Archive for Zach Zunis

Zach Zunis on brush with Cash

Posted in red devils, related music with tags , , on February 25, 2017 by J.J.

Since our last post, we have been thinking about guitarist Zach Zunis. Like Mike Flanigin, Zunis could be a mere footnote in the Devils’ story despite filling a critical role in the band for several months.

And let’s be clear: For some people, the Zach Zunis version of the band was the one they saw live, and is the one they probably still talk about.

Zunis was featured earlier this month in a story in the East Hampton Star, focused around his Grammy nom with singer Janiva Magness. There were a couple of Devils-related comments, including passing by the late, great Johnny Cash:

The late Lester Butler, another harmonica player and singer, was often in the audience at Mr. (William) Clarke’s concerts — “Clarke was the man to see,” Mr. Zunis said. Mr. Butler signed with Def American Recordings, the label founded by the producer and music executive Rick Rubin, and asked Mr. Zunis to join his band, the Red Devils.

The group recorded at the famed Ocean Way Recording in Hollywood, the former United Recording, where legends including Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Ray Charles, the Rolling Stones, and Michael Jackson had cut classic tracks before them. “As we were walking through the door, I heard this ominous sound,” Mr. Zunis said. The sound was the inimitable voice of Johnny Cash. “We walked in the control room, and there was Rick Rubin recording Johnny Cash,” he said. “They finished their session, and we started ours. We got to meet him — it was so cool.”

Read more here.

1993 tour contracts show work behind Holland tour

Posted in red devils with tags , , , , , , on February 20, 2017 by J.J.

As the reunited Red Devils prepare to return to Europe for the first time in almost 25 years, a series of contracts, riders and correspondence show just how much work it took to get the band on the road in 1993.

The documents are primarily between concert promoters and booking agents for the band’s 14-date Nov. 14-29, 1993, tour of Holland (some details redacted by nofightin.com):

devils_tour_091093

1. This document, from Sept. 10, 1993, details a proposed itinerary for the band for two weeks in Holland. Of interest are protential gigs that didn’t seem to materialize, such as on Nov. 16, 19 and 24.

2. The band’s tour rider, dated Oct. 9, 1993, breaks down what The Red Devils needed to stay on the road. Soundcheck, security, billing requirements and backline (the kind of gear the venues or promoters would provide for the band) were all outlined. If you wanted to know what amps the band was using, this document lays it out.

Most folks will be interested in the last page: What the band required in their dressing rooms. Nothing fancy — beer, soda, water, sandwiches. And a bottle of Jack and two packs of Winston 100s.

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The usual suspects?

Posted in red devils with tags , , on February 12, 2014 by J.J.

The usual suspects?

Jutta Härkönen shared this pic she took of The Red Devils from Kungsgatan, Sweden, with Jonny Ray Bartel surrendering. That’s guitarist Zach Zunis fourth from the left.

Jutta does not remember what the occasion was — she did say the band was not in the men’s room! — and we have no confirmed dates for the Devils in Sweden, though surely they have played there.

Given the look in the pic, and Zunis in the lineup, we would guess this was taken in the fall of 1993 or summer of 1994, when we know the band had European tours. By ’95, the band would morph into “Lester and the Devils.”

If anyone has more info, please share in the comments.

Tickets to The Garage, 1993

Posted in red devils with tags , , , , , on February 15, 2011 by J.J.

Picked up a concert ticket from The Red Devils’ gig at The Garage in London Dec. 1, 1993 from an eBay auction recently (No. 18, below right). At the same time, UK Devils fan Paul Brown e-mailed us his own ticket from that show — signed by every member of the band! (No. 27 at right)

The eBay seller’s description said:

One of only a few available for this particular gig. Concert only sparcely (sic) attended due to poor advertising and poor knowledge on the public front about this stunning performer/band … RIP LESTER.BY THE WAY THE GIG WAS AWESOME,AND I TOOK MY DAD GOD REST HIM WHO WAS A HARMONICA PLAYER,AND HE WAS TOTALLY BLOWN AWAY !!!!! 

One thing to note: Paul Size had quit the band a few months earlier, so it was Zach Zunis on guitar for this stretch of shows, and represented in that autograph.

Rowdy morning on KCRW + 1 new song, 1992

Posted in red devils with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 28, 2010 by J.J.

A great “new” tape has surfaced of The Red Devils performing live in the studio on San Diego radio station KCRW’s long-running program “Morning Becomes Eclectic,” showcasing a new tune, different arrangements, and an interview with the band.

Jon Miller up in Seattle dug the tape out of storage, and sent a copy along to nofightin.com, and it’s a good one. Though the recording is incomplete — picking up toward the end of a searing version of “I Was Wrong” — it is impressive for what’s there, including a rowdy trio shuffle new to nofightin.com.

LISTEN: The rare “Blues in the Morning” shuffle with Lester Butler, Mike Flanigin and Bill Bateman [MP3] [Updated March 4, 2016, to reflect correct personnel]

The airdate, as marked on the original cassette dubbed live from the radio, is dated 12/7/92, though host Chris Douridas mentions that the Devils’ segment was taped the previous Friday. The timeline is corroborated by the Dec. 7 Los Angeles Times review of a Friday evening gig in L.A.

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King Ernest / Lester Butler: “Black Bag Blues”

Posted in lester butler with tags , , , , , , , on February 1, 2009 by J.J.

"King of Hearts"

Of all of Lester Butler’s guest spots in the ’90s, his work on soul singer King Ernest’s 1997 “King of Hearts” (Evidence ECD 26084-2) stands out. Usually, Butler was just adding harp to someone else’s tune, but for California’s “King Ernest” Butler Baker, he contributed an original song, “Black Bag Blues,” notable for being, to our knowledge, the only Butler-credited song not appearing on an official Lester Butler solo or band release.

And unlike some of the more unusual or experimental music he added harp to, “Black Bag Blues” is a straight-up, hardcore shuffle: No frills, no tricks, just soulful vocals, a stompin’ rhythm section and boastful lyrics that just fit the bill.
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