When Nickelback had the power to make grown men stick their dicks in whirling plastic blades

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 6, 2001 By Steve Newton If you want to know how well Nickelback lead vocalist, guitarist, and lyricist Chad Kroeger’s musical career is going, you only need look as far as the 27-year-old rocker’s Langley home. He just put in a hot tub. And had the pool enlarged. … Continue reading When Nickelback had the power to make grown men stick their dicks in whirling plastic blades

My interview with 18-year-old Jordan Cook, long before he ruled as Reignwolf

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 6, 2001 By Steve Newton A lot of musicians catch the music bug early on in life, though usually not as early as 18-year-old blues guitarist Jordan Cook. After he was born, the first thing Cook heard on a regular basis was the sound of his dad taking … Continue reading My interview with 18-year-old Jordan Cook, long before he ruled as Reignwolf

Man or Astro-Man? goes far beyond instro-rock on A Spectrum of Infinite Scale

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 13, 2001 You don’t really picture Atlanta, Georgia, as a hotbed for instro-rock. I mean, that’s where the Black Crowes are from, and where the mighty Skynyrd ruled in the ’70s. But according to Birdstuff, the drummer and official spokesperson for Man or Astro-Man?, it’s as good a … Continue reading Man or Astro-Man? goes far beyond instro-rock on A Spectrum of Infinite Scale

Fretmaster Don Ross exposes the Newt to the wonders of acoustic-guitar wizardry

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 29, 2001 By Steve Newton Guitar gods—I can’t get enough of ’em. There’ve always been lots of slots in my CD stacks reserved for fret masters who balance boggling technique with high degrees of feel. Because I’m mostly a rock and blues fan, the vast majority of guitarists … Continue reading Fretmaster Don Ross exposes the Newt to the wonders of acoustic-guitar wizardry

Blues great Taj Mahal is quick to name names

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 15, 2001 By Steve Newton When I ask famous musicians who they’ve been listening to, half the time they brush the question off, claiming that they’ve just been focusing on their own material. Other times you get people—like Taj Mahal—who like to name names. When I track the … Continue reading Blues great Taj Mahal is quick to name names

Midnight Oil won’t forgo antinationalist songs in wake of 9/11

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 15, 2001 By Steve Newton Midnight Oil is one of the most politically motivated and socially conscious guitar-rock bands in the world. Although best known for embracing Aboriginal land-rights issues in its native Australia via the 1988 hit “Beds Are Burning”, the quintet has always kept an eye … Continue reading Midnight Oil won’t forgo antinationalist songs in wake of 9/11

From Black Oak to Thin Lizzy, Tommy Aldridge has been a monster on the kit

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 25, 2001 By Steve Newton Tommy Aldridge is one of the most recognizable hard-rock drummers in the world. His name may not be a household word along the lines of Moon or Bonham, but anyone who’s followed the careers of Pat Travers, Whitesnake, Ozzy Osbourne, Ted Nugent, and … Continue reading From Black Oak to Thin Lizzy, Tommy Aldridge has been a monster on the kit

North Mississippi Allstars ramp up the rock on 51 Phantom

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 18, 2001 By Steve Newton For last year’s debut CD, Shake Hands With Shorty, the North Mississippi Allstars thoroughly plumbed the catalogues of Mississippi hill-country blues icons Fred McDowell, R.L. Burnside, and Jr. Kimbrough. On their new disc, 51 Phantom, the band took a different tack, including only … Continue reading North Mississippi Allstars ramp up the rock on 51 Phantom

If Gordie Johnson has to pick between Zeppelin and Sabbath, he picks Sabbath

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 27, 2001 By Steve Newton The cover of the new Big Sugar CD, Brothers and Sisters, Are You Ready?, features a classic hard-rock image of a skinny, longhaired fellow flailing away on a doubleneck Gibson guitar. If you didn’t know the guy was Big Sugar singer-guitarist Gordie Johnson, … Continue reading If Gordie Johnson has to pick between Zeppelin and Sabbath, he picks Sabbath

The Georgia Satellites’ Rick Richards prefers three chords and a clouda dust

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 20, 2001 By Steve Newton Sometimes I feel like I’m the only guy around who still goes nuts for southern-fried guitar boogie, the kind the Georgia Satellites churned out so mightily in the late ’80s. But after talking to GS guitarist-vocalist Rick Richards from his home in the … Continue reading The Georgia Satellites’ Rick Richards prefers three chords and a clouda dust

Sonny Rhodes went hell-bent for leather on the lap-steel guitar

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 20, 2001 The first musician I interviewed after terrorists committed those atrocious acts in the U.S. last week was American blues veteran Sonny Rhodes. And the impression I got—after passing on my condolences regarding his country’s anguish—was that the 60-year-old Florida resident is a straight-up kinda guy. “I … Continue reading Sonny Rhodes went hell-bent for leather on the lap-steel guitar

Robert Cray isn’t gonna hold his breath until the blues gets back in vogue

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 13, 2001 By Steve Newton We’ve all heard contemporary blues-rock artists covering the works of Elmore James, whether it’s ZZ Top getting lowdown on “Dust My Broom”, or Stevie Ray Vaughan tearing it up on “The Sky is Crying”. Heck, the Black Crowes even named their first album … Continue reading Robert Cray isn’t gonna hold his breath until the blues gets back in vogue

Johnny Winter showed blues traveler Ellen McIlwaine how to go in her own direction

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 13, 2001 By Steve Newton Singer-songwriter and slide-guitar specialist Ellen McIlwaine is best known as a blues artist, but she’s always been willing to let her muse drift away from the Mississippi Delta or the south side of Chicago. For her latest CD, Spontaneous Combustion, McIlwaine wrote a … Continue reading Johnny Winter showed blues traveler Ellen McIlwaine how to go in her own direction

Dickey Betts says “a dirty little business deal” got him kicked out of the Allmans

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 30, 2001 By Steve Newton On the cover of his latest CD, former Allman Brothers guitarist Dickey Betts is pictured standing in the entranceway of his Florida home, surrounded by his six bandmates, a small dog leaning against his denim-clad leg. The 57-year-old southern-rock hero looks contented in … Continue reading Dickey Betts says “a dirty little business deal” got him kicked out of the Allmans

Black Crowes influenced by where music came from and where it could go

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 30, 2001 By Steve Newton The Black Crowes are one of the most popular retro-minded bands around, so when they hooked up with guitar legend Jimmy Page last year to tour the U.S. and record a live album, it was like a dream come true for many classic-rock … Continue reading Black Crowes influenced by where music came from and where it could go

The Faces-loving London Quireboys still like to have a tipple

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 30, 2001 By Steve Newton When the London Quireboys blasted onto the music scene in 1990 with the swaggering boogie-blues hit “7 O’Clock”, originality wasn’t their stock-in-trade. They took their musical cues directly from Rod Stewart and the Faces, and even looked the part with their scarecrow hairdos … Continue reading The Faces-loving London Quireboys still like to have a tipple

Randy Hansen was baptized by the rain dripping off Jimi Hendrix’s boots

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 16, 2001 By Steve Newton Randy Hansen has been immersing himself in the music of Jimi Hendrix since 1967, when an older acquaintance tipped him off about this amazing guitarist who had just played the Monterey Pop Festival. Taking this fellow’s advice, Hansen went out and bought the … Continue reading Randy Hansen was baptized by the rain dripping off Jimi Hendrix’s boots

If Clapton is God, then Doyle Bramhall II is the son of God

  ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 2, 2001 BY STEVE NEWTON “Clapton is God!” is a phrase that was bandied about early on in Eric Clapton’s fabled career, but there may be a new guitar-hero catchphrase on the horizon. How about “Bramhall is the Son of God!” And who the hell is Bramhall, … Continue reading If Clapton is God, then Doyle Bramhall II is the son of God

Yes guitarist Steve Howe says Chet Atkins was–and is–his number one

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 26, 2001 By Steve Newton When Yes guitarist Steve Howe calls the Straight office from Reno, Nevada, it’s not to brag about how well he’s been doing at the blackjack tables. Although he and his bandmates—vocalist Jon Anderson, bassist Chris Squire, and drummer Alan White—have been holed up … Continue reading Yes guitarist Steve Howe says Chet Atkins was–and is–his number one

2nd annual Burnaby Blues Fest suits yard apes and beer drinkers alike

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 26, 2001 As any local fan will tell you, the Vancouver area has needed a full-fledged blues festival for so long that it hurts. Harmonica ace and CFMI Sunday Blues radio-show host Stormin’ Norm Casler tried getting an annual all-day blues fest going at Granville Island a few … Continue reading 2nd annual Burnaby Blues Fest suits yard apes and beer drinkers alike

Sue Foley thinks Memphis Minnie was like the female Robert Johnson

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 19, 2001 When she was just 21 years old, Ottawa native Sue Foley moved to Austin, Texas, to be where a promising blues artist oughta be. She made her mark down there, being taken under the wing of local blues mogul Clifford Antone, playing her butt off with … Continue reading Sue Foley thinks Memphis Minnie was like the female Robert Johnson

Buddy Miles proclaims “there’s nobody can even mess with Jimi”

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 19, 2001 BY STEVE NEWTON When ’60s blues legend Willie Dixon wrote “Wang Dang Doodle” for vocalist Koko Taylor, it was pretty clear from her lusty delivery that the term was a euphemism for sex. In the ’70s, crotch-rocker Ted Nugent put his own randy spin on the … Continue reading Buddy Miles proclaims “there’s nobody can even mess with Jimi”

Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielsen talks rock and Vancouver’s “cannabis people”

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 19, 2001 By Steve Newton Rock stars don’t always call on time. Sometimes they don’t even call at all. And it’s a rare occasion when they actually call early. So when Cheap Trick guitarist Rick Nielsen rings the Straight up from Phoenix a good 10 minutes before our … Continue reading Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielsen talks rock and Vancouver’s “cannabis people”

Tantric rises from the ashes of Days of the New, tours with 3 Doors Down and Lifehouse

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 5, 2001 In November of 1998, an acoustic guitar–based rock band out of Kentucky called Days of the New had the world by the short ’n’ curlies. Its self-titled debut album had gone platinum, it had garnered heavy airplay on MTV, and it had even landed a tour … Continue reading Tantric rises from the ashes of Days of the New, tours with 3 Doors Down and Lifehouse

Double Trouble’s Tommy Shannon finds the groove in that pocket

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 5, 2001 For its debut CD, Been a Long Time, Double Trouble—Stevie Ray Vaughan’s former rhythm section of bassist Tommy Shannon and drummer Chris “Whipper” Layton—assembled some of the most admired blues and rock guitarists around. Eric Johnson, Jonny Lang, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Doyle Bramhall II, Gordie Johnson, … Continue reading Double Trouble’s Tommy Shannon finds the groove in that pocket

Static in Stereo sets the controls for the heart of the seventies

    ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 5, 2001 A silver Keith Richards–style skull ring catches the glare of the dressing-room lights as Todd Kerns wraps his fist around a can of Coke. The blue and red dragon etched on his right bicep, a ringer for Ozzy Osbourne’s chest tattoo, quivers slightly as he … Continue reading Static in Stereo sets the controls for the heart of the seventies

Dan McCafferty says that people think Nazareth is “a good night out”

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 7, 2001 By Steve Newton Nineteen seventy-three was a wicked year for rock—or maybe it just seemed that way ’cause I was 16. Aerosmith and Blue Oyster Cult released self-titled debuts, ZZ Top and Black Sabbath reached the pinnacles of their recording careers with Tres Hombres and Sabbath … Continue reading Dan McCafferty says that people think Nazareth is “a good night out”