Rock and Roll Damnation: the heavy-metal concert review as post-secondary writing exercise

By Steve Newton There's a comedic reading series running in Vancouver called Teen Angst Night, where people read embarrassing things they wrote as a youth. This is kinda like that. When I was taking English 304 at UBC one of the assignments was to write something where each sentence started with a different letter of … Continue reading Rock and Roll Damnation: the heavy-metal concert review as post-secondary writing exercise

Album review: Heart, Heart (1985)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 2, 1985 By Steve Newton For their ninth album--and their first on Capitol Records--Heart have utilized the talents of celebrated producer Ron Nevison (Led Zeppelin, the Who), and come up with a catchy collection of heavy-duty rock tunes and soaring ballads. The rockers take up the bulk of this … Continue reading Album review: Heart, Heart (1985)

You can tell a book by its covers: The Georgia Straight–A 50th Anniversary Celebration

By Steve Newton FULL DISCLOSURE: I've worked at the Georgia Straight since '82 so, yeah, I could be a little biased. I didn't grow up in Vancouver. I hail from the small Fraser Valley community of Chilliwack, best known for ice storms in the winter, Cultus Lake in the summer, and the rock band Chilliwack … Continue reading You can tell a book by its covers: The Georgia Straight–A 50th Anniversary Celebration

That time I was a total jerk and cheered for Sonny Liston to beat Cassius Clay

By Steve Newton So, one of the greatest men who ever lived dies and CTV News Channel, in its FOX-like rush to be first with the BREAKING NEWS, can’t even get his name right. Not even close. “Muhamed Ali”. That’s bloody embarrassing, I must say. I’ve got my own embarrassing Ali story to tell, mind … Continue reading That time I was a total jerk and cheered for Sonny Liston to beat Cassius Clay

Me and My Colonoscopy: the story of a man and his ass

By Steve Newton Normally I just use this site to write about guitar-rock and horror movies and good stuff like that, but I recently had a colonoscopy, so figured I should write about that too, because, you know--what's more hilarious than the thought of somebody pokin' around in your butt, tryna see stuff? And besides, it's like a … Continue reading Me and My Colonoscopy: the story of a man and his ass

Jaco Pastorius, the wickedest bass player of all time, is everywhere next month

By Steve Newton Fans of Jaco Pastorius, the wickedest bass player of all time, are in for some real treats next month. Legacy Recordings, the catalog division of Sony Music Entertainment, announced today that it will release a collection of music titled JACO: Original Soundtrack on November 27, aka Record Store Day Black Friday 2015. Produced by … Continue reading Jaco Pastorius, the wickedest bass player of all time, is everywhere next month

’80s rockers Europe and Billy Idol shill for Geico and Bank of America

By Steve Newton Da-da-da-daaa. Da-da-da-da-daaaa. The opening notes of Europe's huge 1986 hit "The Final Countdown" are ingrained in a lot of people's minds--I usually think of how Gob used it in his failed magic act for Arrested Development--and now Geico has copped it for its "It's What You Do" advertising campaign. In the 30-second … Continue reading ’80s rockers Europe and Billy Idol shill for Geico and Bank of America

40 years ago today: Lou Reed releases Metal Machine Music, and my dumbass buddy buys it

By Steve Newton 1975 was a very good year for rock n roll. Maybe even the best. That's the year of Aerosmiith's Toys in the Attic, Zeppelin's Physical Graffiti, and Thin Lizzy's Fighting. Not to mention Ian Hunter's solo debut. Unfortunately for my high-school buddy Mike, it was also the year of Lou Reed's Metal … Continue reading 40 years ago today: Lou Reed releases Metal Machine Music, and my dumbass buddy buys it

The Trailer Park Boys’ Mike Smith says he’s quite a bit like Bubbles

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JAN. 23, 2003 By Steve Newton In Trailer Park Boys—Showcase TV’s low-budget mockumentary series about dope-smoking, foul-mouthed lowlifes inhabiting a rundown (is there any other kind?) trailer park—it’s the little things that make you laugh. Like Julian’s (John Paul Tremblay’s) ever-present glass of rum ’n’ Coke. Whether he’s hanging … Continue reading The Trailer Park Boys’ Mike Smith says he’s quite a bit like Bubbles

Brett Butt calls Corner Gas: The Movie “the little cherry-on-top kinda thing”

Hard-core fans of Corner Gas were pretty miffed when the popular CTV sitcom stopped production back in 2009 after six seasons. Lucky for them, creator and star Brent Butt hasn’t gotten the show completely out of his system, because today (December 3), Corner Gas: The Movie opens for a five-night run at select Cineplex theatres. On the phone from … Continue reading Brett Butt calls Corner Gas: The Movie “the little cherry-on-top kinda thing”

Brent Butt lauds the authenticity of Corner Gas…and Trailer Park Boys too

So Brent Butt called me up last week to chat about his upcoming film, Corner Gas: The Movie--which opens in select theatres December 3--and we got to talking about his TV series Corner Gas in relation to Trailer Park Boys, another Canadian TV sitcom that flaunts its Canuck-ness while garnering chuckles aplenty. There's a little more swearing … Continue reading Brent Butt lauds the authenticity of Corner Gas…and Trailer Park Boys too

Ian Lloyd, the “Brother Louie” guy, says he proud of his claim to fame

By Steve Newton Thirty years ago today—on October 27, 1984—Ian Lloyd played the old Georgia Street party palace known as Outlaws. He was performing with his new band, Fast Forward, and doing tunes from their first (and only) album, Living in Fiction. But more importantly, Lloyd was the funky-voiced guy who sang that awesome 1973 tune … Continue reading Ian Lloyd, the “Brother Louie” guy, says he proud of his claim to fame

Detroit Rock City is juvenile, crass, and loud, just like KISS itself

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 12, 1999 By Steve Newton Despite the plot similarities—both movies are about teenage twits hell-bent on seeing their greasepaint-laden glam-rock idols in the flesh—Detroit Rock City is no Wayne’s World. For starters, Wayne’s World had two talented comedians, Saturday Night Live’s Mike Myers and Dana Carvey. Detroit Rock … Continue reading Detroit Rock City is juvenile, crass, and loud, just like KISS itself

Will Mad Max: Fury Road’s Tom Hardy be a better Max than Mel?

  My favourite action movie of all time has got to be Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior, or—as it was known in Canada when it first hit theatres in 1982—The Road Warrior. I remember walking out of the Granville strip moviehouse I saw it in—I think it was the Vogue—and feeling like everything I saw and … Continue reading Will Mad Max: Fury Road’s Tom Hardy be a better Max than Mel?

Trailer Park Boys take a crazed road trip to Chuckleville in Don’t Legalize It

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, APRIL 15, 2014 The first feature film to be spawned by Showcase TV’s low-budget Trailer Park Boys series, 2006’s Trailer Park Boys: The Movie, was freakin’ hilarious. The followup, 2009’s Trailer Park Boys: Countdown to Liquor Day, was possibly the funniest Canadian movie ever made. And now the white-trash shenanigans of petty Nova Scotia criminals … Continue reading Trailer Park Boys take a crazed road trip to Chuckleville in Don’t Legalize It

Reno 911!: Miami’s plot undermines the comical cops-versus-freaks action

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, FEB. 28, 2007 My wife hates it when I watch Cops. For some reason, she doesn't agree that the sight of macho lawmen busting down doors and tackling white-trash meth-head wife beaters is the pinnacle of entertainment. But we both love watching the Cops parody, Reno 911!, which revolves around the … Continue reading Reno 911!: Miami’s plot undermines the comical cops-versus-freaks action

Trailer Park Boys: Countdown to Liquor Day could be the funniest Canadian movie ever made

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, SEPT. 23, 2009 By Steve Newton The last film I saw that made me laugh out loud numerous times was 2006’s Trailer Park Boys: The Movie. It was freakin’ hilarious. But the new Countdown to Liquor Day left the old ribs achin’ even more. It could be the funniest Canadian movie ever made. … Continue reading Trailer Park Boys: Countdown to Liquor Day could be the funniest Canadian movie ever made

The Trailer Park Boys: The Movie is freakin’ hilarious

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, OCT. 4, 2006 By Steve Newton When the Trailer Park Boys debuted on the Showcase channel in 2001, I couldn’t get enough of it. A mockumentary-style series about the day-to-day exploits of three pot-loving trailer-trash buddies and their assorted idiot friends and rivals, it was a raucous, taboo-blasting gas. The sight … Continue reading The Trailer Park Boys: The Movie is freakin’ hilarious

Rockers say the darndest things: top quotes of 2013

Dave Wyndorf (above) "probably would have made more money." I interviewed quite a few rockers last year. Here's some of the things they said. "To me stoner rock is just non-commercial rock that pulls from every great era... And as far as the stoner element, I mean, yeah, it’s always cool to smoke pot.” --Brant Bjork … Continue reading Rockers say the darndest things: top quotes of 2013

My interview with Lostprophets’ Ian Watkins, the most hated man on earth

By Steve Newton It's a weird feeling, realizing that you've spent several minutes of your life casually chatting with a young man who, as it turns out, is one of the most vile human beings alive. You may have already heard the news about Ian Watkins, the former frontman of '90s rockers Lostprophets, who admitted … Continue reading My interview with Lostprophets’ Ian Watkins, the most hated man on earth

Peyton’s redneck weaponry proves the spud gun’s range beyond Powell River

While doing some YouTube research for my story on the Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band--which plays the Vancouver Fan Club this Wednesday--I came across a pretty cool video from 2009 for the tune "Mama's Fried Potatoes". What struck me most about the clip--apart from the awesome shitkicker music--was the Rev's use of a homemade shootin' … Continue reading Peyton’s redneck weaponry proves the spud gun’s range beyond Powell River

The Trailer Park Boys are back in Countdown to Liquor Day

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, SEPT. 23, 2009 It's hard to know which character from Trailer Park Boys is most favoured by fans. Some folks are particularly fond of Bubbles (Mike Smith), the kitty-loving, kindhearted weirdo with the outrageous eyeglasses. Others prefer Julian (John Paul Tremblay), the musclebound dreamer whose lips only leave his rum-and-Coke long enough to … Continue reading The Trailer Park Boys are back in Countdown to Liquor Day

Trailer Park Boys lovingly pelted with chocolates and coins at white-trash chucklefest in Richmond

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, JAN. 30, 2010 While we filed through the doors of the River Rock Show Theatre to see the Trailer Park Boys last night a dude in a CFOX t-shirt was handing everyone Hershey's Kisses. He instructed us not to eat them, but hold onto them for an "important" part of the … Continue reading Trailer Park Boys lovingly pelted with chocolates and coins at white-trash chucklefest in Richmond

The Blasters’ Phil Alvin on the roots of rock, the Sex Pistols, and Queen

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, MARCH 10, 2013 By Steve Newton Thirty years ago today--on March 10, 1983--the Blasters played the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver. Maybe you were there? The group--then composed of singer-guitarist Phil Alvin, his younger brother Dave Alvin on lead guitar, pianist Gene Taylor, bassist John Bazz, and drummer Bill Bateman--was in its … Continue reading The Blasters’ Phil Alvin on the roots of rock, the Sex Pistols, and Queen