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Belinda + Buster: When Bill Bateman and Go-Go’s singer were ‘first couple of Hollywood’

Posted in bill bateman with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 4, 2021 by J.J.

For a hot minute, the fertile LA punk-roots scene of the early 1980s intersected with the Teen Beat set.

That’s when Belinda Carlisle of The Go-Go’s met Bill Bateman of The Blasters.

Of course, The Go-Go’s weren’t born as MTV stars. The group started innocently enough as a punk band (on a scene boasting The Germs, Fear and, of course, X) before their hit pop songs, catapulting them off the bar-stage/friend’s-couch circuit and into, well … induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame later in 2021.

The early tales of The Go-Go’s (and many others) are recounted in John Doe’s books “Under the Big Black Sun” and “More Fun in the New World.” But Belinda herself dedicated a hunk of her 2011 autobiography, “Lips Unsealed,” to her relationship with the “cute” Blasters drummer:

Soon after I settled in, I began a two-year relationship with the Blasters’ drummer, Bill Bateman — aka Buster. We’d crossed paths at clubs and parties, but it wasn’t until Pleasant set up a situation one night at the Troubadour that Buster and I were able to talk more intimately and get to know each other. He had on a striped shift and wore a bandana around his neck. I thought he looked cute, and I liked him even more as we talked.

I thought he liked me, too. It was one of those setups where everything clicked except for one detail. I didn’t like his hair. As I told Pleasant, there was too much of it. He needed a new do.

An early promotional photo of The Blasters, featuring Bill Bateman (third from left), pre-haircut.
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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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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.

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