December 5, 1992


location: Ventura Theater
place: Ventura, CA
country: USA



Blues Brothers : L.A. bar band has been lifted into the big time by independent label god Rick Rubin. They will play the Ventura Theatre.


OK, rock stars, you're at the Big Gig but the drummer is late because he had to have his foofoo haircut sandblasted. There's no dream date in the crowd and now the substitute bartender wants you to pay for beer.

Then you start to play, and half the crowd leaves and the other half starts playing pool--what could be worse? Your mother-in-law with a subpoena? But wait--at this point, in walks Mr. Big from This Week's Nirvana Record Company. You get signed and live rock 'n' roll dreams happily ever after.

It happens. Really. Just ask the Red Devils out of Los Angeles. It happened to them when maverick independent label owner Rick Rubin cruised into the King King, a club in L.A., a few years ago. He signed the Red Devils to his Def American label.

Now these rootsy blues rockers have an album that is collecting swell compliments from the critics as it cruises through the charts with the power of a Chrysler heading down the Conejo Grade in overdrive with the windows down, the stereo blaring and no cops in sight. Now the Red Devils know lots of celebrities and have recorded an as-yet-unreleased album with Mick Jagger.

Roots blues rock is the stuff that never quite hits it big, yet never goes away.

In the '60s, when the white guys finally discovered what all those black blues dudes had been doing for years, there was a blues explosion. In America, we got the Paul Butterfield Blues Band and the Blues Project, while in merry olde England, it seemed like every band was a blues band, from the Rolling Stones to Fleetwood Mac.

In the '70s, the Fabulous Thunderbirds were the next big thing, then the Blasters in the early '80s. Even our own local maniacs, Raging Arb & the Redheads, do the rockin' blues thing.

The Red Devils, now in Colorado, will be on the bill at the venerable Ventura Theatre on Saturday night with the Texas Tornados and local rockers the Convertibles.

Blasters fans will know the drummer, Bill Bateman. Paul Size and Mike Flannagan are the guitar players with Jonny Ray Bartel on bass. Naturally, the guy with the shades is singer/harmonica player Lester Butler, who was turned on to the old blues guys by the late guitarist Hollywood Fats.