That time Gord Downie told me about the Tragically Hip touring with Page & Plant and opening for 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 That time Gord Downie told me about the Tragically Hip touring with Page & Plant and opening for the Rolling Stones

That time Gord Downie told me about the “unique” 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 That time Gord Downie told me about the “unique” life on the road with the Tragically Hip

That time Gord Downie told me that the Tragically Hip was just striving to exist in the United States

By Steve Newton When people discuss the history of the Tragically Hip, one subject that arises is how the band was unable to make it big in the States, and to garner anything resembling the same degree of commercial success that they enjoyed up in Canada. When I did my third interview with Gord Downie, … Continue reading That time Gord Downie told me that the Tragically Hip was just striving to exist in the United States

That time Gord Downie raved to me about Tragically Hip 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 That time Gord Downie raved to me about Tragically Hip tourmates Change of Heart and the Odds

That time Gord Downie told me about Bill Barilko and the story behind the Tragically Hip’s “50 Mission Cap”

By Steve Newton I did my second interview with the Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie in November of 1992, one month after the release of the Fully Completely album. As you may already know, that's the best Hip album ever, partly because of the uber-Canadian song "50 Mission Cap", which mentions a hockey card and … Continue reading That time Gord Downie told me about Bill Barilko and the story behind the Tragically Hip’s “50 Mission Cap”

That time Gord Downie told me about the music scene in Kingston and being influenced by the Yardbirds and Stones

By Steve Newton Back in 2016, when the awful news about Gord Downie's incurable brain cancer came out, I started posting excerpts from the first interview I did with him 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 one … Continue reading That time Gord Downie told me about the music scene in Kingston and being influenced by the Yardbirds and Stones

That time Gord Downie told me that the Tragically Hip made Up To Here to fit its own standards

By Steve Newton Back in September of 1989 I did my first interview with the Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie. At the time Downie was just 25, and the band was basking in the recent release of its incredible Up To Here album. At one point in the conversaiton I sorta played the devils' advocate … Continue reading That time Gord Downie told me that the Tragically Hip made Up To Here to fit its own standards

That time Gord Downie told me about the new Hip tunes “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 That time Gord Downie told me about the new Hip tunes “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

The Tragically Hip rises above poor sound in Vancouver to peak with “Nautical Disaster”

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 23, 2000 By Steve Newton Are the Tragically Hip, long thought of as Canada’s best rock band, finally losing their grip on that title? The fact that it just played two shows at the 12,000-seat Pacific Coliseum might make you think the Kingston quintet is as popular as … Continue reading The Tragically Hip rises above poor sound in Vancouver to peak with “Nautical Disaster”

25-year-old Gordon Downie talks “38 Years Old” on the Tragically Hip’s Up to Here tour

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 1989 By Steve Newton What's the most important element in a new band as far as making it in rock goes? Some might say financial backing, although when you look at groups like Kiss or the Sex Pistols it's pretty clear that image and/or hype are as effective … Continue reading 25-year-old Gordon Downie talks “38 Years Old” on the Tragically Hip’s Up to Here tour

The Tragically Hip to release super-deluxe edition of the Newt’s fave Hip album

By Steve Newton When you love the Tragically Hip as much as I do—or did, anyway, back in the '90s—it's hard to pinpoint one favourite album. But let's try anyway. My alltime fave song of theirs—the one that has given me the most chills when heard either on record or live—is "Nautical Disaster", so sometimes … Continue reading The Tragically Hip to release super-deluxe edition of the Newt’s fave Hip album

The Northern Pikes’ Bryan Potvin still plays air-guitar to the Tragically Hip

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 23, 1990 By Steve Newton “Never judge lovers by good-looking covers,” warned Phil Lynott on “Romeo and the Lonely Girl”, a track from Thin Lizzy’s classic ’76 album, Jailbreak. Bryan Potvin of the Northern Pikes didn’t heed Lynott’s advice and paid the price, as evidenced by “She Ain't … Continue reading The Northern Pikes’ Bryan Potvin still plays air-guitar to the Tragically Hip

Gordon Downie thanks Bruce Allen for making the Tragically Hip famous in Vancouver

mike chernoff photo ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MARCH 18, 1999 By Steve Newton I’ve always been mightily impressed by the Tragically Hip’s live presentation. It didn’t matter which venue I’d see them in—whether it was the wee Railway Club or sprawling T-Bird Stadium, the classic Commodore or scenic Seabird Island—I always went away … Continue reading Gordon Downie thanks Bruce Allen for making the Tragically Hip famous in Vancouver

Bruce Allen’s anti-Hip rants can’t tarnish Canada’s best band

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 3, 1997 By Steve Newton The last time I tuned in to Bruce Allen’s Soundoff show on CFOX, I caught the loudmouthed rock mogul in one of his favourite on-air acts: slagging the Tragically Hip. The band had just released its live album, Live Between Us, and Allen … Continue reading Bruce Allen’s anti-Hip rants can’t tarnish Canada’s best band

Gord Downie sinks the cue ball after the Hip gets a hero’s welcome on the Trouble at the Henhouse tour

@shotbykevin ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 14, 1996 By Steve Newton At a private party in Yaletown last Friday (November 8), after the first of three Tragically Hip shows at the Pacific Coliseum, vocalist Gordon Downie leaned determinedly over a pool table to set up what he hoped would be a game-winning shot. … Continue reading Gord Downie sinks the cue ball after the Hip gets a hero’s welcome on the Trouble at the Henhouse tour

Barstool Prophets rile the censors at the nation’s music station

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 31, 1995 One of my favourite Canadian indie releases of 1993 was Deflowered, the debut disc by the Barstool Prophets. Quickly made but brimming with conviction, it ended with the particularly memorable “Robin’s Song”, a sweetly swaying, acoustic guitar–driven ode to the ravages of emotional abuse sung with … Continue reading Barstool Prophets rile the censors at the nation’s music station