Popa Chubby, born Ted Horowitz, has been hard rocking the blues in his fierce and soulful way for more than 30 years. Over the course of a career that dates back to 1994, he has been a force of to be reckoned with on the guitar, and his tempestuous, soulful playing has never been more powerful. An imposing figure with a shaven head, tattooed arms, a goatee and a performance style he describes as “the Stooges meets Buddy Guy, Motörhead meets Muddy Waters, and Jimi Hendrix meets Robert Johnson," Popa Chubby is an endearing character who is one of the genre’s most popular figures.
A native New Yorker, Horowitz's 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.”
The Old Roslyn address 19 Bryant Avenue resonates with musical legend and history. Originally a dilapidated country-western bar owned by Jay Lenihan, the place was bought by partners Michael “Eppy” Epstein and his cousin Richie Hersh in 1971. After teaming up with local radio station WLIR-FM, My Father’s Place—affectionately known as MFP—quickly became a hotbed for concerts and concert broadcasts. MFP presented Billy Joel’s first show after the release of his debut solo LP Cold Spring Harbor and Bruce Springsteen’s first show out of New Jersey, along with seminal radio concerts (including a classic by Lowell George and Little Feat in 1974). The venue kept live performance vital when the rest of Long Island—and perhaps the country—was discoing the night away. Besides reggae, punk music found a place to grow. Unlike most other clubs that highlighted one genre or one particular era of music, the variety of My Father's Place was possibly its most important trait. The club debuted in America most of reggae's biggest stars, helping to make the genre mainstream. Along with CBGB and Max's Kansas City, My Father's Place was a nurturing ground for young punk and new wave acts like The Runaways, The Ramones, Blondie, The Police, and Talking Heads. Country, bluegrass, and blues artists like Charlie Daniels, Linda Ronstadt, and Stevie Ray Vaughan performed early in their careers, while artists like James Brown, B.B. King, Johnny Winter and Bo Diddley played in the twilight of theirs.. My Father’s Place closed on May 3, 1987, with a blowout performance by the funk rock band Tower of Power, and an era came to an end. Today, the club lives on in the works of the many artists—now legends—who first performed on its stage and in the memories of those fortunate to have been a part of it all.