That time Uli Jon Roth told me that he’d most like to jam with David Gilmour, Ritchie Blackmore, and Jeff Beck

By Steve Newton Back in 2016 I interviewed Uli Jon Roth for the first time ever, and made sure to ask him one of the more burning questions guitar-freaks might have for the legendary picker. I knew he’d played with some of the world’s greatest guitarists over the years–heck, at the time he was touring … Continue reading That time Uli Jon Roth told me that he’d most like to jam with David Gilmour, Ritchie Blackmore, and Jeff Beck

Newt’s Top 10 albums of 2014

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, DEC. 10, 2014 By Steve Newton One of the biggest music stories of 2014 concerned the trials and tribulations of AC/DC, which had one original member retire due to dementia and another facing criminal charges. The return of Pink Floyd after two decades also made a few headlines—or garnered a ton … Continue reading Newt’s Top 10 albums of 2014

The Musical Box brings Genesis’ Selling England By the Pound to Vancouver

By Steve Newton The Year of Our Lord, 1973, was a big year for prog-rock. Besides the grandaddy of them all–Pink Floyd‘s Dark Side of the Moon–’73 also saw such prime prog releases as Hawkwind‘s Space Ritual, Jethro Tull‘s A Passion Play, and Emerson, Lake & Palmer‘s Brain Salad Surgery. I also recall spending many hours spellbound by the melodic beauty … Continue reading The Musical Box brings Genesis’ Selling England By the Pound to Vancouver

David Gilmour’s guitar solos embolden Supertramp after loss of Roger Hodgson

By Steve Newton On June 28, 1985, the Georgia Straight newspaper published my interview with Supertramp drummer Bob Seibenberg. That’s no big whoop in the grand scheme of things, but at the time the band has just released its first album without original member Roger Hodgson, Brother Where You Bound, so there was interest in how … Continue reading David Gilmour’s guitar solos embolden Supertramp after loss of Roger Hodgson

Roger Waters to rerelease Jeff Beck-bolstered album Amused to Death

By Steve Newton Roger Waters fans—and Jeff Beck freaks—have reason to rejoice today, as Legacy Recordings has announced the reissue, in various remastered forms, of Waters’ solo album Amused to Death. That was the 1992 disc that concerned itself with society’s obsession with entertainment, in particular its addiction to TV. Obviously, folks’ current preoccupation with screens of all … Continue reading Roger Waters to rerelease Jeff Beck-bolstered album Amused to Death

The Newt’s 300 Best Rock Albums of the 1970s

By Steve Newton You had to be there. Abraxas: Santana (“Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen”, “Oye Coma Va”, “Samba Pa Ti”) 1970 A Day at the Races: Queen (“Tie Your Mother Down”, “Somebody to Love”, “Long Away”) 1976 Aerosmith: Aerosmith (“Make It”, “Dream On”, “Mama Kin”) 1973 After the Gold Rush: Neil Young (“Tell Me Why”, “Southern Man”, “When You … Continue reading The Newt’s 300 Best Rock Albums of the 1970s

Capitol Records 60th Anniversary box gets the Newt’s noggin noddin’

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 19, 2002 By Steve Newton To celebrate 60 years in business, Capitol Records has released an ambitious, six-CD boxed set, with each disc containing 16 tunes from one particular decade, spanning the ’40s to the ’90s. Not surprisingly, some of my fave pop and rock tunes of all … Continue reading Capitol Records 60th Anniversary box gets the Newt’s noggin noddin’

The Newt’s top 10 albums of 2014: yep, AC/DC’s on there

AC/DC Rock or Bust With the help of Langley’s Mike Fraser as engineer and mixer, the Australian hard-rock icons create a fitting follow-up to 2008’s hugely successful Black Ice album. Its first-ever album without stalwart rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young shows the band in fine, swaggering form. Pink Floyd  The Endless River The prog-rock legends’ first album in … Continue reading The Newt’s top 10 albums of 2014: yep, AC/DC’s on there

Bonham tours behind The Disregard of Timekeeping and Jason reflects on his dear old dad

By Steve Newton On December 22, 1989, Bonham played the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver, opening for the Cult. The group was named after 23-year-old drummer Jason Bonham, the son of legendary Zeppelin skin-basher John. In advance of the concert, Bonham called me from Toronto to chat about his current album, The Disregard of Timekeeping, and his … Continue reading Bonham tours behind The Disregard of Timekeeping and Jason reflects on his dear old dad

Former Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett plays any solo he wants on “The Knife”

By Steve Newton Vancouver’s hardcore Genesis fans are no doubt chomping at the bit for the upcoming performance by Steve Hackett, the legendary band’s former guitarist. On his current tour, Genesis Extended–which plays the Vogue Theatre tomorrow (December 11)–the 64-year-old picker and his five-piece band re-create the best-loved tracks from the group’s ’70s heyday, when … Continue reading Former Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett plays any solo he wants on “The Knife”

Mike Fraser helps AC/DC get back on top, sets his sights on Sabbath

The first time he ever saw AC/DC, Mike Fraser had no idea what band he was seeing. He’d gone to an Aerosmith show at the Pacific Coliseum back in ’78 and showed up early enough to catch the warmup act. “Usually you kinda miss the opening band,” recalls Fraser from his home in Langley, “but … Continue reading Mike Fraser helps AC/DC get back on top, sets his sights on Sabbath

An inspired Yes makes up for a flaccid Alan Parsons Project in Vancouver

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 23, 1998 By Steve Newton There are some bands I used to like in the ’70s that make me embarrassed by that fact in the ’90s. Back in high school, I figured Uriah Heep was the cat’s ass, but now, it’s like, “What was I thinking!” And I … Continue reading An inspired Yes makes up for a flaccid Alan Parsons Project in Vancouver

David Lee Roth says he doesn’t regret leaving Van Halen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 8, 1994 By Steve Newton With all the frenzied media attention and intense public speculation surrounding the O.J. Simpson case, it’s hard to keep a fair handle on the whole sordid affair. Even such trusted news sources as A Current Affair and the National Enquirer have gotten caught up in the circus. … Continue reading David Lee Roth says he doesn’t regret leaving Van Halen

Illinois duo Local H is bound for glory with “Bound For the Floor”

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JAN. 30, 1997 Thanks to the popularity of an angst-ridden grunge-pop ditty called “Bound for the Floor”, Illinois rock duo Local H is making tsunami-sized waves on North American radio right now. The group is also garnering attention for its unusual configuration, although vocalist-guitarist Scott Lucas and drummer Joe … Continue reading Illinois duo Local H is bound for glory with “Bound For the Floor”

Bon Jovi brings New Jersey to Vancouver, Aerosmith and Motley Crue crash the party

On May 11, 1989, Bon Jovi played Vancouver’s B.C. Place Stadium. The quintet was touring behind its fourth album, the locally-made, Bruce Fairbairn-produced New Jersey, which spawned five singles and has sold more than seven-million copies in the U.S. alone. The concert was memorable by late-’80s standards, I suppose, because it included appearances by members of … Continue reading Bon Jovi brings New Jersey to Vancouver, Aerosmith and Motley Crue crash the party

Seattle’s Sister Psychic goes against the grain of grunge

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 31, 1992 By Steve Newton From the heady, hook-filled pop-grunge soaring off Sister Psychic’s debut CD, Fuel, you’d think the members of the Seattle power trio had been together for years, honing their skills with their chosen instruments until the time was right to unleash that sound on … Continue reading Seattle’s Sister Psychic goes against the grain of grunge

The Scorpions pull Vancouver’s Jim Vallance into their Crazy World

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, FEB. 28, 1991 By Steve Newton It’s been a long seven-year wait for Vancouver Scorpions fans, but the dry spell is nearly over. Germany’s veteran hard-rockers—who haven’t performed here since the Love at First Sting tour of 1984—will be in town for a Saturday (March 2) gig at the … Continue reading The Scorpions pull Vancouver’s Jim Vallance into their Crazy World

Dave Brock says Hawkwind’s space-rock wasn’t influenced by anyone

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 13, 1990 By Steve Newton Hawkwind may just well be the ultimate cult band. The British progressive/space metal act has released more than 20 albums since its inception in 1969—and sold millions. Yet ask the person next to you if they’ve ever actually heard the band—least of all … Continue reading Dave Brock says Hawkwind’s space-rock wasn’t influenced by anyone

sound & vision

“Sound and Vision” was a pretty cool tune from a David Bowie album that made my Top 30 Rock Albums of 1977. It’s also a pretty cool name for this page where I’ll gather up my box set (sound) and Blu-ray (vision) reviews. I might also throw in the odd DVD and CD/vinyl reissue when … Continue reading sound & vision

Mike Fraser: Langley’s master of the hard-rock mix in 1998

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MAY 28, 1998 Yesterday I went all nutty and posted the 1998 Georgia Straight cover story I did on famed Vancouver rock producer Bruce Fairbairn. That got me thinkin’ that maybe I should post the cover story I did earlier that same year on Fairbairn’s former protege, Mike Fraser. … Continue reading Mike Fraser: Langley’s master of the hard-rock mix in 1998

Ear of Newt’s Top 30 Rock Albums of 1979

Ah, 1979. According to my calculations, that was the last year of the ’70s, which was the greatest decade for guitar-based rock music ever. I’d like to thank Fender, Gibson, Marshall, and everyone else who created the instruments of my enjoyment back then. A Million Vacations: Max Webster (“Paradise Skies”, “A Million Vacations”, “Let Go … Continue reading Ear of Newt’s Top 30 Rock Albums of 1979

Ear of Newt’s Top 30 Rock Albums of 1975

Ah, 1975. The year I graduated high school. Talk about dazed and confused. Albums listed alphabetically by title, including three choice tracks from each one to help you remember how wicked they really were. Against the Grain: Rory Gallagher (“Bought and Sold”, “Out on the Western Plain”, “Lost at Sea”) America’s Choice: Hot Tuna (“Sleep … Continue reading Ear of Newt’s Top 30 Rock Albums of 1975

Ear of Newt’s Top 30 Rock Albums of 1971

All in all, 1971 wasn’t one of the greatest years for rock in the seventies. But it was a pretty great one for Alice Cooper, Rory Gallagher, and Yes, who each had two albums on my Top 30. As before, I’ve listed the LPs alphabetically by title, and included three choice tracks from each disc … Continue reading Ear of Newt’s Top 30 Rock Albums of 1971

Ear of Newt’s Top 30 Rock Albums of 1973

I’ve been reminiscing a lot lately about rock stuff that happened 30 years ago. I recently posted interviews originally published back in ’83 with such still-active artists as British guitar phenomenon Allan Holdsworth and legendary Aussie earbusters AC/DC. Then I started thinking about maybe doing a list of my fave rock albums from 30 years back, … Continue reading Ear of Newt’s Top 30 Rock Albums of 1973

Slash on Velvet Revolver: “We’re doing pretty fucking well for ourselves.”

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, MARCH 31, 2005 By Steve Newton When the remnants of Guns N’ Roses-guitarist Slash, bassist Duff McKagan, and drummer Matt Sorum-went looking for a vocalist to front their new band, the first name that came to mind was the Stone Temple Pilots’ Scott Weiland. The problem at the time, though, was … Continue reading Slash on Velvet Revolver: “We’re doing pretty fucking well for ourselves.”

J.D. Fortune went from living in a car to fronting INXS

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, JAN. 12, 2006 By Steve Newton This time last year, few people knew the name of Canadian rock vocalist J.D. Fortune. A lot of them were familiar with INXS, but at that stage in the group’s career-eight years after the death by apparent suicide of its enigmatic frontman Michael Hutchence-they wouldn’t … Continue reading J.D. Fortune went from living in a car to fronting INXS