That time 29-year-old Steve Vai told me that he suffered making “For the Love of God”, but that blowjobs also do the trick

By Steve Newton I did my first interview with Steve Vai when he was touring with Whitesnake in May of 1990, but I was more interested in talking about his brand-new solo album, Passion and Warfare. I was particularly blown away by the track “For the Love of God”, which still stands up as one … Continue reading That time 29-year-old Steve Vai told me that he suffered making “For the Love of God”, but that blowjobs also do the trick

That time I told Ace Frehley that I thought the first Kiss album was the best Kiss album

By Steve Newton I was crazy about Kiss when their first album dropped back in the Year of Our Lord, 1974. I was 16 at the time, which is all you need to know. I think it’s their best album–love “Strutter”, “Deuce”, “Black Diamond”–so when the opportunity came to interview Ace Frehley back in 2008 … Continue reading That time I told Ace Frehley that I thought the first Kiss album was the best Kiss album

God bless Scott Gorham’s guitar solo on Thin Lizzy’s “Romeo and the Lonely Girl”

By Steve Newton I freakin’ love guitar solos, where some talented artist carefully chooses the perfect notes and uses vibrato and tremolo and all that other technical shit to come up with something that’ll stick with me for decades and be there whenever I want to retrieve it, replay it in my head, and holler: … Continue reading God bless Scott Gorham’s guitar solo on Thin Lizzy’s “Romeo and the Lonely Girl”

That time I asked David Lee Roth if he regretted leaving Van Halen

By Steve Newton I did my first interview with David Lee Roth in June of 1994, when he was promoting his Nile Rodgers-produced album Your Filthy Little Mouth. He called me from L.A., where 10 days earlier O.J. Simpson had gone on his murderous rampage, so we chatted about the media circus surrounding that, among other things. … Continue reading That time I asked David Lee Roth if he regretted leaving Van Halen

That time Allan Holdsworth told me that a lotta people love the things that he hates…like his old band U.K.

By Steve Newton Since I got “temporarily” laid off from work yesterday–after 35 years with the Georgia Straight newspaper in Vancouver–I’ve been wondering which of my hundreds of old interviews I should digitize next. Then I figured that the one with guitar legend Allan Holdsworth from 1983 should take precedence because apparently cassette tapes don’t … Continue reading That time Allan Holdsworth told me that a lotta people love the things that he hates…like his old band U.K.

That time Stevie Ray Vaughan told me how much he liked Colin James

By Steve Newton When I interviewed Stevie Ray Vaughan in July of 1990, six weeks before his death, I asked him what he’d been listening to in his spare time–if he had any. “Well I really haven’t had time to look up!,” he declared, before adding that he’d been mostly paying attention to the record … Continue reading That time Stevie Ray Vaughan told me how much he liked Colin James

That time John Mayall told me that his Bluesbreakers of 1988 were the best band he ever had

By Steve Newton The first time I interviewed blues legend John Mayall was in December of 1988, shortly after he’d released his Chicago Line album, which featured smokin’ guitarists Walter Trout and Carlos Montoya. Mayall has always surrounded himself with the finest pickers–including guys like Mick Taylor, Eric Clapton, and Peter Green–so at one point … Continue reading That time John Mayall told me that his Bluesbreakers of 1988 were the best band he ever had

That time I asked Steve Vai if he was daunted by stepping into Eddie Van Halen’s shoes with David Lee Roth

By Steve Newton I did my first interview with Steve Vai in May of 1990, when he was just 29. He had just released his solo album Passion and Warfare, and was touring with Whitesnake, which was then basking in the glory of its multiplatinum Slip of the Tongue album. Before Whitesnake Vai had played … Continue reading That time I asked Steve Vai if he was daunted by stepping into Eddie Van Halen’s shoes with David Lee Roth

That time I asked Billy Gibbons if he’d play “Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers” for me in Vancouver

By Steve Newton Just finished watching that ZZ Top documentary on Netflix, That Little Ol’ Band from Texas, and it was pretty cool. I especially liked the way it focused on their formation and early albums, ’cause 1973’s Tres Hombres has always been my fave. At one point in the movie the band rips into … Continue reading That time I asked Billy Gibbons if he’d play “Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers” for me in Vancouver

That time I asked Steve Morse if the success of Joe Satriani and Steve Vai boded well for instrumental-rock artists

By Steve Newton When I interviewed Steve Morse for the first time in May of 1991, the American instrumental-rock scene was making great strides. While Morse himself was winning over critics with his Southern Steel album, both Joe Satriani and Steve Vai were heading toward gold-album status with their most recent discs, Flying in a … Continue reading That time I asked Steve Morse if the success of Joe Satriani and Steve Vai boded well for instrumental-rock artists

That time Stevie Ray Vaughan told me about the labour of love he’d never live to see released

By Steve Newton I did my second interview with Stevie Ray Vaughan six weeks before he died in that goddamned helicopter crash, which was itself less than a month before the release of Family Style, the album he’d always wanted to make with his big brother Jimmie. At one point in the conversation I asked … Continue reading That time Stevie Ray Vaughan told me about the labour of love he’d never live to see released

That time I called up Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and asked for “Mr. Ugly Stinky”

By Steve Newton When I interviewed Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea back in 1996 I was instructed to call his Phoenix hotel and ask for “Mr. Ugly Stupid”, the moniker he goes by when he’s on the road. But when the receptionist answered I tried pulling a fast one and switched it to “Mr. … Continue reading That time I called up Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and asked for “Mr. Ugly Stinky”

That time Geoff Tate told me that making Queensrÿche’s prog-metal masterpiece, Operation: Mindcrime, was a “magical” experience

By Steve Newton Queensrÿche’s Operation: Mindcrime is one of my favourite progressive hard-rock albums of all time. It’s right up there with Rush’s best work, if you ask me. When I did my first interview with Queensrÿche frontman Geoff Tate back in 1991 the band was touring behind its hit Empire album, but playing Mindcrime … Continue reading That time Geoff Tate told me that making Queensrÿche’s prog-metal masterpiece, Operation: Mindcrime, was a “magical” experience

That time Stevie Ray Vaughan told me that he gets most nervous playing in front of just one person

By Steve Newton When you play guitar as stunningly well as Stevie Ray Vaughan did, a lot of people see you. Countless numbers of music fans have watched the Texas blues-rock legend tear up the frets since he blasted onto the scene with the Texas Flood album in 1983. When I interviewed Stevie for the … Continue reading That time Stevie Ray Vaughan told me that he gets most nervous playing in front of just one person

That time I asked Steve Morse if winning readers poll awards in guitar mags meant anything to him

By Steve Newton There’s a good reason I dragged the world-famous Ear of Newt Guitar to Vancouver’s Commodore Ballroom one night back in 1991 when the Dixie Dregs were playing on a bill with Ronnie Montrose. It’s because Steve Morse was the guitarist in the Dixie Dregs, and I really wanted to score his autograph, … Continue reading That time I asked Steve Morse if winning readers poll awards in guitar mags meant anything to him

That time Carlos Santana told me pot should be legal and “it’s all fun once you get past the fear”

By Steve Newton Carlos Santana is one of the most amazing guitar players of all time. Everybody knows that. But he’s also got it goin’ on in the humanity department. He knows what’s important in life, it seems. I interviewed Santana in 2011, and at one point in the conversation I asked him if he … Continue reading That time Carlos Santana told me pot should be legal and “it’s all fun once you get past the fear”

That time Stevie Ray Vaughan called me up and explained what it was like touring with Joe Cocker

By Steve Newton As a blues fan and guitar freak, I thank my lucky stars that I got to interview Stevie Ray Vaughan. Twice! This was the second time, when he called me up from Montreal just six weeks before that goddamn helicopter crash took him away. I started the conversation off by asking what … Continue reading That time Stevie Ray Vaughan called me up and explained what it was like touring with Joe Cocker

That time Rick Richards from the Georgia Satellites told me how much he loved the Faces

By Steve Newton The Georgia Satellites were one of my fave bands of the ’80s. A lot of folks only know them from their big hit, “Keep Your Hands to Yourself”, but I much preferred tunes like “Railroad Steel”, “Red Light”, and especially “Battleship Chains”. The first time I interviewed lead guitarist and sometime vocalist … Continue reading That time Rick Richards from the Georgia Satellites told me how much he loved the Faces

That time a drunk Andy McCoy from Hanoi Rocks sang me a bit of “All the Young Dudes”

By Steve Newton Back in February of 1984, 10 months before a drunk-driving Vince Neil killed Razzle, I interviewed Hanoi Rocks’ lead guitarist/main songwriter Andy McCoy and bassist Sami Yaffa. They were both pretty wasted, and shouldn’t have been doing interviews, but at one point in the conversation McCoy proved he was at least sober … Continue reading That time a drunk Andy McCoy from Hanoi Rocks sang me a bit of “All the Young Dudes”

That time Steve Morse told me that he transforms into a different kind of person at night

By Steve Newton I did my first interview with Steve Morse in May of 1991, just after he’d released his fourth post-Dixie Dregs album, Southern Steel, and just three years before he’d join his current band, Deep Purple. At one point in the conversation I brought up Steve’s claim that he didn’t “live, breathe, and … Continue reading That time Steve Morse told me that he transforms into a different kind of person at night

That time Slash told me how Guns N’ Roses chose the cover tunes for “The Spaghetti Incident”

By Steve Newton The first time I interviewed Slash was two months after the release of “The Spaghetti Incident?”, Guns N’ Roses’ collection of punk and hard-rock cover tunes by bands like the New York Dolls, T-Rex, the Runaways, and Nazareth. At one point in the conversation I mentioned that I was happy they’d recorded … Continue reading That time Slash told me how Guns N’ Roses chose the cover tunes for “The Spaghetti Incident”

Rory Gallagher’s fierce talent exposed by unearthed live tracks, but will the Rock Hall even notice?

bob geldof photo By Steve Newton Rory Gallagher is quite likely the most underrated rock-guitar player of all time. Even though his instrumental prowess has been constantly raved about by such longtime fans as Slash, Brian May, and The Edge, a lot of music fans have never even heard him. Perhaps most shocking is the … Continue reading Rory Gallagher’s fierce talent exposed by unearthed live tracks, but will the Rock Hall even notice?

That time I asked Jake E. Lee if there was much pressure taking over Randy Rhoads’ spot with Ozzy

By Steve Newton Way back in April of 1992 I interviewed Jake E. Lee in advance of a Vancouver show by his group Badlands, which was touring behind its second album, Voodoo Highway. At one point in the interview I started asking Jake about his time with Ozzy Osbourne, which led to me wondering if … Continue reading That time I asked Jake E. Lee if there was much pressure taking over Randy Rhoads’ spot with Ozzy

That time I asked Rickey Medlocke about rejoining Lynyrd Skynyrd–and why he’d left in the first place

By Steve Newton Lynyrd Skynyrd was one of my fave bands in the seventies, but I never got to see them live with Ronnie, to my infinite regret. I did get to see them for the first time in Vancouver back in ’97 on the Legends Tour, and that was cool because the lineup at … Continue reading That time I asked Rickey Medlocke about rejoining Lynyrd Skynyrd–and why he’d left in the first place

That time I asked Carlos Santana who his favourite guitar player was

By Steve Newton When I interview the world’s greatest guitarists, I often like to ask them who they think is the world’s greatest guitarist. Carlos Santana is definitely one of the best ever, so when I interviewed him back in 2001 I put the question to him. Have a listen:   To hear my full … Continue reading That time I asked Carlos Santana who his favourite guitar player was

That time I asked Billy Gibbons what the glue was that kept ZZ Top together for so long

By Steve Newton Being a teenaged devotee of guitar-driven boogie in the seventies put me directly in line with what was required to be a hardcore ZZ Top fan. I have vivid memories of the band, like that time I walked into the Chilliwack Second Hand Store and found a near-mint copy of the Tres … Continue reading That time I asked Billy Gibbons what the glue was that kept ZZ Top together for so long

That time I asked Alex Lifeson what the attraction was to Rush for so many diehard fans

By Steve Newton By now you’ve no doubt heard the awful news: that Rush drummer-lyricist Neil Peart has died from brain cancer. The man who inspired a million drummers is now up there jammin’ with Allan Holdsworth and Jaco Pastorius or equally brilliant and pioneering players like that. So Rush is no more. There will … Continue reading That time I asked Alex Lifeson what the attraction was to Rush for so many diehard fans