Archive for red devils

Red Devils play essential set on ‘2 Meter Sessies’ (1993)

Posted in red devils with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 29, 2021 by J.J.

In lieu of a legit Red Devils sophomore album, fans should look to live performances such as 1993’s outstanding “2 Meter Sessies” recording to fill the void.

The 2 Meter Sessies is a Dutch radio series, a live-in-the-studio “unplugged” session. Performers over the years include Radiohead, Foo Fighters, Cranberries, Blind Melon, J.J. Cale, Jackson Browne and many others. Of course, the Devils didn’t unplug at all, giving one of their essential performances — all caught on tape. (Read more about the Sessies on nl.wikipedia.org.)

The Devils’ performance was recorded May 3, 1993, at Bullet Sound Studios in the Netherlands, just two days after their infamous Moulin Blues Festival appearance. This time, the band sounds rested and ready; it’s just as compelling a performance as Moulin, but without the debauchery. It sounds like a hardworking blues band on top of their game.


The set is typical of the band’s show during this period, a solid mix of “King King” favorites and other choice picks. Several of the songs were earmarked as possibilities for the band’s full-length follow-up to “King King.”

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ZZ Top’s Dusty Hill, 1949-2021

Posted in related music with tags , , , , on July 28, 2021 by J.J.
Dusty Hill, left, and Billy Gibbons onstage July 21, 2017, at the Stimmen Festival in Lorrach, Germany. Hill died July 28, 2021, at age 72. (Photo copyright Tina Hanagan / nofightin.com)

Dusty Hill, the man who held down bass guitar duties and lent his unmistakable vocals to hits such as “Tush,” “Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers” and “Heard It on the X,” died Wednesday, July 28, 2021. He was 72.

He had been off the road for a short while, with ZZ’s guitar tech Elwood Francis filling in at recent shows.

But Dusty was so much more than the bass player. He was one-third of Tres Hombre, and 50% of the best facial hair in the business. That might not matter much in the long run, but ZZ Top’s distinctive look (and futuristic boogie) made them stars on MTV in the 1980s. Without that, they might have ended up being ’70s rock casualties, more radio stars killed by video.

He also played keyboards, and was a consistently entertaining presence in the ZZ Top experience.

In 2017, ZZ took The Red Devils on tour of Europe for a month, introducing the Devils to a whole new audience. The Red Devils will forever be tied to that little ol’ band from Texas (never mind that Devils guitarist Mike Flanigin also plays with Billy Gibbons’ various moonlighting bands).

They made an awful big sound for just three guys. Without Dusty, it won’t be quite the same.

READ MORE: ZZ Top on nofightin.com

REVEREND: Billy F. Gibbons touts The Red Devils on eve of tour

HARP: James Harman provided harmonica for ZZ Top

(Photo copyright Tina Hanagan / nofightin.com)

Bateman drums: Old school, new ideas from Blasters legend

Posted in bill bateman with tags , , , , , , on July 24, 2021 by J.J.
Bill Bateman in Drumhead [Photo by Kelly King]
Bill Bateman in Drumhead magazine No. 21, May/June 2010.

Note: This post was first published June 6, 2010. It was revised and updated July 24, 2021.

Bill Bateman is featured in the May/June 2010 issue of Drumhead magazine, mostly talking about the craft of drum building. Bateman began building kits for his own Bateman Drum Company a few years earlier, and he talks, in detail, with Drumhead about the why and how:

“I noticed that some of the drum companies have made choices in their production that aren’t geared towards a better instrument, but rather are a by-product of mass production. Some companies are good. Gretsch still does it the old 1940s way, which is great. Ludwig is kind of imitating what they used to do, but they have all butt joints. They didn’t have butt joints in the old days.”

Bateman is revealed as a true drum gearhead, with an astounding knowledge of styles and companies. He even talks at length about studying Civil War-era snare drums, eventually building two rope-tension snares in the 19th-century style, according to Drumhead. Much of the article is about how he and his brother-in-law experimented with making wood shells. But Bateman always keeps the player in mind, even when selecting hardware (which he gets from old drums): “All of that double-braced hardware isn’t going to fit into the back of your Toyota,” Bateman told the magazine. “Even if it did, your back would be pissed at you the next day.”

What are the odds of you getting a Bateman Drum Company set? Not so great, according to an interview in the August 2008 Blasters newsletter American Music:

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Listen: Red Devils climb ‘Mountain Stage’ for live radio show (1992)

Posted in red devils with tags , , , , , , on July 11, 2021 by J.J.

Note: This story was originally published Oct. 18, 2015.

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.

The recording captures the Devils between their opening stint on tour for Los Lobos and their first U.S. headlining club tour dates. In fact, it would be just about a week later that we would see the Devils at the old Jake’s nightclub in Bloomington, Ind.

Like so many other radio programs, “Mountain Stage” is often bootlegged and passed around, and The Red Devils’ set is no exception. The bootleg itself is short, with just four tunes and radio chatter. But, it is crystal-clear audio and a nice touchstone for the band during this time.

All four songs are available here on No Fightin’, including two courtesy of Dominik Ablamowicz on YouTube.

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Onstage with The Red Devils and Zach Zunis at the Paradiso, 1993

Posted in red devils with tags , , , , , , , , on April 3, 2021 by J.J.

Thanks to Harold Schreuder in Holland, we have some “new ” looks at The Red Devils in 1993 to share.

Harold tells us that he saw the band a few times that year, including meeting The Red Devils (with Zach Zunis replacing Paul Size) at their Nov. 29, 1993, performance at the Paradiso in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. (You can tell that he really met the band because he has one photo each with the players, and Dave Lee Bartel is nowhere to be seen.)

The first batch of photos are from April and May, 1993, Harold says, with Paul Size on lead. It certainly looks like the Paradiso here on May 2. The other gig is a little harder to tell … could it have been April 29 at De Haagse Koninginnenacht, Den Haag, The Netherlands?

And here are some cool pics of the band from November in Amsterdam, with Zunis on lead guitar:

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Block 1993 interview with Lester Butler after Pinkpop festival (annotated)

Posted in red devils with tags , , , , , , , on March 7, 2021 by J.J.

This week, we bring you an interview with Lester Butler from the July/August/September 1993 issue of Block magazine (#87).

There is a lot to take in from this interview, conducted May 31, 1993, after the band had already played its seminal morning set opening the 1993 Pinkpop Festival, and a gig that night in Doornroosje, Nijmegen, Holland. Basically, this interview was their last official activity at the end of an important month for the band, which kicked off May 1 with the legendary performance at the Moulin Blues Festival in Ospel.

The story, originally in Dutch, has been translated by nofightin.com (well, Google Translate, with some contextual edits by us), and appears in its entirety below.

In addition, we offer annotations throughout the story: What’s right, what’s wrong, more context and history. Look for the notes just under some paragraphs.

A band foaming at the mouth: The Red Devils

By Marion Wisse

The Red Devils started in 1988 as a jam session band at the King King club, a former Chinese restaurant in Los Angeles. The first time only nine skateboarders came to watch, but due to word of mouth, the number of visitors grew quickly. Among them: Peter Wolf, Lenny Kravitz and The Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Also always present was Rick Rubin, producer for the Def American label. But it wasn’t until they had seen his face about 60 times that Lester Butler (vocals/harmonica) and his mates knew what that man does in the business.

Much of this is detailed in the band’s official press kit biography.

The debut CD “King King” has been out for less than a year and resulted in a studio session with Mick Jagger. In addition, The Red Devils were allowed to close Moulin Blues and open Pinkpop. In the evening, after Pinkpop, they performed in Doornroosje in Nijmegen. There we spoke to the band.

When the band arrives at Doornroosje a little later than planned due to a minor collision, their Pinkpop performance of that morning has just been broadcast. Great is the hilarity among the band members when Bram van Splunteren does not seem to know who Little Walter was. And when the cameraman of the NOS then switches bass guitarist Jonny Ray Bartel and guitarist Paul Size during the announcement, the boys are really laughing. Immediately afterward we talk with Lester Butler, Paul Size (or was that Lester Butler?), and drummer Bill Bateman.

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‘A rowdy presentation of the blues’ … Dave Lee Bartel in 1992

Posted in red devils with tags , , , , , on January 24, 2021 by J.J.

From the Sept. 3, 1992, Des Moines (Iowa) Register, we get this interview with Dave Lee Bartel. The occasion was a gig the next week, Sept. 9, at the Iowa State State Memorial Union’s Maintenance Shop (“M-Shop”) venue in Ames, Iowa. Tickets reasonably priced at $2 ($3 day of show).

Where did the Devils play? Find your gig or share one for the timeline

A couple of things stand out in this relatively rare Dave Lee interview:

  • The elder Bartel brother comes off very humble and self-effacing in this story. He has a “pinch me” kind of attitude about the ride the band was on at the time, chalking a lot up to luck.
  • He also paints a vivid picture of the group’s intent, as laid out by Bill Bateman:

The current lineup has the brash, angry sound of which Bateman had dreamed.

“Bill wanted to make a rowdy presentation of the blues,” Bartel said. “We play aggressive music — like Elmore James, pretty raw. Just scream your guts out and not give it too much swing or jazz feeling.”

— “Red Devils play hot blues,” by Bart Dupuis, Des Moines Register, Sept. 3, 1992

This interview is noteworthy for another reason: Just a week later, Dave Lee would be off the tour, and Mike Flanigin in on rhythm guitar.

Video: Ride With the Devils Tonight

Posted in red devils with tags , , , , , on November 27, 2020 by J.J.

It’s Black Friday in the United States today, but No Fightin’ brings you some rare, unheard Red Devils for free. “Ridin’ in the Moonlight,” “Ride With Your Daddy Tonight,” “Pretty Baby” … whatever you call it, it’s The Red Devils Live at the King King club in Hollywood, California, 28 years ago, Nov. 30, 1992. (Video courtesy Mike Flanigin)

WATCH THIS: “Dangerous” at the King King 1992 AND THAT: Video: Red Devils live at King King Nov. 30, 1992

Can a record change your life?

Posted in red devils with tags , , , , on August 13, 2017 by J.J.

“Can you believe we are really here?”

That was our theme throughout our European adventure.

“Can you believe we are in this hotel room with Paul Size?” “Can you believe we are watching ZZ Top in this tennis area?” “Can you believe we are in the middle-of-nowhere, England?” “Can you believe we are in the Borderline?”

Can you believe The Red Devils are back?

There was a moment, watching The Red Devils from the side of the stage in Dublin’s 3Arena, performing to thousands of music fans, that it really hit home: I have been listening to this band for 25 years.

Would “young J.J.,” at 20 years old on July 28, 1992, hearing The Red Devils for the first time, immediately buying the disc, and putting it on heavy rotation all that summer, really believe he would be here in Ireland with the band? And 25 years to the day, no less — 28 Jul 2017.

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Souvenirs, the week after

Posted in red devils with tags , , , , on August 6, 2017 by J.J.

We are still unpacking suitcases (and our brains, a little bit) a week after seeing The Red Devils for the first time in 25 years.

Here are some of the scraps and souvenirs we brought back.

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