Like many rock ’n’ roll fans, Ted Horowitz began exploring the roots of rock by delving back into the blues. Eventually it became more than an avocation for the guitarist, who has forged a three-decade career as one of the most exciting blues-rockers in America under his stage name: Popa Chubby.

Like many rock ’n’ roll fans, Ted Horowitz began exploring the roots of rock by delving back into the blues. Eventually it became more than an avocation for the guitarist, who has forged a three-decade career as one of the most exciting blues-rockers in America under his stage name: Popa Chubby.


Now, with his 20th album, “The Fight Is On,” released in March on Blind Pig Records, Chubby has stepped firmly back into the rock sphere.


Chubby became known as one of the most creative blues musicians, but never let up on rock, either. In 2006 he released a double-CD of all Hendrix covers, “Electric Chubbyland.” The 2007 “Deliveries After Dark” album was another riveting blast.


“It’s who I am, that’s the music I like best,” said Chubby from his Bronx studio. “I always like to play some Jimi, of course.”


The title cut on Chubby’s new album is a vibrant shot of gritty rock, with lyrics likening love and life to a boxing match. “We Got Some Rockin’ to Do” might be better than anything Van Halen ever put out, and “Rock ’n’ Roll Is My Religion” is the kind of anthem KISS wishes they’d recorded.


Which isn’t to say the album doesn’t stray beyond arena rock. Chubby’s songwriting is renowned. He first gained fame with the funky blues of “Sweet Goddess of Love and Beer” in 1995, became a European star shortly afterward with tunes like “How’d a White Boy Get the Blues?” and penned the New Yorker’s view of 9/11 “Somebody Let the Devil Out” in 2002.


The new album includes the Latin sway of “Switchblade Combs and Candy Cigarettes,” as bewitching a slice of street life as classic Ben E. King. It also includes the Rolling Stones-like “Wicked Wanda,” and the exhilarating instrumental ode to motorcycles, “Steelhorse Serenade.”


“I have a lot of friends who are bikers,” said Chubby about the song. “They inspired me, their whole idea of freedom, being free and living free, that you get on a bike.”


The only cover song on the album is a live performance of Motorhead’s “Ace of Spades” that is so fast-paced and melodic, it leaves your head spinning.


“I’ve been playing that song for a long time,” said Chubby, 50. “Basically, I just like that song, and the philosophy it contains. Besides that, the tune itself is just lots of fun to play.”


Chubby loves the Rolling Stones.


“I think the biggest thing I took away from the Stones and their music was the need to just get out there and play live,” he said. “The key to rock is you’ve got to get out onstage and make it happen live, and I try to do that.”


Live music may be a tough business, and some areas may be better than others, but Chubby’s constant stream of excellent albums, and unforgettable live shows, keep him in demand.


“I’m able to stay busy all the time. I’ve been doing this for some time now, releasing a record every year or so. So hearing that this is my 20th is not a surprise. I just keep going out and trying to do my best, and I think I have a good life. I have no complaints.”


The Patriot Ledger