Album review: Deep Purple, The House of Blue Light (1987)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MARCH 27, 1987 By Steve Newton Deep Purple's new album was recorded at the same studio, with the same engineer, as their 1984 reunion LP Perfect Strangers. Like Perfect Strangers, the production credits on The House of Blue Light go to "Roger Glover and Deep Purple". The vast majority … Continue reading Album review: Deep Purple, The House of Blue Light (1987)

Album review: Rainbow, Finyl Vinyl (1986)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MAY 9, 1986 By Steve Newton Few things in the world of hard rock are as moving and intense as a Ritchie Blackmore solo, and this last live gasp from his band, Rainbow, sports some of The Man in Black's wildest playing. It's a collection of mostly live tracks recorded between … Continue reading Album review: Rainbow, Finyl Vinyl (1986)

Album review: Deep Purple, Perfect Strangers (1984)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 14, 1984 By Steve Newton Some things are too good to be true, and for lovers of hard rock, the resurrection of Deep Purple is one of them. The original Mark II lineup--guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, bassist Roger Glover, drummer Ian Paice, keyboardist Jon Lord, and singer Ian Gillan--is … Continue reading Album review: Deep Purple, Perfect Strangers (1984)

Shades 1968-1998 box set delivers all the best colours of Deep Purple

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 9, 1999 By Steve Newton   I’ve been a Deep Purple fan for as long as I’ve loved rock. Fireball was among the first LPs I ever purchased and played on my parents’ crappy rec-room stereo from the ’50s. Even today, when “Highway Star” comes on the car … Continue reading Shades 1968-1998 box set delivers all the best colours of Deep Purple

Album review: Deep Purple, Come Hell or High Water (1995)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 24, 1995 By Steve Newton They’ve had plenty of time to rehearse, but Deep Purple still can’t improve on Made in Japan, the live double album that captured the hearts and minds of hard-rock hooligans back in ’73. Still, you won’t hear me complain when the band rips … Continue reading Album review: Deep Purple, Come Hell or High Water (1995)

Album review: Yngwie Malmsteen, Eclipse (1990)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 23, 1990 By Steve Newton When Swedish guitar whiz Yngwie Malmsteen burst onto the hard-rock scene in ’84 with the Rising Force album, he took a lot of people by surprise—and it wasn't just his funny name (pronounced "Ing-vay") that did it. Malmsteen was a classically influenced speed-demon, … Continue reading Album review: Yngwie Malmsteen, Eclipse (1990)

That time Ronnie James Dio told me what he really thought of Ritchie Blackmore and Yngwie Malmsteen as guitarists

By Steve Newton Back in 1985 I did my only interview with Ronnie James Dio, who was headed to Vancouver on the Sacred Heart Tour, with Yngwie Malmsteen's Rising Force opening up. At one point in the conversation the legendary heavy-metal crooner compared the guitar-playing abilities of his former bandmate Ritchie Blackmore to those of … Continue reading That time Ronnie James Dio told me what he really thought of Ritchie Blackmore and Yngwie Malmsteen as guitarists

Graham Bonnet was bandmates with Ritchie Blackmore, Michael Schenker, and Yngwie Malmsteen, but called Gary Moore his hero

By Steve Newton When I interviewed Graham Bonnet back in 1984 he was fronting a hard-rock/metal band called Alcatrazz that featured an unknown guitarist named Yngwie Malmsteen, who would not stay unknown for long. Two years earlier Bonnet had been a member of the Michael Schenker Group, which also boasted an amazing guitar player, a guy … Continue reading Graham Bonnet was bandmates with Ritchie Blackmore, Michael Schenker, and Yngwie Malmsteen, but called Gary Moore his hero

That time Graham Bonnet told me that Ritchie Blackmore was just a real nice, shy guy

By Steve Newton Ritchie Blackmore is one of my favourite guitarists of all time. As a 15-year-old when Machine Head was released in 1972, I could barely comprehend how great his guitar solo on "Highway Star" made me feel. Over and over again. Two years later he did it again with the lead break on "Burn". … Continue reading That time Graham Bonnet told me that Ritchie Blackmore was just a real nice, shy guy

Tony Carey not happy that I blogged about his ancient issues with Rainbow

By Steve Newton Whoa! I woke up to an angry Facebook message from rocker Tony Carey this morning. Turns out the singer, songwriter, and keyboard great was none too impressed with the blog I posted yesterday, which included audio from 1984 of him denouncing his previous band, Rainbow, and in particular guitarist Ritchie Blackmore. "Why … Continue reading Tony Carey not happy that I blogged about his ancient issues with Rainbow

Tony Carey found no beauty in Rainbow: “I wouldn’t tell Ritchie Blackmore if his hair was on fire”

By Steve Newton Back in May of 1984 I did a phone interview with Tony Carey, who at the time was basking in the success of a solo career that had produced such radio-friendly hits as "A Fine, Fine Day" and "The First Day of Summer". He'd first caught my ear as the keyboardist for … Continue reading Tony Carey found no beauty in Rainbow: “I wouldn’t tell Ritchie Blackmore if his hair was on fire”

That time Uli Jon Roth told me that he’d most like to jam with David Gilmour, Ritchie Blackmore, and Jeff Beck

By Steve Newton Back in 2016 I interviewed Uli Jon Roth for the first time ever, and made sure to ask him one of the more burning questions guitar-freaks might have for the legendary picker. I knew he'd played with some of the world's greatest guitarists over the years--heck, at the time he was touring … Continue reading That time Uli Jon Roth told me that he’d most like to jam with David Gilmour, Ritchie Blackmore, and Jeff Beck

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

Former Elf and Rainbow bassist Craig Gruber dies of prostate cancer at 63

Rainbow 1975, L-R: Soule, Dio, Gruber, Blackmore, Driscoll By Steve Newton Craig Gruber, former bassist for '70s rock acts Elf and Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow, passed away yesterday after a battle with prostate cancer. News of Gruber's passing was posted on the Facebook page of his former Elf bandmate, keyboardist Mickey Lee Soule: Very sad to hear of … Continue reading Former Elf and Rainbow bassist Craig Gruber dies of prostate cancer at 63

Deep Purple bassist Roger Glover on the Mark II reunion and the “uncompromising” Ritchie Blackmore

By Steve Newton On April 6, 1985, A.D.--Deep Purple played Vancouver's Pacific Coliseum on its Perfect Strangers tour. Obviously I went, because the year before Ritchie Blackmore and Roger Glover had reunited with Ian Gillan, Jon Lord, and Ian Paice to get the Mark II lineup back in action. "Highway Star", motherfvckers! Anyway, in advance … Continue reading Deep Purple bassist Roger Glover on the Mark II reunion and the “uncompromising” Ritchie Blackmore

“Wildman” Yngwie Malmsteen puts Ritchie Blackmore rumours to rest, praises Uli Jon Roth

By Steve Newton Yngwie Malmsteen likes to wear all black on-stage and play fast as hell on a Fender Strat through a wall of cranked Marshall amps, so you might think that Ritchie Blackmore is his hero. “Okay, let’s correct that,” says Malmsteen when I mention that Wikipedia names the six-string legend from Deep Purple … Continue reading “Wildman” Yngwie Malmsteen puts Ritchie Blackmore rumours to rest, praises Uli Jon Roth

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

Ritchie Blackmore “couldn’t care less” about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, OCT. 23, 2012 By Steve Newton Rush and Deep Purple garnered plenty of headlines in the music press earlier this month when they were among the 15 acts nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013. Fans of both legendary rock bands felt the selection was … Continue reading Ritchie Blackmore “couldn’t care less” about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Deep Purple’s still smokin’ after all these years

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, FEB. 5, 2004 By Steve Newton British rock veterans Deep Purple sold out their upcoming Orpheum show in one week, which ain't bad for a band that hit its commercial peak 30 years ago. Maybe the strong sales were due to the fact that the group hasn't played Vancouver since the … Continue reading Deep Purple’s still smokin’ after all these years

Big Jim Sullivan ponders the “forbidden zones” of the guitar

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, NOV. 10, 2012 I wasn't very familiar with the name Big Jim Sullivan until I started hearing it early last month, after the English session guitarist died on October 2 of complications from heart disease and diabetes at the age of 71. The name started popping up in the rock press, … Continue reading Big Jim Sullivan ponders the “forbidden zones” of the guitar