Album review: Chickenfoot, Chickenfoot (2009)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 11, 2009 By Steve Newton It’s a shame that so-called “supergroup” Chickenfoot—composed of guitar wizard Joe Satriani, drumming ace Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and a couple of guys who won’t be featured on the upcoming version of Guitar Hero: Van Halen (singer Sammy Hagar … Continue reading Album review: Chickenfoot, Chickenfoot (2009)

Nickelback and guitar hero Dave Martone join forces on Charlie Daniels’ “The Devil Went Down to Georgia”

By Steve Newton "Shitkicker heaven!" That's what Bill Paxton's vampire character hollers when he enters that redneck bar before chomping on necks in the horror flick Near Dark. It's also what I thought as soon as I saw the promo for Nickelback's version of Charlie Daniels' "The Devil Went Down to Georgia", featuring Vancouver's Dave … Continue reading Nickelback and guitar hero Dave Martone join forces on Charlie Daniels’ “The Devil Went Down to Georgia”

That time 26-year-old Stevie Salas told me about opening for Joe Satriani on the Blue Dream tour

By Steve Newton Way the funk back in June of 1990 I interviewed singer-songwriter and kick-ass guitarist Stevie Salas, who at the time was promoting his Stevie Salas Colorcode album, which I liked enough to put on my Top 10 list that year. "Hendrix meets Funkadelic in the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ practice space," was … Continue reading That time 26-year-old Stevie Salas told me about opening for Joe Satriani on the Blue Dream tour

That time I asked Steve Morse if the success of Joe Satriani and Steve Vai boded well for instrumental-rock artists

By Steve Newton When I interviewed Steve Morse for the first time in May of 1991, the American instrumental-rock scene was making great strides. While Morse himself was winning over critics with his Southern Steel album, both Joe Satriani and Steve Vai were heading toward gold-album status with their most recent discs, Flying in a … Continue reading That time I asked Steve Morse if the success of Joe Satriani and Steve Vai boded well for instrumental-rock artists

Album review: Joe Satriani, Flying in a Blue Dream (1989)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 15, 1989 By Steve Newton Joe Satriani is the ultimate hero for air guitarists. When he burst on to the mainstream recording scene with the all-instrumental Surfing With the Alien last year, his high-voltage attack had people everywhere going, "What the hell is that?" Not since Eddie Van … Continue reading Album review: Joe Satriani, Flying in a Blue Dream (1989)

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

Happy Newt Year: a social-studies teacher really likes my book on Gord Downie

By Steve Newton Happy Newt Year everybody! January 1 is often a day of reflection, going over the previous year's highlights, so let's get reflectin'. As a rock writer, 2018 had some memorable moments. I pulled off my eighth interview with guitar hero Joe Satriani, for one thing. I had my first chat with Gerry … Continue reading Happy Newt Year: a social-studies teacher really likes my book on Gord Downie

Newt’s Top 10 Albums of 2018

By Steve Newton This year I picked some instrumental rock, some hard rock, some southern rock, and some Beatles, but the underlying thread running through most of this stuff is the blues. You just can't beat the blues. Joe Satriani What Happens Next Bay Area guitar wizard hooks up once again with Langley producer Mike Fraser … Continue reading Newt’s Top 10 Albums of 2018

AC/DC in Vancouver: Mike Fraser spotted with Brian Johnson and Phil Rudd, maybe calling Cliff Williams on his phone?

photo courtesy Glenn Slavens and Crystal Lambert (cgrocker18@gmail.com) By Steve Newton Hardcore AC/DC fans and photographic rumour-spreaders Glenn Slavens and Crystal Lambert are at it again. The dynamic Vancouver duo--he has the camera, she has the pad--have shared another photo with Ear of Newt that furthers the idea that everybody's fave hard-rock band is working … Continue reading AC/DC in Vancouver: Mike Fraser spotted with Brian Johnson and Phil Rudd, maybe calling Cliff Williams on his phone?

Album review: Blue Öyster Cult, Imaginos (1988)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 9, 1988 By Steve Newton Few rock 'n' roll bands can fuse raunchy guitars and menacing vocals and still come up with really beautiful music. But New York's Blue Öyster Cult has done that on more than a dozen albums since 1972. The latest boasts the same hard-hitting, … Continue reading Album review: Blue Öyster Cult, Imaginos (1988)

Album review: Joe Satriani, Surfing with the Alien (1988)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 3, 1988 By Steve Newton Boy, talk about a guitarist's wet dream! This Satriani guy comes up with some of the wildest, most innovative rock guitar sounds in many a day. He even makes Eddie Van Halen sound like a hacker! Okay, so maybe he's not that good. But if … Continue reading Album review: Joe Satriani, Surfing with the Alien (1988)

Caught on tape: that time Strat fanatic Yngwie Malmsteen trash-talked Ibanez and Les Paul guitars

By Steve Newton The most popular story I ever posted on Ear of Newt--until I broke the news about AC/DC being spotted in Vancouver back in 2018--was the one from 2014 with the headline Yngwie Malmsteen calls Ibanez guitars "a bad copy" of the Strat and says Les Pauls are "furniture". For some reason people--mostly guitar … Continue reading Caught on tape: that time Strat fanatic Yngwie Malmsteen trash-talked Ibanez and Les Paul guitars

Album review: Yardbirds, Birdland (2003)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MAY 8, 2003 By Steve Newton You might think, since the current version of the Yardbirds includes only two founding members of the pioneering ’60s Brit-rock act—rhythm guitarist Chris Dreja and drummer Jim McCarty—that the latest installment is just trying to cash in on the group’s famous name. One … Continue reading Album review: Yardbirds, Birdland (2003)

Album review: Joe Satriani/Eric Johnson/Steve Vai G3—Live in Concert (1997)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 10, 1997 By Steve Newton Talk about a rock-guitar freak’s dream gig! Three American masters of the electric six-string unite for a tour that sees each of them performing a separate set before they combine on a three-song jam-o-rama. Break out the air guitars, kids—and dust up on … Continue reading Album review: Joe Satriani/Eric Johnson/Steve Vai G3—Live in Concert (1997)

Album review: Nathan Cavaleri Band, Nathan (1994)

  ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 22, 1994 By Steve Newton Rock-guitar wizards just keep getting younger and younger. Last year I thought I’d seen the littlest guitar wizard around when 13-year-old Steve Vai protégé Thomas McRocklin and his band, Bad4Good, opened for Joe Satriani at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. Now 11-year-old Australian … Continue reading Album review: Nathan Cavaleri Band, Nathan (1994)

Album review: Joe Satriani, The Extremist (1992)

  ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 10, 1992 By Steve Newton As much as I admire Kim Mitchell as a musician and songwriter, I must say that he ticked me off somewhat when I interviewed him a couple of months back. We were talking guitarists when Joe Satriani’s name came up, and Mitchell … Continue reading Album review: Joe Satriani, The Extremist (1992)

Album review: Alice Cooper, Hey Stoopid (1991)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 28, 1991 By Steve Newton “Hey, hey, hey, hey...hey stoopid!” Why do I keep singing that line to myself when people are within hearing distance? Shouldn’t a 30-something guy like myself have grown out of such juvenile practices? No friggin’ way. Alice Cooper is still my hero, even … Continue reading Album review: Alice Cooper, Hey Stoopid (1991)

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