Gulf Coast Records announces the signing of New York City-based blues guitar slinger Popa Chubby (aka “The Beast from the East”) and will release his label debut live double-CD in the fall. “I remember the first time I heard Popa Chubby on the radio in the 1990s in St. Louis on KSHE-95; it blew me away!” said Gulf Coast founder Mike Zito in making the announcement.
“I’ve been a fan of Mike Zito for a decade or more,” said Popa Chubby. “I watched him grow Gulf Coast from scratch and it impressed me a lot. When I recorded this double-live record I contacted Mike about aligning our energies. The result can only be spectacular.”
The new album was recorded at G Bluey’s Juke Joint in Long Island City, New York, on October 24 and 25, 2022, and features Popa Chubby (guitar and vocals), backed by his all-star “Beast Band,” which consists of Mike Merritt – bass (Conan O’Brien, Billy Gibbons); Mike Dimeo – keyboards (Johnny Winter, Tommy James); and Stefano Giudici – drums.
“This record is a reunion in a lot of ways,” stated Popa Chubby. “Rejoining with my long-time ally and bassist extraordinaire Mike Merritt and recording in my old Manny’s Car Wash engineer Glen Forrest’s studio. The icing on the cake was Mike Dimeo on keys. Add the Centurion Stefano Giudici on drums and you’ve got some heavy blues rock! A live best of for the ages!”
Born Ted Horowitz, Popa Chubby is a long-time, New York City veteran blues rocker, who also produced and mixed his upcoming new album. He’s been hard-rocking the blues in his fierce and soulful way for more than 35 years. Over the course of his career, he has been a force to be reckoned with on the guitar, and his tempestuous, soulful playing has never been more powerful.
His career has always been about moving forward and carving a place for himself in the imposing terrain of the music business, overcoming odds to continue growing and maturing as a creative force. He has built a constantly increasing base of fans across the world, where in many territories he is a star. A native New Yorker, his first gigs were in the NYC punk scene as a guitarist for what he reflects was a “crazy Japanese special effects performance artist in a kimono called ‘Screaming Mad George,’ who had a horror-movie inspired show.”
Right from the start, he was immersed in rock ‘n’ roll as theater, and learned from George and others playing CBGB’s at the time that included the Ramones, the Cramps, Richard Hell, whose band -the Voidoids – he joined, that rock ‘n’ roll should be dangerous. He reflects, “Musicians like the Ramones and the Sex Pistols weren’t just bands. They were a threat to society.” The blues, however, was the foundation of his playing style.
He recalls, “Since I’d grown up on Hendrix, Cream and Led Zeppelin, when I started playing blues in New York clubs I understood that the blues should be dangerous, too. It wasn’t just from playing in punk bands. Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters were dangerous men. They’d cut or shoot you if they thought it was necessary, and Little Walter packed a gun and wouldn’t hesitate to use it. That danger is a real part of the blues and I keep it alive in my music.”
Papa Chubby draws inspiration from the wild times in which we live. “There are my issues, but the picture is much bigger than me and my situation. Everything is breaking down in the world. The lines are being redefined. We all need something.”