That time I asked AC/DC’s Malcolm Young and Brian Johnson what their fave tunes were on Flick of the Switch

By Steve Newton I’ve been reading Mick Wall’s 2012 book about AC/DC, Hell Ain’t a Bad Place to Be, and today I got to the part about the band recording 1983’s Flick of the Switch, which the author reckons is AC/DC’s worst album ever. I will admit it’s no Powerage, but hey–the title track is … Continue reading That time I asked AC/DC’s Malcolm Young and Brian Johnson what their fave tunes were on Flick of the Switch

That time I asked Brian May of Queen about that scene in Wayne’s World with “Bohemian Rhapsody” in the car

By Steve Newton I loved Queen in the seventies. When that first album came out in 1973 it was in a steady battle for time on my turntable with other ’73 debuts by Aerosmith, Skynyrd, Montrose, and Trower. I clearly remember playing it on my parents’ living-room stereo (before I got my own) and being … Continue reading That time I asked Brian May of Queen about that scene in Wayne’s World with “Bohemian Rhapsody” in the car

That time I called Susan Tedeschi to talk about Just Won’t Burn and her mom said she was in the tub

By Steve Newton I did my first interview with Susan Tedeschi in November of 1998, just eight months before she met husband-to-be Derek Trucks while opening for the Allman Brothers and they started the relationship that would result in two beautiful kids and the formation of the equally stunning Tedeschi Trucks Band. At the time … Continue reading That time I called Susan Tedeschi to talk about Just Won’t Burn and her mom said she was in the tub

That time Dickey Betts told me to quit being so “reclusive” and come meet him after the show

kirk west photo By Steve Newton In case you haven’t heard the news about Dickey Betts, the 74-year-old guitar legend fell and cracked his head and is now in a Florida hospital, in critical condition, scheduled for brain surgery on Friday. If I were a religious man I’d be sending prayers his way right now, … Continue reading That time Dickey Betts told me to quit being so “reclusive” and come meet him after the show

That time Dickey Betts told me why he got kicked out of the Allman Brothers Band

By Steve Newton I did my fourth interview with guitar legend Dickey Betts in August of 2001, when he was touring with the Dickey Betts Band in support of their new album Let’s Get Together. A little over a year earlier he’d been fired by fax by the Allman Brothers, who he’d cofounded back in … Continue reading That time Dickey Betts told me why he got kicked out of the Allman Brothers Band

Burt Reynolds’ death two weeks after Ed King’s gets me raving about “Saturday Night Special”

  By Steve Newton I never thought Lynyrd Skynyrd’s third album, 1975’s Nuthin’ Fancy, was anywhere near as fine as its first two albums, but holy fvck did I love the opening track, “Saturday Night Special”. It boasted a killer main riff by guitarist Ed King, and some seriously kick-ass, southern-fried solos by Gary Rossington. … Continue reading Burt Reynolds’ death two weeks after Ed King’s gets me raving about “Saturday Night Special”

Dickey Betts on the “disco shit” of the ’80s and the nauseating music the Allmans made for Clive Davis

By Steve Newton Hey, as you may be aware, I never tire of posting little audio snippets from my four interviews with guitar legend Dickey Betts. Here’s one from 2001 where Dickey, always honest and to the point, explains how the Allman Brothers broke up in the early ’80s to let disco run its course–but … Continue reading Dickey Betts on the “disco shit” of the ’80s and the nauseating music the Allmans made for Clive Davis

That time I asked Dickey Betts what Allman Brothers tunes he was playing with his own band

By Steve Newton Back in 2001 I did my fourth interview with Dickey Betts, one of my fave pickers ever. At the time he was touring with the Dickey Betts Band, which had recently released its Let’s Get Together album, the one where Dickey wore an Allen Woody t-shirt for the cover photo. At one … Continue reading That time I asked Dickey Betts what Allman Brothers tunes he was playing with his own band

AC/DC in Vancouver: Mike Fraser spotted with Brian Johnson and Phil Rudd, maybe calling Cliff Williams on his phone?

photo courtesy Glenn Slavens and Crystal Lambert (cgrocker18@gmail.com) By Steve Newton Hardcore AC/DC fans and photographic rumour-spreaders Glenn Slavens and Crystal Lambert are at it again. The dynamic Vancouver duo–he has the camera, she has the pad–have shared another photo with Ear of Newt that furthers the idea that everybody’s fave hard-rock band is working … Continue reading AC/DC in Vancouver: Mike Fraser spotted with Brian Johnson and Phil Rudd, maybe calling Cliff Williams on his phone?

Dickey Betts curses the “goddamn heroin” that took Allen Woody and opines the casualties of rock

By Steve Newton On August 20, 2001, I did my fourth interview with guitar legend Dickey Betts. The date can be seen as significant in a couple of ways, because it was one week before the first anniversary of former Allman Brothers bassist Allen Woody’s suspected overdose death, and just 11 days after the bizarre … Continue reading Dickey Betts curses the “goddamn heroin” that took Allen Woody and opines the casualties of rock

Van Halen and Scorpions battle it out for stadium-rock supremacy as the Monsters of Rock tour hits Seattle

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 5, 1988 By Steve Newton About 40,000 people paid $38.50 (Cdn) to see the marathon Monsters of Rock show at the Seattle Kingdome last Wednesday (July 27). My calculator blew up when I tried to figure out the night’s take, but I do know that the Kingdome is … Continue reading Van Halen and Scorpions battle it out for stadium-rock supremacy as the Monsters of Rock tour hits Seattle

Jeff Healey jams at Vancouver’s Yale Pub before tearing up the Town Pump with a feedback-laden “Oh Canada”

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 8, 1988 By Steve Newton Jeff Healey loves to play guitar. Two long, sweat-soaked nights at the Town Pump obviously weren’t going to be enough for the blind blues ace. So he could be seen down at the Yale Saturday afternoon (July 2), taking part in the pub’s … Continue reading Jeff Healey jams at Vancouver’s Yale Pub before tearing up the Town Pump with a feedback-laden “Oh Canada”

Def Leppard makes a triumphant in-the-round return to Vancouver on the Hysteria tour

kevin statham photo ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 7, 1988 By Steve Newton Being a rock critic is not all fun and games. “Sure, Steve,” you’re probably saying, “all those free concerts and backstage brewskies must be real tough.” Okay, so there are worse occupations, but like anything else it can get boring. … Continue reading Def Leppard makes a triumphant in-the-round return to Vancouver on the Hysteria tour

AC/DC’s riotous rock riles the savage beast in Vancouver

property of the newt ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 17, 1988 By Steve Newton The would-be gatecrashers throwing rocks and bottles outside B.C. Place last Monday night (June 13) may have thought they were having fun, but if they’d had any sense at all they would have saved those bottles, cashed them in, … Continue reading AC/DC’s riotous rock riles the savage beast in Vancouver

Meeting with the Alien: hangin’ with Joe Satriani backstage in Vancouver

By Steve Newton Went and saw Joe Satriani at the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver last night, and holy crap was he smokin’! I must have seen Satch live around 10 times over the years–including on various G3 tours–and I don’t think he’s ever played better. Having such a wicked backing band–guitarist-keyboardist Mike Kenneally, bassist Bryan … Continue reading Meeting with the Alien: hangin’ with Joe Satriani backstage in Vancouver

Album review: Joe Satriani, Surfing with the Alien (1988)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 3, 1988 By Steve Newton Boy, talk about a guitarist’s wet dream! This Satriani guy comes up with some of the wildest, most innovative rock guitar sounds in many a day. He even makes Eddie Van Halen sound like a hacker! Okay, so maybe he’s not that good. But if … Continue reading Album review: Joe Satriani, Surfing with the Alien (1988)

Joe Satriani responds to Yngwie Malmsteen’s claim that Ibanez guitars are “a bad copy” of the Strat

By Steve Newton I did my eighth interview with Joe Satriani a couple years ago, and finally got to ask him about something that his former G3 tourmate Yngwie Malmsteen once said to me. Back in 2014 I had interviewed Yngwie in advance of his Guitar Gods show in Vancouver, and that was when he … Continue reading Joe Satriani responds to Yngwie Malmsteen’s claim that Ibanez guitars are “a bad copy” of the Strat

Midnight Oil proves itself a kick-ass rock ‘n’ roll band that counts on the Diesel and Dust tour

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, APRIL 29, 1988 By Steve Newton At Midnight Oil’s press conference the day of their April 22 show the band’s drummer (and one of the major songwriters) Rob Hirst was asked about the group’s preoccupation with political themes. Hirst acknowledged the political side of the band, but also pointed out … Continue reading Midnight Oil proves itself a kick-ass rock ‘n’ roll band that counts on the Diesel and Dust tour

That time Dickey Betts told me that he liked the Allman Brothers’ opening act, Blues Traveler, “a whole lot”

By Steve Newton If you’ve been checking out Ear of Newt much in the last couple years, you likely noticed that I really enjoy posting audio excerpts from my four interviews with Dickey Betts. As I’ve been saying all along, he’s one of my fave guitarists, but I like hearing his down-home southern drawl almost as … Continue reading That time Dickey Betts told me that he liked the Allman Brothers’ opening act, Blues Traveler, “a whole lot”

That time Mick Ronson told me he was a rocker, as if I didn’t know

By Steve Newton I watched that recently released documentary on Mick Ronson, Beside Bowie, the other day, and it inspired me to digitize another snippet off my first interview with Ronno, from 1988. You’re welcome, fellow Ronson freaks! The conversation happened on September 9, ’88, in advance of a show by the Hunter-Ronson Band at … Continue reading That time Mick Ronson told me he was a rocker, as if I didn’t know

That time Robin Trower told me that most of the pop music in England was “rubbish”

By Steve Newton Robin Trower is one of my fave guitarists of all time. His string of wicked albums in the seventies–in particular Twice Removed from Yesterday, Bridge of Sighs, and For Earth Below–were a major part of the soundtrack to my teenage existence. He’s never gotten the cred he deserves, partly due to the … Continue reading That time Robin Trower told me that most of the pop music in England was “rubbish”

Album review: Various Artists, Metal For Lunch (1986)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 6, 1986 By Steve Newton Metal For Lunch is the follow-up to last year’s Metal For Breakfast album, a collection of previously released tracks from som great (and not so great) hard rock bands. On this one, the top tunes come via Aerosmith (“Back in the Saddle”), Judas Priest (“Love … Continue reading Album review: Various Artists, Metal For Lunch (1986)

The Strangers: Prey at Night is routine masked-killer fare

By Steve Newton According to the on-screen message in its opening scene, The Strangers: Prey at Night was “based on true events”. It kinda makes you wonder if anyone was ever actually stalked by an axe-wielding psycho at a trailer-park swimming pool while Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart” blasted over the outdoor PA. In this … Continue reading The Strangers: Prey at Night is routine masked-killer fare

That time I called up Danny Gatton while he was sorting through his Roy Buchanan tapes

By Steve Newton When it comes to unheralded guitar geniuses, Danny Gatton is right up there. He’s never achieved the fame of a Clapton, Beck, or Page, but in-the-know guitar freaks realize that he’s worthy of comparison, talent-wise. I only got to interview Gatton once, back in April of 1993, before he came to Vancouver … Continue reading That time I called up Danny Gatton while he was sorting through his Roy Buchanan tapes

That time I called up Mick Ronson and asked what he’d been doin’ the last few years

By Steve Newton I’ve got a lotta guitar heroes, and as a rock journalist for 35 years now, I’ve managed to interview quite a few. One of my all-time faves has to be Mick Ronson. I’ve been crazy about him since I heard my first David Bowie album, Aladdin Sane, back in April of ’73. … Continue reading That time I called up Mick Ronson and asked what he’d been doin’ the last few years

Exclusive excerpt from my new book, Gord Downie, about the late frontman of the Tragically Hip

By Steve Newton The following is the Preface from my new coffeetable book, Gord Downie, published by Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. of New York City and currently available at Indigo, Coles, and Chapters outlets across Canada. ———————————————————————- The first time I spoke to Gord Downie he was a longhaired 25-year-old rocker touring behind his band’s first full-length … Continue reading Exclusive excerpt from my new book, Gord Downie, about the late frontman of the Tragically Hip

That time Dickey Betts told me about the music business and the Allman Brothers’ “official” albums

photo by kirk west By Steve Newton I still have fond memories of seeing guitar legend Dickey Betts with the Allman Brothers back in the early ’90s, when he was trading killer licks with another of my fave pickers, Warren Haynes. When I did my third interview with Dickey, back in July of ’92, the band was … Continue reading That time Dickey Betts told me about the music business and the Allman Brothers’ “official” albums