Popa Chubby

Ted Horowitz is Popa Chubby from the Bronx, a guitarist who once toured with Richard Hell and the Voidoids but who earned his fame during a long stand at Manny's Car Wash. Manny's is a New York City blues haven where Popa Chubby came into his own as the leader of a power trio designed to showcase his guitar-zilla approach to the electric blues.

Shame on those who would call Chubby an imposter -- blues-rock is not blues lite. It is a high-wattage celebration of musical excess, a community based around a particular group of musical instruments, defined tones, and standardized riffs. Blues-rock bands of today owe a debt to the British Invasion blues stars of the '60s and to the American guitar-god style of rock that followed in the '70s. If Horowitz is guilty of anything it is being born 20 years too late.

Popa Chubby actually started out as the name of the band, and although he was not a member of the group, Bernie Worrell of Parliament-Funkadelic somehow gets the credit for coming up with it. In time, Popa Chubby morphed into Horowitz's stage name, his brand, and his alter ego.

That the name stuck is no wonder -- it accurately describes the tattooed mountain of a man. Chubby's guitar style is confrontational, and his Stratocaster has a rich, gritty tone. He's got the power-blues thing down cold, but Chubby's at his best, I think, when he's playing Hendrix tributes (witness both volumes of Electric Chubbyland). His ability to interpret the material is solid, and he blasts it out of his amps at full throttle. "The sound of a loud guitar, man," Popa once told an interviewer, "is one of the best things in life." I agree.

POPA CHUBBY, Winston's, Thursday, October 25. 619-222-6822.

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