Super Chikan’s childhood poverty led to cool homemade guitars and slide-infested blues

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 29, 2010 By Steve Newton When bluesmen chat about their favourite electric guitars, the words Strat and Les Paul often work their way into the conversation. Not when James “Super Chikan” Johnson is doing the talking, though. His ultimate six-string carries neither the Fender nor the Gibson brand, … Continue reading Super Chikan’s childhood poverty led to cool homemade guitars and slide-infested blues

Album review: ZZ Top, Afterburner (1985)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 8, 1985 By Steve Newton The "l'il ole band from Texas" have done it again. They've come up with another album's worth of unstoppable boogie -blues, and you can bet the coin they'll make off this one will keep them in Jack Daniels and real estate for many years … Continue reading Album review: ZZ Top, Afterburner (1985)

Album review: ZZ Top, Rhythmeen (1996)

  ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 31, 1996 By Steve Newton I’m having lots of ’70s flashbacks lately, but they’re not being caused by ancient run-ins with tiny squares of coloured paper. There’s a woman in the Straight editorial office researching the paper’s history, scanning every issue published since 1967, and right now … Continue reading Album review: ZZ Top, Rhythmeen (1996)

Billy Gibbons gets ornery in Vancouver on ZZ Top’s Afterburner Tour

mila geran photo ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 20, 1985 By Steve Newton Shortly before his death, somebody asked Jimi Hendrix if he knew of any up-and-coming guitarists to watch out for. One of the players Hendrix mentioned was Billy Gibbons. Sixteen years later, Gibbons is living up to Jimi's expectations. At the … Continue reading Billy Gibbons gets ornery in Vancouver on ZZ Top’s Afterburner Tour

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”

Essentially John Mayall sees the British bluesman with a cavalcade of guitar heroes

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, DEC. 13, 2006 By Steve Newton The lineup of guitar slingers on this five-CD package is enough to make any blues-rock devotee start foaming at the mouth: Peter Green, Eric Clapton, Gary Moore, Mick Taylor, Billy Gibbons, Otis Rush, Steve Miller, Walter Trout, Jeff Healey, Steve Cropper, and Jonny Lang. Such … Continue reading Essentially John Mayall sees the British bluesman with a cavalcade of guitar heroes

My first ever e-mail interview, because it’s Billy freakin’ Gibbons, that’s why!

I've done hundreds of interviews with famous rockers since I started writing for the Georgia Straight back in 1982, most of them over the phone--in advance of a Vancouver tour date--some of them in person. It's always been the policy at the Straight to turn down offers of e-mail interviews--where you send in questions and … Continue reading My first ever e-mail interview, because it’s Billy freakin’ Gibbons, that’s why!

Anybody got a question for ZZ Top guitarist Billy Gibbons?

One of my all-time fave bands from the '70s, ZZ Top, is playing Vancouver on March 22. Their albums made my personal Top 30 charts in 1971, '72, '73, '75, '76, and '79. Sadly, they didn't release any LPs in '70, '74, '77, and '78, not that the seventies had room for even one more shitkicker … Continue reading Anybody got a question for ZZ Top guitarist Billy Gibbons?

ZZ Top’s been rockin’ with the same dudes for nigh on 45 years

ZZ Top is the only major rock band from the '70s that still exists in the exact same form as on its first album, and for that you've got to give the bearded wonders credit. Rush would be up for similar acclaim were it not for John Rutsey playing on their debut album before Neil … Continue reading ZZ Top’s been rockin’ with the same dudes for nigh on 45 years