1992: Red Devils find the Size that fits

Very nice article from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on the early days of Paul Size in the band.

RED DEVILS FIND THE SIZE THAT FITS
by Dave Ferman, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Sept. 11, 1992

Texas-born blues guitarist Paul Size readily will admit that he’s been real lucky so far in his musical career.

Born in Dallas and raised in Denton, Size, 21 just weeks ago, was happy playing blues and R&B in Denton bars backing legendary singer Pops Carter; he was playing the music he loved with good buddy Jon Moeller (now guitarist for Texas Heat) and just having fun.

Then a friend told him the Red Devils — Los Angeles’ hottest blues band — was looking for a new guitarist. Size packed, journeyed to California, auditioned, got the gig, and less than a year later the Devils (having gained a rep as the favorite El Lay band of Mick Jagger, the Black Crowes, Bruce Willis and other slumming celebs) have a CD, “King King,” out on Def American, have cut 13 tracks with Jagger and spent the summer touring with the Allman Brothers, Little Feat, Bob Dylan and Los Lobos.

“Yeah, I was walking into something pretty big without knowing it,” says Size by phone from South Carolina on the eve of the band’s final date with the Allmans (the Red Devils headline Dallas’ Trees on Thursday). “We just kind of clicked together — the band needed a guitar player and they decided to keep me.”

The Red Devils (formed in 1988 by harpist/vocalist Lester Butler, bassist Jonny Ray Bartel and drummer Bill Bateman) became legendary for their raw blues/rock sound and their packed gigs at King King, a seedy bar at the corner of Sixth and LaBrea with a 12-by-15-foot stage. Willis was known to get up and sing and play harp when he wasn’t on location, and Jagger had come up to jam a time or two also. Word got out to superproducer Rick Rubin, who was courting the band when Size joined.

“We’re just really raw — there’s no relaxing or slow blues,” he says. “We’ve got soul but it’s swampy, raw stuff. It’s kind of like the T-Birds but there’s an extra toughness. We just rip it.”

In July, after the band had finished recording “King King,” Jagger got up one night to sing with the band and invited the Devils into the studio the following week.

“Rick is producing his next solo album, and Mick wanted to do some blues, and Rick told him about us,” he says. “We were in one day for 15 hours — they told us to pick 20 songs and they were things we’ve been playing all our lives, stuff by Muddy and Slim Harpo and Little Walter. We did 13 tunes — three or four we did in four or five takes but most were just boom-boom-boom, one right after the other. Two of ‘em are going to be on Mick’s solo album.”

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2 Responses to “1992: Red Devils find the Size that fits”

  1. Too bad those songs didn’t make it to ‘Mick’s solo album’…I’ve heard some of this stuff: it’s damn good.

  2. Just the one track on the Mick 2007 compilation. I can see a few, relatively limited chances for that stuff to come out officially. But at this point, what we have is probably all we’ll have.

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