Newt’s Top 10 albums of 2016

By Steve Newton Please, God, don’t let any more of my rock heroes die this year. Jeff Beck Loud Hailer The world’s greatest living rock guitarist isn’t resting on his laurels at the age of 72. With Loud Hailer—another term for “megaphone”—Beck delivers a fresh-sounding blast of intense, politically minded rock. His fretwork has never … Continue reading Newt’s Top 10 albums of 2016

Joe Satriani’s desert islands discs are 80 percent Hendrix

By Steve Newton Last week I interviewed one of my fave guitarists, Joe Satriani, in advance of his show at Hard Rock Casino Vancouver on April 24. I'm always curious what the world's finest pickers would pick as their "desert island discs"--the albums they'd choose if they were ever stranded like Gilligan, but with some … Continue reading Joe Satriani’s desert islands discs are 80 percent Hendrix

Roy Buchanan on turning down the Stones and being flattered by Beck

me 'n Roy backstage at the Pump, February 10, 1986 ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, FEB. 7, 1986 By Steve Newton Not many guitarists can say they were invited to join the Rolling Stones. Not many can say they turned the offer down either. But Roy Buchanan--quite possibly the best white blues guitarist in … Continue reading Roy Buchanan on turning down the Stones and being flattered by Beck

My first interview with Stevie Ray Vaughan, when he sang me three lines of an Earl King song

photo by Mila Geran ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 6, 1985 By Stevie Ross Newton Texas blues guitar hero Stevie Ray Vaughan was in town last Saturday, for two sold out shows at the Commodore Ballroom. Prior to his appearance the Straight caught up with Stevie, and asked him about his upcoming LP … Continue reading My first interview with Stevie Ray Vaughan, when he sang me three lines of an Earl King song

Blue Oyster Cult’s “Transmaniacon MC” an apt soundtrack for the mayhem of Altamont

By Steve Newton The infamous concert at Altamont Speedway in northern California, which took place December 6, 1969, is often viewed as "the anti-Woodstock", its violence signalling the end of the peace-and-love era. A YouTube video that blends footage of the event from the 1970 Rolling Stones documentary Gimme Shelter with the 1972 Blue Oyster Cult song … Continue reading Blue Oyster Cult’s “Transmaniacon MC” an apt soundtrack for the mayhem of Altamont

Rolling Stones super-deluxe box set falls short without Keith Richards mini cut-out

By Steve Newton The Rolling Stones snubbed Vancouver when it came time to book their current Zip Code Tour, which could very well be the group's last major trek outside the nursing home. But hardcore fans who've been bawling about that omission for months now can take some comfort in the fact that the money … Continue reading Rolling Stones super-deluxe box set falls short without Keith Richards mini cut-out

Sax great Bobby Keys was much more than a sideman for the Stones

Bobby Keys passed away this morning at the age of 70 after battling cirrhosis. He was best known as the saxophonist for the Rolling Stones, having blasted out that unforgettable solo on "Brown Sugar". He also blew like crazy on such Stones gems as "Happy" (from Exile on Main Street) and "Live With Me" (from Let It … Continue reading Sax great Bobby Keys was much more than a sideman for the Stones

The Rolling Stones play Vancouver on the Steel Wheels Tour

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 10, 1989 By Steve Newton In what was surely the biggest Vancouver concert event of the '80s, the Rolling Stones hit Vancouver for two nights last week amid a flurry of hype and much grovelling for tickets. Now that Jagger and the boys have gathered up their money-bags … Continue reading The Rolling Stones play Vancouver on the Steel Wheels Tour

Gordon Downie says opening for the Rolling Stones is like being a golf caddy

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 6, 1995 By Steve Newton In 1995, it’s as if the Tragically Hip can do no wrong. Late last February, the Ontario guitar-rockers played a Pacific Coliseum gig that sold out in 20 minutes flat. Not long after that, you could have flicked on Saturday Night Live and … Continue reading Gordon Downie says opening for the Rolling Stones is like being a golf caddy

Nena of “99 Luftballoons” fame says she tries her best

Thirty years ago today--on May 18, 1984--24-year-old Nena Kerner called me from Berlin to promote her band Nena, which was flying high at the time on the strength of the anti-nuclear protest song "99 Luftballoons". The song was such a hit that soon after they released an English version, "99 Red Balloons", as well. I … Continue reading Nena of “99 Luftballoons” fame says she tries her best

Now that he’s in Guns N’ Roses Dizzy Reed can buy drinks for all his freennz

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 13, 1992 By Steve Newton Some hard-rock bands like to boast about not using keyboards; they take pride in sticking with the trusty old guitar-bass-drums ideal. Guns N’ Roses might have been such a band in its early days, but when it came time to record its ground-breaking … Continue reading Now that he’s in Guns N’ Roses Dizzy Reed can buy drinks for all his freennz

Dickey Betts figures the Allman Brothers transcend generations

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 23, 1992 By Steve Newton Every long-time Allman Brothers fan has a favourite tune by the influential Southern rock band. Some folks tend towards the bluesy slide-guitar riff of “One Way Out”, some go hog-wild when they hear the cascading guitar intro to the band’s biggest hit, “Ramblin’ … Continue reading Dickey Betts figures the Allman Brothers transcend generations

Quireboys pride themselves on “proper” rock ‘n’ roll

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 19, 1990 By Steve Newton There are some bands out there that are just made to play in bars—they have that certain something that demands you sip a frosty cold one while wallowing in their raucous boogie noise. The Beat Farmers are one of those, the Georgia Satellites … Continue reading Quireboys pride themselves on “proper” rock ‘n’ roll

The Stones & Muddy Waters make blues magic on Chicago’s south side

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, JULY 31, 2012 By Steve Newton Eagle Rock Entertainment recently released the DVD Muddy Waters/The Rolling Stones/Checkerboard Lounge/Live Chicago 1981, and, man, is it a sweet treat for fans of electric blues. The coolest part of the concert comes when the Stones arrive while Muddy's a minute-and-a-half into "Baby Please Don't Go" … Continue reading The Stones & Muddy Waters make blues magic on Chicago’s south side

“Transmaniacon MC” an apt soundtrack for the mayhem of Altamont

The infamous concert at Altamont Speedway in northern California, which took place December 6, 1969, is often viewed as "the anti-Woodstock", its violence signalling the end of the peace-and-love era. A YouTube video that blends footage of the event from the 1970 Rolling Stones documentary Gimme Shelter with the 1972 Blue Oyster Cult song "Transmaniacon MC" makes … Continue reading “Transmaniacon MC” an apt soundtrack for the mayhem of Altamont

Ear of Newt’s Top 30 Rock Albums of 1978

I'll always remember 1978 as the year I saw Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers at the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver, when they were touring behind You're Gonna Get It. I'll also remember it for that time Thin Lizzy guitarist Scott Gorham took me backstage when the band opened for Styx at the Coliseum. Unfortunately, I'll … Continue reading Ear of Newt’s Top 30 Rock Albums of 1978

Rolling Stones Blu-ray sounds killer with Keef’s botched chords fixed up

By Steve Newton Just hours after the Rolling Stones finished the first of two shows at Hyde Park last July YouTube started getting flooded with fan-shot videos that showed Keith Richards seriously fucking up the opening chords to the big show's first song, "Start Me Up". It was not a pretty sound. Ironically, in a … Continue reading Rolling Stones Blu-ray sounds killer with Keef’s botched chords fixed up

54-40 thrives on new blood

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, OCT. 20, 2005 During Dave Genn's last year of high school, U2's The Joshua Tree, the Cure's The Head on the Door, and the Smiths' The Queen Is Dead were discs that drew heavy rotation on his personal play list. And right up there was the self-titled major-label debut by local … Continue reading 54-40 thrives on new blood

Rolling Stones give good bang for big-buck tickets

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, NOV. 29, 2006 A lot has been made of the astronomical ticket prices the Rolling Stones charged on their recent stop in Vancouver, but considering today’s out-of-control construction costs (see 2010 Olympics), there’s some merit to their exorbitance. It looked as if the Stones’ 300-person production crew had built a five-storey … Continue reading Rolling Stones give good bang for big-buck tickets