That time Zakk Wylde told me what he really thought of Randy Rhoads, Jake E. Lee, and Tony Iommi

By Steve Newton Whether you think Ozzy Osbourne is a genius or not, ya gotta admit that he's a mastermind when it comes to finding killer guitarists. Tony Iommi, Randy Rhoads, Jake E. Lee, Zakk Wylde--those are some pretty smokin' pickers. When I interviewed 27-year-old Wylde back in 1994 I asked him what he thought … Continue reading That time Zakk Wylde told me what he really thought of Randy Rhoads, Jake E. Lee, and Tony Iommi

That time Zakk Wylde told me about jamming with Skynyrd and covering for Dickey Betts in the Allmans

By Steve Newton Zakk Wylde may be best known as the guitarist and songwriter who took over from Jake E. Lee to help Ozzy Osbourne stay on the charts with tunes like "No More Tears" and "Perry Mason", but southern-rock fans also know him as the frontman in the power trio Pride & Glory, which was … Continue reading That time Zakk Wylde told me about jamming with Skynyrd and covering for Dickey Betts in the Allmans

That time I asked Jake E. Lee if there was much pressure taking over Randy Rhoads’ spot with Ozzy

By Steve Newton Way back in April of 1992 I interviewed Jake E. Lee in advance of a Vancouver show by his group Badlands, which was touring behind its second album, Voodoo Highway. At one point in the interview I started asking Jake about his time with Ozzy Osbourne, which led to me wondering if … Continue reading That time I asked Jake E. Lee if there was much pressure taking over Randy Rhoads’ spot with Ozzy

That time Lemmy from Motörhead told me that Randy Rhoads became much better after he died

By Steve Newton I got to interview rock legend Lemmy Kilmister a couple of times, first in April of 1999 and then again in the following century, in May of 2002. During that '99 chat I mentioned how I'd first seen Motörhead back in 1983, when they opened for Ozzy Osbourne on the Blizzard of Oz tour … Continue reading That time Lemmy from Motörhead told me that Randy Rhoads became much better after he died

Album review: Ozzy Osbourne, No Rest for the Wicked (1988)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 11, 1988 By Steve Newton All right? Chalk one up for the rockers in the battle between heavy metal and the Moral Majority. Trust good old Ozzy to take a two-fisted slug at Jimmy Swaggart's recent downfall: "Today I saw a Miracle Man, on TV cryin'/Such a hypocritical … Continue reading Album review: Ozzy Osbourne, No Rest for the Wicked (1988)

Album review: Various Artists, Axe Masters–Legends of Rock Guitar

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 19, 1985 By Steve Newton Now this is more like it--heavy metal with class. But then any album that features the playing of metal martyr Randy Rhoads can't lose. Rhoads is included via Ozzy Osbourne's first solo hit "Crazy Train". And he's in good company. "Axe masters" K.K Downing … Continue reading Album review: Various Artists, Axe Masters–Legends of Rock Guitar

Album review: Black Sabbath, Past Lives (2002)

  ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 10, 2002 By Steve Newton I like collecting guitar picks. Whenever I’m near the stage and some six-string legend tosses out one of those wee plastic nubs, I’ll do what it takes to nab it. My most highly prized catch is a plain orange Ronnie Montrose pick … Continue reading Album review: Black Sabbath, Past Lives (2002)

Album review: Ozzy Osbourne, Down to Earth (2001)

  ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 8, 2001 By Steve Newton Having seen Ozzy Osbourne perform so terribly in concert over the years—out of tune, out of breath, and generally just out of it—I’m always surprised by how competently he sings in the studio. Maybe he just tries harder when the tape is … Continue reading Album review: Ozzy Osbourne, Down to Earth (2001)

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 asked Tony Iommi how Ronnie James Dio compared to Ozzy Osbourne in Black Sabbath

  By Steve Newton Since time immemorial--or at least since Dio replaced Ozzy in Sabbath back in '79--armchair rock critics have debated the merits of the two singers. It's hard to complain about anything Ozzy did with the band up until the awesome Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath album of 1973; then again, after three spotty LPs, … Continue reading That time I asked Tony Iommi how Ronnie James Dio compared to Ozzy Osbourne in Black Sabbath

Rudy Sarzo talks Ozzy Osbourne and Randy Rhoads while Quiet Riot storms the charts

By Steve Newton One day back in the summer of '83 I stopped by the Vancouver offices of CBS Records and did an interview with Rudy Sarzo, who was one of the top hard rock/metal bassists around at the time. Sarzo was in town promoting Metal Health, the new release from his band Quiet Riot, which … Continue reading Rudy Sarzo talks Ozzy Osbourne and Randy Rhoads while Quiet Riot storms the charts

Black Sabbath gets all Paranoid at final Vancouver gig

By Steve Newton Every Black Sabbath freak has his fave Sabbath album. I for one have long trumpeted the supreme awesomeness of 1975's Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath. Others point to the band's spooky self-titled debut of 1970 as its pinnacle achievement. But most of the Sabbath fans I've encountered tend to regard Paranoid--also released in 1970--as the heavy-metal … Continue reading Black Sabbath gets all Paranoid at final Vancouver gig

Even the kids in Def Leppard can’t make Uriah Heep feel old

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 15, 1983 By Steve Newton Next Wednesday (July 20) at the Pacific Coliseum original Heepsters Mick Box and Lee Kerslake on guitar and drums will be joined by bassist Trevor Bolder, keyboardist John Sinclair, and singer Peter Goalby to give us Uriah Heep '80s-style. Performing material from their … Continue reading Even the kids in Def Leppard can’t make Uriah Heep feel old

Metal world mourns death of Motörhead mainman Lemmy Kilmister

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT. COM, DEC. 28, 2015 By Steve Newton The heavy-metal world is in mourning tonight as one of its most beloved figures has passed away. Lemmy Kilmister, singer-bassist and principal songwriter for legendary metal act Motörhead, died at his home in L.A. today, just days after being diagnosed with an extremely aggressive … Continue reading Metal world mourns death of Motörhead mainman Lemmy Kilmister

Ronnie James Dio: the Lost Interview of 1985, an Ear of Newt exclusive

By Steve Newton On December 20, 1985, Ronnie James Dio called me up at home and we chatted for 20 minutes or so. How cool was that? The legendary heavy-metal artist was doing press promoting his Sacred Heart tour, which was scheduled to play Vancouver's Pacific Coliseum on December 28, with guest Yngwie Malmsteen. We talked … Continue reading Ronnie James Dio: the Lost Interview of 1985, an Ear of Newt exclusive

Defender of the faith: Rob Halford only sees the good in Ozzy Osbourne’s Sabbath role

By Steve Newton When I interviewed Rob Halford in advance of Judas Priest's double-header at Hard Rock Casino Vancouver this week we got to talking about a mutual favourite subject: Black Sabbath. He's performed with the band three times, so we chatted about his fave Sabbath tune to sing ("Black Sabbath") and how Priest is currently using … Continue reading Defender of the faith: Rob Halford only sees the good in Ozzy Osbourne’s Sabbath role

Judas Priest’s Rob Halford calls “Black Sabbath” the most evil song that’s ever been written

By Steve Newton I was interviewing Rob Halford yesterday in advance of Judas Priest's two shows at the Hard Rock Casino Vancouver this month and, as old-school rockheads will do, we got to talkin' Sabbath. I'd known that Halford had sang with the metal legends three times--twice covering for Ronnie James Dio, and once for … Continue reading Judas Priest’s Rob Halford calls “Black Sabbath” the most evil song that’s ever been written

Tommy Aldridge talks Black Oak Arkansas, Whitesnake, Ozzy, and the brilliance of Randy Rhoads

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MAY 10, 1990 By Steve Newton After several years in the rock critic biz, it's easy for a writer to pick up the ONNTD syndrome. That's an affliction that occurs when you request an interview with a big-name band and the record company won't let you talk to the … Continue reading Tommy Aldridge talks Black Oak Arkansas, Whitesnake, Ozzy, and the brilliance of Randy Rhoads

Rudy Sarzo on Randy Rhoads, life after Ozzy, and the return of Quiet Riot

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 5, 1983 By Steve Newton Formed in 1975 by Kevin DuBrow and the late Randy Rhoads (who died in a plane crash last year while a member of the Ozzy Osbourne band), Quiet Riot were one of the leading Los Angeles rock bands during the late seventies. Boasting … Continue reading Rudy Sarzo on Randy Rhoads, life after Ozzy, and the return of Quiet Riot

Fastway’s “Fast” Eddie Clarke on his days with Motorhead and not wanting to be a guitar hero

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 8, 1983 By Steve Newton Fastway, the new band put together by former Motorhead guitarist "Fast" Eddie Clarke and featuring original Humble Pie drummer Jerry Shirley, opened last Wednesday's Iron Maiden concert at the Pacific Coliseum. I spoke to "Fast" Eddie that afternoon and caught a few glimpses … Continue reading Fastway’s “Fast” Eddie Clarke on his days with Motorhead and not wanting to be a guitar hero

Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid” chosen as the top heavy-metal song of all time

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 4, 2003 Toronto-based music writer Martin Popoff is Canada’s top expert on heavy metal. Senior editor of metal mag Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles and author of The Collector’s Guide to Heavy Metal, the Trail, B.C.–raised Popoff certainly knows his stuff when it comes to raunchy rock. The … Continue reading Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid” chosen as the top heavy-metal song of all time

Patterson Hood on the Drive-By Truckers’ Southern Rock Opera and the true meaning of Skynyrd

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JAN. 30, 2003 By Steve Newton It doesn’t seem likely in today’s musical climate that any band would record a 90-minute concept album about 1970s rock and southern U.S. culture, focusing on the legend of doomed Dixie rock act Lynyrd Skynyrd. It’s even more unlikely that such a CD … Continue reading Patterson Hood on the Drive-By Truckers’ Southern Rock Opera and the true meaning of Skynyrd

Mountain’s Leslie West recalls Woodstock and his band’s old warmup act, Black Sabbath

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 1, 2002 By Steve Newton Seventies hard-rockers Mountain didn’t waste any time in getting famous. The bluesy power trio—best known for the lineup of guitarist and vocalist Leslie West, drummer Corky Laing, and bassist-vocalist Felix Pappalardi (who was shot dead by his wife in ’83)—played its first gig … Continue reading Mountain’s Leslie West recalls Woodstock and his band’s old warmup act, Black Sabbath

From Black Oak to Thin Lizzy, Tommy Aldridge has been a monster on the kit

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 25, 2001 By Steve Newton Tommy Aldridge is one of the most recognizable hard-rock drummers in the world. His name may not be a household word along the lines of Moon or Bonham, but anyone who’s followed the careers of Pat Travers, Whitesnake, Ozzy Osbourne, Ted Nugent, and … Continue reading From Black Oak to Thin Lizzy, Tommy Aldridge has been a monster on the kit

That time Ozzy Osbourne had to pack it in after three songs in Vancouver

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 13, 1996 Heavy-metal maven Ozzy Osbourne has overcome plenty of adversity during his more than 25 years in the hard-rock biz—from life-threatening bouts with booze and drugs to the airplane-crash death of guitarist Randy Rhoads—but he wasn’t able to prevail over the asthma attack that forced him to … Continue reading That time Ozzy Osbourne had to pack it in after three songs in Vancouver

Aerosmith shows love for cancer kid and Tojo’s sushi at Vancouver gig

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 27, 1994 The most memorable moment of Aerosmith’s latest Vancouver concert didn’t occur when Steven Tyler came tearing out in multicoloured rags to kick-start the show with a screech at the beginning of “Eat the Rich”. Nor was it when bare-chested guitar god Joe Perry steamed across the … Continue reading Aerosmith shows love for cancer kid and Tojo’s sushi at Vancouver gig

Pride & Glory’s Zakk Wylde says he’ll always be Ozzy’s guitar player

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 20, 1994 By Steve Newton Rock guitarists have a few things to worry about during a live performance—such as blowing an amp, breaking a string, or dropping a pick during a crucial guitar freak-out. Personal injury isn’t usually one of the main onstage concerns for today’s rock artists, … Continue reading Pride & Glory’s Zakk Wylde says he’ll always be Ozzy’s guitar player