The 70 greatest opening tracks of the ’70s

By Steve Newton Remember how you'd set the needle down on the opening track of a new rock album and the first tune would just blow you the funk away? Me too. "(Ain't Nothin' But a) House Party" (Bloodshot, J. Geils Band, 1973) "All the Way From Memphis" (Mott, Mott the Hoople, 1973) "Already Gone" … Continue reading The 70 greatest opening tracks of the ’70s

Mötley Crüe’s debut album gets double duty on Music to Crash Your Car To, Volume 1

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 18, 2003 By Steve Newton Eighties L.A. glam-rockers Mötley Crüe borrowed well from their ’70s New York counterparts, KISS. The Crüe took a bit of KISS’s makeup and leather outfits, and a lot of its penchant for on-stage theatrics. Both groups had a habit of recording horrible ballads … Continue reading Mötley Crüe’s debut album gets double duty on Music to Crash Your Car To, Volume 1

Pseudo Echo rock and rolls all night and turns Vancouver into Funkytown

chris cameron photo ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 18, 1987 By Steve Newton Like most Aussie rock 'n' roll bands, Pseudo Echo shuns the fancy costume/big hairdo approach on which many British and American acts rely. Like their countrymen AC/DC, Angel City, and Midnight Oil, Pseudo Echo lets its own particular brand of music do the … Continue reading Pseudo Echo rock and rolls all night and turns Vancouver into Funkytown

Kiss’s first-ever box set is a Kiss completist’s wet dream

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 2001 By Steve Newton Musicwise, I’ve always thought that Kiss went downhill after the release of its third album, Dressed to Kill. Of course, as rock history has proven, the band actually started to get hugely popular just after that, with the release of its 1975 double live … Continue reading Kiss’s first-ever box set is a Kiss completist’s wet dream

Remembering Kiss before the reunion tour got Gene Simmons back in diapers

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 29, 1996 By Steve Newton If you were a rock-loving teenager in the ’70s, you probably have some kind of Kiss story to tell. Maybe you made your own outfits and played in a Kiss air-guitar band (“I wanna be Ace!”), or painted a black star around one … Continue reading Remembering Kiss before the reunion tour got Gene Simmons back in diapers

Motley Crue’s Mick Mars in 1985: “Without groupies, I probably wouldn’t have been a musician.”

mila geran photo ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 29, 1985 By Steve Newton Outside the hotel a huge tour bus sits, the dust on its sides inscribed with messages like "The Crue Rules", "I Love You Vince", and, strangely enough, "KISS". Inside the lobby, a gaggle of pubescent females are trying to weasel … Continue reading Motley Crue’s Mick Mars in 1985: “Without groupies, I probably wouldn’t have been a musician.”

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

Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielsen talks rock and Vancouver’s “cannabis people”

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 19, 2001 By Steve Newton Rock stars don’t always call on time. Sometimes they don’t even call at all. And it’s a rare occasion when they actually call early. So when Cheap Trick guitarist Rick Nielsen rings the Straight up from Phoenix a good 10 minutes before our … Continue reading Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielsen talks rock and Vancouver’s “cannabis people”

Static in Stereo sets the controls for the heart of the seventies

    ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 5, 2001 A silver Keith Richards–style skull ring catches the glare of the dressing-room lights as Todd Kerns wraps his fist around a can of Coke. The blue and red dragon etched on his right bicep, a ringer for Ozzy Osbourne’s chest tattoo, quivers slightly as he … Continue reading Static in Stereo sets the controls for the heart of the seventies

Kiss releases Animalize, Eric Carr says he’s still a fox

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 28, 1984 By Steve Newton It was a snowy and cold January afternoon in 1975 when several high school friends and I headed off to the second Vancouver appearance of an up-and-coming rock band named KISS. Almost all of us had our well-worn copy of the group's first … Continue reading Kiss releases Animalize, Eric Carr says he’s still a fox

Alice Cooper on KISS, Marilyn Manson, Johnny Rotten, and the Peter Pan syndrome

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 9, 1999 By Steve Newton Last month, a feature-length movie about four rabid KISS fans, Detroit Rock City, was released across North America. It was basically a Gene Simmons–bankrolled homage to his own band, which took glam metal to the extreme in the ’70s and won over legions … Continue reading Alice Cooper on KISS, Marilyn Manson, Johnny Rotten, and the Peter Pan syndrome

When Aerosmith sold its soul to Sony and flew me to Toronto to watch

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MARCH 13, 1997 By Steve Newton TORONTO—For the past quarter-century or so, Aerosmith has been doing things in a big way, as befits a band with combined worldwide sales of more than 70 million LPs, tapes, and CDs. When the time came to promote its 12th studio release, Nine … Continue reading When Aerosmith sold its soul to Sony and flew me to Toronto to watch

That wild ’70s weekend when Kiss brought the glam and the Pistols brought the punk

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 5, 1996 The Rocket really nailed it. The Seattle music paper’s latest cover sports hilarious caricatures of Kiss’s Gene Simmons and the Sex Pistols’ Johnny “Rotten” Lydon, under the headline “Geezers of Rock”. A prune-faced Lydon is depicted with bloodshot eyes, slobbering all over himself, wearing a button that … Continue reading That wild ’70s weekend when Kiss brought the glam and the Pistols brought the punk

Horror-loving Tom Bagley gets ghouled up to rock out in Forbidden Dimension

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 12, 1995 It’s not hard to figure out where Forbidden Dimension is coming from when you check out the Calgary horror-rock trio’s latest disc, Somebody Down There Likes Me. The cool cartoon cover art by singer-guitarist Tom Bagley (stage name Jackson Phibes, as in The Abominable Dr. Phibes) … Continue reading Horror-loving Tom Bagley gets ghouled up to rock out in Forbidden Dimension

Gene Simmons says Kiss putting makeup on for money is akin to wearing diapers

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 10, 1992 By Steve Newton The job of interviewing Kiss co-founder Gene Simmons is not an easy one, seeing as there are so many things a ’70s rock fan wants to ask the millionaire God of Thunder. You want to glean his views on the price of riches and … Continue reading Gene Simmons says Kiss putting makeup on for money is akin to wearing diapers

The Replacements show Vancouver where the heart of rock ‘n’ roll really beats

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 4, 1991 By Steve Newton I felt a tad nerdish, not having seen the legendary Replacements up until last Friday (June 28). I’d heard that these four guys from Minneapolis were capable of heart-stopping performances, tempering thrashy sonic onslaughts with a Beatlesque pop sensibility that couldn’t lose. So … Continue reading The Replacements show Vancouver where the heart of rock ‘n’ roll really beats

The mighty KISS marketing machine pulls off another fast one with IKONS

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, DEC. 3, 2008 By Steve Newton I’ve always argued that KISS’s best album was its self-titled 1974 debut, and that musically the band went downhill from there. For those who disagree, there’s IKONS. In an obvious effort to squeeze a few more bucks out of the American glam-rock quartet’s extensive catalogue, … Continue reading The mighty KISS marketing machine pulls off another fast one with IKONS

Bruce Fairbairn: legendary Vancouver rock producer tells all in 1998

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 12, 1998 By Steve Newton It’s been a very long time since Kiss performed at a nightclub in Vancouver. Twenty-four years, actually, since Gene Simmons nearly set the Commodore Ballroom’s red velvet curtains ablaze with his fire-breathing antics. But there they were again two months back, the four … Continue reading Bruce Fairbairn: legendary Vancouver rock producer tells all in 1998

Ear of Newt’s Top 30 Rock Albums of 1974

Last year I put together a list of my 30 fave albums from 1973, which was a particularly awesome year since it included the release of what I've always felt was the world's greatest rock album, the Who's Quadrophenia. Now that you've all had a good chance to go out and purchase each and every one … Continue reading Ear of Newt’s Top 30 Rock Albums of 1974

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

Rock Hall snubs Link Wray, inducts Cat Stevens. Let the slagging begin

By Steve Newton The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has done it again, proving once more that it has its head so far up its ass that it isn't even funny. I'm sure as hell not laughing. Today the Rock Hall named it inductees for the class of 2014 and, unbelievably, pioneering guitar legend … Continue reading Rock Hall snubs Link Wray, inducts Cat Stevens. Let the slagging begin

Horror review: The Amityville Horror

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, APRIL 21, 2005 Several times recently, while watching the tube at home, I've had to scramble for the remote and quickly flip the channel whenever the trailer for The Amityville Horror came on. I didn't want the kids going to bed with scary images in their imaginative little minds; neither did … Continue reading Horror review: The Amityville Horror

A Solo Todd Kerns Is Open to Beautiful Disasters

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, NOV. 10, 2004 By Steve Newton Strolling into the living room of Todd Kerns's Burnaby townhouse is a bit like entering a '70s-rock museum. The first thing you see is an array of fine electric guitars, including an AC/DC--style Gibson SG; the second is a set of Kiss action figures atop … Continue reading A Solo Todd Kerns Is Open to Beautiful Disasters

Mutual appreciation leads to Blues Explosion’s retro-flavoured Heavy Trash

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, OCT. 27, 2005 By Steve Newton The first time you hear Heavy Trash-the new rockabilly project from the Blues Explosion's Jon Spencer and Matt Verta-Ray from Madder Rose and Speedball Baby-it's easy to imagine how the Cramps might have sounded if they'd laid down tracks at Sun Records in the '50s. … Continue reading Mutual appreciation leads to Blues Explosion’s retro-flavoured Heavy Trash

Chuck Klosterman defends his love of Motley Crue

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, OCT. 13, 2005 By Steve Newton Loitering in the hallway of a hoity-toity Burrard Street hotel, waiting to chat with rock critic and pop-culture author Chuck Klosterman, I'm struck by the opulence of the five-star accommodations. It just doesn't seem suited to my interview subject, even if he is from New … Continue reading Chuck Klosterman defends his love of Motley Crue

Nashville Pussy’s Ruyter Suys saw KISS in Vancouver on the Dynasty tour

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, OCT. 20, 2005 By Steve Newton Nashville Pussy lead guitarist Ruyter Suys was born and raised in Vancouver, but for the last six years she's called Atlanta, Georgia, home. Her current location makes perfect sense once you sample the raunchy southern-fried boogie on her band's new CD, Get Some!. Any Lynyrd … Continue reading Nashville Pussy’s Ruyter Suys saw KISS in Vancouver on the Dynasty tour

Old-school Sora is all about the classic rock

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, DEC. 8, 2005 If Erol Sora had released his new album, Demented Honour, 30 years ago, he'd have been an instant superstar, touring the world, packing 20,000-seat arenas, and drowning in chicks, champagne, and caviar. At least that's the impression you get from the CD's boisterously catchy opener, "Guilty". The singer, … Continue reading Old-school Sora is all about the classic rock