That time I called up the Guess Who’s Randy Bachman and he raved about touring with Joe Cocker

lauren marshall photo By Steve Newton I've interviewed at least two guitar legends who liked touring with Joe Cocker. Back in 1990 I talked to Stevie Ray Vaughan about his coheadlining tour with Cocker, and he was right into it. Then in 2001 the Guess Who was sharing a bill with the gravelly voiced Brit, … Continue reading That time I called up the Guess Who’s Randy Bachman and he raved about touring with Joe Cocker

That time Buddy Guy told me how badly he wanted Stevie Ray Vaughan’s photo on his album cover

By Steve Newton Buddy Guy is one of my favourite old-school blues guitarists, right up there with Albert King, B.B. King, and Albert Collins. I've been fortunate enough to have interviewed him five times, and seen him perform live many more times than that. I did my first interview with Buddy in August of '91, … Continue reading That time Buddy Guy told me how badly he wanted Stevie Ray Vaughan’s photo on his album cover

That time I asked Carlos Santana how he gets his guitar tone

By Steve Newton One of the biggest thrills of my life as a rock journalist came when I interviewed Carlos Santana in August of 2011. His guitar sound has just entranced me ever since I first heard "Black Magic Woman" as a kid. So of course I had to ask him where he gets his … Continue reading That time I asked Carlos Santana how he gets his guitar tone

Eric Clapton stopped the car when he heard Stevie Ray Vaughan’s guitar solo on “Let’s Dance”

By Steve Newton Where were you when you first heard Stevie Ray Vaughan's killer guitar playing on David Bowie's 1983 hit single, "Let's Dance"? It was definitely the type of thing that caught your ear, because you sure as shit didn't hear much Albert King-style soloing on commercial radio up until that point. According to … Continue reading Eric Clapton stopped the car when he heard Stevie Ray Vaughan’s guitar solo on “Let’s Dance”

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

Dick Dale–the Strat-shredding, pick-melting King of the Surf Guitar–is dead at 81

By Steve Newton The unconfirmed reports circulating earlier today have now been confirmed: Dick Dale, the legendary guitarist whose finger-bleeding fretting style inspired countless guitarists, has died at 81. Dale's passing was confirmed by his bass player, Sam Bolle, and first reported by the California Rocker website. No cause of death was given, but Dale … Continue reading Dick Dale–the Strat-shredding, pick-melting King of the Surf Guitar–is dead at 81

Joe Bonamassa’s “Guitar Event of the Year” sabotaged by poor sound (at least from where I was sitting)

By Steve Newton Man, was I ever stoked for Joe Bonamassa's show--the first of three nights--at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver last night. For starters, the dude's a wicked guitarist, as most folks know, and his latest album, Redemption, blew me away, especially tracks like "Molly O", "Just 'Cos You Can Don't Mean You … Continue reading Joe Bonamassa’s “Guitar Event of the Year” sabotaged by poor sound (at least from where I was sitting)

Chillin’ with blues legend Buddy Guy backstage at the Commodore

By Steve Newton Here's me hangin' with one of my fave all-time bluesmen, Mr. Buddy Guy. It was backstage at the Commodore Ballroom, one of the top concert venues in Vancouver. I remember this meeting well, because the former proprietor of the Commodore, local legend Drew Burns, also showed up to say hi to Buddy. … Continue reading Chillin’ with blues legend Buddy Guy backstage at the Commodore

Buddy Guy’s autobiography reflects the bittersweet beauty of the blues

By Steve Newton Like the blues itself, the life of Buddy Guy has been all about joy and pain, beauty and sadness. And in his autobiography, When I Left Home, the 81-year-old blues legend tells his tales of hardship and triumph with the same raw, truth-telling vibe you'll pick up from one of his searing guitar solos. … Continue reading Buddy Guy’s autobiography reflects the bittersweet beauty of the blues

Album review: Lonnie Mack, Strike Like Lightning (1985)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MAY 24, 1985 By Steve Newton Strike Like Lightning--the newest release from blues innovator Lonnie Mack--packs a sizzling guitar-drenched punch. Produced by Mack and six-string hero Stevie Ray Vaughan, the album features Vaughan's nifty fretwork on five tracks, including the go-for-broke instrumental "Double Whammy" and the acoustic, back-porch jam of … Continue reading Album review: Lonnie Mack, Strike Like Lightning (1985)

Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues overflows with deathless blues classics

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 18, 2003 By Steve Newton Many music fans have discovered the beauty of the blues while uncovering the roots of rock, yours truly included. Twenty-some-odd years ago I got set on that course by a pedal-steel guitarist and country-bluegrass performer named Smokin’ Joe Michno. As a dedicated hard-rock … Continue reading Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues overflows with deathless blues classics

Album review: Jimmy Thackery, Guitar (2003)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MARCH 20, 2003 By Steve Newton Last year American blues-rock guitar ace Jimmy Thackery released a wonderfully overdue tribute to relatively unknown music great Eddie Hinton. Now he tips the hat to a few other six-string stalwarts with Guitar, collecting nine instrumental tracks from his own Blind Pig back … Continue reading Album review: Jimmy Thackery, Guitar (2003)

Fabulous Thunderbirds guitarist Jimmie Vaughan says his favourite thing about music, and life, is style

charles campbell photo ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 9, 1987 By Steve Newton Like the title of their latest album, the Fabulous Thunderbirds of Austin, Texas, are a Hot Number these days. Their previous LP, the Dave Edmunds-produced Tuff Enuff, sold nearly a million copies, and their latest disc, also produced by Edmunds, … Continue reading Fabulous Thunderbirds guitarist Jimmie Vaughan says his favourite thing about music, and life, is style

Album review: Buddy Guy, Slippin’ In (1994)

  ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 15, 1994 By Steve Newton I always felt that Buddy Guy’s two Grammy award–winning ’90s releases—Damn Right I’ve Got the Blues and Feels Like Rain—were fine examples of the legendary guitarist’s crossover blues, but when I wanted to hear him at his raw, sweaty, string-strangling best I … Continue reading Album review: Buddy Guy, Slippin’ In (1994)

Album review: The Vaughan Brothers, Family Style (1990)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 18, 1990 By Steve Newton If any solace at all can be found in the wake of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s tragic helicopter-crash death, it lies in the fact that, before he passed on, Stevie got to do something he’s always wanted to do—make an album with his older … Continue reading Album review: The Vaughan Brothers, Family Style (1990)

Mason Ruffner was inspired by Jimmy Page to inject fire into his Gypsy Blood

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 31, 1987 By Steve Newton The Fabulous Thunderbirds are from Austin, Texas. Mason Ruffner is from Forth Worth. The Fabulous Thunderbirds hit it big last year with an album produced by Dave Edmunds. Mason Ruffner is hitting it big this year with an album produced by Dave Edmunds. … Continue reading Mason Ruffner was inspired by Jimmy Page to inject fire into his Gypsy Blood

18-year-old Kenny Wayne Shepherd recalls being seven and watching Stevie Ray Vaughan from Stevie’s amp case

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 28, 1995 By Steve Newton If a longhaired, bearded, beer-bellied guy in a teal Precidia pulls up next to you on a rain-soaked Vancouver street, there’s a good chance it’ll be me. And if the unmistakable strains of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s guitar are escaping the vehicle’s minute confines, … Continue reading 18-year-old Kenny Wayne Shepherd recalls being seven and watching Stevie Ray Vaughan from Stevie’s amp case

That time blues legend Otis Rush told me that he was always tryin’

By Steve Newton I've interviewed a lot of legendary blues guitarists over the years. B.B. King, Albert King, Buddy Guy, Albert Collins, Stevie Ray Vaughan--they don't get much more famous than that. But I've also managed to score time with lesser-known blues artists who--though not as familiar to the average music fan--have been very influential … Continue reading That time blues legend Otis Rush told me that he was always tryin’

David Gogo drinks “anything that’s liquid” and uses the empty glass for a slide in Vancouver

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 19, 1991 By Steve Newton Does 22-year-old David Gogo have what it takes to become Canada’s next blues-rock guitar hero? Can his name be mentioned along with the likes of Jeff Healey, Colin James, and Tony “Wild T” Springer? That question could be on a few minds these … Continue reading David Gogo drinks “anything that’s liquid” and uses the empty glass for a slide in Vancouver

Albert King’s “adopted grandson” Little Jimmy King salvages Vancouver gig with Hendrix-style string-chomping

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 6, 1995 By Steve Newton Sometimes greatness takes a while to reveal itself, and that was certainly the case at the Commodore on June 30. After a set of gospel-laced blues and spiritual tunes by the Holmes Brothers that included some soulful harmonizing on dusty standards such as … Continue reading Albert King’s “adopted grandson” Little Jimmy King salvages Vancouver gig with Hendrix-style string-chomping

Texas guitar-slinger Chris Duarte talks Hendrix, Santana, Doyle Bramhall, and the Vaughan brothers

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN EXPERIENCE HENDRIX MAGAZINE, WINTER 2000 By Steve Newton When Texas blues-rock guitar-wizard Chris Duarte got married earlier this year, he commissioned his bassist, Jon Jordan, to compose a song for the occasion. Jordan came up with the hauntingly beautiful "Duarte Ezell", a piece that was performed at the wedding ceremony by a string … Continue reading Texas guitar-slinger Chris Duarte talks Hendrix, Santana, Doyle Bramhall, and the Vaughan brothers

Stevie Ray Vaughan six weeks before the crash: “I would hate to get caught playing my last gig not trying”

By Steve Newton I didn't go into journalism to get rich--and if you saw my bank balance you'd know that for a fact. But whenever I look back and go "Hell yeah, I got to interview Stevie Ray Vaughan twice!" it makes me realize that the career choice has spawned some golden moments. Like that time back … Continue reading Stevie Ray Vaughan six weeks before the crash: “I would hate to get caught playing my last gig not trying”

Blues-rock guitar great Lonnie Mack, idol of Stevie Ray Vaughan, dies at 74

By Steve Newton The music world is still in heavy mourning, trying to come to grips with the shocking news of Prince's death today. But the pop legend from Minneapolis wasn't the only gifted artist to pass away on April 21, 2016. Alligator Records sent out a press release tonight relaying the sad news that guitar … Continue reading Blues-rock guitar great Lonnie Mack, idol of Stevie Ray Vaughan, dies at 74

That time Stevie Ray Vaughan sang me a couple of lines from one of Jimi Hendrix’s fave tunes

By Steve Newton Since 1982 I've been chatting with famous rock stars and collecting the interviews on cheap cassette tapes. Even now I refuse to use a digital recording device, as most of my more intrepid colleagues do. Like Joe Walsh, I'm an analog man, I guess. Lucky for me, most of those ancient cassettes … Continue reading That time Stevie Ray Vaughan sang me a couple of lines from one of Jimi Hendrix’s fave tunes

David Bowie’s Glass Spider tour helps Frampton come alive again

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 21, 1987 By Steve Newton Old rockers never die, they just play guitar for David Bowie. At least, that's what Peter Frampton was doing at B.C. Place last Saturday. But Frampton and Bowie actually go back a long way--all the way back to the art school they used … Continue reading David Bowie’s Glass Spider tour helps Frampton come alive again

Remembering David Bowie in the seventies

  By Steve Newton Talk about a shocker. Got up at the usual 7 this morning, realized there was no instant coffee--and no wife awake to make me a latte--so went straight to the cell phone. Saw a tweet about a new concert announcement that needed blogging, so headed over to the computer, clicked on … Continue reading Remembering David Bowie in the seventies

Newt’s Top 10 albums of 1983

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JAN. 13, 1984 By Steve Newton Stevie Ray Vaughan Texas Flood  “Texas Flood is by far my most played album these days. It’s one of those rare albums where every song is a winner…if your’re a fanatic of electric blues guitar, you’ve got to have this record.” Gary Moore Corridors … Continue reading Newt’s Top 10 albums of 1983