By Steve Newton

As you may have already heard, the hard-rock world has lost one of its most beloved artists.

AC/DC rhythm-guitarist Malcolm Young has passed away at the age of 64. Ill health had forced him to leave the band in 2014, and to be confined to a nursing home, where he suffered from dementia.

I only met “Mal” a couple of times. The first time was back in 1983 when I interviewed him–along with singer Brian Johnson and then-drummer Simon Wright–at a hotel before a show in Vancouver. I ran into him again in 2001, backstage after a gig at the Pacific Coliseum on the Stiff Upper Lip tour.

But even those fleeting interactions with Young left me feeling like that he was my kinda guy–an ego-less soul bent on using his talent to spread good times through simple music meant for common folk. From his straightforward guitarwork to…

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By Steve Newton

When I interviewed Malcolm Young and Brian Johnson at their Vancouver hotel room in 1983 it was less than two months since the release of AC/DC’s eighth internationally released studio album, Flick of the Switch.

One of the more intriguing tracks on the LP, the third one to feature Johnson on vocals, was “Bedlam in Belgium”, which seemed to describe a concert gone terribly wrong, with cops on stage brandishing guns.

So I asked Mal what the tune was all about.

Have a listen:

(ya gotta crank the volume a bit; it’s AC/DC after all)

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By Steve Newton

When I interviewed AC/DC‘s Malcolm Young and Brian Johnson back in 1983 I asked Malcolm if he ever had a hankering to step out and play a lead-guitar solo once in a while.

As expected, his response was along the lines of, “Why bother when you’ve got a guy like Angus around?”

Have a listen:

(ya gotta crank the volume a bit. It’s AC/DC, after all)

And for those who have difficulty making out the conversation with those wacky AC/DC accents, here’s the transcription:

ME: Do you ever get the urge to step out and play lead, Malcolm?

YOUNG: Yeah! (laughter from bandmates and entourage). They’ve got this big hook umbrella to pull me back in.

JOHNSON: “That’s enough Young! Four chords a second and that’s it.”

ME: But you don’t play much lead…

YOUNG: Aw, I just tinkle…

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By Steve Newton

I graduated from high school in 1975, and, holy crap, was that ever a great year for rock music!

Lizzy‘s Fighting, Floyd‘s Wish You Were Here, Zep’s Physical Graffiti, Neil‘s Zuma, Beck‘s Blow By Blow, Seger‘s Beautiful Loser–the list of killer albums went on and on.

But none of them thrilled me more than Ian Hunter’s self-titled solo debut, with the one-and-only Mick Ronson on guitar.

And the opening track, “Once Bitten, Twice Shy”, was four minutes and forty-four seconds of pure rockin’ bliss, featuring what is probably the greatest guitar solo of all time.

I was fortune enough to have interviewed Mick Ronson a couple of times, in 1988 and ’89, when he had reunited with Hunter to record and tour behind the awesome YUI Orta album.

Four months before I did my second…

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ian hunter-mick ronson

By Steve Newton

On December 19, 1989, Ian Hunter and Mick Ronson played the 86 Street Music Hall in Vancouver.

For me, it didn’t get any better than that. I’d been a huge fan of Hunter ever since I first heard his old band, Mott the Hoople, and Ronson…well, if you liked David Bowie in the ’70s you liked him.

Hunter and Ronson had been collaborating for years, starting with Hunter’s self-titled 1975 solo album, the one with that awesome version of “Once Bitten, Twice Shy” (not to be confused with Great White‘s version, referred to below).

When they came to Van they were touring behind the YUI Orta album, which I really loved, especially the track “Women’s Intuition”.

I was fortunate enough to score a phone interview with Ronson. Here’s the ensuing story, which was published in the Georgia Straight‘s Dec. 15-22 issue under the unwieldy headline:…

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Monika Carless, Author

witch 640

“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.” ~ W.B. Yeats

It’s no secret that faeries are part of our lives here in Middle Earth.

I’ve been working with elemental beings in my garden for years. My first encounter with faeries (collectively called “the Fey”) came as a child, in, of course, books. I believed in them wholeheartedly, as children are wont to do, because they are fresh from the Other Side and still remember those dimensions that cannot be readily seen with our limited human perception.

I am a student of quantum physics and alchemy, and as such have read that we are aware of a very small bit of our surroundings. I mean, an infinitesimal bit.  We think that what is real is seen by the eye, whereas many magical realms co-exist with us here on earth, unseen and underestimated.

From angels and…

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