How Black Was Our Sabbath lacks firsthand accounts of the metal masters’ early days

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 9, 2004 By Steve Newton How Black Was Our Sabbath By Graham Wright and David Tangye. Sidgwick & Jackson, 237 pp, $34.95, hardcover. The subtitle of this new book on British heavy-metal legends Black Sabbath is An Unauthorized View From the Crew, as it was penned by Dave Tangye … Continue reading How Black Was Our Sabbath lacks firsthand accounts of the metal masters’ early days

Ballsy blues-metal of AC/DC’s Family Jewels riles the budgie

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, MAY 26, 2005 By Steve Newton Some AC/DC fans feel that the band never recovered from the death of original vocalist Bon Scott; others argue that the Aussie earbusters hit their peak when Brian Johnson took over the mike on Back in Black. No matter which side you're on, if you're … Continue reading Ballsy blues-metal of AC/DC’s Family Jewels riles the budgie

100,000,000 Bon Jovi Fans Can’t Be Wrong….or can they?

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, DEC. 9, 2004 By Steve Newton I remember once seeing a poster that was just a picture of a turd and a sentence that read something like Eat Shit: 100,000,000 Flies Can't Be Wrong. That's what came to mind when I first laid eyes on the new, five-disc Bon Jovi boxed … Continue reading 100,000,000 Bon Jovi Fans Can’t Be Wrong….or can they?

Judas Priest’s Metalogy box set comes wrapped in metal studs

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, DEC. 9, 2004 By Steve Newton Back in '82 when I first started writing for the Straight, I instantly became the paper's on-call heavy-metal dude. Nobody else seemed to want the job--certainly not Alexander Varty, the main music critic at the time. So I happily took on the role, because it meant … Continue reading Judas Priest’s Metalogy box set comes wrapped in metal studs

Consider yourself warned about Sabbath’s Black Box

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, DEC. 9, 2004 By Steve Newton Now here's the ultimate stocking stuffer for that die-hard metal freak on your Christmas list. It's gonna cost you a fair chunk of cash--I just saw the Black Box going for $124 at A&B Sound--but little Timmy will be gaining invaluable insights into the roots of heavy … Continue reading Consider yourself warned about Sabbath’s Black Box

The only thing missing from Faces box set is a big honkin’ bottle of JD

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, DEC. 9, 2004 By Steve Newton Believe it or not, Rod Stewart used to rock. You wouldn't know it from those snoozy Great American Song Book volumes he's released in the last few years, but at one point the gravelly-voiced crooner fronted the world's greatest party band: the Faces. That group was only … Continue reading The only thing missing from Faces box set is a big honkin’ bottle of JD

Horror review: Bubba Ho-Tep

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, MARCH 25, 2004 Bubba Ho-Tep is a horror-comedy about two elderly men at a rundown retirement home--one supposedly Elvis Presley, the other claiming to be John F. Kennedy--who battle a mummy that sucks souls from victims' arseholes. Who would have thought that such a far-out B-movie premise could result in this sharply … Continue reading Horror review: Bubba Ho-Tep

Horror review: Seed of Chucky

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, NOV. 18, 2004 I've been a fan of killer-doll flicks every since Trilogy of Terror, the 1975 TV movie that featured an episode in which Karen Black gets stalked in her apartment by a bloodthirsty, ankle-slashing Zuni fetish doll. The original 1988 Child's Play, helmed by Fright Night director Tom Holland, was quite a hoot … Continue reading Horror review: Seed of Chucky

Horror review: Saw

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, NOV. 4, 2004 Ten years or so ago, I was covering the local shoot of the trashy teen-from-hell flick The Crush for American horror mag Fangoria. It starred then-newcomer Alicia Silverstone as a hot-to-trot underaged babe willing to kill for the affections of a mild-mannered journalist, played by Carey Elwes. At the time, Silverstone … Continue reading Horror review: Saw

Horror review: The Grudge

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, OCT. 28, 2004 There's little doubt that the critical and commercial success of The Ring--Gore Verbinski's 2002 Hollywood remake of the hit Japanese horror flick Ringu--had a lot to do with The Grudge getting the Tinseltown treatment. Directed by Takashi Shimizu, it's a remake of his own Japanese blockbuster, Ju-On: The Grudge, and the parallels between … Continue reading Horror review: The Grudge

Horror review: Haunted Castle

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, OCT. 7, 2004 The media kit for this new 3-D horror flick includes a copy of a fax sent out by the IMAX Corporation to the more than 200 giant-screen theatres owning or leasing an IMAX projection system. In the notice an IMAX executive warns: "We are extremely concerned that the … Continue reading Horror review: Haunted Castle

Horror review: The Forgotten

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, SEPT. 30, 2004 Joseph Ruben delivered one of the finest Hollywood thrillers of the '80s with The Stepfather, a domestic chiller that starred Terry O'Quinn as Jerry Blake, a creepy stepdad who was more than willing to kill for the ideal American family. Cheerfully charming a neighbour one minute then skillfully bashing … Continue reading Horror review: The Forgotten

Horror review: Exorcist–The Beginning

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, AUG. 26, 2004 Few horror franchises have failed as miserably as that of The Exorcist. Sure, William Friedkin's 1973 adaptation of William Peter Blatty's shocking occult novel was a masterwork of terror. Everybody knows that. But John Boorman's Exorcist II: The Heretic ('77) and Blatty's own The Exorcist III ('90) are widely reviled turkeys. No wonder … Continue reading Horror review: Exorcist–The Beginning

Horror review: Alien vs. Predator

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, AUG. 19, 2004 Monster fans have been waiting a long time to see the bloodthirsty creatures from the Alien and Predator movies go at it; rumours of a cinematic matchup have been rampant for years. The big question was, Would the tone of the new film echo the spooky, claustrophobic style of Ridley Scott's brilliant Alien, … Continue reading Horror review: Alien vs. Predator

Horror review: The Village

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, AUG. 5, 2004 That M. Night Shyamalan guy sure loves secrets; heck, he won't even tell us his first name. The director's latest film, The Village, is built on a foundation of secrets, but despite a cast that includes Oscar winners Adrien Brody and William Hurt, and Oscar nominees Joaquin Phoenix and … Continue reading Horror review: The Village

Horror review: The Chronicles of Riddick

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, JUNE 17, 2004 Though hardly more than a mediocre Aliens knockoff, director David Twohy's 2000 sci-fi horror flick, Pitch Black, managed to develop something of a cult following when it was released on video. It was about a musclebound convict named Riddick (Vin Diesel) who crash-lands with his captors on a desolate planet where … Continue reading Horror review: The Chronicles of Riddick

Horror review: Van Helsing

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, MAY 13, 2004 The media kit for Van Helsing includes an insert in which potential reviewers are asked to refrain from revealing plot developments involving the main characters of Gabriel Van Helsing (Hugh Jackman) and Anna Valerious (Kate Beckinsale) in the final 30 minutes of the film. That's fine with me, 'cause I … Continue reading Horror review: Van Helsing

Horror review: Godsend

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, APRIL 29, 2004 Some bad horror flicks take a while to reveal their ineptitude, but not so Godsend; it's identified as a chunk o' junk during the opening credits! That's when sucky high-school biology teacher Paul Duncan (Greg Kinnear), rushing home for his son's eighth birthday, takes a shortcut through a big-city … Continue reading Horror review: Godsend

Horror review: The Eye

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, MARCH 11, 2004 Considering the critical and commercial success of The Ring, Gore Verbinski's worthy remake of the Japanese haunted-video flick Ringu, it's no wonder Hollywood has set its sights on adapting more scary Asian fare. Now Tom Cruise's production company has bought the remake rights to The Eye, a horror film helmed by … Continue reading Horror review: The Eye

Horror review: Club Dread

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, FEB. 26, 2004 Boy, the movie industry has sure been getting paranoid about the pirating of its product lately. Last week I went to a media screening of Club Dread at Capitol 6 that was attended by a small gaggle of reviewers, and the guy at the door still used a metal detector … Continue reading Horror review: Club Dread

My interview with Lostprophets’ Ian Watkins, the most hated man on earth

By Steve Newton It's a weird feeling, realizing that you've spent several minutes of your life casually chatting with a young man who, as it turns out, is one of the most vile human beings alive. You may have already heard the news about Ian Watkins, the former frontman of '90s rockers Lostprophets, who admitted … Continue reading My interview with Lostprophets’ Ian Watkins, the most hated man on earth

Chicago Bluesman Buddy Guy Goes Acoustic

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, FEB. 19, 2004 By Steve Newton Chicago blues great Buddy Guy has played the Commodore Ballroom many times during his 45-year career, but the next time he visits the historic venue he won't be sporting his trademark black Strat with the big white polka dots. For the first time here, the … Continue reading Chicago Bluesman Buddy Guy Goes Acoustic

Dr. John is still rubbing elbows with the elite

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, MARCH 4, 2004 By Steve Newton You learn pretty quickly as a music writer not to put too much faith in recording artists' bios. Once in a while, though, the proclamations heard in those promotional sheets actually turn out to be true. Take the opening line of the current PR blurb … Continue reading Dr. John is still rubbing elbows with the elite

Paul Kelly’s Ways & Means reveals two sides of an Aussie giant

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, MARCH 18, 2004 By Steve Newton When the Straight reaches Paul Kelly by phone at a New York hotel room, he's just hours away from playing Manhattan's famed Knitting Factory. The Aussie rock great has been in the Big Apple for a couple of days, mostly doing radio interviews, but he got out … Continue reading Paul Kelly’s Ways & Means reveals two sides of an Aussie giant

James Hetfield on addiction, rehab, and channelling the anger with Metallica

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, MARCH 25, 2004 By Steve Newton Reno, Nevada, isn't the ideal place for a man battling addictions to be, but Metallica main man James Hetfield seems up to the challenge. When he calls the Straight from a tour stop in the renowned party town, the newly rehabilitated rocker makes it clear … Continue reading James Hetfield on addiction, rehab, and channelling the anger with Metallica

Blues-rocking Trews like to keep things interesting

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, APRIL 8, 2004 By Steve Newton Niagara Falls based guitar-rockers the Trews have a memorable bio making the rounds in the music press. Sure, the quartet's Sony Music promo sheet is typical in that it comes off as a rave about the band, but the way it's done is unique. For … Continue reading Blues-rocking Trews like to keep things interesting

Southern Culture on the Skids tones down the white-trash shtick

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, MAY 6, 2004 By Steve Newton When the Straight connects with Southern Culture on the Skids guitarist-vocalist Rick Miller, he's on a cellphone in his band's van, cruising through the Pennsylvania countryside en route to a Pittsburgh gig. The vehicle is a late-model Ford Econoline, a replacement for the trio's previous set … Continue reading Southern Culture on the Skids tones down the white-trash shtick