earofnewt.com

By Steve Newton

The man often looked to as the originator of rock ‘n’ roll, Chuck Berry, died today at the age of 90.

The singer-songwriter and guitar legend–best known for deathless rock numbers like “Johnny B. Goode”, “Maybelline”, “Roll Over Beethoven”, “Memphis”, and “Nadine”–died this afternoon, St. Charles County Police Department confirmed. The cause of death was not revealed.

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Berry had his first #1 hit in the U.S. in 1955 with “Maybelline”, which was adapted from the 1938 Western Swing fiddle tune “Ida Red,” by Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys. It was released as a single–with “Wee Wee Hours” as the B-side–by Chess Records, which became synonymous for Berry’s best-known songs in the fifties and ’60s.

Among the honours Berry has received over the years are a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, which he was awarded in 1984, and early induction into the Rock and…

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earofnewt.com

acdc

By Steve Newton

I guess one of the cooler in-person interviews I’ve ever done was that time back in October of ’83 when I hung out with three members of AC/DC–singer Brian Johnson, rhythm-guitarist Malcolm Young, and then-new drummer Simon Wright–at the Four Seasons Hotel in Vancouver.

The Aussie earbusters were in town to launch their Flick of the Switch Tour, which started October 11 at the Pacific Coliseum and ended on December 19 at New York’s Madison Square Garden.

They were sitting around on the hotel-room floor smokin’ ciggies and drinking tea. There was no Jack Daniels to be found. Just as well, because I had a bad cold at the time. That’s me coughing. I remember bumming a smoke off one of the guys, which didn’t help the coughing anyway.

At one point in the conversation I asked Johnson about the pressure of replacing Bon Scott, and then…

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earofnewt.com

mott

By Steve Newton

The drummer from one of my fave bands of the ’70s has passed away.

Dale “Buffin” Griffin, a founding member of Mott the Hoople, died peacefully in his sleep last night. He had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2009.

Griffin played on all the Mott the Hoople albums, including 1972’s breakthrough All the Young Dudes (which featured the hit title-track written for the band by David Bowie), 1973’s Mott(which boasted the single “All the Way from Memphis”), and 1974’s Hoople (the band’s last studio album).

After his time with Mott the Hoople, Griffin went on to play in the offshoot group Mott, as well as British Lions. He also produced albums by Hanoi Rocks and the Cult.

While frontman Ian Hunter wrote the lions’ share of the songs for Mott the Hoople, Griffin–along with bassist Pete “Overend” Watts, organist Verden Allen, and guitarist Mick Ralphs–got a…

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If you’re ever sad remember the world is 4543 billion years old, and you were lucky enough to live at the same time as David Bowie

earofnewt.com

By Steve Newton

Talk about a shocker.

Got up at the usual 7 this morning, realized there was no instant coffee–and no wife awake to make me a latte–so went straight to the cell phone.

Saw a tweet about a new concert announcement that needed blogging, so headed over to the computer, clicked on the straight.com home page, and couldn’t believe my freakin’ eyes:

David Bowie dead at age 69 after cancer battle read the headline.

No way.

It can’t be.

I didn’t even know he was ill.

Now it’s over 12 hours later, and I still find it hard to comprehend the music world without David Bowie, the Thin White Duke.

Or as I like to remember him best: Ziggy Stardust.

I vividly recall the first time I experienced Bowie. The day before my 16th birthday–on April 13, 1973–he released Aladdin Sane, and a few days later my…

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earofnewt.com

photo-34.JPG

mila geran photo

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 29, 1985

By Steve Newton

Outside the hotel a huge tour bus sits, the dust on its sides inscribed with messages like “The Crue Rules”, “I Love You Vince”, and, strangely enough, “KISS”. Inside the lobby, a gaggle of pubescent females are trying to weasel information out of a hotel doorman, and teenage boys in denim rock-patched jackets sit idly about.

Upstairs, the elevator door opens on a bearded, unsmiling fella with a transmitter in his hand and a Harley Davidson belt around his waist. He sits up anxiously and peers in, then relaxes when he sees the shaft’s occupants pose no threat to security. I decide right then and there not to cause this guy any trouble, and wait quietly while the local WEA Records rep goes and arranges my interview with Mick Mars, guitarist for “the bad boys…

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