That time I asked famed producer Bruce Fairbairn what he thought of famed producer Bob Rock

By Steve Newton Back in December of 1991 I wrote a Georgia Straight cover story on Vancouver producer Bob Rock, best known for his work with Metallica, and one of the Big Three of Vancouver hard-rock producers (along with fellow Little Mountain Sound-men Bruce Fairbairn and Mike Fraser). While putting the story together I gave … Continue reading That time I asked famed producer Bruce Fairbairn what he thought of famed producer Bob Rock

Album review: Aerosmith, Permanent Vacation (1987)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 18, 1987 By Steve Newton "If you grew up in the '70s you liked Aerosmith." That's what Peter Buck of R.E.M. wrote in the liner notes to his band's version of Aerosmith's "Toys in the Attic," and Buck knows of which he speaks. With albums like Get Your … Continue reading Album review: Aerosmith, Permanent Vacation (1987)

Colin James lives up to the hype at the second of five straight sold-out Commodore shows

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 18, 1988  By Steve Newton The first time yours truly met Colin James was at the Commodore a couple of years ago. I forget who was playing, but I was hanging out in front of the bar with fellow rock scribbler John "Wacky" Mackie, a member of the … Continue reading Colin James lives up to the hype at the second of five straight sold-out Commodore shows

AC/DC in Vancouver: Mike Fraser spotted with Brian Johnson and Phil Rudd, maybe calling Cliff Williams on his phone?

photo courtesy Glenn Slavens and Crystal Lambert (cgrocker18@gmail.com) By Steve Newton Hardcore AC/DC fans and photographic rumour-spreaders Glenn Slavens and Crystal Lambert are at it again. The dynamic Vancouver duo--he has the camera, she has the pad--have shared another photo with Ear of Newt that furthers the idea that everybody's fave hard-rock band is working … Continue reading AC/DC in Vancouver: Mike Fraser spotted with Brian Johnson and Phil Rudd, maybe calling Cliff Williams on his phone?

Album review: Bon Jovi, New Jersey (1988)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 21, 1988 By Steve Newton There are hundreds of hard rock bands out there that are just as good as Bon Jovi. Unfortunately for them, they don't have Bon Jovi's talent for coming up with tunes that are both radio-friendly and capable of hooking into the mass consciousness … Continue reading Album review: Bon Jovi, New Jersey (1988)

Album review: Krokus, The Blitz (1984)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 14, 1984 By Steve Newton Metal maniacs could do a lot worse than pick up the latest vinyl from Swiss headbangers Krokus. Recorded at Vancouver' s Little Mountain Sound and engineered by Payola$ guitarist Bob Rock, The Blitz captures better than any of their previous LPs the raw fire … Continue reading Album review: Krokus, The Blitz (1984)

Joe Perry says that Aerosmith is playing “wicked tight” after its Permanent Vacation

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JAN. 15, 1988 By Steve Newton "If you grew up in the '70s you liked Aerosmith." That's what R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck wrote in the liner notes to his group's version of Aerosmith's "Toys in the Attic" on the Dead Letter Office album. And he knew what he was talking … Continue reading Joe Perry says that Aerosmith is playing “wicked tight” after its Permanent Vacation

Album review: Metallica, Load (1996)

  ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 27, 1996 By Steve Newton Load is probably the most highly anticipated heavy-metal album ever. Not only is it Metallica’s first studio recording in five years, but it’s the follow-up to the breakthrough self-titled disc that brought metal to the mainstream via the resounding radio hit “Enter … Continue reading Album review: Metallica, Load (1996)

From Bon Jovi in a stadium to Killer Dwarfs in a club: it’s just another night in Vancouver circa 1987

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 10, 1987 By Steve Newton Jon Bon Jovi had a novel way to describe the horrendous sound in B.C. Place last Thursday (July 2). "I've fallen in love in Vancouver more times than there's echo comin' out of these speakers," said the 25-year-old sex symbol, sounding more than … Continue reading From Bon Jovi in a stadium to Killer Dwarfs in a club: it’s just another night in Vancouver circa 1987

Jon Bon Jovi talks strippers, scenery, and hype as Slippery When Wet tops the charts

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 26, 1987 By Steve Newton Talk about moving up in the world! It was a little more than a year ago that New Jersey rockers Bon Jovi played the now-defunct Embassy on Davie. They were in town recording their Slippery When Wet album, and they wanted to see … Continue reading Jon Bon Jovi talks strippers, scenery, and hype as Slippery When Wet tops the charts

Disgruntled Cult fans pelt Commodore door with donations at surprise Food Bank benefit

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 27, 1994 By Steve Newton For a while it looked like a minor riot might break out on the Granville Mall last Sunday night, even with our cup-fumbling Canuckleheads out of action. But only a few disgruntled Cult fans among the estimated 2,000 to 3,000 turned away from … Continue reading Disgruntled Cult fans pelt Commodore door with donations at surprise Food Bank benefit

Jon Bon Jovi in 1986: “As long as there’s a plug, we’ll plug it in.”

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 11, 1986 By Steve Newton When New York rockers Bon Jovi flew into Vancouver to record their third album, it didn't take long for them to become attached to the place. "The first night we got there we were into the Embassy and the Metro," says singer Jon … Continue reading Jon Bon Jovi in 1986: “As long as there’s a plug, we’ll plug it in.”

Jim Foster gets his “Steely Dan opportunity” at Mushroom Studios in Vancouver

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, APRIL 4, 1986 By Steve Newton Until the release of the album Power Lines, Jim Foster had not been heard from for many years. It makes one wonder whether the Alberta-raised singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist is on somewhat of a comeback. "Well gosh," says Foster. "How can you make a comeback when … Continue reading Jim Foster gets his “Steely Dan opportunity” at Mushroom Studios in Vancouver

Motley Crue plays Vancouver at the height of its popularity on the Dr. Feelgood tour

By Steve Newton A quarter-century ago today—on June 9, 1990—Motley Crue played the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver. That was the exact same night Janet Jackson played B.C. Place Stadium. I chose the lesser of two evils—or so I thought at the time. Back then the Crue was at the very peak of its success, touring … Continue reading Motley Crue plays Vancouver at the height of its popularity on the Dr. Feelgood tour

Bob Rock says Metallica “never have and never will sell out”

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, APRIL 25, 2002 By Steve Newton What could possibly cause any sane person to willingly abandon the balmy paradise of Hawaii for the frigid climes of Vancouver in January? Well, if you’re record producer Bob Rock, your last name is reason enough. Good old riff-riddled rock is what draws … Continue reading Bob Rock says Metallica “never have and never will sell out”

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

Bob Rock brings his golden ears and guitars to Paul Hyde’s Living Off the Radar

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 16, 2000 Former Vancouverite Bob Rock is one of the most in-demand rock producers in the world today. The man who helped platinum acts like Metallica, Bon Jovi, Mötley Crüe, and the Cult move mountains of CDs now lives and works on the Hawaiian island of Maui, where … Continue reading Bob Rock brings his golden ears and guitars to Paul Hyde’s Living Off the Radar

Ian Lloyd, the “Brother Louie” guy, says he proud of his claim to fame

By Steve Newton Thirty years ago today—on October 27, 1984—Ian Lloyd played the old Georgia Street party palace known as Outlaws. He was performing with his new band, Fast Forward, and doing tunes from their first (and only) album, Living in Fiction. But more importantly, Lloyd was the funky-voiced guy who sang that awesome 1973 tune … Continue reading Ian Lloyd, the “Brother Louie” guy, says he proud of his claim to fame

Tal Bachman follows his famous father up the charts with “She’s So High”

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, APRIL 29, 1999 Like many Canadian music fans whose rock mentality was shaped in the ’70s, I have distinct recollections of Bachman Turner Overdrive’s heyday, when the rollicking strains of “Let It Ride” and “You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet” ruled the airwaves. There’s one particularly vivid memory of riding … Continue reading Tal Bachman follows his famous father up the charts with “She’s So High”

Lars Ulrich cuddles firstborn, doubts fatherhood will make Metallica wimp out

  ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 27, 1998 By Steve Newton If there’s one thing you can bet on about a Metallica concert, it’s that Lars Ulrich will not pussyfoot around behind his drum kit. The diminutive Dane always plays like a man possessed, fiercely punishing the skins while his face contorts in … Continue reading Lars Ulrich cuddles firstborn, doubts fatherhood will make Metallica wimp out

David Lee Roth says he doesn’t regret leaving Van Halen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 8, 1994 By Steve Newton With all the frenzied media attention and intense public speculation surrounding the O.J. Simpson case, it's hard to keep a fair handle on the whole sordid affair. Even such trusted news sources as A Current Affair and the National Enquirer have gotten caught up in the circus. … Continue reading David Lee Roth says he doesn’t regret leaving Van Halen

That time my buddy Stick ticked off Lars Ulrich in Vancouver by asking him to jam

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MAY 22, 1997 By Steve Newton Back when the Starfish Room was still a headbanger’s haven known as Club Soda, a rock-crazed pal of mine named Stick bumped into Lars Ulrich there. The Metallica drummer was hangin’ out with his entourage after one of the band’s intense Vancouver gigs … Continue reading That time my buddy Stick ticked off Lars Ulrich in Vancouver by asking him to jam

Ex-Thin Lizzy guitarist John Sykes on Blue Murder, Bob Rock, and the Little Mountain sound

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 16, 1989 By Steve Newton By now, most every rock fan in Vancouver must be aware that many of North America's best-selling bands--Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, and the Cult to name a few--have been making their latest chart-topping records right here in town. Little Mountain Sound on West 7th … Continue reading Ex-Thin Lizzy guitarist John Sykes on Blue Murder, Bob Rock, and the Little Mountain sound

One band ain’t enough for Limblifter and Age of Electric’s Ryan Dahle

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 4, 1996 Most rockers would be happy being in one major-label recording band, touring around the country and heading into the studio when the time is right to make another album. But after spending seven years in Age of Electric, and getting signed to MCA Records in Canada … Continue reading One band ain’t enough for Limblifter and Age of Electric’s Ryan Dahle

Metallica’s young guns of sonic mayhem slay Vancouver on the …And Justice for All Tour

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 9, 1989 By Steve Newton The Pacific Coliseum may as well have been a Roman coliseum last Wednesday (May 31), because things got about as uncivilized as they've ever been in the home of the Canucks. Not since the Broad Street Bullies took their orange jerseys into the … Continue reading Metallica’s young guns of sonic mayhem slay Vancouver on the …And Justice for All Tour

Alex Van Halen dishes “a little dirt” on who the original VH vocalist could have been

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 7, 1995 By Steve Newton Sometimes it seems as if there are two kinds of people in the world: David Lee Roth folks and Sammy Hagar folks. Dave folks are kind of a wild bunch—they prefer their music with a raw edge, full of primitive, howling vocals and … Continue reading Alex Van Halen dishes “a little dirt” on who the original VH vocalist could have been

Cult guitarist Billy Duffy says it all boils down to the Les Paul

By Steve Newton On May 31, 1989, the Cult opened for Metallica at the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver. A month earlier the band had released its fourth album, Sonic Temple, which wasn't no Electric, but did boast one of my fave tunes that year--"Fire Woman". And the album cover was definitely rockin: In advance of … Continue reading Cult guitarist Billy Duffy says it all boils down to the Les Paul