(Los Angeles , Calif.) The Rip Cat Recordsslogan “Our Cats Rip!” is spot-on, especially now that the world-class roots-rock band The Blasters has joined the label. At a time when the rosters of most blues labels are filled with well-meaning but jaded, uninspired musicians, Scott Abeyta’s young label thrives with artists that explode with creative energy. Showcasing many of the best musicians in Southern California, Rip Cat had a fine 2011–superlative releases, extensive radio play and print/cyberspace media coverage, great public response– and the momentum has carried over into 2012.
The Blasters—singer-guitarist Phil Alvin, guitarist Keith Wyatt, bassist John Bazz, drummer Bill Bateman–have recorded their first album since 2005 and it will be released May 17th. The Mighty Mojo Prophets, leading advocates of West Coast jump-blues, have been nominated for a prestigious Blues Music Award in the “Best New Artist” category. The 44s have their second album “Americana” coming your way on April 15th, produced once again by Kid Ramos, they’ll be touring nationally and internationally this spring and summer; noteworthy too: they were named “Blues Band of the Year” by the online magazine American Blues News. Johnny Mastro & Mama’s Boys, a hard-charging band that tours Europe to much acclaim when not playing West Coast venues, have a new album which will be released on May 17th along with The Blasters. Not least, City Hall Records, a good friend to leading independent labels, will continue to distribute Rip Cat releases in North America, Europe, Japan , and in Australia .
Rip Cat’s affiliation with The Blasters is a big deal. Abeyta has known the band members for years, and not long ago he had a casual conversation with Phil Alvin about the record business. The band’s front man got excited when Abeyta spoke of his refreshingly respectful treatment of label artists—the Rip Cat boss takes a recoupable amount of money out of his end, the record company’s, rather than from the musicians’ royalties. Alvin later called him to say The Blasters were planning a tour and they wanted to have a new album available to sell to fans. Not suspecting Alvin had an interest in joining the Rip Cat family, Abeyta explained to him his method of recording, mixing, and getting a record ready for release. Abeyta recalled: “Phil asked me if I had time to help. I said, ‘For you, I’d take a few days off from work [his day job].’ He said, ‘OK, let’s do it!’ and I [replied], ‘Are you talking about releasing this on Rip Cat?’ ‘Phil said, ‘Oh, yeah!’” Soon they were in the studio, working on what turns out to be The Blasters’ most blues-oriented album ever, their passion for the 12-bar music at the same sky-high level as their ardor for rockabilly and other roots-music styles central to their glorious sound.