Happy Newt Year: a social-studies teacher really likes my book on Gord Downie

By Steve Newton Happy Newt Year everybody! January 1 is often a day of reflection, going over the previous year's highlights, so let's get reflectin'. As a rock writer, 2018 had some memorable moments. I pulled off my eighth interview with guitar hero Joe Satriani, for one thing. I had my first chat with Gerry … Continue reading Happy Newt Year: a social-studies teacher really likes my book on Gord Downie

Newt’s Rock Hall inducts Mountain, the Cramps, Roy Buchanan, Nazareth, the Georgia Satellites, the New York Dolls, and the Tragically Hip

  By Steve Newton As you may have already heard, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced its Class of 2019 a couple of days ago. It includes: Stevie Nicks, the Cure, Def Leppard, the Zombies, Roxy Music, Radiohead, and Janet Jackson. That's right: Janet Freakin' Jackson. That legendary rock and roller finally got … Continue reading Newt’s Rock Hall inducts Mountain, the Cramps, Roy Buchanan, Nazareth, the Georgia Satellites, the New York Dolls, and the Tragically Hip

Idiots at the Rock Hall think Janet Jackson is more deserving of nomination than Johnny Winter, Link Wray, and Rory Gallagher

By Steve Newton The nominations for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's class of 2019 were announced recently and, as expected, Jann Wenner and the other dimwits in charge of the place proved themselves jackasses of the highest order. For the past eight years I've been keeping tabs on the RRHOF's shameful derelictions of … Continue reading Idiots at the Rock Hall think Janet Jackson is more deserving of nomination than Johnny Winter, Link Wray, and Rory Gallagher

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

Exclusive excerpt from my new book, Gord Downie, about the late frontman of the Tragically Hip

By Steve Newton The following is the Preface from my new coffeetable book, Gord Downie, published by Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. of New York City and currently available at Indigo, Coles, and Chapters outlets across Canada. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- The first time I spoke to Gord Downie he was a longhaired 25-year-old rocker touring behind his band's first full-length … Continue reading Exclusive excerpt from my new book, Gord Downie, about the late frontman of the Tragically Hip

Win a signed copy of my new book, Gord Downie

By Steve Newton My coffee-table book on Gord Downie comes out on Tuesday, but one lucky person will get by without having to pay the suggested list price. I'm doing a contest, with the prize being a copy signed by yours truly. I could even inscribe "in Gord we trust" on it if the winner … Continue reading Win a signed copy of my new book, Gord Downie

Hey, I wrote a book about Gord Downie, and it looks freakin’ awesome!

By Steve Newton After more than 35 years as a journalist, I'm finally moving up in the world. I'm gonna be an author! Yeah, that's right. Shove over Stephen King, there's an unstoppable new force in the publishing world. Just kidding. But I do have a damn nice-looking book comin' out. On February 6 Indigo … Continue reading Hey, I wrote a book about Gord Downie, and it looks freakin’ awesome!

Rock producer Chris Tsangarides, known for his work with Thin Lizzy, Judas Priest, and the Tragically Hip, dead at 61

By Steve Newton Sad news to report today. Chris Tsangarides--who produced such albums as Thin Lizzy's Thunder and Lightning, Gary Moore's Back on the Streets, and the Tragically Hip's Fully Completely--died of heart failure today after battling pneumonia. He was only 61. Tsangarides, who specialized in hard rock, had also worked on albums by Black … Continue reading Rock producer Chris Tsangarides, known for his work with Thin Lizzy, Judas Priest, and the Tragically Hip, dead at 61

Album review: The Tragically Hip, Live Between Us (1997)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 5, 1997 By Steve Newton It beats the hell outta me why the most Canadian rock band of all time had to go and record its historic live album in the all-powerful U.S. of A. Even if Detroit is Rock City, it doesn’t make sense for these proud … Continue reading Album review: The Tragically Hip, Live Between Us (1997)

Album review: The Tragically Hip, Trouble at the Henhouse (1996)

  ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MAY 9, 1996 By Steve Newton With this, its sixth album, the Tragically Hip appears to be taking the moody musical route favoured when it chose “Grace, Too” as the leadoff single from its previous CD, Day for Night. That tune revealed a more subtle, shadowy side to … Continue reading Album review: The Tragically Hip, Trouble at the Henhouse (1996)

Album review: The Tragically Hip, Day for Night (1994)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 29, 1994 Having gotten kinda used to the Hip starting off its CDs with hard-rocking tunes like “Blow at High Dough” and “Little Bones”, I was somewhat taken aback by Day for Night’s sombre leadoff track, “Grace, Too”. I was happy to hear that the pride of Kingston, … Continue reading Album review: The Tragically Hip, Day for Night (1994)

That time Gord Downie got all “cunty” when I picked his scab about the Hip’s perplexing lack of success in the States

david bastedo photo By Steve Newton I turned 60 today, and sometimes when you reach a milestone I guess maybe you look back on things in your life or career that struck you as special or interesting or memorable in some way. While sipping on the peach vodka my wife bought me for the occasion, … Continue reading That time Gord Downie got all “cunty” when I picked his scab about the Hip’s perplexing lack of success in the States

The Gord Downie Tapes, 1995, Part II: “We’d love to make a record every month”

By Steve Newton Here's the last audio excerpt I'm gonna post from the fourth interview I did with Gordon Downie, back in July of '95. As the interview wound down I asked the legendary Canuck rocker if the Tragically Hip ever got pressure from its record label to crank records out by a particular date. According … Continue reading The Gord Downie Tapes, 1995, Part II: “We’d love to make a record every month”

The Gord Downie Tapes, 1995, Part II: “I just love meeting other musicians. Period.”

By Steve Newton As most Canadian rock fans know, the Tragically Hip ended its final major tour last Saturday with a gig in its Kingston hometown that was broadcast (and celebrated) nationwide. Touring has always been at the heart of what the Hip is all about. Sure, making amazing records is a biggie too, but … Continue reading The Gord Downie Tapes, 1995, Part II: “I just love meeting other musicians. Period.”

That time Craig Northey told me what he really thinks about the Hip not being big in the States

By Steve Newton I did the last of my five interviews with Gord Downie back in October of 1996, when the Tragically Hip was at its peak of popularity. At that point the latest Hip CD, Trouble at the Henhouse, had sold about 100,000 copies in the U.S., which, while a respectable number, still paled drastically … Continue reading That time Craig Northey told me what he really thinks about the Hip not being big in the States

15 of the best quotes I ever got from Gord Downie

By Steve Newton The big Tragically Hip show in their hometown of Kingston, Ontario, is happening tomorrow, broadcast live on the CBC starting at 5:30 pm Vancouver time. I might not be back from opening day at the PNE in time to watch the gig unfold live, but I sure as shit plan to record … Continue reading 15 of the best quotes I ever got from Gord Downie

The Gord Downie Tapes, 1995, Part II: that Saturday Night Live gig

By Steve Newton With the big nationwide broadcast of the Tragically Hip's Kingston concert just two days away, it's time to travel back to another time when Canada as a whole was psyched about seeing Gord and the boys do their thing on the small screen. On March 25, 1995, the Hip played Saturday Night Live, when one … Continue reading The Gord Downie Tapes, 1995, Part II: that Saturday Night Live gig

The Gord Downie Tapes, 1995, Part II: on touring with Page & Plant and the Rolling Stones

By Steve Newton When I interviewed Gord Downie in July of 1995 the Tragically Hip was flying high. Since I'd talked to him six months earlier, the band had won group of the year at the Junos, performed on Saturday Night Live, toured widely with Page & Plant, and opened for the Rolling Stones. Not … Continue reading The Gord Downie Tapes, 1995, Part II: on touring with Page & Plant and the Rolling Stones

The Gord Downie Tapes, 1995, Part II: life on the road with the Tragically Hip

By Steve Newton On July 2, 1995, I did my fourth Georgia Straight interview with the Tragically Hip's Gord Downie. It had only been six months since our previous chat, and it was unusual--even back then, when newspapers were thriving--to publish two feature stories on the same band within such a short span of time. But … Continue reading The Gord Downie Tapes, 1995, Part II: life on the road with the Tragically Hip

The Gord Downie Tapes, 1995: “I don’t think Canadians need someone to tell them that it’s okay to like what they like”

By Steve Newton As we wind down to the Tragically Hip's "last-ever show" on August 20, folks all across Canada are contemplating the legacy of the group. One subject that commonly gets bandied about is the Hip's famous inability to "break through" in the States, and to garner the same degree of commercial success down there as they … Continue reading The Gord Downie Tapes, 1995: “I don’t think Canadians need someone to tell them that it’s okay to like what they like”

The Gord Downie Tapes, 1995: raving about tourmates Change of Heart and the Odds

By Steve Newton One thing I figured out about Gord Downie during the five interviews I did with him between 1989 and 1995 was that he really, really likes musicians. Especially musicians who play in bands. He was always quick to rave about the new groups he'd heard lately, or maybe the ones the Tragically … Continue reading The Gord Downie Tapes, 1995: raving about tourmates Change of Heart and the Odds

The Gord Downie Tapes, 1992: the story behind “50 Mission Cap”

By Steve Newton On this glorious Canada Day weekend I can't think of a better choice for the fifth entry in my "Gord Downie Tapes" series than a snippet of my '92 interview with him in the wake of the Fully Completely album release. As you may already know, that's the best Hip album ever, partly … Continue reading The Gord Downie Tapes, 1992: the story behind “50 Mission Cap”

The Gord Downie Tapes, 1989: On the music scene in Kingston and being influenced by the Yardbirds and Stones

By Steve Newton Over the last couple of weeks, since the awful news about Gord Downie came out, I've been posting excerpts from the first interview I did with him, back in 1989. The first one had him talking about a couple of the tunes on the Hip's then-new album, Up to Here, and the second … Continue reading The Gord Downie Tapes, 1989: On the music scene in Kingston and being influenced by the Yardbirds and Stones

The Gord Downie Tapes, 1989: the Hip made Up To Here to fit its own standards

By Steve Newton Last weekend, in the wake of the devastating news about Gord Downie's terminal brain cancer, I posted a soundbite from the first interview I ever did with the Tragically Hip frontman. It was from 1989, when he was just 25, and the band was basking in the recent release of its incredible Up … Continue reading The Gord Downie Tapes, 1989: the Hip made Up To Here to fit its own standards

The Gord Downie Tapes, 1989: “38 Years Old” and “New Orleans is Sinking”

By Steve Newton You've already heard the bad news, that Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie has terminal brain cancer. You may have also heard the good news, that he and his band are dealing with the diagnosis the only way they know how: by rocking it out on a cross-Canada tour that kicks off in … Continue reading The Gord Downie Tapes, 1989: “38 Years Old” and “New Orleans is Sinking”

Newt’s Top 10 albums of 1998

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 17, 1998 By Steve Newton Yee-hah! I managed to make it through yet another year without having to listen to anyone named DJ anything. The Tragically Hip Phantom Power  Ontario’s guitar-rock kings continue their winning ways with a potent batch of raggedy ruminations on everything Canadian, from Bobby … Continue reading Newt’s Top 10 albums of 1998

The Tragically Hip’s frontman goes Fully Completely bonkers in Vancouver

By Steve Newton Gordon Downie is famous for his wacky stage moves and bizarre gestures, but last night (February 6) at Rogers Arena he ramped up the oddness big-time. I've seen the Tragically Hip numerous times over the years, but never witnessed him being quite so wonderfully nutzoid. The fact that it was his 51st … Continue reading The Tragically Hip’s frontman goes Fully Completely bonkers in Vancouver