Martin Birch’s finest moments with Iron Maiden, Deep Purple, Rainbow, Black Sabbath, and Blue Öyster Cult

By Steve Newton If you're fan of hard rock and metal you've no doubt already heard that Martin Birch, the preeminent producer of loud rock, passed away recently at the age of 71. I've interviewed my fair share of hard-rock producers, including the formerly Vancouver-based triumvirate of Bruce Fairbairn, Bob Rock, and Mike Fraser, but … Continue reading Martin Birch’s finest moments with Iron Maiden, Deep Purple, Rainbow, Black Sabbath, and Blue Öyster Cult

That time Steve Morse told me that he transforms into a different kind of person at night

By Steve Newton I did my first interview with Steve Morse in May of 1991, just after he'd released his fourth post-Dixie Dregs album, Southern Steel, and just three years before he'd join his current band, Deep Purple. At one point in the conversation I brought up Steve's claim that he didn't "live, breathe, and … Continue reading That time Steve Morse told me that he transforms into a different kind of person at night

The 70 greatest opening tracks of the ’70s

By Steve Newton Remember how you'd set the needle down on the opening track of a new rock album and the first tune would just blow you the funk away? Me too. "(Ain't Nothin' But a) House Party" (Bloodshot, J. Geils Band, 1973) "All the Way From Memphis" (Mott, Mott the Hoople, 1973) "Already Gone" … Continue reading The 70 greatest opening tracks of the ’70s

Album review: Deep Purple, Nobody’s Perfect (1988)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 23, 1988 By Steve Newton If you were a teenager in the '70s, you probably remember Deep Purple's Made in Japan, the double live album that was--at least in Chilliwack anyway--the top soundtrack to house parties and cruising. Kids in the late '80s now have a live, two-disc … Continue reading Album review: Deep Purple, Nobody’s Perfect (1988)

Album review: Deep Purple, The House of Blue Light (1987)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MARCH 27, 1987 By Steve Newton Deep Purple's new album was recorded at the same studio, with the same engineer, as their 1984 reunion LP Perfect Strangers. Like Perfect Strangers, the production credits on The House of Blue Light go to "Roger Glover and Deep Purple". The vast majority … Continue reading Album review: Deep Purple, The House of Blue Light (1987)

Album review: Deep Purple, Perfect Strangers (1984)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 14, 1984 By Steve Newton Some things are too good to be true, and for lovers of hard rock, the resurrection of Deep Purple is one of them. The original Mark II lineup--guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, bassist Roger Glover, drummer Ian Paice, keyboardist Jon Lord, and singer Ian Gillan--is … Continue reading Album review: Deep Purple, Perfect Strangers (1984)

Album review: Hughes/Thrall Band, Hughes/Thrall (1982)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 19, 1982 By Steve Newton The formation of the Hughes/Thrall band is somewhat of a marriage made in heaven for heavy-rock fanatics. Glenn Hughes, it will be remembered, was an essential driving force to the latter-day Deep Purple. His bass and vocal abilities highlighted the red-hot Burn and Stormbringer albums, … Continue reading Album review: Hughes/Thrall Band, Hughes/Thrall (1982)

Shades 1968-1998 box set delivers all the best colours of Deep Purple

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 9, 1999 By Steve Newton   I’ve been a Deep Purple fan for as long as I’ve loved rock. Fireball was among the first LPs I ever purchased and played on my parents’ crappy rec-room stereo from the ’50s. Even today, when “Highway Star” comes on the car … Continue reading Shades 1968-1998 box set delivers all the best colours of Deep Purple

Album review: Deep Purple, Come Hell or High Water (1995)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 24, 1995 By Steve Newton They’ve had plenty of time to rehearse, but Deep Purple still can’t improve on Made in Japan, the live double album that captured the hearts and minds of hard-rock hooligans back in ’73. Still, you won’t hear me complain when the band rips … Continue reading Album review: Deep Purple, Come Hell or High Water (1995)

Rock Hall ignores Johnny Winter and Rory Gallagher yet again, proves its head is still lodged firmly up its ass

charles campbell photo By Steve Newton It's been 10 days since the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced its nominees for induction in 2018, choosing a whopping 19 bands and artists this time around. They include, in alphabetical order: Bon Jovi, Kate Bush, the Cars, Depeche Mode, Dire Straits, Eurythmics, J. Geils Band, Judas Priest, LL Cool J, MC5, … Continue reading Rock Hall ignores Johnny Winter and Rory Gallagher yet again, proves its head is still lodged firmly up its ass

Album review: Deep Purple, Slaves and Masters (1990)

  ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JAN. 3, 1991 By Steve Newton So Ian Gillan has left Deep Purple again, this time to be replaced by Joe Lynn Turner instead of David Coverdale. Well, that idea has its possibilities: Turner and Purple guitarist Richie Blackmore made some fine rock ’n’ roll together in the … Continue reading Album review: Deep Purple, Slaves and Masters (1990)

Rock Hall boneheads once again choose Chic over Johnny Winter, Rory Gallagher, and Link Wray

By Steve Newton The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame apparently believes that Depeche Mode outrocks Johnny Winter, that Chic blows Rory Gallagher away, and that Joan Baez is more rock than Link Wray. Whatta buncha boneheads. Yep, Jann Wenner and his gaggle of dimwits at the Rock Hall have done it again, blindly ignoring three … Continue reading Rock Hall boneheads once again choose Chic over Johnny Winter, Rory Gallagher, and Link Wray

That time Tony Iommi told me about the early rivalry between Black Sabbath and Deep Purple

By Steve Newton When I interviewed guitar legend Tony Iommi back in March of 2007 he was bringing his Ronnie James Dio-fronted version of Black Sabbath, Heaven and Hell, to Vancouver for a show at the Pacific Coliseum with Megadeth and Down. At one point I asked Iommi whether he was a fan of Dio's … Continue reading That time Tony Iommi told me about the early rivalry between Black Sabbath and Deep Purple

That time Roger Glover got pissed off when I mentioned how loud Deep Purple was: “that’s a bullshit statement”

By Steve Newton Most rock freaks as old as me remember back to 1985 when Deep Purple had reunited its classic Mark II lineup and was headed out on tour behind its Perfect Strangers album. When the band set its sights on Vancouver I was pretty psyched about getting the chance to interview Roger Glover--and … Continue reading That time Roger Glover got pissed off when I mentioned how loud Deep Purple was: “that’s a bullshit statement”

That time Tony Iommi told me about the guys from Black Sabbath blowing up singer Ian Gillan’s boat

By Steve Newton Back in January of 1984 I called Tony Iommi up for a chat at his home in Birmingham, England. I was pretty psyched, since Sabbath albums like Paranoid, Volume 4, and Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath had meant a lot to me as a metal-loving teenager in the '70s, growing up in the wilds of … Continue reading That time Tony Iommi told me about the guys from Black Sabbath blowing up singer Ian Gillan’s boat

Lars Ulrich picks Metallica’s fave bands in 1985, gives personal shout-out to Deep Purple

By Steve Newton Ha! Here's a good one! Today I was digitizing my very first Metallica interview--which I did with Lars Ulrich back in March of '85. At one point during our 20-minute chat I asked the 21-year-old skinbasher what his group's favourite bands were--and was pleasantly surprised to hear that the list included Kate … Continue reading Lars Ulrich picks Metallica’s fave bands in 1985, gives personal shout-out to Deep Purple

Sonny Landreth says he’s sure Johnny Winter will make it into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame one day

By Steve Newton In a few hours I'm heading out to see Louisiana slide-guitar ace Sonny Landreth play a gig in Vancouver. If you're a fan of Sonny, you may know that his latest album, Bound By the Blues, features a tribute to one of his musical heroes, Johnny Winter, called "Firebird Blues". You may also … Continue reading Sonny Landreth says he’s sure Johnny Winter will make it into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame one day

Newt’s Top 10 albums of 1998

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 17, 1998 By Steve Newton Yee-hah! I managed to make it through yet another year without having to listen to anyone named DJ anything. The Tragically Hip Phantom Power  Ontario’s guitar-rock kings continue their winning ways with a potent batch of raggedy ruminations on everything Canadian, from Bobby … Continue reading Newt’s Top 10 albums of 1998