Signing Story: Popa Chubby

Date Signed: April 2023

Label: Gulf Coast Records

Type of Music: Blues-Rock

Booking: Intrepid Artists, [email protected] 

Publicity: Mark Pucci, [email protected]


A&R: Mike Zito

Veteran blues and rock guitarist-vocalist Popa Chubby has been blowing away audiences around the world with his cool licks and incendiary style for over 30 years. And with a recorded catalog that amasses as many releases, he’s no stranger to the marriage of “show” and “business.” But when he happened upon the opportunity to partner with one of the premier blues labels in the world today, the legendary axe man realized it was time for a change.

“How this came about was, the game has changed a lot,” says Chubby. “And a lot of people I was doing business with are no longer doing business. So, I was bouncing around and have known Mike (Zito) for a long time. I have a lot of love and respect for him. We kept crossing paths and I’ve been watching what he’s doing. It’s a music-based label for music-based people. And I thought this would be a great home for this new record. So, we discussed it and both thought it would be a great idea.”

Mike Zito is not only president of Gulf Coast Records, but a touring guitarist and vocalist in his own right. It was immediately apparent this would be an equal parts artistic as well as commercial venture that would satisfy all involved. “My debut for the label was actually recorded last October,” says Chubby. “It’s a double-live album that’s literally the greatest hits. It’s over three hours of music. I’m not about the commerciality of the situation. I remember when a live album used to be an experience. And that’s what we’re going for. We wanna do something cool, unique and good.”

The 60-something guitarist actually cut his teeth in the N.Y.C. punk rock scene of the early ‘80s. Appearances at clubs like CBGB’s and gigs with seminal rockers like Richard Hell laid the foundation for developing his technique. But making the transition to blues set him on his calling and current career path. “I was always into Page, Hendrix and blues-based rock. I wanted to play and get paid for what I did,” says Chubby. “And if you wanna do that you’ve gotta play in bars. I played all over New York City, playing blues gigs—three sets, three hours a night. And I got better at what I was doing.”

Popa Chubby’s new double-album with the Beast Band dropped early September on Gulf Coast Records.