Archive for April, 2010

13 on the road: Butler, Schultz, Goldberg, Intveld

Posted in 13 with tags , , , , , , , on April 18, 2010 by J.J.

Thanks as always to our pal Vince Jordan for providing great photos, including this picture of the touring version of 13, James Intveld, left, on drums, Lester Butler, bassist Mark Goldberg and guitarist Alex Schultz (photographer unknown), outside the Blue Cafe in Tahiti, probably 1997.

This is just one of many different 13 live lineups, depending on date, location and circumstances. Hightone’s tour bio provides some clarity:

“Music is a hypnotic thing — it kind of puts you in this state and it just comes out,” confesses lead singer/harp man extraordinaire Lester Butler of Los Angeles-based 13, in attempting to describe the creative process that fuels the visceral, edgy sound of the band and its self-titled debut on HighTone Records. For the brand of blues that Lester and his mates are creating is not that by-the-book, note-for-note recreations of the usual cast of characters; but rather a living, breathing force of energy that effectively captures both the spirit and intent of what makes this music so special. And that’s the only way Butler knows how to do it.

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13 years later: Another look at “13 featuring Lester Butler”

Posted in 13 with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 10, 2010 by J.J.

“When you’re talking about blues, you’re talking
about storytelling. … You have to bring something to the table.
You have to have a story to tell.”

13 years ago tonight, Lester Butler and his gang took the stage at the Bar Deluxe in Hollywood to celebrate the release of the album “13 featuring Lester Butler.” [*]

Fans of The Red Devils’ “King King” were in for a surprise with this new disc: While “King King” was raw, buzzy and live, “13” was sharp and edgy. “King King” was a tight ensemble record; “13” sounded like a blues band riot. “King King” relied on classic blues shuffles; “13” pushed the envelope into punk, rock, boogie, R&B and jam. “King King” celebrated women, cars and booze; “13” was a junkie travelogue, documenting the seedy side of life as seen by Butler in the five years since The Red Devils’ triumphs.

For all their differences, “13” and “King King” still go hand-in-hand; if you love one, you probably love the other.

But 13 was a mission statement by Butler, with one foot firmly in blues and the other somewhere in space. Distribution on the small independent blues and roots label Hightone seemingly gave Butler carte blanche to follow his muse (check out the psychedelic cyber-tarot nightmare album cover and confusing labeling for proof).

The album he crafted is filled with tales of chaos, desperation and regret, the music stripped raw in the studio — simple, pounding drums; barrelhouse piano; snaky, funky guitar; and Butler’s vocals in front, the singer damn near ingesting the mic and screaming in your ear.
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