Archive for February, 2011

Lester Butler tributes in Netherlands, California

Posted in related music with tags , , , , , , , , on February 27, 2011 by J.J.

It seems we’re heading into a little Lester Butler renaissance. Not only is “13 featuring Lester Butler” being reissued on March 22, but two tribute shows are set up featuring many of the musicians heard on that record.

First up is Lester Butler Tribute Night March 25, 2011, with the Lester Butler Tribute Band at Raodhoes, Blerick in The Netherlands. The Lester Butler Tribute Band — this time Pieter “Big Pete” van der Pluijm on vocals and harp (below), Alex Schultz on guitar, Rick Reed on bass and Johnny Morgan on drums — will headline, with openers The Nines (as best we can tell; we still haven’t learned Dutch here at No Fightin’).

Johnny Morgan tells us there will also be a Lester Butler tribute set at the 22nd Annual Simi Valley Cajun Festival in Simi Valley, Calif., Memorial Day weekend, May 28 and 29. It’s the same band as on March 25, but adding ANTI- Records head Andy Kaulkin, presumably on keyboards as he was on the “13” record.

Red Devils open Hollywood House of Blues 1994

Posted in red devils with tags , , , , on February 23, 2011 by J.J.

Jonny Ray Bartel sent this Daily Variety article on the opening night at the Hollywood House of Blues April 22, 1994, featuring Aerosmith and The Red Devils:

Bartel also shared his recollections from that show:

We were offered the warming slot for Aerosmith on the opening night of Hollywood’s House of Blues on Sunset Blvd. We’d already played at our good friend (and HOB investor) John Paul DeJoria’s wedding in Malibu the prior year (that’s a whole ‘nother story as Cher & Roger Daltry jammed with us). Anyway, we got the gig mostly because of John Paul and partly because Joe Perry had heard “King King” and liked us. It was a great night.  I remember playing fearlessly even though Aerosmith was up next. Sadly, I’ve never been able to track down any audio or video of it …

3 live bonus tracks on 13 reissue

Posted in 13 with tags , , , , , on February 22, 2011 by J.J.

The “13 featuring Lester Butler” reissue will include three live bonus cuts from the Tamines Festival in 1997.

The tracklist for the disc, out March 22, was revealed today in a news release and e-mail exchange with RockBeat Records, a division of S’More Entertainment:


There are very few white blues bands that have been able to take the blues to a new level without compromising the integrity of the sound.  Lester Butler seemed to understand the blues structure and he performed with an attitude and an edge that stands him apart from his contemporaries.  He was able to shape his sound by bringing the blues harp more upfront and not take a back seat to the lead guitar.  His playing reflects the passion and love for the blues that remain long after his active career. Butler worked with some great musicians, including Bill Bateman, Paul “the kid” Size, Jonny Ray and Dave Lee Bartel during his stint with The Red Devils. In both bands, Lester was clearly the star, but he always had topnotch support with musicians that propelled his sound to fever pitch intensity. In America the scene was pretty jaded, but it was in Europe where Lester really gained popularity playing at festivals such as Tamines in France.  He passed away tragically in May 1998.
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Hightone Announcement for New Signings, 1997

Posted in 13, lester butler with tags , , , , on February 20, 2011 by automatic32

In light of the recent announcement that Lester Butler’s 13 album is being rereleased by RockBeat records, we here at felt it was only appropriate to take a look back at the original debut.

It was December 12th of 1996 when Hightone Records sent out info “for immediate release” on some new acts that has just been added to the roster. Included in their lineup of scheduled recordings for 1997 was 13, Lester’s first and only solo recording.

Here is what Hightone had to say:


OAKLAND, CA — HighTone Records, distributed by Rhino, has announced the signing of 13 (featuring Lester Butler), The Skeletons, and Julie Miller, and will release new albums by all three acts in early 1997.

13 (featuring Lester Butler) evolved from the L.A.-based group The Red Devils, who recorded albums backing Mick Jagger and Johnny Cash as well as their own critically acclaimed Live At The King King CD for American Recordings. Fueled by Butler’s incendiary vocals and harmonica work, coupled with his legendary near manic stage presence, 13’s powerhouse lineup also includes James Intveld (The Blasters) on bass, Steven Hodges (Tom Waits) on drums, Alex Schultz (The Mighty Flyers) on guitar, and Andy Kaulkin on keyboards. The band’s eponymous debut album, set for release on March 18, careens out of the speakers with a vengeance, with a nod to the gritty Chicago blues sound, but powered by a rock energy that places 13 in a league all its own. Material includes nine originals, plus covers of classic songs by Howlin’ Wolf, Big Joe Williams, and Dr. Ross.

The label was obviously pretty stoked about the whole affair, and why not? Butler was an exciting new artist, and with such a stellar lineup of accompanists on the project, how could it not promise to be anything other than outstanding?

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“13 featuring Lester Butler” reissue due in March

Posted in 13 with tags , , , , on February 19, 2011 by J.J.

Long out of print, “13 featuring Lester Butler” appears to be headed back to stores.

Copies of the 1997 album, first issued on the now-defunct HighTone label, are scarce, and often sell for nearly $100 on eBay.

Now, almost exactly 14 years after its debut, “13” looks like it’s being reissued through Rockbeat Records.

There is not much information on this record yet, as it has just begun appearing on sites such as, and others. Here are a few things we do know:
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Tickets to The Garage, 1993

Posted in red devils with tags , , , , , on February 15, 2011 by J.J.

Picked up a concert ticket from The Red Devils’ gig at The Garage in London Dec. 1, 1993 from an eBay auction recently (No. 18, below right). At the same time, UK Devils fan Paul Brown e-mailed us his own ticket from that show — signed by every member of the band! (No. 27 at right)

The eBay seller’s description said:

One of only a few available for this particular gig. Concert only sparcely (sic) attended due to poor advertising and poor knowledge on the public front about this stunning performer/band … RIP LESTER.BY THE WAY THE GIG WAS AWESOME,AND I TOOK MY DAD GOD REST HIM WHO WAS A HARMONICA PLAYER,AND HE WAS TOTALLY BLOWN AWAY !!!!! 

One thing to note: Paul Size had quit the band a few months earlier, so it was Zach Zunis on guitar for this stretch of shows, and represented in that autograph.

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