Thirty years ago tomorrow—on December 9, 1984—the Georgia Straight presented Iron Maiden (and Twisted Sister) at the Coliseum. Not only that, but the paper put my interview with the British metal legends on the front page, featuring a totally rockin' live photo by famed Vancouver photographer Bev Davies.

I hadn't been so proud of my non-award-winning accomplishments in journalism since scoring the prestigious Ozzy cover back in June of '82!

Maiden was touring behind its Powerslave album—the one with "Two Minutes to Midnight" and "Aces High"—so you know that can't be bad.

When Steve Hackett called me from Boston a while back to talk about his current Genesis: Revisited tour–which hits Vancouver this Thursday (December 11)– I was curious as to which Genesis songs were going over best of late. And he was happy to fill me in.

I interviewed former Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett recently—in advance of his show at the Vogue Theatre this Thursday (December 11)—and found out that he was a pretty huge fan of Vancouver–and Canada as a whole. It turns out that, when he was a kid, Hackett experienced an incredible journey from England to Quebec and then across to Van, one that has stayed with him ever since.

Just came across this video from 1999 of a gaggle of diehard Lynyrd Skynyrd fans going nuts when they get inside the old abandoned Riverside Studios in Jacksonville, Florida, where the southern-rock legends used to rehearse and record, along with .38 Special.

They all get pretty psyched when they come across a drawing on the wall that looks like it was done by Dean Kilpatrick, the Skynyrd road manager who died along with singer Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines, and backup vocalist Cassie Gaines in the 1977 plane crash.

"Check the front door and make sure nobody's comin' in!," says one guy at one point.

He might not be the most famous guitarist in the world, but, man, I'm tellin' ya—Tommy Emmanuel might just be the best.

All-around, that is. We all know Jeff Beck is tops when it comes to rock. (Especially since Jimi, Stevie Ray and Rory blues-shuffled off this mortal coil.)

But if you're looking for an acoustic fingerstyle player who'll blow you away, guaranteed, Tommy's your guy.

Shoot, he was already mind-boggling when I interviewed him 20 years ago, before he played the Vogue on a Music West bill with Ali Farka Toure and Ben Harper.

Today is the big day for AC/DC fans, when the Aussie blues-metal legends release their new album Rock or Bust.

The band has been making a lot of headlines in the past few months, though not the positive kind you'd expect from a group that has, for over 40 years, been giving the world some of the finest bare-bones guitar-rock ever created.

Bobby Keys passed away this morning at the age of 70 after battling cirrhosis. He was best known as the saxophonist for the Rolling Stones, having blasted out that unforgettable solo on "Brown Sugar". He also blew like crazy on such Stones gems as "Happy" (from Exile on Main Street) and "Live With Me" (from Let It Bleed), to mention a couple.

But anyone familiar with rock music in the seventies knows that Keys was much more than a sideman for the Stones. You might recognize his exuberant style from the solo on John Lennon's "Whatever Gets You Through the Night".

That's him helping to raise a ruckus on two of the best tunes from Lynyrd Skynyrd's breakthrough Second Helping album, "Call Me the Breeze" and "Don't Ask Me No Questions".

The new AC/DC album, Rock or Bust, hits stores tomorrow, boasting 11 songs crammed into 35 minutes.

Maybe your all-time favourite AC/DC tune will be among them.

Maybe not.

It's pretty hard to beat the old AC/DC stuff--just ask Langley's Mike Fraser, who engineered and mixed Rock or Bust, and has been working with the band since 1990.

When I asked him what his all-time favourite AC/DC song was he first said "the one with bagpipes" before taking a few seconds to remember it's actual name: "It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll)".

That track goes all the way back to 1975's T.N.T. album, which was only released in Australia.

Pity.

So Brent Butt called me up last week to chat about his upcoming film, Corner Gas: The Movie—which opens in select theatres December 3and we got to talking about his TV series Corner Gas in relation to Trailer Park Boys, another Canadian TV sitcom that flaunts its Canuck-ness while garnering chuckles aplenty.

There’s a little more swearing and weed-smoking in TPB than there is in Corner Gas, but the Vancouver- based comic and actor was quick to commend the Nova Scotia-shot series for its genuineness.

No comedy snob, he.

The anticipation surrounding the impending release of the new AC/DC album, Rock or Bust, has been building for months. The fact that it's the legendary Aussie hard-rockers’ first release without original rhythm-guitarist and co-songwriter Malcolm Young has been making headlines, and this Tuesday (December 2) the physical product will hit stores.

With or without Malcolm, I’m betting the vinyl sounds pretty sweet.

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