Riff Kills Man proves that Martin Popoff knows his shit when it comes to metal

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MARCH 17, 1994 By Steve Newton Heavy-metal and hard-rock fans are a fanatical bunch. They thrive on raunchy guitar solos, thundering drums, and howling vocals. They live for feedback. They despise earplugs. And when it comes to their favourite kind of music, they always know who rules. So does … Continue reading Riff Kills Man proves that Martin Popoff knows his shit when it comes to metal

Ronnie Montrose and Steve Morse jam for the first time on the Yardbirds’ “Shapes of Things”

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 29, 1994 By Steve Newton What do ’60s British rock pioneers the Yardbirds, ’70s fusion greats the Mahavishnu Orchestra, instrumental southern-rockers the Dixie Dregs, and cult guitar hero Ronnie Montrose have in common? Not that much, really, but at the Commodore on Wednesday (September 21) the musical legacies … Continue reading Ronnie Montrose and Steve Morse jam for the first time on the Yardbirds’ “Shapes of Things”

Drum great Kenny Aronoff was never afraid to go for it

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 25, 1999 By Steve Newton I’ve got a theory, and this theory, which is mine, is that everybody wants to be a rock ’n’ roll drummer. There’s just something irresistible about the idea of pounding away on a resonating circle until you’re sweaty and drained and then having … Continue reading Drum great Kenny Aronoff was never afraid to go for it

ZZ Top guitarist Billy Gibbons tells me “them low-down blues ain’t bad”

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 1994 By Steve Newton When famous rock guitarists reminisce about their first instruments, the talk tends toward dirt-cheap acoustics with heavy strings set so high off the fretboard that it hurts just to look at them. Not with Billy Gibbons, though. The incomparable guitarman for ZZ Top got … Continue reading ZZ Top guitarist Billy Gibbons tells me “them low-down blues ain’t bad”

Metallica are masters of metal wherever they may roam, including Vancouver

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 22, 1994 By Steve Newton What better way to get primed for a Metallica gig than to take a four-hour cruise around the harbour with a smokin' blues-rock band and 75 beer-crazed party animals? None, thought I, so I hopped on board the Boomtown at noon on Sunday (July 17) and … Continue reading Metallica are masters of metal wherever they may roam, including 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

Pink Floyd plays Vancouver on the Division Bell tour, David Gilmour’s state-of-the-art guitars shine

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 30, 1994 By Steve Newton As streams of perked-up Pink Floyd fans strolled north across the Cambie Street bridge en route to the big white marshmallow of B.C. Place last Saturday (June 25), a lot of them were eyeing the sky. It was a fine time to revel … Continue reading Pink Floyd plays Vancouver on the Division Bell tour, David Gilmour’s state-of-the-art guitars shine

Interviewing Jeff Goldblum and Alicia Silverstone on the set of Dean Koontz’s Hideaway

  By Steve Newton Vancouver has not been kind to Dean Koontz. First you had his awesome 1987 suspense novel, Watchers, being turned into a godawful Corey Haim vehicle up here in 1988. Then seven years later you had his fine 1982 supernatural thriller, Hideaway, becoming the type of B.C.-shot trainwreck he tried to sue to … Continue reading Interviewing Jeff Goldblum and Alicia Silverstone on the set of Dean Koontz’s Hideaway

Steve Dawson and Jesse Zubot put the soul in the Spirit Merchants

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 15, 1994 Seems like every year of late I’ve come across one particular release from a local band that’s been head-and-shoulders above the other Vancouver discs sent my way. Last year, it was Two Trains’ Too Many Faces; the year before that, She Stole My Beer’s Sparks Against … Continue reading Steve Dawson and Jesse Zubot put the soul in the Spirit Merchants

Warren Haynes on the Allman Brothers reunion, Dickey Betts’ signature sound, and Where It All Begins

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 27, 1994 By Steve Newton Word on the street is that the Allman Brothers Band is playing some of the finest, most intense gigs of its illustrious career. And according to people who have seen the group recently, it’s not just the best-known members—Dickey Betts and Gregg Allman—who … Continue reading Warren Haynes on the Allman Brothers reunion, Dickey Betts’ signature sound, and Where It All Begins

Gilby Clarke plays Pawnshop Guitars, says “everything’s cool” in GN’R

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 27, 1994 By Steve Newton With a volatile dude like Axl Rose at the helm, it’s no wonder Guns N’ Roses breeds fast-flying rumours about everything from the singer’s supposed spousal abuse to how long he brushes his teeth. Then of course there’s the intriguing question of who’s gonna … Continue reading Gilby Clarke plays Pawnshop Guitars, says “everything’s cool” in GN’R

Aerosmith shows love for cancer kid and Tojo’s sushi at Vancouver gig

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 27, 1994 The most memorable moment of Aerosmith’s latest Vancouver concert didn’t occur when Steven Tyler came tearing out in multicoloured rags to kick-start the show with a screech at the beginning of “Eat the Rich”. Nor was it when bare-chested guitar god Joe Perry steamed across the … Continue reading Aerosmith shows love for cancer kid and Tojo’s sushi at Vancouver gig

Aerosmith’s Tom Hamilton says some drugs “just go damn well with music”

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 20, 1994 By Steve Newton When Aerosmith bassist Tom Hamilton calls from Newport Beach during an afternoon stop on the band’s whirlwind Get a Grip tour, I presume he’ll be playing somewhere in California that night. Wrong-o, Steve-o. He’s doing a gig in Vegas instead. You can do … Continue reading Aerosmith’s Tom Hamilton says some drugs “just go damn well with music”

Pride & Glory’s Zakk Wylde says he’ll always be Ozzy’s guitar player

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 20, 1994 By Steve Newton Rock guitarists have a few things to worry about during a live performance—such as blowing an amp, breaking a string, or dropping a pick during a crucial guitar freak-out. Personal injury isn’t usually one of the main onstage concerns for today’s rock artists, … Continue reading Pride & Glory’s Zakk Wylde says he’ll always be Ozzy’s guitar player

The spirit of Mick Ronson inspires the Payola$ at the Town Pump

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 20, 1994 Ya gotta like that Bob Rock guy. When he gets tired of producing platinum-plus CDs for bands like Metallica and Mötley Crüe, he forms his own group, Rockhead, and gets back to his ’70s-rock roots with melodic, radio-friendly sing-along tunes such as “Bed of Roses” and … Continue reading The spirit of Mick Ronson inspires the Payola$ at the Town Pump

Kim Mitchell and Pye Dubois have come a long way from the Sarnia high-school smoking section

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 29, 1994 By Steve Newton When the time comes to sit down with Kim Mitchell and his lyricist, Pye Dubois, at the Bulldog Cafe, I have a bone to pick with them—and it isn’t one of the Nelson Street eatery’s tasty chicken wings. I want to know why … Continue reading Kim Mitchell and Pye Dubois have come a long way from the Sarnia high-school smoking section

Tinsley Ellis’s new disc features Chuck Leavell and 14-year-old Derek Trucks

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 29, 1994 By Steve Newton Tinsley Ellis really gets around. According to the Atlanta bluesman’s Alligator Records bio, he plays upward of 250 nights a year—and that ain’t no house gig, either. When I reached the seasoned road warrior by phone last week, he was at a place … Continue reading Tinsley Ellis’s new disc features Chuck Leavell and 14-year-old Derek Trucks

The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets keep the spirit of Lovecraft alive

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, APRIL 28, 1994 By Steve Newton Whatever you do, don’t say “Iä! Iä! Cthulhu Fhtang” three times. Careless use of that sacred chant—made famous by legendary horror author H.P. Lovecraft in his stories of the Cthulhu mythos—just might incite the evil wrath of the Elder Gods, the unspeakably horrifying … Continue reading The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets keep the spirit of Lovecraft alive

Robert Cray’s smokin’ show tarnished by news of CFOX canning Sunday Blues

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JAN. 27, 1994 By Steve Newton If there’s one thing that’s a sure cure for the sad-eyed, rain-soaked January blahs, it’s a blues show at the Commodore. And when that show’s on a Friday night (January 21), the headliner is Robert Cray, and the opener is Taj Mahal, then … Continue reading Robert Cray’s smokin’ show tarnished by news of CFOX canning Sunday Blues

Slash says that the original Guns N’ Roses lineup “just stopped rocking”

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, FEBRUARY 11, 1994 By Steve Newton Guns N’ Roses may well be the most popular hard-rock band in the world. It’s certainly one of the most controversial, having made headlines recently with the much-publicized inclusion of an uncredited Charles Manson song on its latest recording, The Spaghetti Incident? There’s … Continue reading Slash says that the original Guns N’ Roses lineup “just stopped rocking”

Horror review: Wes Craven’s New Nightmare

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, OCT. 20, 1994 By Steve Newton In the last scene of the ninth Friday the 13th instalment, Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday, the famed goalie mask of recently destroyed Jason Vorhees is pictured resting serenely on a leaf-strewn forest floor. Just before the scene fades to black, the unmistakable … Continue reading Horror review: Wes Craven’s New Nightmare

My first and last interview with guitar hero Ronnie Montrose

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, MARCH 4, 2012 By Steve Newton It may seem kinda crazy to stay up all night transcribing a phone interview I did with Ronnie Montrose 14 years ago, but the news of his death yesterday hit me pretty hard. He was such a wonderful and underrated player that I feel it's … Continue reading My first and last interview with guitar hero Ronnie Montrose