Devin Townsend on hating guitar, loving Noisescapes, and doing the Steve Vai project “because it was there”

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 1993  By Steve Newton Things have a comical way of working out for some folks in the wacky world of rock ’n’ roll. In the case of 21-year-old Devin Townsend—who came out of nowhere (well, Vancouver, actually) to claim the prestigious lead vocalist spot in Yankee guitar god … Continue reading Devin Townsend on hating guitar, loving Noisescapes, and doing the Steve Vai project “because it was there”

That time I asked Steve Morse if the success of Joe Satriani and Steve Vai boded well for instrumental-rock artists

By Steve Newton When I interviewed Steve Morse for the first time in May of 1991, the American instrumental-rock scene was making great strides. While Morse himself was winning over critics with his Southern Steel album, both Joe Satriani and Steve Vai were heading toward gold-album status with their most recent discs, Flying in a … Continue reading That time I asked Steve Morse if the success of Joe Satriani and Steve Vai boded well for instrumental-rock artists

That time Tommy Aldridge told me that Randy Rhoads was the most talented guitarist he ever played with

By Steve Newton Drum legend Tommy Aldridge has played with some of the greatest rock guitarists of all time: Gary Moore, Steve Vai, Randy Rhoads, Pat Travers, Tony MacAlpine, Scott Gorham, John Sykes. Heck, even his first band of note, Black Oak Arkansas, featured some pretty heavy-duty pickers. When I interviewed Aldridge back in 2001 … Continue reading That time Tommy Aldridge told me that Randy Rhoads was the most talented guitarist he ever played with

Album review: Whitesnake, Slip of the Tongue (1989)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 8, 1989 By Steve Newton David Coverdale sure knows how to make good use of his previously recorded tunes. First he had a huge hit with a revamped version of "Here I Go Again", and now he's resurrected a nine-year-old British hit called "Fool for Your Loving" and … Continue reading Album review: Whitesnake, Slip of the Tongue (1989)

That time I asked 28-year-old Susan Tedeschi what she got from attending Berklee College of Music

By Steve Newton Here's another audio excerpt from my 1998 interview with Susan Tedeschi, for those who think she's awesome, like me. At one point in the interview I asked her about attending Berklee College of Music, which she graduated from in 1991. That's the Boston institution where such stellar musicians as Steely Dan's Donald … Continue reading That time I asked 28-year-old Susan Tedeschi what she got from attending Berklee College of Music

Joe Satriani compares the musical styles and backgrounds of recent G3 tourmates John Petrucci, Uli Jon Roth, and Phil Collen

By Steve Newton I interviewed Joe Satriani a couple of weeks ago, in advance of his show in Vancouver this Friday (June 1) at the Commodore Ballroom. I've seen Satch a bunch of times--including on various G3 Tours with the likes of Eric Johnson, Yngwie Malmsteen, and Steve Vai--so I wanted to ask him about … Continue reading Joe Satriani compares the musical styles and backgrounds of recent G3 tourmates John Petrucci, Uli Jon Roth, and Phil Collen

David Lee Roth shows off manly biceps, a giant surfboard, and Steve Vai on the Skyscraper Tour

@shotbykevin ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MAY 27, 1988 By Steve Newton Whether you like David Lee Roth or not, there's one thing you've got to admit: the guy's a star. It's hard to take your eyes off him, and few did at the Pacific Coliseum last Saturday (May 21). Whether you're ogling his sexy … Continue reading David Lee Roth shows off manly biceps, a giant surfboard, and Steve Vai on the Skyscraper Tour

Album review: Joe Satriani, Surfing with the Alien (1988)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 3, 1988 By Steve Newton Boy, talk about a guitarist's wet dream! This Satriani guy comes up with some of the wildest, most innovative rock guitar sounds in many a day. He even makes Eddie Van Halen sound like a hacker! Okay, so maybe he's not that good. But if … Continue reading Album review: Joe Satriani, Surfing with the Alien (1988)

Album review: David Lee Roth, Skyscraper (1988)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, FEB. 12. 1988 By Steve Newton Old Diamond Dave had his hands full surpassing his 1986 LP Eat 'Em and Smile, but with this new one, Skyscraper, he's certainly done just that. In his first endeavour as producer Roth has come up with a brilliantly played and varied hard-rock album … Continue reading Album review: David Lee Roth, Skyscraper (1988)

Caught on tape: that time Strat fanatic Yngwie Malmsteen trash-talked Ibanez and Les Paul guitars

By Steve Newton The most popular story I ever posted on Ear of Newt--until I broke the news about AC/DC being spotted in Vancouver back in 2018--was the one from 2014 with the headline Yngwie Malmsten calls Ibanez guitars "a bad copy" of the Strat and says Les Pauls are "furniture". For some reason people--mostly guitar players, … Continue reading Caught on tape: that time Strat fanatic Yngwie Malmsteen trash-talked Ibanez and Les Paul guitars

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: Joe Satriani/Eric Johnson/Steve Vai G3—Live in Concert (1997)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 10, 1997 By Steve Newton Talk about a rock-guitar freak’s dream gig! Three American masters of the electric six-string unite for a tour that sees each of them performing a separate set before they combine on a three-song jam-o-rama. Break out the air guitars, kids—and dust up on … Continue reading Album review: Joe Satriani/Eric Johnson/Steve Vai G3—Live in Concert (1997)

Album review: Nathan Cavaleri Band, Nathan (1994)

  ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 22, 1994 By Steve Newton Rock-guitar wizards just keep getting younger and younger. Last year I thought I’d seen the littlest guitar wizard around when 13-year-old Steve Vai protégé Thomas McRocklin and his band, Bad4Good, opened for Joe Satriani at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. Now 11-year-old Australian … Continue reading Album review: Nathan Cavaleri Band, Nathan (1994)

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)

David Lee Roth comes out of his shell in Vancouver on the Eat ‘Em and Smile tour

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 12, 1986 By Steve Newton David Lee Roth's concert at the Pacific Coliseum last Sunday (December 7) should go down as one of the loudest gigs the old hockey rink has ever hosted. We're talking precautionary Kleenex in the ears, no less. Luckily, for those tough enough to handle … Continue reading David Lee Roth comes out of his shell in Vancouver on the Eat ‘Em and Smile tour

Tosin Abasi doesn’t think Yngwie Malmsteen is a pompous ass: “It’s just his clarity of vision”

By Steve Newton When I interviewed guitar hero Tosin Abasi before the Animals as Leaders concert in Vancouver in 2016, I asked him a few questions about the pickers he'd performed with earlier that year on the Generation Axe tour. As well as Steve Vai, Zakk Wylde, and Nuno Bettencourt, Abasi was in the company … Continue reading Tosin Abasi doesn’t think Yngwie Malmsteen is a pompous ass: “It’s just his clarity of vision”

Tosin Abasi recalls Generation Axe: “I was privy to stories that fans would kill to hear”

By Steve Newton A coupla days ago I called guitar hero Tosin Abasi up at his home in L.A. to chat about the upcoming album by his prog-metal trio, Animals as Leaders, which plays Vancouver's Commodore Ballroom on November 16. The first time I'd ever seen Abasi in the flesh was back in April when … Continue reading Tosin Abasi recalls Generation Axe: “I was privy to stories that fans would kill to hear”

Bass god Stu Hamm compares Joe Satriani to Steve Vai and raves about Jaco Pastorius

By Steve Newton Way back in October of 1991 I did an interview with bassist Stu Hamm, a giant of the four-string who was best known for his work with guitar heroes Joe Satriani and Steve Vai. He had recently released his album The Urge, and was headed to Vancouver for a club gig. At … Continue reading Bass god Stu Hamm compares Joe Satriani to Steve Vai and raves about Jaco Pastorius

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

Generation Axe in Vancouver: 2.5 million notes and no wanking (except for Yngwie)

By Steve Newton Went to see the Generation Axe show in Vancouver last night--featuring Steve Vai, Yngwie Malmsteen, Zakk Wylde, Nuno Bettencourt, and Tosin Abasi--and, as expected, there were a lotta notes. But the term "wanking" didn't come to mind that often, surprisingly--and usually only when flashmaster Malmsteen was practicing his scales at breakneck speed. … Continue reading Generation Axe in Vancouver: 2.5 million notes and no wanking (except for Yngwie)

Newt’s Top 10 albums of 2000

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 14, 2000 By Steve Newton Sometimes I feel like I don’t know anything at all about popular music. Maybe you feel that way too—like I don’t know anything at all about popular music. I just don’t understand how a hate-filled sicko like Eminem can be revered by millions. … Continue reading Newt’s Top 10 albums of 2000

Newt’s Top 10 albums of 1995

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 1995 By Steve Newton I must have gotten tired of listening to rock vocalists in 1995, because the majority of my top picks for the year turned out to be instrumental releases. Who needs to rack their brain deciphering lyrics when a well-handled guitar can do all the … Continue reading Newt’s Top 10 albums of 1995

The Aristocrats’ Guthrie Govan on the influence of Joe Satriani and Zal Cleminson

By Steve Newton Back in 2015 I interviewed guitarist Guthrie Govan, who--while not nearly as well known as the Satrianis and Vais of the world--is equally monstrous when it comes to technical ability and musical inventiveness. He plays in an instrumental rock-fusion trio called the Aristocrats, which made its debut Vancouver appearance at the Rickshaw Theatre. … Continue reading The Aristocrats’ Guthrie Govan on the influence of Joe Satriani and Zal Cleminson

Tommy Aldridge talks Black Oak Arkansas, Whitesnake, Ozzy, and the brilliance of Randy Rhoads

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MAY 10, 1990 By Steve Newton After several years in the rock critic biz, it's easy for a writer to pick up the ONNTD syndrome. That's an affliction that occurs when you request an interview with a big-name band and the record company won't let you talk to the … Continue reading Tommy Aldridge talks Black Oak Arkansas, Whitesnake, Ozzy, and the brilliance of Randy Rhoads

B’z guitarist Tak Matsumoto speaks little English, lets his signature Les Paul to the talkin’

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 16, 2003 By Steve Newton Up until a few weeks ago, my knowledge of popular music in Japan was pretty slim. About all I knew for sure was that Cheap Trick used to cause a big stir over there in the ’70s when they played a place called … Continue reading B’z guitarist Tak Matsumoto speaks little English, lets his signature Les Paul to the talkin’

Steve Vai on cocky G3 tourmate Yngwie Malmsteen and tormented “genius” Devin Townsend

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 9, 2003 By Steve Newton I was a tad taken aback when the press release came in announcing the lineup for Joe Satriani’s 2003 G3 Tour. It wasn’t a surprise to see long-time G3er (and former Satch student) Steve Vai’s name on the bill. But I didn’t expect … Continue reading Steve Vai on cocky G3 tourmate Yngwie Malmsteen and tormented “genius” Devin Townsend

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