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

That time 24-year-old Jon Bon Jovi raved to me about recording in Vancouver just before Slippery When Wet exploded on the charts

By Steve Newton I did my first interview with Jon Bon Jovi in July of 1986, when his band was heading to Vancouver for a date opening for Judas Priest. Little did anybody know that one month later, when Bon Jovi released its made-in-Vancouver album Slippery When Wet, it would rocket to worldwide fame and … Continue reading That time 24-year-old Jon Bon Jovi raved to me about recording in Vancouver just before Slippery When Wet exploded on the charts

That time Allan Holdsworth told me about his connections to Eddie Van Halen and Ted Templeman

By Steve Newton If you were reading the top guitar magazines back in the early '80s you may have heard the buzz about this phenomenal British player named Allan Holdsworth. A lot of the buzz was being generated by one Eddie Van Halen, who was touting Holdsworth's abilities whenever he got a chance. Right around … Continue reading That time Allan Holdsworth told me about his connections to Eddie Van Halen and Ted Templeman

Steve Cropper’s musical career has been touched by tragedy but his killer guitar licks endure

By Steve Newton On the phone from his home in Nashville, Steve Cropper sounds happy and full of life. He talks a lot and ends most of his sentences with a chuckle, as you might expect from a guy who's spent the last 60-or-so years of his life doing exactly what he loves the most: … Continue reading Steve Cropper’s musical career has been touched by tragedy but his killer guitar licks endure

Sonny Landreth pays tribute to old friend Johnny Winter in Vancouver

photo by the Newt By Steve Newton Louisiana slide-guitar ace Sonny Landreth played Vancouver last night, and if you're a fan of bluesy, southern-style bottleneck, I hope you didn't miss it. The player Eric Clapton calls first when he needs world-class slide did not disappoint--especially when he dedicated a tune to his old friend Johnny … Continue reading Sonny Landreth pays tribute to old friend Johnny Winter in Vancouver

Album review: Aerosmith, Permanent Vacation (1987)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 18, 1987 By Steve Newton "If you grew up in the '70s you liked Aerosmith." That's what Peter Buck of R.E.M. wrote in the liner notes to his band's version of Aerosmith's "Toys in the Attic," and Buck knows of which he speaks. With albums like Get Your … Continue reading Album review: Aerosmith, Permanent Vacation (1987)

Steve Cropper says that his favourite living guitarist isn’t Clapton, Beck, or Page–it’s Feliciano

By Steve Newton I interviewed guitar legend Steve Cropper last week, in advance of his gig with Dave Mason in Vancouver this Wednesday, and man was I psyched about that. You just can't find musicians with more cred than Crop. So of course I had to ask the 77-year-old fretmaster my standard question for players … Continue reading Steve Cropper says that his favourite living guitarist isn’t Clapton, Beck, or Page–it’s Feliciano

That time Lemmy from Motörhead told me that Randy Rhoads became much better after he died

By Steve Newton I got to interview rock legend Lemmy Kilmister a couple of times, first in April of 1999 and then again in the following century, in May of 2002. During that '99 chat I mentioned how I'd first seen Motörhead back in 1983, when they opened for Ozzy Osbourne on the Blizzard of Oz tour … Continue reading That time Lemmy from Motörhead told me that Randy Rhoads became much better after he died

Rory Gallagher’s ex-bassist ponders the music Rory might be making if he were alive today

By Steve Newton As we kick off a new year it's fun to ponder what type of music is to come--or what might have been if certain rock legends hadn't passed before their time. When I interviewed Rory Gallagher's bassist of 20 years, Gerry McAvoy, last month, I asked him what kind of music he thought … Continue reading Rory Gallagher’s ex-bassist ponders the music Rory might be making if he were alive today

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

That time I asked AC/DC’s Malcolm Young and Brian Johnson what their fave tunes were on Flick of the Switch

By Steve Newton I've been reading Mick Wall's 2012 book about AC/DC, Hell Ain't a Bad Place to Be, and today I got to the part about the band recording 1983's Flick of the Switch, which the author reckons is AC/DC's worst album ever. I will admit it's no Powerage, but hey--the title track is … Continue reading That time I asked AC/DC’s Malcolm Young and Brian Johnson what their fave tunes were on Flick of the Switch

Chillin’ with blues legend Buddy Guy backstage at the Commodore

By Steve Newton Here's me hangin' with one of my fave all-time bluesmen, Mr. Buddy Guy. It was backstage at the Commodore Ballroom, one of the top concert venues in Vancouver. I remember this meeting well, because the former proprietor of the Commodore, local legend Drew Burns, also showed up to say hi to Buddy. … Continue reading Chillin’ with blues legend Buddy Guy backstage at the Commodore

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

AC/DC rumours regarding Phil Rudd and Vancouver come from the right place

I don't care how tiny Angus is, the world needs his killer riffs. By Steve Newton There's been a lot of rumour and speculation flying around the music world since yesterday, when I posted a blog on the Georgia Straight website reporting that Phil Rudd and Stevie Young had been spotted in downtown Vancouver. The … Continue reading AC/DC rumours regarding Phil Rudd and Vancouver come from the right place

Album review: Bon Jovi, New Jersey (1988)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 21, 1988 By Steve Newton There are hundreds of hard rock bands out there that are just as good as Bon Jovi. Unfortunately for them, they don't have Bon Jovi's talent for coming up with tunes that are both radio-friendly and capable of hooking into the mass consciousness … Continue reading Album review: Bon Jovi, New Jersey (1988)

Backstage with Slash and Bruce Dickinson as Guns N’ Roses open for Maiden in Vancouver

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 3, 1988 By Steve Newton The politics of rockin' can be tough on new bands just getting used to the tour circuit. Take for example Guns N' Roses, who are on the road in support of their first album, and opening for Iron Maiden, who've toured the world … Continue reading Backstage with Slash and Bruce Dickinson as Guns N’ Roses open for Maiden in Vancouver

That time Robin Trower told me that most of the pop music in England was “rubbish”

By Steve Newton Robin Trower is one of my fave guitarists of all time. His string of wicked albums in the seventies--in particular Twice Removed from Yesterday, Bridge of Sighs, and For Earth Below--were a major part of the soundtrack to my teenage existence. He's never gotten the cred he deserves, partly due to the … Continue reading That time Robin Trower told me that most of the pop music in England was “rubbish”

Atlanta guitar hero Tinsley Ellis on covering Leon Russell, adoring Eric Clapton, and listening to Tom Dowd

By Steve Newton The last time yours truly interviewed American blues-rocker Tinsley Ellis was 10 years ago, when he called the Georgia Straight in advance of a gig at the Yale Hotel, Vancouver’s top blues venue for decades. Sadly, the Granville Street joint hasn’t been a real home of the blues for years now, a fact not … Continue reading Atlanta guitar hero Tinsley Ellis on covering Leon Russell, adoring Eric Clapton, and listening to Tom Dowd

Album review: Krokus, The Blitz (1984)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 14, 1984 By Steve Newton Metal maniacs could do a lot worse than pick up the latest vinyl from Swiss headbangers Krokus. Recorded at Vancouver' s Little Mountain Sound and engineered by Payola$ guitarist Bob Rock, The Blitz captures better than any of their previous LPs the raw fire … Continue reading Album review: Krokus, The Blitz (1984)

Aerosmith is reborn as a killer live act on the Permanent Vacation tour

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JAN. 29, 1988 By Steve Newton Prior to Aerosmith's local appearance last week, I'd seen the Boston band in concert three times, including a show on the massive Rocks tour that saw them headlining over Jeff Beck at the Kingdome in Seattle. Each time before, they had performed more raggedly … Continue reading Aerosmith is reborn as a killer live act on the Permanent Vacation tour

Joe Perry says that Aerosmith is playing “wicked tight” after its Permanent Vacation

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JAN. 15, 1988 By Steve Newton "If you grew up in the '70s you liked Aerosmith." That's what R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck wrote in the liner notes to his group's version of Aerosmith's "Toys in the Attic" on the Dead Letter Office album. And he knew what he was talking … Continue reading Joe Perry says that Aerosmith is playing “wicked tight” after its Permanent Vacation

Rock and Hyde gets a boost from ex-Kick Axe picker “Hitman” Harvey

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 25, 1987 By Steve Newton Since the U.S. release of Rock and Hyde's Under the Volcano nine months ago, the album has sold more copies stateside than all of the duo's previous work put together. That's a fair accomplishment given that Bob Rock and Paul Hyde released four albums … Continue reading Rock and Hyde gets a boost from ex-Kick Axe picker “Hitman” Harvey

Pink Floyd blows Vancouver away on its A Momentary Lapse of Reason tour

chris cameron photo ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 18, 1987 By Steve Newton Seeing Pink Floyd live is a luxury that every rock fan should allow him or herself at least once. Yours truly took advantage of the opportunity to do just that last Thursday (December 10), along with about 44,000 other lucky dogs at B.C. Place. … Continue reading Pink Floyd blows Vancouver away on its A Momentary Lapse of Reason tour

Guitar legend Warren Haynes admits he’s “a Gibson guy”, but still likes to play a Fender now and then

texastengu photo By Steve Newton When you see a promotional image of Warren Haynes, or an in-concert shot, the American guitar legend is almost always clutching a Les Paul. So I was kinda surprised to see that on the latest Gov't Mule album, Revolution Come...Revolution Go, there's a photo of him in the CD booklet … Continue reading Guitar legend Warren Haynes admits he’s “a Gibson guy”, but still likes to play a Fender now and then

Steve Earle returns to Vancouver after six months and raises another ruckus

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 27, 1987 By Steve Newton Whenever Steve Earle hits town, you're pretty well guaranteed a hellraisin' good time. It happened at his Vancouver debut last May at the 86 Street Music Hall, and then again last Thursday (November 19) when he and his rip-snortin' band the Dukes returned … Continue reading Steve Earle returns to Vancouver after six months and raises another ruckus

Warren Haynes says that playing guitar with Derek Trucks comes naturally, “like drinkin’ water”

kirk west photo By Steve Newton I love talking to Warren Haynes. Apart from being one of my fave guitarists, he's just such a cool, cool guy. I did my sixth interview with Haynes three months back, when Gov't Mule was playing a show at Vancouver's Vogue Theatre. At one point in the interview I … Continue reading Warren Haynes says that playing guitar with Derek Trucks comes naturally, “like drinkin’ water”

The Beat Farmers’ Country Dick Montana offers tips for men and insight into The Pursuit of Happiness

kevin statham photo ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 6, 1987 By Steve Newton Devoted fans of serious music should make a point of being as far away as possible from the 86 Street Music Hall this Tuesday (November 10). However, those with less cultivated tastes--and a penchant for rowdy, party-time country rock with … Continue reading The Beat Farmers’ Country Dick Montana offers tips for men and insight into The Pursuit of Happiness