Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Guitarist Honed His Urban Blues in the Concrete Jungle of the Bronx

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Guitarist Honed His Urban Blues in the Concrete Jungle of the Bronx

Article excerpt

WHO: Popa Chubby, with Walter Trout.

WHAT: Blues.

WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday.

WHERE: Mexicali Live, 1409 Queen Anne Road, Teaneck; 201-833- 0011 or mexicalilive.com.

HOW MUCH: $25.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: popachubby.com.

Popa Chubby is big, bald, goateed and tattooed. Not, to look at him, the kind of person you'd want to get on the wrong side of at a biker rally.

And not, certainly, the standard image of a down-home blues player. But then, he's playing a very distinct kind of urban blues. And his particular down-home was not the cotton fields of Georgia, but the concrete jungle of the Bronx.

"I was a poor kid who wanted to play the music," says the singer- guitarist, 52, known as Ted Horowitz before his stage name was bestowed on him by Parliament-Funkadelic keyboardist Bernie Worrell. (The name is a pun - 'nuff said.)

"Music offered me the same opportunity as it offered black people who were coming up from down South," he says. "It was a way out of poverty and a hope for a better life. ... It was like, you can pick cotton all week and make 50 cents, or you can play guitar and make 50 cents in five minutes. And a bottle of whiskey, too. With me, it was a similar motivation."

Twenty years and several whiskey bottles later, Popa Chubby is an international star in blues circles, with a big following in America and Europe (especially France) and an amazingly large discography: some 22 albums in two decades, not counting the ones he appeared on as a guest. His latest, "Back to New York City," came out in 2011; he'll be playing selections from it, and much else, when his power trio comes to Teaneck's Mexicali Live on Friday. He'll be abetted by Sim Cain (from Rollins Band, with Henry Rollins) on drums and Erik Boyd on bass. Electric bluesman Walter Trout is also on the bill.

"The right trio can be an orchestra," he says. …

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