Horrific sound at Kerrisdale Arena makes Vancouver a town called malice for the Jam

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 11, 1982 By Steve Newton It looked like a scene from the Who film Quadrophenia outside the Kerrisdale Arena last Saturday night (June 5). Guys in trenchcoats and military-style jackets stood around with girls wearing button-clad and Union Jack emblazoned overcoats. Inside the Jam, hailed as "England's #1 … Continue reading Horrific sound at Kerrisdale Arena makes Vancouver a town called malice for the Jam

Steve Vai on cocky G3 tourmate Yngwie Malmsteen and tormented “genius” Devin Townsend

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 9, 2003 By Steve Newton I was a tad taken aback when the press release came in announcing the lineup for Joe Satriani’s 2003 G3 Tour. It wasn’t a surprise to see long-time G3er (and former Satch student) Steve Vai’s name on the bill. But I didn’t expect … Continue reading Steve Vai on cocky G3 tourmate Yngwie Malmsteen and tormented “genius” Devin Townsend

Lynyrd Skynyrd blows the motherf***ing roof off the Hard Rock with a southern-fried riff-fest for the ages

photo by Kevin Statham. All other less-impressive photos by the Newt By Steve Newton Four of the seven Lynyrd Skynyrd members pictured on the cover of the band's phenomenal first album are dead. That's unfortunate, obviously; tragic, even. But if you saw the band play last night you might be tempted to say "So what?" … Continue reading Lynyrd Skynyrd blows the motherf***ing roof off the Hard Rock with a southern-fried riff-fest for the ages

Bob Seger’s killer band helps the rock legend shine in Vancouver

  photos by Jet Sutherland By Steve Newton Bob Seger's choice of walk-on music for his current tour is "The Old Man Down the Road", which could be Seger's way of acknowledging that he'll turn 70 in two months. Or it could be that he just loves John Fogerty's swamp-rock classic from '84. Either way, it was … Continue reading Bob Seger’s killer band helps the rock legend shine in Vancouver

Tony Furtado dedicates song on American Gypsy to Americana great John Hartford

  ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 5, 2002 By Steve Newton Twelve seems to be an age that many musicians—and music fans—look back on as being influential in the formation of their musical tastes. I can remember spending countless hours as a 12-year-old sprawled on my parents’ living-room rug, poring over the lyrics … Continue reading Tony Furtado dedicates song on American Gypsy to Americana great John Hartford

The Blasters’ Dave Alvin wants to search the Commodore for lost brain cells

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 5, 2002 By Steve Newton Back in 1985, the Blasters were building a reputation as one of North America’s premier roots-rock acts. Then one cold November night in Montreal, the ongoing quarrels between guitarist Dave Alvin and his older brother, vocalist Phil, boiled over. After a particularly disastrous … Continue reading The Blasters’ Dave Alvin wants to search the Commodore for lost brain cells

Joe Satriani explains how he overcame pain and suffering to fulfill his new Blue Dream

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JAN. 19, 1990 By Steve Newton Just as almost everyone can recall where they were when news broke of John F. Kennedy's assassination, a lot of rock fans can vividly remember that day in 1970 when the news of Jimi Hendrix's death came down. Joe Satriani was in high … Continue reading Joe Satriani explains how he overcame pain and suffering to fulfill his new Blue Dream

The Tragically Hip’s frontman goes Fully Completely bonkers in Vancouver

By Steve Newton Gordon Downie is famous for his wacky stage moves and bizarre gestures, but last night (February 6) at Rogers Arena he ramped up the oddness big-time. I've seen the Tragically Hip numerous times over the years, but never witnessed him being quite so wonderfully nutzoid. The fact that it was his 51st … Continue reading The Tragically Hip’s frontman goes Fully Completely bonkers in Vancouver

The Donnas love horror, wish Freddie Krueger would Spend the Night

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 24, 2002 By Steve Newton When yours truly hooks up via cell with Donnas vocalist Brett Anderson, she’s in the band’s bus as it winds through the Colorado mountains en route to Salt Lake City and the first of four shows with New York City hotshots the Strokes. … Continue reading The Donnas love horror, wish Freddie Krueger would Spend the Night

Cherry Valence guitarist Cheetie Kumar is big on Thin Lizzy

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 29, 2002 By Steve Newton The Cherry Valence guitarist Cheetie Kumar is napping in the band’s van when the Straight catches up with her. The riff-based guitar-rock quintet is en route to a show in Brooklyn; the night before, it played the first date of a North American … Continue reading Cherry Valence guitarist Cheetie Kumar is big on Thin Lizzy

David Lindley says its serious time for the oud

  ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 8, 2002 By Steve Newton A while back I made one of my regular visits to Zulu Records and noticed that they were giving stuff away. Not great stuff—there were no limited-edition Hellecasters CDs or Jeff Beck bootlegs—but in the box of vinyl castoffs and local cassettes … Continue reading David Lindley says its serious time for the oud

Mountain’s Leslie West recalls Woodstock and his band’s old warmup act, Black Sabbath

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 1, 2002 By Steve Newton Seventies hard-rockers Mountain didn’t waste any time in getting famous. The bluesy power trio—best known for the lineup of guitarist and vocalist Leslie West, drummer Corky Laing, and bassist-vocalist Felix Pappalardi (who was shot dead by his wife in ’83)—played its first gig … Continue reading Mountain’s Leslie West recalls Woodstock and his band’s old warmup act, Black Sabbath

Alice Cooper tours with Trash, talks songwriting, horror, and ’70s rock

me and the Coop. I've still got that '80s leather jacket if anybody wants to buy it. the arms come off so it turns into a funky vest. kevin statham photo By Steve Newton Twenty-five years ago today--on January 18, 1990--Alice Cooper played Vancouver's Pacific Coliseum, touring behind his 18th studio album, Trash. It featured guest appearances … Continue reading Alice Cooper tours with Trash, talks songwriting, horror, and ’70s rock

The John Butler Trio just said no to American record labels

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MAY 23, 2002 BY STEVE NEWTON It doesn’t take long to figure out that Australian singer-songwriter and slide-guitar ace John Butler is an issue-oriented kinda guy. In the CD booklet that accompanies his trio’s latest disc, Three, one page is loaded with facts detailing the ongoing destruction of his … Continue reading The John Butler Trio just said no to American record labels

Lemmy Kilmister thinks Motörhead should have its own category by now

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MAY 9, 2002 By Steve Newton I’ve always respected Motörhead for what it’s done over the past quarter-century to further the cause of heavy metal, and for its ability to do so, like Rush, within the confines of the power-trio format. But as far as Motörhead albums go, it’s … Continue reading Lemmy Kilmister thinks Motörhead should have its own category by now

Cracker’s David Lowery on The Big Lebowski, Camper Van Beethoven, and Forever

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MAY 2, 2002 By Steve Newton After a few listens to the new Cracker CD, Forever, I came to the conclusion that the title track—with its infectious jangle and big-toned, Duane Eddy–style guitar riff—was the standout among the disc’s 13 tunes. My overwhelming fondness for that song had me … Continue reading Cracker’s David Lowery on The Big Lebowski, Camper Van Beethoven, and Forever

Weezer’s Brian Bell on geek-rock stigmas and Spike Jonze’s scary giraffe

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, APRIL 25, 2002 By Steve Newton Weezer is one band that really knows how to turn a simple riff into a monster hit. The American power-pop quartet pulled that trick off to career-making effect in ’94 with its hooky single “Buddy Holly”, then did it again last year with … Continue reading Weezer’s Brian Bell on geek-rock stigmas and Spike Jonze’s scary giraffe

Paul Kelly wonders if “Every Fucking City” will go over in Vancouver

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MARCH 21, 2002 By Steve Newton There are a couple of favourite things that come to mind when I recall my five-week holiday in Australia in ’86. One is what they called the “drive-in bottleshops”. You could just pull in off the street and have some guy hand you … Continue reading Paul Kelly wonders if “Every Fucking City” will go over in Vancouver

Harmonica legend Charlie Musselwhite has real good lung capacity

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MARCH 14, 2002 By Steve Newton Charlie Musselwhite was just 13 years old when he started playing harmonica, the instrument that he’d wield so well while staking out his place in the blues world. He was living in Memphis at the time, which was a good location to be … Continue reading Harmonica legend Charlie Musselwhite has real good lung capacity

James Cotton on blowing harp for Muddy Waters at Newport Jazz Festival

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MARCH 7, 2002 By Steve Newton Throughout the classic 1960 blues album Muddy Waters at Newport—which fans of the late legend should note was recently released on CD in remastered form, with bonus studio tracks—a young James Cotton can be heard blowing some serious harp at the Newport Jazz … Continue reading James Cotton on blowing harp for Muddy Waters at Newport Jazz Festival

Lester Quitzau was a Zeppelin-loving wheelie king as a kid

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, FEB. 14, 2002 On his latest CD, So Here We Are, Edmonton’s Lester Quitzau makes a strong case for his being touted as among this country’s finest blues-roots pickers. But a close look at the disc’s video portion reveals that Quitzau’s talents are more than just musical. In one … Continue reading Lester Quitzau was a Zeppelin-loving wheelie king as a kid

Kim Simmonds keeps the spirit of Savoy Brown alive for ’70s-rock holdouts

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, FEB. 14, 2002 By Steve Newton It’s been 36 years since guitarist-vocalist Kim Simmonds founded British boogie-blues band Savoy Brown, and he’s kept the name alive through constant touring and steady CD releases. But the undying outfit might have been wiped out for good in a torrent of jet … Continue reading Kim Simmonds keeps the spirit of Savoy Brown alive for ’70s-rock holdouts

When Nickelback had the power to make grown men stick their dicks in whirling plastic blades

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 6, 2001 By Steve Newton If you want to know how well Nickelback lead vocalist, guitarist, and lyricist Chad Kroeger’s musical career is going, you only need look as far as the 27-year-old rocker’s Langley home. He just put in a hot tub. And had the pool enlarged. … Continue reading When Nickelback had the power to make grown men stick their dicks in whirling plastic blades

My interview with 18-year-old Jordan Cook, long before he ruled as Reignwolf

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 6, 2001 By Steve Newton A lot of musicians catch the music bug early on in life, though usually not as early as 18-year-old blues guitarist Jordan Cook. After he was born, the first thing Cook heard on a regular basis was the sound of his dad taking … Continue reading My interview with 18-year-old Jordan Cook, long before he ruled as Reignwolf

Fretmaster Don Ross exposes the Newt to the wonders of acoustic-guitar wizardry

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 29, 2001 By Steve Newton Guitar gods—I can’t get enough of ’em. There’ve always been lots of slots in my CD stacks reserved for fret masters who balance boggling technique with high degrees of feel. Because I’m mostly a rock and blues fan, the vast majority of guitarists … Continue reading Fretmaster Don Ross exposes the Newt to the wonders of acoustic-guitar wizardry

Blues great Taj Mahal is quick to name names

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 15, 2001 By Steve Newton When I ask famous musicians who they’ve been listening to, half the time they brush the question off, claiming that they’ve just been focusing on their own material. Other times you get people—like Taj Mahal—who like to name names. When I track the … Continue reading Blues great Taj Mahal is quick to name names

Midnight Oil won’t forgo antinationalist songs in wake of 9/11

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 15, 2001 By Steve Newton Midnight Oil is one of the most politically motivated and socially conscious guitar-rock bands in the world. Although best known for embracing Aboriginal land-rights issues in its native Australia via the 1988 hit “Beds Are Burning”, the quintet has always kept an eye … Continue reading Midnight Oil won’t forgo antinationalist songs in wake of 9/11