Twenty years ago today—on September 3, 1994—ZZ Top played the Pacific Coliseum, touring behind its first album in four years, the pretty decent Antenna. That was the first release as part of a five-album, $30-million deal with RCA Records, which no doubt helped Billy Gibbons purchase a few extra guitar picks.

The coolest thing about the Vancouver gig, for me anyway, was that I got to interview Gibbons in advance of the show. It was the first and (so far) only time I got to speak directly to the man whose wild licks had brightened so many of my teenage years, ever since I discovered Tres Hombres back in '73.

For all the other ZZ Top freaks out there, here's the story that ran in the Straight under the headline "Mr. Time Turns Up on ZZ's Side".

Twenty-five years ago today–on September 1, 1989–Johnny Winter played the Commodore. The chance to witness the underrated Texas guitar legend in the confines of one of VanCity’s finest concert venues (for the second time) was not one I was about to pass up.

Besides, at the time I was really grooving on his latest album, The Winter of ’88, especially tunes like “Rain”.

Twenty-five years ago today--on August 31, 1989--Meat Loaf played 86 Street Music Hall, so I went. Here's my Straight review, published in the September 8-15 issue under the headline "The Bat Out of Hell returns for another bite".

 

It's been a wonderful week for fans of blues-rockin' Strat masters Rory Gallagher and Stevie Ray Vaughan.

One of the many fine memories from my 13-year stint as Vancouver correspondent for New York horror mag Fangoria involved interviewing screen legend Pam Grier when I was covering the Snoop Dogg flick Bones.

I was expecting good things from Bones because I loved director Ernest Dickerson’s previous fright flick, Demon Knight, but it turned out to be no great shakes. It was still worth it to chat with Foxy Brown herself, though, even if I had to go through some makeup FX artists and secondary actors first.

As I post this it’s been over 20 hours since Slash left the stage at Hard Rock Casino Vancouver, and my ears are still ringing loudly.

It sounds like rock ‘n’ roll.

Holy crap was that an awesome show! I’ve been reviewing rock gigs for nearly 35 years, and I can honestly say that last night’s performance has rocketed into my Top 20 of All Time.

If the setlist from Slash‘s show in San Francisco two nights ago is any indication, his Vancouver fans are in for a whole lotta GN’R action tonight.

During his show at the Fillmore the top-hatted guitar hero led his group the Conspirators, featuring vocalist Myles Kennedy, in no less than six Guns N’ Roses numbers, including one of my personal faves, “You Could Be Mine”, which you may recall from that kick-ass 1991 action flick, Terminator 2: Judgment Day.

Even though he's been one of my fave rockers since the '70s, Tom Petty didn't offer the likes of me an interview in advance of his gig in Vancouver tonight.

But that's okay. I love the guy so much I'm not gonna hold it against him.

And one of the reasons I love him so much is because his songs have such freakin' awesome guitar bits. Every time I listen to a tune like "Refugee" or "Breakdown" or "You Got Lucky" I marvel at how every note of every guitar lick or solo seems absolutely perfect. The craftsmanship is impeccable.

I’ve seen Tom Petty in concert a bunch of times, and two of those gigs are worthy of my Top 10 Concerts of All Time. Or they would be if I actually compiled my Top 10 Concerts of All Time. I’m saving that one for a rainy day.

The first time I saw Petty and his band the Heartbreakers was at Vancouver’s historic Commodore Ballroom in 1978. The group had just released its second album, You’re Gonna Get It!, and was hungry as hell. It was a lean, mean, rockin’ machine on new tunes like “When the Time Comes”, “I Need to Know”, and “Listen to Her Heart”. 

Some sad news out of Texas today.

Marilyn Burns—star of the groundbreaking fright flick Texas Chain Saw Massacre—died yesterday in her Houston home of undisclosed causes.

She was 65.

Burns will always be remembered by horror fans for her portrayal of the sole survivor of Leatherface's gruesome rampage in Tobe Hooper's classic 1974 film, which scared the living hell out of viewers with its shockingly realistic portrait of a family of cannibalistic hicks who prey on a group of innocent travelers.

Its story was based on the real-life exploits of Wisconsin serial killer Ed Gein.

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