Archive for alex schultz

1997 Tamines bootleg given mainstream release

Posted in 13, lester butler with tags , , , , , on October 31, 2015 by J.J.

Lester Butler is back — sort of — on the above-board release of the long-bootlegged Tamines show from Aug. 29, 1997, at the 7th South Blues Festival in Belgium.

Live at Tamines 1997The two-disc set “Lester Butler featuring 13 Live at Tamines 1997” comes from RockBeat Records, the same folks who reissued “13 featuring Lester Butler” more than four years ago, with bonus tracks from the Tamines festival, clearly taken from the bootleg that had been circulating for a decade by then.

Here’s the back-cover info from the new release:

Lester Butler was a brilliant harmonica player. He rejuvenated the LA blues scene with his group The Red Devils. After they disbanded, Lester formed a group on Hightone Records featuring a back up band he called 13. The live intensity of this show demonstrates how adept he was singing and playing the blues. He died not long after this show from 1997. The blues was hot and Lester was on fire.

Though Amazon shows a release date of Oct. 2, our copy is already on backorder.

So though we don’t have the physical package in hand just yet, there are a few things we know already:
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Classic Rock: Fear and loathing in The Red Devils

Posted in red devils with tags , , , , , , , , on March 16, 2014 by J.J.

The Red Devils in Classic Rock #195

Classic Rock #195

From their amazing music to the devastating effects of drugs, The Red Devils’ story is told this month in a compelling piece by writer Paul Rees in the new issue of Classic Rock Magazine.

Issue #195, with Queen on the cover, is out in the UK and in digital editions now.

Rees has done a stellar job on the Devils’ tale. The article, part of an in-issue series on “the greatest cult bands of all time,” is a worthy companion to Dan Leroy’s chapter on the band in “The Greatest Music Never Sold.”

Driving the Classic Rock story (titled “Fear and Loathing in Hollywood”) are fresh interviews with Jonny Ray Bartel, Bill Bateman, Alex Schultz, Billy Gibbons, Rick Rubin and Lester Butler’s sister, Ginny Tura.

And new facts and side items are unearthed. Never before have the band members talked so openly about the troubles that destroyed the band, and led to Butler’s horrible — if inevitable — death.

The story is well worth picking up. Here are some impressions:

  • Rees traces The Red Devils beginnings to earlier than the Blue Shadows in 1988. He says that band was initially called The Stumblebums in 1986.
  • Rubin’s two edicts for signing the band: Change the name, and hire a guitarist. Enter Paul Size.
  • Though “King King” sounds like the best set of blues ever, it was recorded over three successive Mondays at the club.
  • “That session is incredible. You’d have to ask Mick why he never chose to release it.” Even Rick Rubin can’t get the Jagger sessions released. If they were, they would likely lead, even at this late date, to recognition for the Devils, and new critical and commercial assessments of Jagger’s solo career.
  • Bateman claims Butler “had actually clinically died four times in previous years.” His account of Butler waking up in the morgue under a sheet is almost impossible to believe.
  • Dave Lee Bartel dropped out of the band in Dallas in a dispute over pay. Meanwhile, Butler was trying to hire all new band members. This all happened before their legendary European tour in early 1993.
  • The details of the night of Butler’s death, Bateman’s role in the night and the aftermath, are harrowing.

Rees included a comment by me in the article, giving some perspective from a fan. I made that reference to Brian Eno’s Velvet Underground comment before. To me, it fits here.

When I talk with people about “King King” — granted, the results are biased because I often meet them through this blog — they agree that it is essential and, for some, life-changing (or, at least, blues-changing).

Even all these years later, that passion continues to speak to the chemistry and abilities of five guys at a Monday night blues show in an old Chinese restaurant.

Pics: 13’s day off at North Sea Feb. 1998

Posted in 13 with tags , , , , , on June 17, 2012 by J.J.

Our friend Eddie Clark provided these photos of 13 from what he said was the group’s second to last tour of the Netherlands and Belgium in February 1998. “We had left Sneek, NL and had to go way north to the Nordzee to get back to Amsterdam,” Clark wrote. “That is a massive dike we are on and the North Sea behind us.”

These photos have been posted on other sites for years, but these are all-new scans from the original hard copy pictures. It’s interesting to see what the band — Lester Butler, Alex Schultz, Mike Hightower and Clark — did on a day off.

Also note the tag on Butler’s jacket for Royal Tattoo. We’ll guess it’s this same shop in Denmark.

Pics: 13 at Rhythm Room in Phoenix 1998

Posted in 13 with tags , , , , , , , , on March 3, 2012 by J.J.

Thanks to photographer David Horwitz in Tucson, we have these great images of 13 from the Rhythm Room in Phoenix from early 1998 (we are thinking this was April 4, 1998).

Horwitz does a great job documenting the blues scene under the imprint David Horwitz Blues Images. These photos of Lester Butler, Alex Schultz, Eddie Clark and Mike Hightower are for sale. If you’d like to use them for your site, or would like to get your own copies or prints, email Horwitz.

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Alex Schultz on 13: “The songs were Lester Butler”

Posted in 13 with tags , , , , , on February 26, 2012 by J.J.

It’s clear that his time with 13 and Lester Butler has had an impact on guitarist Alex Schultz.

When talking with Schultz at the Simi Valley Cajun and Blues Festival last year, he was open, engaging and honest. His experiences differ from some other musicians who worked with Butler over the years, as he fondly recalled the charismatic harp player and singer. And he was more than willing to talk about fleshing out the songs that would become “13 featuring Lester Butler,” his impressions of “Lester’s Legendary Last Gig” and his memories of someone who grew to be a close friend.

On that May day in 2011, Schultz had just gotten off stage where he performed several Butler songs with Pieter “Big Pete” van der Pluijm, Willie J. Campbell and Johnny Morgan. Schultz takes responsibility to be true to those songs and Butler’s memory.

“(The songs) were so unique, and they were so unique to this guy,” Schultz said. “The songs were Lester Butler, and he was such a unique person, unique character. So the songs and the music was kind of singular. They weren’t the type of tunes you would just say, ‘oh, let’s do a cover of that tune’.”

“We got very close as friends. And his approach to the music also was very, like, all-inclusive. You had to be like 110 percent into the music. That’s how he was … To play those songs was like very emotional. Imagine standing next to Lester Butler on stage every night. Some nights it was so incredible and he was so into the music and it was so real, and so I got drawn into it as well, and I played it that way.”

“So it became like an emotional experience to play that stuff. It’s not something you would casually do, and say, ‘oh yeah, let’s do ‘So Low Down.” If we’re going to do that, we’ve got to really feel it and go there.”

Listen to the Schultz interview here, edited for clarity and content:

MP3: Alex Schultz interview May 29, 2011 (26:01)

0:00-12:14: Playing songs from 13; the uniqueness of the music; working with Big Pete; contrasting Butler with William Clarke and Rod Piazza.
12:14-20:15: Writing the songs; demo sessions; “Plague of Madness”
20:15-26:01: How fans remember Butler; Schultz’s friendship with Butler; recovery; memories of Moulin 1998

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All photos by Tina Hanagan except the one with Schultz, Perry and Hanagan.

Johnny Morgan on 13: “It was a hybrid”

Posted in 13 with tags , , , , , on August 13, 2011 by J.J.

The versions of “Sweet Tooth” and “Black Hearted Woman” that ended up on “13 featuring Lester Butler” were actually the demo tracks, featuring the propulsive drumming of Johnny Morgan.

I spoke with Morgan back on May 29, 2011, at the Simi Valley Cajun and Blues Festival, minutes after he got off stage playing behind Big Pete, Alex Schultz and Willie J. Campbell as part of a tribute to Lester Butler.

In the interview, Morgan talks about recording those demos and how the band was spurred on to get more aggressive, what Butler was listening to, and what he thought of his singing voice, among other observations.

MP3: John Morgan interview May 29, 2011 (8:30)

EDIT 2/26/12: Listen to an interview with Alex Schultz from the 2011 Simi Valley Cajun and Blues Fest.

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All photos by Tina Hanagan

Lester Butler remembered at Simi Valley Cajun & Blues festival

Posted in lester butler, related music with tags , , , on June 2, 2011 by J.J.

For one afternoon only, Lester Butler was back on stage.

A portrait of Butler — blowing harp, arms covered in tats — by artist Theo Reijnders rested on an easel stage left May 29 at the 22nd Annual Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Music Festival for a performance by Big Pete and his Lester Butler Tribute Band.

It was the American coming out party for Pieter “Big Pete” van der Pluijm, and he was tapped to pay tribute to his primary inspiration, as he has done numerous times in Europe. It was clear there was anticipation to see this big blond kid from Holland everyone had heard so much about — the area in front of the stage was filled with musicians, Lester’s friends and family and serious music lovers.

Big Pete

Alex Schultz

Johnny Morgan

[All photography by Tina Hanagan]

As Delta Groove CEO and Butler friend Randy Chortkoff said when he introduced Big Pete, “When I close my eyes, I hear Lester Butler.”

Pete and his band — 13 veterans Alex Schultz on guitar and Johnny Morgan on drums, along with Willie J. Campbell (replacing Rick Reed) on bass — used Butler’s music as a jump-off point to showcase their own incredible talents, performing a series of songs and grooves unlike anything else heard all weekend. That the music sounded as fresh Sunday as it did 14 years ago is testament to Butler’s foresight.

More photos and video after the jump  Continue reading

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