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

That time Doyle Bramhall II told me that being in Arc Angels was both a good time and a bad time for him

By Steve Newton Long before he started getting known in guitar circles for his extremely tasty playing both onstage and in the studio with Eric Clapton, Doyle Bramhall II was a member of Arc Angels. He and Charlie Sexton shared the singer-songwriter-guitarist duties in the band, with a rhythm section comprised of bassist Tommy Shannon … Continue reading That time Doyle Bramhall II told me that being in Arc Angels was both a good time and a bad time for him

That time guitar great Marc Bonilla told me how inspired he was by the playing of Ronnie Montrose

By Steve Newton Marc Bonilla might be one of the greatest guitarists you've never heard of. I guess he's kind of like Joe Hodgson is today, except that Bonilla came on the scene 30 years ago. I interviewed him back in April of 1992, the year after he released an amazing all-instrumental debut album called … Continue reading That time guitar great Marc Bonilla told me how inspired he was by the playing of Ronnie Montrose

That time Robert Randolph told me that he was inspired by the passion and soul of Stevie Ray Vaughan

By Steve Newton Back in April of 2003 I did my first interview with pedal-steel virtuoso Robert Randolph, who was just 24 at the time. At one point in the conversation I asked him about the time five years earlier when somebody gave him a tape of Stevie Ray Vaughan, which made a huge impression … Continue reading That time Robert Randolph told me that he was inspired by the passion and soul of Stevie Ray Vaughan

That time I asked Leslie West if he was excited to hook up with Jack Bruce in West, Bruce & Laing

By Steve Newton Most of the music news regarding the passing last month of guitar legend Leslie West has focused on his work with Mountain, and justifiably so, since that band recorded timeless tracks like "Mississippi Queen" and "Nantucket Sleighride" and "Theme for an Imaginary Western". But after Mountain produced those gems West and Mountain … Continue reading That time I asked Leslie West if he was excited to hook up with Jack Bruce in West, Bruce & Laing

Ten weeks after Randy Rhoads’ death Ozzy told me that the fallen guitar hero could do anything

By Steve Newton I did my first interview with Ozzy Osbourne in early June of 1982, ten weeks after his beloved guitarist, Randy Rhoads, perished in a fiery plane crash at the age of 25. No wonder he sounded bummed out. Rhoads' place on the Diary of a Madman Tour had been taken first by … Continue reading Ten weeks after Randy Rhoads’ death Ozzy told me that the fallen guitar hero could do anything

That time Leslie West told me that Ozzy Osbourne said Mountain really turned him on to American rock

By Steve Newton If you liked Black Sabbath in the seventies, you probably liked Mountain as well. Both bands were well versed in the art of the killer riff. Sabbath's Tony Iommi and Mountain's Leslie West were good buddies, as West told me during an interview in 2002. He also said that Ozzy Osbourne once … Continue reading That time Leslie West told me that Ozzy Osbourne said Mountain really turned him on to American rock

Leslie West’s absence from the Rock Hall is as shocking as the exclusion of Rory, Johnny, and Link

By Steve Newton Since the news hit yesterday about the death of beloved guitar legend Leslie West, accolades have been pouring in from some of the world's finest pickers. "Leslie's playing and sound was just superb," said Tony Iommi, whose band Black Sabbath used to open for West's group Mountain. "One of the GOAT," declared … Continue reading Leslie West’s absence from the Rock Hall is as shocking as the exclusion of Rory, Johnny, and Link

Leslie West dead at 75: the Mountain man leaves a legacy of timeless guitar riffs and killer tone

By Steve Newton 2020 is apparently not done taking our guitar heroes. After the devastating death of Eddie Van Halen on October 6 of this year, now we've lost another six-string legend in Leslie West. As I reported yesterday, West had been on a ventilator the last couple of days, after his heart gave out, … Continue reading Leslie West dead at 75: the Mountain man leaves a legacy of timeless guitar riffs and killer tone

Leslie West, guitar legend of Mountain fame, gravely ill after his heart stopped

By Steve Newton Fans of Leslie West should send thoughts and prayers to the American rock-guitar legend. Yesterday West's brother, Larry West Weinstein, posted on Facebook that Leslie was gravely ill and near death after his heart stopped, and that he was put on a ventilator. "I am asking for all your prayers," wrote Weinstein. … Continue reading Leslie West, guitar legend of Mountain fame, gravely ill after his heart stopped