I was in a used vinyl store a couple of days ago, and struck up a conversation with a fellow vinyl junkie customer. Since we both liked rockabilly, we talked about the artists we both admired and he mentioned THE BLASTERS. I had never heard of you guys, and the owner of the store said if you like rockabilly, they're a "must" listen, and promptly pulled out a cassette saying I can have it on loan, but if I don't return it he'll hunt me down like a dog!
I've just listened to it, and, as an old guy (66!) who was raised on the rockabilly greats of the past it's fantastic to see contemporary groups carrying on with this type of music, being influenced by it, moulding it, supercharging and energizing it.
Now my hunt is on for BLASTER vinyl - you guys really do ROCK!
Message to The Blasters
Just like Jim of Milton Keynes I was watching TOTP2 that night while having dinner and was completely knocked out by your performance of One Bad Stud. I searched the net for your details and, having never heard of you before, I immediately contacted my son, who was spending the summer in the USA, to buy me the double album - Testament, The Complete Slash Recordings, as no music shops over here had heard of you. I have not stopped listening to it - it is just FANTASTIC!!
I am 48 years old and live in Leicester UK, having been born in the USA but moved over here when I was very young. I have a very wide range of musical taste with particular interest in Reggae, Ska & Blue Beat along with Soul. However my favourite is American Music from the Doors to the Eagles, ZZ Top and Bruce Springsteen but your sound is what I have been looking for all my life. You have a great variety of material, play so tight and Phil's voice is superb. I try and get over to the States every other year and hope to move there in a few years time. I am keeping a very close eye on your tour dates and hope to coincide and catch up with you in the near future. In the meantime I am going to introduce you guys to family and friends - why don't you come on tour in the UK? Any chance of issuing a live performance DVD?
Hope to see you soon
Best Wishes from Leicester UK
Holy Moley!!!! I was at the Fitzgerald's/Chicago show Wednesday night and I'm still "SHAKE'N"!! What a band. Phil's vocals got stronger as the night wore on. Dave's guitar was pure and driven. The band was a tight as a drum head. If you miss this tour, shame on you. Behind the group I was with, standing next to the bar was Mr. George Wendt aka Norm from Cheers and he had a ball. What a night!!! Thank God for American Music!!!!!
Submitted 8 November 2002
I also had the pleasure of seeing the Blasters rip the Surf Ballroom to shreds. Rich's post did a great job of capturing the bizarre spirit of the evening. Even before we got to the show my buddy and I were speculating on the devastating effect the Blasters would have on the place. American Music meets "Happy Days". We weren't dissapointed.
The show was simply amazing. Too bad the crowd was so far out of touch that they didn't get it. At one point an old geezer using a walker shuffled up to the stage and hollered "When are you going to play some real rock and roll?" then careened back into the crowd. A pretty young thing was dancing near the stage and she was told if she wanted to dance she should move to the back. About midway through the Blasters I could see the Nelson Boys at the side of the stage ready with their instruments in case things got horribly out of hand. Very surreal. Later, as we pounded the stage hoping for an encore, a blue-hair tapped me on the shoulder and asked me to please stop so that "Gunner" could come back onstage. (Rich, you had to have been right next to me.) Buddy Holly's corpse must have been spinning like a lathe that night. I was embarassed for the crowd.
None of this kept the band from giving all they had. Even after the show they were required to hang around for hours because they were generous enough to let the cheezy Elvis impersonator (that basically forced them off the stage) use their equipment. (Phil didn't resist out-Elvising the impersonator for those lucky enough to be backstage.)
To the Blasters: Thanks for making it more than worth the trip from Seattle to see that insane show. See you again down the road.
Saw the annual Surf Ballroom "Legend's Fest" show last Saturday night (1-Feb-03). It was a hoot.
Nelson (yes, THAT pop-metal hair band Nelson) were clearly the crowd favorite. The show started at seven and we walked in at 7:15p. Place was packed with what must have been 1,000 patrons all listening intently as Gunner (or Mathew, who can tell?) rambled endlessly telling stories about growing up with dad Ricky. We sat in the lounge during their set, but could hear an appreciative audience hanging onto every word. Just the two of them with acoustic guitars. Even played some of their stripped down pop metal ballads. I really don’t give a sh*t about Nelson, but the older crowd really ate it up. Especially the older portion of the audience (which was substantial) got into the stories more so than the music. After their set, all the seniors hobbled into the lounge with fanny packs and Surf Ballroom gift bags. Mathew and Gunner set up an autograph table charging $5 a pop for their signature somewhere. The old folks just flocked around them all oooh's and ah' plopping down their cash...
Marshall Crenshaw came on next accompanied only by a standup bassist and lead guitar player. He made some respectful comments about Buddy Holly and the Surf Ballroom. The stage was plagued with sound problems, but he ad libbed some stage banter that filled the space. Played one Buddy Holly song at the beginning, one or two originals and a few other covers (Eddie Cochran and Marvin Gaye). Mostly focused on his own material during the middle of the set.
The audience was clearly expecting him to perform a Buddy Holly tribute show (as we later discovered) and would not tolerate this stuffy singer/songwriter set. The over 50's crowd began chanting "rock and roll" between songs. In response, Crenshaw played a waltz. One particularly obnoxious audience member, big burly guy that resembled Brian Keith from "Family Affair", lunged from behind me shaking his fist several times at Crenshaw shouting, "Wass-a-matter, ain't you never heard of ROCK AND ROLL!.. Gaddamnit!" Okay, if it were once I could forgive the guy - but he repeated this after every song (no kidding). Of course Crenshaw reacted by NOT playing Buddy Holly songs. He definitely had an appreciate potion of the audience, but it was starting to get tense. An old lady dressed in a poodle skirt and “Pink Ladies” satin jacket somehow wandered onstage. She stood on the wing, but peered at the back of the theater for as if looking for instructions. She then walks up to the bass player (who had his eyes closed) and started plucking his stings. The managers of the Surf had to usher the band off stage to avoid a near riot. Yes, it got that ugly. I'm not a huge Crenshaw fan (his first album is a brilliant pop recording), but enjoyed his set and felt really bad for the guy (got him to sign a CD compilation he did for Capital called "Hillbilly Music... Thank God!" that I highly recommend)...
So by the time the Blasters were ready to take stage, the audience was very tense. This guy called Wild Mike (or Mike the Wild Man, you get the picture) comes on stage to introduce the band. He’s known by the older crowd and must have been one of the event organizers. He starts yelling, “Awright, you want to hear some ROCK AND ROLL!” They wanted rock and roll, they got rock and roll like a mallet over the head. The Blasters blew the roof off the place. Wild Mike’s intro seemed to stretch on and Phil finally can’t wait any longer and walks out. Started with a scorching version of “All Your Fault” that was just about perfect. That set the tone for the evening. I had just seen a reunion tour show last year and the difference in band styles is noticeable. This version of the Blasters definitely has a harder road house style song. Some young girls wriggled their way in front of the stage where Phil stood and provided inspiration. They blazed through “American Music”, a surf instrumental that was fantastic, “Big F Chord”… Just song after song of pure energy. An audience member put a note in front of Phil Alvin that basically said there was a young Elvis impersonator in the audience that wanted to sing a few songs with the Blasters backing him up. Phil read it, laughed and ignored the request. They put out such much sound it scared the older audience members right out of the Surf holding their ears (not kidding, I saw several silver haired couples covering their ears as they raced for the exit). There was a big enough fan contingent and recent converts to keep the Surf jumping, but about 1/2 the audience bolted from Nelson’s set. During the intro of “Slip Of The Tongue”, Phil lit up a cigarette and had a short smoke before the first verse. After the song, a security guard walks onstage and whispers something to Phil that irritates him. Phil then points in to the mic and says, “You tell ‘em.” The security guard shakes his head no. Phil then says to the audience, “I’m supposed to remind you that smoking is not allowed in this facility… Not that I have an opinion one way or the other…”
When we were trying to get the Blasters out for a second encore, a little old lady came up to me and said, "Hey, let's quiet down so we can get this band off stage and get Nelson back up there." All we could do was laugh. They did come out for an encore, Nelson decided not to stick around...
We walked into their dressing room after the show [as the security was swarmed around Nelson]. We shook hands, got autographs, Phil held court telling stories... Really great guys...
After the Blasters, the Elvis impersonator jumped on stage and started singing with no backup. The remaining audience ate it up and a pick-up band started accompanying. We left at this point as the show was definitely over.
Fair bet neither Marshall Crenshaw nor the Blasters will ever play Legends Fest again. Buddy Holly is still dead. Rock and roll will stand.
I really enjoyed your performance @Fitzgeralds. The last time I saw you guys was @ stages in Chicago. It was a PBS Special including you guys and Carl Perkins. I hope you and your brother stick together!! Your sound is one of the most unique,refreshing,exciting sounds in music! Dont change "EVER".A renewed fan - especially since I attented yor gig at fitzgeralds!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Caught the Blasters show last night 11/9/02 at Bogart's, a real dump near the university of Cincinnati. First time for me and the boys did not disappoint. Intensity level seemed high despite the surroundings. Love the scissor kicks, Dave! Maybe next time you'll allow me to buy you that bourbon I offered after the show.
Paradise, Boston: 16 November.
There was a full moon, and the windy rain was pounding down outside the Paradise. But inside, everyone was wrapped in beer-warm, hot and blues tunes when the Blasters came to town. Wearing a big red rose on a black dress, I was thrilled to hear them open with one of my favorites. Standing right in front of Phil, it was great to see him sing, animated, expressive, and cartoon-like, just like he did the last time I was down front back home in Hollywood. Sweating bullets didn't stop him from preaching 'bout "Samson and Delilah", praising "American Music", or conjuring up a frenzy with "I'm Shakin'." And pouring a bottle of water over his head didn't cool things down one bit! Bill Bateman kept an amazing beat,looking good as always. John Bazz ripped up a storm that gave the one going on outside a run for its money. But Dave was a definite favorite, with all his fans from his solo career turning up to support him, whipped up a frenzy with all of us up front and in the Paradise rafters alike. The air was electric-hot, and the tunes kept coming like the rain pelting outside. Telling his brother humorously at one point, "Dont f#@$ with me!" he gave us just what we wanted- cool guitar riffs, smoky licks, and sexy-hot sweet solos that put more steam in the stormy air. Pulling away in that "Long White Cadillac", I knew it wasn't going to be "Just Another Sunday." How could you forget a night like that?! Backstage, Dave offered up, "I'm not my brother's keeper" while a few of us grabbed the boys' attention to sign our CD's and chat for a while. How we all wish the night could have gone on and on.
New York City, watch out and bring your umbrellas- it's a "Dark Night", and the steamy music is coming your way.
I bought Testament and all I can say is thank you, thank you, thank you
Rhino Records for putting this together. I never thought I'd see Hard
Line again. It's been long overdue!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The Blasters Blast Boston...
One of the greatest rock and roll performances I have ever seen, and I have seen thousands. They put on a clinic. The two opening bands were not bad - a Ramones Wannabee and a cross between speed metal and rockabilly. At several points during the Blasters show I saw various members of the opening bands standing there with their jaws dropped, watching the show.
There were just the four of them, the originals, John Bazz, Bateman, Dave and Phil. Gene Taylor was at a gig that he had commited to long before the Blasters got out on this tour, and couldn't be there. And the four of them just tore the roof off the place. I have never seen Dave play better guitar, as a matter of fact, I've never seen him play even close. Well, who knows, but he was hot and he was fired up. Unbelievably animated, storming all over the stage, leaping, jumping, fighting imaginary demons and bulls with his guitar. Really getting off on the crowd.
After the show he admitted that the show in Alexandria VIRGINIA -
(Oh yeah, I went backstage after the show...)
Dave; "You came up from Virginia? We played there two nights ago man, why didn't you go to that show?"
Me; "Well, I wasn't off that night, and I'm off tonight, so I came to Boston."
Anyway, he said the show in Alexandria had lacked a bit of energy - everyone sitting down at tables - that's the kind of venue it is - and the there was no energy. This place was a tight rectangle, with a couple of tight balconys and raised platforms surrounding the floor and stage. The stage was on one of the long walls,and there were bars and great vantage points all around, and the sound was pretty damn good. And it was packed, and people were getting off seriously.
Howling, dancing, rocking, hot, hot crowd.
The band was insanely tight. Tight to the point of making it all seem as effortless and natural as breathing. They were all staggering. I have never seen anyone play the bass that hard, or hit the drums as hard as that. Phil sang his heart out,played a mean harmonica, and just glowed from start to finish.
And Dave, well I mentioned Dave. Right now I might have to say that he is the greatest guitar player I have ever seen in person. I think the fact that he didn't sing at all, (as opposed to the Guilty Men, where he sings all the songs) gives him a certain amount of freedom to concentrate soley on his playing,and it makes him much freeer on the stage, both physically, and musically.
Jesus did he cut loose. For two and a half hours he just attacked his guitar, and tore the very heart and soul of rock and roll out of it. And cradled it in one incredible note after another and offered it up to us as if it was some sort of sacrement. And we gladly soaked it in.
At times it felt as if we were watching a recreation of the birth, and life, of rock and roll itself. Like watching a high speed film of a plant growing from nothing in the dirt to bursting with fruit on the vine...
If you ever, ever get the chance to see Dave Alvin, with the Blasters, or with the Guilty Men, do not miss it. He is simply staggeringly good. A National Treasure.
I was up off to the side- Dave's side - on a raised section about 15 people back from the stage. Counter in front of me, room for a couple of beers, an ashtray, my camera,and lots of room to dance, and most importantly, something to bang on, andhang on, while I danced my fool ass off. I was soaking wet by the end of the show.
They hit the stage right at 11:00 and walked off after their third encore at just before 1:00 After the third encore, (Marie Marie) even the crowd was shot. Everyone just about seemed to slump and sigh "thanks! you gave us your all and kicked our ass."
You knew that they didn't have any more to give. They had left everything they had, in that great musical equation that constitutes the Blasters, and what they mean to the entirity of American Alt. Country, and Roots Rock, and pure Rock and Roll, up on that stage. Add all of that to the tribute to, and history lesson of, a tremendous amount of what makes up our musical heritage, that they thrashed out in front of us this night, and you have nothing short of sheer magic.
Everyone was satiated.
So I wandered up to the stage, Chris Gaffney is breaking down Dave's stuff, and I stick out my hand and say, "Hey Chris, I met you a couple of times down in Virginia, and in Annapolis I watched a great Yankees/Mets World Series game with you and the band backstage after a Guilty Men show." So I ask if it might be OK if I went backstage and just thanked Dave and the guys for a great show. And off he goes to check it out. And there is a whole crowd back there, I am sure, and trying to get Dave's attention is a pain in the ass, so I'm standing out there for about 10 minutes, and just decide, forget it, nobody is on the door, I'll just go back and see what is up. So I'm about 1/2 way down a hallway, and see Dave hanging at a door down the hall, and then I see a great big man, about the size of your average door, standing in front of me just shaking his head "no". And then I see my man Chris, coming down the hall, saying "Tom, c'mon back. He's cool. C'mon..." And the door smiled and swung wide to the side.
So anyway, Dave sort of remembered me being there in Annapolis and watching the game, and I shook his hand and said thanks for a great show, and told him that I had come up all the way from Virginia, and he knew C-Ville - had played there years before I ever got to town- and then he remembered me from telling me a story about a girl he used to meet at the Texas Wisconsin Border Cafe in Richmond, and he mentioned how the show in Virginia had been just OK, and I was better off seeing this one, which he thought was pretty hot - great crowd... And I got to thank Bill and John for a great show, but Phil had already split. And somebody fired one up...
And there is tons and tons more... But I am beat, and need to hit the sack...
It was a great night with the Blasters... Do Not Miss Them If They Come To Your Town!
I have recently seen the Blasters in Boston on Nov 16 and what a thrill
it was! My brother and I drove down from Montreal through beautiful
New Hampshire and arrived at the venue at roughly 5:00. I met Billy
Davis almost immediately and while I was chatting with him out front,
Dave strolled by nonchalantly. I went inside and came face to face with
Bill Bateman, who blew me off pretty quick! My brother and I spent the
better part of the evening locating an affordable motel and returned
to the Paradise Club at 8:30. There were two local openers, but I was
here for the Blasters. THey hit the stage around 11:00 and left around
12;30. The set list was posted on Billy's site. What a show! We were
stage right of Phil and couldn't move for the entire show. They did
not dissappoint! Billy enabled my visit with the band backstage after
the show, but unfortunately, Phil had already left. Dave, John and
Bill entertained my requests for photos and autographs and I hope I
didn't overstay my welcome. I did say to my brother," Let's go, these
guys must want to go to bed" and Dave said," hell no, I want to go out
drinking!" A five and a half hour trip each way and certainly worth it!
Just like listening to TROUBLE BOUND! Cheers, Mike
[Hi Mike- good to hear from you and bummed I couldn't join the party!: Scot]
Around 1975 I was in Chicago for a conference. Night comes and a group
of 6 people want a good time in the city. Open the paper and see
The Blasters are at the Metro. The group wants disco, but I insist we gotta see
these guys. Metro is hot, packed,loud, and electric. Hell of a show.
One of the best I have been to. The group loved it. Started a Blasters/Dave Alvin
addiction that just blew open musical doors for me.
20 years later we still talk about it.
One month ago, back again but miss the reunion tour by 2 days. Damn!
On November 16 I brought my wife to see the blasters at the paridise in Boston.We have waited too may years for this.It was the best show i have seen in a long time.The Paridise was sold out.hopefully they'll come back and play boston again soon. thanks for great show. p.s my wife swiped dave alvins budweiser during the encore.
Thank you for keeping us BLASTER maniacs up to date. I just cought the Norden show, awesome, as usual. John B. brought us back stage for a couple of photos with the band, what a thrill! Him and Gene remembered us (my daughters) from the reunion show in Petaluma.(John brought us back stage there too, for audographs). I am a BLASTERS FANatic from about '83. This was about the 20th show, give or take. I saw them in '88, in Colfax, Ca., with about 18 people in the audience, and thought that would be the time that I would see them. So far in 2002, its been four times. Three of them with the original five BLASTERS. Hopefully many more to come.
I just got what I guess is an advance copy of the new Original Blasters Live 2002 TROUBLE BOUND yesterday, and want to share with everyone just how great this CD is--the live performances are powerful with the band in top form. And the mix is perfect.
I just saw the Blasters at Sugar Bowl and really enjoyed the show, but it left me craving more! (They performed as part of a festival line-up, so they couldn't play their usual full set) This CD should hold me over until the next live performance, which I hope is soon. All of you Blasters fans are in for a major treat with this CD!!
I just saw THE BLASTERS, for the fourth time this year, (a new annual record for me, I'm hoping for more.) Sugar Bowl Bluegrass Festival...sort of. The (sort of) stands for all of the BLASTER maniacs, like myself that were there. An outstanding show as always. The original five BLASTERS played this show, I was told by John B, to add the finishing touches to a LIVE cd.
THE BLASTERS didn't even mind the guy who jumped up on the stage during "American Music", to dance. The only thing this show was missing was their tribute to Lee Allen, but Phil always covers that with, "So Long, Baby Goodbye", and Daves jumps. He still smoked em' though.
This show was a 120 mile(one way) trek for me and my daughters. And worth every minute of it. John B. took us back stage for a photo with
THE BLASTERS. I chatted with John and Gene a little, let em' know I'm on their web page. The Petaluma show review, from the Amercan Music newsletter, Carlos (the guy with the beard looking up at Phil), That's me behind Carlos.
If you are reading this, and you have never seen THE BLASTERS, do yourself a favor before you die,........ DO THE BLASTERS!!!
P.S. John B. thanks a million, you are one hell of a nice guy.
I just saw the Blasters at the House Of Blues in Hollywood, CA. They were doing a live recording, and I want that CD when it comes out....I've been a fan since they played at the Nugget-a-go-go on the Cal State University Long Beach campus, when I was a fledgling journalist...been a friend and fan ever since then! The gig at the HOB was totally a killer show. I'm a drummer who has recently taken up the guitar, because I'm a night worker and the neighboors don't dig listening to my skins and cymbols clanging like at 3AM...so I'm learning the guit. now....My wife said at this concert, "I'll let you buy another guitar when you can play like Dave!"......Oh man, that's gonna take, like, the rest of my mortal life....If anyone on this list knows how I can e-mail either Dave or Phil on a one-on-one basis please contact me with that information...Back when they only had the "American Music" L.P. out on the "Rollin'Rock" label, Dave gave me a copy...and about 6 month's later asked me (I was working at a one-stop record shop at the time) If I knew where he could get a copy of it! I, selfishily kept my copy as we had sold all of our discs to Poo-Bah records in Pasadena...
Tim Nunn (Jimmi Havoc)
Blasters: House of Blues, Hollywood, CA 6-11-02
OK, while it is fresh in my mind...First, the tone of this show was much more relaxed than the March show. The onstage tension between the Alvins that developed that night because Dave was ripping through the songs at a pace that Phil was not used to was nowhere to be found; in fact, Dave was loose and smiling more than I've ever seen him. In short, despite the fact that they were recording the show, the guys all seemed focused yet content.
After a great set by The Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash, the band took the stage at 10:20(the Lee Allen tribute(sax and Black label) remained as it was in March, including the opening music). The written set list had the band opening with "One Red Rose," but they opened with "Trouble Bound" instead. Then they tore through ..."Red Rose," "Flat Top Joint," "I'm Shakin'" and "Blue Shadows" After those first five songs, the set was pretty similar to the March run, including "Help You Dream," "No Other Girl," "Long White Cadillac," great Dave jams on "Common Man," and "Dark Night," and typically solid versions of "Border Radio," "Tag Along," "So Long Baby Goodbye," and a great set-closing "American Music" Again, I enjoyed this show more than the last HOB show. Perhaps it was because the crowd was not as packed and people were not as wasted on a Tuesday night(as Dave said at the end of the set:"Thanks for coming out on a school night")
The first encore consisted of Hank Ballard's "24 Hours..." and "One Bad Stud"(Phil quipped "I guess this goes out to Lennox Lewis") After those two songs the band returned for a second encore, dedicated to Carl Perkins. They played "Honey Don't" and, of course, "Marie Marie," which ended at 12:05 A.M. Instead of saying "I'll see you again in 20 years"(as he did at the end of the March shows in SoCal), Dave remarked "I'll see you some other place." That could be construed as a hopeful sign
Well, it's now 1:30 A.M. and I'm sure I forgot some stuff, but that's my take(without notes from the show by the way) It was a good, solid show. Seeing the original band is interesting; I see Phil's Blasters quite often, and it's obvious that Dave's presence forces Phil to tighten up his stage routine a little, while Dave, at least tonight, was much looser than his shows with the Guilty Men. I enjoy what both guys have going on individually, yet it remains special to see them immerse themselves in this wonderful music that they both obviously love dearly. They're two distinct guys who approach music in a different way, yet that bond is palpable...Anyway, I'm out...
Blasters: Blue Cafe, Long Beach, CA May 18, 2002
I heard about this show at the last minute and managed to make it after a day at the Doheny Blues Festival, which featured a great set by Los Lobos, featuring some very strong new songs from their CD that's out Tuesday. Anyway, the Blue Cafe is a great place to see the Blasters. I've seen the band dozens of times, going back to 1985, yet these shows are always special. Perhaps it because it's one of the few places where the band plays two sets. Perhaps it's because of the two-foot stage and tiny dance floor that is always packed with joyfully drunk greasers, bikers, CSULB students etc. Anyway, the band was in fine form, blasting its way through two pretty standard sets that were augmented by Phil's improvised take on "Spoonful" after someone accidentally unplugged one of their amps midway through an instrumental jam. Looking forward to the HOB on 6-11...
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