That time Joan Jett told me that her songs come from real life, and that misery loves company

By Steve Newton When I interviewed Joan Jett back in 1992 I told her that one of her new songs, "The Only Good Thing (You Ever Said Was Goodbye)", reminded me, message-wise, of her hit tune from 1988, "I Hate Myself For Loving You". Then I asked her if those kind of tunes were inspired … Continue reading That time Joan Jett told me that her songs come from real life, and that misery loves company

That time I asked Ian Gillan if he ever wished Joe Satriani had become a permanent member of Deep Purple

By Steve Newton As most dedicated Deep Purple fans know, Joe Satriani was once a member of that legendary band. The Bay Area guitar wizard joined in December of 1993 after the volatile Ritchie Blackmore quit and left the group high-and-dry in the middle of a tour. Satch only stayed in the lineup for a … Continue reading That time I asked Ian Gillan if he ever wished Joe Satriani had become a permanent member of Deep Purple

Remembering Uriah Heep as a teenager in the seventies

By Steve Newton Having a bunch of vinyl albums from the seventies is cool, because the seventies were a while ago, and sometimes you forget which ones you actually own. Then when you go searching in the alphabetized stacks for a particular rock band from half a century ago you might find something that surprises … Continue reading Remembering Uriah Heep as a teenager in the seventies

That time Joe Satriani told me that he wanted Flying in a Blue Dream to be something heavy and deep

By Steve Newton When I did my first interview with Joe Satriani in January of 1990 his Flying in a Blue Dream album had been out for only two months, and word had gotten around about what an ambitious project it was, clocking in at nearly 65 minutes. (His previous full-length disc, Surfing With the … Continue reading That time Joe Satriani told me that he wanted Flying in a Blue Dream to be something heavy and deep

That time Joss Stone told me that the music kinda just falls out of Ernie Isley’s fingers

By Steve Newton I wasn't a close follower of soul crooner Joss Stone when I hooked up with her by phone in Brussels, Belgium, in September of 2012.  But I knew that she had a great voice, and that she'd sung lead on two tracks on Jeff Beck's latest album, Emotion & Commotion. Speaking of … Continue reading That time Joss Stone told me that the music kinda just falls out of Ernie Isley’s fingers

That time Men Without Hats’ Ivan Doroschuk told me about making the video for “Safety Dance”

By Steve Newton I interviewed Men Without Hats singer and main songwriter Ivan Doroschuk in 1984, the year after the band's second single, "The Safety Dance", became a worldwide hit. I was just about to write that the band was a one-hit wonder, but then I remembered they had another hit called "Pop Goes the … Continue reading That time Men Without Hats’ Ivan Doroschuk told me about making the video for “Safety Dance”

That time Judas Priest’s Glenn Tipton told me that Rory Gallagher was the guy who made him pick up a guitar

By Steve Newton Back in 2005 I did my first interview with Judas Priest guitarist Glenn Tipton, who I'd been a fan of ever since I heard him wailin' away with KK on the Screaming for Vengeance album of '82. After asking him what his fave Priest albums were, and which of his solos he … Continue reading That time Judas Priest’s Glenn Tipton told me that Rory Gallagher was the guy who made him pick up a guitar

That time Roger Glover told me that he was “disgusted” when he saw Deep Purple with Tommy Bolin

By Steve Newton I was 18 years old when Deep Purple released the album Come Taste the Band, so being a huge fan of the band since Fireball, I bought it. It took me a while to get into it--it didn't have the immediacy of a Machine Head or Burn--but eventually I grew very fond … Continue reading That time Roger Glover told me that he was “disgusted” when he saw Deep Purple with Tommy Bolin

Devin Townsend on hating guitar, loving Noisescapes, and doing the Steve Vai project “because it was there”

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 1993  By Steve Newton Things have a comical way of working out for some folks in the wacky world of rock ’n’ roll. In the case of 21-year-old Devin Townsend—who came out of nowhere (well, Vancouver, actually) to claim the prestigious lead vocalist spot in Yankee guitar god … Continue reading Devin Townsend on hating guitar, loving Noisescapes, and doing the Steve Vai project “because it was there”

That time Jack Blades told me about the different playing styles of Night Ranger guitarists Brad Gillis and Jeff Watson

By Steve Newton Back in January of 1984 I interviewed Night Ranger vocalist-bassist Jack Blades while his band was accompanying ZZ Top on its Eliminator Tour. I wasn't the biggest Night Ranger fan in the world back then. In the midst of the hard rock/metal craze I was more into Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, and … Continue reading That time Jack Blades told me about the different playing styles of Night Ranger guitarists Brad Gillis and Jeff Watson

Eddie Van Halen: what Steve Vai, Allan Holdsworth, Jake E. Lee, Leslie West, and brother Alex told me about “the king”

By Steve Newton One of the biggest regrets of my career in rock journalism--and there aren't that many, believe it or not--was never getting the opportunity to interview Eddie Van Halen. I did get to chat with his big brother Alex once, and he gave me a really great interview, but it just wasn't the … Continue reading Eddie Van Halen: what Steve Vai, Allan Holdsworth, Jake E. Lee, Leslie West, and brother Alex told me about “the king”

That time Vivian Campbell told me that he got paid less than the road crew in Dio

By Steve Newton I interviewed Irish guitar hero Vivian Campbell in September of 1992, three weeks after his 30th birthday. Five months earlier he'd joined Def Leppard, one of the world's most popular rock bands, apparently being chosen over the likes of John Sykes, Gary Hoey, and Adrian Smith from Iron Maiden. So no wonder … Continue reading That time Vivian Campbell told me that he got paid less than the road crew in Dio

That time Colin James told me that playing electric slide-guitar was a challenge for him

By Steve Newton Back in August of 1995 I interviewed Canadian blues-rocker Colin James, who I'd been a fan of since his self-titled 1988 debut album. At the time he was touring behind his fourth album, Bad Habits, which saw him playing quite a bit of slide guitar on tunes like "Real Stuff" and "Walkin' … Continue reading That time Colin James told me that playing electric slide-guitar was a challenge for him

Devin Townsend, 19, scores opening gig for an acoustic Michael Schenker with his first band, Gray Skies

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MARCH 19, 1992 By Steve Newton Decisions, decisions. Tearing open the shrink-wrap from a tape by a local band called Gray Skies, I see that one side of the six-song demo is labelled the Juvenile Side, while the other promises the Dyslexic Side. Just as I’m ready to go … Continue reading Devin Townsend, 19, scores opening gig for an acoustic Michael Schenker with his first band, Gray Skies

That time Kim Simmonds told me that Eric Clapton was the greatest white blues guitar player he’d ever seen

By Steve Newton I was a huge Foghat fan in the seventies. I couldn't get enough of their hard-driving boogie-blues on albums like Energized and Rock and Roll Outlaws. When I learned that most of their original members had come from a band called Savoy Brown I went and checked them out as well, and … Continue reading That time Kim Simmonds told me that Eric Clapton was the greatest white blues guitar player he’d ever seen

That time Joe Satriani told me how an unsolicited Mastercard application got Not of This Earth off the ground

By Steve Newton You know how you're always getting those unsolicited credit-card applications in the mail? The ones that say "Dear [insert your name here]. You've been approved for a shitload of money, so just sign up here." Well, Joe Satriani got one of those once, and it turned out to be exactly what he … Continue reading That time Joe Satriani told me how an unsolicited Mastercard application got Not of This Earth off the ground

That time I asked Alex Van Halen what the best thing was about being in Van Halen

By Steve Newton Here's the last excerpt I'm gonna post from my 1995 interview with Alex Van Halen. I'd like to thank author Greg Renoff for his help in getting these audio clips to the hardcore Van Halen fans. I highly recommend his book Van Halen Rising: How a Southern California Backyard Party Band Saved … Continue reading That time I asked Alex Van Halen what the best thing was about being in Van Halen

That time Tom Cochrane railed against the “trendy bullshit” in pop music after Red Rider released Neruda

By Steve Newton I've interviewed Canadian rocker Tom Cochrane half a dozen times over the years. I was a fan long before he hit it big with "Life is a Highway" in 1991. The first time we talked was in April of 1983, three months after the release of Red Rider's fine Neruda album, the … Continue reading That time Tom Cochrane railed against the “trendy bullshit” in pop music after Red Rider released Neruda

That time Roger Glover told me that he felt very bitter towards Deep Purple’s Mark III lineup, didn’t like Burn much

By Steve Newton Deep Purple is one of my all-time favourite bands. As a teenager in the seventies I grew up on albums like Fireball, Made in Japan, and Burn. Forget Clapton: Ritchie Blackmore was God in my books. So it was cool when, while still in my 20s, I got to interview Purple bassist … Continue reading That time Roger Glover told me that he felt very bitter towards Deep Purple’s Mark III lineup, didn’t like Burn much

Hendrix’s 1970 Hawaiian happening captured in new film and previously unreleased Live in Maui album

By Steve Newton Hardcore Jimi Hendrix freaks with a hankering for some previously unreleased music by the master have something to look forward to. On November 20, Experience Hendrix L.L.C. and Sony Music's Legacy Recordings will release a brand new feature-length documentary titled Music, Money, Madness...Jimi Hendrix in Maui, along with the previously unheard album … Continue reading Hendrix’s 1970 Hawaiian happening captured in new film and previously unreleased Live in Maui album

That time I asked Taj Mahal which blues artists were making him smile lately

By Steve Newton I've interviewed American blues great Taj Mahal (real name Henry Saint Clair Fredericks) a couple of times. The first time was back in November of 2001, before he headed to Vancouver for a solo acoustic show at the historic Commodore Ballroom. At one point in the conversation I asked the 59-year-old Grammy-winner … Continue reading That time I asked Taj Mahal which blues artists were making him smile lately

That time I asked Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready what he thought was so great about Neil Young

By Steve Newton I like Pearl Jam a lot. And I really love Neil Young. So when those two got together for the Mirror Ball album back in 1995 I was in hog heaven. I would listen to my favourite track, "I'm the Ocean", over and over again. When I interviewed Pearl Jam guitarist Mike … Continue reading That time I asked Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready what he thought was so great about Neil Young

That time Steve Vai told me that his body language changes a lot when he’s playing rock ‘n’ roll

By Steve Newton When I did my first interview with Steve Vai, back in May of 1990, he had just released his sophomore solo album, Passion and Warfare, a technically dazzling instrumental guitar opus. At the same time, he was also touring with Whitesnake, whose straightforward, radio-friendly rock tunes were not nearly as challenging to … Continue reading That time Steve Vai told me that his body language changes a lot when he’s playing rock ‘n’ roll

That time I asked veteran studio ace David Lindley what his favourite recording session had been

By Steve Newton David Lindley is widely hailed as one of the finest players of stringed instruments in the world. As well as acoustic and electric guitar, he's been known to handle upright and electric bass, banjo, lap steel guitar, mandolin, hardingfele, bouzouki, cittern, bağlama, gumbus, charango, cümbüş, and zither. When I interviewed him back … Continue reading That time I asked veteran studio ace David Lindley what his favourite recording session had been

That time Megadeth’s Marty Friedman told me about the satanic bonfires in Dallas on the Clash of the Titans tour

By Steve Newton Megadeth has featured some wicked guitar players over the years, but arguably non wickeder than Marty Friedman, who did his thing on killer albums like Countdown to Extinction and Youthanasia. When I called Friedman up in May of 1991 he was in El Paso, Texas, where Megadeth was playing as part of … Continue reading That time Megadeth’s Marty Friedman told me about the satanic bonfires in Dallas on the Clash of the Titans tour

The Climax Blues Band had a song about living together and free that Americans should take to heart right now

By Steve Newton It was clean-the-freakin'-basement day today, so I searched around for an album that might put me in the mood for getting some crap moved from one area to another. I settled on the Climax Blues Band's 1976 LP, Gold Plated, and the opening track on SIde One got me thinkin' that, man, … Continue reading The Climax Blues Band had a song about living together and free that Americans should take to heart right now

That time Joe Satriani told me that Jeff Beck’s Blow By Blow was just the kind of music his generation wanted to hear

By Steve Newton Man, was 1975 the best year for guitar-based rock or what? That's the year I graduated high school, and spent countless hours cramming my head with riffs from LPs like Thin Lizzy's Fighting, Led Zeppelin's Physical Graffiti, Bad Company's Straight Shooter, Heart's Dreamboat Annie, and the self-titled debuts by Ian Hunter, the … Continue reading That time Joe Satriani told me that Jeff Beck’s Blow By Blow was just the kind of music his generation wanted to hear