AC/DC-in-Vancouver news-breaker talks recording rumours, the Warehouse connection, and the magic of Malcolm Young

By Steve Newton I've interviewed hundreds of rock musicians over the past 35 years, but I've only been interviewed myself a few times--most of those discussions taking place earlier this year when local Tragically Hip fans like Jody Vance and Drex wanted to know about the book I'd just written about Gord Downie. But I was on … Continue reading AC/DC-in-Vancouver news-breaker talks recording rumours, the Warehouse connection, and the magic of Malcolm Young

Album review: The Tragically Hip, Phantom Power (1998)

  ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 20, 1998 By Steve Newton I took my wife, Dawn, to see the Tragically Hip at Thunderbird Stadium last summer when she was seven months pregnant with our first child, Tess Georgia. They say a body is susceptible to sonic vibrations in utero, and I’d have to … Continue reading Album review: The Tragically Hip, Phantom Power (1998)

15 minutes on the phone with 25-year-old Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip

By Steve Newton Back in 1989 I did the first of my five Georgia Straight interviews with Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip. I know a lot of my fellow Hip fans are hurting right now with the news of his passing, so here's something I hope brings a bit of comfort: 15 minutes of Gord … Continue reading 15 minutes on the phone with 25-year-old Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip

The Gord Downie Tapes, 1995: talkin’ hockey right after the lockout

By Steve Newton When I interviewed Tragically Hip singer Gord Downie on January 18, 1995, it had been exactly once week since the end of the historic NHL lockout that had started the previous October. That lockout caused the 1994-1995 hockey season to be shortened from 84 games to 48, the shortest season in 53 years. Tonight … Continue reading The Gord Downie Tapes, 1995: talkin’ hockey right after the lockout

The Gord Downie Tapes, 1992: plugging Fully Completely like he’s a “get-grease-outta-your-carpet” pitchman

By Steve Newton A few weeks back I debuted "The Gord Downie Tapes", my series of blogs in which I offer audio excerpts from the interviews I've done with the Tragically Hip singer over the years. The first three posts featured snippets from the chat I had with Downie in 1989, when he was just 25. Today I'm fast-forwarding … Continue reading The Gord Downie Tapes, 1992: plugging Fully Completely like he’s a “get-grease-outta-your-carpet” pitchman

Neil Osborne calls 54-40’s Casual Viewin’ “the band’s feel-good groove record”

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 12, 2000 When it came to choosing a title for their latest album, Casual Viewin’, local guitar-rockers 54•40 didn’t follow previous procedures and look to their ideals (Fight For Love) or early gigging days (Smilin’ Buddha Cabaret). For their ninth studio album, they simply culled a lyric from … Continue reading Neil Osborne calls 54-40’s Casual Viewin’ “the band’s feel-good groove record”

A killer album is the best revenge for the Headstones’ Hugh Dillon

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, APRIL 20, 2000 By Steve Newton Technical difficulties have been gnawing away at me lately. First, the automatic garage door at our house doesn’t feel like opening; next thing our freaky cat, Toonces, sets off the burglar alarm we just got. Now, 20 minutes into an interview with Headstones … Continue reading A killer album is the best revenge for the Headstones’ Hugh Dillon

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

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

Tom Cochrane takes the honest route on Ragged Ass Road

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, FEB. 1, 1996 By Steve Newton Tom Cochrane’s “Life Is a Highway” was one of the three most-played songs in North America in 1993, which means that a whole whack of folks heard it, whether they wanted to or not. Cochrane admits that, by way of airplay royalties, the … Continue reading Tom Cochrane takes the honest route on Ragged Ass Road

Gordon Downie sees Bruce Allen in a Subway ad at Another Roadside Attraction

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 20, 1995 By Steve Newton The Another Roadside Attraction show at Seabird Island two years ago was one of Gordon Downie’s all-time favourite gigs. The Tragically Hip vocalist told the Georgia Straight recently that it was the natural beauty of the Agassiz location—surrounded by nearby mountains and dense … Continue reading Gordon Downie sees Bruce Allen in a Subway ad at Another Roadside Attraction

Gordon Downie says opening for the Rolling Stones is like being a golf caddy

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 6, 1995 By Steve Newton In 1995, it’s as if the Tragically Hip can do no wrong. Late last February, the Ontario guitar-rockers played a Pacific Coliseum gig that sold out in 20 minutes flat. Not long after that, you could have flicked on Saturday Night Live and … Continue reading Gordon Downie says opening for the Rolling Stones is like being a golf caddy

Spinal Tap crashes the Great Canadian Party to teach “Bitch School”

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 9, 1992 By Steve Newton Any idea how many rock-hungry holidayers you can squeeze into UBC’s Thunderbird Stadium? Well, probably not one single body more than the 30,000 who packed the venue for last Wednesday’s (July 1) Great Canadian Party. There were massive line-ups for food and drink, … Continue reading Spinal Tap crashes the Great Canadian Party to teach “Bitch School”

Flies on Fire fell in love with Canada and the Tragically Hip

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JAN. 16, 1992 By Steve Newton Although Flies on Fire have already released two albums full of honest, no-frills guitar rock with major-label distribution on Atco Records, they haven’t yet made much of a name for themselves. But they’re probably better known to Vancouver rock fans than to the … Continue reading Flies on Fire fell in love with Canada and the Tragically Hip

David Gogo recalls his first encounter with Stevie Ray Vaughan

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MAY 2, 1991 By Steve Newton A lot of people dream about meeting their favourite musicians, and sometimes those dreams even come true. For this scribbler, that first magic moment came when I ran into Thin Lizzy guitarist Scott Gorham at the Pacific Coliseum back in ’78. After his … Continue reading David Gogo recalls his first encounter with Stevie Ray Vaughan

The Tragically Hip brings Road Apples to the Town Pump–and that’s no horseshit

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, FEB. 21, 1991 By Steve Newton I wasn’t expecting such a cheery tone from Tragically Hip lead guitarist Bobby Baker when he called recently from the band’s hometown of Kingston, Ontario. When the band played Vancouver last—at the Trade & Convention Centre’s New Year’s Eve bash—the crowd pelted the … Continue reading The Tragically Hip brings Road Apples to the Town Pump–and that’s no horseshit

Trailer Park Boys director Mike Clattenburg revels in Canuck rock

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, OCT. 4, 2006 Helix isn't normally a band that comes to mind as one of Canada’s finest musical exports. But as director Mike Clattenburg proved in Trailer Park Boys: The Movie, its song “Heavy Metal Love” is the ideal backdrop for slow-mo footage of a skanky trailer-park chick descending from a … Continue reading Trailer Park Boys director Mike Clattenburg revels in Canuck rock

Matt Andersen’s Weightless energized by Hip producer Berlin

Steve Berlin first got noticed on the music scene as a saxophonist for the Blasters, and later on Los Lobos, but in recent years he's been known just as much for his producer credits, having helmed records by such diverse artists as Susan Tedeschi, Deer Tick, Leo Kottke, Buckwheat Zydeco, and Leftover Salmon. Berlin's latest … Continue reading Matt Andersen’s Weightless energized by Hip producer Berlin

There’s not a band in the land that can touch the Hip

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, NOV. 18, 2004 By Steve Newton Has the Tragically Hip finally lost its standing as Canada's top rock band? There's little doubt that Kingston, Ontario's favourite sons have been on a downward slide, popularity-wise, for the last few years. Back in '96, the group came close to selling out the Pacific … Continue reading There’s not a band in the land that can touch the Hip