That time I asked Ronnie James Dio about stepping into Ozzy Osbourne’s shoes in Black Sabbath

By Steve Newton There's no denying that Ronnie James Dio did an incredible job replacing Ozzy Osbourne as the singer in Black Sabbath. The moment I heard "Neon Nights", the opening track on Dio's first Sabbath album, Heaven and Hell, I knew the heavy-metal stars had aligned. The music had way more power and feel than … Continue reading That time I asked Ronnie James Dio about stepping into Ozzy Osbourne’s shoes in Black Sabbath

That time Kate Bush told me about creating the music video for her new single “Running Up That Hill”

By Steve Newton Back in November of 1985 I did a phone interview with Kate Bush, who was promoting her new album The Hounds of Love at the time. Three months earlier she'd released the single "Running Up That Hill", which I really liked, but I hadn't yet seen the new video for it. So … Continue reading That time Kate Bush told me about creating the music video for her new single “Running Up That Hill”

That time Donald “Duck” Dunn told me about working with Eric Clapton and John “the Godfather” Belushi

By Steve Newton Back in 1985 Eric Clapton played a show in Vancouver, but he wasn't doing any interviews with the likes of me. I was happy as hell just to chat with bass-guitar legend Donald "Duck" Dunn, who you may recall for his work with Booker T & the MG's. During the course of our … Continue reading That time Donald “Duck” Dunn told me about working with Eric Clapton and John “the Godfather” Belushi

Ronnie James Dio: the Lost Interview of 1985, an Ear of Newt exclusive

By Steve Newton On December 20, 1985, Ronnie James Dio called me up at home and we chatted for 20 minutes or so. How cool was that? The legendary heavy-metal artist was doing press promoting his Sacred Heart tour, which was scheduled to play Vancouver's Pacific Coliseum on December 28, with guest Yngwie Malmsteen. We talked … Continue reading Ronnie James Dio: the Lost Interview of 1985, an Ear of Newt exclusive

Motley Crue plays Vancouver on the Theatre of Pain tour, Nikki Sixx cranks AC/DC backstage

mila geran photo ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 22, 1985 By Steve Newton "Excuse me women...I mean ladies," said Nikki Sixx as he pushed through the hordes of groupies backstage at the Coliseum last week (November 12). The Motley Crue bassist wasn't zeroing in on any one in particular--his aim was the group's … Continue reading Motley Crue plays Vancouver on the Theatre of Pain tour, Nikki Sixx cranks AC/DC backstage

Sorry Canada, but Bob Geldof’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas” beats Bryan Adams’ “Tears Are Not Enough”

By Steve Newton Way back on October 4, 1985, the Tears Are Not Enough music documentary was released in Canadian theatres. You might have seen it. More likely you only heard the song, which was Canada's response to USA for Africa's "We Are the World", which in turn was the United States' response to Band Aid's "Do … Continue reading Sorry Canada, but Bob Geldof’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas” beats Bryan Adams’ “Tears Are Not Enough”

Mark Knopfler’s guitar steals the show in Vancouver on Dire Straits’ Brothers in Arms tour

mila geran photo ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 27, 1985 By Steve Newton "Rock and roll Vancouver," announced Mark Knopfler half-way through Monday's (September 23) Dire Straits show at the Pacific Coliseum. And when his band swung into the twist-and-shout rocker "Walk of Life", the crowd did as they were told. A mass … Continue reading Mark Knopfler’s guitar steals the show in Vancouver on Dire Straits’ Brothers in Arms tour

Buddy Guy gets pissed at Junior Wells and walks off stage in Vancouver

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 27, 1985 By Steve Newton Buddy Guy and Junior Wells brought their hearty brand of Chicago blues to the Commodore last Friday and Saturday (September 20 and 21). Buddy's backup musicians warmed things up with the Stones' "Miss You" before Guy himself stepped out and tore into a … Continue reading Buddy Guy gets pissed at Junior Wells and walks off stage in Vancouver

Long John Baldry on Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, David Bowie–and Dale Martindale of Images in Vogue

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 13, 1985 By Steve Newton Long John Baldry is a giant among British blues-rockers--and that's not only because he stands 6 feet 7-1/2 inches tall. In his 26-year career the singer has played with stars such as Mick jagger, Rod Stewart, and Elton John, among many others, and … Continue reading Long John Baldry on Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, David Bowie–and Dale Martindale of Images in Vogue

Stevie Ray Vaughan tears it up in Vancouver, says “serious trouble indeed”

mila geran photo ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPTEMBER 6, 1985 By Steve Newton Since he flew onto the international music scene in 1983, people have been raving on and on about Texas guitar wizard Stevie Ray Vaughan. After his startling shows at the Commodore last week (August 29 and 31), you can bet … Continue reading Stevie Ray Vaughan tears it up in Vancouver, says “serious trouble indeed”

My first interview with Stevie Ray Vaughan, when he sang me three lines of an Earl King song

photo by Mila Geran ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 6, 1985 By Stevie Ross Newton Texas blues guitar hero Stevie Ray Vaughan was in town last Saturday, for two sold out shows at the Commodore Ballroom. Prior to his appearance the Straight caught up with Stevie, and asked him about his upcoming LP … Continue reading My first interview with Stevie Ray Vaughan, when he sang me three lines of an Earl King song

Ann Wilson on making the Heart album: “Lookout! Three gals and a bottle of Dubonnet!”

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 16, 1985 By Steve Newton It's been ten years since Heart recorded their debut album Dreamboat Annie at Vancouver's Mushroom Studios. At a time when Saturday Night Fever was running rampant that LP--with songs like "Magic Man" and "Crazy On You"--struck an important blow for guitar-driven rock and … Continue reading Ann Wilson on making the Heart album: “Lookout! Three gals and a bottle of Dubonnet!”

Guitarists from Exodus, Exciter, and Metal Church weigh in on the heaviness of metal in 1985

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 2, 1985 By Steve Newton Blue Oyster Cult's Tyranny and Mutation. Aerosmith's Rocks. UFO's Phenomenon. The Montrose debut. Back in the early to mid-'70s those albums forged a sound that critic Lester Bangs called "heavy metal". They were dynamic and forceful, fast, loud, and proud. The bands that … Continue reading Guitarists from Exodus, Exciter, and Metal Church weigh in on the heaviness of metal in 1985

Eric Clapton ends his 1985 North American tour in Vancouver, Duck Dunn proclaims “GODDAMN!”

mila geran photo ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 2, 1985 By Steve Newton "Here's one from 1967," said Eric Clapton at the Coliseum last Saturday (July 26). "I hope you recognize it." Then he launched into "White Room", a hit from his days with Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker in the power trio … Continue reading Eric Clapton ends his 1985 North American tour in Vancouver, Duck Dunn proclaims “GODDAMN!”

Rush kicks the asses of ailments to deliver the goods in Vancouver

By Steve Newton For 40 years now the trio of Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, and Neil Peart has been traversing the world, taking their patented brand of challenging prog-rock to the masses, proving to all and sundry that Canada is more than just hockey, beer, and maple syrup. And weed. I guess ya gotta add … Continue reading Rush kicks the asses of ailments to deliver the goods in Vancouver

Fu Manchu founder Scott Hill just likes big, loud, heavy stuff

By Steve Newton When you check out the song titles on its latest CD, Gigantoid, it’s clear that Fu Manchu still has a hankering for sci-fi–oriented tuneage. The band that once proudly named a song after the flaky Farrah Fawcett flick Saturn 3—which Roger Ebert dubbed “awesomely stupid and totally implausible”—still churns out rockin’ ditties like “Dimension … Continue reading Fu Manchu founder Scott Hill just likes big, loud, heavy stuff

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

Dave Alvin’s “dead” brother Phil returns for another rootsy splash in the river of life

By Steve Newton Three years ago, American roots-rock great Dave Alvin had the fright of his life. His older brother Phil—with whom he’d shared many a van, hotel room, and stage over the years in the Blasters—damn near passed away while on tour in Spain. In fact, he was technically toast. “He couldn’t breathe on-stage,” … Continue reading Dave Alvin’s “dead” brother Phil returns for another rootsy splash in the river of life

Frankie Goes to Hollywood shatters glass (and preconceptions) in Vancouver

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 28, 1985 By Steve Newton Frankie said BANG! three times last Saturday (June 22)—and with a trio of heart-stopping explosions blew out 61 windows of the War Memorial Gym. You couldn't really blame the boys from Liverpool for wanting to go out with a shatter though. It was … Continue reading Frankie Goes to Hollywood shatters glass (and preconceptions) in Vancouver

Hal Lindes on joining Dire Straits, performing for royalty, and not writing like Mark Knopfler

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, APRIL 6, 1984 By Steve Newton Stepping out of nowhere into one of the world's most popular and critically acclaimed bands would be a momentous move for any rock musician--and probably a scary one as well. Especially if the member you were hoping to replace was the band leader's … Continue reading Hal Lindes on joining Dire Straits, performing for royalty, and not writing like Mark Knopfler

UZEB may be “the Van Halen of jazz”, but they sure don’t get paid the same

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 7, 1985 By Steve Newton Last year's Vancouver appearance by Quebec jazz/fusion quartet UZEB was one of my picks for the Top Ten concerts of 1984--right up there with Scorpions and R.E.M. Now the group is returning to the Commodore Ballroom for two nights, next Friday and Saturday … Continue reading UZEB may be “the Van Halen of jazz”, but they sure don’t get paid the same

Robert Plant kicks off his 1985 World Tour with a ’50s-style sock hop in Vancouver

bev davies photo By Steve Newton On June 10, 1985, Robert Plant played the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver. That was four days after NRBQ played the Town Pump, and for some reason I gave their club show slightly more coverage in my Night Shift column than Plant's arena show. I guess NRBQ was just better! Anyway, here's my … Continue reading Robert Plant kicks off his 1985 World Tour with a ’50s-style sock hop in Vancouver

NRBQ tars and feathers a Cabbage Patch Kid in Vancouver

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 14, 1985 By Steve Newton "Are you having a good time?" asked Terry Adams. And the capacity crowd at Club Soda--who obviously were--answered with a resounding 'Yes!". "Yes what?!" countered bassist Joey Spampinato. And that's the way it was last Thursday--with the New Rhythm & Blues Quartet (NRBQ) … Continue reading NRBQ tars and feathers a Cabbage Patch Kid in Vancouver

NRBQ likes to go by the way it feels at the time

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 7, 1985 By Steve Newton NRBQ stands for the New Rhythm & Blues Quartet, but NRBQ isn't a rhythm and blues band. A bit misleading, wouldn't you say? "It might be to some people, " says bassist Joey Spampinato, over the phone from somewhere in Maryland. "Actually, the … Continue reading NRBQ likes to go by the way it feels at the time

Horrific sound at Kerrisdale Arena makes Vancouver a town called malice for the Jam

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 11, 1982 By Steve Newton It looked like a scene from the Who film Quadrophenia outside the Kerrisdale Arena last Saturday night (June 5). Guys in trenchcoats and military-style jackets stood around with girls wearing button-clad and Union Jack emblazoned overcoats. Inside the Jam, hailed as "England's #1 … Continue reading Horrific sound at Kerrisdale Arena makes Vancouver a town called malice for the Jam

Eddie Murphy plays Vancouver, so I party with his entourage till 5 a.m.

On May 11, 1985, Eddie Murphy played the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver. This was exactly 12 days before he released "Party All the Time", which reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and is clearly one of the worst songs ever recorded. What bugs me most about this video--besides the music--is the shirt-button-challenged "rock" … Continue reading Eddie Murphy plays Vancouver, so I party with his entourage till 5 a.m.

Jim Byrnes on the Vancouver blues scene in ’85 and his idol Magic Sam

By Steve Newton On May 6, 1985, Vancouver blues legend Jim Byrnes was in the midst of a week-long stint at a nightclub in the West End. That's no big whoop as far as Vancouver music history goes, but considering how much Byrnes has contributed to the city's blues scene since then, I figured it … Continue reading Jim Byrnes on the Vancouver blues scene in ’85 and his idol Magic Sam