That time I asked Rob Halford what his personal fave tune was on the new Judas Priest album Painkiller

By Steve Newton I've interviewed Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford four times, and he's always been a very amicable, well-spoken chap. The second time was back in October of 1990, one month after the release of Priest's Painkiller album. At one point in the conversation I asked Halford what his personal favourite tune was on … Continue reading That time I asked Rob Halford what his personal fave tune was on the new Judas Priest album Painkiller

Nazareth’s 20 best songs, from wicked to freakin’ awesome

By Steve Newton The sad news about Nazareth guitarist Manny Charlton passing away on July 5 inspired me to compile my list of the band's best songs. Not surprisingly, they're almost all from the '70s. 20. "Just to Get Into It" (No Mean City, 1979) 19. "Silver Dollar Forger (Parts 1 & 2)" (Rampant, 1974) … Continue reading Nazareth’s 20 best songs, from wicked to freakin’ awesome

That time I asked ex-David Lee Roth bassist Billy Sheehan if he would jump at the chance to join Van Halen

By Steve Newton Back in August of 1989 I interviewed American bass god Billy Sheehan, who was promoting the new, self-titled debut album by his latest band, Mr. Big. The previous year Sheehan had been playing with Steve Vai in David Lee Roth's band, so as the conversation was winding down I asked him whether--if … Continue reading That time I asked ex-David Lee Roth bassist Billy Sheehan if he would jump at the chance to join Van Halen

Metal mayhem in the summer of ’82: scoring cover stories on Ozzy, Maiden, and Scorps

By Steve Newton Forty years ago, around this time, I was livin' the dream--if the dream was to be a journalist specializing in heavy metal. I'd recently found work as a freelance music writer/proofreader with the Georgia Straight, a weekly Vancouver newspaper. The cool thing was, within a span of six weeks, I got to … Continue reading Metal mayhem in the summer of ’82: scoring cover stories on Ozzy, Maiden, and Scorps

That time I asked Mike Gordon if he was amazed by the success of H.O.R.D.E. tourmates Spin Doctors

By Steve Newton Back in March of 1993 I interviewed Phish bassist Mike Gordon, whose band was touring behind its fourth album, Rift, and heading to Vancouver for a club show. The previous year Phish had taken part in the first annual H.O.R.D.E. festival, which also included the Spin Doctors. So at one point in … Continue reading That time I asked Mike Gordon if he was amazed by the success of H.O.R.D.E. tourmates Spin Doctors

Thin Lizzy: A People’s History celebrates one of the greatest rock bands of all time

By Steve Newton British author and music historian Richard Houghton just sent me an autographed copy of his new hardcover book, Thin Lizzy: A People's History, and man does it look awesome. I haven't read it yet, but what I can tell you is that it brings together memories of that amazing band from hundreds … Continue reading Thin Lizzy: A People’s History celebrates one of the greatest rock bands of all time

That time John Cougar told me that he’d much rather be known as John Mellencamp

By Steve Newton In May of 1983 I did my first interview with John Mellencamp, or at least that's who he wanted to be. Back then the heartland rocker was still known as John Cougar, and was riding high on the breakthrough success of his latest album, American Fool, which spent nine weeks at the … Continue reading That time John Cougar told me that he’d much rather be known as John Mellencamp

That time I asked Mick Mars if Mötley Crüe made enough money for Vince Neil to pay off his deadly drunk-driving fine

By Steve Newton Back in November of 1985 I sat down with Mötley Crüe guitarist Mick Mars for an interview before the band played Vancouver on its Theatre of Pain tour. That was just two months after Crue singer Vince Neil had been sentenced to 30 days in jail (he served 19), five years' probation, … Continue reading That time I asked Mick Mars if Mötley Crüe made enough money for Vince Neil to pay off his deadly drunk-driving fine

That time Joan Jett told me how she was inspired to write “Don’t Surrender” by actress Jill Ireland

By Steve Newton Back in January of 1992 I interviewed Joan Jett while she was promoting her latest album, Notorious. At one point in the conversation we started talking about potential singles on the album, which led to her explaining the inspiration for her latest video/single, "Don't Surrender". Turns out it was inspired by British … Continue reading That time Joan Jett told me how she was inspired to write “Don’t Surrender” by actress Jill Ireland

Phil Lynott and Thin Lizzy freaks get a primo double-shot with new concert/documentary package

By Steve Newton Today I received a press release from Kayos Productions regarding an upcoming CD/DVD by one of my all-time favourite bands. The promo material started off like this: "With their driving hooks, twin lead guitars, lyrics saturated in working-class lore, and the charismatic presence of singer, songwriter, and bassist Phil Lynott, Thin Lizzy … Continue reading Phil Lynott and Thin Lizzy freaks get a primo double-shot with new concert/documentary package

That time Bob Rock told me that Metallica never have and never will sell out

By Steve Newton Bob Rock is the famed producer best known for helming several Metallica albums, including their hugely popular Black Album of 1991. I've interviewed Rock a few times, both for his role as a producer and as a rockin' guitarist in bands like the Payola$, Rock and Hyde, and Rockhead. Back in February of … Continue reading That time Bob Rock told me that Metallica never have and never will sell out

That time John Cougar told me that he was looking forward to the US Festival (but then he didn’t go)

By Steve Newton I interviewed John Mellencamp for the first time when he was still called John Cougar. Back in May of 1983 he was touring behind his latest album, American Fool, but for some reason the Vancouver show got canceled and the interview I did with him never ran. At one point in the … Continue reading That time John Cougar told me that he was looking forward to the US Festival (but then he didn’t go)

That time Cy Curnin of the Fixx told me about his love for Tina Turner

You'd smile if you were next to Tina too! By Steve Newton Way back in October of 1984 I interviewed Cy Curnin, lead vocalist for the Fixx. That was one year after the band released its most popular album, Reach the Beach, which went platinum in the States on the strength of hits like "Saved … Continue reading That time Cy Curnin of the Fixx told me about his love for Tina Turner

That time Styx guitarist James Young told me about getting drunk with Thin Lizzy’s Phil Lynott

By Steve Newton I remember buying the Styx album The Grand Illusion when it came out back in 1977, but they were never one of my favourite bands. I enjoyed a few of their more rockin' tunes ("Too Much Time on My Hands", "Blue Collar Man [Long Nights]"), but there was also something about them--a … Continue reading That time Styx guitarist James Young told me about getting drunk with Thin Lizzy’s Phil Lynott

That time Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Rickey Medlocke told me that Paul Rodgers was one of his big vocal influences

By Steve Newton Back in 1997 I interviewed Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist Rickey Medlocke in advance of a Vancouver show by Skynyrd that also had Paul Rodgers on the bill. I'd been a big fan of Medlocke's previous band, Blackfoot, back in the seventies, and always loved their version of Free's "Wishing Well" on the 1979 … Continue reading That time Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Rickey Medlocke told me that Paul Rodgers was one of his big vocal influences

That time Cinderella’s Tom Keifer told me that, if you were in a hard-rock band, Philadelphia sucked

By Steve Newton Back in March of 1991 I interviewed Tom Keifer, frontman and main songwriter for Philadelphia hard-rock band Cinderella. That was less than four months after the release of the group's third album, Heartbreak Station, which spawned the hit single "Shelter Me". At one point in the conversation I asked Keifer what sort … Continue reading That time Cinderella’s Tom Keifer told me that, if you were in a hard-rock band, Philadelphia sucked

ZZ Top’s 20 best songs, from wicked to freakin’ awesome

By Steve Newton God bless that little ol' band from Texas. 20. "Just Got Back from Baby's" (ZZ Top's First Album, 1971) 19. "She's a Heartbreaker" (Tejas, 1976) 18, "Just Got Paid" (Rio Grande Mud, 1972) 17. "Tube Snake Boogie" (El Loco, 1981) 16. "Master of Sparks" (Tres Hombres, 1973) 15. "PCH" (Antenna, 1994) 14. … Continue reading ZZ Top’s 20 best songs, from wicked to freakin’ awesome

Led Zeppelin’s 20 best songs, from wicked to freakin’ awesome

By Steve Newton I realize millions of Zep fans might complain about "Stairway to Heaven" not being Number One, but they'll get over it. 20. "Ten Years Gone" (Physical Graffiti, 1975) 19. "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You" (Led Zeppelin, 1969) 18. "Celebration Day" (Led Zeppelin III, 1970) 17. "Achilles Last Stand" (Presence, 1976) 16. "In … Continue reading Led Zeppelin’s 20 best songs, from wicked to freakin’ awesome