Archive for February, 2009

The Greatest Music Never Sold

Posted in red devils with tags , , , on February 21, 2009 by automatic32

There’s a relatively new book out on the market that it seems not many people know about, or at least not many of the people who hang out here, and that needs to change.

Journalist Dan LeRoy, who has written for the likes of the New York Times, Rolling Stone, and Newsweek, among others, took it upon himself to pen a fantastic little collection of stories about rock albums that have been finished but never released. Titled “The Greatest Music Never Sold,” LeRoy tells the story behind nine major rock artists’ albums that are done, in the can, completed, ready to rock, yet sit on a shelf somewhere collecting dust.

What does this have to do with the Red Devils, you ask? Awesome as they were, they never wore the mantle of Major Rock Artists. As such, nothing they did on their own should even merit a mention by Mr. LeRoy. However, the Devils, being generally wonderfully talented musicians, attracted the attention of major artists and individuals in the industry, Rick Rubin being the obvious example. It’s through this side door that the Devils snuck to make their name as more than just another bar band or run-of-the-mill neo-classic blues outfit. Rubin brought the Devils formally in touch with the likes of Mick Jagger and Johnny Cash, and the former is the reason we can be so grateful to LeRoy.
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DVD: Live at Moulin 1998 — Lester’s Legendary Last Gig

Posted in lester butler with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 19, 2009 by J.J.

It’s rare for any “new” Lester Butler or Red Devils material to be released now, more than 10 years since Butler’s passing. Which is why the 2008 DVD “Live at Moulin Blues Ospel 1998 — Lester’s Legendary Last Gig” is such a special document.

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Recorded at Butler’s last gig, just a week before his untimely death, the DVD captures the harpist and his band (Alex Schultz on guitar, Eddie Clark on drums and Mike Hightower on bass) at the height of their powers, performing a stellar set at the annual blues festival in the Netherlands. That Lester looks so happy throughout the disc is a real bonus.

I’ve just picked up a copy of the DVD, though many of us have seen these performances in bootleg form. Over the next few weeks, I plan a series of reviews looking at the concert and extras:

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Lester Butler — 13 with a bullet!

Posted in lester butler with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 16, 2009 by J.J.

One of the best interviews with Lester Butler floating on the Internet is a 1997 Q&A with New Zealand music magazine The Real Groove called “13 with a bullet!” It touches on blues, drugs, religion and spirituality, tattoos, death, rehab and more. The interview is getting harder to find on the web, so here it is once again:

LESTER BUTLER — 13 with a bullet!
By Arsenio Orteza, The Real Groove

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Were truth serum forced down the throats of blues aficionados, many of them might confess to admiring or respecting the importance of the blues a lot more than they actually enjoy the music. And who could blame them? The blues is, after all, the most repetitious music in the Western world, and let him who has never trumpeted music for ulterior motives cast the first rolling stone.

Lester Butler, the 37-year-old, harp-playing force of nature who first came to notoriety as the front man for the late and much-lamented Red Devils, plays a different kind of blues altogether. In fact, he and his new band 13 don’t so much play the blues as allow it to inhabit them and throttle them within an inch of their professional viability. (“We broke mics, and it was fun,” laughs Butler in reference to the recording of 13 Featuring Lester Butler, their new Hightone album. “But we’ll never record in that studio again because they’re totally pissed at how many mics I broke. That wasn’t ‘respectful.’”) As a result, the 13 songs on 13 Featuring Lester Butler — especially the homicidally maniacal “Plague of Madness” – don’t sound performed so much as possessed.

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Timeline added: Tours, albums, festivals, more

Posted in red devils with tags , , , , , , , , on February 13, 2009 by J.J.

We’ve added a Red Devils/Lester Butler timeline to nofightin.com. The timeline will focus specifically on The Red Devils proper, along with Lester Butler and 13.

This will be a perpetual work in progress, with corrections and additions coming when appropriate. I’ve trolled the web to find opening slots and tour dates, along with other important chronology. And almost every item in the timeline will be linked back to a “source” for verification. (Some without links were independently verified by nofightin.com or are “common-knowledge” events.)

As always, your help is appreciated!

Red Devils 1992 Def American press kit

Posted in red devils with tags , , , , , , , , on February 11, 2009 by J.J.

def_american_onesheetNot knowing much about The Red Devils in 1992, the Def American press kit was pretty much the only source of info I had for the band. I got this press kit while working at the Indiana Daily Student, before the band came to play a gig at Jake’s Nightclub. I’ll write more about that experience later, but for now, let’s crack open the envelope:

The main piece in the kit was the Red Devils’ one-sheet, a pretty detailed bio of the band, with nods to Hollywood Fats, Junior Watson and more. This is still some required reading for Devils’ fans — it sort of fills in the mythological blanks, and pegs the trio of Lester Butler, Bill Bateman and Jonny Ray Bartel as the three founding members.
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Bill Bateman link-o-rama

Posted in bill bateman with tags , , , , , on February 8, 2009 by J.J.

bill_bateman
Going through several saved links, I found all kinds of great info on Bill Bateman. Some of this may be old news, but it’s new here, and compiled in this convenient linkdown:

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Blue Shadows 1991 on YouTube

Posted in red devils with tags , , , , , on February 4, 2009 by J.J.

Great find on YouTube recently — vintage video of The Blue Shadows, the pre-Def American version of The Red Devils. The description, from user checker764, says:

Before signing with Def American Records and being given the name The Red Devils by producer Rick Rubin, Lester Butler’s band was known as The Blue Shadows. They were featured in a showcase for new bands at something called The Colvin Convention (?), an event for radio and record companies in Los Angeles in 1991. This clip is from that performance.

The videos offer a fascinating look at the Devils before hitting it “big.” Unfortunately, checker764 didn’t make the videos available for embedding, but here are the links to the two videos:
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