The Outlaws’ triple-guitar attack outshines Foghat’s boogie-blues in Vancouver

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 4, 1987 By Steve Newton The raunchy guitar sounds of the '70s were all the rage at the Commodore last weekend (November 27 and 28), with British boogiemeisters Foghat headlining over Florida-based southern rockers the Outlaws. But it was the triple-guitar attack of the openers that was the real … Continue reading The Outlaws’ triple-guitar attack outshines Foghat’s boogie-blues in Vancouver

Album review: Black Sabbath, Past Lives (2002)

  ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 10, 2002 By Steve Newton I like collecting guitar picks. Whenever I’m near the stage and some six-string legend tosses out one of those wee plastic nubs, I’ll do what it takes to nab it. My most highly prized catch is a plain orange Ronnie Montrose pick … Continue reading Album review: Black Sabbath, Past Lives (2002)

Album review: Brother Cane, Seeds (1995)

  ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 24, 1995 By Steve Newton The first sign that Brother Cane’s long-awaited second release would be a doozy came when the Alabama quartet used material from Seeds to seriously blow Slash’s Snakepit off the stage at the Commodore a while back. Like fellow southerners Collective Soul, Brother … Continue reading Album review: Brother Cane, Seeds (1995)

Nazareth’s no-frills guitar-rock gets Vancouver hopping on a Sunday night

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 25, 1987 By Steve Newton No-frills rock 'n' roll is something that's always been close to this scribbler's heart. From the basic guitar/bass/drums sound to the jeans/-t-shirt/runners wardrobe, it's the type of music that makes the ordinary person on the street think: "Yeah, I can relate to that." AC/DC … Continue reading Nazareth’s no-frills guitar-rock gets Vancouver hopping on a Sunday night

Nazareth’s Dan McCafferty says Manny Charlton was writing good tunes for Cinema, so they used ’em

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 18, 1987 By Steve Newton Not too many bands make it to the 20-year mark. But Scottish rockers Nazareth will reach that milestone next year. Singer Dan McCafferty, guitarist Manny Charlton, bassist Pete Agnew, and drummer Darrell Sweet have been kicking royal butt for nigh-on two decades now, and with the … Continue reading Nazareth’s Dan McCafferty says Manny Charlton was writing good tunes for Cinema, so they used ’em

The rootsy gut-bucket boogie of the Paladins turns the Newt into a dancing fool in Vancouver

ORIGINAL PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUGUST 15, 1991 By Steve Newton Men Without Hats immortalized the idea “You can dance if you want to.” I dunno—sometimes I just can’t dance. But I was a regular dancin’ fool at the Commodore last Friday (August 9), and the decision to get up there and make Ed … Continue reading The rootsy gut-bucket boogie of the Paladins turns the Newt into a dancing fool in Vancouver

Albert King’s “adopted grandson” Little Jimmy King salvages Vancouver gig with Hendrix-style string-chomping

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 6, 1995 By Steve Newton Sometimes greatness takes a while to reveal itself, and that was certainly the case at the Commodore on June 30. After a set of gospel-laced blues and spiritual tunes by the Holmes Brothers that included some soulful harmonizing on dusty standards such as … Continue reading Albert King’s “adopted grandson” Little Jimmy King salvages Vancouver gig with Hendrix-style string-chomping

29 minutes of shootin’ the shit with Age of Electric’s Todd Kerns, the most rockin’ Canadian bass player of the 21st century

By Steve Newton One of my alltime fave Canadian bands, the Age of Electric, is playing Vancouver's Commodore Ballroom tomorrow (March 24). They played the Commodore 11 months ago as well, and it was one of the most consistently rockin' gigs I'd ever seen at the historic venue. Before that show I did a phone interview … Continue reading 29 minutes of shootin’ the shit with Age of Electric’s Todd Kerns, the most rockin’ Canadian bass player of the 21st century

The Musical Box brings Genesis’ Selling England By the Pound to Vancouver

By Steve Newton The Year of Our Lord, 1973, was a big year for prog-rock. Besides the grandaddy of them all--Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon--'73 also saw such prime prog releases as Hawkwind's Space Ritual, Jethro Tull's A Passion Play, and Emerson, Lake & Palmer's Brain Salad Surgery. I also recall spending many hours spellbound by the melodic beauty … Continue reading The Musical Box brings Genesis’ Selling England By the Pound to Vancouver

B’z guitarist Tak Matsumoto speaks little English, lets his signature Les Paul to the talkin’

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 16, 2003 By Steve Newton Up until a few weeks ago, my knowledge of popular music in Japan was pretty slim. About all I knew for sure was that Cheap Trick used to cause a big stir over there in the ’70s when they played a place called … Continue reading B’z guitarist Tak Matsumoto speaks little English, lets his signature Les Paul to the talkin’

The Hangmen’s Bryan Small is done pawning guitars for drugs

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 4, 2003 Here’s a happy little comeback story for ya. Back in 1989, singer-guitarist Bryan Small led a rowdy, punk-inspired L.A. rock act called the Hangmen that was hoping to establish itself beyond all the hair bands of the day. The group scored a deal with Capitol Records … Continue reading The Hangmen’s Bryan Small is done pawning guitars for drugs

Joe Jackson thinks about 10 percent of music is really good stuff

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 21, 2003 By Steve Newton If you liked catchy, hook-infested pop-rock back in 1979, there’s a good chance you tapped a toe or two to Joe Jackson’s debut album, Look Sharp!. From the cynical hit single “Is She Really Going Out With Him?” to the postpunk rave-up “Got … Continue reading Joe Jackson thinks about 10 percent of music is really good stuff

George Thorogood, no longer a dick, says you gotta have songs about the women

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 14, 2003 The last time I interviewed George Thorogood over the phone, back in 1993, he acted like a real dick. I realize the guy’s “Bad to the Bone”, but I wasn’t expecting him to be quite so surly and defensive. In retrospect, I suppose I shouldn’t have … Continue reading George Thorogood, no longer a dick, says you gotta have songs about the women

Sam Roberts discovers that Vancouver isn’t all sunny days and good times

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MAY 22, 2003 When Sam Roberts fans pick up his debut album We Were Born in a Flame (due in stores on May 27), they might be surprised to hear that half of the singer’s The Inhuman Condition EP resurfaces on the CD. Among the three rereleased songs is … Continue reading Sam Roberts discovers that Vancouver isn’t all sunny days and good times

The Wallflowers fail to enthrall a sell-out crowd in Vancouver

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JAN. 30, 2003 I was feeling just a tad hesitant when setting off to review the Wallflowers’ gig last Friday (January 17). For one thing, the American band’s latest CD, Red Letter Days, hadn’t thrilled me. I knew that chrome-domed guitar ace Michael Ward—who’d provided the fine fretwork on … Continue reading The Wallflowers fail to enthrall a sell-out crowd in Vancouver

Concrete Blonde’s Johnette Napolitano thinks Mick Ronson was a genius

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JAN. 23, 2003 By Steve Newton Last year, Los Angeles–bred guitar-rockers Concrete Blonde released Group Therapy, a CD that reunited the original lineup of vocalist-bassist Johnette Napolitano, ex-Sparks guitarist James Mankey, and drummer Harry Rushakoff. It was the group’s first record in almost a decade, so when Napolitano calls … Continue reading Concrete Blonde’s Johnette Napolitano thinks Mick Ronson was a genius

Robben Ford on playing with George Harrison and his new pal Long John Baldry

  ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JAN. 16, 2003 By Steve Newton Blues fans planning to attend Long John Baldry’s annual birthday bash at the Commodore on Saturday (January 18) will get a little extra bang for their buck this year. Along with long-time Baldry backers such as Jim Byrnes and Johnny Ferreira, American … Continue reading Robben Ford on playing with George Harrison and his new pal Long John Baldry

The Headstones’ Hugh Dillon on great Canadian rock bands and having a gun to his head

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 28, 2002 By Steve Newton There are a ton of rowdy, punk-edged rock tunes on the latest Headstones CD, The Oracle of Hi-Fi, but the one that really stands out on first listen is “Tiny Teddy”. A rollicking, three-minute tale of shady characters, cocaine, and revenge, it’s reminiscent … Continue reading The Headstones’ Hugh Dillon on great Canadian rock bands and having a gun to his head

Randy Hansen was baptized by the rain dripping off Jimi Hendrix’s boots

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 16, 2001 By Steve Newton Randy Hansen has been immersing himself in the music of Jimi Hendrix since 1967, when an older acquaintance tipped him off about this amazing guitarist who had just played the Monterey Pop Festival. Taking this fellow’s advice, Hansen went out and bought the … Continue reading Randy Hansen was baptized by the rain dripping off Jimi Hendrix’s boots

The smalls get fast and furious again

By Steve Newton The last time I talked to Corb Lund about the smalls, back in 2000, he was known as Corby and had just returned from a tour of Bosnia-Herzegovina with the Edmonton-based guitar rockers. Nearly a decade and a half later you can still call him Corby (“Either one, take your pick”), and … Continue reading The smalls get fast and furious again

Badass Warren Haynes nails it for C.O.C. on America’s Volume Dealer

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, FEB. 1, 2001 By Steve Newton One of the coolest things about being a rock writer is getting turned on to new bands—even if they’re old. Corrosion of Conformity has been making a serious racket since 1982, but it’s still new to me; for some strange reason its latest … Continue reading Badass Warren Haynes nails it for C.O.C. on America’s Volume Dealer

Neil Osborne calls 54-40’s Casual Viewin’ “the band’s feel-good groove record”

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 12, 2000 When it came to choosing a title for their latest album, Casual Viewin’, local guitar-rockers 54•40 didn’t follow previous procedures and look to their ideals (Fight For Love) or early gigging days (Smilin’ Buddha Cabaret). For their ninth studio album, they simply culled a lyric from … Continue reading Neil Osborne calls 54-40’s Casual Viewin’ “the band’s feel-good groove record”

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

Dick Dale doesn’t need no augmented ninth to make your ears bleed

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 8, 2000 By Steve Newton Dick Dale, the undisputed “King of the Surf Guitar”, is known for a uniquely fierce playing style. In concert, he grinds guitar picks down by the dozen, while conjuring a frenzied instro-rock din that—as Ted Nugent used to boast about his own noise—could … Continue reading Dick Dale doesn’t need no augmented ninth to make your ears bleed

After scary times in Bosnia the smalls set their sights on Texas

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MAY 25, 2000 By Steve Newton Last February, Edmonton guitar-rockers the smalls found a unique way to celebrate their 10 years together: they kicked off a month-long European tour with a few dates in that popular wintertime destination, Bosnia-Herzegovina. When bassist-songwriter Corby Lund calls from outside of Winnipeg with … Continue reading After scary times in Bosnia the smalls set their sights on Texas

Kim Mitchell on the re-rise and re-fall of Max Webster

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MARCH 2, 2000 By Steve Newton If, like me, you’re a Kim Mitchell fan from way back, you may have been wondering just where the hell he’s been lately. I mean, he hasn’t played Vancouver in nine years, whereas in the ’80s he’d show up regularly to be a … Continue reading Kim Mitchell on the re-rise and re-fall of Max Webster

Bittersweet Gin Blossoms encounter UFOs and Alice Cooper in their ‘hood

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, FEB. 29, 1996 By Steve Newton If there were such a thing as a Webster’s Dictionary of Pop Music, you could probably look up the word bittersweet and find a picture of Arizona’s Gin Blossoms nearby. Like fellow southerner Matthew Sweet and local buddies the Odds—who will tour with … Continue reading Bittersweet Gin Blossoms encounter UFOs and Alice Cooper in their ‘hood