That time Doyle Bramhall II told me that he was “all over” B.B. King and Eric Clapton’s Riding With the King

By Steve Newton I absolutely loved the B.B. King and Eric Clapton album Riding With the King when it came out in 2000. It was a shoo-in for my Top 10 Albums of the Year list, alongside other guitar-centic offerings like Joe Satriani‘s Engines of Creation and Steve Vai‘s The 7th Song. But with such … Continue reading That time Doyle Bramhall II told me that he was “all over” B.B. King and Eric Clapton’s Riding With the King

That time I asked the Doobie Brothers’ Tom Johnston if he thought “Listen to the Music” would be a hit as soon as he wrote it

By Steve Newton I was a teenager in the seventies, so yeah, I liked the Doobies. Toulouse Street, The Captain and Me, What Were Once Vices are Now Habits–it was all good. Back in 1991 it was cool to interview singer-guitarist and cofounder Tom Johnston, ’cause he wrote my fave Doobie Brothers tune, “Ukiah”. That … Continue reading That time I asked the Doobie Brothers’ Tom Johnston if he thought “Listen to the Music” would be a hit as soon as he wrote it

That time Jason Bonham told me about taking Bonzo’s spot to jam with Led Zeppelin as a teen

By Steve Newton Led Zeppelin freaks may recall the first time John Bonham’s son Jason performed with his dad’s old band, back in 1988 as part of the Atlantic Records 40th anniversary concert. But that was only young Jason’s first “official” performance with Zeppelin. When I did my first interview with 23-year-old Jason a year later he … Continue reading That time Jason Bonham told me about taking Bonzo’s spot to jam with Led Zeppelin as a teen

That time Warren Haynes told me that it felt strange being chosen best slide player over Johnny, Sonny, and Ry (“The Man”)

By Steve Newton Warren Haynes is one helluva slide-guitar player, as anyone who’s heard him will attest. There’s a reason why Dickey Betts brought him along to handle Duane Allman’s slide parts when he rejoined the Allman Brothers back in ’89. When I interviewed Haynes in November of 1998 he’d won the latest Guitar Player … Continue reading That time Warren Haynes told me that it felt strange being chosen best slide player over Johnny, Sonny, and Ry (“The Man”)

That time I told Edgar Winter that my fave tune on They Only Come Out at Night was “Round & Round”

By Steve Newton The Edgar Winter Group blew my 15-year-old ass away when it released They Only Come Out at Night in November of 1972. I mean, Rick Derringer and Ronnie Montrose together on the same album? Seventies guitar-rock heaven! “Free Ride” and “Frankenstein” were the big radio hits on that album, but I’ve always … Continue reading That time I told Edgar Winter that my fave tune on They Only Come Out at Night was “Round & Round”

That time Steve Kilbey told me that the Church “rocks like a bitch” on the Gold Afternoon Fix Tour

By Steve Newton Back in June of 1990 I interviewed Steve Kilbey of Aussie pop-rock band the Church. The quartet was touring behind its Gold Afternoon Fix, the followup to its hugely successful Starfish album, which you may remember for the catchy tune “Under the Milky Way”. At one point in the conversation I asked … Continue reading That time Steve Kilbey told me that the Church “rocks like a bitch” on the Gold Afternoon Fix Tour

That time I asked Johnette Napolitano about Concrete Blonde covering Thin Lizzy

By Steve Newton Concrete Blonde were a pretty great L.A. rock band from the mid-’80s. I interviewed singer, bassist, and main songwriter Johnette Napolitano back in June of 1990, three weeks after the release of the group’s most popular album, 1990’s Bloodletting, which featured the hit “Joey”. That album was produced with Chris Tsangarides, who’d … Continue reading That time I asked Johnette Napolitano about Concrete Blonde covering Thin Lizzy

That time Zakk Wylde and I agreed that Lynyrd Skynyrd were right to return with Johnny Van Zant

By Steve Newton The first time I interviewed Zakk Wylde, back in 1994, he was still a member of the southern-rock band Pride & Glory, which was previously known as Lynyrd Skynhead. So knowing he was a huge Skynyrd fan, I asked him how he felt about the surviving band members getting back together seven years … Continue reading That time Zakk Wylde and I agreed that Lynyrd Skynyrd were right to return with Johnny Van Zant

That time Randy Hansen told me that everything became clear to him when he first heard Jimi Hendrix

By Steve Newton If there ever were a guitarist who deserved being paid tribute to, it’s Jimi Hendrix. Randy Hansen has been doing just that for decades now, and few Hendrix aficionados have complained. I interviewed Hansen back in August of 2001, and he told me about the first time he heard his idol. Have … Continue reading That time Randy Hansen told me that everything became clear to him when he first heard Jimi Hendrix

That time I asked Dan McCafferty if Nazareth would play “Vancouver Shakedown” in Vancouver

By Steve Newton I really loved Nazareth in the seventies. Razamanazz, Loud ‘n’ Proud, Rampant, Hair of the Dog–those were all wicked albums in my books. I didn’t actually get to interview the band until 1984, though, when the original lineup of singer Dan McCafferty, guitarist Manny Charlton, bassist Pete Agnew, and drummer Darrell Sweet had … Continue reading That time I asked Dan McCafferty if Nazareth would play “Vancouver Shakedown” in Vancouver

That time 20-year-old Davy Knowles told me that Rory Gallagher was his absolute idol

By Steve Newton Rory Gallagher fanatics will know Davy Knowles as the astounding guitarist who joined Gallagher’s former bassist Gerry McAvoy and late drummer Ted McKenna in Band of Friends, recreating the Irish guitar legend’s music live in recent years. But Knowles was professing his love for everything Gallagher long before Band of Friends hit … Continue reading That time 20-year-old Davy Knowles told me that Rory Gallagher was his absolute idol

That time Alex Van Halen told me how Van Halen would “raise a stink” across L.A. until it paid off

By Steve Newton If you want to know the real story of how Van Halen went from being a backyard party band to America’s hard-rock kings, check out author Gregg Renoff’s 2015 book Van Halen Rising. And for the condensed version, check out this excerpt from my 1995 interview with Alex Van Halen. Have a listen: … Continue reading That time Alex Van Halen told me how Van Halen would “raise a stink” across L.A. until it paid off

That time I asked Jimmy Barnes about his boozer reputation, and why he left Cold Chisel

By Steve Newton When I went to Australia for my little sister’s wedding in 1986 I managed to see two wicked Aussie bands–Midnight Oil and the Angels (aka Angel City)–play killer shows in Melbourne-area clubs. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see Cold Chisel play a killer show in a Melbourne-area pub because they’d already broken … Continue reading That time I asked Jimmy Barnes about his boozer reputation, and why he left Cold Chisel

That time Joan Jett told me about the sect in San Francisco that worships her as a god

By Steve Newton The words “rock god” get thrown around a lot, but when they land on somebody like Joan Jett, they fit pretty well. If you’re gonna worship anybody in rock ‘n’ roll, it might as well be someone like her, someone who’s been at it forever, who’s never sold out, and who always … Continue reading That time Joan Jett told me about the sect in San Francisco that worships her as a god

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