The last time I interviewed Marty Friedman he was thrilled to talk about Megadeth; today not so much

By Steve Newton The last time I talked to guitar legend Marty Friedman he couldn't stop talking about Megadeth. Mind you, that was 24 years ago, when he was a member of Megadeth. Today I interviewed Friedman for the first time since May of 1991--when Megadeth was in the midst of the Clash of the … Continue reading The last time I interviewed Marty Friedman he was thrilled to talk about Megadeth; today not so much

Frank Zappa lives in the middle of the Aristocrats’ Venn diagram

By Steve Newton Guthrie Govan is the type of generous guitar wizard who’s more than happy to reveal his tricks to budding pickers. That’s why, 24 hours before talking to me, he was at California’s Cambria Pines Lodge, taking part in the G4 Experience, a guitar retreat that also featured Joe Satriani, Animals as Leaders, … Continue reading Frank Zappa lives in the middle of the Aristocrats’ Venn diagram

UZEB may be “the Van Halen of jazz”, but they sure don’t get paid the same

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 7, 1985 By Steve Newton Last year's Vancouver appearance by Quebec jazz/fusion quartet UZEB was one of my picks for the Top Ten concerts of 1984--right up there with Scorpions and R.E.M. Now the group is returning to the Commodore Ballroom for two nights, next Friday and Saturday … Continue reading UZEB may be “the Van Halen of jazz”, but they sure don’t get paid the same

Canadian flamenco-jazz ace Jesse Cook says the future of guitar playing is in good hands

By Steve Newton Jesse Cook called me up last week in advance of his June 4 show at the Queen E. Theatre in Vancouver, and we chatted about a few things, including the fact that Aussie fingerstyle great Tommy Emmanuel performs on a track on his new album, One World. In the course of our conversation … Continue reading Canadian flamenco-jazz ace Jesse Cook says the future of guitar playing is in good hands

Streetheart’s prairie-rock dreams “Comin’ True” on Dancing With Danger

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, FEB. 18, 1983 By Steve Newton Touring to promote their latest album Dancing with Danger, prairie-rockers Streetheart will headline this Monday's (February 21) triple-threat rock showcase at the Pacific Coliseum. Kilowatt and Vancouver's own Headpins will also perform at the event. Last year Streetheart earned a Canadian platinum award … Continue reading Streetheart’s prairie-rock dreams “Comin’ True” on Dancing With Danger

Iron Maiden’s Clive Burr on Martin Birch, Ruddles, and The Number of the Beast

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 9, 1982 By Steve Newton Iron Maiden is quickly becoming one of Britain's most popular metal bands. Last year the band sold well over a million albums with their second release, Killers, cracking the top ten in the UK, France, Germany, Japan, Sweden, and Belgium. Their latest album, … Continue reading Iron Maiden’s Clive Burr on Martin Birch, Ruddles, and The Number of the Beast

Art Bergmann plays Sexual Roulette on behalf of downtrodden rockers everywhere

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, APRIL 20, 1990 By Steve Newton It's a sunny Friday afternoon on Granville Island. Art Bergmann and I are negotiating our way through armies of cars—parked and mobile—in search of a suitable spot to have a chat. "I don't have any money," confides Bergmann as we head over to … Continue reading Art Bergmann plays Sexual Roulette on behalf of downtrodden rockers everywhere

Def Leppard’s Rick Savage on new guitarist Phil Collen, producer Mutt Lange, and the stunning success of Pyromania

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 18, 1983 By Steve Newton While it is true that Def Leppard's lyrical messages most often deal with the time-worn teenage pastimes of partying and getting it on, it's not so much what they're saying as how they're saying it--with all the conviction and drive young hands can … Continue reading Def Leppard’s Rick Savage on new guitarist Phil Collen, producer Mutt Lange, and the stunning success of Pyromania

Sloan goes to town, ’70s guitar-rock style, on Action Pact

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 16, 2003 By Steve Newton When Sloan headed into an L.A. studio with producer Tom Rothrock earlier this year, diehard fans of the Halifax-bred power-pop quartet might have had cause for concern. The last two projects Rothrock had helmed at that point were Badly Drawn Boy’s Have You … Continue reading Sloan goes to town, ’70s guitar-rock style, on Action Pact

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

“Our hair was no bigger than Zeppelin or Sabbath,” declares Def Leppard singer Joe Elliott

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 18, 2003 By Steve Newton A lot of bands that were big in the ’80s are now having trouble getting booked into bowling alleys, but Def Leppard’s not one of them. The British melodic-rock quintet—which hit its commercial peak in 1987 with Hysteria, which has sold 16 million … Continue reading “Our hair was no bigger than Zeppelin or Sabbath,” declares Def Leppard singer Joe Elliott

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

Vancouver guitar ace Todd Taylor shows off his New Vehicle

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 21, 2003 By Steve Newton On the sidewalk outside the Fairview Pub, dreadlocked hippies and shaggy snowboarder types gather in small groups as the familiar odour of B.C. bud wafts sweetly through the air. North Vancouver–based promoter Upstream Entertainment has drawn its typical jam-band crowd, portions of which … Continue reading Vancouver guitar ace Todd Taylor shows off his New Vehicle

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

Guitar heroes help the Yardbirds fly again with Birdland

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 3, 2003 By Steve Newton When the Yardbirds were recording their new Birdland CD for the guitar-oriented Favored Nations label, they made sure to feature company prez Steve Vai on the remake of their 1966 hit, “Shapes of Things”. The quintet also encouraged such six-string stalwarts as Jeff … Continue reading Guitar heroes help the Yardbirds fly again with Birdland

Maroon 5’s Adam Levine in 2003: loves spicy plum sauce, not the White Stripes

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MAY 29, 2003 By Steve Newton L.A. soul-rock quintet Maroon 5 named its debut CD Songs About Jane because that’s exactly what the album contains: tunes about singer-lyricist and guitarist Adam Levine’s ex-girlfriend, first name Jane. As Levine explains from a Toronto Thai restaurant, the former flame actually became … Continue reading Maroon 5’s Adam Levine in 2003: loves spicy plum sauce, not the White Stripes

24-year-old Xavier Rudd wants to touch as many emotions as he can

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, FEB. 6, 2003 By Steve Newton I remember seeing a one-man band as a kid once, and if memory serves, it was some middle-aged joker in a funny hat, blowing on a horn, fingering a ukulele, manipulating cymbals and a bass drum with his feet. The music scene has … Continue reading 24-year-old Xavier Rudd wants to touch as many emotions as he can

The Trailer Park Boys’ Mike Smith says he’s quite a bit like Bubbles

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JAN. 23, 2003 By Steve Newton In Trailer Park Boys—Showcase TV’s low-budget mockumentary series about dope-smoking, foul-mouthed lowlifes inhabiting a rundown (is there any other kind?) trailer park—it’s the little things that make you laugh. Like Julian’s (John Paul Tremblay’s) ever-present glass of rum ’n’ Coke. Whether he’s hanging … Continue reading The Trailer Park Boys’ Mike Smith says he’s quite a bit like Bubbles

Patterson Hood on the Drive-By Truckers’ Southern Rock Opera and the true meaning of Skynyrd

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JAN. 30, 2003 By Steve Newton It doesn’t seem likely in today’s musical climate that any band would record a 90-minute concept album about 1970s rock and southern U.S. culture, focusing on the legend of doomed Dixie rock act Lynyrd Skynyrd. It’s even more unlikely that such a CD … Continue reading Patterson Hood on the Drive-By Truckers’ Southern Rock Opera and the true meaning of Skynyrd

Fingerstyle guitarist and Beatles freak Steven King is scary good

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MAY 30, 2002 By Steve Newton Steven King may not be as well known as the horror scribe who spells his name differently, but he’s been winning acclaim as a technically boggling acoustic fingerstyle guitarist since 1994. That was the year King claimed the U.S. National Fingerpicking Championship, performing … Continue reading Fingerstyle guitarist and Beatles freak Steven King is scary good

Michael Burks always played a Gibson, but he keeps a coupla Strats handy too

  ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MAY 30, 2002 By Steve Newton I know a couple from Richmond who were such huge Stevie Ray Vaughan fanatics that they named their first-born child Vaughan. That’s pretty cool, but I’d like to go one better, and have my own son actually become a blues-rock guitar wizard! … Continue reading Michael Burks always played a Gibson, but he keeps a coupla Strats handy too

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

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

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

Joe Satriani’s Strange Beautiful Music grew from a cathartic Hendrix experience

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 21, 2002 By Steve Newton Joe Satriani named his latest CD Strange Beautiful Music, although the music on it isn’t much stranger or more beautiful than what the Bay Area guitar wizard has been conjuring over the past few years. The story behind the title has more to … Continue reading Joe Satriani’s Strange Beautiful Music grew from a cathartic Hendrix experience

B.B. King says that Eric Clapton was like his girlfriend on Riding With the King

  ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 31, 2002 By Steve Newton Trying to reach blues legend B.B. King at his Arkansas hotel takes some doing. Even when you have the phone number of the hotel, the room he’s in, and a predetermined time to call, you can’t argue with a busy signal. After … Continue reading B.B. King says that Eric Clapton was like his girlfriend on Riding With the King