Scotty Hall: 22 minutes with Vancouver’s greatest unknown rock guitarist (R.I.P.)

  Scotty Hall (left) and Phil Robertson By Steve Newton I've been lucky enough to have interviewed some amazing guitar players in the last 35 years, pickers like Jeff Beck, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Joe Satriani, and Scotty Hall. Scotty Hall? Who the funk is he, you're probably thinking. Well, unless you're a music insider based … Continue reading Scotty Hall: 22 minutes with Vancouver’s greatest unknown rock guitarist (R.I.P.)

AC/DC-in-Vancouver news-breaker talks recording rumours, the Warehouse connection, and the magic of Malcolm Young

By Steve Newton I've interviewed hundreds of rock musicians over the past 35 years, but I've only been interviewed myself a few times--most of those discussions taking place earlier this year when local Tragically Hip fans like Jody Vance and Drex wanted to know about the book I'd just written about Gord Downie. But I was on … Continue reading AC/DC-in-Vancouver news-breaker talks recording rumours, the Warehouse connection, and the magic of Malcolm Young

Atlanta guitar hero Tinsley Ellis on covering Leon Russell, adoring Eric Clapton, and listening to Tom Dowd

By Steve Newton The last time yours truly interviewed American blues-rocker Tinsley Ellis was 10 years ago, when he called the Georgia Straight in advance of a gig at the Yale Hotel, Vancouver’s top blues venue for decades. Sadly, the Granville Street joint hasn’t been a real home of the blues for years now, a fact not … Continue reading Atlanta guitar hero Tinsley Ellis on covering Leon Russell, adoring Eric Clapton, and listening to Tom Dowd

Exclusive excerpt from my new book, Gord Downie, about the late frontman of the Tragically Hip

By Steve Newton The following is the Preface from my new coffeetable book, Gord Downie, published by Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. of New York City and currently available at Indigo, Coles, and Chapters outlets across Canada. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- The first time I spoke to Gord Downie he was a longhaired 25-year-old rocker touring behind his band's first full-length … Continue reading Exclusive excerpt from my new book, Gord Downie, about the late frontman of the Tragically Hip

Hey, I wrote a book about Gord Downie, and it looks freakin’ awesome!

By Steve Newton After more than 35 years as a journalist, I'm finally moving up in the world. I'm gonna be an author! Yeah, that's right. Shove over Stephen King, there's an unstoppable new force in the publishing world. Just kidding. But I do have a damn nice-looking book comin' out. On February 6 Indigo … Continue reading Hey, I wrote a book about Gord Downie, and it looks freakin’ awesome!

“Saw Six is the sixth Saw I’ve seen”: my original reviews of every Saw movie, 2004-2010

By Steve Newton As most in-the-know horror-movie freaks are no doubt aware, the latest entry in the Saw franchise, Jigsaw, opens this Friday (October 27). Not one to miss out on the latest Hollywood torture-porn epic, I'm going. As the designated horror reviewer for Vancouver weekly the Georgia Straight since the early '80s, it was … Continue reading “Saw Six is the sixth Saw I’ve seen”: my original reviews of every Saw movie, 2004-2010

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

That time Graham Bonnet told me about unknown Alcatrazz guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen: “He’s one day gonna be a star”

By Steve Newton Back in the '80s one of my jobs at the Georgia Straight newspaper in Vancouver was to cover the hard-rock/heavy metal beat. Soon after getting hired as a proofreader/typesetter in '82 I was doing articles on Priest, Scorps, Maiden, and Ozzy, which--to my utter delight--often ended up as the cover story. Metal was … Continue reading That time Graham Bonnet told me about unknown Alcatrazz guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen: “He’s one day gonna be a star”

That time Gord Downie told me about the “unique” life on the road with the Tragically Hip

By Steve Newton On July 2, 1995, I did my fourth Georgia Straight interview with the Tragically Hip's Gord Downie. It had only been six months since our previous chat, and it was unusual--even back then, when newspapers were thriving--to publish two feature stories on the same band within such a short span of time. But … Continue reading That time Gord Downie told me about the “unique” life on the road with the Tragically Hip

Dan Hawkins still remembers that time the Darkness lit up the Commodore in Vancouver

rebecca blissett photo By Steve Newton See that wicked concert shot by ace Vancouver photographer Rebecca Blissett of the Darkness guitarist Dan Hawkins standing at the edge of the stage, ripping it up on his cream-coloured Les Paul to the obvious delight of the crowd? See that "Oh my god, this fvckin' rocks!" look on … Continue reading Dan Hawkins still remembers that time the Darkness lit up the Commodore in Vancouver

Jim Byrnes on the Vancouver blues scene in ’85 and his idol Magic Sam

By Steve Newton On May 6, 1985, Vancouver blues legend Jim Byrnes was in the midst of a week-long stint at a nightclub in the West End. That's no big whoop as far as Vancouver music history goes, but considering how much Byrnes has contributed to the city's blues scene since then, I figured it … Continue reading Jim Byrnes on the Vancouver blues scene in ’85 and his idol Magic Sam

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

Iron Maiden plays Vancouver on the Powerslave tour, Dave Murray talks to the Newt

By Steve Newton On December 9, 1984, Iron Maiden played the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver--with Twisted Sister opening up! Not only that, but the Georgia Straight newspaper put my interview with the British metal legends on the front page, featuring a totally rockin' live photo by famed Vancouver photographer Bev Davies. I hadn't been so proud … Continue reading Iron Maiden plays Vancouver on the Powerslave tour, Dave Murray talks to the Newt

Canadian Horror Show in Vancouver features icky Michael Ironside

The last time the Georgia Straight chatted with Vince D'Amato, back in the fall of 2003, he was busy overseeing the gruesome torture of his fiancée at his mom’s house in Burnaby. D’Amato was directing an extremely low-budget ($3,000) horror flick called Human Nature, and his bride-to-be, Nicole Hancock, portrayed an unfortunate victim. That set visit turned into … Continue reading Canadian Horror Show in Vancouver features icky Michael Ironside

Limblifter’s Ryan Dahle gets his T. Rex on for Bellaclava

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MAY 11, 2000 By Steve Newton In the CD booklet for Bellaclava, the new disc by local power-pop trio Limblifter, there’s a black-and-white photo of the unkempt band members casually posing beside a wall. They look like typical young Canucks, the kind you might see enthusiastically hoisting brewskis in … Continue reading Limblifter’s Ryan Dahle gets his T. Rex on for Bellaclava

Kiss releases Animalize, Eric Carr says he’s still a fox

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 28, 1984 By Steve Newton It was a snowy and cold January afternoon in 1975 when several high school friends and I headed off to the second Vancouver appearance of an up-and-coming rock band named KISS. Almost all of us had our well-worn copy of the group's first … Continue reading Kiss releases Animalize, Eric Carr says he’s still a fox

Johnny Winter is white, hot, and blue in Vancouver

On September 1, 1989, Johnny Winter played the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver. The chance to witness the underrated Texas guitar legend in the confines of one of VanCity's finest concert venues (for the second time) was not one I was about to pass up. Besides, at the time I was really grooving on his latest album, … Continue reading Johnny Winter is white, hot, and blue in Vancouver

Pluto met through a Straight ad but isn’t quite cover material yet

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 26, 1996 Ian Jones gets right to the point. The second question the Pluto singer-guitarist asks when calling from a roadside Saskatchewan pay phone—directly following “How are you?”—is “Is this for the cover?” I sheepishly explain that, since I’m not the editor, it’s not my call which story … Continue reading Pluto met through a Straight ad but isn’t quite cover material yet

The Doughboys’ John Kastner is sick of hearing about the Hip

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 19, 1996 When Doughboys singer-guitarist John Kastner rings up and informs me that he’s calling from Kingston, Ontario, I casually comment, “Oh, the home of the Tragically Hip.” I suppose I could have said, “Hey, nice penitentiary they’ve got there.” That might have gone over a little better. … Continue reading The Doughboys’ John Kastner is sick of hearing about the Hip

News of Angel City singer Doc Neeson’s death gets the Newt sadly typing

Just noticed an e-mail from fellow Vancouver rock writer "Big Al" MacInnis relaying the sad news that Doc Neeson, the singer from Angel City--or the Angels, as they were called in their native Australia--passed away today at the age of 67. Man, I used to love Angel City tunes like "Marseilles", "Shadow Boxer", and especially "Take … Continue reading News of Angel City singer Doc Neeson’s death gets the Newt sadly typing

David Gilmour from Pink Floyd tells me “we don’t do drug songs”

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 22, 1984 By Steve Newton "Well that's artistic licence," remarked guitarist/vocalist David Gilmour. Over the phone from Toronto, Gilmour expanded on the motive behind "Murder", a song from his new LP About Face which contains the line, "By your own admission, you raised up the knife." "If I'd … Continue reading David Gilmour from Pink Floyd tells me “we don’t do drug songs”

Lindsay Mitchell recalls the Summer of Love with the cocky Seeds of Time

photo by Roger Stomperud ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, APRIL 16, 1992 “This ain’t the Garden of Eden There ain’t no angels above And things ain’t what they used to be And this ain’t the summer of love.” —Blue Oyster Cult   There never will be another summer of love, at least not the … Continue reading Lindsay Mitchell recalls the Summer of Love with the cocky Seeds of Time

My fifth and final interview with Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 7, 1996 By Steve Newton When word went out over the local airwaves one July morning last year that the Tragically Hip were playing a tiny Vancouver club that night to raise funds for the Vancouver Food Bank—and give 200 or so of their die-hard fans the thrill … Continue reading My fifth and final interview with Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip

Ozzy Osbourne live in ’82: midgets, executioners, and maybe a dead bat

Ozzy was so wasted that he didn't notice Sammy Hagar was his new guitarist ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 18, 1982 By Steve Newton As anyone at his June 10 Coliseum show could have figured out, subtlety is not Ozzy Osbourne's claim to fame. Whereas most acts open with the drawing of a … Continue reading Ozzy Osbourne live in ’82: midgets, executioners, and maybe a dead bat

Devin Townsend’s early days: Gray Skies, Steve Vai, Commodore highs

Vancouver's Devin Townsend is a master of extreme metal. I'm not saying that from personal experience, because I'm not into extreme metal. Old Iron Maiden's about as extreme as I get these days. But from what I've heard the fortyish singer, songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist is quite the artistic genius when it comes to various … Continue reading Devin Townsend’s early days: Gray Skies, Steve Vai, Commodore highs

Horror review: The Exorcism of Emily Rose

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, SEPT. 15, 2005 All those shocking images in the TV trailer for The Exorcism of Emily Rose had me thinking: "Cool! Maybe someone's finally made a worthy demonic-possession flick to rival The Exorcist." Then I ran into veteran Georgia Straight movie guy Ian Caddell, and he pooped all over my party. "It's … Continue reading Horror review: The Exorcism of Emily Rose

Ex-Georgia Straight editor spearheads blues-rocking benefit for Mary Steinhauser bursary

PHOTO BY THE NEWT Remember "Hurricane", that great Bob Dylan tune about the imprisonment of Rubin "Hurricane" Carter? Bob Mercer sure does. Dylan's 1975 protest song came out five months after a notorious hostage-taking incident at the B.C. Penitentiary that took the life of 32-year-old prison social-worker Mary Steinhauser. Three years later, finding major inspiration … Continue reading Ex-Georgia Straight editor spearheads blues-rocking benefit for Mary Steinhauser bursary