I just did the Toddcast Podcast, with a little help from Stevie Ray Vaughan, Ronnie James Dio, Gregg Allman, and Bruce Fairbairn

By Steve Newton I can't believe I opened for Corey Hart today! Okay, it wasn't like I warmed up the audience for the "Sunglasses at Night" guy on his Back from the '80s Seeking Cash Tour or anything. But I did make my first-ever guest appearance on a podcast, so that's pretty cool. Todd Hancock--the … Continue reading I just did the Toddcast Podcast, with a little help from Stevie Ray Vaughan, Ronnie James Dio, Gregg Allman, and Bruce Fairbairn

That time Yngwie Malmsteen told me that he escaped the Swedish army by threatening to shoot himself

By Steve Newton The first time I interviewed Yngwie Malmsteen, back in December of 1985, he was touring with Ronnie James Dio as opening act on the Sacred Heart tour. He was only 22 at the time, and four years earlier had spent a very brief stint in the Swedish army. Like, two days. When … Continue reading That time Yngwie Malmsteen told me that he escaped the Swedish army by threatening to shoot himself

That time Tony Iommi told me about the early rivalry between Black Sabbath and Deep Purple

By Steve Newton When I interviewed guitar legend Tony Iommi back in March of 2007 he was bringing his Ronnie James Dio-fronted version of Black Sabbath, Heaven and Hell, to Vancouver for a show at the Pacific Coliseum with Megadeth and Down. At one point I asked Iommi whether he was a fan of Dio's … Continue reading That time Tony Iommi told me about the early rivalry between Black Sabbath and Deep Purple

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

That time I asked Tony Iommi about Ronnie James Dio replacing Ozzy Osbourne in Black Sabbath

By Steve Newton In the past I've had fun posting audio excerpts from my first interview with legendary Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi, which took place in 1984, during the group's misguided Born Again phase. Fast-forward 23 years and I got Iommi on the phone again, this time to talk about the Heaven and Hell … Continue reading That time I asked Tony Iommi about Ronnie James Dio replacing Ozzy Osbourne in Black Sabbath

That time Tony Iommi told me about the guys from Black Sabbath blowing up singer Ian Gillan’s boat

By Steve Newton Back in January of 1984 I called Tony Iommi up for a chat at his home in Birmingham, England. I was pretty psyched, since Sabbath albums like Paranoid, Volume 4, and Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath had meant a lot to me as a metal-loving teenager in the '70s, growing up in the wilds of … Continue reading That time Tony Iommi told me about the guys from Black Sabbath blowing up singer Ian Gillan’s boat

That time I asked Ronnie James Dio about stepping into Ozzy Osbourne’s shoes in Black Sabbath

By Steve Newton There's no denying that Ronnie James Dio did an incredible job replacing Ozzy Osbourne as the singer in Black Sabbath. The moment I heard "Neon Nights", the opening track on Dio's first Sabbath album, Heaven and Hell, I knew the heavy-metal stars had aligned. The music had way more power and feel than … Continue reading That time I asked Ronnie James Dio about stepping into Ozzy Osbourne’s shoes in Black Sabbath

That time Ronnie James Dio told me a fib about Priest and Maiden contributing songs to Hear ‘n Aid

By Steve Newton Tomorrow (May 21) the Ride For Ronnie motorcycle ride and concert takes place in L.A., raising money for the Ronnie James Dio Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund. Coincidentally, exactly 31 years ago tomorrow the charity project Dio spearheaded, Hear 'n Aid, finished recording its video/single "Stars" at A&M Studios in Tinseltown. … Continue reading That time Ronnie James Dio told me a fib about Priest and Maiden contributing songs to Hear ‘n Aid

That time Ronnie James Dio told me about the entity that tried to kill his wife during the recording of Rainbow’s Long Live Rock and Roll

By Steve Newton Back in 2016, in celebration of the 40th anniversary of Rainbow Rising--one of the greatest metal albums of all time--I posted blogs with soundbites from interviews I did with former Rainbow members Ronnie James Dio (in 1985) and Tony Carey (in '84). The first one I did on Carey did not go … Continue reading That time Ronnie James Dio told me about the entity that tried to kill his wife during the recording of Rainbow’s Long Live Rock and Roll

That time Ronnie James Dio got me backstage on the Sacred Heart Tour

By Steve Newton I did my one and only interview with Ronnie James Dio back in December of 1985. The metal legend, 43 at the time, was headed to Vancouver for a show on his Sacred Heart tour, with opening act Yngwie Malmsteen's Rising Force. I'd been a fan of his since I first heard Elf … Continue reading That time Ronnie James Dio got me backstage on the Sacred Heart Tour

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

Def Leppard’s Vivian Campbell never wanted to be Joe Guitar Hero

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 24, 1992 By Steve Newton When Def Leppard guitarist/co-founder Steve Clark died of a drug overdose in 1991—six years after drummer Rick Allen lost his left arm in a New Year’s Eve car accident—rumours were rampant as to who would replace him in one of the world’s most … Continue reading Def Leppard’s Vivian Campbell never wanted to be Joe Guitar Hero

Dio-era Rules of Hell box proves Sabbath thrived after Ozzy

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, DEC. 3, 2008 By Steve Newton Just as there are many who feel that Van Halen turned to crap when David Lee Roth left the fold, there are scads of metalheads who believe that Black Sabbath wasn’t worth shite without Ozzy Osbourne at the mike. Screw them. There’s no denying that … Continue reading Dio-era Rules of Hell box proves Sabbath thrived after Ozzy

The Sabbath Time Machine

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, AUG. 18, 2013 By Steve Newton Black Sabbath (without Bill Ward) isn't giving any interviews in advance of its show at Rogers Arena this Thursday (Aug. 22), but that's okay with me. It just gives me an excuse to crawl back into my '70s time machine and reminisce, home movie-style, about what … Continue reading The Sabbath Time Machine

Tony Iommi on Heaven and Hell and how Frank Zappa always loved his “Supernaut” riff

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, MARCH 7, 2007 By Steve Newton It's somewhat ironic that Black Sabbath's 1978 album was titled Never Say Die, because that disc actually signalled the end of the group's original lineup. After eight albums with Ozzy Osbourne on vocals, the metal pioneers gave him the boot, replacing him with Ronnie James … Continue reading Tony Iommi on Heaven and Hell and how Frank Zappa always loved his “Supernaut” riff

Black Sabbath comes to town as Heaven and Hell

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, MARCH 14, 2007 When Black Sabbath came to town last Sunday—calling itself Heaven and Hell, I guess, to make sure no one expected Ozzy Osbourne to dodder onto the stage—it was the quartet's first public performance in 14 years. More importantly, it was the group's first Vancouver show in a quarter-century. … Continue reading Black Sabbath comes to town as Heaven and Hell

Metal legend Ronnie James Dio dead at 67

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, MAY 16, 2010 Heavy metal vocalist Ronnie James Dio, best known for his work with Rainbow and Black Sabbath, passed away today at the age of 67. He had been battling stomach cancer. His wife Wendy posted the following message on his web site. "Today my heart is broken, Ronnie passed … Continue reading Metal legend Ronnie James Dio dead at 67

Iron Maiden shows off the all-mighty power of metal in Vancouver

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, JUNE 25, 2010 Just over two years ago Iron Maiden touched down at the Pacific Coliseum on the whirlwind Somewhere Back in Time world tour—during which it played 23 concerts on five continents in 45 days—and tore the roof off the place. They started that show with guns a-blazin’ via the galloping ’80s … Continue reading Iron Maiden shows off the all-mighty power of metal in Vancouver

Ozzy Osbourne shows Vancouver he’s “still fucking crazy”

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, NOV. 15, 2010 The most entertaining part of Sunday night’s (November 14) Ozzy Osbourne concert may well have occurred before the 61-year-old metal legend actually hit the stage. In the lead-up to his appearance a clip was shown in which Osbourne’s mischievous countenance was comically transposed onto the faces of various characters from … Continue reading Ozzy Osbourne shows Vancouver he’s “still fucking crazy”