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: Van Halen, 5150 (1986)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, APRIL 11, 1986 By Steve Newton One of the most talked about lineup changes in rock these days involves Van Halen's switch from David Lee Roth to Sammy Hagar. "Nobody could replace Diamond Dave", said some, while others pointed to the fine work Hagar did with influential metal band … Continue reading Album review: Van Halen, 5150 (1986)

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 🙁

That time I told Ronnie Montrose that I really liked Speed of Sound, and he said that he liked Music From Here more

By Steve Newton Like most hard-rock freaks in the seventies, I went nuts when I heard the debut Montrose album in '73, and the fierce glory of Ronnie Montrose's cranked guitar unleashed. I continued to love the music he made with singer Davey Pattison in the more prog-oriented rock band Gamma. And when Ronnie went … Continue reading That time I told Ronnie Montrose that I really liked Speed of Sound, and he said that he liked Music From Here more

That time Ronnie Montrose told me why he didn’t want to make a fourth Gamma album

By Steve Newton Dedicated fans of guitar great Ronnie Montrose know that, after he made his mark on the hard-rock scene with Montrose, he formed a more prog-oriented band called Gamma with singer Davey Pattison that continued making great music. I snapped up the group's debut album, Gamma 1, as soon as it came out in … Continue reading That time Ronnie Montrose told me why he didn’t want to make a fourth Gamma album

Chickenfoot guitarist Joe Satriani was into Humble Pie as a kid, missed out on Montrose

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, MAY 13, 2009 By Steve Newton Any self-respecting rock-guitar freak has at least a couple of Joe Satriani CDs in his or her collection. The Bay Area musician has been steadily churning out adventurous, technically boggling instrumental albums since blasting onto the six-string scene in 1986 with Not of This Earth. … Continue reading Chickenfoot guitarist Joe Satriani was into Humble Pie as a kid, missed out on Montrose

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

Ear of Newt’s Top 30 Rock Albums of 1973

I've been reminiscing a lot lately about rock stuff that happened 30 years ago. I recently posted interviews originally published back in '83 with such still-active artists as British guitar phenomenon Allan Holdsworth and legendary Aussie earbusters AC/DC. Then I started thinking about maybe doing a list of my fave rock albums from 30 years back, … Continue reading Ear of Newt’s Top 30 Rock Albums of 1973

Die-hard New York Dolls revel in their trashy past

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, AUG. 25, 2005 By Steve Newton Looking back, 1973 was a wicked fuckin' year for American guitar-rock albums. It saw the release of Alice Cooper's Billion Dollar Babies, Blue Oyster Cult's Tyranny and Mutation, Johnny Winter's Still Alive and Well, and the debuts by Aerosmith, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Montrose, and the New York … Continue reading Die-hard New York Dolls revel in their trashy past

Chickenfoot helps Vancouver forget all about Van Halen

photo by rebecca blissett ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, JUNE 6, 2012 By Steve Newton Chickenfoot vs. Van Halen: now there's a rivalry for ya. There's never been much love lost between those bands' respective singers, Sammy Hagar and David Lee Roth. Then there's the fact that Chickenfoot's bassist, Michael Anthony, lost his cherished spot in … Continue reading Chickenfoot helps Vancouver forget all about Van Halen

Rock-guitar legend Ronnie Montrose dies at the age of 64

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, MARCH 4, 2012 I was shocked to find out, just minutes ago, that one of my top guitar heroes from the '70s, Ronnie Montrose, died yesterday (March 3). He passed away after a five-year battle with prostate cancer. (As I--and most everybody else--learned later, Montrose actually died from a self-inflicted gunshot … Continue reading Rock-guitar legend Ronnie Montrose dies at the age of 64

My first and last interview with guitar hero Ronnie Montrose

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, MARCH 4, 2012 By Steve Newton It may seem kinda crazy to stay up all night transcribing a phone interview I did with Ronnie Montrose 14 years ago, but the news of his death yesterday hit me pretty hard. He was such a wonderful and underrated player that I feel it's … Continue reading My first and last interview with guitar hero Ronnie Montrose