That time I asked J.J. Cale who he’d been listening to in his spare time and he wasn’t exactly sure

By Steve Newton When you’ve been interviewing musicians for as long as I have you tend to develop some trusty old standby questions that you can ask pretty well anybody in a pinch. One of those for me has always been “So, who have you been listening to in your spare time?” I like to … Continue reading That time I asked J.J. Cale who he’d been listening to in his spare time and he wasn’t exactly sure

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 I asked Billy Idol why he got Texas Chain Saw Massacre director Tobe Hooper to shoot the video for “Dancing With Myself”

By Steve Newton I interviewed Billy Idol at the height of his solo artist fame, when he was touring behind his hit-packed Rebel Yell album in March of 1984. If you’re old enough, you may recall that music videos were all the rage back then, and the timing couldn’t have been better for Idol, who … Continue reading That time I asked Billy Idol why he got Texas Chain Saw Massacre director Tobe Hooper to shoot the video for “Dancing With Myself”

That time I told Stuart Adamson that “Long Way Home” was my fave tune on the new Big Country album

By Steve Newton Most people probably remember Scottish rock band Big Country for its anthemic single “In a Big Country”, which was a massive radio hit in North America in 1983. But ten years later they released an album called The Buffalo Skinners that included a song called “Long Way Home”, which I liked a … Continue reading That time I told Stuart Adamson that “Long Way Home” was my fave tune on the new Big Country album

That time I asked Ian Anderson how Jethro Tull’s show went last night and it took him a while to answer

By Steve Newton I did my second interview with Jethro Tull mainman Ian Anderson in October of 1992, a month after the band had released its live album A Little Light Music. When I called him up in L.A. I asked him how the show had gone there the previous night, but he’s not the … Continue reading That time I asked Ian Anderson how Jethro Tull’s show went last night and it took him a while to answer

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 I asked John Bell about Widespread Panic being the first act signed to the newly reborn Capricorn Records

By Steve Newton If you were a southern-rock lovin’ kid in the seventies, like me, you no doubt owned an LP or two with the Capricorn Records label on it. Capricorn released classic Allman Brothers albums like At Fillmore East, Eat a Peach, and Brothers and Sisters, as well as discs by Wet Willie, the … Continue reading That time I asked John Bell about Widespread Panic being the first act signed to the newly reborn Capricorn Records

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

That time Golden Earring frontman Barry Hay told me about touring with Lynyrd Skynyrd and getting beaten up with Ronnie Van Zandt

By Steve Newton It’s amazing what a person can find when they listen to old interviews they recorded on cassette back in 1984. Like that time I was chatting with Golden Earring vocalist and cosongwriter Barry Hay and asked him about touring with Lynyrd Skynyrd back in the seventies. Have a listen:   To hear … Continue reading That time Golden Earring frontman Barry Hay told me about touring with Lynyrd Skynyrd and getting beaten up with Ronnie Van Zandt

That time Joan Jett told me that what the Runaways did was right, and that girls can play rock ‘n’ roll

By Steve Newton I interviewed Joan Jett back in January of 1992, when she was touring with her band the Blackhearts, supporting the new album Notorious. At one point in the conversation I asked her if she ever heard from her old bandmates in the Runaways at all, and it turns out that she did. … Continue reading That time Joan Jett told me that what the Runaways did was right, and that girls can play rock ‘n’ roll

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 Jason Isbell told me he was in a Ford Econoline E350 van and his band cracked up at that

FSimani photo By Steve Newton The Drive-By Truckers are probably my favourite band right now. They were also my favourite band back when Jason Isbell was in the lineup. I did my first interview with him in 2007, after he’d left the DBTs and was promoting his debut solo album, Sirens of the Ditch. I … Continue reading That time Jason Isbell told me he was in a Ford Econoline E350 van and his band cracked up at that

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

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 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 I asked Brad Delp what his fave Boston tune was and he didn’t say “More Than a Feeling”

By Steve Newton I was still a guitar-rock-crazed teenager when the debut Boston album came out in 1976, so it’s not surprising that the first single “More Than a Feeling” blew me right the funk away. Even today the killer guitar sound of Tom Scholz and the incredible vocals of Brad Delp still make me … Continue reading That time I asked Brad Delp what his fave Boston tune was and he didn’t say “More Than a Feeling”

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 I called up the Guess Who’s Randy Bachman and he raved about touring with Joe Cocker

lauren marshall photo By Steve Newton I’ve interviewed at least two guitar legends who liked touring with Joe Cocker. Back in 1990 I talked to Stevie Ray Vaughan about his coheadlining tour with Cocker, and he was right into it. Then in 2001 the Guess Who was sharing a bill with the gravelly voiced Brit, … Continue reading That time I called up the Guess Who’s Randy Bachman and he raved about touring with Joe Cocker

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