Newt’s Top 10 Albums of 2018

By Steve Newton This year I picked some instrumental rock, some hard rock, some southern rock, and some Beatles, but the underlying thread running through most of this stuff is the blues. You just can't beat the blues. Joe Satriani What Happens Next Bay Area guitar wizard hooks up once again with Langley producer Mike Fraser … Continue reading Newt’s Top 10 Albums of 2018

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Roadie-biker Bean recalls the bottle-in-the-nuts craziness of an early “Guns N’ Fucking Roses” gig

By Steve Newton Last week I posted a blog about the Iron Maiden/Guns N' Roses gig I went to in Vancouver 30 years ago, on May 30, 1988. That was fun to write, but the best thing about it is that it inspired a friend of a friend, Andy Bean David, to contact me with … Continue reading Roadie-biker Bean recalls the bottle-in-the-nuts craziness of an early “Guns N’ Fucking Roses” gig

Backstage with Slash and Bruce Dickinson as Guns N’ Roses open for Maiden in Vancouver

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 3, 1988 By Steve Newton The politics of rockin' can be tough on new bands just getting used to the tour circuit. Take for example Guns N' Roses, who are on the road in support of their first album, and opening for Iron Maiden, who've toured the world … Continue reading Backstage with Slash and Bruce Dickinson as Guns N’ Roses open for Maiden in Vancouver

Todd Kerns promises the most classic of Canadian classic-rock at Toque’s Juno Fest shindig

By Steve Newton Whenever Todd Kerns hits Vancouver--whether it's playing bass with Slash or fronting the Age of Electric--I try to get out and cheer him on. Dude's hugely talented and nice as hell. I stand by my claim that he's "the most rockin' Canadian bass player of the 21st century." Kerns won't be handling … Continue reading Todd Kerns promises the most classic of Canadian classic-rock at Toque’s Juno Fest shindig

Album review: Yardbirds, Birdland (2003)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MAY 8, 2003 By Steve Newton You might think, since the current version of the Yardbirds includes only two founding members of the pioneering ’60s Brit-rock act—rhythm guitarist Chris Dreja and drummer Jim McCarty—that the latest installment is just trying to cash in on the group’s famous name. One … Continue reading Album review: Yardbirds, Birdland (2003)

Album review: Alice Cooper, A Fistful of Alice (1997)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 21, 1997 By Steve Newton Strolling around the Mexican resort town of Cabo San Lucas last year, I stumbled across a bar called the Cabo Wabo Cantina, which had a sign in the parking lot proclaiming “Reserved for Sammy Hagar”. Realizing that this must be the watering hole … Continue reading Album review: Alice Cooper, A Fistful of Alice (1997)

Album review: Slash’s Snakepit, It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere (1995)

  ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, FEB. 16, 1995 By Steve Newton Those Guns N’ Roses guys sure know how to have their cake and gobble it too. When nothing’s happening with big old moneymaker GN’R they just get a few rockin’ pals together, head into the studio with a few dozen crates of … Continue reading Album review: Slash’s Snakepit, It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere (1995)

Album review: Alice Cooper, Hey Stoopid (1991)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 28, 1991 By Steve Newton “Hey, hey, hey, hey...hey stoopid!” Why do I keep singing that line to myself when people are within hearing distance? Shouldn’t a 30-something guy like myself have grown out of such juvenile practices? No friggin’ way. Alice Cooper is still my hero, even … Continue reading Album review: Alice Cooper, Hey Stoopid (1991)

Album review: Guns N’ Roses, Use Your Illusion I and Use Your Illusion II (1991)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 19, 1991 By Steve Newton It’s hard to believe that just three years ago Guns N’ Roses couldn’t get a rise out of a Vancouver crowd. The band opened for Iron Maiden at the Coliseum on May 30, 1988, and was so ticked off at the lame reaction … Continue reading Album review: Guns N’ Roses, Use Your Illusion I and Use Your Illusion II (1991)

The Age of Electric kicks off Canadian tour with killer Vancouver gig

jeff sutherland photos By Steve Newton Everybody's favourite Canadian guitar-rock band from the '90s--well, mine anyway--kicked off its 15-date Canadian tour with a show at the Commodore last night. Last April all four original members of the Age of Electric--singer-guitarists Todd Kerns and Ryan Dahle, bassist John Kerns, and drummer-vocalist Kurt Dahle--reunited for their first … Continue reading The Age of Electric kicks off Canadian tour with killer Vancouver gig

29 minutes of shootin’ the shit with Age of Electric’s Todd Kerns, the most rockin’ Canadian bass player of the 21st century

By Steve Newton One of my alltime fave Canadian bands, the Age of Electric, is playing Vancouver's Commodore Ballroom tomorrow (March 24). They played the Commodore 11 months ago as well, and it was one of the most consistently rockin' gigs I'd ever seen at the historic venue. Before that show I did a phone interview … Continue reading 29 minutes of shootin’ the shit with Age of Electric’s Todd Kerns, the most rockin’ Canadian bass player of the 21st century

The Age of Electric reunites in a blaze of guitar-rock glory and brotherly love

adrian o'brien photo By Steve Newton Let's face it: straight-up, melodic, guitar-driven rock 'n' roll has been taking a shit-kicking of late. In the age of evil EDM and the dreaded DJ it's hard to find a guitar-bass-drums combo that'll knock you out with a show that's electrifying from beginning to end. It happened at the … Continue reading The Age of Electric reunites in a blaze of guitar-rock glory and brotherly love

Guns N’ Roses bassist Duff McKagan needn’t fear a Tonya Harding from Slash bassist Todd Kerns

By Steve Newton I was interviewing Todd Kerns a couple weeks ago in advance of the Age of Electric show at the Commodore tonight (April 30), and had an evil thought. Since Kerns is well known as the bassist for Slash, just how far would he go to steal the coveted bass gig in Guns N' Roses … Continue reading Guns N’ Roses bassist Duff McKagan needn’t fear a Tonya Harding from Slash bassist Todd Kerns

Todd Kerns feels like the Age of Electric are on a mission from god

By Steve Newton Some rock bands from decades past really push it when it comes to authenticity. Often you’ll see a group that’s touring under its old moniker with only one or two original members. Or maybe there’ll just be one—who also happens to be the drummer. (I’m talkin’ to you, Foghat!) It’s a rarity … Continue reading Todd Kerns feels like the Age of Electric are on a mission from god

Outraged guitar freak defends Yngwie Malmsteen and rips the s*** out of my Generation Axe review

By Steve Newton Some guy named Fretfire did not totally agree with my review of the Generation Axe show in Vancouver the other night. Here’s his comment: Pathetic, Steve. I thought you were cooler than this, especially since you recently posted the interview: “Uli Jon Roth calls Yngwie Malmsteen “one of the alltime greats”, but says he’s … Continue reading Outraged guitar freak defends Yngwie Malmsteen and rips the s*** out of my Generation Axe review

Newt’s hopes of a second shot at Slash’s JD stash fade with Guns N’ Roses tour news

By Steve Newton "Rock and roll's a loser's game," Ian Hunter once sang, and today I get what he was talkin' about in that line from "The Ballad of Mott the Hoople". A few hours ago Guns N' Roses announced 21 cities on its forthcoming summer tour, but my town--Vancouver--wasn't on the list. So I … Continue reading Newt’s hopes of a second shot at Slash’s JD stash fade with Guns N’ Roses tour news

Newt’s Top 10 albums of 2014

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, DEC. 10, 2014 By Steve Newton One of the biggest music stories of 2014 concerned the trials and tribulations of AC/DC, which had one original member retire due to dementia and another facing criminal charges. The return of Pink Floyd after two decades also made a few headlines—or garnered a ton … Continue reading Newt’s Top 10 albums of 2014

Guitar heroes help the Yardbirds fly again with Birdland

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 3, 2003 By Steve Newton When the Yardbirds were recording their new Birdland CD for the guitar-oriented Favored Nations label, they made sure to feature company prez Steve Vai on the remake of their 1966 hit, “Shapes of Things”. The quintet also encouraged such six-string stalwarts as Jeff … Continue reading Guitar heroes help the Yardbirds fly again with Birdland

The Newt’s top 10 albums of 2014: yep, AC/DC’s on there

AC/DC Rock or Bust With the help of Langley’s Mike Fraser as engineer and mixer, the Australian hard-rock icons create a fitting follow-up to 2008’s hugely successful Black Ice album. Its first-ever album without stalwart rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young shows the band in fine, swaggering form. Pink Floyd  The Endless River The prog-rock legends’ first album in … Continue reading The Newt’s top 10 albums of 2014: yep, AC/DC’s on there

Ear of Newt’s top five Vancouver concerts of 2014

  DBT photo by the Newt For me, it's always a good year for concerts when the Drive-By Truckers can be included in the year-end wrap-up, and their performance at the Vogue Theatre on April 22 was one of the two best gigs I attended in 2014. It helped that the Alabama/Georgia-based band was touring behind one … Continue reading Ear of Newt’s top five Vancouver concerts of 2014

Todd Kerns, the most rockin’ Canadian bassist of the 21st century, appears on Howard Stern

Todd Kerns, recently declared to be "the Most Rockin’ Canadian Bassist of the 21st Century", performed with his band SMK&C (Slash featuring Myles Kennedy & the Conspirators) on the Howard Stern Show yesterday. That's a long way from his birthplace of Estevan, Saskatchewan. But anybody who's been following the lanky rocker's career with wicked Vancouver … Continue reading Todd Kerns, the most rockin’ Canadian bassist of the 21st century, appears on Howard Stern

Slash, Myles Kennedy, and the Conspirators deliver the concert of a lifetime in Vancouver

photos by Jet Sutherland By Steve Newton As I write this it's been over 12 hours since Slash left the stage at Hard Rock Casino Vancouver, and my ears are still ringing loudly. It sounds like rock 'n' roll. Holy crap was that an awesome show! I've been reviewing rock gigs for nearly 35 years, and … Continue reading Slash, Myles Kennedy, and the Conspirators deliver the concert of a lifetime in Vancouver

Slash’s Vancouver gig tonight promises plenty of Guns N’ Roses–and the return of Todd “Dammit” Kerns

If the setlist from Slash's show in San Francisco two nights ago is any indication, his Vancouver fans are in for a whole lotta GN'R action tonight.During his show at the Fillmore the top-hatted guitar hero led his group the Conspirators, featuring vocalist Myles Kennedy, in no less than six Guns N' Roses numbers, including one … Continue reading Slash’s Vancouver gig tonight promises plenty of Guns N’ Roses–and the return of Todd “Dammit” Kerns

A small world helped Brother Cane score tour with Slash’s Snakepit

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MAY 4, 1995 BY STEVE NEWTON While more than 40 singers auditioned for the lead-vocalist job in Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash’s solo band, Snakepit, probably just as many bands would have lined up to try out for the prestigious opening spot on that group’s tour. When that bill … Continue reading A small world helped Brother Cane score tour with Slash’s Snakepit

With the Big 3-0 looming, Slash figures that “it’s happy hour somewhere”

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, APRIL 27, 1995 By Steve Newton When you’re guitar god Slash from Guns N’ Roses and you’re looking for a singer, you get to take your pick. Many hopefuls tried out for the lead-vocalist position in Slash’s Snakepit, including King’s X crooner Doug Pinnick, Spike from the London Quireboys, … Continue reading With the Big 3-0 looming, Slash figures that “it’s happy hour somewhere”

Gilby Clarke plays Pawnshop Guitars, says “everything’s cool” in GN’R

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 27, 1994 By Steve Newton With a volatile dude like Axl Rose at the helm, it’s no wonder Guns N’ Roses breeds fast-flying rumours about everything from the singer’s supposed spousal abuse to how long he brushes his teeth. Then of course there’s the intriguing question of who’s gonna … Continue reading Gilby Clarke plays Pawnshop Guitars, says “everything’s cool” in GN’R

Hey guitar freaks: Yngwie-fucking-Malmsteen is coming to Vancouver after all! Slash too!

Last month I did a blog about how a lot of amazing rock guitarists—Pat Travers, Jake E. Lee, Yngwie Malmsteen, Slash, et cetera—were playing Stateside gigs this year but weren't crossing the border to bring us Canucks a taste of their wild licks. Well, over the weekend Travers played a whiskey-snortin' gig at some place in … Continue reading Hey guitar freaks: Yngwie-fucking-Malmsteen is coming to Vancouver after all! Slash too!