In Belgium I got the chance to take pictures backstage with ZZ Top. More soon.
Picture of the Red Devils is published on the ZZ Top / Billy F Gibbons website. www.billygibbons.com
Twenty-five years after their seminal live recording, “King King” (Def American/American, 1992), THE RED DEVILS continue to inspire a generation of musicians drawn to their gritty Chicago- and -Texas-inspired blues, by way of Hollywood, Calif.
On the strength of that record, THE RED DEVILS tore through Europe in 1993, including essential live performances at Pink Pop and the Moulin Blues Festival in the Netherlands.
They woke up crowds to a new hustle — authentic blues with a swagger and attitude that hadn’t been seen before.
There are tribute bands who have adopted the look, sound and feel of a band that has played together for nearly a quarter of a century. Do a search on YouTube, and you will easily find hundreds of covers, imitators and fans from around Europe.
But there is no mistaking the original Red Devils: “She’s Dangerous.” “Goin’ to the Church.” ‘No Fightin’.”
It was the stinging Texas guitar slinger PAUL “THE KID” SIZE. The conductor BILL “BUSTER” BATEMAN of The Blasters pounding, shuffling and swinging the drums. The so-in-the-pocket rhythm section, brothers JOHNNY RAY BARTEL and DAVE LEE BARTEL, and the charismatic, hypnotic frontman, singer and harp player LESTER BUTLER.
From their Monday night haunt at the long defunct cafe and club at Sixth and LeBrea in Hollywood, the “King King Club”, they developed a cult-like following.
Producer Rick Rubin was one of those regulars, eventually producing the band’s “King King” album.
He brought them into the studio with fan Mick Jagger. Years before the Rolling Stones returned to their blues roots on record, Jagger and the Devils laid down nearly two dozen rowdy blues classics that sounded raw and real. The sessions went unreleased officially, but circulated widely as a popular bootleg. One cut — “Checkin’ Up On My Baby” — finally was released on Jagger’s 2006 “Very Best” compilation.
After that session, Rubin again called on the Devils, this time to back the legendary Johnny Cash. Those recordings, too, were shelved until the Cash “Unearthed” box set.
They then hit the road across the U.S. with Los Lobos. The Allman Brothers fell in love with the Devils’ sound, placing The Red Devils on their 1992 East Coast tour.
THE RED DEVILS disbanded in the mid-‘90s, but a fervent fan base continued to burn their flame.
In 2017, on the silver anniversary of “King King,” THE RED DEVILS return to Europe, to the crowds that have kept their memory, spirit and music alive.
BILL BATEMAN, PAUL SIZE and JOHNNY RAY BARTEL return with another original Red Devils guitarist, MIKE FLANIGIN (Jimmie Vaughan, Billy Gibbons and the BFGs). And picking up the bullet mic and fronting the band is Dutch bluesman BIG PETE, Pieter van der Pluijm, filling in for the late Lester Butler. Big Pete was one of those in the crowds in the ‘90s, inspired to pick up the harp by Butler and associates.
As a solo artist, Big Pete has carried on the Devils’ tradition, bringing Billy Boy Arnold, Little Walter and Chicago blues harp into the 21st century.
Perfect…! THE RED DEVILS return to join ZZ TOP’s European summer festival touring scene for 2017.
Picture by André Dieterman
Check out some new pictures of Dennis Overweg.
Picture of Nick Curran used in this fantastic book by Michael Corcoran.
Michael has been writing about Texas music for more than thirty years, for the Dallas Morning News and Austin American Statesman, as well as in such publications as Texas Monthly and Spin. These pieces are based on his personal interviews with their subjects as well as in-depth research. Expertly written with flair, the book is a musical waltz across Texas.
About All Over the Map: True Heroes of Texas Music:
A lavishly illustrated collection of forty-two profiles of Texas music pioneers, most underrated or overlooked, All Over the Map: True Heroes of Texas Music covers the musical landscape of a most musical state. The first edition was published in 2005 to wide acclaim. This second edition includes updated information, a bonus section of six behind-the-scenes heroes, and fifteen new portraits of Lefty Frizzell, Janis Joplin, and others, spanning such diverse styles as blues, country, hip-hop, conjunto, gospel, rock, and jazz.
From country and blues to rap and punk, Texas music is all over the map, figuratively and literally. Texas musicians have pioneered new musical genres, instruments, and playing styles, proving themselves to be daring innovators who often call the tune for musicians around the country and even abroad. To introduce some of these trailblazing Texas musicians to a wider audience and pay tribute to their accomplishments, Michael Corcoran profiles thirty-two of them in All Over the Map: True Heroes of Texas Music.
Corcoran covers musicians who work in a wide range of musical genres, including blues, gospel, country, rap, indie rock, pop, Cajun, Tejano, conjunto, funk, honky-tonk, rockabilly, rhythm and blues, and Western swing. His focus is on underappreciated artists, pioneers who haven’t fully received their due. He also includes well-known musicians who’ve been underrated, such as Stevie Ray Vaughan and Selena, and invites us to take a closer look at the unique talents of these artists. Corcoran’s profiles come from articles he wrote for the Dallas Morning News, Austin American-Statesman, Houston Press, and other publications, which have been expanded and updated for this volume. His musical detective work even uncovers a case of mistaken identity (Washington Phillips) and corrects much misinformation on Blind Willie Johnson and Arizona Dranes. Corcoran closes the book with lively pieces on the Austin music scene and its most famous, if no longer extant, clubs, as well as his personal lists of the forty greatest Texas songs of all time and the twenty-five essential CD’s for Texas music fans.
Take a look in the largest legal library of the Netherlands, The Praktizijns Sociëteit Amsterdam. It has more than 40 kilometres of legal books, magazines, newspapers and more!
Check em here.
Rehearsal on stage with The Red Devils. The group became famous in the nineties being produced by Rick Rubin (Red Hot Chilli Peppers, ZZ Top, Beastie Boys, Johnny Cash, Adele and many, many others!) They even cut a record with Mick Jagger. In July they share the stage with ZZ Top in several countries in Europe.
Fotoshoot for the new album ‘Return of the Red Devils!’
More soon on my website.
One of the best guitar players I know! Picture taken at the Boerderij, Zoetermeer.
Doyle Bramhall II (born 24 December 1968) is an American musician, producer, guitarist, and songwriter known for his work with Eric Clapton, The Arc Angels, Roger Waters (Pink Floyd) and many others. He is the son of the songwriter and drummer Doyle Bramhall.