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
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?
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.