That time Jason Bonham told me that his famous father in Led Zeppelin was “just dad to me”

By Steve Newton When I did my first interview with Jason Bonham back in 1989, I asked him what it was like growing up with a father who was world-famous for being the drummer in Led Zeppelin. Turns out it wasn't that big of a deal to him. Have a listen: To hear the full … Continue reading That time Jason Bonham told me that his famous father in Led Zeppelin was “just dad to me”

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

Album review: Jimmy Page, Outrider (1988)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 26, 1988 By Steve Newton As if Led Zeppelin fans didn't have enough to satisfy them with the recent return to prominence of Robert Plant, now his old guitar-playin' buddy Jimmy Page has gone solo for the first time. The result is the closest recreation of the old … Continue reading Album review: Jimmy Page, Outrider (1988)

Album review: Kingdom Come, Kingdom Come (1988)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, APRIL 22, 1988 By Steve Newton I don't know about these guys. Displaying your respect for a classic rock band by showing its influence is one thing, but to make a deliberate attempt at being a clone is another. Not to worry, though, because Kingdom Come isn't capable of capturing the essence … Continue reading Album review: Kingdom Come, Kingdom Come (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: The Jeff Healey Band, Cover to Cover (1995)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, APRIL 20, 1995 By Steve Newton Considering the mostly weak material that characterized the Jeff Healey Band’s previous release, Feel This, it’s no surprise that the Toronto-based blues-rock trio has gone the cover route. The spark that lit up the band’s 1988 debut, See the Light, has all but … Continue reading Album review: The Jeff Healey Band, Cover to Cover (1995)

Singers from Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, and Free connect for a rock-god vocal summit in Oxford

By Steve Newton What do you get when you gather the lead singers from Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, and Free on stage at the same time? A pretty rockin' version of the '50s chestnut "Money (That's What I Want)", it appears. Robert Plant, Brian Johnson, and Paul Rodgers got together at one of Rodgers' shows in … Continue reading Singers from Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, and Free connect for a rock-god vocal summit in Oxford

Opeth founder Mikael Åkerfeldt loves ’70s rock, says he was born in the wrong decade

randall vasquez photo By Steve Newton One run-through of its new album, Sorceress, is evidence enough that Swedish quintet Opeth was heavily influenced by ’70s prog rock. The disc was also recorded at the famed Rockfield Studios in Wales, where bands like Rush, Budgie, Hawkwind, and Queen laid down prog-heavy tracks back in the day. As … Continue reading Opeth founder Mikael Åkerfeldt loves ’70s rock, says he was born in the wrong decade

That time Tony Iommi told me about the early rivalry between Black Sabbath and Deep Purple

By Steve Newton When I interviewed guitar legend Tony Iommi back in March of 2007 he was bringing his Ronnie James Dio-fronted version of Black Sabbath, Heaven and Hell, to Vancouver for a show at the Pacific Coliseum with Megadeth and Down. At one point I asked Iommi whether he was a fan of Dio's … Continue reading That time Tony Iommi told me about the early rivalry between Black Sabbath and Deep Purple

That time Robert Plant told me he was “very very pissed off” that Black Sabbath wasn’t going to reform

By Steve Newton Now here's a fun little soundbite I just digitized off an old cassette I had lying around from 1993. It's an AudioMagnetics XHE 60, so good on them for making tapes that still work 23 years later. That particular tape also includes 1993 interviews with Devin Townsend, Steve Hackett of Genesis fame, … Continue reading That time Robert Plant told me he was “very very pissed off” that Black Sabbath wasn’t going to reform

Blind Willie Johnson’s blues genius lauded in upcoming tribute album

By Steve Newton Blues legends don't get much more legendary than Blind Willie Johnson, whose recordings in the 1920s of songs like "John the Revelator", "It's Nobody's Fault But Mine", and "Keep Your Lamp Trimmed and Burning" have inspired versions by everyone from Hot Tuna to Warren Haynes to Led Zeppelin. So it's more than … Continue reading Blind Willie Johnson’s blues genius lauded in upcoming tribute album

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

Lester Quitzau was a Zeppelin-loving wheelie king as a kid

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, FEB. 14, 2002 On his latest CD, So Here We Are, Edmonton’s Lester Quitzau makes a strong case for his being touted as among this country’s finest blues-roots pickers. But a close look at the disc’s video portion reveals that Quitzau’s talents are more than just musical. In one … Continue reading Lester Quitzau was a Zeppelin-loving wheelie king as a kid

Led Zeppelin’s best album, Physical Graffiti, to get deluxe box-set treatment

By Steve Newton Led Zeppelin announced the other day that it will release a super-deluxe boxed-set edition of its best album, 1975's Physical Graffiti. Fvckin-AAA! The package--newly remastered by Jimmy Page and featuring previously unreleased tracks--will hit stores on February 24, 40 years to the day after the release of the original. In case you forgot what … Continue reading Led Zeppelin’s best album, Physical Graffiti, to get deluxe box-set treatment

If Gordie Johnson has to pick between Zeppelin and Sabbath, he picks Sabbath

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 27, 2001 By Steve Newton The cover of the new Big Sugar CD, Brothers and Sisters, Are You Ready?, features a classic hard-rock image of a skinny, longhaired fellow flailing away on a doubleneck Gibson guitar. If you didn’t know the guy was Big Sugar singer-guitarist Gordie Johnson, … Continue reading If Gordie Johnson has to pick between Zeppelin and Sabbath, he picks Sabbath

Bonham tours behind The Disregard of Timekeeping and Jason reflects on his dear old dad

By Steve Newton On December 22, 1989, Bonham played the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver, opening for the Cult. The group was named after 23-year-old drummer Jason Bonham, the son of legendary Zeppelin skin-basher John. In advance of the concert, Bonham called me from Toronto to chat about his current album, The Disregard of Timekeeping, and his … Continue reading Bonham tours behind The Disregard of Timekeeping and Jason reflects on his dear old dad

Led Zeppelin box gets you the best of Zep on tape or CD for one nominal price

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JAN. 3, 1991 By Steve Newton So you’re all upset because over the years you’ve invested $200 into your mint collection of Led Zeppelin LPs, only to turn around and find that vinyl is going the way of the dodo. Well, quit your bawling, ’cause now you can get … Continue reading Led Zeppelin box gets you the best of Zep on tape or CD for one nominal price

New Zep reissues will do until the Physical Graffiti box comes around

By Steve Newton Four months ago I did a blog about Led Zeppelin releasing deluxe reissues of its first three albums, under the headline "Led Zeppelin super-deluxe boxed sets destroy all other boxed sets." Well, I take it back. Today the legendary hard-rockers announced that they are releasing two more deluxe editions, and these are the ones that really destroy … Continue reading New Zep reissues will do until the Physical Graffiti box comes around

Gordie Johnson draws inspiration from Eddie Kramer and kudos from Bruce Fairbairn for Big Sugar’s Heated

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 12, 1998 By Steve Newton During a recent interview with famed local rock producer Bruce Fairbairn, I asked him if he’d heard any current albums that had blown him away, production-wise. It only took him a couple of seconds to come up with Heated, the latest CD from … Continue reading Gordie Johnson draws inspiration from Eddie Kramer and kudos from Bruce Fairbairn for Big Sugar’s Heated

Robert Plant says young girls still whimper as he walks past

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 30, 1993 By Steve Newton Robert Plant is one of the best-known rock stars in the world. He’s certainly one of the best-known rock stars I’ve ever had the opportunity to chat with. So when he calls from New York and I ask him how he’s doing, the … Continue reading Robert Plant says young girls still whimper as he walks past

Touring with the singer from Led Zeppelin hasn’t given Todd Park Mohr a big head

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 30, 1993 By Steve Newton Not many Vancouver rock fans have heard of Big Head Todd & the Monsters, the Colorado-based trio that warms up the Orpheum on Thursday (October 7). Every Vancouver rock fan has heard of Robert Plant, the fellow who Big Head Todd & the … Continue reading Touring with the singer from Led Zeppelin hasn’t given Todd Park Mohr a big head

Jason Bonham calls Led Zeppelin biography “a load of exaggerated stories”

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 3, 1992 By Steve Newton In the middle of a phone interview with Jason Bonham there’s a rap on the door of the drummer’s L.A. hotel room. He goes to see who it is, a brief chuckle is audible in the distance, then Bonham returns. “Somebody just sent … Continue reading Jason Bonham calls Led Zeppelin biography “a load of exaggerated stories”

Led Zeppelin’s The Song Remains the Same remains awesome on vinyl

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, DEC. 3, 2008 By Steve Newton No sooner had I replaced the stylus on my ancient Yamaha turntable than into my mail slot slid a review copy of The Song Remains the Same, a four-disc vinyl re-release recorded during three sold-out Led Zeppelin gigs at Madison Square Garden in 1973. Thanks … Continue reading Led Zeppelin’s The Song Remains the Same remains awesome on vinyl

The volume knob on the Heavy Metal Box goes past 11

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, DEC. 5, 2007 By Steve Newton This is one of the coolest-looking box sets ever. It's designed to resemble the head of a Marshall amp, and even features a volume knob that goes all the way to 11. How appropriate that Spinal Tap's "Big Bottom" is featured among the four-disc package's … Continue reading The volume knob on the Heavy Metal Box goes past 11

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

Mike Fraser: Langley’s master of the hard-rock mix in 1998

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MAY 28, 1998 Yesterday I went all nutty and posted the 1998 Georgia Straight cover story I did on famed Vancouver rock producer Bruce Fairbairn. That got me thinkin' that maybe I should post the cover story I did earlier that same year on Fairbairn's former protege, Mike Fraser. … Continue reading Mike Fraser: Langley’s master of the hard-rock mix in 1998

Rush debut gets vinyl reissue; John Rutsey gets vindicated

By Steve Newton Universal Music Canada announced today that the mighty Rush will reissue its self-titled 1974 debut album on vinyl to mark its 40-year recording career. Here's the promotional bumph: As part of Universal’s reDISCovered vinyl series, the original 1974 analogue stereo masters were cut to copper plates using the Direct Metal Mastering (DMM) … Continue reading Rush debut gets vinyl reissue; John Rutsey gets vindicated