Photographer Bert Lek’s classic pictures of Lester Butler and Paul Size at Moulin 1993

Posted in red devils with tags , , , , , on October 21, 2021 by J.J.

The Red Devils’ incendiary performance at the 1993 Moulin Blues Festival in Ospel in the Netherlands continues to surprise, more than 28 years later.

Photographer Bert Lek recently allowed NoFightin.com to share his photographs of Lester Butler and Paul Size onstage from that festival. Dedicated fans will recognize some of these photos from publication in Block magazine, or as the inspiration for stunning artwork by Theo Reijnders.

We just think they’re cool. (Learn more about Bert’s fascinating life and career in this 2014 story)

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Welcome to nofightin.com

Posted in 13, lester butler, red devils with tags , , , , , , on October 13, 2021 by J.J.
kingking_vinyl

For those coming to this site for the first time, welcome to nofightin.com.

We have been here since 2009, cataloging the short but stellar career of The Red Devils and Lester Butler.

Wander around and find rare music, videos and reviews, and meet other fans — and some of the musicians who made the records we love so much.

To get you started, here are some of the most popular and essential posts and pages on nofightin.com:

  • Reunion tour: All of our exclusive coverage of The Red Devils’ 2017 reunion tour of Europe with ZZ Top.
  • Watch: The Red Devils live at the King King club, the way they were meant to be seen and heard.
  • Lyrics: Everything on “King King,” most of “13,” live stuff and more.
  • 2 Meter Sessies: In lieu of a second Red Devils record, this live radio set from 1993 can fill the void.
  • “Lester’s Legendary Last Gig”: Full coverage of the DVD release of 13’s classic 1998 Moulin Blues performance.
  • “Lousiana Blues”: The story behind one of the most rare songs in the Devils’ discography, released on a promo tape before “King King” came out in ’92.
  • “Blues in the Morning”: Hear The Red Devils rock KCRW in 1992, including their rare take on “Shake ‘Em On Down.”
  • VPRO: Famous & rare Lester Butler TV appearance, blowing a little acoustic harp, talking Little Walter and jamming with G. Love.
  • Inside King King: Pictures from what is believed to be The Red Devils’ last King King gig.
  • MTV Europe: The band shuffles through a pair of tunes on the music video channel.

Finally, ruminations on the band we love: Memories of hearing the record for the first time in 1992, a more recent take on just what makes “King King” so special and asking that musical question: Can a record change your life?

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Keys to the Kingdom: Solving musical mysteries from ‘King King’

Posted in red devils, related music with tags , , , , , , , , on October 9, 2021 by automatic32

The standing joke about blues music is that to play it you only have to learn three chords and be able to play in a corresponding number of keys. At your average blues jam on a random night in Anywhere, USA, one would expect to run into a whole boatload of songs in E, A and G with few tunes straying from this trio. On the cuts that made “King King” The Red Devils certainly leaned on some from that lot, but the variations are quite interesting.

King King

As follows in order of appearance (all songs listed are in the keys of the stringed instruments; all harmonica keys should be assumed to be in “second position” or “cross harp” unless otherwise noted):

  1. Automatic — E
  2. Goin’ to the Church — E
  3. She’s Dangerous — E
  4. I Wish You Would — A
  5. Cross Your Heart — B-flat, harmonica in key of B-flat/first position
  6. Taildragger — E
  7. Devil Woman — D
  8. No Fightin’ — B
  9. Mr. Highway Man — E
  10. I’m Ready — E
  11. Quarter to Twelve — E
  12. Cut That Out — B
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King Ernest rides with Lester Butler on 1997’s ‘Black Bag Blues’

Posted in lester butler, related music with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 2, 2021 by J.J.

Of all of Lester Butler’s guest spots in the ’90s, his work on soul singer King Ernest’s 1997 “King of Hearts” (Evidence ECD 26084-2) stands out. Usually, Butler was just adding harp to someone else’s tune, but for California’s “King Ernest” Baker, he contributed an original song, “Black Bag Blues,” notable for being, to our knowledge, the only Butler-credited song not appearing on an official Lester Butler solo or band release.

And unlike some of the more unusual or experimental music he added harp to, “Black Bag Blues” is a straight-up, hardcore shuffle: No frills, no tricks, just soulful vocals, a stompin’ rhythm section and boastful lyrics that just fit the bill.

Over a mean Texas-styled guitar, Ernest lays it out in the first verse, coming out blowing hard:

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The Red Devils take over MTV Europe in 1993

Posted in red devils with tags , , , , , , , , on September 18, 2021 by J.J.

In its 1993 year-end music video countdown, MTV celebrated classic clips from Aerosmith, Janet Jackson, Naughty By Nature, Spin Doctors and Dr. Dre (no relation).

Where would The Red Devils have ranked?

Though the band did not make any kind of official music video, that we know of, they were invited to the MTV Europe “Most Wanted” programme, hosted by Ray Cokes. In the comments, Frank Verstappe says Cokes confirmed the performance at Stonebridge Park Warehouse, London, on April 11, 1993. This would have been just days from The Red Devils’ jam with Mick Jagger in London (and note Lester Butler’s chipped front tooth, as seen on the Pinkpop video).

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Red Devils show ’em in Missouri in 1992

Posted in red devils with tags , , , , , , on September 11, 2021 by J.J.

The Red Devils played several shows in Missouri in 1992, including two at The Regency Showcase in Springfield, Mo.

Their first date was Aug. 22, 1992, according to an “Early Warning” brief in the Aug. 13, 1992, Springfield News-Leader.

The band’s next show at the Regency would be just a month and a half later, according to the Oct. 8, 1992, News-Leader (“Red Devils unabashed about ‘raw’ blues”). This time they would get the local newspaper interview treatment (Lester Butler drew the short straw) for this Oct. 8 date on their club tour.

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Belinda + Buster: When Bill Bateman and Go-Go’s singer were ‘first couple of Hollywood’

Posted in bill bateman with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 4, 2021 by J.J.

For a hot minute, the fertile LA punk-roots scene of the early 1980s intersected with the Teen Beat set.

That’s when Belinda Carlisle of The Go-Go’s met Bill Bateman of The Blasters.

Of course, The Go-Go’s weren’t born as MTV stars. The group started innocently enough as a punk band (on a scene boasting The Germs, Fear and, of course, X) before their hit pop songs, catapulting them off the bar-stage/friend’s-couch circuit and into, well … induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame later in 2021.

The early tales of The Go-Go’s (and many others) are recounted in John Doe’s books “Under the Big Black Sun” and “More Fun in the New World.” But Belinda herself dedicated a hunk of her 2011 autobiography, “Lips Unsealed,” to her relationship with the “cute” Blasters drummer:

Soon after I settled in, I began a two-year relationship with the Blasters’ drummer, Bill Bateman — aka Buster. We’d crossed paths at clubs and parties, but it wasn’t until Pleasant set up a situation one night at the Troubadour that Buster and I were able to talk more intimately and get to know each other. He had on a striped shift and wore a bandana around his neck. I thought he looked cute, and I liked him even more as we talked.

I thought he liked me, too. It was one of those setups where everything clicked except for one detail. I didn’t like his hair. As I told Pleasant, there was too much of it. He needed a new do.

An early promotional photo of The Blasters, featuring Bill Bateman (third from left), pre-haircut.
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Red Devils play essential set on ‘2 Meter Sessies’ (1993)

Posted in red devils with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 29, 2021 by J.J.

In lieu of a legit Red Devils sophomore album, fans should look to live performances such as 1993’s outstanding “2 Meter Sessies” recording to fill the void.

The 2 Meter Sessies is a Dutch radio series, a live-in-the-studio “unplugged” session. Performers over the years include Radiohead, Foo Fighters, Cranberries, Blind Melon, J.J. Cale, Jackson Browne and many others. Of course, the Devils didn’t unplug at all, giving one of their essential performances — all caught on tape. (Read more about the Sessies on nl.wikipedia.org.)

The Devils’ performance was recorded May 3, 1993, at Bullet Sound Studios in the Netherlands, just two days after their infamous Moulin Blues Festival appearance. This time, the band sounds rested and ready; it’s just as compelling a performance as Moulin, but without the debauchery. It sounds like a hardworking blues band on top of their game.


The set is typical of the band’s show during this period, a solid mix of “King King” favorites and other choice picks. Several of the songs were earmarked as possibilities for the band’s full-length follow-up to “King King.”

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13’s brilliance at Boogie Town

Posted in 13 with tags , , , , , , , on August 21, 2021 by J.J.

On the eve of Lester’s Legendary Last Gig at the 1998 Moulin Blues Festival, 13 incinerated a different fest.

“The night before at Boogietown Festival in Belgium- THAT was a gig!” guitarist Alex Schultz recalled in a 2010 comment on nofightin.com.

The Boogie Town Festival on May 1, 1998, at Louvain-la-neuve, Belgium, did not have the benefit, in hindsight, of special guests or strange coincidences. But the show promoters certainly knew what they had with Lester Butler and 13, expressed in a breathless biography in the festival program:

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The legend of the Kid Ramos/Lester Butler ‘hard-edge blues unit’ Snake Snake

Posted in lester butler, related music with tags , , , , , , , , on August 15, 2021 by J.J.

Of all of Lester Butler’s various bands and gigs, Snake Snake may be the most mysterious.

But its roots go back to California’s bubbling hot, early 1980s blues scene.

“When I first met Lester he was just a friend of Hollywood Fats that would come around in the early ’80s,” Kid Ramos told nofightin.com recently. “I didn’t even know he played harmonica.”

At the time, Kid and Fats were the 1-2 guitar punch in the James Harman Band, which also boasted Willie J. Campbell on bass and Stephen Hodges on drums.

Ramos and Butler would share the stage a few years later in The Blue Shadows.

“He contacted me in the late ‘80s, early ‘90s, I think it was and asked me to come sit with them at the King King,” Ramos recalled. “At that time Smokey Hormel was the guitar player and sometimes other people would play guitar. But it was Jonny Ray Bartel, Bill Bateman and … (Dave Lee) Bartel.”

“Lester was too hard for those guys to deal with and it sort of imploded,” he remembered. “Paul Size went back to Texas and I played some more gigs with the band as The Red Devils. Went to Holland and played some gigs over there. But with a different rhythm section.”

A few years later, it was Ramos’ turn to call Butler for a band he was putting together: Snake Snake.

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