when I got the chance back in July of 2001. At … Continue reading That time Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielsen told me that nobody under 21 gets to play his five-neck guitar

Steve Morse says that his biggest challenge in life was playing Hendrix’s “Are You Experienced?” live, with the backwards guitar solo

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN EXPERIENCE HENDRIX MAGAZINE, NOV.-DEC. ISSUE, 1998 By Steve Newton At first glance, Steve Morse might not seem like the ideal guy to take over Ritchie Blackmore's guitarist spot in Deep Purple. He is undoubtedly a fantastic player, but he's more noted for technically awesome country-fusion inflections than chunky power chords. But as … Continue reading Steve Morse says that his biggest challenge in life was playing Hendrix’s “Are You Experienced?” live, with the backwards guitar solo

That time I asked Doyle Bramhall II if he was excited about playing with Stevie Ray Vaughan’s rhythm section in Arc Angels

By Steve Newton Back in May of 1992 I sat down at a Vancouver restaurant with Doyle Bramhall II and Charlie Sexton of Arc Angels. They were both 23 at the time. One month earlier the band had released its self-titled debut album, which I thought was pretty freakin' cool--partly because it featured Stevie Ray … Continue reading That time I asked Doyle Bramhall II if he was excited about playing with Stevie Ray Vaughan’s rhythm section in Arc Angels