Ear of Newt: brand new blog will cover classic rock, horror movies, and what have you
It seems like only yesterday that I first walked into the Georgia Straight office and asked if I could review a Black Sabbath concert.
But it was actually 1982, and the then-struggling Straight was situated in like a five-room office above the Magic Flute on the corner of Fourth and Arbutus. I remember walking into reception with my clippings from the previous year spent as a stringer with the Chilliwack Progress, the highlight of which was writing about local bands like Hydra, Homegrown, and the Vacationers, and out-of-towners like North Van's James Younger Band (featuring ace guitarist Robbie Steininger) and Bellingham's Foot Lucy (even with a name like that they failed to make it big).
The first person I met at the Straight was founder-publisher Dan McLeod, who just happened to be standing there when I walked in. He nixed the idea of my reviewing the Sabbath show that night—hard to believe since southern-rockers the Outlaws of "Green Grass and High Tides" fame were opening up!—because at the time all the concerts were covered by broadcaster-writer (and current publicist) Ellie O'Day in her "Faces" column. That weekly feature often included live photos by punk-rock and metal specialist Bev Davies, who I met again for the first time in ages at last October's Motorhead show. (I think she's buddies with Lemmy.)
After relaying the heartbreaking news about Sabbath, McLeod did mention that he was looking for somebody to cover the then-burgeoning heavy-metal scene, and before long I was on the phone interviewing my heroes in Maiden, Scorps, and Priest (not to mention Krokus of "Long Stick Goes Boom" fame). My journalism career quickly reached its apex when he put my Ozzy Osbourne story on the cover of a June '82 issue. Some would say it's been downhill ever since.
But screw them, because now I've got this new Ear of Newt blog, where I can write about whatever I damn well want. It'll be mostly guitar-based rock from the '70s, what is now referred to as "classic rock", but instead of focusing on done-to-death old-schoolers like Floyd and Zeppelin I'll give space to less heralded acts like UFO, Thin Lizzy, Robin Trower, and Mott the Hoople, and my current hero of yesteryear, Rory Gallagher. As far as contemporary bands go, if you like Gov't Mule and Drive-By Truckers you may want to check back here on a regular basis. I also intend to cover a lot of blues, 'cause that's good for the soul. Anyone heard Joe Bonamassa's latest?
Besides music with lots of guitars, I'm also fond of horror flicks, have been since I got scared shitless by It! The Terror From Beyond Space as a tyke. The witch from The Wizard of Oz also gave me nightmares. As the Vancouver correspondent for Fangoria magazine for a lucky 13 years I've met some interesting peeps in the scary-flick biz, including Robert Englund, aka Freddy Krueger. I'm hoping other horror fans will visit Ear of Newt and get commentary on the genre going. Anybody have high hopes for the upcoming, Englund-less remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street?
You can follow Steve Newton on Twitter at twitter.com/earofnewt.