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

Martin Birch, producer of unforgettable hard-rock/metal albums, dies at 71

By Steve Newton It's a sad day for fans of '70s and '80s hard-rock and heavy-metal. Martin Birch, who produced and/or engineered more popular metal albums than most anyone, died earlier today at the age of 71. Birch produced such monumental loud-rock albums as Rainbow's Rising, Black Sabbath's Heaven and Hell, Blue Oyster Cult's Fire … Continue reading Martin Birch, producer of unforgettable hard-rock/metal albums, dies at 71

That time John Petrucci told me that the members of Dream Theater grew up idolizing Iron Maiden

By Steve Newton When I interviewed Dream Theater guitarist John Petrucci back in June of 2010 his group was opening for Iron Maiden on it's Final Frontier World Tour. So when I hooked up with Petrucci before a gig near Denver, Colorado I had a lot of questions related to the connections between his band … Continue reading That time John Petrucci told me that the members of Dream Theater grew up idolizing Iron Maiden

That time Motörhead’s “Fast” Eddie Clarke told me he just wanted to be a member of a really hot band

By Steve Newton The heavy-metal world is still in mourning after yesterday's news that former Motörhead and Fastway guitarist "Fast" Eddie Clarke has passed away from pneumonia at the age of 67. Clarke was part of the "classic" Motörhead lineup, with also included singer-bassist Lemmy Kilmister and drummer Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor--both of whom died in … Continue reading That time Motörhead’s “Fast” Eddie Clarke told me he just wanted to be a member of a really hot band

Album review: Iron Maiden, Piece of Mind (1983)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 3, 1983 By Steve Newton The music on Iron Maiden's Piece of Mind is about as mean and nasty as the expression on their mascot Eddie's tortured face. Iron Maiden's greatest strengths have always been the nimble and precise fingers of lead guitarists Dave Murray and Adrian Smith, and on songs … Continue reading Album review: Iron Maiden, Piece of Mind (1983)

That time Circus Magazine’s editorial department sent me a rejection letter :(

By Steve Newton Thirty-six years ago today somebody at Circus Magazine sent me a rejection letter. They could have at least signed it. Back in the seventies I devoured Circus. It was a total fanzine, but it really covered the bands I was interested in. On any given issue you'd see capitalized band names like MOTT, … Continue reading That time Circus Magazine’s editorial department sent me a rejection letter 🙁

Iron Maiden’s Dave Murray, age 30, says “it’s good to know we’ve got a few years to go yet”

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, APRIL 24, 1987 By Steve Newton England's Iron Maiden is different than most other heavy metal bands in a lot of ways. For one thing, they can all play their instruments, and very well. Their songs are quite complex, and the lyrics aren't simple-minded: there are no likes like … Continue reading Iron Maiden’s Dave Murray, age 30, says “it’s good to know we’ve got a few years to go yet”

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

Bruce Dickinson in ’83: “It would be unthinkable to make an Iron Maiden album without Martin Birch”

By Steve Newton Back in June of 1983 I did a phone interview with Bruce Dickinson in advance of Iron Maiden's show in Vancouver on the Piece of Mind tour. During the course of our conversation Dickinson claimed that it would be "unthinkable" for Iron Maiden to make an album without producer Martin Birch, who … Continue reading Bruce Dickinson in ’83: “It would be unthinkable to make an Iron Maiden album without Martin Birch”

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 2015

By Steve Newton The more I see pictures of headphone-wearing DJs alone on-stage, dickin’ around with laptops and turntables, the more I think: fvck off. Bottle Rockets South Broadway Athletic Club  One of the world’s most underrated bands comes up with a killer album of catchy guitar rock that rivals its stellar ’94 release, The Brooklyn … Continue reading Newt’s Top 10 albums of 2015

Rock Hall finally inducts Deep Purple; could Rory, Link, Johnny, and Maiden be far behind?

By Steve Newton Well, those bozos down at the highly slaggable Rock and Roll Hall of Fame finally came to their senses. Twenty-two years after it first became eligible for induction, legendary British hard-rockers Deep Purple finally gained admittance into the Cleveland institution's hallowed halls. I guess the powers-that-be finally broke down and played Machine Head … Continue reading Rock Hall finally inducts Deep Purple; could Rory, Link, Johnny, and Maiden be far behind?

Rob Halford says that Priest, Maiden, AC/DC, KISS, Metallica, and Slayer have all stood the test of time

By Steve Newton Back in 2015 I interviewed Rob Halford in advance of Judas Priest's doubleheader at the Hard Rock Casino Vancouver. When I asked him if there were any newer metal bands that had blown him away lately the 64-year-old "metal god" went off on a bit of a tangent. "They're all over the place, … Continue reading Rob Halford says that Priest, Maiden, AC/DC, KISS, Metallica, and Slayer have all stood the test of time

Dan Hawkins ponders the brilliance of Iron Maiden and whether the Darkness is the last of its kind

By Steve Newton A couple of the famous rockers I've interviewed lately have been raving about the new Iron Maiden album, The Book of Souls. Judas Priest singer Rob Halford, for example, called it "a fantastic achievement" a couple of weeks ago. And the Darkness guitarist Dan Hawkins is mightily impressed as well--especially for a … Continue reading Dan Hawkins ponders the brilliance of Iron Maiden and whether the Darkness is the last of its kind

Rob Halford is “content” with Judas Priest’s two-guitar lineup–but he loves what Iron Maiden does with three

By Steve Newton I interviewed Rob Halford a couple of weeks ago in advance of Judas Priest's upcoming shows at Hard Rock Casino Vancouver, and we had a pretty nice chat. We go way back, to that time he called me up to promote the Defenders of the Faith tour in '84. At one point we … Continue reading Rob Halford is “content” with Judas Priest’s two-guitar lineup–but he loves what Iron Maiden does with three

Why couldn’t my name have been foil-stamped on a Maiden album instead of Roger Hodgson?

By Steve Newton Gather 'round kiddies and let ole Grandpa Newt tell tales of the long-ago days when the music industry was awash with cash, and promo reps didn't know what do with it all. Back in 1984 some brainiac at A&M Records came up with the idea of putting the names of rock critics the … Continue reading Why couldn’t my name have been foil-stamped on a Maiden album instead of Roger Hodgson?

Dear Iron Maiden: please play Vancouver on the Book of Souls World Tour –your old buddy, Newt

By Steve Newton The world's old-school headbangers got some great news the other day when British metal legends Iron Maiden announced that it would embark on a global tour in 2016 that is set to visit 35 countries in six continents. "Details of the precise schedule are currently being finalised," said the band on its website, … Continue reading Dear Iron Maiden: please play Vancouver on the Book of Souls World Tour –your old buddy, Newt

Newt’s Rock Hall inducts Deep Purple, Rory Gallagher, Johnny Winter, Iron Maiden, and Link Wray

By Steve Newton Okay, it has finally come to this. After years of slagging the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for its inconceivable ignorance of the best rock music from the past, I've gone ahead and established my own institution to pay tribute to the stellar artists the RRHOF deems unworthy. Based somewhere near … Continue reading Newt’s Rock Hall inducts Deep Purple, Rory Gallagher, Johnny Winter, Iron Maiden, and Link Wray

Rudy Sarzo on Randy Rhoads, life after Ozzy, and the return of Quiet Riot

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 5, 1983 By Steve Newton Formed in 1975 by Kevin DuBrow and the late Randy Rhoads (who died in a plane crash last year while a member of the Ozzy Osbourne band), Quiet Riot were one of the leading Los Angeles rock bands during the late seventies. Boasting … Continue reading Rudy Sarzo on Randy Rhoads, life after Ozzy, and the return of Quiet Riot

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

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

Scorpions inflict deadliest sting yet as guitarist Matthias Jabs helps cause a Blackout

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 16, 1982 By Steve Newton It's a hard road, and often a long one, that leads to success in the world of heavy metal. With the exception of a few bands that luck out on their debut recordings because radio is good to them, most hard rockers fight … Continue reading Scorpions inflict deadliest sting yet as guitarist Matthias Jabs helps cause a Blackout

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

Queensrÿche’s Geoff Tate give kudos to Maiden, Priest, and Sabbath (with Dio)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 14, 2000 By Steve Newton At the big metal show slated for the Pacific Coliseum on Wednesday (September 20), Seattle hard-rockers Queensrÿche will perform between openers Halford—featuring former Judas Priest screamer Rob Halford—and headliners Iron Maiden. You could say that it’s a return to the band’s roots, somewhat, … Continue reading Queensrÿche’s Geoff Tate give kudos to Maiden, Priest, and Sabbath (with Dio)

Judas Priest rips off Iron Maiden on Redeemer of Souls (but just a little)

Judas Priest released its 17th studio album, Redeemer of Souls, today, and I've been giving it a listen. All in all, I've gotta say that the British metal legends deliver the goods on the 13-track CD--which includes an extra five tunes on a bonus disc if you're lucky enough to get Sony Music to send you the … Continue reading Judas Priest rips off Iron Maiden on Redeemer of Souls (but just a little)

Slash says that the original Guns N’ Roses lineup “just stopped rocking”

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, FEBRUARY 11, 1994 By Steve Newton Guns N’ Roses may well be the most popular hard-rock band in the world. It’s certainly one of the most controversial, having made headlines recently with the much-publicized inclusion of an uncredited Charles Manson song on its latest recording, The Spaghetti Incident? There’s … Continue reading Slash says that the original Guns N’ Roses lineup “just stopped rocking”

Blue Oyster Cult and Aldo Nova play Vancouver, I get stuck with Nova

By Steve Newton On December 27, 1983, Blue Oyster Cult and Aldo Nova played the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver. (That gig is not to be confused with the one they played at the same venue in August of '82) I was pretty psyched about seeing B.O.C. Nova not so much. I must admit that I … Continue reading Blue Oyster Cult and Aldo Nova play Vancouver, I get stuck with Nova