Archive for blue shadows

Eyewitness: Blue Shadows “deadly serious” at the King King

Posted in red devils with tags , , , , , , on May 14, 2017 by J.J.


Some of the best stories about The Red Devils come from the people who watched it all go down.

One such eyewitness is Kevin Shattuck, who has been recounting his favorite shows, and the stories behind them, on his Facebook page. Not only that but he is assembling amazing collages that render his musical memories in iconography.

He recently did a piece on the Blue Shadows — the precursor to the blues Red Devils — from the summer of ’88 at the King King. That is Genesis 1 in The Red Devils’ nearly 30-year story.

Kevin’s recollections are published with permission below, but it is definitely worth checking out his Facebook page for stories about The Blasters, X, the Jesus and Mary Chain, the Gun Club, Panther Burns and on and on …

In the Summer of ’88, a Chinese restaurant on the corner of 6th & La Brea named “King King” decided to stay open late & book rockabilly & blues acts. I was working at the Beverly Center & the club was on my way home, so I started to drop in fairly often. It didn’t take very long before an astonishingly great punk/blues band named the “Blue Shadows” settled into that space on a Monday nite residency. It included ex-”Blasters” Gene Taylor on keyboards & Bill Bateman on drums, “Radio Ranch Straight Shooter” Greg “Smokey” Hormel (or on occasion) Dave Alvin playing lead guitar & the Bartel brothers Dave Lee & Jonny Ray on rhythm guitar & bass. The front man was a young harmonica player named Lester Butler. He was a pretty good singer, but was a flat out beast on the harp & had a true bluesman’s weathered, world weary demeanor.
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Kid Ramos tears it up in 1989 Blue Shadows videos

Posted in red devils with tags , , on February 1, 2017 by J.J.

Back in December, Kid Ramos posted three very cool videos a version of The Blue Shadows from 1989 — Bill Bateman, Jonny Ray Bartel, Dave Lee Bartel, Lester Butler and, well, the first “Kid” on guitar. Well, videos of videos.

Is this the earliest recording out there of the core of The Blue Shadows/Red Devils, before Paul “The Kid” Size joined? Until now, the earliest I’ve seen was The Blue Shadows from 1991, with Size.

Not a ton of info out there … hope the Kid can come through with details!

More after the jump …
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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).

The Blasters back in Midwest

Posted in bill bateman, related music with tags , , , on May 14, 2015 by J.J.
The Blasters. Photo by Blurry Lens

The Blasters. Photo by Blurry Lens

The Blasters are storming through the Midwest U.S. again this summer.

It’s always a good thing to see the gang, and this short run has some added incentive for Red Devils fans.

Opening a series of shows will be Javier and the Innocent Sons. The Minneapolis-based group features Javier Matos, who many might remember from the resurrected Blue Shadows with Bill Bateman, as well as the Doghouse Lords.

We caught The Blasters at Fitzgerald’s in Berwyn, Ill., a few years ago, and they will be back there again for a two-night stand.

Here are some relevant dates:

  • June 17: Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis, Minn.
  • June 18: Turner Hall Ballroom, Milwaukee, Wis.
  • June 19 & 20: FitzGerald’s Chicago, Berwyn, Ill.

Check out the whole lineup, including several in California stops, here.

Dave Alvin remembers Butler and Red Devils

Posted in bill bateman, lester butler, red devils with tags , , , , , , on December 6, 2013 by J.J.

Dave Alvin posted his thoughts to Facebook Dec. 4:

Got to thinking today about the late, talented Lester Butler and the short lived but tough little blues outfit, The Red Devils, so I found a good clip of the guys playing some European festival over a decade ago. Yeah, that’s Blaster Bill Bateman on drums and Knitter Johnny Ray Bartel on bass backing up Lester as he blows the hell out of his harp. In those days they battled their demons while dancing damn close to the edge but for a few shining hours they played some great damn rocking blues. I’m glad some film remains of Lester and the guys before things ended as ugly and sad as anything could.

Alvin, of course, is essential to The Red Devils, basically a spin-off band to The Blasters. Dave Alvin played in the original Blue Shadows trio with Bill Bateman and Jonny Ray Bartel, and teams still with Bartel in The Knitters.

As of this writing, the post has 422 likes, 64 comments and 86 shares.

And he posted this video, from PinkPop, more than 20 years ago:

Blue Shadows gigs 1989-90

Posted in red devils with tags , , , , on October 2, 2011 by J.J.

We are catching up with several Blue Shadows dates for the timeline section. We start with several great clippings from the Eddie Clark collection, snapshots of the late-’80s/early-’90s California blues scene. Included are an ad for the first blues hall of fame festival and a postcard for blues night at Spice, both organized by Randy Chortkoff; along with two ads from Southland Blues Magazine.

It’s quite interesting to see, during 1989 and 1990, when the Blue Shadows were promoted as featuring Dave Alvin versus as featuring Lester Butler.

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Blue Shadows 1990 dates added to timeline

Posted in red devils with tags , , on July 14, 2010 by J.J.

We’ve tried to verify all the material you see on nofightin.com with links back to source material. In this case, we think the source might have it wrong.
In the King King club Web site’s history section, they have several old fliers and handbills with dates. A calendar labeled “July 1990” lists several Blue Shadows Monday night gigs for the month.

However, the dates actually correspond with June 1990, rather than July.

It’s likely the bar just got the months screwed up, so we’re going to add these dates to the timeline as June until further verification.

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