If theres one thing I want people to know about me, its that I’m a survivor, says Popa Chubby. Heres my story: My dad died when I was seven. I was abandoned and raised myself. I moved to New York City when I was 18 and started playing music. I got a huge heroin habit and ended up strung out on the streets until I was in my early twenties. I started playing again and got away from drugs and never went back, and then I got into the New York blues scene of the early 90s, and here I am today.
Here is at the forefront of modern blues-rock, where the mix of intensity and integrity captured on Popa Chubby’s Back To New York City has made him one of the genres most popular figures. And hes an imposing figure at that, weighing more than 300 pounds with a shaven head, tattooed arms, a goatee and a performing style he describes as the Stooges meets Buddy Guy, Motörhead meets Muddy Waters, Jimi Hendrix meets Robert Johnson.
You get the picture. And if you don’t, Back To New York City paints it vividly. On the discs 11 nasty cuts Popa Chubby has flipped the blues-rock label around, putting rock at the fore and the pedal to the metal with fat, scalding guitar sounds and stories plucked from true life. Some, like the rubber-burning title track and the pleading A Love
That Will Never Die, are autobiographical tales that channel whats deep in his blood as well as the fevered pulse of the city Popa Chubby has called home for 30 years. Others, like Stand Before the Sun and his sweet n sizzling take on Johan Sebastian Bachs instrumental Jesus Joy of Mans Desiring, chronicle his search for spiritual
enlightenment, which has led Popa Chubby to practice Tai Chi and Chi Kung before his sweat-soaked concerts. And then theres pure shots of fun like the chest-thumping Warrior Gods, which thunders along like a long-lost Motörhead gem, and She Loves Everybody But Me, a tongue-in-cheek hard-core Texas shuffle that purposefully nods to Stevie Ray Vaughan in its skyrocketing leads and solos.
Imagine what American rock and roll would sound like if the British Invasion never happened. Or, imagine what a punk rock band would sound like if it were 1933. That’s The Sundresses. They’ve taken Rock & Roll to the next level. That level is best described as: FUCK YES.