Archive for red devils

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.

Welcome to nofightin.com

Posted in 13, lester butler, red devils with tags , , , , , on March 12, 2014 by J.J.

For those coming to this site for the first time, welcome to nofightin.com.

We have been here since 2009, cataloging the short but stellar career of The Red Devils and Lester Butler.

Wander around and find rare music, videos and reviews, and meet other fans — and some of the musicians who made the records we love so much.
kingking_vinyl
To get you started, here are some of the most popular and essential posts and pages on nofightin.com.

Lyrics: Everything on “King King,” most of “13,” live stuff and more.

2 Meter Sessies: In lieu of a second Red Devils record, this live radio set from 1993 can fill the void.

“Lester’s Legendary Last Gig”: Full coverage of the DVD release of 13’s classic 1998 Moulin Blues performance.

“Lousiana Blues”: The story behind one of the most rare songs in the Devils’ discography, released on a promo tape before “King King” came out in ’92.

“Blues in the Morning”: Hear The Red Devils rock KCRW in 1992, including their rare take on “Shake ‘Em On Down.”

VPRO: Famous & rare Lester Butler TV appearance, blowing a little acoustic harp, talking Little Walter and jamming with G. Love.

Inside King King: Pictures from what is believed to be The Red Devils’ last King King gig.

MTV Europe: The band shuffles through a pair of tunes on the music video channel.

Finally, a pair of ruminations on the band we love: Memories of hearing the record for the first time in 1992, and a more recent take on just what makes “King King” so special.

Thanks to Paul Rees for the mention in Classic Rock Magazine.

Lyrics: “She’s Dangerous” at Pink Pop 1993

Posted in red devils with tags , , , , on February 8, 2014 by J.J.

Here’s a different take on the story “’bout a girl I know and my best friend.”

The live version of “She’s Dangerous” is an insistent rocker, much more aggressive than the stop-time swagger of the definitive “King King” version. In concert, Lester Butler plays with the lyrics, an ever-shifting narrative of who is catching who — and who is getting hit with a baseball bat. This Pink Pop 1993 version is such an example, although there are a couple of lines that we can’t make heads or tails of — then again, Butler probably couldn’t, either. (More after the jump …) Continue reading

1992: Red Devils find the Size that fits

Posted in paul size, red devils with tags , , , , , on February 24, 2013 by J.J.

Very nice article from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on the early days of Paul Size in the band.

RED DEVILS FIND THE SIZE THAT FITS
by Dave Ferman, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Sept. 11, 1992

Texas-born blues guitarist Paul Size readily will admit that he’s been real lucky so far in his musical career.

Born in Dallas and raised in Denton, Size, 21 just weeks ago, was happy playing blues and R&B in Denton bars backing legendary singer Pops Carter; he was playing the music he loved with good buddy Jon Moeller (now guitarist for Texas Heat) and just having fun.

Then a friend told him the Red Devils — Los Angeles’ hottest blues band — was looking for a new guitarist. Size packed, journeyed to California, auditioned, got the gig, and less than a year later the Devils (having gained a rep as the favorite El Lay band of Mick Jagger, the Black Crowes, Bruce Willis and other slumming celebs) have a CD, “King King,” out on Def American, have cut 13 tracks with Jagger and spent the summer touring with the Allman Brothers, Little Feat, Bob Dylan and Los Lobos.

“Yeah, I was walking into something pretty big without knowing it,” says Size by phone from South Carolina on the eve of the band’s final date with the Allmans (the Red Devils headline Dallas’ Trees on Thursday). “We just kind of clicked together — the band needed a guitar player and they decided to keep me.”
Continue reading

1998 Bolwerk, Sneek: Butler plays blues the way it should be

Posted in red devils with tags , , , on October 28, 2012 by J.J.

From our friend Feelgood comes this story about 13’s Jan. 30, 1998, gig at Bolwerk, videos of which are available on YouTube. Nothing groundbreaking here, but a fine read nonetheless. More accurate translations are appreciated.

LESTER BUTLER PLAYS BLUES THE WAY IT SHOULD BE
by Jacob Haagsma, Leeuwarder Courant
Jan. 20, 1998

SNEEK — From Pinkpop to a club room for a few hundred people. Lester Butler is not the first to reverse this road test. Ever since his previous band Red Devils, loudly applauded and enjoined by such greats as Mick Jagger and Rick Rubin. But now this singer-harmonica player is again on his own.

Though that’s not entirely true, because he is supported by a first-rate, bright-playing band. Main playmaker in 13 is guitarist Alex Schultz, with an intensely vicious attitude but at the same time never losing sight of the swing. As befits actually.

Because yes, 13 plays the blues like it actually hears, but as that too little hear. By going to the harrowing intensity that the original black practitioners laid decades ago, at least, these pale boys from Los Angeles are close. And with the raw energy of today, as if they traveled on skateboards to Sneek have rather than in a narrow coach.

Including the brisk rhythm section, with loosely pounding, thundering drums and functional, ie no note-counting, bass. Live the songs are less pointed than the extremely elementary produced, self-titled debut CD. Butler and Schultz let themselves often go into long solos, but they seem to charge less to run than show muscle to pure fun.
Continue reading

Red Devils at Mall of America 1993

Posted in red devils with tags , , , on April 22, 2012 by J.J.

The Red Devils’ travels as the house band for Planet Hollywood openings in the ’90s took them all over the world — including a giant mall in Bloomington, Minn.

From the Dec. 11, 1993, Fort Worth Star-Telegram:

It will be megastar time again when the seventh Planet Hollywood opens tomorrow night — in a megamall in Bloomington, Minn. The restaurant chain with a movie and TV memorabilia motif will open its latest at the Mall of America, the nation’s largest mall and entertainment complex. Some of Planet Hollywood’s owners are scheduled to be there, including Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis and Demi Moore. Willis and his band, The Red Devils, will perform. On the guest list are Wesley Snipes, Evander Holyfield, Patrick Swayze, Whoopi Goldberg, Don Johnson, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Danny Glover, Luke Perry and Hammer.

From the Dec. 13, 1993, St. Paul, Minn., Pioneer Press:

From the sports world, there were Vikings Jim McMahon (who showed unsportsmanlike contact off the playing field by walking into Planet Hollywood without acknowledging the crowd) and Chris Doleman; Minnesota Twins Kent Hrbek; and Thurl Bailey, Christian Laettner, Mike Brown and Doug West from the Timberwolves. … Politicos attending were Attorney General Hubert Humphrey III, St. Paul Mayor-elect Norm Coleman, Bloomington Mayor Neil Peterson and Congressman Jim Ramstad, trying hard not to look starstruck.

The gathering of gawkers and paparazzi applauded politely at these invited guests, cooling their jets waiting for the real stars, who were greeted by fans with ear-splitting screams, especially when Bruce Willis and his “bluesabilly” band, the Red Devils, lept on a specially constructed stage overlooking Camp Snoopy to perform raucous covers of “Mustang Sally” and “Hey Junior, Behave Yourself.”

‘King King’ released on 180 gram limited red vinyl

Posted in red devils with tags , , , on February 18, 2012 by J.J.

“King King” is getting the deluxe packaging treatment for its 20th anniversary after all, thanks to Dutch boutique label Music On Vinyl.

This marks the first time The Red Devils’ “King King” has been released on vinyl and, apparently, Music On Vinyl is giving the record the reissue treatment it deserves.

From musiconvinyl.com:

Their only full length album, ‘King King’ is seen as a true Blues classic and Music On Vinyl is honoured to release this album on vinyl for the very first time.

To celebrate its 20th anniversary, we decided to do something special: the first 1,000 copies of this double gatefold sleeve album are on bright red vinyl!

• 180 grams audiophile vinyl
• Twentieth anniversary, original released in 1992
• First time on vinyl !
• Gatefold sleeve
• Includes an insert
• First 1000 numbered copies on red vinyl

The official release date is Feb. 20, but the album is apparently available in some independent record stores in Holland.

Over at The Red Devils Facebook group, Patrick Struijker Boudier has already received his copy, posting a picture of the sleeve and the LP (the label noting that the record was licensed from This Way Up). His review, on the Music On Vinyl Facebook page: “Awesome release! Clearly there has been put a lot of thought in this release! Love the job you’ve done guys!”

Music On Vinyl also posted a pic of the limited edition red vinyl at the pressing plant.

Unfortunately, it appears Music on Vinyl does not sell individual orders, but rather distributes to record stores only.

The album does appear to be available for order at www.kroese-online.nl.

And, of course, the album is seeing a reissue on CD as well — also as an import-only.

Here are some other notes on the vinyl version:
Continue reading

‘King King’ reissue coming Tuesday

Posted in red devils with tags , on January 29, 2012 by J.J.

According to several websites, “King King” is set for reissue this Tuesday, Jan. 31, by Universal Import.

For instance, the U.S. amazon.com website lists “King King” as an import at $29.50, with a Tuesday release date.

We’ve not been able to find any information about this release. From our vantage point, it looks like a straight reissue, but we’ll know more when we get our hands on the disc in a couple of days.

Without facts in the way, let’s speculate a little:

  • Not surprising to see a reissue this year, the 20th anniversary of the “King King” record.
  • Unfortunately, that likely means there is no true anniversary reissue coming later in the year. We wish this was a dry run for a bigger product release, but we can’t imagine a company spending so much time and so many resources on putting out “King King” twice.
  • There is no indication of any bonus tracks — but there is really no useful product description at all.

Maybe its just wishful thinking, but we’ve heard “Automatic” on Bluesville on Sirius XM two times last week. Seems odd to play a 20-year-old one-off disc like that — unless the station has a fresh promo copy.

We’ll all find out on Tuesday.

Red Devils Moulin ’93 review from Block

Posted in red devils with tags , , , , , on December 3, 2011 by J.J.

Dutch blues magazine Block was an early supporter of The Red Devils, continuing through the 13 years as well.

This review of the the 1993 Moulin Blues Festival comes courtesy of Feelgood. We’ve done our best to do a translation of The Red Devils’ mention — if you have a better translation, put it in the comments.

Also included: A Block ad for the festival.

Finally — I think — the only other act with a magnetic force field of over 100 km: the Red Devils (because: Mick Jagger!) with their busy and fat-accentuated party hardy clichéd blues. No trace of white and yet not heavy. The band consisted of five top strengths, though star parts were played by drummer Bill Bateman (Blasters) and never-stagnant singer/harper Lester Butler, one of the few to handle Muddy’s “Louisiana Blues.” Butler spontaneously fulfilled a request for one of the slow songs to a fan who was killed earlier that week, though hopefully no one outside of those involved had been in the painful mistake still in his ready-made text. No, of course there is a festival for people like us to get back to. And we were.

USA Today: “King King” raw, rootsy blues

Posted in red devils with tags , , , on September 3, 2011 by J.J.

A glowing “King King” review from USA Today’s Oct. 28, 1992, edition. Is this one of the earlier, mainstream notices of that album?

RED DEVILS LIVE ALBUM BLASTS RAW, ROOTSY BLUES
by Edna Gundersen
USA Today

"King King"

Hellbent for blues, the red-hot Red Devils have cranked out the year’s most electrifying live album, a stunning debut. Even a band this sharp and spirited will be hard-pressed to top it. The raw and rootsy “King King” (***1/2), produced by sonic sharpshooter Rick Rubin, was recorded at L.A.’s King King club, where the Devils served as house band for six years. Whether blasting their own “Goin’ to the Church” or breathing new fire into Sonny Boy Williamson’s loping “Cross Your Heart,” the band outshines any contemporaries with its lean, high-powered and nasty approach to Chicago blues. Catch their opening act on Los Lobos’ current tour (tonight, at the Varsity in Baton Rouge, La.)

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