Peter Green shunned the guitar-hero status of Clapton, Beck, and Page, but Mick Fleetwood says “he was the guy”

Steve Newton Sad news for music fans today. Peter Green, the British guitarist who made a name for himself with his stunning work in the Bluesbreakers and Fleetwood Mac, has passed away at the age of 73. Long before the pop-minded duo of Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham put their radio-friendly stamp on Fleetwood Mac, … Continue reading Peter Green shunned the guitar-hero status of Clapton, Beck, and Page, but Mick Fleetwood says “he was the guy”

That time I asked Jeff Healey about his 1989 Grammy nomination and he told me that Jimmy Page would probably win

By Steve Newton On February 16, 1989, I did the second of my three interviews with Canadian guitar hero Jeff Healey. He was only 22 at the time, but holy crap could that guy play! Anyway, this was about five months after the release of his wicked debut album, See the Light, which you may … Continue reading That time I asked Jeff Healey about his 1989 Grammy nomination and he told me that Jimmy Page would probably win

A little Zeppelin goes a long way at Robert Plant’s Vancouver concert

crappy iPhone photo by the Newt By Steve Newton When I interviewed Robert Plant back in 1993, the first thing he said on the phone from New York City was that he was "pissed off" that Black Sabbath wasn't getting back together. He was joking, though. It was more a comment on how frustrated he … Continue reading A little Zeppelin goes a long way at Robert Plant’s Vancouver concert

Album review: Robert Plant, Now and Zen (1988)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, APRIL 22, 1988 By Steve Newton You know how some albums take a while to grow on you? Well, that's what happened with this new Plant LP. The first time I heard it I thought it was crummy, but now that I've listened to it a few times, I don't really … Continue reading Album review: Robert Plant, Now and Zen (1988)

Album review: Led Zeppelin, How the West Was Won (2003)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 5, 2003 By Steve Newton Back in June of 1972, when these live recordings were made at the L.A. Forum and Long Beach Arena, I wasn’t a big Led Zeppelin fan. I was too busy reaming my ears with then-new LPs like Black Sabbath’s Vol. 4, Deep Purple’s … Continue reading Album review: Led Zeppelin, How the West Was Won (2003)

Album review: Dread Zeppelin, Un-Led-Ed (1990)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 6, 1990 By Steve Newton You gotta wonder how a band like Dread Zeppelin ever came into being. Did a down-on-his-luck Elvis impersonator drowning his sorrows in a bar knock into a zonked-out reggae fiend, who then spilled his beer on a guitarist who idolizes Jimmy Page? And … Continue reading Album review: Dread Zeppelin, Un-Led-Ed (1990)

Mason Ruffner was inspired by Jimmy Page to inject fire into his Gypsy Blood

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 31, 1987 By Steve Newton The Fabulous Thunderbirds are from Austin, Texas. Mason Ruffner is from Forth Worth. The Fabulous Thunderbirds hit it big last year with an album produced by Dave Edmunds. Mason Ruffner is hitting it big this year with an album produced by Dave Edmunds. … Continue reading Mason Ruffner was inspired by Jimmy Page to inject fire into his Gypsy Blood

That time I asked Def Leppard guitarist Steve Clark what he liked so much about Gibsons

By Steve Newton My nephew Jeff has been letting me borrow his Gibson Les Paul Standard for a while now, and, holy crap, is that one killer instrument! You wouldn't have gotten an argument about that from Def Leppard guitarist Steve Clark, who used Gibson guitars to craft some of the band's finest riffs before … Continue reading That time I asked Def Leppard guitarist Steve Clark what he liked so much about Gibsons

Tal Wilkenfeld on life’s defining points, like auditioning for Jeff Beck in an altered state

By Steve Newton Tal Wilkenfeld has accomplished an awful lot since emigrating to the U.S. from Australia in 2002 as a teen. She’s performed with jazz greats Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, and Wayne Shorter, and at the age of 20 recorded her 2007 debut album, the all-instrumental Transformation, which she composed, produced, arranged, and played … Continue reading Tal Wilkenfeld on life’s defining points, like auditioning for Jeff Beck in an altered state

That time Mick Fleetwood told me that Peter Green shunned the guitar-hero status of Clapton, Beck, and Page

By Steve Newton Legendary drummer Mick Fleetwood called me up a couple days ago to plug his upcoming gig at the Hard Rock Casino Vancouver, and I made sure to ask him all about his long-ago bandmate Peter Green. Fleetwood's current outfit, the Mick Fleetwood Blues Band, is performing several Green-penned songs from the early … Continue reading That time Mick Fleetwood told me that Peter Green shunned the guitar-hero status of Clapton, Beck, and Page

That time I asked Joe Satriani to pick five “desert islands discs” and he went 80 percent Hendrix

By Steve Newton Back in 2016 I interviewed one of my fave guitarists, Joe Satriani, for the seventh time. I'm always curious what the world's finest pickers would choose as their "desert island discs"--the albums they'd choose if they were ever stranded like Gilligan, but with some vinyl and a killer stereo. And electricity, of … Continue reading That time I asked Joe Satriani to pick five “desert islands discs” and he went 80 percent Hendrix

The Darkness guitarist Dan Hawkins loves Jimmy Page’s wrong notes and Joe Perry’s swagger

the Hawkins brothers pull off their best Robertson/Gorham impression By Steve Newton Fans of rowdy, old-school, Les Paul–driven guitar rock have a band worth worshipping in British noisemakers the Darkness. The Marshall-powered six-string team of 40-year-old Justin Hawkins and his two-years-younger brother, Dan, really do tear up the frets, both on-stage and on record—as evidenced … Continue reading The Darkness guitarist Dan Hawkins loves Jimmy Page’s wrong notes and Joe Perry’s swagger

The Aristocrats’ Guthrie Govan on the influence of Joe Satriani and Zal Cleminson

By Steve Newton Back in 2015 I interviewed guitarist Guthrie Govan, who--while not nearly as well known as the Satrianis and Vais of the world--is equally monstrous when it comes to technical ability and musical inventiveness. He plays in an instrumental rock-fusion trio called the Aristocrats, which made its debut Vancouver appearance at the Rickshaw Theatre. … Continue reading The Aristocrats’ Guthrie Govan on the influence of Joe Satriani and Zal Cleminson

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

Beppe Gambetta has been a Zeppelin guy and a Doc Watson guy

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 28, 2003 Beppe Gambetta has been opening new doors for American traditional music in Europe since 1977, when he founded the acclaimed Italian bluegrass group Red Wine. In recent years his output has included Serenata, a 1997 CD of works by turn-of-the-century Italian string virtuosi, which he recorded … Continue reading Beppe Gambetta has been a Zeppelin guy and a Doc Watson guy

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

Black Crowes influenced by where music came from and where it could go

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 30, 2001 By Steve Newton The Black Crowes are one of the most popular retro-minded bands around, so when they hooked up with guitar legend Jimmy Page last year to tour the U.S. and record a live album, it was like a dream come true for many classic-rock … Continue reading Black Crowes influenced by where music came from and where it could go

Paul Rodgers on living the rock and roll fantasy and his new album Electric

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 21, 2000 By Steve Newton Anyone who’s ever raised a frosty Molson Pilsner to the bluesy riff-rock of Free or Bad Company would do well to attend the Commodore Ballroom on Friday (September 22), when the singer from those bands, Paul Rodgers, shows off the voice that launched … Continue reading Paul Rodgers on living the rock and roll fantasy and his new album Electric

Guitar freak Roland Nipp shows his stuff on The Blue Room

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 6, 2000 Roland Nipp is nuts about guitar. Even before sampling the local picker’s tasty instrumental CD, The Blue Room, I could tell from scanning his bio that he’s a six-string aficionado. Among those mentioned in his extensive list of influences are such primo players as Joe Satriani, … Continue reading Guitar freak Roland Nipp shows his stuff on The Blue Room

Joe Satriani reveals that he’s invited Clapton, Beck, and Page on G3 tours

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 25, 1997 By Steve Newton A concert by Bay Area guitar wizard Joe Satriani is usually all it takes to transport his followers to instrumental-rock heaven, but come Friday (September 26) at the Plaza of Nations, they’ll be getting way more twang for their buck. That’s when Satriani … Continue reading Joe Satriani reveals that he’s invited Clapton, Beck, and Page on G3 tours

Cult guitarist Billy Duffy says it all boils down to the Les Paul

By Steve Newton On May 31, 1989, the Cult opened for Metallica at the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver. A month earlier the band had released its fourth album, Sonic Temple, which wasn't no Electric, but did boast one of my fave tunes that year--"Fire Woman". And the album cover was definitely rockin: In advance of … Continue reading Cult guitarist Billy Duffy says it all boils down to the Les Paul

Bob Rock plays every lick he knows on Rockhead’s “dumb old hard-rock album”

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, APRIL 15, 1993 By Steve Newton The first time I interviewed veteran Vancouver musician and producer extraordinaire Bob Rock, he was in the middle of helming Bitter Sweet & Twisted, the new release by British blues-rockers the Quireboys. The last time we chatted, he was heavily involved in the … Continue reading Bob Rock plays every lick he knows on Rockhead’s “dumb old hard-rock album”

Fourth Estate guitar wizard Dave Beegle is nuts about Max Webster

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 6, 1992 By Steve Newton Once in a blue moon, I’ll come across an album by a band that I’d never heard of before and be blown right away. Such was the case when local promoter Brock Armstrong turned me on to Fourth Estate, an instrumental rock band … Continue reading Fourth Estate guitar wizard Dave Beegle is nuts about Max Webster

Van Halen goes mild in Vancouver while Jimmy Page watches from the wings

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 21, 1991 By Steve Newton Twice during Van Halen’s show at B.C. Place last Wednesday (November 13), shaggy-maned vocalist Sammy Hagar apologized for having throat problems and not being able to sing up to par. The second time, he added, “But the band’s hot, and that’s all that … Continue reading Van Halen goes mild in Vancouver while Jimmy Page watches from the wings

The riff returns with first batch of deluxe Led Zeppelin box sets

By Steve Newton If you're a Led Zeppelin fan--and who isn't, apart from those indie geeks at Pitchfork--you should mark June 3 on your calendar and start putting away some spendin' money. That's when the mighty Zep will release super-deluxe boxed sets of its first three albums--1969's Led Zeppelin, 1969's Led Zeppelin II, and 1970's Led Zeppelin III. Each … Continue reading The riff returns with first batch of deluxe Led Zeppelin box sets

Robert Plant and the Band of Joy get raw and rootsy in Vancouver

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, APRIL 18, 2011 A few months ago, shock-rock king Alice Cooper made headlines in the music press when he complained about Robert Plant refusing to get back with Led Zeppelin. “Jimmy Page wants to do it,” griped Cooper. “John Paul Jones wants to do it. And they got [John] Bonham’s son [Jason Bonham], … Continue reading Robert Plant and the Band of Joy get raw and rootsy in Vancouver