Twenty-five years ago tomorrow–on February 24, 1989–Cheap Trick played the Pacific Coliseum on a bill with Eddie Money, so, obviously, I went.

Even with Eddie Money on the bill.

Here’s my review from the following week’s issue of the Straight. Check it out while you’re waiting for the hockey game to start maybe.


Back in the late ’70s, one of this scribbler’s favourite pastimes was throwing Cheap Trick’s In Color album on the turntable and cranking ‘er up. The band’s thoroughly rockin’ power-pop was just the right brain lube between heavy bouts of exam cramming.

At the Coliseum last Friday it was great to see that the band’s beautiful noise still exists.

Last year’s top prize for old-school guitar freaks was undoubtedly Skydog: The Duane Allman Retrospective, the seven-disc box set issued on the Rounder label. And now it looks like the biggest “oh-god-I-gotta-have-it!” item in the same category will be True to the Blues: The Johnny Winter Story, which arrives via Sony’s Legacy Recordings this Tuesday (February 25).

The four-disc package–which includes 56 tracks spanning 27 albums–hits the streets two days after Winter celebrates his 70th birthday with a show at the B.B King Blues Club & Grill in New York.

Thirty years ago today--on February 21, 1984--the Pretenders played a sold out show at Vancouver's Queen Elizabeth Theatre. The band was touring behind one of its best albums ever, Learning to Crawl, which included such snazzy numbers as "Back on the Chain Gang", "My City Was Gone", and "Middle of the Road".

The day of the show I had an in-person interview with a couple of band members--neither of which was Chrissie Hynde, unfortunately. But I still remember getting a kick out of chatting with drummer Martin Chambers and guitarist Robbie McIntosh.

Here's the story that ran a couple of weeks later in the Straight, which featured a great cover utilizing an image from the show by local rock photographer Bev Davies. 


As dedicated Vancouver horror fans know, the city has had its fair share of terrible flight flicks filmed here. Some were worse than others, of course. For example, the adaptation of Dean Koontz's Watchers was way worse than the adaptation of Stephen King's It.

Then again, it was way worse than anything.

Except maybe Uwe Boll's Vancouver-shot Alone in the Dark.

Thirty years ago tomorrow—on February 18, 1984the Payola$ played the PNE Gardens with opening act Darkroom. At the time the bandwhich also included guitarist Bob Rock, bassist Alex Boynton, drummer Chris Taylor, and keyboardist Christopher Livingstonwas basking in the success of its latest album, Hammer on a Drum.

That disc was produced with one of my all-time fave guitarists, Mick Ronson, and boasted four singles in “Where Is This Love?”, “I’ll Find Another” (Who Can Do It Right)”, “Christmas is Coming”, and “Never Said I Loved You” (a duet with Rough Trade’s Carole Pope).

Universal Music Canada has just announced that Bachman-Turner Overdrive—or BTO as we liked to call 'em back in the day—will release a remastered, 40th anniversary edition of its best-selling album, Not Fragile, on March 18.

That rocks.

You may recall that Not Fragile—which has sold more than three and a half million copies worldwide—boasted the awesome radio hits "Roll On Down the Highway" and "You Aint' Seen Nothing Yet".

But I always liked the tracks that you didn't hear so much on the radio, like the instrumental "Freewheelin'" (early pressings of the album listed that track as "Dedicated to Duane"), "Blue Moanin'", and "Second Hand".

A coupla weeks ago I posted a blog about interviewing Tim Curry in Stanley Park back in 1990, when he was in town filming the TV miniseries Stephen King's IT.

At the time I was working as the Vancouver correspondent for New York-based horror mag Fangoria, and it was quite a kick to chat with the guy who played Dr. Frank N. Furter in The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Nobody complained about me posting a story from 24 years ago, so here's another one from the Fango files that actually dates back to '88.

The Hard Rock Casino Vancouver has just announced that it's bringing the Steve Miller Band to town on April 12, which is good news for anyone with a hankering for old-school guitar-rock.

According to the most recent setlist available, Miller is concentrating on the two albums that pretty well ruled rock radio back in the day: Fly Like an Eagle (1976) and Book of Dreams ('77).

The tunes he's been playing from those discs include "Jungle Love", "Take the Money and Run", "Dance, Dance, Dance", "Wild Mountain Honey", "Fly Like an Eagle", "Jet Airliner", "Rock 'n Me", "Swingtown", and "Serenade".

Aaron Paul is famous for saying "bitch" an awful lot in Breaking Bad, but Kurtwood Smith was totally bitchin' it up 27 years ago in Paul Verhoeven's original RoboCop.

Smith played the wimpy looking but nasty-as-hell villain Clarence Boddicker with great gusto; he virtually stole the show from Peter Weller's titular crimefighter.

Local horror freaks may want to scoop up their tix to the upcoming Fan Expo sooner than later, because the lineup of celebrity guests at the event—which runs from April 18 to 20 at the Vancouver Convention Centre—includes a number of fright-film faves.

First off, you’ve got Robert Englund, the man behind Freddy Krueger’s gnarly face in the Nightmare on Elm Street films. Yeah, we know those flicks have sucked for a long time, but back in the day they were a hoot.