Gordon Downie thanks Bruce Allen for making the Tragically Hip famous

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MARCH 18, 1999 By Steve Newton I’ve always been mightily impressed by the Tragically Hip’s live presentation. It didn’t matter which venue I’d see them in—whether it was the wee Railway Club or sprawling T-Bird Stadium, the classic Commodore or scenic Seabird Island—I always went away fully, completely satisfied. … Continue reading Gordon Downie thanks Bruce Allen for making the Tragically Hip famous

The Tragically Hip’s Gord Downie finds humour in “The Inevitability of Death”

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, FEB. 16, 1995 By Steve Newton The Tragically Hip don’t always do things the way other rock groups do, and maybe that’s why folks love ’em so much. For starters, the band got its road manager, of all people, to write its official MCA Records bio. Instead of the … Continue reading The Tragically Hip’s Gord Downie finds humour in “The Inevitability of Death”

Flies on Fire fell in love with Canada and the Tragically Hip

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JAN. 16, 1992 By Steve Newton Although Flies on Fire have already released two albums full of honest, no-frills guitar rock with major-label distribution on Atco Records, they haven’t yet made much of a name for themselves. But they’re probably better known to Vancouver rock fans than to the … Continue reading Flies on Fire fell in love with Canada and the Tragically Hip

Even Bruce Allen would have loved the Tragically Hip at the Commodore

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 18, 1991 By Steve Newton The first time I heard Bruce Allen’s late-night talk show on CFOX, I heard the Big A comment: “Colin James for five nights at the Commodore? Why?” Was Allen jealous because Loverboy might never have had enough over-19 fans to accomplish the feat? Did he … Continue reading Even Bruce Allen would have loved the Tragically Hip at the Commodore

The Tragically Hip brings Road Apples to the Town Pump–and that’s no horseshit

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, FEB. 21, 1991 By Steve Newton I wasn’t expecting such a cheery tone from Tragically Hip lead guitarist Bobby Baker when he called recently from the band’s hometown of Kingston, Ontario. When the band played Vancouver last—at the Trade & Convention Centre’s New Year’s Eve bash—the crowd pelted the … Continue reading The Tragically Hip brings Road Apples to the Town Pump–and that’s no horseshit

My fifth and final interview with Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 7, 1996 By Steve Newton When word went out over the local airwaves one July morning last year that the Tragically Hip were playing a tiny Vancouver club that night to raise funds for the Vancouver Food Bank—and give 200 or so of their die-hard fans the thrill … Continue reading My fifth and final interview with Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip

“Nautical Disaster” is the greatest Tragically Hip song ever, says Newt

By Steve Newton I love a lot of Tragically Hip songs, but if you asked me which one was my all-time favourite, I’d have to say “Nautical Disaster”, off the 1994 Day for Night album. I adore every second of that tune, like the way it calmly opens up before Rob Baker and Paul Langlois’ guitars fabulously … Continue reading “Nautical Disaster” is the greatest Tragically Hip song ever, says Newt

That time Gord Downie told me that the 15 minutes after a Tragically Hip show are his favourite time of the day

By Steve Newton If you’re a dedicated Tragically Hip fan you’ve no doubt seen their final concert, which took place in the band’s Kingston hometown on August 20, 2016, and was broadcast live on CBC-TV. It was an historic gig, bursting with emotion, and for me the finest moment came during one of the several … Continue reading That time Gord Downie told me that the 15 minutes after a Tragically Hip show are his favourite time of the day

That time Gord Downie raved to me about Tragically Hip tourmates Change of Heart and the Odds

By Steve Newton One thing I figured out about Gord Downie during the five interviews I did with him between 1989 and 1995 was that he really, really likes musicians. Especially musicians who play in bands. He was always quick to rave about the new groups he’d heard lately, or maybe the ones the Tragically … Continue reading That time Gord Downie raved to me about Tragically Hip tourmates Change of Heart and the Odds

Gordon Downie goes Fully Completely Canadian on new Tragically Hip album

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 26, 1992 By Steve Newton If there were a CRTC regulation that based Canadian content on actual lyrics as opposed to the citizenship of a song’s composer, the Tragically Hip would be the darlings of CanCon advocates across the country. On their new album, Fully Completely, the Hipsters … Continue reading Gordon Downie goes Fully Completely Canadian on new Tragically Hip album

Tragically Hip box set artfully melds sound and vision

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, DEC. 8, 2005 By Steve Newton My wife Dawn and I are big Tragically Hip fans. Heck, back in ’97 we went to see them at Thunderbird Stadium when she was eight-months pregnant, giving our first-born an in-utero sampling of Canada’s top guitar rockers. No wonder the opening riffs of “Little … Continue reading Tragically Hip box set artfully melds sound and vision

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 Shannon Hoon of Blind Melon told me about his love/hate relationship with John Lydon

By Steve Newton I only got to interview Blind Melon frontman Shannon Hoon once before his tragic drug-overdose death at the age of 28. It was December of 1992, and earlier in the year Hoon’s band had been part of the MTV 120 Minutes Tour, opening for Public Image Ltd., Big Audio Dynamite II, and … Continue reading That time Shannon Hoon of Blind Melon told me about his love/hate relationship with John Lydon

That time Rob Baker told me that when Paul Langlois joined the Hip he only knew four or five chords

By Steve Newton I did my last Tragically Hip interview in June of 1997, a month after the band had released its concert album Live Between Us. Lead guitarist Rob Baker (I still called him Bobby back then) rang me up from his home in Kingston, and we talked about the live disc and the … Continue reading That time Rob Baker told me that when Paul Langlois joined the Hip he only knew four or five chords

Remembering Gord Downie through the Hip’s last gig

By Steve Newton The following is an excerpt from my beer-table book, Gord Downie, published February 2018 by Sterling Books, New York. The tour’s final show at Kingston’s Rogers K-Rock Centre was the one everyone was talking about. It was broadcast live on the tube by the CBC, with no commercial breaks, and watched by … Continue reading Remembering Gord Downie through the Hip’s last gig

That time Gord Downie got all “cunty” when I picked his scab about the Hip’s perplexing lack of success in the States

david bastedo photo By Steve Newton I turned 60 today, and sometimes when you reach a milestone I guess maybe you look back on things in your life or career that struck you as special or interesting or memorable in some way. While sipping on the peach vodka my wife bought me for the occasion, … Continue reading That time Gord Downie got all “cunty” when I picked his scab about the Hip’s perplexing lack of success in the States

That time Gregg Allman told me how Allman Brothers roadie Red Dog dared him to redo “Whipping Post”

By Steve Newton When I interviewed Gregg Allman back in February of 1998 he was touring behind his fifth solo release, Searching for Simplicity. That album opened with an unplugged version of “Whipping Post”, the song he wrote for the Allman Brothers’ debut album in 1969, but which didn’t reach its full potential until it … Continue reading That time Gregg Allman told me how Allman Brothers roadie Red Dog dared him to redo “Whipping Post”

That time Craig Northey told me what he really thinks about the Hip not being big in the States

By Steve Newton I did the last of my five interviews with Gord Downie back in October of 1996, when the Tragically Hip was at its peak of popularity. At that point the latest Hip CD, Trouble at the Henhouse, had sold about 100,000 copies in the U.S., which, while a respectable number, still paled drastically … Continue reading That time Craig Northey told me what he really thinks about the Hip not being big in the States

That time I told Gord Downie that the Hip’s “Nautical Disaster” made me think of Neil Young & Crazy Horse

By Steve Newton When I interviewed the Tragically Hip’s Gord Downie in January of 1995 it was less than four months after the release of the band’s fourth full-length album, Day for Night, and I was still playing the crap out of it. I would also play “Nautical Disaster” over and over again, until it … Continue reading That time I told Gord Downie that the Hip’s “Nautical Disaster” made me think of Neil Young & Crazy Horse

Bruce Allen’s anti-Hip rants can’t tarnish Canada’s best band

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 3, 1997 By Steve Newton The last time I tuned in to Bruce Allen’s Soundoff show on CFOX, I caught the loudmouthed rock mogul in one of his favourite on-air acts: slagging the Tragically Hip. The band had just released its live album, Live Between Us, and Allen … Continue reading Bruce Allen’s anti-Hip rants can’t tarnish Canada’s best band

Gordon Downie declares Al Waxman prime minister at Hip show in Vancouver

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 14, 1996 At a private party in Yaletown last Friday (November 8), after the first of three Tragically Hip shows at the Pacific Coliseum, vocalist Gordon Downie leaned determinedly over a pool table to set up what he hoped would be a game-winning shot. He slammed the eight … Continue reading Gordon Downie declares Al Waxman prime minister at Hip show in Vancouver

The Doughboys’ John Kastner is sick of hearing about the Hip

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 19, 1996 When Doughboys singer-guitarist John Kastner rings up and informs me that he’s calling from Kingston, Ontario, I casually comment, “Oh, the home of the Tragically Hip.” I suppose I could have said, “Hey, nice penitentiary they’ve got there.” That might have gone over a little better. … Continue reading The Doughboys’ John Kastner is sick of hearing about the Hip

Midnight Oil’s “tree-hugging a**hole” kicks ass for Clayoquot Sound at the Hip’s Another Roadside Attraction

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 22, 1993 By Steve Newton It didn’t take long for Midnight Oil singer/environmental activist Peter Garrett to bring up the contentious issue of logging in Clayoquot Sound during Saturday’s (July 17) Another Roadside Attraction rock festival at Seabird Island in Agassiz. Right after the band’s introductory tune, the … Continue reading Midnight Oil’s “tree-hugging a**hole” kicks ass for Clayoquot Sound at the Hip’s Another Roadside Attraction

Matt Andersen’s Weightless energized by Hip producer Berlin

Steve Berlin first got noticed on the music scene as a saxophonist for the Blasters, and later on Los Lobos, but in recent years he’s been known just as much for his producer credits, having helmed records by such diverse artists as Susan Tedeschi, Deer Tick, Leo Kottke, Buckwheat Zydeco, and Leftover Salmon. Berlin’s latest … Continue reading Matt Andersen’s Weightless energized by Hip producer Berlin

There’s not a band in the land that can touch the Hip

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, NOV. 18, 2004 By Steve Newton Has the Tragically Hip finally lost its standing as Canada’s top rock band? There’s little doubt that Kingston, Ontario’s favourite sons have been on a downward slide, popularity-wise, for the last few years. Back in ’96, the group came close to selling out the Pacific … Continue reading There’s not a band in the land that can touch the Hip

That time I asked Alex Van Halen what the best thing was about being in Van Halen

By Steve Newton Here’s the last excerpt I’m gonna post from my 1995 interview with Alex Van Halen. I’d like to thank author Greg Renoff for his help in getting these audio clips to the hardcore Van Halen fans. I highly recommend his book Van Halen Rising: How a Southern California Backyard Party Band Saved … Continue reading That time I asked Alex Van Halen what the best thing was about being in Van Halen

That time Tom Cochrane railed against the “trendy bullshit” in pop music after Red Rider released Neruda

By Steve Newton I’ve interviewed Canadian rocker Tom Cochrane half a dozen times over the years. I was a fan long before he hit it big with “Life is a Highway” in 1991. The first time we talked was in April of 1983, three months after the release of Red Rider’s fine Neruda album, the … Continue reading That time Tom Cochrane railed against the “trendy bullshit” in pop music after Red Rider released Neruda