That time Zakk Wylde told me about jamming with Skynyrd and covering for Dickey Betts in the Allmans

By Steve Newton Zakk Wylde may be best known as the guitarist and songwriter who took over from Jake E. Lee to help Ozzy Osbourne stay on the charts with tunes like "No More Tears" and "Perry Mason", but southern-rock fans also know him as the frontman in the power trio Pride & Glory, which was … Continue reading That time Zakk Wylde told me about jamming with Skynyrd and covering for Dickey Betts in the Allmans

Donald Kinsey laments the death of Roy Buchanan, relives the attempted assassination of Bob Marley

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 2, 1988 By Steve Newton Donald Kinsey knows the meaning of the blues. Lately--in the wake of Roy Buchanan's suicide--he knows it better than ever. Kinsey was a good buddy of Buchanan's, and played guitar on his late two albums, Hot Wires and Dancing on the Edge. Since … Continue reading Donald Kinsey laments the death of Roy Buchanan, relives the attempted assassination of Bob Marley

Album review: Pearl Jam, Vs. (1993)

  ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 25, 1993 By Steve Newton Although I became a fan of Pearl Jam the first time I heard its debut album, Ten, I must admit that I haven’t played that disc a lot since scoring a review copy back in ’91. Shortly after its release I saw … Continue reading Album review: Pearl Jam, Vs. (1993)

Rick Rizzo thinks Eleventh Dream Day sounds better live because of the sonicness of the guitars

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, APRIL 25, 1991 By Steve Newton Some bands just aren’t happy unless they’re recording in the fanciest, most expensive studios around. Then there are bands like Chicago’s Eleventh Dream Day, which laid down the tracks for its latest album in a Kentucky tobacco barn. The band members had to … Continue reading Rick Rizzo thinks Eleventh Dream Day sounds better live because of the sonicness of the guitars

Tony “Wild T” Springer isn’t worried about being pegged as a Hendrix clone any more

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MAY 30, 1991 By Steve Newton The first thing you see when you scan Tony “Wild T” Springer & the Spirit’s Warner Music bio isn’t a background on the Trinidad-born, Toronto-based blues-rocker, or even some over-zealous copywriter’s frothings, but a quote from Jeff Healey, who claims that guitarist Wild … Continue reading Tony “Wild T” Springer isn’t worried about being pegged as a Hendrix clone any more

Blues Traveler’s John Popper went from the Blues Brothers to Paul Butterfield to Elmore James to Hendrix

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 3, 1991 By Steve Newton If you were ever a big fan of the Blues Brothers, chances are you appreciate a few chuckles tossed in with your listening. Blues Traveler singer/harmonica player John Popper certainly does. In fact, it was his love of comedy that first got him … Continue reading Blues Traveler’s John Popper went from the Blues Brothers to Paul Butterfield to Elmore James to Hendrix

Drummer Steve Smith gave up Journey’s arena rock to gain Vital Information

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MARCH 27, 1987 By Steve Newton It's a long way, in musical terms, from the commercial rock of Journey to the improvisational jazz of Vital Information. But for drummer Steve Smith, who appears at the Town Pump Friday (March 27) with Vital Information, it was a route that had … Continue reading Drummer Steve Smith gave up Journey’s arena rock to gain Vital Information

Humble guitar master Allan Holdsworth always struggles to pay the rent

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 4, 1986 By Steve Newton Today he's regarded by critics and musicians alike as one of the most distinctive guitarists in the world. He's been the principal soloist for the likes of U.K., Gong, Bill Bruford, Soft Machine, Tony Williams' Lifeime and Jean-Luc Ponty. And he's one of … Continue reading Humble guitar master Allan Holdsworth always struggles to pay the rent

Roy Buchanan on being asked to join the Stones, his fave guitarists, and Jeff Beck’s dedication to him

By Steve Newton On January 26, 1986, I did my first interview with guitar legend Roy Buchanan. He was coming to Vancouver for a show at the Town Pump, so I called him up at his hotel in Salt Lake City and got the scoop. In this particular excerpt we talked about him being asked … Continue reading Roy Buchanan on being asked to join the Stones, his fave guitarists, and Jeff Beck’s dedication to him

Roy Buchanan lets his soul scream in Vancouver

 shoulda got Roy's autograph when I had the chance ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, FEB. 14, 1986 By Steve Newton There were some people who felt that Roy Buchanan played way too loud and not nearly enough at the Town Pump last Monday (February 10). Then there were others--like myself--who could care less about … Continue reading Roy Buchanan lets his soul scream in Vancouver

Roy Buchanan on turning down the Stones and being flattered by Beck

me 'n Roy backstage at the Pump, February 10, 1986 ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, FEB. 7, 1986 By Steve Newton Not many guitarists can say they were invited to join the Rolling Stones. Not many can say they turned the offer down either. But Roy Buchanan--quite possibly the best white blues guitarist in … Continue reading Roy Buchanan on turning down the Stones and being flattered by Beck

My one and only interview with blues legend Albert Collins, who wanted to meet Clapton real bad

kirk west photo ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 27, 1985 By Steve Newton Musician Magazine calls him "the most powerful blues guitarist in the world." He has won awards from the Montreaux Jazz Festival, the French Academie du Jazz, and the Memphis Blues Foundation, and received three Grammy nominations. He is known as … Continue reading My one and only interview with blues legend Albert Collins, who wanted to meet Clapton real bad

Nirvana plays the Town Pump in Vancouver (two days after the Beat Farmers)

Twenty-five years ago today—on March 12, 1990—Nirvana played Vancouver's Town Pump on a double-bill with fellow Seattle grunge-rockers Tad. Remember that amazing gig? I don't. For some strange reason I didn't go, although a year later I'd return to the fabled Gastown venue to review Tad, and then six months after that, the mighty Pearl Jam. I've been … Continue reading Nirvana plays the Town Pump in Vancouver (two days after the Beat Farmers)

13 Engines are runaway locomotives at the Town Pump in Vancouver

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 15, 1991 13 Engines once played a gig in Memphis to a total of two people, which is less of a crowd than most bands get at rehearsals. But the Toronto foursome did a heckuva lot better than that at the Town Pump last week (August 7), pulling … Continue reading 13 Engines are runaway locomotives at the Town Pump in Vancouver

John Doe goes solo on some “basic roots shit” but that doesn’t mean X is dead

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 2, 1990 By Steve Newton Some rock musicians, when you ask them about their music, go to great lengths to describe the sounds they create. Not John Doe. "It's your basic roots shit," says the recently-gone-solo former bassist/vocalist for California's X. "But we try to keep twisting it … Continue reading John Doe goes solo on some “basic roots shit” but that doesn’t mean X is dead

Toronto’s Rusty made Vancouver home for its Sophomoric CD

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, APRIL 24, 1997 I’m usually a pretty patient guy, but sitting at a table in the Web Café, waiting for Rusty singer Ken MacNeil to show up, I’m losing it. He’s only 10 minutes late for our scheduled 6 p.m. interview, but it seems like an hour, because every … Continue reading Toronto’s Rusty made Vancouver home for its Sophomoric CD

Foghat cymbal crashes require no caffeine buzz on Odds’ new Nest

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MARCH 13, 1997 By Steve Newton What better place to interview Odds singer-guitarist Craig Northey than at the Roxy Cabaret on Granville? Not only do they have beer there, but it’s also the old haunt of Dawn Patrol, the Odds’ alter ego house band, which played there from 1988 … Continue reading Foghat cymbal crashes require no caffeine buzz on Odds’ new Nest

Illinois duo Local H is bound for glory with “Bound For the Floor”

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JAN. 30, 1997 Thanks to the popularity of an angst-ridden grunge-pop ditty called “Bound for the Floor”, Illinois rock duo Local H is making tsunami-sized waves on North American radio right now. The group is also garnering attention for its unusual configuration, although vocalist-guitarist Scott Lucas and drummer Joe … Continue reading Illinois duo Local H is bound for glory with “Bound For the Floor”

Ocean Colour Scene gives shout-out to southern soul with Moseley Shoals

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 28, 1996 Chatting with hungover rock musicians isn’t always a ton o’ fun, but sometimes you can’t blame them for knocking back a few cocktails the night before an interview. When Ocean Colour Scene guitarist Steve Cradock calls from New York one early afternoon, he’s still feeling the … Continue reading Ocean Colour Scene gives shout-out to southern soul with Moseley Shoals

Punchbuggy’s indie status makes $100 speeding tickets hard to take

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 10, 1996 It’s times like this—when Punchbuggy’s Jim Bryson calls from the chilly wastelands of Saskatchewan—that I feel good about being an observer of rock instead of a participant. I’m cosy at home while he’s shivering at the side of the Trans-Canada Highway, the intermittent swoosh of passing … Continue reading Punchbuggy’s indie status makes $100 speeding tickets hard to take

The Doughboys’ John Kastner is sick of hearing about the Hip

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 19, 1996 When Doughboys singer-guitarist John Kastner rings up and informs me that he’s calling from Kingston, Ontario, I casually comment, “Oh, the home of the Tragically Hip.” I suppose I could have said, “Hey, nice penitentiary they’ve got there.” That might have gone over a little better. … Continue reading The Doughboys’ John Kastner is sick of hearing about the Hip

Zakk Wylde draws from Shannon Hoon’s O.D. for his heavy Book of Shadows

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 5, 1996 By Steve Newton Most hard-rock fans know Zakk Wylde as the young musician who helped rejuvenate metal veteran Ozzy Osbourne’s career by cowriting the hit “No More Tears”, in the process taking the coveted guitarist’s spot previously held by the likes of Randy Rhoads and Jake … Continue reading Zakk Wylde draws from Shannon Hoon’s O.D. for his heavy Book of Shadows

New name suits Semisonic’s sad songs on Great Divide debut

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MAY 2, 1996 There are all kinds of stories about bands being threatened by lawsuits over their names, but you can add another one to the list with the case of Minneapolis power-pop trio Semisonic. They were touring Midwest clubs as Pleasure last year when, out of the blue, … Continue reading New name suits Semisonic’s sad songs on Great Divide debut

Ruth Ruth’s free tapes and gratis gigs led to American Recordings debut

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, APRIL 4, 1996 If you’re a musician, working a day job at a record shop certainly has its perks. First off, you get to listen to music all day. Then maybe you get a discount on CDs. For New York City pop-punks Ruth Ruth, guitarist Mike Lustig’s record-store employment … Continue reading Ruth Ruth’s free tapes and gratis gigs led to American Recordings debut

Seven Mary Three blasts straight outta Florida with American Standard

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 9, 1995 By Steve Newton As soon as I saw the title of Seven Mary Three’s debut release, American Standard, I felt an affinity for the Florida-based guitar-rock quintet. I’ve got a U.S.-made Stratocaster myself; no cheapjack Japanese copy for this kid. And none for 7M3 lead vocalist–guitarist … Continue reading Seven Mary Three blasts straight outta Florida with American Standard

Brother Cane melds Zeppelin-style raunch and southern-rock spirit in Vancouver

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 26, 1995 When I first heard Brother Cane’s self-titled debut CD three years ago, I was mightily impressed by the Alabama quartet’s bluesy, southern-tinged guitar-rock, spurred on as it was by the multiple talents of Damon Johnson, lead guitarist, lead vocalist, and main songwriter. But aside from the … Continue reading Brother Cane melds Zeppelin-style raunch and southern-rock spirit in Vancouver

13 Engines felt right using the Coop’s Nimbus 9 board for Conquistador

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 12, 1995 Toronto guitar-rockers 13 Engines recorded their first two albums in a one-room schoolhouse in the bush near Ann Arbor, Michigan. They made their third one on top of a mountain in Malibu and their fourth in the village of Morin Heights, in Quebec’s Laurentians. For its … Continue reading 13 Engines felt right using the Coop’s Nimbus 9 board for Conquistador