Danny Kirwan’s death revives memories of cruising the Chilliwack strip listening to Fleetwood Mac’s Kiln House

By Steve Newton You may have heard that British musician Danny Kirwan passed away on Friday, at the age of 68. Don't feel too bad if his name doesn't sound familiar, but he was a member of Fleetwood Mac between 1968 and 1972. I didn't know his work all that well myself, even though he … Continue reading Danny Kirwan’s death revives memories of cruising the Chilliwack strip listening to Fleetwood Mac’s Kiln House

Back to the ‘Wack: Newt signs Gord Downie book in Chilliwack

By Steve Newton In case you haven't heard, my first book came out last month. It's called Gord Downie, and it's about a poetic Canadian guy who rocked his ass off for decades and won over his home country before bravely succumbing to brain cancer and winning over his home country even more. When the … Continue reading Back to the ‘Wack: Newt signs Gord Downie book in Chilliwack

You can tell a book by its covers: The Georgia Straight–A 50th Anniversary Celebration

By Steve Newton FULL DISCLOSURE: I've worked at the Georgia Straight since '82 so, yeah, I could be a little biased. I didn't grow up in Vancouver. I hail from the small Fraser Valley community of Chilliwack, best known for ice storms in the winter, Cultus Lake in the summer, and the rock band Chilliwack … Continue reading You can tell a book by its covers: The Georgia Straight–A 50th Anniversary Celebration

Album review: Joe Jackson Band, Volume 4 (2003)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MARCH 27, 2003 By Steve Newton When I recall my late-’70s/early-’80s fondness for Brit pop-punk Joe Jackson, I drift back to days spent in a rundown party pad at the foot of a dead-end street in Chilliwack. For some reason, I remember myself one spring afternoon mowing the lawn … Continue reading Album review: Joe Jackson Band, Volume 4 (2003)

Album review: Goddo, 12 Gauge Goddo (1990)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JAN. 3, 1991 By Steve Newton I still remember driving into town from Chilliwack to see Goddo at the Body Shop way back in ’78 or some godforsaken year. What made the show so memorable for me wasn’t just the great power-rock this Canadian trio delivered, but the fact … Continue reading Album review: Goddo, 12 Gauge Goddo (1990)

The incredible story behind the Ear of Newt autographed guitar

By Steve Newton Back in January of 2013 when I started planning the Ear of Newt website--which I launched on Halloween night that year--I knew I had to get my autographed plexiglass guitar into the picture. I'd been dragging it around to concerts to get it signed by my fave pickers--folks like Link Wray, Ronnie … Continue reading The incredible story behind the Ear of Newt autographed guitar

Newt rocks out at 60th birthday bash with members of Chilliwack bands Cold Chain, Horsepower, and Concrete Jungle

jet sutherland photo By Steve Newton After 35-plus years of writing about other people rockin' out on guitar, I finally got off my butt, hopped on stage, and did some half-assed riffing myself. Last night at the Coast Hotel, in the heart of beautiful downtown Chilliwack, B.C., a bunch of old guys who were born … Continue reading Newt rocks out at 60th birthday bash with members of Chilliwack bands Cold Chain, Horsepower, and Concrete Jungle

Thinking nice thoughts of Rick Parfitt while listening to “Big Fat Mama” from Status Quo’s Piledriver

By Steve Newton Just heard the sad news that Rick Parfitt, guitarist-vocalist for Status Quo, died today from a severe infection at a hospital in Spain. He was 68. I first discovered Status Quo as a teenager when I came upon their 1972 album Piledriver at a record store. I'd never heard Status Quo before, … Continue reading Thinking nice thoughts of Rick Parfitt while listening to “Big Fat Mama” from Status Quo’s Piledriver

That time I hired an Elvis impersonator for my mom’s 87th birthday and he stole her away to Vegas!

photos by Julie Newton Katz By Steve Newton Okay, so maybe he didn't steal her away to Vegas. But Steve "Elvis" Elliott sure charmed the heck outta my mom during his one-hour show at the Waverly Seniors Village in Chilliwack today. Elliott--a resident of the 'Wack who travels all around B.C. performing Elvis Presley tribute shows--rolled … Continue reading That time I hired an Elvis impersonator for my mom’s 87th birthday and he stole her away to Vegas!

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

Remembering David Bowie in the seventies

  By Steve Newton Talk about a shocker. Got up at the usual 7 this morning, realized there was no instant coffee--and no wife awake to make me a latte--so went straight to the cell phone. Saw a tweet about a new concert announcement that needed blogging, so headed over to the computer, clicked on … Continue reading Remembering David Bowie in the seventies

The greatest guitar solo of all time: Mick Ronson on Ian Hunter’s “Once Bitten Twice Shy”

By Steve Newton I've heard a lotta amazing guitar solos in my life, but today I decided to just go ahead and pick the greatest one of all time. I'm goin' with Mick Ronson's 30-second blast on Ian Hunter's classic boogie number "Once Bitten Twice Shy". It's not because that's the best rock song of 1975--the year I graduated … Continue reading The greatest guitar solo of all time: Mick Ronson on Ian Hunter’s “Once Bitten Twice Shy”

40 years ago today: Lou Reed releases Metal Machine Music, and my dumbass buddy buys it

By Steve Newton 1975 was a very good year for rock n roll. Maybe even the best. That's the year of Aerosmiith's Toys in the Attic, Zeppelin's Physical Graffiti, and Thin Lizzy's Fighting. Not to mention Ian Hunter's solo debut. Unfortunately for my high-school buddy Mike, it was also the year of Lou Reed's Metal … Continue reading 40 years ago today: Lou Reed releases Metal Machine Music, and my dumbass buddy buys it

Roxy Music vinyl box offers a second shot at ’70s art-rock

By Steve Newton I wasn't the artsiest rock-music fan to grow up in Chilliwack in the seventies; there was way too much Molly Hatchet in my vinyl diet for that. But every now and then I'd venture beyond guitar-based boogie and try something a little more involved, like Roxy Music. I remember buying Stranded when it came … Continue reading Roxy Music vinyl box offers a second shot at ’70s art-rock

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”

Debbie Davies holds her own with the big boys of blues

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, APRIL 5, 2001 When I hear the name Jay Geils nowadays, I remember how I used to whip over to an old Chilliwack High School buddy’s house at lunch hour for a quick fix of tuna on toast and the latest ’70s rock sounds. Sometimes it was Foghat’s Energized … Continue reading Debbie Davies holds her own with the big boys of blues

Paul Rodgers on living the rock and roll fantasy and his new album Electric

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 21, 2000 By Steve Newton Anyone who’s ever raised a frosty Molson Pilsner to the bluesy riff-rock of Free or Bad Company would do well to attend the Commodore Ballroom on Friday (September 22), when the singer from those bands, Paul Rodgers, shows off the voice that launched … Continue reading Paul Rodgers on living the rock and roll fantasy and his new album Electric

Bill Henderson says Chilliwack ripped off its name for the First Nations vibe

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JAN. 6, 2000 By Steve Newton It’s a bit weird coming from a small town that has the same name as a popular ’70s rock band. When you admit to having been born and bred in Chilliwack, there’s always some joker who’ll wonder aloud, “Hey, isn’t that where that … Continue reading Bill Henderson says Chilliwack ripped off its name for the First Nations vibe

Smokin’ Joe Kubek thanks Jimmie Vaughan for turning him on to barbecued bologna

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, APRIL 8, 1999 I knew a Smokin’ Joe once. He was a driftin’ country musician who moved into the duplex next door to my party pad on a dead-end street by the railroad tracks in Chilliwack. His name was just Joe at first, but I named him Smokin’ ’cause … Continue reading Smokin’ Joe Kubek thanks Jimmie Vaughan for turning him on to barbecued bologna

Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson talks ’70s concept albums but can’t comment on Quadrophenia

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 23, 1997 By Steve Newton Although I have no documented proof that I’m related to either Beavis or Butthead, I do harbour a couple of hazy teenage memories that keep me pondering that possibility. The one that has me most worried goes back to Chilliwack Senior Secondary School, … Continue reading Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson talks ’70s concept albums but can’t comment on Quadrophenia

The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets keep the spirit of Lovecraft alive

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, APRIL 28, 1994 By Steve Newton Whatever you do, don’t say “Iä! Iä! Cthulhu Fhtang” three times. Careless use of that sacred chant—made famous by legendary horror author H.P. Lovecraft in his stories of the Cthulhu mythos—just might incite the evil wrath of the Elder Gods, the unspeakably horrifying … Continue reading The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets keep the spirit of Lovecraft alive

Wherein the Newt pines for the ’70s along with a panel of Vancouver rock experts

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 4, 1993 “The music you listen to becomes the soundtrack of your life.” —Mike Bloomfield Ah, the ’70s—what a great decade for rock. I don’t care what anybody says, because, disco aside, the ’70s ruled, man. Back then I could easily name 50 bands that I was crazy … Continue reading Wherein the Newt pines for the ’70s along with a panel of Vancouver rock experts

Layne Staley says “No booze for yooz” as Alice in Chains goes all-ages in Vancouver

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DECEMBER 23, 1992 What does it mean when a venue loses its liquor licence and a concert is changed from an all-you-can-drink show to an “all-ages” event? Does it mean that anyone who goes can act like a 16-year-old and get away with it? I guess so. “All right, … Continue reading Layne Staley says “No booze for yooz” as Alice in Chains goes all-ages in Vancouver

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

Horror review: Jason Goes to Hell–The Final Friday

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 19, 1993 By Steve Newton I’ll never forget the time I saw Friday the 13th: Part 2 at the grand old Paramount Theatre in Chilliwack back in ’81. It was the first low-budget slasher flick I’d seen on the big screen, and, mindless and exploitative as it was, … Continue reading Horror review: Jason Goes to Hell–The Final Friday

The Sabbath Time Machine

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, AUG. 18, 2013 By Steve Newton Black Sabbath (without Bill Ward) isn't giving any interviews in advance of its show at Rogers Arena this Thursday (Aug. 22), but that's okay with me. It just gives me an excuse to crawl back into my '70s time machine and reminisce, home movie-style, about what … Continue reading The Sabbath Time Machine

Edgar Winter strives to break down senseless musical barriers

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, JULY 28, 2005 By Steve Newton Most rock bands from the '70s aren't making waves on the sales charts these days, but not every musician who thrived 30 years ago has been barred from Billboard in recent years. Edgar Winter had the chorus from his 1971 song "Dying to Live" used … Continue reading Edgar Winter strives to break down senseless musical barriers