Archive for knitters

Bill Bateman: ‘Do I remember any of it? Hell no!’

Posted in bill bateman with tags , , , on January 12, 2020 by J.J.

“William Raymond Bateman. Born in the city of Orange …”

A great, 10-minute interview with Bill Bateman gives a rare chance to hear from the legendary drummer in his own words, voice and cadence.

Though recorded on Nov. 9, 2015, for the documentary “Tales of the American,” the Bateman interview video was only uploaded to YouTube a couple of months ago.

The full documentary tells the story of The American, L.A.’s first black hotel that, during the 20th century, became a gathering ground for the city’s artists, musicians, poets, writers and other characters. (Bateman ticks a couple of those boxes.)

Though The Red Devils are not mentioned, there is plenty to love in this interview vid. A quick rundown:

  • Gigging with Edwin Starr
  • “The Phil and Bill Show”
  • Hessians MC in the crowd
  • “Everybody watched the freaks, the Alvin brothers.”
  • Circle Jerks, Black Flag and Fear
  • Checking out the legendary Frank Frost
  • Mario Melendez and the King King
  • Grand World Class Drum-A-Thon: DJ Bonebrake + Bill Bateman + John Densmore
  • The Blasters: “It’s a family.”

You don’t need me to sell you on this video. Watch the Bateman video below or on YouTube.

Check out “Tales of the American” on Amazon Prime, Google Play, YouTube, iTunes, Xbox and Vudu.

Portrait of a Knitter

Posted in jonny ray bartel with tags , , , , , , on June 4, 2015 by J.J.

Jonny Ray Bartel

Tom Harold took this portrait of Jonny Ray Bartel when he performed with The Knitters Dec. 2, 2007, at the Music Mill in Indianapolis.

Some other fan photos from that gig can be seen on Flickr.

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:

The Blasters’ ‘Trouble Bound’ 2002

Posted in bill bateman, related music with tags , , , , , , on July 7, 2009 by J.J.

The California blues/roots/rockabilly/R&B collective The Blasters should be required listening for any fan of American Music. During the 1980s, the band, along with contemporaries such as X and Los Lobos, bridged punk and roots music with an energy and enthusiasm that thrilled a legion of fans of all types of music.

That Blasters ethic is well-displayed on the 2002 “comeback” album “Trouble Bound,” a live disc featuring the four original Blasters on record for the first time 17 years: Phil Alvin, Dave Alvin, John Bazz and Bill Bateman.

The Red Devils were one of many offshoots from The Blasters, sharing at least half a dozen musicians over the two bands along with 13, the Blue Shadows, the Knitters and others. Devils fans will find much to love on “Trouble Bound,” along with some familiar touchstones: An edgy live sound, an exemplary cover of “I Wish You Would,” the wonderful Gene Taylor on keys, as well as the Blasters’ classic “Blue Shadows,” the song that ostensibly gave the Red Devils their original name.

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