The original Blasters consisted of
Downey, California brothers Phil (vocals,
and Dave Alvin (guitar) along with bassist John Bazz and drummer Bill Bateman.
The rare first album, American Music,
was released in 1980,
recorded in Rockin' Ronnie Weiser's garage. They signed with Slash records in
1981 and released The Blasters
later that year. The Blasters
featured Gene Taylor on the keys and the dynamic saxophone duo of
Steve Berlin and Lee Allen.
Dave Alvin left in 1986, having already branched out in 1983 with The Knitters, featuring future fellow X members, John Doe and Excene Cervenka, and joined X only to leave a short time later to go solo, releasing his first solo album, Romeo's Escape in 1987. The album was produced by Steve Berlin (who also played a little saxophone on the album) and featured Jerry Angel on drums. David Hidalgo of Los Lobos also made a few guest appearances. The Knitters album, Poor Little Critter in the Road, featuring Dave, was released in 1985. He also appears on 1986's X's album, See How We Are. In 1984, he played on two tracks of Gun Club's album, Las Vegas Story.
The Blasters, meanwhile, filled Dave's slot with a long line of replacements: the late Hollywood Fats, aka Michael Mann (previously with the James Harmann Band), Billy Zoom (who, ironically had Dave's slot in X), Greg "Smokey" Hormel, James Intveld,and the current guitarist, Keith Wyatt. John Bazz is still with the band, but drummer Bill Bateman is not, having been replaced by David Carrol and currently, Jerry Angel.
In the late 1980s, the band took a hiatus while Phil pursued his math degree (MA) and some solo work. He has released two solo albums, the second of which includes some songs with the James Intveld lineup Blasters. The first, Unsung Stories, was released in 1986 on Slash and features Sun Ra and the Arkestra along with The Dirty Dozen Brass Band. Also helping out on a few tracks were Lee Allen and Gene Taylor whose own solo album,Handmade came out in 1986 on Spindletop Records and featured Bill Bateman on drums. He, Gene Taylor, now lives in Austin, Texas and is playing around with Kim Wilson of the Fabulous Thunderbirds.
Phil's second solo album (says Phil, "I made a mistake and needed some money,
so I cut a new record...."),
County Fair 2000 was released in 1994
on Hightone Records with a supporting cast of thousands. The two songs
attributed to the Blasters, County Fair and Blue
Line, include the then current lineup of the band with guitarist James
Intveld and Jerry Angel on drums.
Phil has also been playing with the Faultline
Syncopators, creating a more jazzy sound as heard on a few tracks
of County Fair 2000.
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Last modified 15Oct98.
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