A new book about Canadian rocker Gord Downie has been authored by a longtime North Deltan and music journalist.
Steve Newton’s book, simply titled Gord Downie (Indigo Press/Sterling), is a photo-packed look back at the popular Tragically Hip singer, who died last October after battling a form of brain cancer diagnosed 18 months earlier. He was 53.
The hard-cover “coffee table” book charts Downie’s long trip with the Hip, from “Straight Outta Kingston” in the 1980s to the final chapter, “Courage (For Gord Downie),” when the band said goodbye to its many fans during a final tour of Canada that concluded in Kingston, its hometown.
The author interviewed Downie five times over the years, mostly in the 1990s as The Tragically Hip climbed the charts with increasingly popular albums and became, as Newton writes, “Canada’s best-ever band (look away, diehard Rush fans).”
On his well-catalogued blog, earofnewt.com, Newton posts audio excerpts of interviews he’s done with Downie and many other musicians over the years.
|Author Steve Newton|
Looking back, Newton prefaces in the book, “it feels like an honour to have had that connection to the Hip at the height of its success. It didn’t hurt that Downie was always such a great interview. He met all my questions – even the lame ones – with enthusiasm and insight; you could always tell that he really, really cared about his craft, and took the discussion of his art seriously. Sometimes too seriously, perhaps. But like I say, he cared deeply about his craft. And damn he was good at it.”
Newton grew up in Chilliwack and was once a cub reporter for the Progress newspaper in the Fraser Valley town. He has been writing about bands and musicians for more than 35 years.
Newton dedicates the 188-page book to his older brother Danny, “who passed away at age 16, but not before developing a real passion for guitar-based rock,” Newton writes. “I bet he would have loved the Hip.”