The Tragically Hip causes traffic havoc before getting messy with a surprise gig at Vancouver’s wee Railway Club

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 20, 1995 By Steve Newton Canadian guitar-rock heroes the Tragically Hip took all of Vancouver by surprise on July 12 when they announced a last-minute concert that night at the wee Railway Club (capacity 176). When word went out over local rock station 99.3 the Fox that 75 … Continue reading The Tragically Hip causes traffic havoc before getting messy with a surprise gig at Vancouver’s wee Railway Club

Album review: The Tragically Hip, Phantom Power (1998)

  ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 20, 1998 By Steve Newton I took my wife, Dawn, to see the Tragically Hip at Thunderbird Stadium last summer when she was seven months pregnant with our first child, Tess Georgia. They say a body is susceptible to sonic vibrations in utero, and I’d have to … Continue reading Album review: The Tragically Hip, Phantom Power (1998)

That time Gord Downie told me that he thought “The Inevitability of Death” was kind of a funny song

By Steve Newton As a freelance writer for the Georgia Straight back in the heyday of the weekly paper, it was highly unusual that I would interview the same artist more than once in the same calendar year. But I did two interviews with Gord Downie in 1995--one in January and another in July--because the … Continue reading That time Gord Downie told me that he thought “The Inevitability of Death” was kind of a funny song

The Gord Downie Tapes, 1992: plugging Fully Completely like he’s a “get-grease-outta-your-carpet” pitchman

By Steve Newton A few weeks back I debuted "The Gord Downie Tapes", my series of blogs in which I offer audio excerpts from the interviews I've done with the Tragically Hip singer over the years. The first three posts featured snippets from the chat I had with Downie in 1989, when he was just 25. Today I'm fast-forwarding … Continue reading The Gord Downie Tapes, 1992: plugging Fully Completely like he’s a “get-grease-outta-your-carpet” pitchman

That time Gord Downie told me that the Tragically Hip made Up To Here to fit its own standards

By Steve Newton Back in September of 1989 I did my first interview with the Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie. At the time Downie was just 25, and the band was basking in the recent release of its incredible Up To Here album. At one point in the conversaiton I sorta played the devils' advocate … Continue reading That time Gord Downie told me that the Tragically Hip made Up To Here to fit its own standards

The Gord Downie Tapes, 1989: “38 Years Old” and “New Orleans is Sinking”

By Steve Newton You've already heard the bad news, that Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie has terminal brain cancer. You may have also heard the good news, that he and his band are dealing with the diagnosis the only way they know how: by rocking it out on a cross-Canada tour that kicks off in … Continue reading The Gord Downie Tapes, 1989: “38 Years Old” and “New Orleans is Sinking”

Gord Downie’s “Inevitability of Death”

By Steve Newton If you're a fan of Canadian music you've already heard the devastating news. Yesterday the country's greatest-ever guitar-rock band, the Tragically Hip, announced on its Facebook page that singer Gord Downie has terminal brain cancer. Canucks from coast to coast were shocked and saddened to hear that one of their most beloved artists was … Continue reading Gord Downie’s “Inevitability of Death”

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

25-year-old Gordon Downie talks “38 Years Old” on the Tragically Hip’s Up to Here tour

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 1989 By Steve Newton What's the most important element in a new band as far as making it in rock goes? Some might say financial backing, although when you look at groups like Kiss or the Sex Pistols it's pretty clear that image and/or hype are as effective … Continue reading 25-year-old Gordon Downie talks “38 Years Old” on the Tragically Hip’s Up to Here tour

Gordon Downie thanks Bruce Allen for making the Tragically Hip famous

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MARCH 18, 1999 By Steve Newton I’ve always been mightily impressed by the Tragically Hip’s live presentation. It didn’t matter which venue I’d see them in—whether it was the wee Railway Club or sprawling T-Bird Stadium, the classic Commodore or scenic Seabird Island—I always went away fully, completely satisfied. … Continue reading Gordon Downie thanks Bruce Allen for making the Tragically Hip famous

Gordon Downie declares Al Waxman prime minister at Hip show in Vancouver

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 14, 1996 At a private party in Yaletown last Friday (November 8), after the first of three Tragically Hip shows at the Pacific Coliseum, vocalist Gordon Downie leaned determinedly over a pool table to set up what he hoped would be a game-winning shot. He slammed the eight … Continue reading Gordon Downie declares Al Waxman prime minister at Hip show in Vancouver

Gordon Downie sees Bruce Allen in a Subway ad at Another Roadside Attraction

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 20, 1995 By Steve Newton The Another Roadside Attraction show at Seabird Island two years ago was one of Gordon Downie’s all-time favourite gigs. The Tragically Hip vocalist told the Georgia Straight recently that it was the natural beauty of the Agassiz location—surrounded by nearby mountains and dense … Continue reading Gordon Downie sees Bruce Allen in a Subway ad at Another Roadside Attraction

Gordon Downie says opening for the Rolling Stones is like being a golf caddy

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 6, 1995 By Steve Newton In 1995, it’s as if the Tragically Hip can do no wrong. Late last February, the Ontario guitar-rockers played a Pacific Coliseum gig that sold out in 20 minutes flat. Not long after that, you could have flicked on Saturday Night Live and … Continue reading Gordon Downie says opening for the Rolling Stones is like being a golf caddy

Headstones debut with kick-ass Dylan cover while workin’ for MCA

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JAN. 20, 1994 By Steve Newton Some hard-rock bands just don’t do justice to the tunes they cover. Great White had a huge hit with its 1989 rendition of Ian Hunter’s classic “Once Bitten Twice Shy”, but the revamped version sucked, for lack of a better word. The mighty … Continue reading Headstones debut with kick-ass Dylan cover while workin’ for MCA

Gordon Downie goes Fully Completely Canadian on new Tragically Hip album

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 26, 1992 By Steve Newton If there were a CRTC regulation that based Canadian content on actual lyrics as opposed to the citizenship of a song’s composer, the Tragically Hip would be the darlings of CanCon advocates across the country. On their new album, Fully Completely, the Hipsters … Continue reading Gordon Downie goes Fully Completely Canadian on new Tragically Hip album

Even Bruce Allen would have loved the Tragically Hip at the Commodore

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 18, 1991 By Steve Newton The first time I heard Bruce Allen’s late-night talk show on CFOX, I heard the Big A comment: “Colin James for five nights at the Commodore? Why?” Was Allen jealous because Loverboy might never have had enough over-19 fans to accomplish the feat? Did he … Continue reading Even Bruce Allen would have loved the Tragically Hip at the Commodore

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

Trailer Park Boys director Mike Clattenburg revels in Canuck rock

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, OCT. 4, 2006 Helix isn't normally a band that comes to mind as one of Canada’s finest musical exports. But as director Mike Clattenburg proved in Trailer Park Boys: The Movie, its song “Heavy Metal Love” is the ideal backdrop for slow-mo footage of a skanky trailer-park chick descending from a … Continue reading Trailer Park Boys director Mike Clattenburg revels in Canuck rock

The Trailer Park Boys: The Movie is freakin’ hilarious

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, OCT. 4, 2006 By Steve Newton When the Trailer Park Boys debuted on the Showcase channel in 2001, I couldn’t get enough of it. A mockumentary-style series about the day-to-day exploits of three pot-loving trailer-trash buddies and their assorted idiot friends and rivals, it was a raucous, taboo-blasting gas. The sight … Continue reading The Trailer Park Boys: The Movie is freakin’ hilarious

There’s not a band in the land that can touch the Hip

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, NOV. 18, 2004 By Steve Newton Has the Tragically Hip finally lost its standing as Canada's top rock band? There's little doubt that Kingston, Ontario's favourite sons have been on a downward slide, popularity-wise, for the last few years. Back in '96, the group came close to selling out the Pacific … Continue reading There’s not a band in the land that can touch the Hip