Posts Tagged ‘Bill Bateman’

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Imagine going to a gig in some club, standing in front of the stage as the band kick off, and then their sheer sonic force grabs a fistful of your shirt and slams you against the back wall.  That, my friends, is what 1992 live album King Kingby LA band The Red Devils sounds like.  No kidding – this is an animal of an album.

This band used to play live in Los Angeles in all these little clubs and Rick Rubin loved them. So he just recorded them live in this club called the King King. The band sound like they’re on fire. You can hear the whole atmosphere of the club. You’re there, you’re with them, you can smell it. As for the band, Lester Butler was just one of the greatest ever harmonica players. He sings into a bullet mic while playing. The guitarist Paul ‘The Kid’ Size was only 21 but he was unbelievable for his age. In fact the whole band were amazing players.

A chug of harp, a slash of rough guitar, a rock solid beat – and The Red Devils are off and running with opening track ‘Automatic’.  Then harp guy Lester Butler starts hollering, and with some rock’n’roll piano thrown into the mix their signature sound is laid bare. The following ‘Goin’ To The Church’ ups the tempo and the ante, with Butler testifyin’ away fit to bust in between stabs of harp that duel with lead guitar licks from Paul ‘Kid’ Size.

Willie Dixon’s ‘She’s Dangerous’ is a classic stop-time riff affair in the manner of ‘Mannish Boy’, but sounds like Feelgood at their edgiest best, with Butler telling of a woman who’s “36-24-26, an’ gotta a big ol’ bag o’ tricks”.  It sounds like they’re just about keeping themselves in check, but then, just as Butler is letting rip on harp, Size weighs in underneath him with a descending riff, and – BAM, they find another gear.  It’s simple, but it’s brilliant.

On Billy Ray Arnold’s ‘I Wish You Would’ they do actually tone it down a tad, though as it actually ratchets the tempo up a notch with a Bo Diddley style beat from drummer Bill Bateman, it’s like keeping a hungry hound on a leash.  They manage to keep the beast under control again on Sonny Boy Williamson’s  ‘Cross Your Heart’, but it still has the fever of some early Zep blues wailing.

On another Willie Dixon number, ‘Tail Dragger’, Size cuts in with a jagged intro while fellow guitarist Dave Lee Bartel lays down the classic riff.  Butler adds his own lyrics, bawling his appreciation for his baby, before Size cuts loose again with a solo that’s sweet and decorous in exactly the same way that razor wire isn’t.  And that’s just the preamble to the

The group-penned ‘Devil Woman’, which is simply magnificent.  Stomping drums from Bateman dig the foundations for a ringing, repetitive guitar riff, leading to another wild guitar solo, and then when Butler takes a turn on harp they end up slamming their way to a finish with a flurry of combination punches.

Butler’s composition ‘No Fightin’’ sets off with a steady, throbbing rhythm, but if you think it’s time for a breather, think again.  He takes off on a supercharged harp solo that elicits whoops of delight from the crowd.  Size takes over on guitar and tries to outdo him, and then when he’s done – you find that steady rhythm from Bateman and bass player Johnny Ray Bartel has been lurking underneath all along.  And not satisfied with that they take on the Wolf’s ‘Mr Highway Man’, and make absolute mincemeat of it.  Butler seems to be busting a gut just to make himself heard over the battling guitars and rhythm section, till it grinds to a halt, as if the song itself is exhausted. And maybe they are too, because they tone it down to gale force proportions on ‘I’m Ready’ and Little Walter’s ‘Quarter To Twelve’, the latter a comparatively lazy instrumental in which the harp and guitar sound like a couple of world weary but still stoked and argumentative guys at last orders.  And there’s still room for Butler to unleash a tension-filled repetitive harp blast that is entirely bonkers.

The album closes with some boogie in the form of Junior Wells’ ‘Cut It Out’, evidently situated just before a break in their set, and a swinging piece of boogie on which they relax and let their hair hang down rather than attempting to do GBH to the audience.  Aptly, Butler offers up a harp solo based on ‘The Last Post’.

thanks bluesenthused.

They were started in the fall of 1977 by punk poet Chris Desjardins, a singer known for morbid lyrical themes. Their first gig was December 21st, 1977 at The Masque in Los Angeles. Musicians in various Flesh Eaters line-ups have included Stan Ridgway (Wall of Voodoo), John Doe (X), DJ Bonebrake (X), Dave Alvin (The Blasters), Bill Bateman (The Blasters) and Steve Berlin (The Blasters, Los Lobos). Considered by many to be a precursur of Death Rock, their music was a pastiche of rockabilly, road-house blues, punk rock and jazz.
The Flesh Eaters initially broke up in 1983. Desjardins performed with his new band, The Divine Horsemen until 1988. In 1989 Desjardins recorded an LP with the one-time group Stone-By-Stone. Shortly after this they changed their name back to The Flesh Eaters. They continued to perform on the west coast, ultimately recording two albums. They discontinued performances in the Spring of 1993. Since then, Desjardins has performed intermittently with a variety of musicians under this name. The most recent Flesh Eaters album Miss Muerte was released in 2004 on Atavistic Records. This label has also reissued “No Questions Asked” & “Hard Road To Follow”.

In February 2006 it was announced that the original Flesh Eaters would perform several live shows. This particular line-up of The Flesh Eaters had not played together since the Spring of 1981. John Doe and DJ Bonebrake from X, Dave Alvin and Bill Bateman from The Blasters and Steve Berlin from Los Lobos were scheduled to appear for these shows.

The second single from the Flesh Eaters forthcoming album “I Used To Be Pretty” is “My Life To Live”, an updated recording of the song that originally appeared on their 1982 album Forever Came Today

The Flesh Eaters, Los Angeles’s unconventional “supergroup”, reunites classic 1981 lineup of Chris D, Dave Alvin, John Doe, Bill Bateman, Steve Berlin, and DJ Bonebrake for their first new recording in more than 35 years. Ghost Cave Lament is a new song written by Dave Alvin and Chris D.

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Founded 40-odd years ago by sole permanent member Chris Desjardins (known as Chris D.), the Flesh Eaters came from the same late-’70s Los Angeles. scene that yielded bands including X, the Blasters and Los Lobos—all of whom lent members to the Flesh Eaters’ touchstone 1981 album A Minute to Pray, a Second to Die. As luck would have it, that’s the roster that reconvened for the first time since then to back Desjardins on I Used to Be Pretty, the Flesh Eaters’ first new album in 15 years. Dave Alvin and Bill Bateman of the Blasters; John Doe and DJ Bonebrake of X; and Steve Berlin from Los Lobos form a powerful combo, surging along with Chris D. in what amounts to a master class in taut punk-rockology, with an antagonistic streak. Chris D. makes the most of his all-star lineup, revisiting songs from throughout the Flesh Eaters catalog and laying down what in most cases are definitive new versions. Though the versions of the songs on I Used to Be Pretty sound fantastic, it can be tricky messing around with the alchemy of previously recorded music. There was a certain charm to the ramshackle, handmade feel of these tunes as they appeared on the original albums. That said, these gussied-up, more professional arrangements show Chris D.’s songs in the best possible light. Their power, their attitude and their sheer trashy abandon have never been more evident, which means Desjardins in a way is finally getting his due.

The Flesh Eaters, LA’s unconventional “supergroup”, reunites classic 1981 lineup of Chris D, Dave Alvin, John Doe, Bill Bateman, Steve Berlin, and DJ Bonebrake for their first new recording in more than 35 years. The third single from the Flesh Eaters forthcoming album “I Used To Be Pretty” is “Black Temptation”, a new song written by Dave Alvin and Chris D.