That time I asked Alex Van Halen about his earliest memories of jamming with Eddie

By Steve Newton I haven't interviewed that many drummers over the years--mainly because I like talking to guitarists more--but when Van Hagar was heading to Vancouver for a show in 1995 and the opportunity came to chat with Alex Van Halen I didn't turn it down. And boy was I glad I didn't, because he … Continue reading That time I asked Alex Van Halen about his earliest memories of jamming with Eddie

The Tragically Hip causes traffic havoc before getting messy with a surprise gig at Vancouver’s wee Railway Club

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 20, 1995 By Steve Newton Canadian guitar-rock heroes the Tragically Hip took all of Vancouver by surprise on July 12 when they announced a last-minute concert that night at the wee Railway Club (capacity 176). When word went out over local rock station 99.3 the Fox that 75 … Continue reading The Tragically Hip causes traffic havoc before getting messy with a surprise gig at Vancouver’s wee Railway Club

Willie Nelson bares his down-home soul on Revolutions of Time box

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 14, 1995 By Steve Newton I’ve gotta admit that I’m not a real huge country-music fan. I actually view what’s known as “new country”—that lightweight, vacuous, fabricated piffle churned out by the Nashville music mill these days—with the same jaundiced eye reserved for lowly “gangsta rap”. But there’s … Continue reading Willie Nelson bares his down-home soul on Revolutions of Time box

Dance of the Rainbow Serpent features some of Carlos Santana’s finest moments on guitar

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 14, 1995 By Steve Newton Unlike the recent Tom Petty box, this three-CD package doesn’t contain enough previously unreleased material to make it a must-have, but it does feature some of Carlos Santana’s finest moments on guitar, and you know that can’t be bad. Dance of the Rainbow … Continue reading Dance of the Rainbow Serpent features some of Carlos Santana’s finest moments on guitar

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers box set is a must-have for Pettyphiles

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 14, 1995 By Steve Newton Some boxed sets are basically just glorified greatest-hits collections, with maybe a handful of remixed or previously unreleased tracks tossed in to lure die-hard fans with bulging pockets, but the 92-track Playback isn’t one of those. While it does contain all the big … Continue reading Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers box set is a must-have for Pettyphiles

That time Gord Downie told me about the “unique” life on the road with the Tragically Hip

By Steve Newton On July 2, 1995, I did my fourth Georgia Straight interview with the Tragically Hip's Gord Downie. It had only been six months since our previous chat, and it was unusual--even back then, when newspapers were thriving--to publish two feature stories on the same band within such a short span of time. But … Continue reading That time Gord Downie told me about the “unique” life on the road with the Tragically Hip

That time Gord Downie told me that the Tragically Hip was just striving to exist in the United States

By Steve Newton When people discuss the history of the Tragically Hip, one subject that arises is how the band was unable to make it big in the States, and to garner anything resembling the same degree of commercial success that they enjoyed up in Canada. When I did my third interview with Gord Downie, … Continue reading That time Gord Downie told me that the Tragically Hip was just striving to exist in the United States

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

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

That time Gord Downie and I talked hockey after the 1994-95 NHL lockout

By Steve Newton When I interviewed Tragically Hip singer Gord Downie on January 18, 1995, it had been exactly one week since the end of the historic NHL lockout that had started the previous October. That lockout caused the 1994-1995 hockey season to be shortened from 84 games to 48, the shortest season in 53 … Continue reading That time Gord Downie and I talked hockey after the 1994-95 NHL lockout

I played Neil Young’s “I’m the Ocean” eight times on my shitty commute today

By Steve Newton My morning commute from Delta to Vancouver can really suck—mainly because of a concrete montrosity called the Alex Fraser Bridge—but every now and again I slide in a CD that makes the trip a little less painful. Today I chose Neil Young's Mirror Ball album—that awesome one from '95 that he recorded with the … Continue reading I played Neil Young’s “I’m the Ocean” eight times on my shitty commute today

Bordello of Blood sets up shop on Vancouver’s old Expo 86 site

By Steve Newton So I was looking through my collection of old Fangoria magazines last night, searching for a story I wrote to post for Halloween, and came across a set-visit piece from back in '95 on the Tales from the Crypt movie, Bordello of Blood. Now, that vampire movie really sucked, but going on … Continue reading Bordello of Blood sets up shop on Vancouver’s old Expo 86 site

John Popper’s speedy harp licks in Vancouver bring to mind Jan Hammer on Jeff Beck’s Wired tour

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 7, 1995 By Steve Newton Blues Traveler singer-harpist John Popper may be the most awe-inspiring harmonica player in the world of rock, but what really makes him special is the way he couples the mastery of his instrument with truly outstanding vocals. There aren’t that many virtuoso instrumentalists … Continue reading John Popper’s speedy harp licks in Vancouver bring to mind Jan Hammer on Jeff Beck’s Wired tour

Aussie songwriting great Paul Kelly hits 40 and treads into Deeper Water

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 23, 1995 By Steve Newton Ever wonder what happened to the Aussie Invasion? Back in the early- to mid-’80s it seemed as if a band wasn’t on top unless it was from Down Under. Two-hit wonders Men at Work kick-started the worldwide interest in the music of koala … Continue reading Aussie songwriting great Paul Kelly hits 40 and treads into Deeper Water

Junkhouse’s Tom Wilson believes there’s a Birthday Boy in all of us

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 30, 1995 By Steve Newton If you happened to see the Beatles Anthology series on the tube last week, you’re probably aware that the Fab Four quit touring in 1966 and became just a recording act. That move worked out alright for them—but it probably wouldn’t suit Hamilton, … Continue reading Junkhouse’s Tom Wilson believes there’s a Birthday Boy in all of us

Southern Culture on the Skids: the finest in high-cholesterol, toe-sucking geek rock since 1985

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 16, 1995 By Steve Newton “High-cholesterol, toe-sucking geek rock.” That’s how singer-guitarist Rick Miller describes the œuvre of his band, Southern Culture on the Skids. And he’s mighty proud of it, too. Miller’s been striving to produce the finest in high-cholesterol, toe-sucking geek rock ever since forming the … Continue reading Southern Culture on the Skids: the finest in high-cholesterol, toe-sucking geek rock since 1985

Skydiggers look forward to getting into a groove with Road Radio and Warner

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 9, 1995 When a couple of Skydiggers show up at the Georgia Straight office to chat about their latest CD, I’m expecting to see at least one goatee, but instead I get sideburns (courtesy bassist Ronnie Von Johnnie) and long, straggly hair (courtesy singer-guitarist Peter Cash). The guy … Continue reading Skydiggers look forward to getting into a groove with Road Radio and Warner

UFO sightings and mining disasters fuel Weeping Tile’s Cold Snap

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 9, 1995 By Steve Newton Only six years ago, Kingston, Ontario, was a place best-known for its contrasting institutions of promise and penance (Queens University, Kingston Penitentiary), but the Tragically Hip’s breakthrough Up to Here album put a quick stop to that. The Hip’s burgeoning popularity has put … Continue reading UFO sightings and mining disasters fuel Weeping Tile’s Cold Snap