Archive for bill bateman

5 takeaways from The Red Devils reunion weekend

Posted in red devils with tags , , , , , on June 12, 2017 by J.J.

The Red Devils are back, having just completed their first three gigs in 23 years. They returned triumphant June 2-4 in The Netherlands.

Photos and videos of the shows are plentiful, and too many to catalog here. Many of the videos are captured in The Red Devils Facebook group. Also check the Facebook pages for Paul Size, Mike Flanigin and Big Pete, too. The entire Ribs and Blues Festival set is available on Facebook, if you know where to look. Twanny’s Blues has plenty of June 3 Bosuil videos on YouTube, or watch the whole show here. June 2 Fluor clips are available from Joop Chevy on YouTube.

Here are the things that stuck out to us after watching the first three Red Devils shows:

1. There is only one …

From the very first notes of the very first song of the very first gig, it’s clear: These are The Red Devils, and nobody else.

For a generation of fans who only have 24-year-old YouTube videos to go off of, the ’17 Devils are a revelation. The stacks and stacks of bands inspired by the Devils clearly can’t touch them — many of them have been rendered obsolete in just three shows.

You cannot go wrong with Bill Bateman in the driver’s seat, and he makes obvious the fatal flaw for other bands: he just has that beat, locking in with the grooving Jonny Ray Bartel. Paul Size reminds everyone that his guitar playing is singular — his touch and instincts are all still there. He’s been missed.

If you can’t have Dave Lee Bartel onstage, then bring back Mike Flanigin, holding down rhythm guitar. Kudos to the Devils for bringing back a different “brother” when they could have gotten a ringer.

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It’s time: The Red Devils reunited

Posted in red devils with tags , , , , on June 2, 2017 by J.J.

Paul Size, Bill Bateman and Jonny Ray Bartel, the three “original” members of the legendary Red Devils.

This photo was taken by “The Drifter” Mike Flanigin June 2 in Holland, the first night of The Red Devils reunion tour.

Welcome back, boys. Glad you could make it.

BREAKING: Red Devils reuniting for summer 2017 European tour

Posted in bill bateman, jonny ray bartel, paul size, red devils with tags , , , , , on February 10, 2017 by J.J.

reddevils_kingking_sleeve2

The rumors are true …

In 2017, on the silver anniversary of “King King,” The Red Devils return to Europe, to the crowds that have kept their memory, spirit and music alive.

Bill Bateman, Paul Size and Jonny Ray Bartel return with one-time Red Devils guitarist Mike Flanigin (Jimmie Vaughan, Billy Gibbons and the BFGs).

And picking up the bullet mic and fronting the band is Dutch bluesman Big Pete, Pieter van der Pluijm, filling in for the late Lester Butler. As a solo artist, Big Pete has carried on the Devils’ tradition, bringing Billy Boy Arnold, Little Walter and Chicago blues harp into the 21st century.kingking_vinyl

The first date has been announced: Sunday, June 4, at Ribs & Blues, a free roots and blues festival in The Netherlands.

Early-June club dates are expected to be announced soon, as well as a full summer tour lineup.

WATCH NOFIGHTIN.COM FOR UPDATES.

START HERE: The very best posts on nofightin.com … music, videos, lyrics, myths, more.

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Video: Red Devils live at King King Nov. 30, 1992

Posted in red devils with tags , , , , , , on December 26, 2016 by J.J.

One of the treats hanging out with Mike Flanigin last year was watching vintage Red Devils video live from the King King more than two decades earlier.

We watched half of the Nov. 30, 1992, video in his Austin living room. Essentially, we got the DVD commentary from one of the members of The Red Devils himself.

Flanigin held the guitar he played in the Devils as he watched a younger version of himself, sparking many more memories and stories.

Two things stuck out: That Flanigin wasn’t entirely impressed with the King King mystique, which even in 1992 was thick around the band. Watching the video, the band in living color under stage lights, is surreal. How many of us have listened to the “King King” record and imagined the whole night in grainy black and white, dimly lit and gritty?

Photo by Tina Hanagan

Photo by Tina Hanagan

This is video of the Devils in their prime, road-tested and ready. Sure there are festival videos out there, scattered TV appearances. But this is three sets of classic Red Devils with their prototype setlist of the time (“Who Do You Love,” “She’s Dangerous,” “Blues in the Morning,” “Blackwater Roll,” “Checkin’ Up On My Baby,” plus Hook Herrera sits in, too).

The other thing was his sense of belonging in the band. As he mentioned, his kids never knew him as a guitar player, and certainly not as a member of one of the hottest blues acts of the second half on ’92. Many Red Devils fans don’t even know his role in the band; this video proves it.

Mike: But I do have this videotape from the King King. You probably never saw it?

Interviewer: No.

Mike: Well, this was the King King and I don’t know if anyone has any video of us playing like that whole American tour. In the video the quality is not that great. But this is when we got back and they were like, “Man, we’re going to play the King King!” Well this was the night. Like this was our first night back from being on the road and Billy Gibbons was there and Rick Rubin was there and that’s the night. And so the guy had taped it , they had the camera, so they run that tape. And then when we got down with the gig, he had the VHS tape and Lester was just like, “Hey Mikey, you take this,” and gave it to me and I hung on to it … I would feel like everybody else had just went by the wayside at some point …

I held on to like little scrapbook or little things that it might got lost. And so this videotape is — I had to dig it out man. I knew I had it. …

And that’s a whole night, like it’s not just 30 minutes. I mean it’s like all night, all the whole thing. …

And so, it gives you an idea of like where we were and what the band sounded like that you remembered from like when you saw us. Because it’s the only thing that really exists. There’s no live recordings and all that or like anything professionally done or see the band. I never have seen anything with me in it. Even though I was in the group a long time really. I mean of the working life with that band.

Tina: It’s got to be out there though, right?

Mike: Well, what’s funny is that he took this tape out of the machine and gave it to Lester and Lester gave it to me. I think it’s the only existing copy.

And I’ve never given it to anybody, like I never show it really and I hadn’t seen it years. I just pulled this out because I knew you were coming.

Interviewer: Yes, yes. That’s very kind of you.

Mike: We’ll see what’s up with it. I mean it might be a complete mess.

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The Blasters in The Cities

Posted in bill bateman, related music with tags , , , , , on July 5, 2015 by J.J.

There was no cooler place to be in Minneapolis on June 17 than Lee’s Liquor Lounge.

We were piled in there, too, pressed against the stage for The Blasters‘ return to the Twin Cities.

Phil Alvin, John Bazz, Keith Wyatt and the powerhouse drummer “Buster” Bill Bateman played a greatest hits show for hipsters, rockers, punks and squares in the little corner tavern.

Here are photos by Tina Hanagan, including a couple of openers Javier and the Innocent Sons (you remember Javier Matos from a latter-day version of The Blue Shadows w/Bateman & Bazz).

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.

‘King King’: There’s only one

Posted in red devils with tags , , , , , , on January 2, 2014 by J.J.

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I’ve been thinking a lot about “King King” the last few weeks, what makes it special in a way other albums — of any genre — rarely are.

The success of The Red Devils and the “King King” album come down to three things, very simple but so elusive.

It’s those five guys (plus one on the record), playing those 12 songs in that club with that producer.

kingking_vinylThat’s it.

There is no substitute. There is no sequel. All the magic is captured on that disc, starting with the blurry cover with the hipsters outside, to the steam and smoke on that piece of plastic in the player.

At this point, “King King” is old enough to buy a drink, but still sounds as fresh and powerful as it did 21 years ago. And it would have played 21 years earlier, too, in 1971, a muscular rival for the broader explorations of Butterfield and Canned Heat.

It’s easy on paper to peg The Red Devils as a harmonica band. But in reality, it’s a rhythm band. Built on Bill “Buster” Bateman’s impeccable timing and dynamics. Jonny Ray Bartel’s thick bass swagger, so evident on the groovier cuts like “I Wish You Would” and “Devil Woman.” Dave Lee Bartel’s essential rhythm, so unselfish, so signature (listen to recordings of the band with other rhythm guitarists … just not the same).
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