That time Guess Who guitarist Randy Bachman told me about creating the riff for “American Woman”

By Steve Newton Canada doesn't seem to have an overabundance of rock-guitar heroes. Sure, you've got your Lenny Breau when it comes to jazz, and your Jeff Healey if you're talkin' blues. But when it comes to Canadian rock-guitar heroes, I can't think of tons. Alex Lifeson, Kim Mitchell... Obviously Neil Young, but isn't he … Continue reading That time Guess Who guitarist Randy Bachman told me about creating the riff for “American Woman”

Album review: Tom Cochrane, Ragged Ass Road (1995)

  ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 12, 1995 By Steve Newton While Tom Cochrane’s last album, Mad Mad World, spawned his biggest hit ever in the undisputably catchy “Life Is a Highway”, it was far from one of his best recordings overall. It included some pretty weak tunes—the worst being the ponderous title … Continue reading Album review: Tom Cochrane, Ragged Ass Road (1995)

Yes guitarist Steve Howe on playing at 70 and the tragedy of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 31, 2017 By Steve Newton The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is notorious for taking forever to induct bands that almost everyone but the institution’s voting members thinks are overdue for entry. There was much frustration among rock fans—especially of the Canuck persuasion—when the mighty Rush kept getting shunned, … Continue reading Yes guitarist Steve Howe on playing at 70 and the tragedy of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Lawrence Gowan admired Alex Lifeson’s six-string generosity on Lost Brotherhood

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 22, 1990 By Steve Newton Lawrence Gowan has one heck of an ear when it comes to creating melodies. His forte is coming up with infectious, hummable little lines like the ones that snake through his 1985 hit “Criminal Mind” and his recent single, “All the Lovers in … Continue reading Lawrence Gowan admired Alex Lifeson’s six-string generosity on Lost Brotherhood

Rush | Time Stand Still is all about devotion

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, OCT. 26, 2016 By Steve Newton I was a rock-crazed 17-year-old when the first Rush album came out in 1974, so of course I became an instant fan. And that was even before they latched on to the wildest drummer this side of Keith Moon. Paul Rudd was only four years … Continue reading Rush | Time Stand Still is all about devotion

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

The Trailer Park Boys’ Mike Smith says he’s quite a bit like Bubbles

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JAN. 23, 2003 By Steve Newton In Trailer Park Boys—Showcase TV’s low-budget mockumentary series about dope-smoking, foul-mouthed lowlifes inhabiting a rundown (is there any other kind?) trailer park—it’s the little things that make you laugh. Like Julian’s (John Paul Tremblay’s) ever-present glass of rum ’n’ Coke. Whether he’s hanging … Continue reading The Trailer Park Boys’ Mike Smith says he’s quite a bit like Bubbles

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

I Mother Earth guitarist Tanna happy to echo Lifeson, Santana

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MAY 23, 1996 If you happened to walk into a house party while the last song on the new I Mother Earth CD was playing, you could be excused for taking a big swig of your beer, raising it in a toast, and proclaiming: “Man, that Carlos Santana can … Continue reading I Mother Earth guitarist Tanna happy to echo Lifeson, Santana

Alex Lifeson says Rush’s no-compromise approach is key to its staying power

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JAN. 30, 1992 By Steve Newton When the Georgia Straight interviewed Queensrÿche vocalist Geoff Tate last month, the singer had some intriguing things to say about an alleged “backlash” against progressive rock, which he felt had been initiated by the music industry in the ’70s. Tate uncovered a plot … Continue reading Alex Lifeson says Rush’s no-compromise approach is key to its staying power

Trailer Park Boys director Mike Clattenburg revels in Canuck rock

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, OCT. 4, 2006 Helix isn't normally a band that comes to mind as one of Canada’s finest musical exports. But as director Mike Clattenburg proved in Trailer Park Boys: The Movie, its song “Heavy Metal Love” is the ideal backdrop for slow-mo footage of a skanky trailer-park chick descending from a … Continue reading Trailer Park Boys director Mike Clattenburg revels in Canuck rock

The Trailer Park Boys: The Movie is freakin’ hilarious

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, OCT. 4, 2006 By Steve Newton When the Trailer Park Boys debuted on the Showcase channel in 2001, I couldn’t get enough of it. A mockumentary-style series about the day-to-day exploits of three pot-loving trailer-trash buddies and their assorted idiot friends and rivals, it was a raucous, taboo-blasting gas. The sight … Continue reading The Trailer Park Boys: The Movie is freakin’ hilarious

Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson calls the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame “a popularity contest”

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, OCT. 20, 2012 By Steve Newton If you're a Rush fan, you've no doubt heard that the Canuck power trio has finally been nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The group has been eligible for induction since 1999--25 years after the release of its self-titled debut album (featuring … Continue reading Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson calls the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame “a popularity contest”

Rush defies age with vitality and verve (and rotisserie chickens) in Vancouver

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, MAY 30, 2008 By Steve Newton When you’ve been around as long as Rush has, you can pretty well do as you please. If you don’t feel like doing any interviews to support your tour—even though you have a relatively new studio album, 2007’s Snakes & Arrows, to talk about—you don’t … Continue reading Rush defies age with vitality and verve (and rotisserie chickens) in Vancouver

Rush takes a trip back in time in Vancouver concert at Rogers Arena

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, JULY 1, 2011 Rush fans are famous for their unwavering devotion to the Canuck prog-rock trio, but some go that extra mile—like the guy who showed up at Rogers Arena Thursday night (June 30) sporting a homemade placard tied around his neck. The young dude had obviously thrown this hokey piece … Continue reading Rush takes a trip back in time in Vancouver concert at Rogers Arena