That time Warren Haynes told me that it felt strange being chosen best slide player over Johnny, Sonny, and Ry (“The Man”)

By Steve Newton Warren Haynes is one helluva slide-guitar player, as anyone who's heard him will attest. There's a reason why Dickey Betts brought him along to handle Duane Allman's slide parts when he rejoined the Allman Brothers back in '89. When I interviewed Haynes in November of 1998 he'd won the latest Guitar Player … Continue reading That time Warren Haynes told me that it felt strange being chosen best slide player over Johnny, Sonny, and Ry (“The Man”)

That time Zakk Wylde and I agreed that Lynyrd Skynyrd were right to return with Johnny Van Zant

By Steve Newton The first time I interviewed Zakk Wylde, back in 1994, he was still a member of the southern-rock band Pride & Glory, which was previously known as Lynyrd Skynhead. So knowing he was a huge Skynyrd fan, I asked him how he felt about the surviving band members getting back together seven years … Continue reading That time Zakk Wylde and I agreed that Lynyrd Skynyrd were right to return with Johnny Van Zant

That time Randy Hansen told me that everything became clear to him when he first heard Jimi Hendrix

By Steve Newton If there ever were a guitarist who deserved being paid tribute to, it's Jimi Hendrix. Randy Hansen has been doing just that for decades now, and few Hendrix aficionados have complained. I interviewed Hansen back in August of 2001, and he told me about the first time he heard his idol. Have … Continue reading That time Randy Hansen told me that everything became clear to him when he first heard Jimi Hendrix

That time 20-year-old Davy Knowles told me that Rory Gallagher was his absolute idol

By Steve Newton Rory Gallagher fanatics will know Davy Knowles as the astounding guitarist who joined Gallagher's former bassist Gerry McAvoy and late drummer Ted McKenna in Band of Friends, recreating the Irish guitar legend's music live in recent years. But Knowles was professing his love for everything Gallagher long before Band of Friends hit … Continue reading That time 20-year-old Davy Knowles told me that Rory Gallagher was his absolute idol

That time Steve Stevens told me that he thought Sweet’s “Action” was a Queen song

By Steve Newton I was a pretty big Billy Idol fan back in the '80s, around the Rebel Yell period, but my attraction to his music had as much to do with his guitarist and cosongwriter as the sneering blonde rocker himself. I thought Steve Stevens was a wicked picker who had his own unique … Continue reading That time Steve Stevens told me that he thought Sweet’s “Action” was a Queen song

That time Warren Haynes told me about leaving the Allman Brothers to ride Gov’t Mule full time

By Steve Newton I did my first interview with Warren Haynes in 1994, when he was a member of the Allman Brothers Band, and I did my second interview with him in 1998, the year after he and bassist Allen Woody had left them. Haynes and Woody had quit the Allmans to put all their … Continue reading That time Warren Haynes told me about leaving the Allman Brothers to ride Gov’t Mule full time

That time Zakk Wylde told me what he really thought of Randy Rhoads, Jake E. Lee, and Tony Iommi

By Steve Newton Whether you think Ozzy Osbourne is a genius or not, ya gotta admit that he's a mastermind when it comes to finding killer guitarists. Tony Iommi, Randy Rhoads, Jake E. Lee, Zakk Wylde--those are some pretty smokin' pickers. When I interviewed 27-year-old Wylde back in 1994 I asked him what he thought … Continue reading That time Zakk Wylde told me what he really thought of Randy Rhoads, Jake E. Lee, and Tony Iommi

That time Robben Ford told me that hearing Mike Bloomfield made him want to be a guitar player

By Steve Newton I did the first of my three interviews with American guitar ace Robben Ford in April of 1993, when he was touring behind the first Robben Ford & the Blue Line album. There was some damn tasty guitar playing on that platter if I recall correctly. At one point in the conversation … Continue reading That time Robben Ford told me that hearing Mike Bloomfield made him want to be a guitar player

That time Doyle Bramhall II told me about his dad’s connections to Jimmie and Stevie Ray Vaughan

By Steve Newton If you're a Stevie Ray Vaughan fan who also likes reading liner notes you've no doubt noticed the name Doyle Bramhall on a number of Stevie Ray Vaughan albums. Bramhall is credited with cowriting such SRV tunes as "Dirty Pool" (from Texas Flood) and In Step's "The House is Rockin'", "Tightrope", "Wall … Continue reading That time Doyle Bramhall II told me about his dad’s connections to Jimmie and Stevie Ray Vaughan

In praise of the unreal Allan Holdsworth

By Steve Newton A few days ago I posted my 1986 interview with Allan Holdsworth on the Facebook group The unReal Allan Holdsworth. With over 16,000 members, the page offers "everything pertaining to his music, his history, his friends and the influence he's had on the music scene and on guitarists." One of the comments on … Continue reading In praise of the unreal Allan Holdsworth

That time Steve Vai told me that a teenage out-of-body experience inspired his Passion and Warfare

By Steve Newton Steve Vai blew a lot of guitar freaks away when he released his Passion and Warfare album back in May of 1990. I was one of them. Just as the album hit record-store shelves  I interviewed the 29-year-old fret master and asked him about the "dream state" experience that inspired it. Have … Continue reading That time Steve Vai told me that a teenage out-of-body experience inspired his Passion and Warfare

That time I thanked Ace Frehley for all those awesome Kiss guitar licks that got me riled up as a teen

By Steve Newton If you'd told me when the first Kiss album came out in '74 that one day I'd be interviewing the guy playing all those wicked Les Paul licks on "Deuce" and "Strutter" my teenaged self mighta hollered "Hell yeah!" And 34 years later there I was, talkin' on the phone with Ace … Continue reading That time I thanked Ace Frehley for all those awesome Kiss guitar licks that got me riled up as a teen

That time I asked Joe Satriani why he chose Ibanez guitars instead of Strats and Les Pauls

By Steve Newton I've interviewed Joe Satriani eight times because, hey, nobody plays guitar like Satch. He's one of a kind. The last time I interviewed him was in 2018, and the first time was way the funk back in January of 1990, when he was touring behind his stunning Flying in a Blue Dream album. … Continue reading That time I asked Joe Satriani why he chose Ibanez guitars instead of Strats and Les Pauls

That time I called Vernon Reid up in Germany and told him that I liked Living Colour’s new album Vivid

By Steve Newton Way the funk back in November of 1988 I interviewed Living Colour guitarist and main songwriter Vernon Reid, who was quite the shredder back then. At the time his band was touring behind its hit debut album, Vivid, which went double platinum and featured the Grammy-winning single "Cult of Personality". I liked … Continue reading That time I called Vernon Reid up in Germany and told him that I liked Living Colour’s new album Vivid

That time I asked Mike Campbell if he thought “Refugee” was a hit as soon as he wrote the music for it

By Steve Newton Tom Petty was one helluva songwriter, as we all know, but every once in a while he'd get help composing a tune from his guitarist and mainman Mike Campbell. Like on "Refugee", the second single from 1980's Damn the Torpedoes. I love that tune, so when I interviewed Campbell in the summer … Continue reading That time I asked Mike Campbell if he thought “Refugee” was a hit as soon as he wrote the music for it

That time Zakk Wylde told me about jamming with Skynyrd and covering for Dickey Betts in the Allmans

By Steve Newton Zakk Wylde may be best known as the guitarist and songwriter who took over from Jake E. Lee to help Ozzy Osbourne stay on the charts with tunes like "No More Tears" and "Perry Mason", but southern-rock fans also know him as the frontman in the power trio Pride & Glory, which was … Continue reading That time Zakk Wylde told me about jamming with Skynyrd and covering for Dickey Betts in the Allmans

That time I asked Alex Van Halen when he first figured out that Eddie had the makings of a guitar legend

By Steve Newton Everybody remembers the first time they heard Eddie Van Halen. Or they should, anyway. For me it was sometime in early '78 when the band's first single, "You Really Got Me", scorched the airwaves. It was clear right away that the guy creating the six-string racket had the makings of a guitar … Continue reading That time I asked Alex Van Halen when he first figured out that Eddie had the makings of a guitar legend

That time Doyle Bramhall II told me what it was like touring with the “brilliant” Eric Clapton

By Steve Newton Over the years I've asked various famous guitarists who they'd most like to play with, if they could choose anyone in the world, and more often than not the answer is Eric Clapton. Doyle Bramhall II is one of the lucky ones who've swapped solos with Slowhand. When I interviewed him back … Continue reading That time Doyle Bramhall II told me what it was like touring with the “brilliant” Eric Clapton

That time John Sykes told me how he got Tony Franklin and Carmine Appice to commit to Blue Murder

By Steve Newton If you've been reading my blogs for any length of time you must know that Thin Lizzy is one of my all-time favourite bands. I just love anything to do with them. John Sykes had something to do with Thin Lizzy--like playing on their final studio album, and their last live one … Continue reading That time John Sykes told me how he got Tony Franklin and Carmine Appice to commit to Blue Murder

That time Rickey Medlocke told me that he was hired to play Allen Collins’ guitar parts in Skynyrd

By Steve Newton Back in 1997 Lynyrd Skynyrd was headed to Vancouver for a show with Paul Rodgers and Kenny Wayne Shepherd, so you bet your ass I was gonna go. I was also gonna interview Rickey Medlocke, who had rejoined the band to play guitar alongside founding member Gary Rossington and former Outlaws picker … Continue reading That time Rickey Medlocke told me that he was hired to play Allen Collins’ guitar parts in Skynyrd

That time Carlos Santana told me that he was open to anything and everything

By Steve Newton Carlos Santana has been known as a brilliant guitarist since the 1960s, but he didn't hit his commercial peak until the release of the Supernatural album in 1999. That disc featured collaborations with artists such as Eric Clapton, Rob Thomas, Eagle-Eye Cherry, Lauryn Hill, and Dave Matthews, and sold a staggering 30-million copies worldwide. … Continue reading That time Carlos Santana told me that he was open to anything and everything

That time Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell told me how he got into Tom Petty’s band

By Steve Newton Tom Petty is one of my favourite rockers, and I'm really bummed that I never got to interview him. But I did get to do the next best thing, which was chat with his forever guitarist, Mike Campbell. I interviewed Campbell in August of 1999, before Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers played … Continue reading That time Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell told me how he got into Tom Petty’s band

That time Steve Vai told me what was so great about Ibanez guitars

By Steve Newton The first time I interviewed Steve Vai, back in May of 1990, he had just released his Passion and Warfare album and was on the covers of all the top guitar mags clutching an Ibanez guitar. So at one point in the conversation I asked him about the Ibanez seven-string and what made … Continue reading That time Steve Vai told me what was so great about Ibanez guitars

That time Ace Frehley told me that deep down inside Gene Simmons was a teddy bear

By Steve Newton When it comes to legendary rocker Gene Simmons, you either love him or hate him. Some say he's an arrogant, money-hungry, womanizing prick; others say that he's a legendary rocker, so who cares. When I got the opportunity to interview Simmons' former Kiss bandmate Ace Frehley back in 2008 I asked him … Continue reading That time Ace Frehley told me that deep down inside Gene Simmons was a teddy bear

That time Stevie Ray Vaughan told me how incredibly awesome John Hammond was

By Steve Newton When I interviewed Stevie Ray Vaughan for the second and last time, in July of 1990, he was still touring behind his fourth studio album, In Step. At one point in the conversation I mentioned that the album was dedicated to John Hammond--the famed American record producer, civil rights activist, and music … Continue reading That time Stevie Ray Vaughan told me how incredibly awesome John Hammond was

That time Doyle Bramhall II called from Chicago and told me how he came to work with Eric Clapton

todd v. wolfson photo By Steve Newton Unless you're a hardcore fan of bluesy music or a devoted follower of Eric Clapton you may not recognize the name Doyle Bramhall II, but he's been one of the most in-demand guitarists in the blues-rock world for many years. I did my first interview with him back … Continue reading That time Doyle Bramhall II called from Chicago and told me how he came to work with Eric Clapton

That time I asked Steve Vai how it was different playing with David Coverdale than David Lee Roth

By Steve Newton When I did my first interview with Steve Vai in 1990 he had just released his solo album Passion and Warfare, but at the time was also a member of David Coverdale's hugely popular Whitesnake. A year earlier Vai had left David Lee Roth's equally successful band, so when I called him up I … Continue reading That time I asked Steve Vai how it was different playing with David Coverdale than David Lee Roth