That time Mick Mars told me that I might have to listen harder to hear the sex and violence on the Crue’s Theatre of Pain

By Steve Newton Back in November of 1985 I interviewed Motley Crue's Mick Mars at a Vancouver hotel before the band performed on its Theatre of Pain tour. If anybody can remember that far back they may recall that that was the same month that the RIAA (Record Industry Association of America) agreed to put … Continue reading That time Mick Mars told me that I might have to listen harder to hear the sex and violence on the Crue’s Theatre of Pain

Joey Belladonna talks rap/metal crossover while Anthrax and Public Enemy bring the noise on tour

By Steve Newton Back in the eighties there was a thing called "The Big Four" which meant the top four American thrash-metal bands, including Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax, and Slayer. I never interviewed anybody in Slayer, but I have interviewed two members of Metallica (James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich), three members of Megadeth (Dave Mustaine, Marty … Continue reading Joey Belladonna talks rap/metal crossover while Anthrax and Public Enemy bring the noise on tour

That time Lars Ulrich told me how Cliff Burton came up with the title for Metallica’s Kill ‘Em All

By Steve Newton Way the funk back in March of 1985 I did my first interview with Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich. At the time Ulrich was only 21, and his band was touring behind its second album, Ride the Lightning. At one point in the conversation I asked him why the group went with such … Continue reading That time Lars Ulrich told me how Cliff Burton came up with the title for Metallica’s Kill ‘Em All

That time Dave Mustaine called out trendy jackasses while Megadeth toured behind Cyptic Writings

By Steve Newton When it comes to the so-called "Big Four" of American heavy-metal acts--Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, and Anthrax--I tend to pick Metallica as my fave. But I do like a few Megadeth tunes as well, "Symphony of Destruction" being particularly hard to beat. I've interviewed band leader Dave Mustaine three times, the first being … Continue reading That time Dave Mustaine called out trendy jackasses while Megadeth toured behind Cyptic Writings

That time 21-year-old Lars Ulrich woke up early to call and tell me how Metallica’s new Ride the Lightning album was doin’

By Steve Newton I've interviewed Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich four times because, hey, I like Metallica. This is the first time, way the funk back in March of 1985, when the band was still touring behind its second album, Ride the Lightning. Lars called me up from L.A. and filled me in on how the … Continue reading That time 21-year-old Lars Ulrich woke up early to call and tell me how Metallica’s new Ride the Lightning album was doin’

That time Vinnie Paul told me that the guy on the cover of Pantera’s new album got paid $300 for getting punched in the face

By Steve Newton I interviewed Pantera cofounder and drummer Vinnie Paul on February 20, 1992, five days before the release of the band's sixth album, Vulgar Display of Power. The followup to its breakthrough Cowboys from Hell LP, VDOP featured a cover photo of some guy getting punched in the head, so when Vinnie called me … Continue reading That time Vinnie Paul told me that the guy on the cover of Pantera’s new album got paid $300 for getting punched in the face

That time I asked Iron Maiden’s Steve Harris if he had to practice a lot to keep his bass licks up

By Steve Newton I've been fortunate enough to have interviewed Iron Maiden members six times between 1982 and 2012, but the only time I chatted with bass god Steve Harris was in May of 1988, when the band was touring behind its Seventh Son of a Seventh Son LP. That disc featured the wicked singles "Can … Continue reading That time I asked Iron Maiden’s Steve Harris if he had to practice a lot to keep his bass licks up

That time I told Rob Halford that “Freewheel Burning” was my fave tune on Judas Priest’s new album

By Steve Newton I've interviewed Rob Halford five times over the years, the first being way the funk back in 1984, when Judas Priest was headed to Vancouver on the Defenders of the Faith tour. At one point in the conversation I asked Rob which tune on the new album was his personal favourite, and … Continue reading That time I told Rob Halford that “Freewheel Burning” was my fave tune on Judas Priest’s new album

Annihilator’s Jeff Waters wants to see Van Halen, Kiss, Slayer, and Ozzy (with Randy Rhoads) in a club tonight

By Steve Newton Had a nice chat with Annihilator's Jeff Waters a couple days ago, in advance of his show at the Rickshaw Theatre in Vancouver on June 15. It had been a while. The last time I interviewed him was back in 1990, when his then-Vancouver-based band had just released its second (and most … Continue reading Annihilator’s Jeff Waters wants to see Van Halen, Kiss, Slayer, and Ozzy (with Randy Rhoads) in a club tonight

Blitzspeer’s Phil Caivano says the New York metal scene kicks L.A.’s poser ass

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, APRIL 11, 1991 By Steve Newton In the rock journalism biz, it’s sometimes fun to get your interviewee a little riled. Like when Blitzspeer vocalist Phil Caivano calls from New York and has to respond to the sly query about whether the metal scene in the Big Apple is … Continue reading Blitzspeer’s Phil Caivano says the New York metal scene kicks L.A.’s poser ass

Oderus Urungus threatens to cancel GWAR’s Vancouver show just because I called

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MARCH 14, 1991 By Steve Newton Sugar and spice and everything nice—that’s definitely not what a concert by Gwar is made of. Simulated decapitation and dismemberment, phony entrails all over the place, fake blood dousing the crowd, and a numbing type of thrash metal that incorporates lyrics even more … Continue reading Oderus Urungus threatens to cancel GWAR’s Vancouver show just because I called

Riff Kills Man proves that Martin Popoff knows his shit when it comes to metal

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MARCH 17, 1994 By Steve Newton Heavy-metal and hard-rock fans are a fanatical bunch. They thrive on raunchy guitar solos, thundering drums, and howling vocals. They live for feedback. They despise earplugs. And when it comes to their favourite kind of music, they always know who rules. So does … Continue reading Riff Kills Man proves that Martin Popoff knows his shit when it comes to metal

Iron Maiden’s Dave Murray, age 30, says “it’s good to know we’ve got a few years to go yet”

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, APRIL 24, 1987 By Steve Newton England's Iron Maiden is different than most other heavy metal bands in a lot of ways. For one thing, they can all play their instruments, and very well. Their songs are quite complex, and the lyrics aren't simple-minded: there are no likes like … Continue reading Iron Maiden’s Dave Murray, age 30, says “it’s good to know we’ve got a few years to go yet”

That time Ozzy Osbourne told me that he wasn’t “a fucking warlock” trying to turn people into satanists

By Steve Newton I've interviewed Ozzy Osbourne a couple of times, but it's been over 30 years. The first time was in 1982--not long after the tragic death of guitar legend Randy Rhoads--and the second was in '84, when he was touring with Rhoads' replacement, Jake E. Lee, on the Bark at the Moon Tour. … Continue reading That time Ozzy Osbourne told me that he wasn’t “a fucking warlock” trying to turn people into satanists

Three months after Metallica bassist Cliff Burton’s death James Hetfield told me “You can’t give up”

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 26, 1986 By Steve Newton "Beware the Merciless Onslaught" were the words that came to me when Metallica vocalist James Hetfield opened the door of his Hyatt Regency hotel room. That message was emblazoned on orange across Hetfield's black t-shirt. Straggly blonde hair hung across his rough face and thick sideburns, and … Continue reading Three months after Metallica bassist Cliff Burton’s death James Hetfield told me “You can’t give up”

That time 23-year-old James Hetfield told me that Metallica’s new bassist was “fairly goofy”

By Steve Newton Back in 1986 I interviewed Metallica's James Hetfield in his messy Vancouver hotel room. The band had just hired Jason Newsted, who had beaten out a barrage of hopefuls for the prized role of bassist, taking over from the deceased Cliff Burton. At one point Hetfield explained how Metallica had found Newsted, how … Continue reading That time 23-year-old James Hetfield told me that Metallica’s new bassist was “fairly goofy”

That time I asked Metallica’s 23-year-old James Hetfield who his fave metal bands were

By Steve Newton Back in 1986 I met James Hetfield in his hotel room in Vancouver, and we talked for a bit about heavy metal, the death of Cliff Burton, new bassist Jason Newsted, and Metallica's latest album, Master of Puppets. I'm not sure which day in '86 the interview happened, but it was sometime … Continue reading That time I asked Metallica’s 23-year-old James Hetfield who his fave metal bands were

Opeth founder Mikael Åkerfeldt loves ’70s rock, says he was born in the wrong decade

randall vasquez photo By Steve Newton One run-through of its new album, Sorceress, is evidence enough that Swedish quintet Opeth was heavily influenced by ’70s prog rock. The disc was also recorded at the famed Rockfield Studios in Wales, where bands like Rush, Budgie, Hawkwind, and Queen laid down prog-heavy tracks back in the day. As … Continue reading Opeth founder Mikael Åkerfeldt loves ’70s rock, says he was born in the wrong decade

Opeth leader Mikael Åkerfeldt claims that Sweden discriminates against its metal bands

By Steve Newton I called Opeth frontman Mikael Åkerfeldt up in Houston last week, and we had a nice little chat about his band’s new Nuclear Blast album, Sorceress, and how the group has evolved from its death-metal origins to become much more prog-based. At one point I asked Åkerfeldt what the music scene was currently … Continue reading Opeth leader Mikael Åkerfeldt claims that Sweden discriminates against its metal bands

That time Tony Iommi told me about the “loon” who wanted to stab him onstage at a Black Sabbath show

By Steve Newton This is probly the last audio excerpt I'll post from my 2007 interview with legendary Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi. Maybe one day I'll just post the whole damn conversation--and the one from 1984 as well. You'll have to keep checking back to find out, I suppose. Anyway, this excerpt I thought was … Continue reading That time Tony Iommi told me about the “loon” who wanted to stab him onstage at a Black Sabbath show

That time I asked Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi if music was just better in the seventies

By Steve Newton When I interviewed legendary Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi in 2007 he had recently reunited with Ronnie James Dio for a tour under the band name Heaven and Hell, which was used to differentiate it from the Ozzy Osbourne-fronted version of Sabbath. At the time there were a few other big reunion … Continue reading That time I asked Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi if music was just better in the seventies

That time I asked Tony Iommi how Ronnie James Dio compared to Ozzy Osbourne in Black Sabbath

  By Steve Newton Since time immemorial--or at least since Dio replaced Ozzy in Sabbath back in '79--armchair rock critics have debated the merits of the two singers. It's hard to complain about anything Ozzy did with the band up until the awesome Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath album of 1973; then again, after three spotty LPs, … Continue reading That time I asked Tony Iommi how Ronnie James Dio compared to Ozzy Osbourne in Black Sabbath

Vancouver metal in ’86: plugging Kradle, Nite Vigil, Assault, and Harlots Webb

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 15, 1986 By Steve Newton Vancouver hard-rock fans who's been thirsting for a taste of homegrown metal should consider visiting the New York Theatre this Saturday (August 16). That's when Burnaby's Kradle will be doing their best to prove that raunchy and original sounds are still alive and … Continue reading Vancouver metal in ’86: plugging Kradle, Nite Vigil, Assault, and Harlots Webb

That time Black Sabbath riffmaster Tony Iommi told me that the first guitar he ever wanted was a Fender Strat

By Steve Newton So here's the last of the audio excerpts from my 1984 interview with Tony Iommi, back when Black Sabbath was touring behind the Born Again album. I called him up at his home in Birmingham--or maybe he called me up, it was a while ago--and we chatted about stuff like the band's blowing … Continue reading That time Black Sabbath riffmaster Tony Iommi told me that the first guitar he ever wanted was a Fender Strat

That time back in ’84 when Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi told me: “If I go deaf, I go deaf”

By Steve Newton Sometimes when I interviewed heavy-metal bands in the '80s I'd play the devil's advocate and ask silly questions like "What do you say to people who think you're too loud?". Or if they were really heavy--like Black Sabbath--I'd ask them if they were worried about damaging their hearing with their music. I … Continue reading That time back in ’84 when Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi told me: “If I go deaf, I go deaf”

That time Tony Iommi told me about wanting to play drums, losing his fingertips, and loving Django

By Steve Newton Here's another audio excerpt from my 1984 interview with Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi, wherein he reveals that he wanted to be a drummer at first. Thank god he got over that! Iommi also talks about losing two fingertips in an industrial accident, and how he was inspired to keep on playing by … Continue reading That time Tony Iommi told me about wanting to play drums, losing his fingertips, and loving Django

That time Tony Iommi told me about that Spinal Tap moment with Stonehenge props on Black Sabbath’s Born Again tour

I'm pretty sure these are the smaller Stonehenge props Iommi mentions at the very end of the excerpt. By Steve Newton Previously I've offered up audio excerpts from my 1984 interview with Tony Iommi in which the Black Sabbath guitarist talked about blowing up singer Ian Gillan's boat during recording sessions for Born Again, and … Continue reading That time Tony Iommi told me about that Spinal Tap moment with Stonehenge props on Black Sabbath’s Born Again tour