That time Jake E. Lee of Badlands told me that hearing Van Halen got him back into hard rock

By Steve Newton Millions of rock fans around the world were mesmerized by Van Halen's sheer rockingness when it blasted onto the music scene in the late seventies. And Jake E. Lee was mightily impressed as well. When I interviewed Lee back in 1992 before a Badlands show in Vancouver we got to talking about … Continue reading That time Jake E. Lee of Badlands told me that hearing Van Halen got him back into hard rock

Van Halen and Scorpions battle it out for stadium-rock supremacy as the Monsters of Rock tour hits Seattle

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 5, 1988 By Steve Newton About 40,000 people paid $38.50 (Cdn) to see the marathon Monsters of Rock show at the Seattle Kingdome last Wednesday (July 27). My calculator blew up when I tried to figure out the night's take, but I do know that the Kingdome is … Continue reading Van Halen and Scorpions battle it out for stadium-rock supremacy as the Monsters of Rock tour hits Seattle

Scorpions’ Klaus Meine talks Monsters of Rock, Savage Amusement, and conquering Russia

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 22, 1988 By Steve Newton It's being billed as Van Halen's Monsters of Rock. Fine and dandy. But if it weren't for "special guests" Scorpions, the five-band rock show that hits Seattle this Wednesday (July 27) wouldn't be nearly as monstrous. With such mediocre acts as Dokken and … Continue reading Scorpions’ Klaus Meine talks Monsters of Rock, Savage Amusement, and conquering Russia

Album review: Van Halen, OU812 (1988)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 8, 1988 By Steve Newton So this album is selling like hotcakes, eh? I hear they shipped a million copies, and are still running out at a lot of record stores. Well, I know that it's hard not to like a band that includes two stars like Eddie … Continue reading Album review: Van Halen, OU812 (1988)

Album review: Van Halen, 5150 (1986)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, APRIL 11, 1986 By Steve Newton One of the most talked about lineup changes in rock these days involves Van Halen's switch from David Lee Roth to Sammy Hagar. "Nobody could replace Diamond Dave", said some, while others pointed to the fine work Hagar did with influential metal band … Continue reading Album review: Van Halen, 5150 (1986)

Album review: Van Halen, Van Halen 3 (1998)

  ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, APRIL 16, 1998 By Steve Newton Ever since Sammy Hagar replaced David Lee Roth as Van Halen’s frontman on 1986’s 5150, the band’s legions of followers have been split into the Sam and Dave camps. Roth proponents feel his macho bravado and hog-in-heat performing style suited the group’s … Continue reading Album review: Van Halen, Van Halen 3 (1998)

Album review: Van Halen, Best of Volume I (1996)

    ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 19, 1996 By Steve Newton Van Halen’s first-ever greatest-hits package is a generous collection of the legendary hard-rock act’s best-known material, but it still has its faults. First off, the two new tracks that reunited the band with David Lee Roth—“Can’t Get This Stuff No More” … Continue reading Album review: Van Halen, Best of Volume I (1996)

David Lee Roth comes out of his shell in Vancouver on the Eat ‘Em and Smile tour

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 12, 1986 By Steve Newton David Lee Roth's concert at the Pacific Coliseum last Sunday (December 7) should go down as one of the loudest gigs the old hockey rink has ever hosted. We're talking precautionary Kleenex in the ears, no less. Luckily, for those tough enough to handle … Continue reading David Lee Roth comes out of his shell in Vancouver on the Eat ‘Em and Smile tour

That time Ronnie Montrose told me that the Montrose LP marked his “kindergarten days” as a guitarist

By Steve Newton Very few albums that I bought as a teen in the seventies had as huge an effect on me as Montrose. I mean, from the very first riff of the very first track of the very first Montrose album, I was like "Holy shit!" It was 1973, I was 17 years old, … Continue reading That time Ronnie Montrose told me that the Montrose LP marked his “kindergarten days” as a guitarist

The Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl rides the rock throne to glory at a hellraising show in Vancouver

all crappy iPhone photos by the Newt By Steve Newton Nobody really expects a millionaire rock star to, after breaking his leg falling off a stage, design a special chair--or "rock throne", if  you will--that allows him to get around like royalty on stage. Is it a burning need to rock out that compels a fellow … Continue reading The Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl rides the rock throne to glory at a hellraising show in Vancouver

The ferocious fire of Eddie Van Halen lights up early soundboard recording

By Steve Newton Well, hey--good things come in pairs, I suppose. No sooner had I finished blogging about the possibility of the Foo Fighters playing some Van Halen in Vancouver tomorrow than I came across this newly uploaded video of VH performing the Kinks' "All Day and All Of the Night" live at the Pasadena Civic … Continue reading The ferocious fire of Eddie Van Halen lights up early soundboard recording

Will the Foo Fighters blast out some old-school Van Halen riffs in Vancouver?

By Steve Newton The Foo Fighters have been paying respects to some fine classic-rock acts on their current tour. During their last gig, in Scotland on Tuesday, the Seattle guitar-rockers played snippets of Van Halen's "Eruption", Queen's "Another One Bites the Dust", and Big Country's "In a Big Country" during the band introduction. And two days earlier … Continue reading Will the Foo Fighters blast out some old-school Van Halen riffs in Vancouver?

Why couldn’t my name have been foil-stamped on a Maiden album instead of Roger Hodgson?

By Steve Newton Gather 'round kiddies and let ole Grandpa Newt tell tales of the long-ago days when the music industry was awash with cash, and promo reps didn't know what do with it all. Back in 1984 some brainiac at A&M Records came up with the idea of putting the names of rock critics the … Continue reading Why couldn’t my name have been foil-stamped on a Maiden album instead of Roger Hodgson?

Van Halen “rock concert” flyer from early Pasadena High School gig unveiled by author Greg Renoff

By Steve Newton If you're anything like me—and by that I mean an old guy who grew up loving guitar-rock in the seventies—that first Van Halen album of '78 was one of the most amazing things ever. At the time, I could barely comprehend how raunchy it was. Eddie's guitarwork was inconceivably fierce. Diamond Dave's caveman … Continue reading Van Halen “rock concert” flyer from early Pasadena High School gig unveiled by author Greg Renoff

That time Guthrie Govan told me that the Aristocrats recreated Eddie Van Halen’s echo from Fair Warning at L.A.’s Sunset Sound

By Steve Newton In 2015 I interviewed Guthrie Govan of the Aristocrats for the Georgia Straight newspaper, but there wasn't enough room in that issue to include all the cool shit the guitar genius had to say to me. So I banged out one blog on the influence of Joe Satriani and Zal Cleminson, and … Continue reading That time Guthrie Govan told me that the Aristocrats recreated Eddie Van Halen’s echo from Fair Warning at L.A.’s Sunset Sound

UZEB may be “the Van Halen of jazz”, but they sure don’t get paid the same

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 7, 1985 By Steve Newton Last year's Vancouver appearance by Quebec jazz/fusion quartet UZEB was one of my picks for the Top Ten concerts of 1984--right up there with Scorpions and R.E.M. Now the group is returning to the Commodore Ballroom for two nights, next Friday and Saturday … Continue reading UZEB may be “the Van Halen of jazz”, but they sure don’t get paid the same

David Lee Roth says he doesn’t regret leaving Van Halen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 8, 1994 By Steve Newton With all the frenzied media attention and intense public speculation surrounding the O.J. Simpson case, it's hard to keep a fair handle on the whole sordid affair. Even such trusted news sources as A Current Affair and the National Enquirer have gotten caught up in the circus. … Continue reading David Lee Roth says he doesn’t regret leaving Van Halen

Wallflowers guitarist more influenced by Ace Frehley than Jakob Dylan’s dad

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MARCH 20, 1997 Most guitarists for hire would jump at the opportunity to join a band featuring Bob Dylan’s son as singer-songwriter; name recognition alone would give that group an instant edge in the competitive rock ’n’ roll game. When Jakob Dylan was on the lookout for a new … Continue reading Wallflowers guitarist more influenced by Ace Frehley than Jakob Dylan’s dad

Alex Van Halen dishes “a little dirt” on who the original VH vocalist could have been

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 7, 1995 By Steve Newton Sometimes it seems as if there are two kinds of people in the world: David Lee Roth folks and Sammy Hagar folks. Dave folks are kind of a wild bunch—they prefer their music with a raw edge, full of primitive, howling vocals and … Continue reading Alex Van Halen dishes “a little dirt” on who the original VH vocalist could have been

Lars Ulrich denies that Grammy “loser” Metallica is mellowing out with …And Justice For All

By Steve Newton On May 31, 1989, Metallica played Vancouver's Pacific Coliseum on a bill with the Cult. This was just three months after the band had its expected Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance stolen away by Jethro Tull--whose Crest of a Knave album somehow beat out Metallica's mighty ...And Justice for All--and metal … Continue reading Lars Ulrich denies that Grammy “loser” Metallica is mellowing out with …And Justice For All

Eddie’s off-the-cuff raunch blasts save Van Halen’s ass while Jimmy Page watches from the wings

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 21, 1991 By Steve Newton Twice during Van Halen’s show at B.C. Place last Wednesday (November 13), shaggy-maned vocalist Sammy Hagar apologized for having throat problems and not being able to sing up to par. The second time, he added, “But the band’s hot, and that's all that … Continue reading Eddie’s off-the-cuff raunch blasts save Van Halen’s ass while Jimmy Page watches from the wings

Ear of Newt’s Top 30 Rock Albums of 1978

I'll always remember 1978 as the year I saw Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers at the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver, when they were touring behind You're Gonna Get It. I'll also remember it for that time Thin Lizzy guitarist Scott Gorham took me backstage when the band opened for Styx at the Coliseum. Unfortunately, I'll … Continue reading Ear of Newt’s Top 30 Rock Albums of 1978

Van Halen still brings the dynamite in both hands

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, OCT. 28, 2004 By Steve Newton Much has been made of the Sam & Dave controversy in regard to American hard-rock legends Van Halen. There are those who scoff at the idea of the band existing without original vocalist David Lee Roth, while others feel that his replacement, Sammy Hagar, has … Continue reading Van Halen still brings the dynamite in both hands

After Van Halen’s Vancouver show the jury’s still out on whether Dave or Sammy rule

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, DEC. 12, 2007 The vast majority of people at last week's (December 5) Van Halen show appeared to be males between the ages of 30 and 50, eager to reconnect with the unbridled guitar-rock noise that erupted straight outta Pasadena when David Lee Roth and Eddie Van Halen hooked up. I … Continue reading After Van Halen’s Vancouver show the jury’s still out on whether Dave or Sammy rule

Van Halen’s Vancouver show reveals its glory days are fading fast

photo by rebecca blissett ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, MAY 8, 2012 Some rock bands from the '70s can still bring the dynamite in both hands. The last time I saw Aerosmith—at Rogers Arena in 2010—they overcame rumours of a pending breakup by delivering a flawless, electrifying set. And two years before that, AC/DC roared through … Continue reading Van Halen’s Vancouver show reveals its glory days are fading fast

Chickenfoot helps Vancouver forget all about Van Halen

photo by rebecca blissett ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, JUNE 6, 2012 By Steve Newton Chickenfoot vs. Van Halen: now there's a rivalry for ya. There's never been much love lost between those bands' respective singers, Sammy Hagar and David Lee Roth. Then there's the fact that Chickenfoot's bassist, Michael Anthony, lost his cherished spot in … Continue reading Chickenfoot helps Vancouver forget all about Van Halen