That time Ian Hunter told me that what sells Ian Hunter is Ian Hunter–or what doesn’t sell Ian Hunter is Ian Hunter

By Steve Newton Mott the Hoople is one of my all-time favourite bands, and Ian Hunter is one of my all-time favourite rockers. I interviewed him and Mick Ronson separately on the same day--September 9, 1988--when they were headed to Vancouver for a show in advance of recording their awesome 1989 album YUI Orta. At … Continue reading That time Ian Hunter told me that what sells Ian Hunter is Ian Hunter–or what doesn’t sell Ian Hunter is Ian Hunter

That time I asked Joe Satriani who his best guitar student was and he said Steve Vai caught on the quickest

By Steve Newton Back in January of 1990 I did the first of my seven interviews with Joe Satriani. At the time he was touring behind his latest album, Flying in a Blue Dream, and the buzz about him was growing fast. People were learning that he'd spent several years as a guitar instructor, teaching … Continue reading That time I asked Joe Satriani who his best guitar student was and he said Steve Vai caught on the quickest

That time Richie Sambora told me why Bon Jovi switched producers from Bruce Fairbairn to Bob Rock

By Steve Newton Bon Jovi may have been hugely popular back in the day, but I actually enjoyed guitarist Richie Sambora's solo debut album, Stranger in This Town, more than any Bon Jovi band release. I even preferred Sambora's lead vocals over Jon Bon Jovi's, especially on solo tunes like "Ballad of Youth". So it … Continue reading That time Richie Sambora told me why Bon Jovi switched producers from Bruce Fairbairn to Bob Rock

That time I told Edgar Winter that my fave tune on They Only Come Out at Night was “Round & Round”

By Steve Newton The Edgar Winter Group blew my 15-year-old ass away when it released They Only Come Out at Night in November of 1972. I mean, Rick Derringer and Ronnie Montrose together on the same album? Seventies guitar-rock heaven! "Free Ride" and "Frankenstein" were the big radio hits on that album, but I've always … Continue reading That time I told Edgar Winter that my fave tune on They Only Come Out at Night was “Round & Round”

That time I asked Dan McCafferty if Nazareth would play “Vancouver Shakedown” in Vancouver

By Steve Newton I really loved Nazareth in the seventies. Razamanazz, Loud 'n' Proud, Rampant, Hair of the Dog--those were all wicked albums in my books. I didn't actually get to interview the band until 1984, though, when the original lineup of singer Dan McCafferty, guitarist Manny Charlton, bassist Pete Agnew, and drummer Darrell Sweet had … Continue reading That time I asked Dan McCafferty if Nazareth would play “Vancouver Shakedown” in Vancouver

That time Alex Van Halen told me how Van Halen would “raise a stink” across L.A. until it paid off

By Steve Newton If you want to know the real story of how Van Halen went from being a backyard party band to America's hard-rock kings, check out author Gregg Renoff's 2015 book Van Halen Rising. And for the condensed version, check out this excerpt from my 1995 interview with Alex Van Halen. Have a listen: … Continue reading That time Alex Van Halen told me how Van Halen would “raise a stink” across L.A. until it paid off

That time Joan Jett told me about the sect in San Francisco that worships her as a god

By Steve Newton The words "rock god" get thrown around a lot, but when they land on somebody like Joan Jett, they fit pretty well. If you're gonna worship anybody in rock 'n' roll, it might as well be someone like her, someone who's been at it forever, who's never sold out, and who always … Continue reading That time Joan Jett told me about the sect in San Francisco that worships her as a god

That time I asked Billy Idol why he got Texas Chain Saw Massacre director Tobe Hooper to shoot the video for “Dancing With Myself”

By Steve Newton I interviewed Billy Idol at the height of his solo artist fame, when he was touring behind his hit-packed Rebel Yell album in March of 1984. If you're old enough, you may recall that music videos were all the rage back then, and the timing couldn't have been better for Idol, who … Continue reading That time I asked Billy Idol why he got Texas Chain Saw Massacre director Tobe Hooper to shoot the video for “Dancing With Myself”

That time I asked Ian Anderson how Jethro Tull’s show went last night and it took him a while to answer

By Steve Newton I did my second interview with Jethro Tull mainman Ian Anderson in October of 1992, a month after the band had released its live album A Little Light Music. When I called him up in L.A. I asked him how the show had gone there the previous night, but he's not the … Continue reading That time I asked Ian Anderson how Jethro Tull’s show went last night and it took him a while to answer

That time Warren Haynes told me about leaving the Allman Brothers to ride Gov’t Mule full time

By Steve Newton I did my first interview with Warren Haynes in 1994, when he was a member of the Allman Brothers Band, and I did my second interview with him in 1998, the year after he and bassist Allen Woody had left them. Haynes and Woody had quit the Allmans to put all their … Continue reading That time Warren Haynes told me about leaving the Allman Brothers to ride Gov’t Mule full time

That time Doyle Bramhall II told me about his dad’s connections to Jimmie and Stevie Ray Vaughan

By Steve Newton If you're a Stevie Ray Vaughan fan who also likes reading liner notes you've no doubt noticed the name Doyle Bramhall on a number of Stevie Ray Vaughan albums. Bramhall is credited with cowriting such SRV tunes as "Dirty Pool" (from Texas Flood) and In Step's "The House is Rockin'", "Tightrope", "Wall … Continue reading That time Doyle Bramhall II told me about his dad’s connections to Jimmie and Stevie Ray Vaughan

That time Golden Earring frontman Barry Hay told me about touring with Lynyrd Skynyrd and getting beaten up with Ronnie Van Zandt

By Steve Newton It's amazing what a person can find when they listen to old interviews they recorded on cassette back in 1984. Like that time I was chatting with Golden Earring vocalist and cosongwriter Barry Hay and asked him about touring with Lynyrd Skynyrd back in the seventies. Have a listen:   To hear … Continue reading That time Golden Earring frontman Barry Hay told me about touring with Lynyrd Skynyrd and getting beaten up with Ronnie Van Zandt

That time Joan Jett told me that what the Runaways did was right, and that girls can play rock ‘n’ roll

By Steve Newton I interviewed Joan Jett back in January of 1992, when she was touring with her band the Blackhearts, supporting the new album Notorious. At one point in the conversation I asked her if she ever heard from her old bandmates in the Runaways at all, and it turns out that she did. … Continue reading That time Joan Jett told me that what the Runaways did was right, and that girls can play rock ‘n’ roll

That time Steve Vai told me that a teenage out-of-body experience inspired his Passion and Warfare

By Steve Newton Steve Vai blew a lot of guitar freaks away when he released his Passion and Warfare album back in May of 1990. I was one of them. Just as the album hit record-store shelves  I interviewed the 29-year-old fret master and asked him about the "dream state" experience that inspired it. Have … Continue reading That time Steve Vai told me that a teenage out-of-body experience inspired his Passion and Warfare

That time I thanked Ace Frehley for all those awesome Kiss guitar licks that got me riled up as a teen

By Steve Newton If you'd told me when the first Kiss album came out in '74 that one day I'd be interviewing the guy playing all those wicked Les Paul licks on "Deuce" and "Strutter" my teenaged self mighta hollered "Hell yeah!" And 34 years later there I was, talkin' on the phone with Ace … Continue reading That time I thanked Ace Frehley for all those awesome Kiss guitar licks that got me riled up as a teen

That time I called Vernon Reid up in Germany and told him that I liked Living Colour’s new album Vivid

By Steve Newton Way the funk back in November of 1988 I interviewed Living Colour guitarist and main songwriter Vernon Reid, who was quite the shredder back then. At the time his band was touring behind its hit debut album, Vivid, which went double platinum and featured the Grammy-winning single "Cult of Personality". I liked … Continue reading That time I called Vernon Reid up in Germany and told him that I liked Living Colour’s new album Vivid

That time I asked Brad Delp what his fave Boston tune was and he didn’t say “More Than a Feeling”

By Steve Newton I was still a guitar-rock-crazed teenager when the debut Boston album came out in 1976, so it's not surprising that the first single "More Than a Feeling" blew me right the funk away. Even today the killer guitar sound of Tom Scholz and the incredible vocals of Brad Delp still make me … Continue reading That time I asked Brad Delp what his fave Boston tune was and he didn’t say “More Than a Feeling”

That time I asked Alex Van Halen when he first figured out that Eddie had the makings of a guitar legend

By Steve Newton Everybody remembers the first time they heard Eddie Van Halen. Or they should, anyway. For me it was sometime in early '78 when the band's first single, "You Really Got Me", scorched the airwaves. It was clear right away that the guy creating the six-string racket had the makings of a guitar … Continue reading That time I asked Alex Van Halen when he first figured out that Eddie had the makings of a guitar legend

That time Doyle Bramhall II told me what it was like touring with the “brilliant” Eric Clapton

By Steve Newton Over the years I've asked various famous guitarists who they'd most like to play with, if they could choose anyone in the world, and more often than not the answer is Eric Clapton. Doyle Bramhall II is one of the lucky ones who've swapped solos with Slowhand. When I interviewed him back … Continue reading That time Doyle Bramhall II told me what it was like touring with the “brilliant” Eric Clapton

That time John Sykes told me how he got Tony Franklin and Carmine Appice to commit to Blue Murder

By Steve Newton If you've been reading my blogs for any length of time you must know that Thin Lizzy is one of my all-time favourite bands. I just love anything to do with them. John Sykes had something to do with Thin Lizzy--like playing on their final studio album, and their last live one … Continue reading That time John Sykes told me how he got Tony Franklin and Carmine Appice to commit to Blue Murder

That time I asked J.J. Cale which covers of his songs he liked best and Clapton’s didn’t even come up

By Steve Newton When you think about the J.J. Cale songs that other artists have covered and made famous, Eric Clapton's versions of "After Midnight" and "Cocaine" usually make the cut. (Lynyrd Skynyrd's take on "Call Me the Breeze" and Santana's rendition of "The Sensitive Kind" also come to mind.) But when I did my … Continue reading That time I asked J.J. Cale which covers of his songs he liked best and Clapton’s didn’t even come up

That time Alice Cooper told me that he would blow “clone bands” like Ratt and Mötley Crüe off the stage

me 'n the coop. @shotbykevin By Steve Newton When I was a teenager in the early '70s, Alice Cooper was god. I couldn't get enough of his nasty image and the killer guitar-rock on albums Love It to Death, Killer, School's Out, Billion Dollar Babies, and Muscle of Love. I lost interest somewhat after he … Continue reading That time Alice Cooper told me that he would blow “clone bands” like Ratt and Mötley Crüe off the stage

That time 21-year-old Lars Ulrich woke up early to call and tell me how Metallica’s new Ride the Lightning album was doin’

By Steve Newton I've interviewed Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich four times because, hey, I like Metallica. This is the first time, way the funk back in March of 1985, when the band was still touring behind its second album, Ride the Lightning. Lars called me up from L.A. and filled me in on how the … Continue reading That time 21-year-old Lars Ulrich woke up early to call and tell me how Metallica’s new Ride the Lightning album was doin’

That time Shannon Hoon of Blind Melon told me about his love/hate relationship with John Lydon

By Steve Newton I only got to interview Blind Melon frontman Shannon Hoon once before his tragic drug-overdose death at the age of 28. It was December of 1992, and earlier in the year Hoon's band had been part of the MTV 120 Minutes Tour, opening for Public Image Ltd., Big Audio Dynamite II, and … Continue reading That time Shannon Hoon of Blind Melon told me about his love/hate relationship with John Lydon

That time Myles Goodwyn told me how April Wine’s “Roller” got on the Joe Dirt soundtrack

By Steve Newton The 2001 David Spade white-trash comedy Joe Dirt isn't the best movie ever made, but it sure featured a rockin' soundtrack. Some of my all-time fave bands are on there, including Thin Lizzy, Blue Oyster Cult, Van Halen, Foghat, BTO, the James Gang, and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Canada's own April Wine also shows … Continue reading That time Myles Goodwyn told me how April Wine’s “Roller” got on the Joe Dirt soundtrack

John Mellencamp and Kenny Aronoff on the amicable demise of their singer-drummer dream team

Mellencamp middle, Aronoff far right By Steve Newton For many years the resounding thwump of Kenny Aronoff's drumwork could be heard worldwide on the heartland-rock hits of John Mellencamp. People first came to notice Aronoff's skin-bashing abilities big time on the massive 1982 blockbuster "Hurts So Good", but his percussive powers would continue to meld perfectly … Continue reading John Mellencamp and Kenny Aronoff on the amicable demise of their singer-drummer dream team

That time I asked John Mellencamp what a heart attack feels like and he said “they don’t feel good!”

By Steve Newton The first time I interviewed John Mellencamp was way the funk back in the spring of 1983, after he'd released his multiplatinum breakthrough album American Fool (the one with "Hurts So Good" and "Jack and Diane" on it) and before he'd released his multiplatinum followup Uh-Huh (the one with "Pink Houses" and "Authority … Continue reading That time I asked John Mellencamp what a heart attack feels like and he said “they don’t feel good!”