Archive for red devils

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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Red Devils summer calendar filling up

Posted in red devils with tags , , on April 23, 2017 by J.J.


Here are all the dates we have — so far — for The Red Devils June and July across Europe.

Solo shows, festivals and an opening stint on ZZ Top’s summer tour mean there are plenty of chances to see the gang in a variety of venues.

JUNE 2: Fluor in Amersfoort, The Netherlands

JUNE 3: Muziekcentrum De Bosuil, Weert, The Netherlands

JUNE 4: Ribs & Blues festival, Raalte, The Netherlands

JULY 7: The Red Devils + The Goon Mat & Lord Benardo, Le Gueulard Plus, Lorraine, France

JULY 13: Musiktheater Piano, Dortmund, Germany

More dates are expected to be added, so watch those off-days between ZZ gigs:

“Dangerous” at the King King 1992

Posted in red devils with tags , , on January 29, 2017 by J.J.

Another live video from the King King club on Nov. 30, 1992 … “She’s Dangerous”

Red Devils climb ‘Mountain Stage’ 1992

Posted in red devils with tags , , , , , , on October 18, 2015 by J.J.

At the height of their powers, The Red Devils were heard live on the popular “Mountain Stage” radio program on Oct. 4, 1992, along with Leo Kottke, John Cale and Juliana Hatfield.

Thanks to YouTuber Dominik Ablamowicz, the oft-bootlegged radio program is a little more available.

Ablamowicz uploaded two songs, “Have a Good Time” and “Shake Your Hips,” from that session.

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Red Devils at Red Rocks, 93/94

Posted in red devils with tags , , , , , , on April 6, 2014 by J.J.

The Red Devils performed two times at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, the famous Colorado open-air venue built into a rock formation. Most famous (for guys my age, at least) for an iconic performance by U2 for 1983’s “Under a Blood Red Sky,” Red Rocks hosts concerts regularly.

From the now-defunct Rocky Mountain News in Denver:

“The Blues on the Rocks series on Sept. 5 has a full circle of blues: Legends B.B. King, Koko Taylor and Buddy Guy will mix it up with young guitar slinger Eric Johnson and newcomers, the Red Devils (a band that is a favorite of Mick Jagger).” (April 16, 1993)

“Blues on the Rocks at Red Rocks (Sept. 21): B.B. King, Dr. John, Little Feat, the All-Star Tribute to Muddy Waters and the Red Devils heat up the rocks starting at 6 p.m. Tickets are $22.50 at TicketMaster, Sound Warehouse and other locations.” (May 22, 1994)

Notable is that, if the timeline holds up, the Sept. 5, 1993, date was one day before the band recorded its session with Johnny Cash and for its second album.

1995: Inside Lester Butler’s ‘lost year’

Posted in lester butler with tags , , , on March 23, 2014 by J.J.

In the wake of the Classic Rock article, there seems to be more talk and memories about The Red Devils than there has been in years. Much of it is happening on Facebook, and nofightin.com has seen a surge in visitors.lester_moulin_promo

One story that has come back around is by Rob Neighbors, called “My Time with Blues Legend, Lester Butler.” It was posted last week on the Delta Groove website, but was first posted on Neighbors’ site, Hollywood or Die, in October 2011.

The account fills in the day-to-day about what could be thought of as Butler’s “lost year,” 1995 — lost at least in terms of national prominence. It was clearly after the heyday of The Red Devils, and before the formation of 13 and his renaissance in Europe. Time when he was playing pickup gigs and local shows.

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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.

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