Dave Alvin Q&A

Dave Alvin Q&A from 13Mar04
Older Dave Alvin Q&A here.

Click to send your questions.

Latest addition: Saturday, July 30, 2005 at 04:09:02

Questions Answered:

From: brian richards (Monday, July 25, 2005 at 12:42:47)
Answered: Saturday, July 30, 2005 at 04:09:02.

Hi Dave,
I caught the Knitters show at the Great American Music Hall in S.F. on 7/19. Your Guitar playing left my friend Jason and I stunned(all that taste and tone!) Not to bore other Q&A readers but I wonder if I could pick your brain a bit about old Fender amps. Your twin sounded so good I think I might buy one. I've always loved the way the super reverbs sounded as well. Would you mind commenting a bit on the differences and similarities between these two old classics in terms of tone and versatility. The only negative thing I've heard about twins is that they can be a bit too much sometimes in terms of wattage. I'm playing a '58 Gibson ES225 dual P-90 guitar.
Hey Brian:

Thanks for the compliment about The Great American show. I appreciate it.
For the record, with The Knitters I was playing through a 1965 Fender Twin reissue that has a pretty verstaile character. My main live amplifier is a Fender Concert specially built by Rivera in the early 1980's. They only made about 70 of that particular Concert amp (sort of a Fender version of a Mesa Boogie) so it really is a rare bird, loud and versatile. I've found that every Fender amp has a different personality. Some Twins have a thin, trebly tone while another Twin of the same vintage will have a fat, deep tone. Super reverbs are the same. Usually they don't have enough power in a live rock and roll situation but sound great in the studio but I've played one or two that'll blow your brains out on stage. You also may want to try a early 60's Fender Deluxe. If you find a good one of those, there ain't much better. You really just have to plug into each one and see what works for you. It's a long process. I'm still searching for the perfect amp, although my beloved Concert comes very close.
Good luck on your search.

From: nick (Thursday, July 28, 2005 at 00:29:39)
Answered: Saturday, July 30, 2005 at 03:55:49.

Hello Dave,
I was thinking about how long I've been listening to your music, with the Blasters and the Guilty Men. When I think of other bands that I've been listening to for that long, many of them have a history of some type of drug or alcohol abuse that has often had a negative impact on their production. To the best of my knowledge, this has never been the case with either you or Phil, stretching all the way back to your teens. I think that is an amazing accomplishment, when you consider the occupation of being in a band, and all the temptations the drug culture has offered over the past couple of decades. How did you guys manage to avoid all the typical pitfalls that so many of your peers have fallen into? In all of your travels, have you ever run across musicians who never realize their potential because of drug use? Anyways, I hope to see you here in San Diego soon. Until then, take a well deserved vacation and try not to work so hard!
Hey Nick:

Yeah, I've known musicians and non-musicians who've screwed up their lives (and the lives of those around them) and ruined their creative potential due to drugs. To be honest, though, I have known a few musicians who have used drugs and haven't screwed up their lives. Education, character, financial status, family and love all may have something to do whether you screw up or not, I don't know. I did see a lot of very talented people make a lot of very stupid decisions and do a lot of stupid things due to drug use and I've tried to learn from that. Too many of them died very, very young so I certainly don't reccommend drugs to anyone. A million years ago I flirted briefly with illegal drugs, as many musicians do, but I never liked it. I preferred the legal kind: beer and cigarettes. But I also don't reccommend either liqour or tobacco to anyone (What drugs are legal and what drugs are illegal and why they are is too big of a question/discussion for a music based site like mine). Cigarettes, unfortunately, have been my main addiction and I'll always regret that. It's not easy trying to make a living as a professional musician and there are certainly temptations that might temporarily ease the stress and instablilty of that lifestyle. If you can somehow keep the music first in your priorities then you should be all right. Anyway, that's what I always thought.

From: Steve (Thursday, July 21, 2005 at 13:56:32)
Answered: Saturday, July 30, 2005 at 03:30:50.

Well, it happened, after more than a decade together, my beloved pair of boots got murdered by a beloved friend's beloved cat. I recall admiring a pair of yours some years back. Where do you get your boots?
Hey Steve:

That must be some big cat to destroy a pair of cowboy boots. Mountain lion? Bobcat?
I used to get my boots made special, without any decorative stitching or designs, by Nocona but they were bought out by another company a few years back. It wasn't as expensive as it sounds. These days I wear black JB Hill boots, also without any decoration, and they are pretty expensive unfortunatley, but they're worth it. Usually I buy my boots at a couple of western clothing stores out in California that I've been going to for years. One, Kings Western Wear in the San Fernando Valley, has apretty good selection and they'll order what you want. I also frequent swap meets and antique stores looking for vintage boots and western shirts. Good luck finding a new pair and don't mess with that cat. He sounds serious.

From: Fred Rudofsky (Monday, July 18, 2005 at 20:14:02)
Answered: Saturday, July 30, 2005 at 03:20:00.


I still have to say that catching you and the Guilty Men at Revolution Hall last summer in Troy, NY was one of the greatest rock and roll nights (and I hope the Knitters play the venue this year). It was great to talk with you, Miller, and Gaffney after the show. Thanks for signing the album poster for my classroom, too.

One thing I noticed in your performance was a real Magic Sam vibe in your playing. I'm curious: did you ever catch Magic Sam out there in California, perhaps at the Ashgrove, in the late Sixties? Or, is the influence purely from listening to his great albums on Delmark?

By the way, I still have my high school students read "Lee Allen" and "My Mother Fell"--your poetry really connects with them. And, I play them some Lee Allen, his solo sides and with you on "Museum of Heart", as well!

All the best to you,

Fred "Rudy" Rudofsky

P.S. Would love to hear you sit in on Steve Earle's new satellite radio show and spin some records!
Hey Fred:

Well, thanks for spreading the gospel of Lee Allen to a younger generation. He really is an unsung hero of rock and roll and R+B and he is always playing tenor sax in my heart.
I also enjoyed the show in Troy a lot. Great venue, great audience, great old town. I don't think The Knitters will be playing there but I certainly hope that The Guilty Men and I will be back soon.
Now, Magic Sam? One of my all time favorites. Slinky, snakey, nasty, soulful, biting, heartbreaking guitar playing. I never saw him live. He died a little bit before I started sneaking into clubs but I did have a small flyer tacked up on my bedroom wall when I was a kid from a club gig he did in L.A. at a joint called The Bank. I wished back then that I could have seen him and I still
have the same wish. His early death was such a tragedy for the blues. I highlt reccommend a recent Delmark release of Magic Sam live performances called Rockin' Wild In Chicago. Amazing, intense stuff. I also highly reccommend his early recordings on the Cobra label which have been reissued on several recent CDs.
See you soon in Troy, I hope.

From: marni (Monday, July 18, 2005 at 13:17:14)
Answered: Saturday, July 30, 2005 at 03:08:34.


I know the knitters are coming to the Ram's Head in Baltimore in August. My boyfriend and I are coming to see you. Saw you at the Mojo (tiny little bar in B'more and with the Guilty Men in Annapolis) and both times was BLOWN AWAY. When you were at the Mojo I grinned from ear to ear the entire night.

This is a weird and personal question, but I want to propose that night.
Any chance you would play the Old 97's song "Question" for me?

Just a long shot, but I thought I'd try...


PS- you remind me of my dad who passed away in February

Hey Marni:

I'm very touched that I remind you of your dad. That's a very sweet compliment.
Thank you.
Now, on to the business of your proposal, well, I wish you the best of luck with that. He's a very lucky guy. In regards to performing the Old 97's song, (by the way, they're a real good band) unfortunatly, I don't sing in The Knitters so I can't be of any help there. I just bash on the guitar. It's sort of my summer vacation away from being a band leader/singer/songwriter. I know John and Exene, The Knitters singers, are fans of the Old 97's and they may know the song but the odds of us playing it are pretty low. I'm very, very sorry about this. I guess it might be too odd proposing marriage while we're playing Rock Island Line but that might be as close as you get that night. Best of luck.

From: Joel Patterson (Saturday, July 9, 2005 at 11:34:48)
Answered: Saturday, July 30, 2005 at 02:57:15.


You should complain to Apple's iTunes store: On the album 'Step Right Up' they have you listed as 'Dale Alvin' like you were Siamese Twin Chipmunks.

Saw you at Johnny D's in Somerville, Mass this Spring. Excellent show.

Joel Patterson
Hey Joel:

After living my whole life with the name Dave Alvin, I've gotten used to Alvin And The Chipmunks references and jokes. At least they didn't call me Theodore.
Thanks for the heads up.

From: Luc de Graaf (Thursday, July 7, 2005 at 05:19:51)
Answered: Saturday, July 30, 2005 at 02:54:38.

Hello mr. Alvin,

After reading a review in Uncut I bought your cd "Ashgrove". Great music, great lyrics, great production performance. Your melancholic lyrics makes me smile, dream, sad, happy etc. The song 'Out of control' reminds me of the great short stories by Annie Proulx (Close Range - Wyoming Stories). Question: When do you visit The Netherlands?

Luc de Graaf, Helmond, The Netherlands
Hey Luc:

I'm very happy my lyrics can affect you that way. A songwriter couldn't ask for higher praise. Thanks. Annie Proulx! Wow, that is a very nice compliment. I know she is a big fan of my songwriting amigo, Tom Russell. Maybe Tom will loan her one of my CDs. As far as when I'll be in The Netherlands again, I don't know.
I've always enjoyed visiting and playing there but, as I explain in the next question and answer, touring in Europe has gotten so expensive that it's difficult for me to go there as often as I'd like. I did play at a blues festival this last April up near Groneigen (Did I spell that right?) but I don't think I gave a great performance that night. I felt I dissappointed the audience and myself.
Hopefully I can get back to The Netherlands soon and make up for that show.
Maybe I'll see you there.

From: Ray & Lynda (Monday, July 4, 2005 at 14:44:25)
Answered: Saturday, July 30, 2005 at 02:43:35.

Hi! Dave!

We wrote to you last August, asking you when you were next appearing in UK!

We saw you at the Borderline Club, London on 4th May & what a night!!!What a venue!!!! Hope you have plenty of guitar strings!!! Absolutely fantastic!! Everything we imagined it would be!!! Would not have missed it for the world!!!Stayed until end!!! We would have, whatever,even if it had meant missing last tube & finding our car , to drive home to Wales!!! As we told you in last message, we bought 'Out in California' on the strength of '4th of July' track & always wanted to hear you play it live LIVE!! Brilliant!!! Also bought 'Ashgrove' & can't wait for next album!!!???!!! We also feel, as other Q&A comments, that from listening to your albums & seeing/hearing you live, it's as if we know you as a friend!! Wanted to speak to you, as you walked past us in the bar at the Borderline, but didn't like to 'bother you'!! Wish we had now!! QUESTION IS..........WHEN ARE YOU NEXT APPEARING IN UK?????!!!!!!!

Take care!

Ray & Lynda

Hey Ray:
Wow! What can I say? Thank you very much for your very kind words about the London show. I'm stunned that you drove all the way from Wales! Wow! Thanks.
I'm very glad you enjoyed the show. I would've felt miserable knowing that you drove such a long distance and I had let you down somehow.
As to when will I be back in the UK, well, I don't really know. It is so expensive to tour with a band in Europe that my goal when I tour over there is to at least break even financially. But with fans like you waiting for another show, I promise I'll bring me and the guys back as soon as I possibly can.
Thanks again, especially for the long drive and the "friend" comment. Oh, and, yeah, I do carry a lot of guitar strings on the road. I break a ton of those things.

From: Wayne Whitzell (Monday, July 4, 2005 at 02:28:19)
Answered: Saturday, July 30, 2005 at 02:31:58.


I hope you don't mind, but my band covers a couple of your songs and I have posted one on our website. It's "A Woman's Got A Right". I was going to send you a copy through your record company, but I figured this would be cool. We also do "Thirty Dollar Room" and we are toying with some of the Ashgrove stuff like the title track and "Out of Control". I am trying to find a recording of us doing "$30" to put on the site soon.

I hope you like our version of your song. It is one of my favorite songs as I have lived the lyrics verbatim.

Please go to the link below and it will be listed with the other songs.


Thanks for all the great lyrics, great tone, and great melodies.


Hey Wayne:

Well, sorry it's taken me so damn long to answer/post this but thank you very, very much for doing my songs. I can't tell you how good that makes me feel.
Especially doing A Woman's Got A Right and 30 Dollar Room. Those songs off of the Museum Of Heart CD have a special meaning for me (so special that I rarely perform most of the songs off of that record - just too personal, I guess) so it really means a lot that you found something special in them also. I'll try to listen to them on your site but you may want to send me a copy care of my record company anyway seeing how I'm so computer illiterate that I'll probably fail in downloading them or whatever the hell it is I'm supposed to do. Best of luck with your band and, by the way, those 30 dollar rooms are costing around 60 dollars these days.

From: Paris Simpson (Monday, May 23, 2005 at 13:57:29)
Answered: Saturday, July 30, 2005 at 02:21:31.

Dave - Miss seeing you play - (now that I live in Austin) - Tour the South more!!!! Have you seen the trailer for the movie www.searchingforthewrongeyedjesus.com - it's a film they show in Europe but haven't released it in the states, it's about Mississippi - The South.... I've been traveling the Dancehalls of Texas (AMAZING) and not to mention the Juke Joints - you wouldn't believe I found the Mexican Harvey Keitel - and I ran into Hank Thompson at a Knights of Columbus in Seguin, TX he still singing like a bird, picking and grinning. He spakles when he sings - he's 80 years old. How is LA treating you? Went down to Whitter - for soul searching making my way bck to Tucson and then back to Austin - I love Austin, TX although there is a call to Knoxville or Memphis these days, Austin, TX will always be my home - If/and When you need cd, album work get in touch with Revolution Press - Woodblock and such - they just did the Billy Joe Shaver 65th cd / promo and he did The Handsome Family latest - Ben Durham is the cat's name that runs with the place - very nice guy out of Knoxville, TN. I'll be catching the Hacienda Brothers show in San Antonio this Saturday - really looking forward to that.
I also wanted to know if you have heard of Dickie Lee Erwin - if not you need too and also a gal named Jennie Stearns (Itacha, NY) tours or opens for Dowd, Johnny. Keep turning the world on with your music - you are a favorite of mine.
Hey Paris:

Well, please accept my sincere apology for answering this email so late.
I've heard of the "Wrong Eyed Jesus" movie but I haven't seen it yet. I've heard good stuff about it. Yeah, Hank Thompson is great. I had the honor of meeting him, oh, about, 17 years ago in Nashville at some music industry function where I really didn't belong. He's a real gentleman and a big talent. I haven't heard of Dickie Lee Erwin (unless you're talking about the rockabilly/country singer from Sun Records) or Jennie Stearns, but if you say they're good, then that's good enough for me. I dig Jonny Dowd. He's got his own thing and doesn't sound like anybody else. Pretty cool stuff. Well, wherever you land, whether Knoxville or Memphis or back in Austin, best of luck and have fun in those dance halls and juke joints. Keep a beer cold for me, please.

From: Linda East Brady (Friday, May 27, 2005 at 08:34:28)
Answered: Saturday, July 30, 2005 at 02:08:31.

This is more of a comment for Dave than a question (but I was a'scared to push "other").

This is from Linda in Salt Lake, the writer who did a story on you and the sub DJ on KRCL that wants to name my show (when I get my own) Border Radio.

I love the Ashgrove pictures. I was doing a story with Mark Hummel, and he was talking about going to the Ashgrove about the same years as you did. so I just got online to doublecheck my spelling of Ashgrove (my album of that name is at home). Lo and behold, I stumbled across your great black and whites from the club.

Are your Ashgrove photos available? I especially like the oneof Buddy Guy.

Thanks again for going that wonderful show at the songwriter's festival in SLC. It was honestly one of my favorite shows ever. I have a bit of a "guitar problem, as my buddy James McMurtry says, and Marshalls and Fenders are my particular favorties. So you can just imagine how choice that beautiful room sounded to me that night. I think it was the best SOUNDING show I've ever heard. And you played Border Radio, even. Made my night, Dave.

Best always-
Linda East Brady

Hey Linda:

Well, first of all, I'm sorry it's taken me so long to answer but things have been busy.

Now, tell your friend, Mark, that I said hello and, who knows, maybe our paths crossed back at the Ash Grove many years ago. Thanks for the nice words about my teenage photographs. I wasn't using a flash, wasn't quite sure how to focus the camera and, well, I really had no idea what I was doing but some of them came out okay. Are they available? No. Unless you can print them off of the website.
Can you? I don't know. My printer has only worked 2 days since I bought it 5 years ago.

I had a good time at the Salt Lake City show. I know a few people were upset with Chris Miller's electric guitar at a supposedly "acoustic" show, but what can ya do? It's all the same notes to me. Some folk music is just louder than other folk music. See you soon.

From: debbie (Wednesday, June 29, 2005 at 13:20:22)
Answered: Sunday, July 3, 2005 at 15:43:36.


Are the Knitters going to be doing ANY Southern dates (AUSTIN! AUSTIN!) or do I need to plan a trip back East to see you guys?

Hey Debbie:

Don't despair or book any plane flights because The Knitters are coming your way! We're doing many shows south of the Mason-Dixon line, from Virginia to the Carolinas to Georgia to Tennesse to Louisiana to Texas. Yeah, we're playing Austin as well as Houston and Dallas. You didn't really think we'd leave Austin out did you?
Secretly, I kind of wanted to skip Austin because, honestly, between current Guilty Man Chris Miller and Redd Vollkart and Dave Biller and Casper Rawls and Derek O'Brien and Denny Freeman to name just a few, Austin is full of hot rod, blues/country/jazz guitar players that can kick my sorry ass from there back to Downey, California. They all just happen to be too nice of guys to actually do it though . . . I hope. See you there soon!

From: Robert Jordan (Thursday, June 30, 2005 at 19:27:50)
Answered: Sunday, July 3, 2005 at 15:30:55.

Dave, Any chance of a Knitters show anywhere near Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Louisville? John Doe played Indy a couple months ago and you two onstage together must be really intense.
Hey Robert:

I'm still not sure exactly everywhere The Knitters are playing this summer but I do know that there are a few mid-west shows; Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Madison. We may make it to Indianapolis, Louisville or Cinncinnati later in the fall if we decide to do more shows. Maybe you can make it up to one of the cities I mentioned. As far as "intense," well, I don't know if it's that. To me, they're just a lot of fun. Well, maybe they could be considered intense fun, but thats up to you to decide.

From: Teresa Marie (Wednesday, June 22, 2005 at 21:39:12)
Answered: Sunday, July 3, 2005 at 15:23:26.

Hey Dave,

Hope you have been doing well. Looks like you have been keeping busy. Can't wait until this upcoming Knitters tour! Dad and I will be driving down to Seattle to see you guys at the Showbox (since you won't be making it up to Vancouver). Going to bring a friend or two along as well. Hoping that Butch & Vicki will also be able to make it. When will the new Knitters' record be available anyhow?
As always, your music and wisdom get me through even the roughest and strangest of times. Overall, things have been good and all of us sincerely hope that you and those Guilty Men of yours make it back up here to once again show this city what music is all about. Take care of yourself. See you soon.
Oh, and I hope you dig my new hair colour (as you always seem to).

Teresa Marie
Hey Teresa Marie With A New Hair-Do:

How are ya? It sounds like you're soing all right.
The Knitters new CD, The Modern Sounds Of The Knitters, comes out on July 12th in the states and probably the same time in Canada. I look forward to seeing you and your dad and whoever else you can drag down from beautiful British Columbia, as well as the new hair color, in Seattle.

From: thom danfield (Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 19:08:22)
Answered: Sunday, July 3, 2005 at 15:18:21.

mr. dave,
back in March of this year i was at your "Tales from the Tavern" performance at the Firestone Brewery in Buellton, CA. after the concert, Sonny (sic?) Brown asked you to autograph a copy of Ashgrove for a friend of mine, Rex, who was entering rehab but not expected to live much longer. you graciously penned a little something for Rex, and Sonny delivered the CD to me later that week.
i wanted to let you know that Rex (and i) very much appreciated the gesture. Rex lived only another 3 weeks or so, but he loved listening to that disc. when he played bass guitar years ago, there was something similar in the way he played and your music that made me think it a "natural" to share your music with him.
the first few times he listened to it he had this one particular comment that i think you'd like to hear. the music would bring a smile to his face and i could see him going deep inside himself with some of his remaining energy. he said the music had "a raw and sincere quality with understated passions all over the place." he also said it was "music with real guts" and then he'd rock back into that smile that i'll never forget.
i'm pretty sure i'm right on top of what he meant; i think you'll "get it" too.
i just wanted to let you know and thank you for that "doings" back in March. thanks, too, for the music; Rex and i are still listening with smiles on our faces.
thom danfield

p.s.--see you at Live Oak
Hey Thom:

Thank you very, very much. I "get it." I may sound stupid but your message moves me so much that I really don't know what else to say but thank you.

There seems to be some confusion regarding The Live Oak Festival this year. I'm not performing there but my brother, Phil, is with his current Blasters line-up.
they are very good and I hope you enjoy them.

From: Brooks (Monday, May 23, 2005 at 20:45:16)
Answered: Sunday, July 3, 2005 at 15:10:37.

Having navigated the website instructions and tried to follow them, I now see that I am instructed to ask you a "question." Well, as a 40-something, pudgy fan with 3 kids and a full-time job, I have no "questions." I just wanted to let you know that I've been a huge fan for more years than I can remember and my wife and I (and our oldest - she's 7 now, and danced on stage with you and the band for about 10 songs at the Troubador 4 years ago [yes, with ear plugs]) will be at McCabes this Friday. I'm excited, but my folks, after hearing every record you have recorded (ad nausium, mostly here at my house, although I've given them a couple and they've bought a few) are even more excited to finally get a chance to hear you live. And after I told my dad (also named "Brooks") about what I read about Mike Stinson, he is even doubly excited. We 3 generations plan to be somewhere in the front, but given the logistics will undoubtedly end up in the back corner, and happier than hell to be in such a great place to see you and hear your music.
Looking forward to it, Brooks
Hey Brooks:

Well, hell, I'm a more than a little late (and little embarassed about it) getting back to you but I hope all 3 generations of your family enjoyed the McCabes show last month (or was it the month before that?). I don't know if I was any good but I know that Mike Stinson was. So was Greg Leisz and Amy Farris.
By the way, how come you and your daughter didn't dance on stage this time?

From: Wild Bill Irvin (Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 11:19:14)
Answered: Sunday, July 3, 2005 at 15:05:13.

Dear Dave,

I see that you are conspicuously absent from Bill FitzGerald's American Music Festival roster as of now. Can you share with me please whether you will be touring or working on recording projects this summer? A bunch of people on the Hank III Board want to know too. I saw you four times this past February (St. Louis, Berwyn, Berwyn & Springfield., IL) so I should be satisfied, but....you know...

I sure hope you can do a solo acoustic gig in my St. Louis-area living room for my 50th birthday in February of 2007. (Sorry, the room's not big enough for the beloved Guilty Men). I contacted Mongrel but they said wait till summer of 2006 to book it. I'm the kind of guy who likes to get important things like that lined up as soon as possible.

If you'd like to respond to just me, or edit this for a public post, that would be fine.


Wild Bill Irvin
Grover, Missouri

Hey Wild Bill:

Well, you can tell from the very late response to your message that, ahh, things take a little time with me to get done. Sorry about that.
As far as your 50th b-day party, it sounds cool but it's very hard to commit to things like that because of the erratic nature of booking tours as well as the erratic natures of The Guilty Men and myself. Right now I have loose plans to be in the studio in February working on my next CD but you never know what'll happen. Please call my booking agents again later this summer when they might have a better idea of what my schedule is. Maybe everything will fall into place and this can happen.

Regarding summer touring in 05, well, the main tour this summer is with a side project group called The Knitters. We will be touring most of the USA from late July to early September. I will be doing a DA acoustic show (along with Guilty Man Joe Terry playing piano) at The Old Town School Of Folk Music in Chicago on September 18 along with songwriting whiz kid, Robbie Fulks. As for Fitzgeralds, I love playing the 4th of July festival. It's one of my favorite music events in one of my favorite venues in one of my favorite cities. But I try to perform the festival every other year. I don't want people to get sick of me, you know.

From: Chris (Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 15:47:20)
Answered: Sunday, July 3, 2005 at 14:49:17.

Hi Dave,
Each month I find myself drawn to the Q&A page of your website. I find it to be quite an addictive read in the stories and questions asked by the folks, as well as the warmth and care you take in your responses.

I first met you, although it was not in person, when I was a dj at WUOG-FM in Athens at the University of Georgia. I played our brand new copy of the self-titled LP (yes, it was an LP) "The Blasters" on the air and I was hooked from that time on. I first saw you perform as the opener for Los Lobos around 1987 in Austin. The next time I saw you was last year at the Opry Plaza Party here in Nashville. Of course I apologize for the absence in between, but, your music has always stayed with me.

Some friends of mine played with Amy Farris, who also accompanied The Guilty Men in your set, to open for you and what a treat you both were! My wife and I had so much fun at the show; however, I'll admit the Opry Plaza can be a strange gig. There can be a great vibe between the audience and the band and then, all of a sudden, the Opry lets out and there's several people walking right through your audience on their way to their car. Admittedly, quite strange, but I hope you'll come back! I promise I won't be as deliquent about attending your next gig.

Of course, I have to say that I have experienced the same emotional response to your songs as so many have previously posted. All I can say is thank you for making me happy, sad, laugh and cry - all of the emotions I have experienced in listening to your music. But, above all, thank you for helping me just have a good time while listening to your music. I hope that my response, as part of the audience, gave back some of the same satisfaction to you. Hopefully, someday, I may be able to meet you and tell you this in person.

One of my favorite albums is the work you did with The Pleasure Barons. Unfortunately, circumstances seem to dictate that we will never see another gig in the band's true form. It is just a fun album to listen too. It brings back images of a full-tilt Texas Roadhouse boogie band just cuttin' loose. The interaction with the horn section is just wonderful. I was hoping you might be able to comment on how that project came about, and (because you all sound like you're having so much fun) do you have (or have you ever entertained) plans to do more music of that style in the future? Not that the Guilty Men can't boogie, but, working with horns again.

Take care and safe travels,
Hey Chris:

Well, I'm glad we've finally met sort of. And thank you for the very kind words about my music over the years and what it has meant for you. Sometimes, (more times than I'd like to admit) when the life of a road musician takes it's emotional and financial toll, I do consider quitting and finding a real job like pumping gas or something. But messages like yours really do keep me going. Thanks again (and sorry for the very late response).

Yeah, the Opry gig was both very cool and very strange. Not bad or anything like that, just strange. But I love playing with my band (and Amy) no matter what the situation and it seemed that people enjoyed the show. I only wish that I could've met Little Jimmie Dickens or Porter Waggoner or Whisperin' Bill Anderson. Maybe next time.

Thee Pleasure Barons tour was pretty much the late, great Country Dick Montana's baby. Despite his gruff outward persona, Country Dick was really like a cheer leader or a spiritual leader who could fill you with his sweet yet somewhat twisted vision. Or maybe he was just a pretty good con-man who could talk you into doing anything. Anyway, both tours were a boat load of intense, wonderful silliness for the musicians. Hell, I even got paid . . . eventually. Unfortunately, Thee Barons wouldn't be Thee Barons without Dick, so there won't be any more shows. And, yeah, the actual band kicked some serious roadhouse butt.

As far as me working with a horn section again, well, you never know. I miss Lee Allen so much (who played tenor sax on countless R+B hits as well as in The Blasters) that I've shied away from working with horns since his passing. And I'm certainly not good enough to play with Sonny Rollins or Joshua Redman or any of the jazz greats. Maybe someday, if I ever do a really straight blues/R+B type of recording I'll use horns on that. Never say never, ya know.

Hey, I just realised that I've mentioned both Little Jimmie Dickens AND Sonny Rollins in the same breath. That doesn't happen everyday. Anyway, I'll be looking for you when I get back around the Nashville area.

From: noreen joynt (Friday, July 1, 2005 at 17:52:43)
Answered: Sunday, July 3, 2005 at 14:21:32.

Hi, My name is Noreen Joynt, Terry Joynt'sister. I went to school with Mary.

Terry bought me the cd "Trouble Bound", I love it and when I can I will get some more of your music.

I can just picture what the nuns at OLPH would think of the music, remember Father Carry? Thanks, Noreen Joynt
Hey Noreen:

It's great to hear from you! I remember Father Kerry (or Carry, how ever he spelled it) very well. He was the priest for the first Mass I ever served as an altar boy. To be honest, I never paid much attention to the lessons we were given about being an altar boys so I kind of botched it. I knew I was supposed to ring the altar bells 3 times during the Mass, after the priest's sermon, but I'll be damned if I could remember exactly when to ring them. So I just rang the damn bells non-stop for about 10 minutes figuring that I'd be correct at least some of the time. After the Mass, Father Kerry said, in his thick Irish brogue,
"Next time, not so much of the bells."

You know, I think that you're brother, Terry, was the other altar boy that morning. Ask him if he remembers.

As far as what the nuns and priests of OLPH would've thought about my music, well, you never know.

From: Leslie (Saturday, June 25, 2005 at 11:42:31)
Answered: Monday, June 27, 2005 at 03:43:27.

Breaking the rules but when/where is Dave playing with CHRIS GAFFNEY? I live in Nebraska....saw Hacienda Bros at Zoo last night. Chris told me he's playing with Dave in October. He couldn't remember when/where....I need to make travel plans. HELP. You'll make my day. :-)

Hey Leslie:

I can't wait to play with Gaffney again! Hopefully he can do some shows with me and The Guilty Men when we start touring again in the fall on the west coast but he's implied to me that The Haciendas will on tour at the same time. So, I can't answer your question really. I tell ya what, though, if you see Gaff again in the near future tell him to call me so we can get this figured out. The Gulity Men and I will, most likely, be doing a tour up the west coast of California after I finish touring with the Knitters. California is nice in the fall. I hope you can make it to a couple of the shows. I hope Gaffney can make it too.

From: David Lee (Wednesday, June 22, 2005 at 14:16:13)
Answered: Monday, June 27, 2005 at 03:37:08.

Hey David:

First off, let apologize because I think I accidentaly deleted your message.
(Hell, I'm a barroom guitarist not a computer whiz) Anyway, heres the answers.

Well, the Nick Lowe story is kind of long and kind of complicated and kind of funny but, to put it simply, he talked me into singing my songs myself. (There have been times when I've doubted his advice. There have probably even been times when he doubted his advice to me.) His advice wasn't the only reason I decided to start singing my own songs but the respect I have for him as a songwriter, musician and producer certainly made me think about it pretty seriously. I think his stuff is extrememly underappreciated and extremely soulful.

The Greg Kihn Band gig at The Roxy with The Blasters had to be around early 81 or so. The Blasters never played in Hollywood until 1980 and it took us a while to get any shows at The Roxy. I remember that gig really distinctly because I dug the way his drummer sang, The Man Who Shot Libery Vallance (also one of my favorite John Ford movies). I still have and treasure the Fred Neil CD that Bonnie Simmons gave me at KPFA. If you see her tell her I owe her big time.
Again, sorry about deleting your message. I'm a klutz, I guess.

From: Peter Schiffman (Saturday, June 18, 2005 at 10:51:23)
Answered: Monday, June 27, 2005 at 03:21:48.

Hi Dave:

I was at the Hacienda Brothers show at the Palms in Winters last Friday night (June 10th) when you joined the band for "Every Night About This Time" and "Fourth of July". In a previous trip to the Palms with the Guily Men, I recall you mentioning how you wished you could get out of LA and relocate to Winters. So, can we start spreading the rumor that you were up checking out real estate?

Seriously, thanks for coming up to the Palms and joing Gaf and company. It was one of those magical Palms evenings (followed a few nights later by the debut appearance of I See Hawks In LA with a great opening set by Rick Shea and the band!)

Hey Peter:

I'd love to live in Winters but I think people would get tired of me hanging around The Palms everynight. Yeah, you can spread the rumor that I was up looking at real estate because someone may have something for sale that I couldn't refuse. You never know.

I am so proud of Gaffney and Gonzales for what they've done with The Hacinda Brothers but, since their CD came out, I never get to see Gaff anymore so I decided to drive up and spend a little time with my "other brother." I had a ball. Maybe I could talk Gaffney into moving to Winters with me. We could be the house band/opening act every night at the Palms. Well, it's a nice dream.

Yeah, Rick Shea and I See Hawks In LA would've been another great show. Maybe I'll drive up the next time they play because I rarely get to see Rick either these days. Well, I guess better start looking into real estate up there in order to save money on gas.

From: Victor Kull (Wednesday, June 22, 2005 at 12:04:42)
Answered: Monday, June 27, 2005 at 03:10:05.

Hi Dave,

Well it's happened again !!!!

In February I flew over from London to San Diego to see you play at the Galaxy and also at the Belly Up in Solano Beach.On both occasions I was hoping to get to meet you in person, but alas on both occasions I didn't.
Then you came over to the UK and played the Borderline,and once more I never got to meet you because I had to catch my final train home.I did however manage to say "Hi" to Gregory Boaz again,as I did before the show at Solano Beach, and he even recognised me, please say "Hi" to him from me..again.
So a few weeks ago I came back to San Diego for another short vacation,and my friend got us tickets for both of your acoustic shows in Santa Monica,hoping to get to meet you at last.But the guy that introduced you on stage wouldn't let me upstairs after the shows,even though I told him i'd travelled all the way from the UK to see you play,and in all honesty he wasn't very polite the way he told me "No"..... The shows however were very good,and you certainly picked a fine man to share the stage with you.The show on the Friday was very rowdy and had a really good atmosphere, but what happened on Saturday ??? You could have heard a pin drop....
Anyway,I'm not sure when i'll get to see you play again,and I ain't giving up on meeting you...at least not just yet.

So keep the good music comin',and i'm certainly looking forward to the DVD when, and if it comes out.


Hey Victor:

Man, this is getting kind of ridiculous, isn't it? Next time, just walk right up to the front of the stage and introduce yourself. Believe me, if you tell me that your Victor from England, I'll remember you (I haven't forgotten about the offer of a beer either). I apologise for any rudeness on the part of the announcer/bouncer at McCabes but they have a pretty strict backstage policy because there are so many old and rare instruments laying around up there they are afraid of theft. Still, no reason for him to be rude.

Yeah, Friday night's show was a bit rowdy while Saturday's was more, ah, reserved (I never know what to expect when I walk out on stage) but some audiences show their appreciation in different ways. But I thought both nights were pretty good, especially Greg Leisz, who played regular and slide guitar with me. He can make a duck sound good. Amy Farris was also her usual brillant self on the fiddle. It was a fun weekend.

Oh, yeah, the DVD? It will certainly come out I just don't know when. Kind of like our eventual meeting. It'll happen but when is the question.

From: Lynn (Tuesday, June 21, 2005 at 21:52:46)
Answered: Monday, June 27, 2005 at 02:52:01.

When I saw this, I just had to laugh. My father used to sing this to us whenever we were in Texas and said that he wrote it right there...on the spot...I still sing this song whenever I hear someone say "El Paso." It's so beautiful, I can understand wishing you wrote it.

I missed the McCabe's shows...when do you plan on playing in LA again? I'm sure you're taking a well deserved break. I saw your brother play while y'all were in Italy. Robert (Big Sandy) & I were talking about you...wiishing you were up there!

Hope all is well!

1) EL PASO written by MARTY ROBBINS. The first song I remember hearing. The first song that completely sucked me in with it's imagery, story, sound, etc., My mother bought this record for me when I was 4 or 5 years old and I loved it so much that I taught myself how to operate the record player just so I could play it again and again. Marty Robbins wrote some great songs (MAN WALKS AMONG US is another favorite of mine) but this is THE ONE for me. If you ever get a chance to hear Rick Shea and Chris Gaffney sing this together you're in for a wonderful treat
Hey Lynn:

Speaking of El Paso and Big Sandy, boy, I'd love to hear him sing that song.
And, yeah, whenever I hear the words, El Paso, I immediately start singing the song in my head. Marty Robbins nailed it with that song. As far as your dad saying he wrote it on the spot, well, that's a pretty damn sweet story. I can understand why he'd say he wrote it to impress his daughter. Hell, if I ever have a kid, I may tell 'em I wrote it also.

Gigs in LA? Well, I think theres going to be a couple Knitters shows in early September and, possibly, a Dave Alvin and The Gulity Men show in October.
If you make it to any of these gigs, bring Big Sandy!

From: Matt Sorrell (Tuesday, June 21, 2005 at 09:02:57)
Answered: Monday, June 27, 2005 at 02:42:50.

I saw you guys at the Duckroom in St. Louis a few months ago. As always, a great show. It was nice to see Gaffney spotlighted. Hope his new album is selling like hotcakes. I had a guitar geek question for you. I noticed that during the performance you capoed your guitar a lot, sometimes even changing positions during songs. I don't remember you doing this so much the other times I've seen you play, and I was wondering if there's some sonic difference in doing this. I know shortening the scale with a capo does change the sound a bit. Thanks,


PS-Have you ever thought of including a gallery of your guitars and amps on the site? From the looks of your last album cover, you have some cool gear.
Hey Matt:

I also hope Chris Gaffney's Hacienda Brothers CD sells a million. He deserves it.
As far as the capos, well, I've been using them for many years on a variety of songs for a variety of reasons. Sometimes because I'm in an open tuning. Sometimes because I'm trying to play in the style of someone like Johnny Guitar Watson, who used a capo to get his sound. Mainly, though, I use them for singing purposes. Some of my songs are in odd keys for guitar like Bflat or Eflat that are difficult to play in without the capo.

Regarding posting photos of my gear on the site, well, maybe someday, but the photo on the back of the Ashgrove CD covers a lot of it. Well, not entirely.
I'll have to think about that. Thanks for asking.

From: ANNIE (Friday, June 3, 2005 at 08:14:45)
Answered: Monday, June 27, 2005 at 02:31:39.


Hey Annie:

Well, first off, thanks to Sam for bring you down to McCabes and for converting you over to our team. Secondly, thanks fot your wonderful words about the music.
I'm very, very proud that the McCabes show affected you so much. Sometimes I really can't tell what kind of effect my songs, etc, have on people so it's good to hear from people about that, expecially from someone new to the songs. I'd be happy to autograph your CDs the next time I'm in Seattle. I'll be be up there in late July playing guitar with a group of old friends called The Knitters. Maybe I'll see you guys there.

From: Brent Whelan (Saturday, May 28, 2005 at 05:35:28)
Answered: Monday, June 27, 2005 at 02:23:39.

I was born and raised in San Diego, and recently moved to Roanoke, VA. (for work) I was feeling a bit homesick, so thought I would check in and see what my childhood idols were up too. So, I checked out the various BeatFarmer, Paladins, Los Lobos and Blasters websites. In doing so, I stumbled across your Q&A page, which is absoluetly fantastic.

I was very fortunate that my High School and College years were during the 80's as it was an incredible period for music in Southern California. All of the bands mentioned above are such great live shows, and I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to see each of you play a handful of times each year.

In addition to thanking you for the wonderful music and live shows over the years, I wanted to run something by you.

This November will mark the 10 year anniversary of Country Dick's passing. What are the chances of you putting together some sort of tribute show for him?
I think it would be very important to take a moment and celebrate his life. He was such a good guy! Could you imagine if there was a show in his honor featuring the Blasters, Los Lobos, the Paladins, Mojo Nixon, the BeatFarmers, and capped off by an allstar jam. CDM would be looking down with tremendous pride.

Thanks for hearing me out on my idea Dave. I am glad things are going well for you and I look forward to seeing you next time you are out this way. Take care!

Brent Whelan
Hey Brent:

Well, if that anniversary show was to happen, I don't know if Country Dick would be "looking down with tremendous pride" or whether he'd sneaking around backstage stealing everybody's beer. That being said, some friends of Dick's down in San Diego have talked to me regarding if I be interested in performing at such an event and, of course, I told them yes. Whether it will all come together or not is another question but it would be nice. I miss Country Dick everyday. He believed in me when a lot of other people didn't and I'll never forget that.

As far as being a music fan in Southern California in the 80's goes, yeah, it was a great time for barroom rock and roll with great bands playing seemingly every damn night. If I wasn't playing a gig or in the studio back in those days,
I was out each night seeing some amazing band just like a fan. I'm also very thankful for those experiences. If you think about it, though, a lot of those bands, or at least some of the people from those groups, are still out there playing music. Hell, I know that I can't do anything else but play music.

Well, anyway, Long Live Country Dick!

From: tracy myers (Saturday, May 28, 2005 at 10:03:14)
Answered: Monday, June 27, 2005 at 02:05:38.

Have you ever hooked up with Don Williams? Hearing the two of you sing together would melt me........... twice. I first heard you as a collaborator w/Lobos. Superlative adjectives go here: __________________________________________________________________________!!!!!

:) I really like your voice and your tunes.

Freedom is non-negotiable in my life also. Life as a journey, Earth as our Mother, we as her song, forces of nature as our teachers; these are all elements of my personal (and feminine) power. When I play your records I come back into myself even if the day-to-day has pulled me far away. Your voice helps center me like a sweet lullaby. I will watch for shows in the mid-west-I am in Springfield, MO.

I wish you Peace and Happiness,

Tracy Lee

Hey Tracy Lee:

Wow! Me, sing with Don Williams!?! What a compliment. Thanks a lot. You never know what will happen down the road but he's a waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay better singer than I could ever hope to be. I'm also very complimented when you say that my voice helps "center you." Unfortunately, I do know a few people who tell me that my voice has the exact opposite effect on them. Oh, well, what can you do? Thank you very much though.
Regarding shows in the mid-west, well, at this time none are booked for my band but that could change at any moment. Two of the members of my band, though, do live in Springfield, Mo and that's where we rehearse before most tours. So, keep your ears open, we may be rehearsing just down your street.

From: Jerry D. Maulin (Friday, June 10, 2005 at 09:03:08)
Answered: Monday, June 27, 2005 at 01:54:29.

Dave, Enjoyed your songwriting and playing back to the Blasters and I'm enjoying the Ashgrove recording today. Way to go. I play in a regional band called the Clodhoppers. We do mostly original songs, but we included "Call of the Wrecking Ball" on our new cd. I'd like to send you a copy to express my thanks for all the music you've given me. Where should I send the cd? Peace, Jerry
Hey Jerry:

Thanks for the compliments on my songwriting and for being a fan for so long.
But thank you especially for covering The Call Of The Wrecking Ball. I've tried to sing that song at a couple of my gigs over the years but I certainly can't put it across like John Doe does in The Knitters. Or even like The Clodhoppers do it. So I'm happy to leave that song up to John and The Clodhoppers to perform.
Please send your CD to me care of my booking agents:

Mongrel Music
743 Center Blvd
Fairfax, California 94930.

They always get these kind of things to me.
By the way, on the new Knitters CD (due out July 12), there is a sequel to Wrecking Ball. The saga of the Ball continues . . .

From: Beva (Tuesday, June 21, 2005 at 09:06:27)
Answered: Wednesday, June 22, 2005 at 03:48:10.

HI Ya Dave,

Glad to see you made it back from Europe. I was just telling Frank that I didn't see you playing anywhere this summer. Then, when I go home from Madison I see your playing at First Ave with X and The Knitters. WOW! I am really looking forward to seeing you again. I will bring some of the pictures from the show in Madison. I have one with you, Gaff and Frank. Fantastic!
The Hacienda Bros will be here (Minneapolis) on June 29th. Can't wait for that one too!
Well Dave, Take care and I will see you in August.

Hey Beva:

Great to hear from you! I can't wait to see the photos of Chris Gaffney and Frank Furrillo, two people who mean the world to me. I just hope I have my eyes open in the pictures.
Just to makes things clear about the upcoming summer shows, I'll be on the road touring in The Knitters which also includes John, DJ and Exene from the band X. So it's not a Guilty Man show and neither is X performing. Hopefully they're making all that clear in the advertising. You never know though. See you in a few weeks. Oh, yeah, when you go to the Hacienda Brothers gig, give Gaffney a big kiss.

From: Sarah Odem (Sunday, June 19, 2005 at 20:48:32)
Answered: Wednesday, June 22, 2005 at 03:40:03.

Not a question. Just to let you know that I heard your interview on NPR this morning (father's day) and was really moved. I just lost my dad, Bert, on February 15 and your story (the song) really affected me. It's a beautiful song and I am ordering your recording. I went to my mother's house today and told her and two of my sister's about the song while we were all already crying and it was therapeutic in a way. Thanks for writing it.

I also think that a guy I sort of know might play in your band. Is there a Chris Mitchell in there? I have a baby with a friend of his. (although the baby is now seven)
Thank you so much, Sarah, for your message. I can't tell you how much it means to me. I'm very, very sorry to hear about your loss. I wrote The Man In The Bed as therapy for myself and my family but I'm deeply, deeply touched if it has helped you and your family in any small way to deal with your pain.

As for Chris Mitchell, I do have a Chris Miller in my band but no Chris Mitchell.

From: Tom Rutledge (Sunday, June 19, 2005 at 08:01:07)
Answered: Wednesday, June 22, 2005 at 03:24:21.


You seem like a decent guy. I heard your comments on "Man in a Bed" on NPR today. I'm not sure, but I think I heard you say that you "couldn't" take your Dad out of the home the day he died. I may have missed something, and, if I have, I apologize; however, that's BULLSHIT. You COULD have taken him out - you just chose NOT to. Lie to me, your dog, your best friend and worst enemy - but for GOD's Sake - don't ever lie to yourself.

Thanks for your ear.

Hey Tom:

You also seem like a decent guy but, yeah, you missed something. Apology accepted.

From: LARRY FOSTER (Saturday, May 28, 2005 at 09:08:43)
Answered: Wednesday, June 22, 2005 at 03:18:39.

Dear Dave,
This isn't a question - just an observance. Saw your show last night at McCabe's Guitar Shop in Santa Monica 5/27/05. Amazing is all I've been saying all damn day. I have followed your career since I saw the Blasters rip up Southern Illinois University Carbondale when I was there just a few short years ago (1983 - ha!) Guess that makes us both kinda old.

I have never heard of Greg Leisz before but I sure have now. His guitar work is also amazing - whew! The dynamics and the way you work around and together was . . . amazing (there’s that word again). You two were cracking us up on stage but after we all had a good laugh we were hypnotized by your songs and stage presence. I've seen a few shows in my day Dave but your heart and soul comes out of your guitar like no one I have ever seen. We were treated to a show that was so much more than a show, almost like church. It got me way down inside in a place you have to keep closed up living in a crazy town like this, ya know? Sweet emotion, to borrow words from Aerosmith. Thanks for sharing yourself with us. You are truly the King of California.

Hey Larry:

Thank you very much for your message and for following my career all these years.
Yeah, you certainly have to keep ceratin places inside "closed up" living in this town (and many others). Just self-defense, I guess.
I've always thought that music, particularly folk/blues/old country and rock and roll, is one of the few things that helps us let our guard down and feel a bit connected to each other for a few minutes.
And, yeah, Greg Leisz!
What can I say? He's produced 3 of my CDs, played on just about all my solo records and (check your music collection from the past several years) has recorded/played with everyone from Wilco to Joni Mitchell to Smashing Pumpkins to Brian Wilson to Bill Frisell. He's one of the greatest musicians in the world and always makes me sound better than I am.

By the way, that Carbondale gig, didn't that turn into a minor riot? I seem to remember things getting kind of out of control that night. Pretty good gig, though, I think.

From: Glen Pleasance (Wednesday, June 8, 2005 at 10:25:22)
Answered: Wednesday, June 22, 2005 at 03:02:01.

I could be mistaken, but I thought I saw reference to a nightclub owned by Dave in San Fran. Please clarify.

I'll be in San Fran all next week and want to hear good live music. Given Dave's broad musical background, I figure if he owned a club, I'd want to be there to hear whoever is there!


Glen Pleasance
Hey Glen:

I wish I owned a bar in San Francisco but then I probably quit making CDs and just hang the bar getting in everyone's way. The confusion might stem from my very close friend, Annie, who does own a GREAT little dive joint appropriately called Annie's. It's on a tiny side street called Boardman Place across from the Hall of Justice and surrounded by bail bonds offices. Whenever I'm playing in the bay area or just driving around California for kicks, I always spend time at Annie's. I guess I've spent so much time hanging out in there that some people think I own the place. Annie is the perfect host and you never know what kind of person is going to walk through the door. She doesn't have live music but she does have a tremendous jukebox with everything from George Jones to the Sex Pistols to the Blasters. Highly recommended. Maybe I'll see you there.

From: Kim Sweeney (Wednesday, June 8, 2005 at 17:03:32)
Answered: Wednesday, June 22, 2005 at 02:49:19.

I just saw your interview with the Washington Post and noticed that your
first concert you saw was in the Rose Bowl with Herman and the Hermits.
That was my first Rock Concert, too. Since you were only Nine, I just
wanted you to know who else played in that concert!

Herman and the Hermits
The Lovin Spoonfuls
The Bobby Fuller Four


"The Turtles" (Formerly The Crossfires, Redondo Beach Surf Band)
Later, they performed as Flo and Eddy and appeared in a film with
Frank Zappa called "200 Motels"


"Thee Midnighters"
"Let's take a trip down Whittier Blvd."
One of the original East LA Bands!

All of those Great Bands on a sunny afternoon
in the Rose Bowl......what an unforgettible sound!

Aloha to you Dave,
Kim Sweeney on the Big Island of Hawaii

Aloha Kim:

Wow, what an amazing message. "Unforgettable sounds," indeeed.

Thanks for listing all the acts (pretty amazing line-up) but I do remember, very distinctly, everybody who played that day. I listed all the acts to the Post interviewer but I guess he edited it down to just Herman Hermits. The Bobby Fuller Four, The Lovin' Spoonful and Thee Midinighters impressed me the most. Bobby and his band looked amazing, every member dressed in black. They rocked hard through their set and finished with I Fought The Law. I remember feeling absolutely stunned by them. Unfortunately, Bobby tragically died not long after that show. Sometimes I think about what he would've gone on to do if he had lived. An immeasurable and sad loss, just like Eddie Cochran.
Thee East LA Midnighters (not Hank Ballard's group) have always local heroes around here and they looked and sounded pretty tough and sharp that afternoon.
Great horns, great gooves and great vocals.

As far as The Lovin' Spoonful, let me tell you a quick story. About 6 or 7 years ago I was drinking a beer with Tom Russell in a London hotel pub after a show. After a while, in walks John Sebastian from the Lovin' Spoonful and Fritz Richmond (formerly of the Kweskin Jug Band). Tom sort of knew them so they joined us at our table. We got to talking about our gigs that night, mutual friends and old blues records before I got up the nerve to ask Sebastian if he remembered playing the Rose Bowl show.

You see, my memory of their performance that distant afternoon was that the audience was indifferent to the Spoonful through their set as they played their versions old blues and jug band songs that the audience wasn't familiar with. Eventually Sebastian said something like, "This is our first show in California and, I guess, maybe our last but you might know this song." Then they hit the opening chords of Do You Believe In Magic and the teenagers in the Rose Bowl went beserk. The whole screaming, Beatlemania thing.

Sebastian said that my memory was exactly how it went down. Over the years, I've sometimes wondered if I remembered it correctly or did I just imagine the whole thing (I mean, I was 8 or 9 years old). By the way, Sebastian was a very, very nice guy as was Fritz (who deserves his own big place in the folk music history books).

Well, if I ever get to play a gig on the big island (I've played Oahu and Maui but would love to get to your island someday) maybe we'll finally meet after all these years and you can tell me how you remember that incredible day. Aloha.

From: Bill Cantrell (Tuesday, February 15, 2005 at 21:08:29)
Answered: Saturday, June 18, 2005 at 21:54:21.

Hello Dave...we are so excited that you are coming back to Tampa. Thank you. My wife & I are bringing 4 DA "virgins" to your Skipper's show from Sarasota. I know you are constantly asked to do requests and forgive me for mine. When you plug your Fender in, if you could find it in your gracious heart to play "So Long Baby Goodbye", I would be very grateful.
You guys travel safe and we can't wait to see you!!

Bill Cantrell (Sarasota, Florida)
Hey Bill:

Well, I'm very, very, very sorry that it's taken me a few months (wow!) to answer your message but I believe So Long baby Goodbye was the first song we played that night at Skipper's. I hope you and the "4 DA virgins" enjoyed it!

From: Clint Lockhart (Monday, February 14, 2005 at 23:01:37)
Answered: Saturday, June 18, 2005 at 21:51:13.

Hi Dave...

Caught your show at the Belly Up in Solana Beach last week. It was great! I mainly went to see Los Straitjackets and you and your band were just a added bonus. I'm a big surf music fan and even have my own two hour a week radio show from San Diego State's college radio station, KCR.

But I'm mainly writing because I wanted to let you know how excited I was to hear that you are from DOWNEY! I grew up my whole life in Downey... Imperial Elem. School, West Jr. High, Warren High... (grad in '72). My parents still live there, in the same home for 55 years or so... near the corner of Imperial and Downey Ave. I still have very close friends, how spread around California and Utah that I've know, literally, my whole life. We all grew up in Downey.

Listening to you and watching the show so just so much more fun knowing you too grew in Downey... ah yes, The Carpenters, Downey Records (home of Pipeline), Wenzcell Record shop and the infamous Apollo space capsule (made at North American Rockwell).

Thanks for the great show and bringing back Danny and Pete for an awesome encore!


If you're interested, my radio show can be heard on-line at:
http://www.kcrlive.com/ on Thursdays from 4 - 6pm
"A Day at the Beach" hosted by Clint Beachwood
Almost completely instro/surf... old and new.
Hey Clint:

Very cool!!! A fellow "Downeyonian!" Yeah, I grew up there when there were still orange groves and teenage surf bands in the garages. Not the worst place to grow up although I'll never forgive them for tearing down all the gorves. Oh well.
I don't get back there much since my father passed away and Wenzel's Music Record Store closed down (where Pipeline was recorded) but no matter where in the world I am, I'm still a "Downey guy."
I stop by occasionally to eat at Chris and Pitts on Lakewood. In fact I ate there on my way down to the show at the Belly Up.
I'll try to tune your show, it sounds very cool indeed. Keep rocking.

From: Doug Offutt (Monday, February 14, 2005 at 16:32:06)
Answered: Saturday, June 18, 2005 at 21:38:36.

Hello Dave,

Tough - where oh where to begin with just a few lines of space? I just saw you Fri 2/11/05 at Fitzgeralds outside of Chicago. Consider me to be "previously-uninitiated". My buddy Aaron has been trying to turn me on to you for years but I've been "too busy" to tune in. All night I was poking Aaron in the arm saying, "Why the hell didn't you TELL ME!??" Of course, he'd been trying...

I had vague expectations of countrifried-roots somethin' or other. I expected it to be good but I had no idea. You came out and rocked. Wailin' blues and singing and - smiling - all night long! First handful of songs were almost painful - my lead playing turns out to be awfully similar to what you were doing that night, I've got the same white Strat/tortoise pickguard, and those damn songs you were singing felt like songs I've needed to sing for a long long time. I had to catch myself a few times from just plain being overwhelmed. What a great set of coordinates in the cosmos in which to be standing on that particular night.

Thank you for sharing/giving with such immediacy and authenticity - it's a wake-up call - helps me get back on track and write songs again and to try to remember to be fearless about any personal "weirdness" - chances are I'm not alone.

I surely do hope to see you perform again.

Gotta run - I hear somebody calling my name to go get me some Dave Alvin and the Guilty Men titles.


Hey Doug:

Thanks for the cool message. I'm very glad your pal twisted your arm to get you to make it to Fitzgerald's and I especially glad that you dug the show. All the things that you wrote are exactly the sort of things I try to get people to experience at one of my shows. I'm very proud that it had that effect on you. Folk music, whether it's loud electric blues or quiet, acoustic ballads, is supposed to help us not feel alone in the world. It's a communal music and folk musicians of all styles are representing a lot of us who are trying to figure out this sometimes insane world. Good luck with the songwriting and your guitar playing. sounds like you've got a cool Strat! See you in Chicago.

From: Mike Riley (Monday, February 14, 2005 at 10:43:22)
Answered: Saturday, June 18, 2005 at 21:28:55.

To Dave:I caught the show at the Underground City Tavern last night and this is more a comment than a question.I still regret not speaking up when you asked for requests.Like Bobbie of 'the Sopranos' said,"Shyness is a curse." I still listen to your arrangement of "A Short Life of Trouble" over and over.Its one of those than can never get old,although I still would like to figure it out . Like you say, there's an evil on the land,but as long as we can talk about it,there is hope.Yes, we're warriors,like Woodie said about his guitar,"this machine kills fascists",or something like that.A nd the weird thing is when I came up with that in my head,I look out the window that instant and a hawk flies right by with a bird in its claws and I know Grandfather Creator is telling me I'm on the right track.You guys are on the right track for sure ,what a band!Sincerely,Mike Riley
Hey Mike:

Yeah, as a fairly shy guy, I know that shyness is a curse. So is hopelessness.
Whenever I feel dark and depressed about things, I often think about Woody
and his songs (and Curtis Mayfield among other of my personal heroes/warriors) and it's helps me get through my bleak mood and have a bit of hope for the future.
And don't feel shy about yelling out a request. I may not play it but I really do like to know what songs have affected people. It helps me feel like I'm not working in an isolation tank.
Outside of Durango once, I saw a hawk nose dive into the chapparal and then blast skyward with a rattlesnake in it's beak. An amazing sight. I took it as a good omen. Well, a good omen for me and the hawk but a rotten one for the rattlesnake.

And, please forgive the very late response. No good excuse except a lot of traveling.

From: John Stuckey (Monday, February 14, 2005 at 07:03:47)
Answered: Saturday, June 18, 2005 at 21:10:26.


I recently came across a quote attributed to you where you mentioned that “you cringe when you listen to how your voice sounded on Romeo’s escape.” I have to tell you how surprised I was to read that. When Romeo’s Escape came out, I had never heard you or the Blasters before, so I was hearing your music for the first time. I have written you before about the first time hearing R.E. with my dear departed friend Tom and a case of cold Bud, and how I was completely blown away from the first cords of Fourth of July. The lyrics, and the way you sang them on 4th oh July, Every Night About This Time and Border Radio were truly from the heart and the gut and grabbed me like nothing I had ever heard before. To this day I get that same feeling when I play the disk in my own backyard with a cold Bud and thinking about my old friend. I also loved the rawness of some of harder rocking tracks like New Tattoo, Romeo and Wish it Was Saturday Night. Even though your voice has gotten a little smoother over time, it does not take away from sound and power of that first Dave Alvin solo record. So the next time you listen to it don’t be so critical and just remember what it did for me, and many others out there. Keep on Doin' what your doin' and I will keep on listening religiously. Oh yeah, love Ashgrove, best music I heard in years, probably since another great record I heard about 6 years ago. That would have to be Black Jack David wouldn't it.

John S
New Jersey

Well, thank you very, very much John. I'm sincerely touched that Romeo's Escape moves you so much. As far as me cringing when I hear my voice on that record, well, I'd never really sang before and when I did the vocals for that record, I kind of hoped that my voice would sound like Muddy Waters or Al Green or George Jones and, well, to point out the obvious, my voice didn;t sound like theirs. I took some hits from critics about my voice (and that did hurt) but I did try my best, though. I also drank more than a few cold Buds while doing the vocals.
Again, thanks for your message and, well, have a cold Bud for me.

From: Aldo (Friday, February 11, 2005 at 18:24:51)
Answered: Saturday, June 18, 2005 at 21:00:57.


I really enjoy the Ashgrove CD Alot... Can you tell me on "Ashgrove", "Out of Control" And "Black Haired Girl" how you get the tone. What guitar, amp, pedal are you using?
Hey Aldo:

Pretty basic stuff. I used my 1964 Strat through a old Fender Deluxe amp with a Danelectro echo box and a Boss overdrive pedal. Thanks for asking.

From: peter carlsson (Thursday, February 10, 2005 at 19:35:03)
Answered: Saturday, June 18, 2005 at 20:58:44.

Hi Dave
I was one of the audience in Borlänge Sweden that came to see you and Scott Kempner and was allowed to record the show by video tape because Scott my friend allowed me to, and it came out to be one of the greatest shows i've ever seen, even if it was not crowded, Do you think that there is any chance that we will see you again in Sweden Dave? i went to see your brother and band in Enviken last autumn and that was awsome but we still miss you her.
Have a happy Valentine

// Peter
Hey Peter:

Wow, even though it was maybe 13 years ago I remember that show with Scott and The Skeletons very well. It was strange playing in an empty hockey arena but the audience that did show up was wonderful and the musicians and I had a great time. I had a couple days off in Borlange before the show and I spent the whole time playing pool in some youth center. The kids there kept looking at me like I was some crazy old American and maybe I am. I'd love to play Sweden again but I never get offered any shows there. Maybe the hockey arena gig scared off all the
promoters. Hopefully I'll get back someday and, yeah, a happy Valentine to you too.

From: Ian Barnes (Wednesday, February 9, 2005 at 16:05:02)
Answered: Saturday, June 18, 2005 at 20:49:24.

Hi Dave, I really cannot believe the time you are spending answering these querries, it shows that beneath the gruff exterior you are truly a warm and tender young man! I am happy that I could happen to run into you outside of KPIG in the middle of last August and tell you how great "Everett Reuss" is, ironically I had arrived there the day before, and I had been listening to your album all of July. Third, I have a question about a P.D. song called "The Killer", which as far as I can tell was recorded by Cisco Houston. The reason is that I arranged it, but the lyrics are so perfect that it seems like the writer must be known, if you know anything about it I am curious. Also along those lines, I have been arranging tunes for the last couple years, but I always work with lyrics to songs I have never heard, on your album did you start with songs you knew or just rich lyrcal content? I am trying to be brief, but I have some funny stories about Tom Russell which I think would give you a chuckle.

The first time I met Tom was at KPIG in 2000. I had heard Ely's version of G.D.C. and when I heard he was playing on Please Stand By so I knew I should just go watch him. We were standing in the hall and of course the music was great, the funny part was that Sleepy John had obviously not done his homework that day and he kept asking some questions that were not well received. He asked A.H. if he was still in his Hawaiin Band. Andrew replied "It was one of those get home from the tour and finding out your girlfriend left and took the band kind of things". Silence. Then Sleepy decided to get out of the rut by asking about Toms girlfriend. At this Tom started scowling and said that he was without a ball and chain (Judging by songs like "What do you want from me" it is not hard to figure out why).
The second time I met him was at the second night of his Henflings shows that you came to along with Gafney. It was hillarious as well. To begin with I always try to listen to what you guys say and I managed to say some dumb comment to you about "having read about the Blasters or something" (I had not really heard you before that night). Anyway the funny part was how grouchy Tom was, he kept talking about how he hated opening acts, sound guy's, houseplants etc. Of course I was trying to listen and take it in without blurting something out, being young and crazy (complete with water behind my ears) I was pretty nervous just being in the same room. I also remember you getting kind of mad about KPIG announcing that you would be playing there (a good point too), you were also talking about how you loved LA because you could "sit around in your underwear and drink a beer at midnight". The result of this night was that I got a sort of "classroom experience" in music and life. Very cool. Sorry I am writing a book, but who cares, you can stop reading this at anytime without offending me.
So the third time I experienced the Tom and Andrew duo was great too. I was working the backstage of the Live Oak Music Fest and I had a front row seat. The funny thing was that the seating in the front (backstage) was not really full until part way throu the set. I was there, beer in hand on Toms side of the stage, while on Andrews side Toms sister, nieces and their girlfriends were sitting. So the show commenced with Tom talking mostly about Andrews troubles with driving and about the goodlooking women on his side of the stage. Tom at one point even said that he had "noone on his side of the stage". This killed me because I WAS on his side of the stage and I knew his songs too boot. Well the show progressed until Tom announced that he was going to play "Rose of the S.J.", at this point the beer was working on me and my aforementioned timidity was overcome. I let loose some kind of war whoop, accompanied by waving my fist in the air in a fast circular motion. Now for the first time Tom kind of looked at me and growled "It's great to have listeners under the age of 50", "I like the backwards hat, its hip and edgy" (right then I was reaching up to turn it back around), he said "No, leave it!", of course I did. After the show they were signing autographs and I got the chance to ask my One Good Question, or O.G.Q. (I do this everytime I meet one of the people whom I admire and know anything about). This one was about Charlie Russell and about how he beat up a "peeping Tom" (Chickesaw County Jail), Tom told me "Yeah I guess he chased hime for a block then jumped on his back and started pucnhing him, I have the newspaper clipping". O.G.Q. answered time to get autograph. So anyway I had been drawing a lot at this point (thus my love for "Everett Reuss") and I though it would be funny to get Tom and Andrew to sign my sketchbook, thus making it even stranger. Andrew was pretty freaked out by it (the page was a covered in a bunch of different cartoon heads, though not at all morbid, just disembodied because artists in the "Prawn" movement always start with the head), but Tom took it in stride and mentioned that he had been "Painting a lot", of course he did not say that he was really damnn good (I realized he painted his cover after the fact), he was nice though he still was a little scary to talk to. Anyway I have decided that I want to keep up the bizarre nature of our meetings by trying to somehow rangle into being an opening act for him somwhere sometime (due to his proffessed dislike for opening acts, as well as my growing satisfaction with my songs and playing, as well as slowly growing confidence, which I am convinced is a hell of a lot different than pride), I also found my next O.G.Q., and due to the fact that he was sounding like an old grouch in an interview on his website, I want to ask him about the song "hand carved heart" which is so far the only chink I have found in the Tom Russell musical armor. Anyway I hope you got a laugh out of this and wanted to say that both your music and Toms has been as big an influence on me as Johnny Cash, The Byrds, Jonathan Edwards or anyone, I will listen to anything you make, even if you are mumbling incoherently about the stock market while accompanied by stock rythms off a Costco keyboard. Sorry I went long, Ian Barnes
PS-I downloaded the chords and lyrics to bluewing somewhere and it must have been transcribed by a Romanian or something, among the errors was "it might have been a blue boot I don't know", anyway look it up if you are looking for a chuckle. Happy trails!

Hey Ian:

First of all, let me apoologize to you (and so many others) for taking so damn long to get back to you. I've been on the road a lot and, well, somehow a whole bunch of questions went unanswered.

"A blue boot tattooed on his shoulder?" Wow, thats a good screw up.

Now, about Tom Russell. Yeah, sometimes Tom can seem a bit grouchy but I guess all of us can be at times. Something about life on the road can turn almost anyone into not the most pleasant company. Anyway, he's a good guy but I'm just glad I've never opened for Tom if he really hates opening acts (which I doubt he does). Besides being a sometime grouch, Tom is one of our great songwriters and, yeah, his paintings are getting to be almost as good as his songs. I've got some great Tom and Andy stories and, maybe, I'll put them in a book someday but then that'll give Tom permission to tell his Dave stories. Oh well.

Well, maybe I'll run into you at KPIG (what an amazing radio station!) again and
if you run into Everett Ruess, tell him I said hey.

From: Billy Shaddox (Sunday, February 6, 2005 at 18:22:52)
Answered: Saturday, June 18, 2005 at 20:33:14.

I was at your Belly Up show last night (2/5/05) and it was amazing!!! Fine work as always. I've seen you 4 times now electric and I'm worndering if you'd ever consider doing an acoustic run of shows? If so please come to San Diego.

Thanks for putting so much heart into what you do. It shows, I mean it really shows.


Hey Billy:

Thanks for the kind words. I really enjoy playing the Belly Up and that last show there was pretty special, a lot of old friends showed up and The Guilty Men were extra good that night. I'm very proud of them.
I often play short acoustic tours and I think that I may be doing an acoustic gig in San Diego this fall. I'm not sure of the venue yet but it should happen.
I hope you can make it. And, again, sorry it took so long to respond..

From: Jeff (Saturday, February 5, 2005 at 03:50:01)
Answered: Saturday, June 18, 2005 at 20:28:53.

Hey Dave,
There are a ton of people up here in Humboldt County jonesing for a Guilty Men show. My wife and I caught the shows in Reno last summer because we couldn't make any of the Northern California shows. We were excited to be able to see you here in our backyard, and bummed when the show was cancelled. Hope you've recovered. Please come back soon. Bring the Knitters if you'd like. Hell, I'd like that.
KHUM has been playing a lot of your music over the last few years, so there is plenty of interest in seeing you live, regardless of the format.
Hey Jeff:

Yeah, I was severly bummed that I had to cancel that gig in Humboldt county but my voice was gone. Not just a raspy voice but a missing voice. I think that The Guilty Men and I will up there in October of this year to make up for the cancelled show. Tell KHUM thanks for playing my stuff and sorry it's taken me months to get back to you. See ya in October.

From: Harriette Aguilar (Saturday, February 5, 2005 at 02:22:59)
Answered: Saturday, June 18, 2005 at 20:24:23.


My boyfriend and I met you at the Coach House in December of 2004, when you played with the Beat Farmers and my boyfriend played in the opening band English Motorbike. You and I took a great picture together. Anyway, we saw you tonight 2/4/05 at the Galaxy you were great as always. I love watching you play, it's almost like your the only one on stage. Maybe someday I'll see you again and you can autograph my picture.

Keep writing and playing great songs........

Harriette Aguilar
Hey Harriette:

Well, thanks for the very sweet compliment. Yeah, I had a ball at both The Galaxy and the Beat Farmers reunion show. It was a lot of fun singing a couple of Country Dick's old songs. I still miss him very much. Tell your boyfriend good luck with his band and I look forward to autographing your picture.
Also, please forgive the late response to your message.

From: david brown (Saturday, February 5, 2005 at 02:18:42)
Answered: Saturday, June 18, 2005 at 20:19:25.

Hi Dave,
We just caught your show at the coach house in Costa Mesa. Wow what a show!! You and the band were on fire tonight. When did the lineup for the guilty men change? You all sound great! If someone would have told me Dave Alvin would also do some surf guitar I would never have believed them. But I'm a believer now.Good Luck with the tour. Will you be playing in New Mexico at all.

David Brown
Hey David:

Well, the great guitarist Rick Shea left last May to pursue his solo career
(go see him if you have the chance - he's always more than worth the effort)
and my current guitarist, the amazing Chris Miller, joined in June of 04.
I think the show you're referring to was at The Galaxy in Costa Mesa but, yeah, I had a GREAT time that night playing a little surf guitar with my pals, Los Straighjackets, who opened the show. You gotta remember that I grew up in Downey, California and when I was just a little boy in the early 60's there were surf bands on almost every block. The best was The Rumblers who had a local hit called Boss that I still love. I might even record it someday.

I'll hopefully be playing New Mexico sometime soon but nothing is booked right now. Oh, and again, sorry for such long damn wait for an answer.

From: Bruce DeGrado (Monday, May 16, 2005 at 19:24:50)
Answered: Friday, June 17, 2005 at 03:17:21.

Hi Dave Bruce from Seattle here just wondering the status of the Guilty Men dvd like when it will be out and also The Knitters cd I think you told me when you were here in Jan. that it was comming out in June cant wait to hear it also will you guys do a tour if so will you play Seattle shur hope so. Also wanted to ask you if you know Fred Eaglesmith saw him at the Tractor last Sat. night and it seemed to me that he is sort of the Canadian Dave Alvin. Just like to get your thoughts on that any way take care and come back to Seattle soon. Bruce DeGrado.
Hey Bruce:

Well, the Knitters CD will be released on July 12. It's called The Modern Sounds Of The Knitters and it's on Rounder/Zoe records. I think it's a lot of fun and pretty darn good if I say so myself. We'll be in Seattle in mid to late July.

I was hoping to have The Guilty Men dvd out this fall but these things do take time. What I've seen so far looks amazing. The flimmaker, Joe Murray, is doing an outstanding job. He's a great guy. I guarantee that you'll dig it.

Fred Eagesmith is the "Canadian Dave Alvin?" Boy, I wonder if he'd like that comparison. Does that make me the Californian Fred Eaglesmith?

From: andrea (Wednesday, May 18, 2005 at 21:36:44)
Answered: Friday, June 17, 2005 at 03:07:05.

Hope you guys had a safe trip home. Thanks for your show in Holland and thanks to The Hacienda Brothers putting on a first-rate show the night before....
By the way: Did you get the Vollmond beers? We had to deliver them to the Security guy guarding the Groningen entrance. Anyway. We somehow hope it will bring you back to Switzerland for a accoustic set (bribery, you know), cause over here, we have the following figure of speech: If the mountain does not come to you, YOU may go to it. (Hillbilly thinking). In short: You better not make us come to California with all those beer bottles decorating our luggage...or we shall be the ones to tripp over plane chairs. See: The result could be an embargo for all Swiss travellers at KLM and, worse than that....the bottles would arrive empty. (Hey, don’t blame ME.... my favorite Swiss songwriter offers a song about a match, fallin’ on a carpet....what degenerated into a world war).

Hope to see y’a soon
In the name of all your Swiss friends,

Hey Andrea:

Thank you very much for trying but, unfortunately, I think the security guard kept the Vollmund beers (one of my favorite beers in the world) because I never saw them. Well, that really makes me mad. I sincerely hope you enjoyed the show in Groningen. I was having some serious problems with my amplifier that night and, hopefully, I didn't let too much of my frustration show to the audience. Sometimes I can get grumpy. Especially when security guards steal my beer.
I would love to come back to Zurich either acoustic or electric. I've always
had a good time there and feel right at home with you guys. By the way, I've carried a few Vollmund beers in my suitcase on flights back to California and they didn't break.You just have to wrap them reall tight. If everything works out right, though, we'll be sitting in the El International Bar (Is it still called that? I know that it moved to a new location.) having a Vollmund under a full moon.

From: Manu (Thursday, May 19, 2005 at 06:25:58)
Answered: Friday, June 17, 2005 at 02:53:59.

Hi Dave,
I saw your fantastic concert in Chiary Italy on May 14th.
It was a beautiful night. Compliments to you and The Guilty Men.

You can see some photos of that night on this site:


See you on the road


Hey Manu:

Thank you for the photos. I glad you enjoyed the Chiari show. I had a good time at that show. It's not often that I get to play in school. The Guilty Men and I LOVE to play in Italy, especially Chiari because we have a lot of good friends in that area. Hopefully we'll be able to come back sooner than later. Ciao!

From: Chris (Friday, May 20, 2005 at 15:06:33)
Answered: Friday, June 17, 2005 at 02:48:41.

Hey Dave - are you still planning to have a live release from your current tour available at the shows, like Outtakes In California?
Hey Chris:

Yeah, I cerainly plan to have a new Guilty Men live CD available soon at shows. I think people might also be able to purchase it through the YepRoc website
(yeproc.com) but it won't be available in regular stores or anywhere online.
If all goes well, it should be ready for the gigs I'm setting up for the fall. Thanks for asking.

From: Tom from Naperville (Thursday, May 26, 2005 at 15:33:07)
Answered: Friday, June 17, 2005 at 02:41:58.

Hey Dave,

I saw Bob Dylan recently with Merle Haggard opening. I am a huge Dylan fan and I may be in the minority, but I just love the recent albums (Time out of Mind, Love and Theft). I've seen him live 3 times over the past 5 years and he has been outstanding, thanks largely to his great touring band. Yet he seems more eccentric then ever, sort of like the Montgomery Burns (Homer Simpson's employer in case you don't get FOX) of Rock & Roll. Do you have any good Bob Dylan stories from the time you and the Guilty Men opened for him a few years back? Just curious if he is he pretty normal one on one. He doesn't strike me as someone that is very chatty, but I could be wrong.
Hey Tom:

I agree with you that the last couple of Dylan albums are great, some songs are as good as anything he's ever done. I've always thought that he was one of the great white blues singers (in that he manages to sing blues and sound completely original and not just imitating Muddy Waters or someone else) and he certainly proves it on those CDs.

I also thought the double bill of Merle (another great white blues singer) and Bob was a stroke of genius on somebody's part. I saw one of the shows and really dug seeing two of our greatest songwriters on the same bill. A rare treat.

Any good Bob Dylan stories? Well, nothing earth shattering to report. On a certain level he's just a guy trying to write good songs, lead a band and pay the bills. I can relate to that. As far as being eccentric, well, all I can say is I'm sure it ain't easy being Bob Dylan day in and day out. He's got to protect himself from some of the demands, pressures and insanity that people lay on him as soon as he gets out of bed. That being said, I guess I wish he'd talk more to the audience but, what the Hell? He wrote Blowing In The Wind and Like A Rolling Stone so he can do whatever he wants as far as I concerned.

And, yeah, the times I've spoken to him he's just a normal guy.

From: rick meherin (Friday, May 27, 2005 at 07:16:39)
Answered: Friday, June 17, 2005 at 02:18:09.

Hi Dave! I'm a returning fan.I sent you an email a couple of years ago,asking you what you thought of Hollywood Fats's guitar playing.Ever since I heardthat double album,Ive been fascinated with the man.I'd really like to make a documentary about the man.I have family in the movie busniess.I'm just aking you,if you think that wouldf be a good idea,And if you would support it.Thanl you,Rick Meherin.P.S. my bro from ft worth got himself a contract with pacific blues and his new release is out."Texas Cantina" by Chris Zalez and the Stingers.check it out.
Hey Rick:

Yeah, I think a Hollywood Fats documentary would be great. He was a awesomely talented and complicated man who ceratinly deserves as much recognition as possible. I don't know if there are any films of him playing. James Harman might know or Dave Gonzales or Larry Taylor. My brother, Phil, might even know. A very worthy idea, though, that would help spread the word and keep his blues alive.

Good luck with that and, yeah, tell your brother, Chris, that I said congratulations and best of luck with his album. I hope it sells a million.

From: Avi Shorer (Thursday, June 9, 2005 at 15:35:18)
Answered: Friday, June 17, 2005 at 02:09:37.

Hi Dave,
I'm really excited I'm going to come see you at the Great American Music Hall in SF in July! I can't wait. Can I come and say hi to you? I'm still playing piano and started writing songs. This summer I'm going to get to go to rock camp for a week, so I'll get to play other instruments and write more songs. I'm going to send you a picture of me dressed up as you for Spirit week at my school.
I hope I see you before or after the show. Good luck with all your shows.
Your friend,
Hey Avi:

Sounds like things are going good, man. I'm glad you started writing songs. Good luck with that. It's hard work but it's worth it in the long run. Rock Camp sounds like fun. I wish I could go. There is plenty I still need to learn.
As far as saying hello at The Great American, just have your mom send a note to me backstage and I'll take care of you and her.
Dressing up like me for Spirit Week, huh? I'm very, very honored and touched.
Thank you very much. Keep Rockin'.

From: lisa page (Saturday, June 11, 2005 at 16:54:01)
Answered: Friday, June 17, 2005 at 02:02:47.

Thank you, Lisa. I think you're great too.

From: Eric (Sunday, June 12, 2005 at 21:13:30)
Answered: Friday, June 17, 2005 at 02:01:55.


What do you think of Alejandro Escovedo? Did the Blasters or yourself cross paths with Alejandro (or the True Believers) much over the years?

Where do you usually play in the Washington, DC area? The 9:30 club? Any plans to swing that way anytime soon?

Warrenton, Va.
Hey Eric:

Yeah, Alejandro is a very, very talented guy. I've nothing but repect for him.
I first got to know him years ago when he was in Rank and File with Chip and Tony Kinman. They even slept on my floor a couple of times back then when they were in LA on tour. I know that he's been out playing some gigs recently so I guess that his health is improving. That would be great news.

In the Washington DC area, I usually play at The Birchmere or sometimes, for a couple of nights in a row, at the Iota. I hope you can make it to a gig one of these days.

From: lorne goldman (Sunday, April 17, 2005 at 15:25:19)
Answered: Monday, April 18, 2005 at 03:41:26.

yo Dave,
I travelled from Vancouver to see you play in Seattle at the Tractor Tavern and it was a SUPERB show especially the jam at the end with Los Straighjackets. I am travelling from Vancouver to New York to see you in your acoustic show. Do I get a medal for travelling this far?
Hey Lorne:

No medal but I'll buy ya a beer if ya want one.
Now that I know you're travelling all that distance to go to the show, God,
I really hope I don't stink that night. If I do stink that night, I'll buy ya two beers.
See you in NYC.

From: Rich (Sunday, April 17, 2005 at 08:57:55)
Answered: Monday, April 18, 2005 at 03:38:05.

Hey Dave! I live out here in Sedona, AZ and am heading back to Mass. to catch your two shows out there...I'll be bringing along my friend Eric (he was my Professor of Sculpture way back in the mid-80's). He was out here on sabatical last Oct. and I played him your outstanding "Blackjack David" cd and he just flipped out. So before he left on his travels through the southwest(like Everett Russ) I supplied him with several of your discs for his enjoyment. So I want you to know that I've created a monster... He plays the discs over and over again... A true Dave Fan has been created!!! He still teaches Sculpture in Mass. and I was wondering if you could do me a favor? Can you dedicate Blackjack David to him on one of those nights? Along with your gift of music and lyric, Eric has helped through a break-up with my fiance' and I'd like to give him something back through you if that's possible. Thank You so much Dave for being so open and real and for giving us (your fans) your all for the past 25 years! Best Wishes, safe travel and we'll see you at the end of April at Johnny D's and The Iron Horse! I'm looking forward to buying you a beer! Thanks so muck Dave, Rich
Hey Rich:

Great story, brother. I'd certainly dedicate Blackjack David to Eric. No problem at all. It's the least I can do after you created a "monster." The only thing you have to do is send a note backstage (with or without a beer) or find me before the show in order to remind me or, hell, yell at me from the audience.
My memory for these thing gets a little cloudy out on the road. See ya back east.

From: Pete Shovlin (Saturday, April 16, 2005 at 05:26:19)
Answered: Monday, April 18, 2005 at 03:29:18.

Hi Dave,

I live in Leeds, in the North of England, and my journey to your music has been a long one. I first heard of you when the live version of 'Fourth of July' was featured on a compilation CD with Uncut magazine a few years ago. I was blown away...it perfectly captured for me where my musical tastes where at that moment in time. I flirted with buying the album, but never did, and that was the end of that.

Roughly 3 years later, I happened upon the video for 'Why Did She Stay With Him' on Yahoo Launch. I've got to tell you, that's the only time in my life I've felt I've fallen in love with a song on hearing it for the first time. I must have played it 8 times in a row (I thought the video was just right as well, all moody and mean!). Strictly on the strength of this song, I immediately bought Blue Blvd and Romeo's Escape.

I've since got 4 more of your albums, and I've even taken two days off work to come and see you in London in May. I am really looking forward to it, and I am sure you and the guys will not let me down!

The song King of California had a similar effect to Why Did She Stay With Him?, so I guess my question is, how often do you get the inkling that the song you've just finished is extra-special, if ever at all.

Keep on churning it out, Dave, the chicks seem to love the sensitive side in me that your music has brought out!

Hey Pete:

Well, sometimes I know a song is special as I'm writing it. Sometimes I don't know until I play it for someone I trust. Sometimes I don't know until I play it on stage in front of strangers. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I don't really know. More than once I've played a new song for someone and I thought it was the best song I'd ever written and they'd gently let me know it was rubbish.
Other times I'd have a new song that I wasn't sure was any good only to have someone tell me they dug it more than anything I'd ever done. Why Did She Stay With Him is a perfect example of the latter. I was trying to write a Curtis Mayfield and The Impressions kind of song for an old firend of mine but wasn't sure if I hit the the mark or not. When she heard it she let me know that I'd made a direct hit. Then I knew it was a good song.

Thanks for good words regarding my songs and thanks for making the long trip to my music and the long one down to London. I know that it isn't easy and I appreciate your effort very much. The Guilty Men and I will try our best not to let you down. I'll be looking for the guy with the "sensitive side" chatting up the ladies. See you there.

From: Phil Smith (Friday, April 15, 2005 at 23:59:18)
Answered: Monday, April 18, 2005 at 03:09:47.

Dave Alvin,

I'm 40. I go to work every day in an ordinary job that I'm fortunate to have. I have a wife and an 18 month old daughter who I love very much. My Mom died of cancer when I was 9. My Dad died when I was 26, 3 months before my first marriage. I have a step daughter from that marriage (step only for accuracy. She's my daughter). My sister is a breast cancer survivor of about 10 years at the ripe old age of 48. She does a lot of good things to help people and is my anchor. She made me fun. My brother, a firefighter for 34 years has and is being treated for prostate cancer. He's going to be fine. He made me responsible. I have a good group of close friends that I consider my brothers. People I would give my life for.

I'm a Californian. My mom and 2 generations before her were from San Francisco. I love a lot of places but the Golden State will always be my home. I love the mountains and the desert and the ocean and the valleys but I love the Sierras most. I love to backpack and ski and dirtbike. I love the tule fog in the valley in the winters, the heat of Death Valley in August.

I play guitar.. not well, but I play. I sing... even worse than I play. I love playing for my young daughter much more than she likes hearing me. Mostly she likes taking my flatpick and putting it in the sound hole of my accoustic and then tipping it over for me and watching me try to shake it out. When I play the Mustang she wants to mess around with the Adrenalinn (pretty fun gizmo if you can't get on stage and turn your Super Reverb up to 10) She likes the Fender Bassman model with a little slapback. (18 months old and learning already). I work on a lot of stuff but I really like to just learn songs and sing them. Today it was Todd Snider's DB Cooper (not much to learn but fun). I know a pile of your songs. Today I was playing her Long White Cadillac. She likes that one. I like Abeleine. It's a beautiful song and fun to paly the solo. I guess I can play about a half dozen or so other Dave Alvin songs, California Snow, Haley's Comet, Bus Station (I sort of wish that next time I see the guilty men you'd bust out a Blastersesque version of that)

I go see a lot of live music. Mostly stuff in this general genre. I just went to the Viva Las Vegas rockabilly show. Good stufff. All the people you'd expect were great. Man, that Deke Dickerson.. that guy can play! But it was cool seeing folks I'd never heard of. If you haven't heard them check out Crazy Joe and the Mad River Outlaws. That guy is like 23 and kicks ass! I see you pretty much every time you're in SF or Santa Cruz (my preference). Great show at Moe's last time btw. Thanks. Santa Cruz... another place I love and lived for 11 years. It amazes me that San Jose has like a million people and the music scene is a 0 and Santa Cruz is like 70k and all these great bands play there. Gotta love a town with a soul.

So why am I writing this and why do you care? Well, I think you care because you love your fans and value what you do which is evident in your time spent on this board. Why I'm writing is because I always had a Dave Alvin/Blasters CD/tape in my car. Always. Since I was 18 and crashed and rolled 3 times down a mountain while "So Long Baby Goodbye" was playing (not making that up). Until recently. Now I've got two great things: Satellite radio and an iPod. I'm a shuffle guy. These iPods, they develop a sense of their own. Mine really likes 3 things a lot more than others: T-Bone Walker, Johnny Cash and Dave Alvin. Now, you could say that statistically, there's just more of that on the thing. But there's a whole bunch of Los Lobos, Jonathan Richman and Cracker too. Like 2400 songs now and I can't go anywhere without hearing one of your songs. And that's okay with me because as has been illuminated in many of the other posts here, your music touches people. It touches them because you write about your Dad dying or an adventurous 20 year old who disapeared into one of my favorite non-CA places in the 1930's or your Great Great Uncle's (and thousands of others) in the Civil War or the plight of migrants and the life of a guy just trying to get along while policing them. Your Cousin Donna. I once was watching you play at the Kuumbwa Jazz Center in Santa Cruz and you paused and said: "So, I've realy got 2 songs. I've got the fucked up relationship song and the dead guy song. What do you want to hear next?". I'm sure that after reading all of these posts that you're willing to admit that you've moved a bit beyond that.

So on any given day I get in the car, turn on the old iPod and I'm transferred to a different place and a different experience and sometimes back into my own as so many people here have testified. I'm forced in a good way to contemplate my life and the lives of so many others through your music. This, I believe, is the signature of a truly great song writer. Capturing all these emotions, places and people in a fluid, musical way, without any level of triteness and making it all work. Man, few people can pull that off. Song writing is a beautiful skill and you do it in a way that touches people profoundly. Thanks brother. Keep it up.
Hey Phil:

Man, what a great letter. Thank you very, very much.

I've written before on this site about sometimes not realizing the effect my songs have on people and their lives (or if the songs mean anything to anyone beside myself), and postings like yours are what every songwriter/musician works for. I couldn't ask for a better compliment. Please know that I was kidding when I made the crack at the Kuumba regarding my songs but thanks for pointing out that I should treat my songs with a little more tender care than that. Maybe I was in a bad mood or just trying to make Gaffney laugh.

I dig that you play for your daughter, that's a beautiful thing. Just don't feel bad if you think you sing worse than you play because some people have been telling me the same thing for years. Hell, just sing louder.

Anyway, I look forward to seeing you again in Santa Cruz (by the way, you're right about San Jose - go figure) or in the Tule fog.
Oh, and tell your iPod thanks for including me with T-Bone Walker and Johnny Cash. I can't ask for better company.

From: Annie (Thursday, April 14, 2005 at 10:33:46)
Answered: Monday, April 18, 2005 at 02:48:09.

Hi Dave-
Ashgrove is fabulous - I'm preachin' that good Dave gospel to everyone in earshot, and they're most receptive. As I listen to it, I can't help but think of some of Mark Knopfler's solo work. Coincidence? Has he had much influence on you? I will be entering musical Nirvana this spring as both of you are scheduled to play the Wash.,DC area soon - my idea of rock n roll heaven. I'm really interested to hear your Ashgrove work in an acoustic show - you chose (wisely) not to play some of those at the Rock n Bowl in New Orleans. Thanks for playing places like that - is there really anything better than dancing to a rock icon with the sound of strikes being rolled in the background?? See you at the Birchmere next week!
(out of control dancing girl)
Hey Annie:

How was the rest of your New Orleans vacation?
I had a lot of fun playing the Rock n Bowl despite of, or because of, the sound of strikes and gutterballs. It makes for a pretty primal rock and roll experience. But, yeah, not quite suitable for the quiet songs.

Mark Knopfler? I think he's a stunning guitarist and a talented, clever songwriter but he's never influenced me that much in what I do. Maybe the similarity is because we're both baritone singers or, maybe we have similar musical influences? I don't know but I'm very complimented you see a connection between the two of us. Thanks. I'll see you in nirvana.

From: annette (Wednesday, April 13, 2005 at 18:32:01)
Answered: Monday, April 18, 2005 at 02:36:15.

Hey Dave,

Just came to say hope you're feeling better, guess you are, being that you're responding to questions posted to you :) wow, what guy!

Would also like to clarify about the McCabes gig, you don't NEED to have anyone else playing with you, in fact, it's a treat just to hear ONLY you and your guitar.

Here's to you,(your health) and the joy of continuing the tour.


Hey Annette:

Thanks for your concern. My health is fine and I'm looking forward to the up-coming tour. I don't know exactly who'll be playing with me at McCabes but I'm pretty sure Greg Leisz will be there so that alone makes it pretty special for me. I haven't played solo acoustic in a while and, yeah, I sometimes wonder if people at those shows will miss The Guilty Men as much as I do. See ya there.

From: Paul Paliobeis (Wednesday, April 13, 2005 at 14:57:16)
Answered: Monday, April 18, 2005 at 02:29:42.

Hi Dave,
I can't tell you enough how much I enjoy your music. I've had the pleasure of seeing you perform a few times over the years but the 3 shows I saw last year were tops. Beachland in Cleveland,Oh., Southgate in Newport, Ky. and Little Brothers in Columbus. And Los Straitjackets made it that much better. The friends I brought to Beachland and Southgate all loved the shows too. I'm hoping to make it to your show in Philly on the 23rd. Any chance you'll be doing Blue Boulevard? And like some of the others have said, I can't seem to get through some of your music without shedding a tear. Powerful stuff that will make a man cry.
All the best to you and the Guilty Men.

Hey Paul:

Thanks for going to all those shows and your very kind words regarding the songs and the quality of the shows. The Guilty Men just keep getting better and I just try to keep up with them. I hope you do make it to the Philadelphia show and I'll try to do Blue Boulevard (Yell it out to me, that'll help my memory).
To be very, very honest with you, though, I don't think I sing that song as well as I'd like. In my head I always hear Del Shannon singing it and, unfortunately,
I ain't Del Shannon. Speaking if making grown men cry, theres a couple of Del Shannon's songs that always get me a little misty eyed.

From: Tom Wilk (Thursday, April 14, 2005 at 10:02:35)
Answered: Monday, April 18, 2005 at 02:18:44.

"From a Kitchen Table" is one of my favorite songs that you've written. I recently discovered Johnny Cash's terrific version of "Sunday Morning Coming Down" by Kris Kristofferson and was wondering if that song had any influence on your writing of "Kitchen Table." The songs have similar themes and there's even a mention of drinking beer in both. I was thinking they would sound great back to back on the radio.
I'll be at the 10 p.m. show at the Tin Angel in Philadelphia on April 23.
Tom Wilk

Hey Tom:

No, there wasn't any direct influence from Sunday Morning Coming Down on Kitchen Table. At least as far as I know. I never understand, though, what goes on in the subconscious when I write a song so maybe something connected something to something else. I do think that Sunday Morning is a fantastic, gut wrenching song and I'd love to hear the two songs together on the radio. I doubt it'll ever happen but then again, you never know. See you at the Tin Angel.

From: John Rickenbach (Thursday, April 14, 2005 at 14:47:47)
Answered: Monday, April 18, 2005 at 02:11:29.

Hi Dave--

I was browsing through the record store and noticed you have a song on your new album called "Everett Ruess". I don't know the song (I guess I should buy the album), but I was surprised (pleasantly) that somebody else out there knows who Everett Ruess is. I'm assuming your song's about the guy who disappeared in Davis Gulch in Utah in 1934. If not, then you've hit on a pretty cool name.

I go to Utah often, maybe too often, enough to fill too many journals of oberservations. In 2000, I ventured up Davis Gulch, connected somehow with the ghost of Everett Ruess, and here's what I had to say about it at the time.

Enjoy...glad to see your whereabouts are more easily explained than his.

* * *

The broiling afternoon, now well over 90 degrees, brought recovery to Chuck and me. In my case, it took a gallon of water and a cold swim to diminish the panting and the beet red head. Baber offered a helpful “you look like hell.” Khawer kept reading his Robin Cook novel. He’s growing a goatee.

We did not move the camp today, but instead stayed put, swimming, relaxing, and watching Chuck suck down a half dozen Diet Cokes. It is his drink of choice, and we are uncertain what will happen if he runs out. By the late afternoon, the morning’s lessons learned, we resolve to try another canyon hike. Davis Gulch is famous, at least within Lake Powell circles, for its unusual beauty, narrow sinuous reaches, and mysterious tragic past.

In 1934, Everett Ruess was a 21-year old recluse from southern California. A writer and artist by avocation, his open grin revealed a missing front tooth. Not socially adept, he wandered the Glen Canyon region with his two burros and a dog, seeking inspiration for his work, rejecting post-Mulholland Los Angeles. Few people knew him well, and had he not vanished without a trace, few people probably ever would. Ironically, he gained unwanted notoriety in death that eluded him in life. That is, if he actually died.

This much is known: Ruess and his animals had been in the region between April and November 1934, judging from the correspondence received by his family. He was last seen by a sheepherder near Davis Gulch, according to a 1935 published report from the LAPD. On November 19, two men found his burros in a makeshift corral, midway up Davis Gulch. But Ruess was missing, and never seen again.

Was he murdered? Did he fall off a cliff? Join a band of Indians? Hell, just join a band? Subsequent research revealed no answers, just speculation on the part of friends and relatives. The consensus view was that he was murdered by cattle rustlers operating in Davis Gulch, who may have feared his presence might have revealed their own. But this explanation ignores the obvious: why would cattle rustlers leave the burros—useful pack animals, even to criminals—behind? Just as implausible, why would Ruess have done the same, assuming he vanished of his own accord? My own theory is that Ruess and his animals had a falling out, and mutually agreed to punish each other. Ruess would leave, agreeing to never be seen again, but not before he would lock up the burros with only survival rations. If this were the case, it all worked out in the end: the animals were freed, and Ruess later moved back to Los Angeles, fixed his tooth, changed his name to Richard Nixon, and became the 37th President of the United States. He was subsequently disgraced during the Watergate scandal, and died in 1994. He was 81.

Our journey up Davis Gulch proved less transfiguring, but certainly more pleasant than Ruess’ last ride. The rangers at the marinas invariably point to Davis Gulch when asked by boaters for nice destinations in the Escalante area, and the guidebooks dutifully do the same. This explains the heavy use of the canyon, the fourth from the end on the Escalante’s south side. We had to see it for ourselves.

Here’s the report. The lower part is narrow and probably would have been spectacular had it not been underwater. Today it is lined with rock walls and a fleeting beach or two in its quiet corners. Boaters pass the triangular LaGorce Arch not once, but twice, as the canyon narrows and winds around either side. The arch stands just above the present waterline, forming a window in a thick sandstone fin that diverts the entrenched meander. It is not a bridge, but an arch, as it was not formed by the action of water. But we passed and moved on, finally pulling the motorboat out when the navigable water gave way to a mudflat, and continued on foot.

From there the canyon widens a bit, but is still beautiful. Its chief feature is an array of greenery, off-setting the high pink-orange walls. At times the trail is in the ankle-deep creek, at others it follows low benches above the tamarisk. It twists and winds, reveals then conceals. Birds and frogs call it home today, but at one time, so did the Anasazi, and later, as we now know, the young gap-toothed Richard Nixon too.

The canyon’s beauty is not without hazards, taking something for everything it gives. Baber stuck his big toe on a ground-level cactus shortly before sunset, and we took this as a sign to leave, before the fate that claimed poor Everett Ruess would take us as well.

Hey John:

Thanks for the great, well written and funny posting.
Well, I don't know if Everett Ruess became Richard Nixon or not but it's certainly the most original of the Whatever Happened To Everett Ruess theories I've heard. One flaw in your theory (even though you mean it in jest - you do, don't you?) is that if Everett did become Richard Nixon, the Glen Canyon Dam certainly would've been dynamited and destroyed one minute after he became president. What do I think happened to Everett Ruess? Well, I don't believe in ghosts but I do believe in spirits (or just spirit or whatever word/concept you want to use) and his spirit is very much alive. Same goes for Abe Lincoln, Crazy Horse, Joe Hill, Bessie Smith, John Brown, Billy The Kid, Martin Luther King, and so on.

If you ever get a chance to hear my song about Everett, I hope you enjoy it.

From: Rob Jones (Sunday, April 10, 2005 at 00:07:52)
Answered: Wednesday, April 13, 2005 at 03:24:25.

Hi Dave,
I wanted to ask you about your song "The Man In The Bed" on the Ashgrove CD. I understand that y ou wrote it about your Dad.

My Dad died in Oct. of last year, and I still haven't gotten over it. He was 85, probably close to the age of your Dad, Your words are as real as words can get, to me. I can't listen to the song without ending up with tears in my eyes.

Dad wasted away in a hospital bed, after refusing to be kept alive artificially, and each time I visited him during his last days, I would tell my siblings that "the man in the bed wasn't Dad".
I had not heard your song until after Dad had passed. I heard it days later, while sampling your CD in a music store. I knew nothing about it previously, and here I was, a grown man in his fifties, standing in a public store with headphones on, and tears streaming down my face.

I love every song on "Ashgrove", but this one will forever keep him alive in my heart. Thank you for that. I hope it keeps the memories of your Dad alive for you as well.

I guess my question for you is, how do you sing it, and keep control of your emotions? I am not a singer, but if I were, I don't think I could get through it.
That's an amazing note, Rob. Thank you very much. I'm very sorry about your father's passing but I'm extremely touched if my song helps you "keep him alive."
I couldn't ask for a better comment on my song.
Yeah, it's a difficult song to sing and so I don't sing it every night out on the road. I have to admit that I've had difficulty singing it sometimes because I get too emotional and some of the Guilty Men have had trouble playing it because it brings all that stuff up for them also.
But in the right club on the right night with the right audience, singing and playing it can be pretty theraputic and magical.
I can't guarantee that I'll do it at Johnnie D's but if it's even close to being one of those right nights then I will.
Thank you again.

From: Fred (Thursday, April 7, 2005 at 21:02:06)
Answered: Wednesday, April 13, 2005 at 03:11:08.

Hey Dave -
Sittin here in Boston tonight and figured I'd go online and introduce myself to your Q&A website. Good to know theres guys like you willing to interact like this. Im making my way over to Somerville, Mass. the end of April to catch you at Johnny D's. Never been there but hear its a good place to catch a set like yours. Yeah, Dave, here it comes: wondering if you could play Rio Grande at the show, haha. I'll go easy on the flattering, but I do believe its a great song. I'd call it a classic U.S. influenced tune, but I can say Ive come across few songs constructed the way it is - chord/note-wise, a real treat, man. ANYWAY, look forward to seeing you. If you hit the bar, Ill be glad to get you a couple brews. Take care and be safe on the road.
Hey Fred:

No problem. I'll certainly play Rio Grande at Jonny D's. Thanks for the "flattery" about the song. It's just what us songwriters like to hear.
See ya there.

From: Collomia Charles (Monday, April 4, 2005 at 15:51:38)
Answered: Wednesday, April 13, 2005 at 03:07:01.

Dear Mr. Alvin,
I am a huge fan (both of you and the Blasters), and looking forward to seeing you at Johnny D's on the 27th.
I have to tell you though, it's driving me crazy: I'm from Homer, Alaska, and I can't get out of my head that you're drinking in the Dawg in "Out in California" especially since Mt. Iliamna looks like a (pretty darn) voluptuous woman lying on her side.
Will you put me out of my misery and tell me where "Out in California" is set?
LOVE Collomia
Well, Collomia, I wrote that song with the great Tom Russell and I think we both had different "last bars on earth" in mind. Tom was thinking of someplace in Juarez while I was thinking about a bar in Buda, Norway. Buda is way, way, way
north of the Arctic Circle and the view out the barroom window is of the Arctic Ocean and the next stop is the North Pole. Maybe that's somewhat similar to The Dawg in Homer. I don't know but I guess everybody has their own last bar on earth and the Dawg sounds as good as any to me. See ya at Johnny D's.

From: John Paul Brophy (Monday, April 4, 2005 at 15:16:38)
Answered: Wednesday, April 13, 2005 at 03:00:03.

Dave - - -
Thanks so much for playing recently in Salt Lake City for the songwriter's workshop.
Your work with Chris Miller was superlative, bringing even more life to your songs with just the two of you than perhaps with the whole band. The interplay between you both was memserizing, and I am so glad I was there (not that I ever have missed any of your shows here, or would).
I was most embarrassed that the issue about "acoustic music" dared to be raised, and that idiots even left the show! Too bad for those fascists who wouldn't know good music if it slapped them.
Thanks, too, for the heartfelt mention of Ramon (Cardenas, of the Red Iguana). He was a friend and is missed.
Best of luck in your travels and playing.
. . . John Paul Brophy
Hey John:

Well, thanks for the words of support. I can understand why some people were upset that Chris Miller was playing through an amp at a series dedicated to acoustic music but it really doesn't bother me that much. Theres been times that I've had people walk out because I was playing acoustic when they wanted me to play electric, so it works both ways I guess. I remember when I was a kid, seeing people walk out of a Lightning Hopkins performance because he was playing an electric guitar. He was playing the exact same notes he would have played on an acoustic guitar but for whatever reason some people don't like it and thats that. What can ya do? It does upset me, though, that they couldn't appreciate what an amazing guitar talent Chris Miller is. Their loss.

Ramon. What a tragedy. Salt Lake and the West just isn't the same without him.
I miss him very much.

From: Jorge Harada (Thursday, March 31, 2005 at 23:44:59)
Answered: Wednesday, April 13, 2005 at 02:48:48.

Hello Dave -

What a pleasure it was to see you back up in the Northwest at The Tractor in Ballard a couple of months ago - everytime you play 4th Of July and Border Radio, I dunno, it strikes a chord inside that doesn't get struck too often. I hope you enjoyed the Rollin' Rock Records DRAGSTRIP 77 CD's - I hope we did "Blue Shadow" justice. Please come back soon - and wishin' you and The Guilty Men safe travels and fantastic gigs and lots of success. Keep up the great work - the world needs you.

Jorge Harada
Seattle, WA
Hey Jorge:

You did more than "justice" to Blue Shadows, your version kicks ass. "Safe travels, fantastic gigs and lots of success" to you as well, brother.

From: Jack Powers (Tuesday, March 29, 2005 at 08:52:01)
Answered: Wednesday, April 13, 2005 at 02:46:22.

Dear Dave,

Just a note of admiration and thanks. I still love everything about the Blasters (even the name is just right) but it's your post-Blasters music that I enjoy the most. If your career had stopped with the Blasters, you'd still be a very gifted songwriter, but your work since is consistently amazing. What a rich musical catalog you have! Thanks for countless hours of enjoying your records and especially for your live performances, which are so frequently magical, if not beer laden evenings. Speaking of which, while I miss Rick Shea, Chris Miller is a fine addition. When he lets loose half way through Dry River, it's a great segue, really a slingshot transition from quiet to full on Guilty Men.

Thanks also for leading me to Tom Russell, Chris Smither, the Skeletons, Derailers, Kelly Joe Phelps and X. I appreciated your signing a copy of Ashgrove for my 17 month old son Jack at Fitzgerald's last month. He loves music ang you were kind enough to write "start rockin'" where you'd ordinarily write "keep rockin'", and observed that he already had, having seen him at sound check.

Best always,


Hey Jack:

Well, thank you very much. I really appreciate the comments about my songs, the live shows, Chris Miller and Rick Shea. It really does mean an awful lot to me.

And I'm glad I could turn you on to some great acts. One of these days I should post a list of the talented, unsung and deserving performers that I enjoy on the website. Everybody out there trying to make a living as a musician needs a little help in getting the word out. Knowing me, though, I'd forget somebody and feel miserable. Maybe it's not such a good idea.

Now that your son has started rockin', tell him that I want him to keep rockin'. See you in Chicago.

From: Kim Schellpeper (Saturday, March 26, 2005 at 14:02:05)
Answered: Wednesday, April 13, 2005 at 02:34:48.

I purchased an ashgrove t-shirt for a friend when you played last fall in Lincoln, Nebraska - I guessed wrong on the size. Is there a way I can purchase another shirt? I need an XL (he had more muscles than I thought :-))

kim schellpeper

P.S. Pete Watters (Zoo Bar) was supposed to take care of this for me many months ago, but I've given up on him. My friend leaves for Australia in May and I'd like him to take his shirt along.
Hey Kim:

I hope this isn't too late but try the website for my record company, YepRoc, at www.yeproc.com. They should have the t-shirts for sale there. Good luck.

From: Jeff D (Friday, March 25, 2005 at 14:18:23)
Answered: Wednesday, April 13, 2005 at 02:31:52.

Hey Dave, just wanted to drp a note and thank you for the extra trips to Colorado this year. We caught the Durango show and the E-town taping in Boulder. We've been wanting to get a picture with you, saw you hanging out back in Boulder on the way to the car but had left the camera on the counter. Maybe next time!!
We also were in Florida visiting my folks and caught the Bamboo Room show. my parents (66 & 69 yrs old) loved the show, they really liked Gaffney too. Looks like you can reach all types.
I asked you last year about taping and trading your shows, and since then, quite a few have shown up on E-tree. You should check it out http://db.etree.org and find your stuff.
Also we've noticed lately you doing a lot more songs connected with jams right into the next song, and did we hear a little of My Favorite Things in Fla.? A conscious nod to the Dead style of doing things? Or just having fun?
2 more questions. Do you like Zappa? How about Johhny Rivers ? Whenever Secret Agent Man or Memphis Tennessee come on, i tell my wife, this would be a cool song for Dave Alvin to cover. just a thought.
Thanks again, sorry for rambling, just a little slow at work.

Hey Jeff:

Wow! You made it to the Durango, Boulder and Bamboo Room shows? I guess you travel as much as I do. I'm impressed.

The "jam" thing? Well, I guess there's a bit of a nod to the Dead, as well as the Mike Bloomfield era of the Butterfield Blues Band, when we do that. I'm really trying to keep things fresh for the Guilty Men out on the road. There are sections of the show where we intentionally don't know what will happen night after night. All I tell the guys is that we'll start at point A (one song) and somehow get to point B (another song) and, usually, something different happens each night. The guys in my band are such good musicians that I never worry about what they'll play because I'm the guy that screws up more than anyone. And, yeah, I sometimes drop a quote from John Coltrane's version of My Favorite Things into my song Out Of Control as well as Horace Silver's Song For My Father. It makes some sort of sense to me whether or not it makes any to anyone else.

Zappa? A great guitarist. We share similar guitar playing influences (Johnny Guitar Watson, Guitar Slim) but he took everything a whole lot farther than I ever could. I also have a very soft spot in my musical heart for the old lead singer of the early Mothers, Ray Collins. He's one of my favorite doo-wop singers believe it or not.

Johnny Rivers? I had the pleasure of playing some blues with him years and years ago at a jam in some long gone Hollywood club. He's a real good singer and I don't think I could do any of his songs (or Chuck Berry's) better than he does.

By the way, I'm very glad your folks dug the show. I'll tell Gaffney. See you in Colorado.

From: Bruce DeGrado (Friday, March 25, 2005 at 08:07:33)
Answered: Wednesday, April 13, 2005 at 02:09:28.

Hi Dave this is Bruce from Seattle just wanted to thank you for the wonderful shows at the Tractor Taveren in Jan.You probably dont remeber me the frist night I was the one in the Knitters t shirt you singed my poster the 2nd night I was the one that Joe Terry made demaned my sharpie back from you anyway you were so kind to me my brother my girl friend Steph and our friends Mark and Rita you singed every thing we asked and talked with us for about 10 mins. I know you are a busy man and I just thought that was so cool of you. You are truly a gentelmen please come back to Seattle soon O and the poster you singed is framed and up on my wall (a tresured item)thanks for all the great music keep it up. Well see ya when you get back to Seattle. Bruce.
Well, thanks, Bruce, for your kind words but I don't know how much of a "gentleman" I really am. What kind of a gentleman would try to steal your sharpie? Now, Joe Terry, he's a gentleman. Anyway, I'm proud that the poster is up on your wall and I look forward to trying to steal your sharpie again the next time I'm up in Seattle.

From: Joe Faubion (Wednesday, March 23, 2005 at 16:20:40)
Answered: Wednesday, April 13, 2005 at 02:04:45.

Hi Dave-

New album is amazing........please come to Helena and perform a show, it really isn't a ghost town. Just feels that way sometimes.

The Buds and I sure enjoy your music.

Helena, MT
Hey Joe:

I'll try to get to Helena, Montana as soon as possible. I've never played a gig there but I was once stuck in snowstorm in Helena many years back. As far as your town being a ghost town, well, the Helena I was referring to, in my song Black Sky, is Helena, Arkansas. It's a pretty old town with a ton of blues history but sometimes it can seem a bit like a, well, like a ghost town.

From: Manu (Tuesday, March 22, 2005 at 03:15:08)
Answered: Wednesday, April 13, 2005 at 01:57:07.

I've just read the you will come in Italy in May!!! What a wonderful new!!! God bless you and the Guilty Men!!! See you in Chiari.

Manu ;)

Hey Manu:

Well, I very, very, very excited about getting back to Italy in May. Ever since I first went there with The Blasters back 1982, Italy has been one of my absolute favorite places to play. I love the audiences, the people on the street, the food, the history, the ancient Roman ruins and the old churches, the small villages, the big cities, the truck stops, the fast cars, the televison shows, yep, just about everything. I'll see you in Chiari.

From: Wayne Whitzell (Monday, March 21, 2005 at 19:01:56)
Answered: Tuesday, March 22, 2005 at 03:17:07.

Dear Dave,

I'm a huge fan. I wrote to you before and mentioned that my band covers a couple of your songs. Recently, I found a minidisc of one of our shows a couple of years ago that one of our friends made. I was happy to find out that it has "A Woman's Got a Right" on it. I'd love to send you and mp3 of it. I think you'd get a kick out of it. Let me know if/how I can do that.

On another note, I was so excited to see you at the Great American in January. I wasn't sure that I was going to go because I lost my best buddy Jake (my 13 year old dog) two days before the show. I forced myself to go and I was glad I did. You and the fellas did me a lot of good that night, if just to give me a couple of hours of comfort to take my mind off of things. Thanks.


Hey Wayne:

I'm very, very sorry to hear about Jake. That kind of loss is pretty hard to take.
I'm glad, though, that you made it out to the gig and that the Guilty Men and I could help you get through your rough time for a couple of hours. The Guilty Ones have gotten me through some of my roughest periods more times than I can mention. All that stuff about music as healing force, well, it sounds corny but it's often true.
I'd love to hear your version of A Woman's Got A Right. The best way to get it to me is either through my booking agents, Mongrel Music, at 415-485-5100 or through my label, Yep Roc (but I don't remember their number) or just hand it to me at the next show. Until then, keep rockin'.

From: John Poitras (Monday, March 21, 2005 at 21:17:55)
Answered: Tuesday, March 22, 2005 at 03:08:28.


Thank you for a masterful show at "Tales from the Tavern"--you look and sound great. Last I saw you was when I flew Peggie Jones to SF to see you at Slims.

Have thoroughly enjoyed listening to "Ashgrove", "Public Domain", and "Out in California" on road trips to and from the Bay Area.

Had a nice talk with Greg before the show and would love to have you folks play a private party up here in the Santa Ynez Valley.

Thank you again for your great work.


Hey John:

Thanks for the compliments about the cd's. I'm glad they help with the drive.

Now, a party in the Santa Ynez Valley? Count me in. As you well know, the world doesn't get much prettier than in the Santa Ynez Valley and I'll jump at just about any reason or excuse to go there. If you're serious, you can contact my booking agency, Mongrel Music, at 415-485-5100 and we'll try to make it happen.

Yeah, Greg Leisz and I had a great time at the Tales From The Tavern gig. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Ron Cologne, the promoter, is a great guy who does a very professional yet soulful job. I really appreciated his efforts.

And next time you're flying Peggie Jones up and down the coast, tell her I said hello.

From: morten (Thursday, March 17, 2005 at 03:54:06)
Answered: Tuesday, March 22, 2005 at 02:55:43.

I don't really have a question,I just wanted to say I was really happy to see that you'll be playing Bergen again soon. It's been way too long, and I'm really looking forward to it. Morten.
Hey Morten:

You're right, it has been way too long since I've played Norway. I always enjoyed playing in Bergen at The Garage club (or was it called the Cave?).
It really has been too long, I can't remember the venue's name but I certainly remember the very good, sweaty gigs and how beautiful Bergen is. See you there soon.

From: Barry (Wednesday, March 16, 2005 at 07:00:50)
Answered: Tuesday, March 22, 2005 at 02:50:36.

Hi Dave, I see your playing at The Blue Hill Town Hall in Blue Hill Maine in April. I was wondering if you would ok with me recording the show. I think I could get a really good recording there. we are very excited that you are coming to Maine again. I hope to see you playing southern Maine in thefuture. It would be a much easier drive for you..any chance of recording with Ry Cooder in the future.. That would be incredible....Barry
Hey Barry, how ya doing?
Yeah, I'm very excited about getting back up to beautiful Maine. I do not get the opportunity to play there enough.
Also, you certainly have my permission to record the show but the normal rules apply. Those are:
1) You can swap but not sell.
2) If I don't play very well (okay, if I suck) that night then nobody gets to hear the recording. I leave it up to you to decide whether the show sucked or not. I trust you.

Ry Cooder? Well, ah, no false modesty is intended when I say, I'm simply not good enough to play with him. Plain and simple. It'll take another 25 years of gigs and practicing to get near his level. Nice thought, though.

From: Victor Kull (Tuesday, March 15, 2005 at 05:14:25)
Answered: Tuesday, March 22, 2005 at 02:41:18.

Hey Dave,

I recently saw your shows in Santa Ana and then on the next night at the Belly Up.I did write to you beore the shows saying that I was flying in from London to attend the Belly Up concert and that I'd love to say "Hi" to you after the show.Well unfortunately fate conspired against me and one of the members of the group of people I was with had too much Tequila that night and so we had to leave as soon as the concert finished.However both concerts were superb but i'm still a little ticked off at travelling halfway round the world and then not meeting you in the end.I did speak to Greg Boaz before the concert started though,he's a good guy.
But I see you're coming to London in May,and I've got my ticket already.So how do you and the Guilty Men fancy meeting up for a few beers if you've got time when you're in town, that would more than make up for the disappointment of not meeting you in San Diego ?

Thanks for the great music.

Hey Victor:

Well, thanks for making the long trip to California, though it's too bad your pal had too much tequila but it sounds like you had good time none the less. Unfortunately there will probably be no time in London to have a few beers seeing how we are literally flying in, doing the gig and then flying out in order to cut down on road expenses (I'm sure you know that London is about the most expensive city on earth). But feel free to come backstage after the show and say hello. Or maybe, if they keep the bar open late at the Borderline, we can have a quick beer at the end of the night.
And, yeah, Gregory Boaz is a very good guy. See you in England!

From: Per (Sunday, March 6, 2005 at 13:16:37)
Answered: Monday, March 14, 2005 at 03:30:27.

Hello, my name is Per, we met briefly in Holland and Belgium when you were there with the Blasters in 03.
I was wondering about the great "Between the Cracks" that you co-wrote with Tom Russell. Is the story based on what happend to a real fighter or is it strictly fictional?
Was going to ask if you have anything against touring in Scandinavia but noticed you have a gig lined up for Norway ... but it´s still not often you play here, any reason for that?
And hey, thanks for all the great music!
Hey Per:

Between The Cracks is fiction based on fact, I guess. Sort of our tribute to the small time, bloody warriors of the boxing ring and the hard world they come from.
I have absolutely nothing against touring in Scandinavia. It all really comes down to economics. I prefer playing Europe with a band (due to many fan's expectations of hearing me play loud guitar and also if there are any language difficulties with my lyrics the audience doesn't need to understand English to dance if the band is rocking) and touring with the band costs a lot of money. I'm looking forward to playing more shows in Scandinavia in the future but until then I hope I'll see you at the festival in Bergen, Norway. Keep Rocking!

From: john edwards (Saturday, March 12, 2005 at 19:50:08)
Answered: Monday, March 14, 2005 at 03:15:45.

I was at Skipper's Smokehouse in Tampa when you were there just a few weeks ago. What a great performance!!! Thanks. What is the story behind the lyrics of the Ashgrove song "Everett Ruess"? I play it over and over on the repeat mode of my CD player. I think it's on of the best songs that I've ever heard!--I guess that I was in awe of you and your performance, because I actually got you to autogragh by Ashgrove CD, but forgot to ask you in person. Thanks again!!!!! "Keep Rochin"
a real fan of yours, John Edwards
Hey John:

Well, his story is pretty complicated and he was a pretty complicated guy. You might want to google Everett Ruess because there are several sites that can tell you his biography in more detail than I can here (see Lynne's message below).
One of the reasons I wrote the song was that he was such a pure, innocent visionary, not only about the wild lands of the southwest but also about the wild lands of our hearts and spirit.

From: Lynne Bridges (Thursday, March 10, 2005 at 22:41:20)
Answered: Monday, March 14, 2005 at 03:08:09.


Great album. God bless you.

Please put info or a link to Everett Ruess on the web site. Yeah, we can search it, but some of us first heard of him on Ash Grove.
Hey Lynne:

I would love to put up a link to any of the Everett Ruess sites on the web except that I'm sort of computer illiterate. I'm ashamed to admit my ignorance in these matters but now my secret is out. Maybe Scott, the webmaster of this site, can do it for me. I wonder, though, if Everett Ruess would've been a computer whiz or not?

From: lisa (Tuesday, March 8, 2005 at 20:07:43)
Answered: Monday, March 14, 2005 at 03:02:44.


Have you considered getting together with Lavon Helm and or Robbie Roberson(The Band)??? Your are my favorite of all time, but I think the three of you could do some out of this world writing, playing and singing.......
Hey Lisa:

I'm not even good enough to shine their shoes let alone ever even dream of making music with Robbie Robertson and Levon Helm but thanks for the suggestion.
Maybe in my dreams one day.

From: Jim Hartley (Tuesday, March 8, 2005 at 09:20:28)
Answered: Monday, March 14, 2005 at 03:00:01.

Hi Dave and Guilty Guy's,

I just caught the show at the Babmboo Room. It was my first time there, since I've recently relocated from Michigan. What a great club, and you guy's put on such a great show. Thanks for making it down here. I've been noticing that a lot of groups don't make it this far south in Florida.

It would be nice to read more info about the rest of the band on your website. Ashgrove is one of my top ten CD's of 2004. Please come back soon.

Jim Hartley.
Hey Jim:

Thanks for the Top Ten pick! I appreciate it.
I've been meaning to get some sort of Guilty Men bios up on the website for a while because they have done some great, incredible, interesting and strange stuff in their music careers. I promise I'll get it done soon. The Guilty Men can play just about anything in any style that I throw at them and I am very aware of how very, very, very, lucky I am to have them playing with me.

Yeah, The Bamboo Room is pretty cool. We enjoyed the gig that night but getting that far down in Florida can get pretty expensive and time consuming. Normally I don't venture south of Tampa due to those reasons but perhaps now with a decent venue like The Bamboo Room in Palm Beach, I won't be such a stranger.

From: Kelly (Sunday, March 6, 2005 at 00:23:54)
Answered: Monday, March 14, 2005 at 02:50:11.

Dear Dave,

Not a question, but a kudos for your wonderful performance in SLC tonight. I'm a transplant from So Cal (Long Beach / Cerritos) and a big fan of the Blasters. A friend of mine from KRCL had an extra ticket for the show and brought me along to witness your wonderful performance. And Chris Miller! Awesome right hand man. Best show I've seen in a long time - probably since X came through last year (yours is definitely first). LOL Thanks for the great time.

Kelly Murphy

Hey Kelley:

Well, thanks to you for your sweet words and thanks to your friend for bringing you to the show. Long Beach and Cerritos are old stomping grounds of mine also.
Yeah, Chris Miller is certainly an amazing, powerful guitarist. I'm thrilled just to walk on stage with him. And any X show is a great show! I hope you can make it out the next time I play in SLC. By the way, have you ever seen an independent film from a few years back called SLC Punk? It's worth tracking down if you haven't. It really captures the spirit of those days.

From: BOB COOK (Tuesday, February 15, 2005 at 13:39:23)
Answered: Monday, March 14, 2005 at 02:42:19.

Dave, I enjoyed your CD "Ashgrove" VERY MUCH! Were you aware that it was being "listed" (stocked) @ "The Warehouse" (retail outlet in Lakewood, Ca. area) in the "Pop" section? I thought I should mention this because the "Pop" section is the last place I would have expected to locate it! These days, musical catagories have lost their once intended meanings and perhaps Ashgrove defies catagorization, as it is full of emotion and styles that speak to a wide and varied audience. I applaud your efforts loud and vigorously!

Thanks Bob. I'm very happy that you dug AshGrove so much. Well, pop or blues or folk or whatever, as long as they have the music available I'm satisfied, you know. I'm also glad my stuff is available in Lakewood. My first girlfriend was a Lakewood girl and those long, straight streets like Bellflower Blvd, South St, Studebaker and, of course, Lakewood Blvd mean an awful lot to me.

From: Ross McClure (Wednesday, February 16, 2005 at 20:04:57)
Answered: Monday, March 14, 2005 at 02:34:04.

Howdy Dave.

We were one of the lucky one's that were allowed to be in your honorable presence at the Mystic theatre in Petaluma, a couple weeks ago. My wife and myself were blown away and in awe of the performance that you and the guilty men put forth.
My wife fell in love with the Los Straight Jackets also. You sir, are a national treasure. My question is as follows.
When will the live DVD come out? I hope soon.
You single handedly renewed our faith in the healing powers of Rock and Roll.
Please come back to Sonoma County as soon as you can.

Thank you to the true King Of California.
Keep Rockin Man.

Ross and Penny McClure.
Santa Rosa Ca.
Hey Ross:

Wow, thank you very much. I felt like the Petaluma show was one of the best shows the Guilty Men and I have ever played. No kidding, it was a very special night for us. And Los Straightjackets only made it more special. I'm glad you and Penny had your faith in the power of rock and roll restored that night. Without sounding too cosmic or something, that's one of the selfish reasons I play music on the road night after night, I get my faith restored too.

As far as the DVD goes, well, theres no set timetable at this point but I'd say it should be out sometime in the not so distant future. I don't mean to sound vague but editing, arranging distribution, etc will take a little while but hopefully not too long. I've seen some very rough edits that the director, Joe Murray, has done and it looks amazing. Joe is a very, very, very, talented guy who understands the music deep in his heart and it shows in the film. It'll be more than pretty good, I promise.

From: Kal Lindley (Saturday, February 19, 2005 at 10:20:25)
Answered: Monday, March 14, 2005 at 02:20:00.

Caught the band last night (Feb 18) at the Continental in Austin. Flippin' fantastic! You cats are so tight, yet look like you're having so much fun up there. About half-way through, I slipped out for a cig. When I stepped back into the club you were saying something about Gaffney leaving the Guilty Men to join my old pal Dave Gonzales' Paladins. Don't get me wrong, I've been a Paladins fan for a long time, and Gonzales is one of my favorite players. Gaffney is such a talented musician, he could play in anyone's band. I'm just curious, and it's probably none of my business. It's a friendly parting, right?
Say Alvin, I know you don't know me from Jacob. It may sound kinda corny, but I feel as though I've known you for years. Keep on rockin', and I'll see you and the boys down the road. Thanks, Kal
Hey Kal:

Gaffney leaving the Guilty Men to join Dave Gonzales in the Hacienda Brothers is completely on "friendly" terms. Gaffney is one of my closest pals and I totally support him in this project. He's too great of a singer (one of the best anywhere) to only sing one or two songs a night with the Guilty Men. In the Hacienda's, Chris is the front man and he gets to sing all night. Anything that spreads the word on Chris and his talents is more than okay by me. Anyway, the Guilty Men have sort of a floating concept of membership. Anyone who was ever a Guilty Man is still a Guilty Man to me. Whenever the Hacienda's aren't gigging, well, you can expect to see Gaffney on stage with us.

Thereas nothing "corny" about feeling like you've known some musician/songwriter for years. There are many people whose work I admire because they make me feel the same way. That means we're doing our job of writing and playing stuff that means something honest and real to people. I'm very complimented that you wrote that. Thanks.

From: John Wallace (Monday, February 21, 2005 at 10:22:37)
Answered: Monday, March 14, 2005 at 02:05:31.

Hey Dave ,

What a week ! Your show at the Blue Door 2/16 was fantastic . Eight years was way to long to go without hearing you live on stage. The last time was when I took the chicken picture in Rochester NY. I'm glad you have a great sense of humor. The night after your blue door show I caught Scott Keeton at the Blues Saloon in OKC . He talked about you bieng in town , then tore into "Border Radio" then later "No Other Girl" and eventually "Marie Marie". They did a great job , and what a blast just a night after seeing you and the boys live!
Scott's a great guy and will let just about anybody get up and play a couple. I'm still trying to work up the nerve , but so far I've been , well , chicken. I love the Classic Blasters stuff , but have spent many hours listening to Museum of Heart ,King of California , The live Guiltymen CD , Blackjack David ...and expect to spend as many listening to Ashgrove. I'm grabbing Testament and Public Domain today off of Ebay...always looking for more. Thanks for all the great music and I'll see you again somewhere along the road. JW

Hey John:

Don't be "chicken." Hell, if I can get up on stage in front of people then you can do it. Nothing to be afraid of . . . well, okay it can be scary but you just get up there, take a deep breath and have a good time. It's only rock and roll or folk music or whatever you want to call it. Tell Steve, thanks for playing my songs. I'm honored that he's keeping them alive in the bars.
As far as the "chicken photo," well, ah, I think the rubber chicken looks better than I do. See ya down the road.

From: Brad (Friday, February 25, 2005 at 22:16:29)
Answered: Monday, March 14, 2005 at 01:58:06.

Mr. Alvin,
On February 15, 2005 you played a small venue in Fort Smith, Arkansas called the Five Star Media Center. I sat on the front row and must tell you that you and your band's performance was absolutely the best show I have ever seen. I was afraid the small crowd might make an artist cut his show short or give a humdrum performance. You, sir, did anything but that. You are not only a great performer, but very personable on stage, which made me feel that you truly appreciate your audience and fans. I hope you make it this way again and if so I assure you I will be in your audience, smiling from ear to ear and rocking like a madman.

Hey Brad:

Well, thanks for the kind words. I try (not always successfully) to play each show "in the moment." You know, not let the fact that there are 80 people in front of me, or 800 or 8000 people, negatively affect my playing and the show.
I love playing music and I love my band and I love my songs, so it doesn't matter in the long run what size the audience is. When I was a kid I saw some of the old bluesmen perform and give everything they had in their souls to barrooms full of empty seats. I try to do the same thing. I'm very happy that the show moved you so deeply. That makes it all worthwhile.

From: Doug Baker (Monday, February 28, 2005 at 11:50:13)
Answered: Monday, March 14, 2005 at 01:48:08.

Dave, I am a huge fan of yours and my wife and I saw you live for the first time at the Bellyup show a few weeks ago, you and the Guiltymen were on fire. The live version of Out of Control was just unreal. I wish the whole thing had been recorded and was available for purchase. Any chance of a new live album comming out in the near future?

Rock On.

Hey Doug:

Well, ah, yeah, I'm planning on making a live CD from shows recorded at The Great American Music Hall in San Francisco and The Galaxy in Santa Ana just days before we played the Belly Up. It won't be released offically but will be available to purchase only at live shows sometime in the early fall or late summer. There will also be a live DVD of performances from those shows but I'm not sure when that will released, sometime in the not so distant future I hope.
I'm very proud of my band and I love playing with them. They kick my ass every night. I'm glad you dug Out Of Control, it's one of my favorites to play because I can really stretch out and play some hard blues.

From: Paul Ledesma (Wednesday, March 2, 2005 at 09:43:28)
Answered: Monday, March 14, 2005 at 01:37:53.

Dear Dave,

I drove home last night in the rain from San Jose to my home in Sebastopol. I listened to Ashgrove the whole way...twice. It's beautiful. A real work of art. We should all take such care in the work we do. I found something in almost every song that spoke to me. Thank you.

I noticed that you thank Gerald Haslam in the liner notes. I'm also a fan. I haven't read everything by him, so I can't tell if his influence on you is one where you are in tune with the spirit of his work or are their songs where the influence is more literal? An adapation? In any event, you are one of our finest expounders of the Working Man's Blues.

With warm regards,

Paul Ledesma
Sebastopol, CA
Hey Paul:

More "in tune with the spirit" of Gerald Haslam's writings than an adaption or anything like that. He's one of the great California writers, maybe one of the greatest. Even though he's known primarily for writing about the San Juaquin Valley, his understanding and love of all the complexities of all California is inspirational, soulful and educational. He (along with Gerald Locklin, Merle Haggard, Bukowski, Joan Didion and others) have given me a firm grasp of writing from a sense of place. Like Yosemite and the Big Sur coast, he is one of California's treasures.

From: ed (Thursday, March 3, 2005 at 19:54:52)
Answered: Monday, March 14, 2005 at 01:28:52.

hey dave, saw you at fitzgeralds feb.11, great show! i got backstage and you and the band sang happy birthday to me, what a thrill. anyway, would love to be able to see some tabs (chords) of your songs, especially abilene, and the whole ashgrove album.
also, 2 songs on ashgrove really touched me,(can't remember the names right now),the man in the bed, and "they'll never find my body",both hit home with me on a very personal note.
I first saw you with the allnighters in chicago in 85, you opened for los lobos, wow, what a great show. keep up the great work, it is much appriciated.
Hey Ed (Are you the same Ed as in the question below?):

The Happy Birthday sing-a-long pleasure was all ours. I'm glad my songs mean enough to you that you'd like to find tabs of them but there really aren't any yet. You can find Marie Marie and 4th of July on some sheet music websites but
outside of those (and one or two others) you'll probably have to wait until I can get it together to pay someone to write out the music and tunings. A lot of people ask for tabs and I seriously do intend to put a book of them out at some point in the future.
I remember the Lobos show at The Riviera Theatre very well. The Allnighters and I had some great Mexican food at some small joint around the corner (it's funny what you remember about shows). Anyway, good luck figuring out the songs.

From: ed byrnes (Thursday, March 3, 2005 at 20:03:04)
Answered: Monday, March 14, 2005 at 01:17:56.

hey dave, just a quick question, i was at your show at fitzgeralds in berwyn, they were'nt selling t-shirts, would love to get a couple, where can i order some. thats all
Hey Ed:

Wow, well, they should have been selling the t-shirts at Fitz's. Maybe I didn't unpack them. Sometimes I get lazy or forgetful or both.
You can always go the website of my record label, Yep Roc, at www.yeproc.com and they have the shirts for sale there. Good luck.

From: Martha Rowley (Friday, March 4, 2005 at 09:50:21)
Answered: Monday, March 14, 2005 at 01:14:07.

Hi Dave,
This is a 'thanks' more than a question. I really enjoyed the show at Skipper's Smokehouse. You were so kind and gracious after the show, you left me with a real 'keeper' of a memory. I was delighted to find this week that you and the band will be up in my neck of the woods soon. Looking forward to more great 'Guilty' music then. I'll try again to get that Vermont product to you at the Iron Horse in April. Again, my thanks.

Hey Martha:

Well, thanks. I love playing Skipper's and it was good to see that you made the trip south. Unfortunately, The Guilty Men will not be with me when I tour through the northeast in a couple months. It's strictly an acoustic type tour except for Chris Miller on electric guitar. The solo/duo shows are a little different than with the band but you might enjoy it. Hopefully, I'll see you at the Iron Horse.

From: Frankie (Saturday, March 5, 2005 at 05:10:55)
Answered: Monday, March 14, 2005 at 01:06:39.

Frankie from NJ here--got a literary question for ya. I know your a fellow Bukowski reader, so I assume you dig John Fante as well (I'm not an Angelino--but I'm Italian, so I can really relate to his stories). But, have you checked out JF's son Dan yet--or maybe seen him read? He's become my greatest find in recent years, & truly takes the torch from his old man & Buk. His poetry collection is called "A gin-pissing, raw-meat, duel-carborateur, v8 son-of-a-bitch from Los Angeles" (great title, that!) & reminds me a lot of your stuff, as well. His "Bruno Dante" trilogy of novels is incredible too. He's got a poem about hearing Little Richard for the first time, as a kid in the '50's, that I'm sure will bring a smile to your face. See you at Joe's Pub at the end of April.

Best Wishes & Keep Rockin'
Hey Frankie:

No, I hadn't heard of Dan Fante but on your recommendation I'll try to track his stuff down. I'm certainly a fan of his father's work - John Fante really captured the desperation and sadness of Los Angeles life back in the 30's/40's. Outside of Beverly Hills and Mailbu, LA can still have a lot of the same sadness and desperation he wrote about. Hell, Beverly Hills and Mailbu probably still have it too. See you at Joe's Pub.

From: Michelle (Tuesday, January 18, 2005 at 19:59:30)
Answered: Wednesday, January 19, 2005 at 02:40:43.

Just a question regarding the song Abeline.
I have a friend who thinks that's the name of a woman.
I think it's about a woman headed home to Abeline, Texas.
(Having lived in Clyde a lifetime ago, I really think I'm right!)

And I heard that you may be playing at Reinstock 2005!
Please, please, please do!
I'll drive down from the other end of the state just for that!

Hey Michelle:

Well, you're both right. It is about a woman I knew whose nickname is Abilene because she grew up there. It's also about her returning home to Texas. I hope that helps. At first, Abilene (the person) hated the song but the last time I saw her she told me that it had grown on her and now she kind of liked it.

Please pardon my ignorance, but what's Reinstock? I'm not sure I'm playing there but I will if they want me. Well, hopefully, I'll see you there.

From: David Crosley (Tuesday, January 18, 2005 at 13:11:54)
Answered: Wednesday, January 19, 2005 at 02:31:49.

“Ashgrove” is still in heavy rotation on my CD player. Thanks for the music.

Your show at the Oregon Zoo in Portland last August was phenomenal; you managed to get this 50-plus-year-old body up and moving. I’m looking forward to your January 21 show at the Aladdin.

Your website has a picture of Doug Sahm and you on stage. I was an admirer of his talents ever since “She’s About A Mover” (I grew up in Redondo Beach listening with my “plastic silver nine volt heart” to KRLA, KFWB, and KHJ). My question: did you know Doug well? It seems to me that you had so much in common musically (comfortable in any genre and blurring the lines between genres)and personally (you signed a CD for me backstage at the Oregon Zoo and you were so gracious; so was Doug Sahm each time I talked to him). If you ever decide to do a Doug cover, the Aladdin would be a fine place for it.

David Crosley

Hey David:

I the pleasure of knowing Doug a little bit and wish I could've known him more.
His genre-bending skills were certainly an influence on me (and numerous others)
when I was a kid and they still are today. The first time I met Doug was when the Blasters opened for the reformed Qunitet in 1980 or 81 and the last time I saw him was not long before he died. That night I had played at Antoines in Austin and after the show, Doug, Clifford Antoine and I sat a table until 4 in the morning discussing T-Bone Walker, Lightning Hopkins, Bob Dylan and countless other important subjects. Besides the couple of times that I played with him onstage, that night's conversation is one of my favorite memories.

See you in Portland. By the way, "50 year old bones?" Hey, brother, you're never too old.

From: Lorraine Woodworth (Saturday, January 8, 2005 at 21:07:43)
Answered: Tuesday, January 18, 2005 at 03:47:09.

Dear Dave.
KVMR radio Nevada City CA played your Ashgrove track "Everett Ruess" a few months ago. I searched & e-mailed a site asking questions about the song & where you got the story - a kind web master sent me a link to an interview you did explaining the lyrics. My oldest son Daniel - wandered off into the woods 10 years ago - never to be heard from again. As you can imagine your song gripped me like no other song on earth. Thank you for writing it. I had always hoped someone would do so & hearing how you came by the story proves that there is nothing new under the sun and "stuff" happens to everyone at all times and places. Your soul/mind picks up these threads of the tapestry of life & experience & weaves tthem into beautiful, real & powerful songs. It's a great give, ain't it? THANK YOU. Lorraine Esses Woodworth.
Dear Lorraine:

I can't tell you how much your beautiful, wise message means to me. My words are pretty weak after yours so just let me say, THANK YOU, and please know that with those two little words I'm trying to say so much more.
I agree whole-heartedly with you about the "soul/mind" picking up the threads of the tapestry. Every songwriter, musician, poet, artist and actor tries to do that, consciously or unconsciously. Sometimes we fail miserably and sometimes we get it right. When we do get it right, well, the universe makes sense for a blessed moment or two.

From: debbi (Sunday, January 16, 2005 at 18:27:57)
Answered: Tuesday, January 18, 2005 at 03:28:33.

Hey Dave:
Just caught your show , Acoustic Music Series, at the church in Pasadena. They picked the right venue. It was a spiritual experience. Amy Kicks a-- by the way.
You two playing off each other was a thing of beauty.
Heard you a long time ago with the Blasters but had really come there last night to see Mike Stinson (sorry bout that,trying to be honest).. Well God works in mysterious ways. I have been hit in the forehead by a musical 2x4 only twice in my life. Last night hearing you live and a couple years back seeing Dwight live.
The question is, now that I have had this experience, can you lay down a Dave Alvin 101 listening guide to get me up to speed. I bought Ashgrove today and also got Amy and Mikes lastest ventures last night at the show. So much music, so little time....

Hey Debbi:

Well, I hope the 2by4 didn't leave any permanent damage. Thanks for the great compliment! Also, I appreciate your honesty regarding who you came to see.
Mike Stinson is a great songwriter and singer and it was a thrill to have him on the bill. Yeah, Amy Farris does kick some ass and I love playing with her. She makes me sound classy if that's posssible.

Let's see, a DA buyer's guide? Well, I recommend King Of California and Blackjack David on the Hightone label for starters. Those CD's, as well as Ashgrove, will certainly give you a pretty good idea of what I'm trying to do.
When you're done with those, come back and I'll tell you more.

Again, thanks for the kind words and honesty. See at another show soon, I hope.

From: David Brown (Sunday, January 16, 2005 at 12:06:27)
Answered: Tuesday, January 18, 2005 at 03:18:26.

Hi Dave,
We just caught your final show at the neighborhood church in pasadena. Thank you for another great evening at that venue. Will you continue to do acoustic shows in the LA area in the future? Also several years ago you had a steel body guitar with a hawaiian picture on the back. Is there any story about that guitar? It had a great sound.

We'll see you down the road. Bring more t-shirts to the gigs.

David Brown
Hey David:

Yeah, I'll continue to do acoustic shows in LA. I ususally play McCabes about every year and a half or so and look forward to performing there soon. The good news about the church gig is that it may, and I stress may, happen again next year. The friends and partners of the late Ron Stockfletch (who booked the church shows and was the visionary behind the whole acoustic music series there)
are seriously considering continuing the series now that they're seeing how many people enjoy and depend on those shows. Let's keep our fingers crossed. And I'll bring more t-shirts.

My 1935 National Steel bodied guitar is one of my prized possessions and it rarely leaves my house except to go to recording sessions or a very, very special gig. It's a great guitar. In fact, it's such a great guitar that my close pal and producer Greg Leisz (who can play rings around me and just about everybody else) said to me after playing the National for a few minutes, "This is a great guitar. You're not good enough to have it. I should have it." He was kidding but it's probably true. I'm not giving it up, though. Sorry Greg.

From: Victor Kull (Friday, January 14, 2005 at 20:39:36)
Answered: Tuesday, January 18, 2005 at 03:07:04.

Hey Dave,

Well i'm finally going to fulfill one of my ambitions and that's to see you play live in your native California.I'm flying over from London early in February and i'm lucky enough to be staying with some good friends in Vista who are big DA fans and have tickets for the show at the "Belly Up".
I saw you and the Guilty Men play in Kilkenny last year and you were awesome !!
If I get a chance to say "Hi" in person either before or after the show that would be cool because I could tell the folks back home that i've met the "King Of California"

Later Dude,

Hey Victor:

Hey, man, I think you'll enjoy California and I hope you enjoy the Belly Up show. The Belly Up is a pretty cool venue that kind of captures the southern California beach vibe, sort of a joint where surf music meets the blues. I always get a kick performing there. The security can be a bit tight there, though, but if you're patient and hang around for a little while after the show (I need a little time to dry off, sip a beer and have a smoke after a show), I usually come out and say hey to whomever wants to talk. Seeing how you'd have traveled half way around the world to make it to the show, I'd certainly like to say hello back to you. The Killkenny fest was an absolute blast. I wish I could play there every year. See you in California!

From: John Sellars (Thursday, January 13, 2005 at 23:03:00)
Answered: Tuesday, January 18, 2005 at 02:57:33.

Hi Dave-

Been a big fan of yours for some time now, but just read your book "Any Rough Times Are Now Behind You", last year. It's the first book I've read that made me laugh and cry at the same time! Highly recommended for all your readers here.

I'm the one that gave you some pictures I took in the eighties at the Music Machine of you and the Knitters (after an X concert at the HOB.) That Knitters show was THE funnest show I had ever been to, and the pictures showed how much fun you guys were having too.

See you tomorrow night in Pasadena -

Hey John:

Yeah, Knitter gigs can be a lot of fun for us in the band so I'm happy to know that the audience enjoys that too. The photos you gave me were great. Brought back a lot of fond memories of The Music Machine and all the beer we drank that night.

Thanks for the compliments on the poetry book."Laugh and cry at the same time,"
wow, very nice compliment. I'm planning to do another book before too long and also hope to re-release the "Any Rough Times" book with a new publisher.

Well, I hope you enjoyed the Pasadena show. See you soon.

From: Jack Rodeawald (Wednesday, January 12, 2005 at 16:48:43)
Answered: Tuesday, January 18, 2005 at 02:49:33.

Just wanted to say thanks for your quick and humorous response to my cd problem (christian music replaced yours.) The folks at Yeproc were more than kind in dealing with the issue. They quickly sent out the correct version of the cd (which is amazing), as well as a few compilation cds. You picked some nice folks to work with. Hopefully I'll get to say thanks in person at your upcoming Santa Barbara show.
Hey Jack:

Boy, I'm glad that mess got worked out. Thanks for being so patient and I hope it was worth the wait. And, yeah, the folks at YepRoc are an awfully nice bunch. See you in Santa Barbara.

From: Jeanne (Tuesday, January 11, 2005 at 21:05:27)
Answered: Tuesday, January 18, 2005 at 02:44:59.

When I heard the Dave Alvin song "Somewhere in Time" on the Los Lobos CD, I froze! I have a distinct, haunting memory of this song from somewhere, but I can't remember where I have heard it. I know it just evokes very strong emotions inside of me. Was this song in a movie or are there other artist that have recorded it? Thanks, it is an extremely beautiful song. Jeanne
Hey Jeanne:

I'm very glad that the song touched you so much. That's the biggest compliment a songwriter can get. Now, as to whether or not you heard the song somewhere before, I doubt it. Theres the version I recorded with Lobos for their Ride CD and the version I recorded for my Ashgrove CD and, so far, those are only versions I know of. Both were released in 2004 and haven't made it yet into any movies or tv shows. Maybe the melody is similar to some old song (I don't think so) or the lyrics reminded you something or someone or sometime or song song but I really don't know. Sometimes music, a song, can tap deep into our subconscious and so we feel like we've heard it somewhere before. Maybe that's what happened with you. All that aside, I'm very proud that you think it's a beautiful song.
It was an huge honor for me to write and perform that song with the guys from Lobos.

From: Tom (Wednesday, January 12, 2005 at 00:00:51)
Answered: Tuesday, January 18, 2005 at 02:32:57.

Saw you in Philadelphia this past summer with the Guilty Men and thoroughly enjoyed the show. Afterwards, you kindly autographed your Ashgrove CD for me and then watched you patiently sign a huge stack of Dave Alvin, Blasters, Knitters (and any other musical reincarnation that I was probably not aware of) LPs and CDs for an apparently devoted fan. You were unbelievably patient and gracious as it must have taken over 10 minutes to sign them all! For my question, I would be interested in your thoughts concerning under-attended shows in the concert business (both large and small venues) over the last few years. I know there are some high-profile acts that do consistently well but there seems to be a considerable drop-off after that. Would appreciate any personal insights from your years of touring or comments you may have heard from fellow artists or promoters and if this trend may be long-term or temporary. I've been seeing live music since 1966 and although I don't go to as many show as I used to, I make it a point to support my favorite artists when they do come to town such as yourself. Best wishes.
Hey Tom:

Well, a long time ago I heard the great blues singer Big Joe Turner remark,
"Sometimes there's people and sometimes there ain't."

That about says it all.

The only thing I could add to his observation is that the business of getting people to attend shows seems quite simple but is actually very complicated. The right venue helps as does the right night of the week and whether or not you're getting any radio airplay in that market. The right price of admission is also very important. Stories in daily and weekly newspapers can help as does an appropriate opening act. Also the seemingly very small things matter a lot, like is there easy parking or an all age policy or can you dance there or can you sit there or is the sound any good in that venue or are the employees friendly, etc. All of these things matter but because there's only so much control I have over the various factors involved, whenever I find myself worrying sometimes a little too much about all these details I try to keep Big Joe's words in my mind and just play the gig.

From: Dave (Wednesday, January 5, 2005 at 10:52:36)
Answered: Monday, January 17, 2005 at 03:11:06.

Hi Dave:

My wife and I caught your NYE show at the Pabst Theatre in Milwaukee with the BoDeans, and we had a blast! We're both from Boston, and my wife has always been a huge BoDeans fan (digs you, too!), and I've been a fan of yours from The Blasters days. Anyway, we had nothing planned for NYE, so we said what the hell, we'll fly out to Brew City and catch the show. Even though Gaff & Joe Terry weren't with you, you guys put on a great, rockin' show. One guy walked over to me right after your set and said, "you ain't kidding, this guy is GOOD." I don't know if you felt it, but I thought the vibe was good in the Pabst reagrding your set, and it was particularly gratifying to witness the ovation you got after you were done. It can't be easy opening for a band, in their "hometown." I think they hail from Waukesha. Anyway, a number of BoDeans fans who we met at Mo's Pub before the show, plus some others remarked to me (I guess because I had my Blasters shirt on), what a great show you guys put on. I think you made some new fans, Dave. The BoDeans were great, and I was particularly blown away by the vocals of Sammy Llanas. Man, that guy can sing! It was great to see him on stage with you singing "Rio Grande." Have you ever collaborated with him before? I was kind of hoping you'd join the BoDeans for one, but you can't have everything, right? Thanks for another rockin' show Dave, and best wishes for the New Year!

Dave From Beantown
Hey Dave:

Wow! You guys flew all that way to make the gig? I'm completely impressed. Blown away, to be exact. I'm glad you did but I would've felt severaly depressed if the show had stunk that night after all your effort. Yeah, Gaffney and Joe had previous commitments for New Years, and I missed them very much, but I thought the 4 man Guilty Men sounded pretty good none the less. Lots of loud guitars.

And, yeah, Sammy is an amazing singer. It was a real honor to have him jump on stage and sing harmony. I felt a bit intimidated having such a talented singer singing back-up to my old cigarette voice but after a few seconds I relaxed and enjoyed the experience. Besides a couple of beers years ago, Sammy and I have never collaborated before but you never know. He really is a stunning singer.

Well, thanks for making the trip and a very happy New Year to you and your wife.
See you soon somewhere.

From: Dylan Schorer (Thursday, January 6, 2005 at 12:35:22)
Answered: Monday, January 17, 2005 at 03:02:01.

Hi Dave,

I see that you're playing in Salt Lake City in March. Are you playing solo or with a band? Is Greg Leisz joining you on this tour? I'm very excited to see your show either way. But, being a lap- & pedal-steel player myself, Greg is one of my musical heroes. I'll be hugely excited if he's going to be there as well.

All the best,
Dylan Schorer
Hey Dylan:

I'll be performing as an acoustic duo with Chris Miller accompanying me on lap steel. Please don't be disappointed, though, because Chris is a seriously great player who can blow the roof of a joint.
Yeah, Greg is also one of my heroes (and closest pals). Over the last 20 years, I've watched him go from the unknown steel player in 6 nights a week country bar cover bands to being an internationally recognized master of the steel as well as regular guitar. He's done so much session work that I kid him that he's played on every other CD made in the last 10 years and I may be exaggerating but not by much. I'll tell him that he has a fan in Salt Lake City, he'll appreciate that. By the way, have you heard the recent recordings Greg has done with jazz guitar whiz Bill Frissell? Pretty amazing stuff.

From: james (Thursday, January 6, 2005 at 13:49:42)
Answered: Monday, January 17, 2005 at 02:50:38.

Not really a question here as much as a reflection.

I recently ended up with a DVD copy of the Blasters/Carl Perkins show from the early 80's. My immediate thought after viewing it was how amazing Lee Allen truly was and what a treasure he was and how lucky we, as music listeners, through you and your brother, were to hear Lee's music. It makes me wonder how many other musical giants I haven’t heard only because there was no one like you to shine the spot light back on them.

Aside from the amazing volume of music you've created, letting us see and hear Lee back in the day was a phenomenal gift as well.

All here but for the grace of Lee Allen

James From

Kansas City,





Santa Rosa,


Ok,,,Seattle now.

Hey James:

Well, I'm positive I wouldn't be a professional musician if it wasn't for Lee Allen. He was always the most important musical mentor to my brother, Phil, and me. You know, wherever I go I hear Lee. He played on so many hit records from New Orleans in the 1950's by Fats Domino, Little Richard and countless others, that I hear his solos around the world in all night diners, car radios, tv shows and movie soundtracks. Sometimes hearing him play makes me very sad but usually it makes me feel pretty damn good. It's almost like he's still watching over me somehow.

From: Avi Shorer (Saturday, January 8, 2005 at 22:46:50)
Answered: Monday, January 17, 2005 at 02:43:02.

I am coming to see you soon! My mom got tickets for the Show on Jan. 29th at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco. I am so excited. I hope I can come back and say hi to you. If possible I hope you can play Sinful Daughter, Guilty Man, Blu Wing and Dry River. They are my favorites.
I want to say good luck in the concert and all your concerts.
Hey Avi:

Hey, man, thank you very much for the card you made for me. Those are some wild, great guitars you drew! That card really meant the world to me. At the show, you will certainly hear Sinful Daughter and Dry River and maybe I'll do Blue Wing. You are also welcome to come back and say hello after the show. Just tell the security guys to let me know that you're there. See you in San Francisco.

From: nick (Sunday, January 9, 2005 at 19:18:36)
Answered: Monday, January 17, 2005 at 02:37:19.

Hello Dave,
Happy New Year!
I remember reading that you spent some time in Nashville. I was hoping you would be able to answer my question. The country radio stations here in San Diego, play "new country" pretty much exclusively. I think they may have played a Johnny Cash song right after he died.... but that was it. The vast majority of these songs, are not only some of the worst I've ever heard, but they all sound suspiciously alike. Do you think that the writers behind these songs are really trying to write a great song, or do you think they're trying to recreate a format that for some perverted reason keeps making money? I just don't get it. I wonder how many of these artists are out there playing stuff they don't even like?
I was born in 1967. Everything I listen to has been American music based. You and Phil have influenced me more than anybody. I look forward to seeing you at the Belly up on Feb 5th. My little boy Anthony will be 8 months by then I would love to get him in for a tune at soundcheck if that's possible. His mother has been playing techno in her car, so the clock is ticking. If you could just play a song and pat his forehead, I think he'll turn out alright!!
Dale Watson is also in town at the Casbah 0n the 5th. Have you guys ever played together? My friend wanted me to go see Dale with her instead. I just gave her a cold blank stare and said, "Dave needs me".
Hey Nick:

Well, there are a lot of very talented people in Nashville. Some of them are doing great stuff that you don't hear on the radio (country stations or otherwise) while some of them are trying make a living in an commercial music industry that is not so different than the movie industry in Hollywood.
So, yeah, some of them are trying to do creative work within the strict formulas of contemporary country radio and every now and then, they succeed. Unfortunately, most of the time they don't. Just like in the movie industry.
The reasons why Top 40 country music has strayed so far from it's roots are many, too many to go into here. Demographics and marketing have something to do with it as does the changing tastes/lifestyles of country's audience.
Anyway, all I know is that you won't hear a new Merle Haggard song on any commercial country station these days. That's very sad but I don't see that changing anytime soon.

And, yeah, certainly bring your son down to soundcheck. We gotta save him from the techno stuff. I promise, we'll try not to play too loud.
See ya there.

From: Jack Rodeawald (Friday, December 31, 2004 at 11:14:41)
Answered: Wednesday, January 5, 2005 at 03:48:33.

Didn't know where this should actually go. Probably to your production company. I have tried twice to purchase Ashgrove. Both times the music on the cd has been incorrect. Both were purchased at Barnes and Noble bookstores. One on the east coast and one on the west coast. Just thought you might want to look into this. I'd love to listen to the cd should I be able to find a copy with the actual music. The art on the cd is correct, etc. It's just got some type of christian music tracked instead of the correct tracks. Let me know what you find out.
Hey Jack:

I am very, very sorry that this has happened to you. I had some problems with the pressings of Ashgrove earlier in the summer and thought that it had all been worked out.
Okay, so here is what you do:
Call my record label, YepRoc, at 877-733-3931 and tell them what happened and where it happened. They're good folks and they will send you a correct copy of Ashgrove at NO charge. Tell them I said so. Unfortunately, they've gotten used to this complaint. If there are any problems with them or with any more copies of the CD, let me know through the website.
Again, I'm very sorry that this happened to you and I am very embarassed by it. I mean, it's not even very good gospel music like the music of some of my favorites, Blind Willie Johnson, The Soul Stirrers or Sister Rosetta Tharpe.
Oh well, keep me posted.

From: Kieron Grady (Tuesday, January 4, 2005 at 11:14:44)
Answered: Wednesday, January 5, 2005 at 03:37:48.

Hi Dave:

Any thought to putting out a DVD of one of your shows with the Guilty Men? It seems everyone is doing it (Even the Blasters lol). It would be great to have a visual record of your always awsome live concerts. Perhaps a double disc with one side electric and the other acoustic? I actually do have about 1/2 an hour of a show you did outdoors at Blue Lake Park outside Portland a few years ago when I brought my camcorder but I want MORE, much MORE.

Kieron Grady
Vancouver, B.C.
Hey Kieron:

Well, money is always a problem. Not a lot of dvd companies see enough commercial potential in a Guilty Men dvd to put up the cash and The Guilty Men and I certainly don't have the cash to do it ourselves. But, and I say this very tentatively, I'm hoping to have something out by the end of 05. I'm planning on using favors and the good will of certain film makers in order to film the upcoming show at The Great American Music Hall in San Francisco. If everything works out, well, it should be pretty cool. Keep your fingers crossed.

From: monca eastway (Monday, January 3, 2005 at 17:33:40)
Answered: Wednesday, January 5, 2005 at 03:31:53.

Greetings! I just picked up Dave's CD 'Ashgrove'...WOW! I have never listened to him before, but it brings my spirit back to Texas, Terlingua in particular. I spent some time in Big Bend and how I can hardly wait till can get back- Listening to the music makes the wait a bit more bearable! Thank you! Let me know if Dave will be be playin in Ohio in the near future- I am here for awhile, patchin my bones.
Love the music!!!!!!!!!!!!
Favortie song- 'Rio Grande'
Ever spend much time in Big Bend? Starlight Theater? The music defnitly takes me back!
Bright Blessings,
Hey Monica:

Well, I'm glad you enjoyed the CD, especially Rio Grande. I was in the Big Bend area once a million years ago (but the imagery stuck with me) and have driven I-10 across west Texas more times than I can remember (a lot of dinners in Fort Stockton). Even though I'm a Calfornia songwriter, many of my favorite songwriters (Terry Allen, Butch Hancock, Guy Clark, James McMurtry, etc.) are Texas guys and I see a lot of connection between Texas and Californa culturally, musically and historically. I've always felt at home there. If you get back to Terlingua say hello to Butch Hancock who lives down there now.

As far as playing Ohio? Well, I played there a lot this last year and, hopefully, will be there in the summer or fall of 05. See you there or down on the Big Bend.

From: Marc Dronkers (Sunday, January 2, 2005 at 21:14:04)
Answered: Wednesday, January 5, 2005 at 03:20:05.

Dave, When I saw your show in Santa Rosa recently you mentioned that you were trying to quit smoking. Since I have seen your act in 10 venues over the years I wanted to see if you had kicked the habit. After all, only Clapton used to stick his cigarettes in his frets before he quit. Did you manage to give it up ?
Hey Marc:

Still thinking about quitting. One of these days, maybe when I quit touring and playing in bars or maybe sooner. Thanks for your concern. It's nasty habit that I don't recommend to anyone but, I have to admit, I still get a kick out of it.

From: jim gibson[hippie] (Sunday, January 2, 2005 at 11:29:50)
Answered: Wednesday, January 5, 2005 at 03:16:51.

i am a truck driver doing a job in indiana [not otr]was listening to your stuff on x m radio great! liked the song outta control. easy to understand if u ever been there right?any way i bout fell outa my seat when u said u were recording in cuvero nm . i kinda live around lots of places, one of them being logan nm[ute lake] this thing cross country is great man ive been listening to that type of music for years ever since i found a j prine album in a thrift store in tucson back in the early 80s.hard to find good music imagine a radio station with nothing but.anyway maybe i will stop by cuervo some time and buy u guys one.great stuff keep it up.
Hey Jim:

Well, I wish we had been recording Cuervo, New Mexico. We were actually recording in XM Radio's state of the art, Washington DC recording studio but I had Cuervo on my mind that day. Chris Gaffney (who sings and plays acoustic guitar and accordion in my band) and I have had a running joke / dream for years that we could buy the small town of Cuervo and move everyone we know and love there. We'd fix it up a little but not too much. We'd open our own bar and play music all night watching the trucks roll down I-40. You'd certainly be welcome to pull your truck off the highway and stay awhile. Unfortunately, Chris and I don't have the cash to really do it but it's a nice dream.

I'm glad you dug Out Of Control and, yeah, XM Radio does a pretty good job getting good music out to the world. Well, until we meet in Cuervo, I see you out on the road!

From: mike moreau (Saturday, January 1, 2005 at 19:38:18)
Answered: Wednesday, January 5, 2005 at 03:05:14.

Dave, having enjoyed your work and even met you a few times, you remain a very private person. How can we, your faithful followers, know even more about you? I would love to read a book about the music scene that you grew up in; what a fertile ground it was; is. You were truly fortunate to have grown up there and to have played such an integral part of it. Dave, we are watching you with great adriration, cheers, mike
Hey Mike:

I don't know what books are out there about the various music scenes I grew up in. The old Ash Grove blues days or the L.A. rock scene in the early 80's or the interstate highway barroom scene of the 90's and the 00's. Maybe I'll have to write the book one of these days. I'd have to change a few of the names because I'm not the only private person I know.

Thanks for watching, Mike, I really, really appreciate it and I'll try not to let you down. Cheers!

From: Steve (Thursday, December 23, 2004 at 19:49:56)
Answered: Monday, December 27, 2004 at 03:17:09.

I am listening to Ashgrove as I write this. Dave , you have done it again. You are THE american songwriter!. I am pleased that both my 16 year old daughter and 13 year old son agree. I'd like to take them to see your show in San Francisco in January...will they be welcome at the Great American Music Hall? Where can I check out Los Straitjackets?
Hey Steve:

Well, ah, thank you very much but while I'm certainly an American songwirter I honestly don't think I'm "the" American songwriter. Woody Guthrie or Chuck Berry or Hank Williams or Robert Johnson or Bob Dylan or Merle Haggard or Curtis Mayfield or Randy Newman or George Gershwin or Billy Strayhorn or Cole Porter, are all way, way, way, way, way, way ahead of me for that honor.

As far as an age limit at The Great American Music Hall, I really don't know.
I hope there isn't one. Your son and daughter are certainly welcome by me to attend. I hope that they can get in.

Los Straightjackets have several CDs available and, even though they're an instrumental group, they let me sing on their Sing Along With Los Straightjackets CD that came out a couple of years ago. They're an amazing group that does a mixture of surf, garage rock, rockabilly and even a little swing while wearing Mexican wrestling masks. They're also great guys.

I hope to see you and your kids at the show.

From: John (Thursday, December 23, 2004 at 17:24:31)
Answered: Monday, December 27, 2004 at 02:58:46.

Hey again Dave , was driving to work today listening to CBC Ottawa radio and the music reveiwer was doing the hi-lites of 2004 . Lo and behold , Dave+ the GM at the blues fest made the top three shows of the year. You have really hit the big time now !!The guy (name escapes me at the moment) did a little history lesson on The Blasters and then went on the say you had the audience "in the palm of your hand" and waxed poetic on your songs (justly so I might ad)And just for your info the other 2 were , Merle Haggard and a girl who's last name is Whitley (?) from the family of whitley musicians ? So the trip was not in vain . thought you might be interested.
Hey John:

Thanks for the great news. I thought it was a pretty good gig myself. The Gulity Men were in fine form that evening (with DJ Bonebreak sitting in for Bobby Lloyd Hicks) and they're the main reason I had the "audience in the palm of my hand"
if I really did. Well, hopefully, they'll have us back in a couple of years
at the blues fest or I can find an appropriate bar/nightclub in Ottawa to play at. I'll see you then.

From: ann smith (Wednesday, December 22, 2004 at 21:58:02)
Answered: Monday, December 27, 2004 at 02:51:01.

Greetings Dave

Just last week i heard our song "Rio Grande" played a few times on a smaller radio station out of Globe/Miami, Arizona, (97.3 FM, I believe). And my question was, since I live here in the phoenix area and have not heard it on other stations, is this a relatively new song, and if so, is it available on CD? I think it's a great tune, and the style is very warm and stirring. I am looking forwrd to hearing more and (hopefully soon) on my local Phoenix stations!

Thanks Ann. I'm glad you enjoyed Rio Grande. It's on my latest CD, Ashgrove, that came out in June, so, yeah, it's a fairly recent song. I wrote it with my old songwriting friend, Tom Russell, and he also recorded it (although in a very different style) on his great Borderland CD. I'm also very glad that it's being played out in Globe and I hope they keep playing for a while.

From: Neal Lemerise (Tuesday, December 21, 2004 at 15:10:36)
Answered: Monday, December 27, 2004 at 02:45:56.


I am a longtime friend of Johnny Bazz and have filmed you a number of times with the Blasters (Slims, HOB-LA). I see you are coming to Reno (Hacienda) in March 2005. I was wondering if I could film the show? I do not sell/trade/or giveaway any of the films or soundtracks...I shoot with a Canon XL1. I would be happy to provide you/YepRoc/Mongrel Music with a digital copy (either DV or DVD).I understand if this isn't possible...

Take care and I will be going to the show...


Hey Neal:

No problem. It is an acoustic show, though, so there may not be a whole lot of visual stuff going on. Just me and Chris Miller banging on guitars. I hope to see you there.

From: Sam (Sunday, December 19, 2004 at 00:35:41)
Answered: Tuesday, December 21, 2004 at 04:13:54.

Hey Dave,

Wanted to write you and let you know I'm looking forward to catching you up here again at the Tractor Tavern both nights in January. I have caught your shows numerous times over the years, from the old days with you, John, Bill, Gene and Phil, to your solo days and with the Guilty Men.
I found out years ago that heading to the clubs and seeing bands such as yourselves, Big Sandy, Deke, Supersuckers, The Derailers, Christy McWilson or many of the other bands that play the clubs, I see a much better and personal show than if I was in some giant arena watching some other band from nosebleed seats.
Everyone that knows me knows of how you and your music has affected me over the years and how much solance I have found in both your music and lyrics. In both high points and low points, I just always find it chilling the stories that you tell in your music and how you take so much of life and put into these stories.
While you are here in Seattle for that show, I would like to bring you and the band a couple bags of beef jerky that I've been making over the years and always take to work to share with friends and coworkers. I think you all would enjoy it.
I am going to stick around the end of the show in the hopes of having you autograph two copies of your book that I was finally able to find just this past summer.
I had bought two copies of the book when I found them, one for myself and the other for a lady that I was in a relationship with at the time and was hoping that she also would find solance in your words. Well, the relationship seems like many of the relationships in your songs, in that it wasn't to meant to last.
In the meantime, my niece has been experiencing some difficulties in her life and I'm hoping that you will sign the other copy for her instead now. I think it will be something that she will treasure for the rest of her life and help her find direction again.
Again Dave, really appreciate everything over the years.


Hey Sam:

Wow, thank you for your kind words about my songs. I'm very touched that they've brought you so much comfort and solace. They do the same for me.

I'm sorry that the relationship didn't work out (that love thing isn't easy) but I 'd be happy to sign your copies of my book for you and your neice. The only tip I have is to please have patience after the show, I tend to be a sweaty mess after I perform and need a few minutes to dry off, change my shirt, have a smoke and a beer. After that, I'll happily sign anything you have.

And, hell, yeah, The Guilty Men would LOVE some of your homemade beef jerky!
See you at the Tractor.

From: Peter Dervin (Monday, December 20, 2004 at 22:24:50)
Answered: Tuesday, December 21, 2004 at 04:03:24.

Hi Dave,

I think its really cool that you answer questions from your fans. Thanks! I have been a fan since the L.A. club days. Seeing the Blasters at the Country Club in Reseda more than 20 years ago, The Blasters & X with Top Jimmy at the Greek and The Blasters & G0-Go's in Fresno in 1982.

I now live in Everett, Washington, leaving L.A. in 1989. I do a weekly radio program at 90.7 KSER called EXPOSURE where I have spinned your music for many years. I've had the chance to see you many times when in Seattle. This past summer, Jesse Sykes & Phil Wandscher were my guests and we ended up talking about you and your music. I asked them if they had ever thought of having you produce them. So there's my question....any thought of producing Jesse Sykes & The Sweet Hereafter?

Another question is about duets. I know over the years you have done duets with Syd Straw, Rosie Flores, Katy Moffet. Any thoughts of doing a duets album?

Thanks for all the great music and we look forward to your next Seattle visit.

Happy Holidays,

Peter Dervin

Hey Peter:

Well, thanks for the compliment but I think that Phil Wandscher does a great job producing Jesse Sykes. She's got a very rare, subtle style that Phil understands very deeply. It's a special combination of vulnerabilty and toughness that makes her music so unique and I don't think I could do her justice. They're both very talented and hardly need me telling them what to do.

Now, a duets CD? Well, I've never thought of doing one but, you know, it's not a bad idea. I'd love to do a duet with Jesse and another with Christy McWilson.
While I'm dreaming, maybe one with Etta James. That would be a kick.

From: Tom Wilk (Monday, December 20, 2004 at 09:40:01)
Answered: Tuesday, December 21, 2004 at 03:55:58.

I saw you and the Guilty Men in Annapolis and Philadelphia over the summer. Definitely two musical highlights of 2004.
I had three questions for you:
1) Have you considered doing a concert/documentary DVD along the lines of "The Blasters Live: Going Home" DVD that would feature your post-Blasters material?
2) Is there any chance your songs from the "Cry-Baby" movie soundtrack could be used in the John Waters musical of "Cry-Baby" he's planning to bring to Broadway?
3) You've spoken a lot in interview how the older bluesmen and r&b stars befriended you and Phil and in the 1960s and 1970s and served as mentors. Have you ever had any young musicians/music fans come to you in the same manner since you started playing professionally?
Happy new year and hope to see you in Philadelphia in 2005.
Tom Wilk
Pitman, N.J.

Hey Tom:

How are ya, man? Good I hope.

Okay, question 1)
I've been approached by a few film makers about the dvd idea but my main concern is that the audience for such a project might not be big enough to justify the expense. Having said that, I may be filming some of the upcoming shows on the west coast and if the production costs aren't too extreme, who knows, maybe something will come out.

question 2)
I sincerely doubt it. My luck isn't that good. I think King CryBaby would be pretty good for the stage play but I may the only one who thinks so.

question 3)
Well, no one quite as young as Phil and I were when we started hanging out in clubs. I mean we were barely teenagers. Maybe, in another 10 or 15 years, I'll be in the elder statesman league with a bunch of kids trying to figure out how and why I do what I do.

Happy New Year to you and I'll see you, hopefully, in a few months.

From: lisa (Saturday, December 18, 2004 at 09:21:52)
Answered: Tuesday, December 21, 2004 at 03:35:35.

Hi Dave - may be a strange question, but did The Ramones have any influence on the Blasters? I'm thinking of the speed and length of the songs and the tight songwriting.

Whenever I need to describe the Blastes music to someone who's never heard them, I say it's a little like if Big Joe Turner, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Stevie Ray Vaughan all fronted the late 70's Ramones.
Hey lisa:

Sure, The Ramones had a influence on the early Blasters stuff. They influenced just about everyone on the underground fringe in those days. Not so much of an influence on my songwriting but certainly in the loud and fast musical approach that the Blasters had in the begining. When we added the saxes and piano, the Ramones/punk influence faded a little but it never left completely. I really like your description of The Blasters. I might change the Stevie Ray reference for Johnny "Guitar" Watson but then maybe not enough people have heard of Johnny Watson.

From: Tom Braida (Friday, December 17, 2004 at 20:45:42)
Answered: Tuesday, December 21, 2004 at 03:27:38.

Hey Dave,

Big fan from Chicago. I never miss you when you when you and the Guilty Men play Fitzgerald's, my home away from home. Fitzgerald's is sort of my "Ashgrove".

Quick question. I am also a bit fan of Robbie Fulks and have seen you two play together a number of times. You seem like kindred spirits and are both great guitar players. His first two albums were produced by your old pal Lou Whitney. His recent albums, while very good, don't stack up to the quality of the first two. How about you producing his next album?

Tom Braida
Naperville, IL

Hey Tom:

Yeah, Lou did a great job with Robbie but I don't think I could do anything as a producer for Robbie that he can't do for himself. He's a pretty smart guy, besides being one of the great songwriters running around these days, and doesn't need my help. Joe Terry, the keyboardist for The Guilty Men, has played on all of Robbie's recordings and says that Robbie's new CD (due out next year) is as good as any of the older stuff. And Joe Terry never lies. Thanks for the compliment though.
See at Fitzgerald's in Febuary, I hope.

From: John (Friday, December 17, 2004 at 06:19:36)
Answered: Tuesday, December 21, 2004 at 03:20:43.

Hey Dave , belated birthday greetings and season's greeetings to you and the GM.Hope you all getsome time with family and loved ones . Keep up the good work and looking forward to catching you on your next swing up here.
John (ottawa)
Thanks for the greetings John. The same to you. I hope to get back up there summer so, hopefully, we'll see you then.

From: Todd (Thursday, December 16, 2004 at 14:16:16)
Answered: Tuesday, December 21, 2004 at 03:18:50.


I think I read somewhere Anne McCue opened for you. I'm really hearing some buzz on her, that she plays a pretty mean slide. Did you get a chance to hear her? And while I'm talking about the slide, who do you prefer--Lowell George or Duane Allman?

I saw you at a little bar on South Street in Phila on your first or second solo tour--you should be so proud of Ashgrove. You have just grown so much, both as a singer and songwriter. It is a pleasure to follow you on your journey.

PS Next time I request Front Porch, please ask Gaffney not to threaten suicide!
Hey Todd:

Thanks for the comment about "following" my journey. I really appreciate that.

Anne McCue? Anne kicks ass. Pretty simple. She's opened a few shows for me in the past months but I'm sure, in the not too distant future, I'll be opening for her. She plays a very tough slide guitar and can also write pretty good songs. She's very, very talented and, the fates willing, has a long career ahead of her. You, and everyone else, should certainly check her out. Her journey will be worth following.

Lowell or Duane? I admire both for being guitar monsters but my favorite slide player is Blind Willie Johnson.

I'm not sure I know what song you're referring to when you say, "Front Porch" but I'm fairly positive that Gaffney will never commit suicide. He's not that type.

From: Gabrielle Idlet (Tuesday, December 14, 2004 at 21:50:22)
Answered: Tuesday, December 21, 2004 at 03:06:43.

This is just a comment I'll try to keep brief. I've been a heartfelt fan since I was a teenager catching Dave Alvin shows at the Palomino. When I left for college in the midwest, I listened to Romeo's Escape and the Border Radio soundtrack to ease my homesickness. I live in Arkansas now and there are a lot of things I don't love about LA, mostly to do with fakeness and alienation. Dave Alvin's music, the scratchy warmth of his voice, and the earnestness and longing in the lyrics all remind me of my deep, deep love for the city I come from, the wrong side of the LA River, the dusbowl transplants and cholos and the way the light plays with the factory smoke and the freeway smog to make a kind of light in the late afternoon that is actually golden. I guess that wasn't brief. Thank you so much for your years of dedication to honest songwriting and performing. It means so much to us.
Hey Gabrielle:

That was a beautiful description of the "other" side of LA. Definitely NOT the LA seen on televison or movies or on Entertainment Tonight, which is the LA most of the world thinks of, the LA of "fakeness and alienation." Yeah, it's hard to explain to people sometimes what makes the east/southeast of LA side such a special place but you did a pretty good job. So much of what I loved about the area is long gone now (the orange groves, the dairy farms, the bean fields, the old folks, the musicians, my parents, the drive-in movies, the old adobes, most of the oak and grass hillsides, the small towns, the bars, the oil fields, many of my friends, the oldies on the border radio stations, etc.) but that light you describe is still there. And sometimes, when that light is just right, you can still feel the strange, sad magic of the place.

I hope you find a similar magic in Arkansas. I'm sure you will.

From: Mike Courtney (Sunday, December 12, 2004 at 23:50:49)
Answered: Tuesday, December 21, 2004 at 02:49:32.

Just wanted to say great job on the "ASHGROVE" ALBUM. Par for the course with you. Keep up the great work. I've probably seen you six times in Chicago including the Old Town show which was really great because myself and a friend(a tall goofy-looking character) had a chance to get you a beer before you went on. In case you don't remember, we were the only one's grabbing a drink when you strolled in to the mezzanine area before your set. We offered you a beer to which you kindly declined until you noticed that we were both standing there with three Ticate's apiece in our hands. You then recinded your decision. My buddy's shortly after stated that "You know this guy is a decent dude, he writes great music and has good taste in beer"
A couple of years ago you opened for Richard Thompson at the Park West in Chicago. I had taken four people(two out of towners-two native Chicagoans) to that show. Until this day, with probably twenty years of concert going each. We all stand firm that it was without a afterthought, one of the best live shows, PERIOD, EVER!
RT is also one of my favorite artist along with yourself, Tom Russell, Chris Smither, etc. Wish you could have played a longer set at that one.
What were your experiences like opening for Richard ? Any good stories or memories ? Did you guys do any songs together during that tour.
Keep up the great material and happy holidays to you and your family.

When in CHICAGO again don't hesitate to drop a line to find out the best joints for food and a drink.

all the best

Mike Courtney

p.s. Sorry about behing so long-----winded
Hey Mike:

Well, thanks for the beer. Yeah, I'm partial to Tecate and also Bohemia, just in case you're buying another round.

Yeah, I remember the Park West concert very well for many reasons. Unfortunately, one of the reasons was that my guitar was waaaaaayyyyy out of tune on Evening Blues that night but, outside of that, it was a pretty good show. I'm glad it ranks so high in your estimation but I know that has more to do with Richard Thompson than me.

Richard is not only one of the best guitarists anywhere, he's also an evocative, soulful singer and one hell of a songwriter. Even though he's a very nice guy,
I have to confess to being a bit intimidated by his talent. I didn't sit in on any songs on that tour which is good because Richard really could mop the floor with me in the guitar department. We have, though, played together a couple times on other occasions and it's always a thrill for me and he's always been kind enough to not kick my ass too bad. Good stories from that tour? Well, nothing too exciting outside of the shows. Just a couple of post gig beer fests with the crew and giving Richard's sax player, Pete Zorn, a ride down to Cincinnatti while discussing the excesses of the French Revolution and the subtle beauty of the Arizona desert (It's funny what you talk about on long drives).
Oh, yeah, I remember having a discussion with Richard about blues guitarists and he singled out the late, underrated hot shot, Earl Hooker, as one of his favorites. One of mine too.

Well, I hope to see you soon at some gig somewhere . . . with a couple of cold Tecate's in your hands.

From: Robert Jordan (Sunday, December 5, 2004 at 11:12:37)
Answered: Tuesday, December 21, 2004 at 02:23:55.

This question has probably been covered here before but I wanted to ask you how much Woody Guthrie directly influenced your music. This may sound elementary given Woody's influence but songs such "California Snow", "Dry River" and others always make me think of certain songs (such as "Plane Wreck at Los Gatos"). Is this a conscious effort or (as I suspect) do you finish the song and then make the connection? Or maybe I'm completely full of s--t? This summer I was lucky enough to catch a couple of your shows with the Guilty Men (in Indianapolis and Newport, Ky) and hope you won't pass us by when you visit the midwest soon. Thanks also for taking the time to visit with your fans afterwards. Robert
Hey Robert:

No, you're not full of s--t.
There certainly was a direct influence on me from Woody Guthrie. I don't know of too many songwriters in this field of music that haven't been influenced by him.
My dad was a union organizer and often sang Woody's Union Maid (as well as Joe Hill songs) at the dinner table (especially if he'd had a couple of glasses of vodka) so when I first heard Woody sing on records, when I was about 12 or so,
I finally realized who's songs my old man had been singing.
Now what happens when I write a song? Well, when I wrote California Snow for example, I wasn't thinking, "Hey, I'll write a Woody Guthrie song today" but not long after finishing it I certainly saw the connection to Woody. He's without a doubt one of the most important teachers for most of us modern folk songwriters.

From: charley thompson (Thursday, December 9, 2004 at 22:41:59)
Answered: Tuesday, December 21, 2004 at 02:11:14.

my name is charley thompson

i interviewed the blasters a few times for my radio show on kwne ukiah in the mid 80's

i helped turn lake and mendocino counties on to the blasters. one of my favorite stories about my time up there was the time the daughter of the mayor of lakeport getting pulled over by a cop. she complained about the timing of getting pulled over because the cop was making her miss the blasters special that i was airing. she later told this story to one of her friends while i was standing with them. the daughter did not know that i was the one who aired the blasters special.

anyway, i took some great photos of the blasters when they played in petaluma in 2002. i just finished getting them into a framed montage. they are four shots of daveand i would like to give this to you or your manager tomorrow night while you are in the city playing the fillmore. i have an identical one that i exhibited in an art show. my framed montage is in my living room. every one who comes to my house has to hear my blaster tales and hear a few blasters songs.

i am looking forward to dave's show. i will have my 14 year old son with me. he plays a gibson les paul in a couple of bands. i am bringing him with me cause i want him to experience a real guitarist.

hope you have fun at the fillmore dave.

best wishes

Hey Charley:

I owe you thanks for the photos and an apology. I did get the framed photos (and they were great) at The Fillmore but, unfortunately, they were accidentally left behind in the confusion of loading out the gear at the end of the night. I felt incredibly stupid the following afternoon, about halfway down Interstate 5, when I realized that the photos weren't in my van. Now the good news, I called the Fillmore and, luckily, they had the photos. They are giving the photos to a close of mine in San Francisco who will then give them to me when I play at The Great American Music Hall in January. Please accept my sincere apology for not making sure that they'd been loaded into the van but rest assured that they are in good hands until I get them in a few weeks.

Thanks also for the "real" guitarist compliment and I hope your son enjoyed the show. But on an evening that featured "real" guitarists like David Hidalgo, Ceasar Rosas (from Lobos) and Chris Miller (from my band), I rate way down the list. I rate those guys pretty near the top.

Didn't we do a radio interview just a few years ago when I was playing up in the Eureka/Arcata area? I think we did. Am I wrong? Also, say hello to the mayor's daughter for me. I like that story a lot.

From: Phil Smith (Thursday, December 9, 2004 at 11:53:05)
Answered: Monday, December 20, 2004 at 03:22:45.

Greetings Dave Alvin,

Here's a long intro to a simple question. First, I think it's very cool of you to take the time to answer all of these questions and comments. Thanks for that. Thanks also for your commitment to music and your fans for all of these years. The first time I saw you play live was like 1983 at Wolfgangs in SF. Los Lobos opened for you guys. I was already a fan and was blown away by the performance. I also thought it was really cool that you played a Mustang cause I have always had a 66 Mustang that my Dad gave to my brother that year for Christmas. I've probably seen you play 30 or so times since then, mostly in Santa Cruz and San Francisco.

More than anyone else, your music has represented a template for the music I love. It includes lot's of folks that you have been influenced by and lot's of others that have been influenced by you. I'm actually going to see Big Sandy tonight at Henflings.

So I've been playing guitar for a long time... poorly. Mostly I learn your songs and others and sing them with the chords. About a year ago I started taking lessons again. Man, sometimes life just does you right... I got a reference from a guy that did some set up work on my Mustang and it turned out to be just a brilliant character that has become a great friend as well as a fantastic teacher. I've been working a lot on arpeggiating. That and more argeggiating. My question is this... if you could characterize how you visualize the notes on the neck, what would you say is the predominent approach? Is it out of trid shapes? Relationships of notes from the root in a given place? Scale forms? Are there particular combos of notes that you like to use a lot? Okay, this is a little arcane, but if you have a moment I'd love a few nuggets of wisdom.

I hope to see you at Moes on 1/31. Nothing refreshes my psyche like seeing you and the guilty men play a good show. Oh yeah, my sister wants to know if Gregory is intentionally flirting with her or if he looks at all the ladies that way ;-)

Peace to you my brother.


Hey Mustang Phil:

Wow, thanks for your message and, especially, thanks for attending so many shows over the years. You saw one the shows at Wolfgangs? Those were pretty good gigs if my memory serves me well.

Well, It's hard to answer your guitar playing question but I'll try. Usually, I tend to visualize the notes in relation to the song's structure, melody, lyrics, what other musicians I'm playing with and what they're playing, whether I'm playing acoustic guitar or electric, how loud the band is, the mood I'm in that day, etc. A whole lot of random stuff but no hard musical dogma behind what I do. Kind of a whatever works approach. I tend not to do too many scale based solos, though. I'm not that good of a technician to pull those off convincingly. Sometimes I try to play horn lines (like a sax) while other times I'll think something like, "What would so and so play here." Often I don't think anything at all but just let the notes flow - for better or worse. I'm pretty much a self-taught guitarist and so I'm a bit of a primitive musician with my own odd way of doing things that I don't recommend to anyone else unless they want to sound like a folk/blues barroom guitarist with crooked teeth.

As for Gregory, he may be intentionally flirting with your sister or he may look at all the ladies that way, I really don't know. You'll have to ask him. Or better, have your sister ask him.

Good luck with your guitar playing. It's great that you found a good teacher. Those are rare. And I hope to see you at another 30 shows.

From: Viktor Baenziger (Thursday, December 9, 2004 at 03:48:12)
Answered: Monday, December 20, 2004 at 02:50:55.

Please tell Dave my best wishes.It's superb the new record! He should come back to us here in Zurich. Since we moved from el Internacional to el Lokal we haven't seen us. He would love the new place just beside the river: An island and much bigger than the old place.
All the Best
Hey Viktor:

Hey man, sounds like things are going good at el Lokal. Hopefully, someday
I'll get back to Zurich. I have many fond memories of Zurich, the Midnight To Six gang, Vollmund beer and the old el International (always one of my favorite bars in the world). When I do get back there I will certainly go to el Lokal so, please, save a couple beers for me.

From: B.J. (Wednesday, December 8, 2004 at 15:51:12)
Answered: Monday, December 20, 2004 at 02:43:47.

Hey B.J.

Well, yeah, theres a lot of bad stuff out there in radioland these days. "Gas vapor"is a pretty interesteing analogy. It's very sad that that's the case because there is so much great music being made these days but most people have no idea that it even exists. You have to do some digging around to find it. Oh, well.

Good luck with your songwriting and thanks for the compliment. I'm curious, though, what song of mine you heard?

From: Bill Culp (Wednesday, December 8, 2004 at 00:22:37)
Answered: Monday, December 20, 2004 at 02:36:51.

Hi There-

I recently released a CD that covers Dave's tune "Marie Marie". I've already taken care of the mechanical licensing through the CMRRA, which is the agency up here in Canada that handles that sort of thing, but I'd like to send a copy to Dave as a keepsake...where should I send it to?


Bill Culp
Hey Bill:

Thanks for recording my song. That really means a lot to me and I'd love to hear your version. The best way to get it to me is through my booking agency.

Dave Alvin
c/o Mongrel Music
743 Center Blvd
Fairfax, California

Thanks again, man. I can't wait to hear it.

From: pete kelly (Sunday, December 5, 2004 at 04:15:36)
Answered: Monday, December 20, 2004 at 02:32:42.

hi dave
Hey Pete:

Thanks and the very same back to you and yours. Keep rocking, yourself.

From: Joey Rodriguez (Friday, November 26, 2004 at 13:07:03)
Answered: Thursday, December 2, 2004 at 03:42:37.

How do I get tickets in advance for the Pasadena show in January? I've seen Dave there the past two years and think it's a great place to see him. I just prefer to have the tickets ahead of time and not have to wonder if I'm gonna get in that day.
Hey Joey:

Here's a couple of ways to get tickets for the Neighborhood Church in Pasadena show. You can go to www.acousticmusicseries.com or you can call 626-791-0411.
Sadly, Ron Stockfletch, who produced the shows there, recently passed away. He was a great guy who was always very patient with me over the years and I'll miss him.
The January shows at the church have become sort of a holiday tradition for me the past 8 years and hopefully the acoustic music series at the church will continue on in the future. I look forward to seeing you there.

From: John Stuckey (Thursday, November 4, 2004 at 14:27:37)
Answered: Thursday, December 2, 2004 at 03:35:54.


I'm a big fan of yours and absolutely can't get enough of your music. I've written a few times in the past and saw you and Guilty Men in July in Englewood N.J. and the Bowery Ballroom in N.Y. and in May 2003 with Chris Gaffney at the Bottom Line in N.Y.. I started listening to you in 1986 but strayed for awhile until the late 90's when I started to go back and pick up all your CD's that I missed. After kicking myself in ass for not keeping up, I have been listening to your music religiously ever since. The reason I am writing this time is my music collection needs another good shot in the arm. When I go to put on some good old American Music I find the only CD's that fill the bill are my Dave Alvin, Blasters and John Hiatt records. When you can't see, you go to an eye doctor, when your feet hurt you go to a podiatrist, so what I need is a music specialist. Who better than you I ask? Can you point me in the right direction so I can pump some life into my music collection? Whose music can you recommend to get me bakc on track?
Another thing I am kicking myself in the ass for ... when I went to see you in Englewood NJ I saw you standing outside and wanted to stop over and say hello, but mt wife told me not to be a pain in the ass and to leave you alone. I hope to get that chance again sometime.

Thanks for all the great music!!!

John from N.J.
Hey John:

Well, I don't know where to begin. Maybe check out the couple of lists I put up on the website of my favorite songs and songs I wished I'd written. That may help you in search for good music. Hell, in the last message I answered, I mentioned Buddy Miller, Howling Wolf, Bob Dylan and Chris Gaffney. Those guys are a good group to start with. I try to listen to everything and try to listen to music without thinking in terms of time (ie: whether it's old or new). So I guess I reccomend everything from Blind Willie McTell and Louis Armstrong to Terry Allen and Guy Clark to Brian Wilson and Los Lobos to Wilco and Jesse Sykes (if you can find her two recent CDs - she's very laid back but very good) to Magic Sam and Freddie King to . . . well, you get the picture. Good luck.

I hope you didn't kick yourself "in the ass" too hard and I'm very glad that you've rediscovered my stuff. And if I'm standing around doing nothing please feel free to come over and say hello (although, please thank your wife for her
consideration). Until then, good luck finding some tunes to get you through and I look forward to running into you on the east coast sometime soon.

From: Judy Holloway (Monday, November 22, 2004 at 14:37:48)
Answered: Thursday, December 2, 2004 at 03:18:40.

Dear Dave & Guilty Men,

Just wanted to say thanks for your two stellar shows at the Zoo Bar on Nov. 8 & 9 - we are long time fans and admirers and always catch your shows whenever you're in our area. We ran into you at the hotel Tues. night as we were waiting for the elevator to the parking garage and I'm sure you had no idea what a magical image that was for us - from our vantage point, you were lit from behind and silhouetted as you came towards us in your black leather coat and red bandanna with your trusty guitar on your back. You were, indeed, the very picture of a troubadour. It was a "Dave sighting" that we will forever treasure! Larry reminded you on the elevator that you once played at a party in CA at his cousin Connie's years ago & you were sweet enough to say that you remembered us. Anyway -------- you & the Guilty ones knocked us out!! "Ashgrove" has been in our CD player for many months now (with no plans to replace it). I've been reading "Moanin' at Midnight" - bio of Howlin' Wolf - which has several references to the Ashgrove & which has conjured up memories from both the Zoo Bar & the Howard Street Tavern in Omaha (sadly no longer there) and all the incredible music that we had the privilege of witnessing. We were so inspired by your shows in Lincoln (we live in Omaha) that we stayed over Wed. evening also & went to see Emmy Lou & Buddy Miller at the Lied Center - we had never seen Buddy & had the opportunity to chat with him after the show & get our CD autographed - it was very special - and he couldn't have been nicer. So, you see, you started us off on a musical roll that Monday!

Thank you so much for doing what you do. "Ashgrove"haunts me with its poetry, brilliance, sadness and joy. I'm especially fascinated with "Everett Ruess" - hey, did Gaff give you that article about Glen Canyon? I thought it might now look somewhat like it did when Everett was there. "The Man in the Bed" has been especially meaningful for us also - we're at that age where we're dealing with our parents' illnesses. Do you know the Emily Dickinson poem with these lines?

This world is not conclusion,
A sequel stands beyond,
Invisible, as music,
But positive, as sound.

I find comfort in those words, just as I do in your lyrics. Every song on "Ashgrove" is a true gem - a literary, as well as a musical, experience.

We were spoiled having Gaff & the Hacienda Bros. here for four soulful shows in Oct. (the most memorable one being at the Crescent Moon with the little accordion player sitting in - maybe Gaff told you about it)& then with the Guilty Men. I'm experiencing severe "Gaff withdrawal"!! He is the coolest. I think we first saw him with you (or maybe Billy Bacon - can't recall for sure). We have mutual friends in the Cabrals (Joe of the Iguanas - who will be doing a show in Omaha Thanksgiving eve that we are eagerly anticipating). We'll say "hello" to Rod & the guys for you. "9 Volt Heart" is another favorite. Sorry I have rambled on so long, but basically just wanted to tell you that you're a hero of ours and we love you. Until the next time - with our sincere appreciation -
Judy & Larry Holloway (from Retro-Recycle in Omaha)

P.S. Please give our love to Gaff!
Hey Judy:

Wow, I don't know where to begin. Thank you for so many sweet and kind words.
A troubadour in the parking lot. I like that. And Connie was/is a close friend of my cousins Donnell and Gail Keller and I saw her over at Donnell's a couple of years ago or so. She looks great and is as funny as ever. She and my cousins were a big influence on me when I was a little kid and they were the older, cooler teenagers.

Yeah, Buddy Miller is a great musician, great songwriter, great singer and, especially, a good guy. I've had the pleasure of knowing him a just a little bit over the years and he always amazes me with his musicianship, kindness and very, very, dry sense of humor. I'm glad that the Lincoln shows got you and Larry excited about seeing live music again. There is still so much great music out there to hear and musicians to see that it's sad to miss it. Yeah, I read the Howling Wolf bio and thought it was excellent. You really got to feel what was powerful and unique about him. Also, if you check out the new Bob Dylan autobiography you'll see that even Bob writes reverentially about the Ash Grove. He never played there but he really wanted to. It really was a special place. Thanks also for the great Emily Dickenson quote. She says it all better than I ever will.

And, no, Gaffney didn't give me the Glen Canyon article but we still love him, don't we?. I'll pass yours along to him and I'll be looking for you guys in whatever parking structure I'm in next.

From: Dave D. (Victorville, CA) (Tuesday, November 30, 2004 at 10:45:13)
Answered: Thursday, December 2, 2004 at 02:58:31.

Dave, have loved your music for many, many years and look forward to many, many more. Two questions. First, does Out Of Control contain autobiographical references? My pop worked for Kaiser Steel for 30 years and seems to remember an "Alvin". (I'm in my mid 30s and recently turned mom & pop on to your music - you can now consider them fans). Second, what's the latest with this rumored new Knitters cd? Thanks!
Hey Dave:

Well, first, yeah, Out Of Control has many autobiographical references, some of them too personal to go into. I didn't work at the Kaiser Steel mill in Fontana but my borther, Phil, did for about a year when he was eighteen (although the character in the song is definitely NOT my brother) and my dad was a representive/organizer for the Steelworker's Union there. Maybe one of them is the "Alvin" your dad remembers.

Second question about the new Knitter's CD, well, it's tentatively titled,
The Modern Sounds Of The Knitters and we're hoping to have it released around June of 2005. I think it's pretty good and we're planning to do a nationwide tour to promote it (which we never did before). We recorded it live in the studio just like the first album only this time we took 3 days to do it instead of just 2. You know, we didn't want to rush it or anything. Ha Ha.

Thanks for turing your folks on to the songs, I appreciate that very much.

From: Lynn (Wednesday, December 1, 2004 at 14:54:22)
Answered: Thursday, December 2, 2004 at 02:45:18.

I just wanted to say thanks so much to you for the show at Ameoba & at Fingerprints! And thanks for taking the time to say hi; I know hanging out & signing everything in the free world after playing a rockin' show is no musicians favorite thing, but I really appreciated the chance to say hello & let you know how much I've always enjoyed your music.

I still have all my old Blasters LP's (I was 14 the first time I saw you all play...and that was awhile ago)and you are still in heavy rotation at my house! The Blasters "Collection" was the most requested CD during my trip to Hawaii over the summer...by my 60+ year old parents. It's amazing to me as I get some clarity (read: older!) how music transcends generations and age groups. I've met some really great people at your shows who always think I'm too young to have any idea who you are. I didn't plan on living this long, either...I just got lucky.

See you at the Neighborhood Church! I can't wait! In the meantime...have a GREAT Xmas & New Years!
Hey Lynn, have a merry little Xmas and New Years yourself.

Well, I was not a drag at all over at Fingerprints and Amoeba. I really enjoyed the whole thing. Great stores, great people. Thanks for hanging on to your old Blasters LP's and keeping us in heavy rotation. God, was it really all that long ago? I mean, dinosaurs were a long time ago. The Roman Empire was a long time ago. The Civil War was a long time ago. I guess music has a way of making time seem unimportant, well, at least I think it does, as well as transcending age. And, yeah, I didn't plan on living this long (We are very "lucky") but I'm very glad that we both did and I believe we'll be around a lot longer. See you at the Neighborhood Church.

From: Jesse M Valenzuela (Wednesday, December 1, 2004 at 22:12:03)
Answered: Thursday, December 2, 2004 at 02:33:09.

Dear Dave,
I just got your new record "Ashgrove"over the Thanksgiving holiday.
It is beautiful. Nine Volt Heart is a stunning song. You are able to create songs with such simplicity that still cover such a wide range of emotions. Well done. I got no questions just a letter to say thanks for some wonderful music.
Jesse Valenzuela

p.s. My 5 year old son loves the groove on "Out Of Control"
Maybe he's a blueman in training.
Thank you very much, Jesse, for the compliments. Yeah, and tell your son that in twenty years, when he grows up and has his own band, to please hire me as his guitar player.

From: Kris McGough (Thursday, November 4, 2004 at 17:39:15)
Answered: Tuesday, November 30, 2004 at 02:52:47.

Hi Dave,

Are you as bummed as I am that Kerry didn't get elected president? I'm not a huge Kerry fan, I was just ready for a change. You will probably get some song material out of the next President's term. I am really concerned at how divided the country is right now.


***Please come back to St. Louis!!!!
Hey Kris:

Well, I'm always looking for song material. And, yeah, the country seems pretty divided these days but, on the other hand, all you gotta do is open up a history book of the USA to see that we've always been a divided country in many ways.
I think it's important to try to find the stuff that unites us as Americans
(besides interstates, fast food, bad tv, etc) and share that with each other.
For me, our music has always been one of those things. I know that sounds a little like I'm trying to look at the world through rose colored glasses, but I really feel that music is that powerful. Hopefully, all the other non-musical
stuff that divides us can be worked out somehow (now, that may really sound like rose colored glasses talk).
Now as far as playing soon in St Louis, if everything goes according to my very loose plans, the band and I should be there in the springtime. I hope to see you there.

From: Max Schulz (Sunday, November 28, 2004 at 20:53:33)
Answered: Tuesday, November 30, 2004 at 02:36:53.

Dave -- I was listening to some Joe Turner this afternoon and in the song "Cherry Red" there's a line about getting a workout on a Hollywood Bed. Now, the only time I'd ever heard the term before was on the Blasters song of the same name, and I had long wondered exactly what it referred to. I mentioned this to someone today and they said, oh, no, it's a type of bed. I looked it up, and true enough, it is. That being said, what inspired you guys to do the song "Hollywood Bed"? Does it have anything to do with your association with Big Joe? And why does the song have such a New Orleans/Prof. Longhair feel to it? (Not a complaint in any way -- I like the song a ton but I think you would agree it is not a "typical" Blasters song).

Many thanks,

Hey Max:

Good research, man. Yeah, a Hollywood Bed is a type of bed but exactly what type I don't know. Not a Murphy bed, though. If you listen to other versions of Cherry Red by Big Joe Turner or Eddie Vinson, the line is usually "in your big brass bed" so I think Joe was just having fun with language on that session, as he often did.

Now, I wrote the song for a few different reasons. One was as a little tribute to Big Joe and his Hollywood Bed. Another was to have a showpiece number for Lee Allen's sax playing. That's why the song has a New Orleans groove becasue Lee is so identified with that style (Gene Taylor also does a pretty spot-on Professor Longhair imitation on the piano). But the main reason I wrote it was for my girlfriend at the time and her bed which was in Hollywood, thus Hollywood Bed.
Is it really that untypical for a Blasters song? I never looked at it that way.

From: Mike McCoy (Monday, October 4, 2004 at 20:25:40)
Answered: Saturday, November 27, 2004 at 18:25:47.

I just wanted to pass this to you. Please pass to Dave Alvin, the Guilty Men and the Blasters that their music helped me through Iraq during two different tours. I turned a bunch of Marines onto the music and they loved it. Tell them thanks for being such shit hot musicians and for sticking around. Their music is much needed and appreciated.

Mike McCoy
Hey Mike:

I can't thank you enough for your message. It makes me very proud and happy to know that the music The Blasters, The Guilty Men and I have made over the years helped you to get through two tours in Iraq. Wow, what a compliment!

It is only fitting, though, that we thank you (and the rest of the men and women over there) for doing what you've done for all of us by putting your life on the line. I hope you're home now but if you're not, well, be careful, stay strong and safe and always keep rocking.

From: JP (Sunday, November 7, 2004 at 19:28:50)
Answered: Saturday, November 20, 2004 at 06:17:38.

Thanks for outstanding set at Old Town/Chicago. So accustomed to seeing you and band at FitzGeralds when in Chicago---question is: tougher to play for a sit-down crowd as opposed to rollickin', dancin' audience? My neighboring seatmates met here to see you--One from New Mexico, other from D.C....they also remarked how this was first time ever SITTING for your show. The beatiful, intimate venue got us over this burden. Second question: was your guitar player, Chris Miller(?), an old member of Marcia Ball's band? Thanks........
Hey JP

Yeah, playing to a quiet, sitting audience can be a little strange at first, especially if I've been playing in a lot of bars with dancing or standing or noise. On the other hand, I feel like I can, hopefully, do both my acoustic and my electric songs in the "sit down" situation. I tried to do that at The Old Town.

Often in bars, songs like Everett Ruess or Man In The Bed can't be played because people are more interested in dancing or drinking or making time or talking about football games than listening to lyrics. It's only normal for people to do that stuff in a bar so I leave many of my more quiet, lyric driven songs off of the barroom set lists. On the other hand it is kind of wierd to be playing Marie Marie to a room full of people sitting down.

Yeah, Chris Miller, the great guitarist in my band, was with Marcia for 3 years and I'm very lucky to have him playing with me.
Good eyes and memory, JP.

From: Haywood Jablomi (Wednesday, November 3, 2004 at 11:34:26)
Answered: Saturday, November 20, 2004 at 06:02:28.


What happened? Kerry loses! Are you still gonna leave that silly "Recall" rewrite lyric in Out In California? Get over it. Leave your politics backstage. I think your music is great, have seen you numerous times and have enjoyed every show. I go to Fitzgerald's or the Old Town School of Folk to hear your music and see your great guitar play, not to hear you make a political statement. With Kerry's loss and Arnold's popularity at a high, leave the political BS backstage and get back to what you do -- make great music. See you Saturday at the Old Town School of Folk.


Dear Haywood Jablomi:

Well, if you made it to the Old Town gig, you heard that I changed the "silly recall" line to "buy a another election." Still silly? Probably. But are elections and recall elections "bought," no matter which side your on? You bet.
And would the guy in the song, "sitting here drinking in the last bar on earth," feeling heartbroken, angry, powerless, dreaming of revenge, would he be staring up at the barroom tv as some smiling politician (on either side) panders to him,
and not wish he could buy a Chevy and another election and go back to California and get his woman and make his insane world less crazy? Maybe. Maybe not. It sounds like he would to me, though.
Thank you for your good words about the music, though, and I hope you enjoyed the Old Town show. See you in Chicago again, I hope.

From: Harold Cross (Thursday, November 4, 2004 at 09:12:23)
Answered: Saturday, November 20, 2004 at 05:33:05.

Dave -

Can you please clarify for me whether you are going to be in Des Moines or Cleveland (Leadbelly Tribute)on November 7th. I am in Des Moines and am/was really looking forward to your show on Sunday. Coffehouse Productions here announced it several weeks ago. But I see on some of the tour schedules on the various sites here that your are doing the Leadbelly tribute show in Cleveland that day. I am not getting any feedback from Coffeehouse on the show here, other than it is still on their web site.

Really hoping that you will be here. Will you?

I really enjoy the Ashgrove CD and have been a fan of the Blasters for several years.

Hey Harold:

I'm sorry I'm getting back to you so late but I don't take my computer on the road with me. I have no idea where the Des Moines gig stuff came from. Maybe my booking agents talked to the club at some point but I never knew about it. Sorry.
Yeah, I did a Tribute to Leadbelly in Cleveland with Los Lobos, Odetta, Gatemouth Brown, Josh White Jr, Harry Belafonte, Robert Lockwood, Dan Zanes, Allison Krause, Oscar Brand, John Hiatt, and Robert Plant. Pretty amazing line up for a pretty amazing man.

From: Guy Amato (Friday, November 5, 2004 at 10:05:09)
Answered: Saturday, November 20, 2004 at 05:25:14.

I don't send fan mail -- so this isn't fan mail. I just bought Ashgrove and have not stop listening to it. This is a great work, great songs, but the thing that keeps making me play it over and over is its authenticity. I believe you. I know you've seen the Rio Grande at dawn with a belly full of wine. You can't write lyrics like that without having lived it. Your voice can't lie. Its also a great production.

The work has been inspiring to me - I have a hundred song ideas ratteling around my head and lots of music tracks recorded. Ashgrove is showing me something important about having the courage to say what you need to say and opening up something very personal to the rest of the world. Its not about being clever, its about being real. You need some balls to admit some things openly, but that is what separates art from the pablum spewing out of the radio.

I liked the Blasters when you guys first came out back in the early 80's. I was playing blues in NY watching the disco queens and punks take over and you guys and Stevie Ray and a few others gave me hope that real music still had a place. But Ashgrove is something else - it is an important statement of what music can be - -what it can really communicate. I hope your CD is successful because it is a great work, but also because the world needs the art and that an artist can do this without having to work a fuckin day job.

If you are ever in Las Vegas, I'd love to meet you and if you ever need another guitar player -- well - you get it. Thanks for making this CD.

Guy Amato
Las Vegas

Hey Guy:

Well, man, wow. Thank you very, very much for your message. Ashgrove means an awful lot to me and I'm extremely touched that it means so much to you. Playing music can be such a diffcult way to make a living (or not make a living sometimes) that, well, as the song says, "we all need something just to get us through." I hope that song helped you because it certainly helps me. Good luck playing guitar in Vegas and, though I rarely play there for whatever reasons,
I hope our paths cross someday soon.
Now, as far as drinking wine on the Rio Grande . . . sounds like a good idea to me.

From: Don Holland (Sunday, November 7, 2004 at 17:28:05)
Answered: Saturday, November 20, 2004 at 05:14:33.

This is more of a comment than a question. I'm listening to "Ashgrove" as I type this message. My personalized copy of the CD was a gift from Jim and Nancy Prince of Madras, Oregon. Jim included a personal "sticky-back" message inside the CD cover and I quote, "My New Hero! Shithot Showman". I believe Jim and Nancy caught Dave's show in Bend. Obviously they loved the show! I certainly love the music! Dave's note on the cover of my CD says, "To Don and Maureen, see ya in Anchorage". That would be a special treat Dave. I'll bring my Blasters LPs for your autograph. Great stuff on "Ashgrove". Thanks for sharing your love of the music with us all. This is the season of the blues here in Palmer, Alaska. Cold and snow covered and yearning for warmth, sunshine and lots of good blues! Don and Maurine Holland
Hey Don:

Well, I've played in every state in the union except for Alaska so I'm due to get up there someday somehow. Many of my friends have played in Alaska and loved it. I've mainly been offered solo acoustic gigs up there but I'd rather get up there with my full band so I'll wait a while for a band gig (s) to be offered. Any ideas? I'm glad you enjoy the CD and tell Jim and Nancy I said hello and thank him for his very kind comments on the CD. As far as being a showman, I ain't James Brown but I try my best.

From: Barry (Tuesday, November 9, 2004 at 12:54:03)
Answered: Saturday, November 20, 2004 at 05:05:35.

Hey Dave, I think I speak for all your fans when I say Happy Birthday to you on your upcoming birthday on Thursday....Barry
Thanks Barry. That means a lot.

From: Gail (Wednesday, November 10, 2004 at 18:31:30)
Answered: Saturday, November 20, 2004 at 05:04:54.

Hey Dave: I just wanted to wish you a Happy Birthday and hope you are home from your recent tour to relax and celebrate with friends and family(?). So is it 50 yet?? I just reached that milestone and would not be enjoying life so much without being able to have your music to keep me sane. I truly enjoyed your recent So. Cal set of shows over the past several months and hope you can keep your local fans satisfied during the next year. Happy B-Day and thanks for the insightful and soulful lyrics and melodies. Thanks Gail S. and Steve (photographer) See and hope to hear you soon. Bye

Thanks a lot, Gail, for the birthday wishes. No, not quite 50 yet but closer than I thought I'd ever be. As the old joke goes, If I'd have known I'd live this long I'd have taken better care of myself.
Yeah, I'm trying to relax now but I'm already missing the guilty guys and playing every night. Well, time to re-charge the batteries, I guess, but I can't wait to get back out there.
Please say hello to Steve and I hope to see you guys at the Neighborhood Unitarian Church gig in Pasadena on January 15.

From: Andrea (Thursday, November 11, 2004 at 02:57:30)
Answered: Saturday, November 20, 2004 at 04:55:04.

God Bless You On Your Birthday!

May God bless you on your birthday
With gifts and cards and such
From those who care and those who pray
And those who love so much!
While birthdays come and birthdays go,
It's love that's always here
And that's God's way to let you know
You're special, too, my dear!
Congrats on all the good you've done -
You went the extra mile!
You shared your wondrous sense of fun
And thrilled us with each smile!
You did your best! You blessed our hearts!
You proved your heart is kind!
And though it's time to make new starts,
Some new friends you will find!
Perhaps they should be told that this
Is when your life began!
Yet now, I'll send my magic kiss
'Cos I'm a friendly fan!

Denis Martindale

Happy Birthday from Switzerland

- we are looking forward to your next Swiss show
(you bet, we keep another chair you could stumble
over ready),

Andrea & Co.

Thank you very much Andrea for the birthday poem. Wow. I don't know if I deserve it but thanks none the less. Do they still make the Vollmund Beer in Zurich? That'll always get me tripping over chairs.

From: Diane Rydzewski (Thursday, November 11, 2004 at 15:43:49)
Answered: Saturday, November 20, 2004 at 04:48:49.

Hi Dave, thinking of you and just want to wish you a Happy Birthday today!!

I'm sure you've heard this many, many times, but you're a fabulous, talented and excellent musician/writer and we love you and the Guilty Men.


Diane Rydzewski
(a big, big Phila. fan)
P.S. I need to buy your big brother's new CD;-)

Thank you Diane for the kind thoughts, wonderful words and the birthday wishes. I'll pass along your message to the Guilty ones.
Now, I'd like to buy a copy of my brother's new CD myself. I was over at his house today and did he offer to give me a copy? Nope. I guess I'll have wait until it hits the stores like everyone else. Oh well.
Well, when you do hear it let me know how it is.

From: Charlie (Friday, November 12, 2004 at 09:04:32)
Answered: Saturday, November 20, 2004 at 04:41:56.

Hey Dave, happy birthday, first of all. (Us old guys have to stick together, you know). I just saw Richard Thompson's 1000 years of popular music show in Princeton and it got me thinking, wouldn't it be cool if two of my favorite musicians were trading licks either in the studio or on stage, just some good old kick-ass rock & roll maybe Gene Pitney or even Dick Dale. God, what a show that would be. I saw you open for RT a while back, that was easily the best show I've ever seen, but playing together would be even better. Can't wait for another Philly show.

Hey Charlie:

Trading guitar licks with Richard Thompson is something I wouldn't even dream of doing. He'd mop the floor with me. I'd love to write a song with him because I think he is very underappreciated as a songwriter but trade licks with him? I'd have to be insane or very, very, very drunk because he'd kill me. He wouldn't even have to try. I'd just be dead from the get go. You'd have to be Greg Leisz or Bill Frissell or Marc Ribot or David Hidalgo or Ry Cooder or David Lindley to trade licks with him. He's about the best there is.

But, after saying all that, if you can find a bootleg of a show I did with him, Jackson Brown, Peter Case and a few other folks, at The Lobero Theatre in Santa Barbara this past January, there is sort of a trading licks section on a sing-a-long of Mississippi John Hurt's Make Me A Pallet On Your Floor. Richard, of course, played a great solo but I didn't suck too bad either. Good luck tracking that down, I know it's out there somewhere in the bootleg universe. There's also a version of my song Andersonville on a compilation CD called
In Their Own Words where Richard backs me up on lead guitar. It was one of the highlights of my life.
See you soon in Philly.

From: Tom Blair (Friday, November 12, 2004 at 14:29:54)
Answered: Saturday, November 20, 2004 at 04:16:35.

Hi Dave
Well, I just fought tooth and nail and won "Outtakes in California" on ebay. Once again, the cd contained an unexpected gem in "Why Did She Run To Him?" A great song and the sliding sound of the guitar string made it so much more intimate, like being in the same room. The rest of the cd is excellent. It was worth the fight(and wait) to get a copy.
This is not so much a question as a short story. First off, one of my greatest loves has always been the "story" song. My wife hates them. I've tried to convince her of the beauty of telling a lifetime in 3 minutes, like "Take a Letter, Maria" but she is never impressed. Your songs rank among the best stories out there. It's been a long, strange trip to get back to roots music but now there is no going back.
I bought the first Blasters album in the early 80's but I just didn't get it. Some local radio was playing "Border Radio" and it grabbed me. I really think I bought it for the cover art. I listened a few times but I was too deep into British Rock and Motown. Cream to Wilson Pickett. I couldn't get into American music and the LP quickly went into the dreaded cabinet never to be heard again. The only countrified stuff I listened to was Marshall Tucker or Skynyrd or Jason and the Scorchers. More about them later.
I read a good review of "King of California" in the early 90's and bought the CD. It was good but, again, I just didn't get it. Too country, too quiet, too southwest. I couldn't relate. After a couple of listens it was sent to the dreaded cd drawer never to be heard again. "Goodbye Again" was a very appropriate title. I then went through an "alternative" music stage. Whatever happened to Toad the Wet Sprocket? One band I really got into was Los Lobos, so under-appreciated. Some really great story songs. Some real heartbreaker like the woman drinking alone with a styrofoam cup, imagining a love affair.
A month or so ago I saw a crappy movie on max but the soundtrack contained a couple of songs by Rank and File, which really stirred up old memories. Once again I went on ebay and found the CD. The web has gotten unbelievable. Find the title or band, go to Amazon and have a listen. Go to ebay, find the cd or kazaa to find the song. I was on the web researching more info on R&F and I came across an older site called Scorched Earth, mainly about Jason and the Scorchers. The site also mentioned the Blasters and things started falling together. I was really getting into Rank and File so I then bought the Long Ryders CD. I pulled the Blasters LP out of mothballs and dusted off the King of California CD (more than 10 years later).
I discovered a whole new world. The next CD I got was "Out in California". That stayed in the car for a solid month and I couldn't get the title song out of my head. This lead me to a couple of Tom Russell cds. He may just be a bit too much cowpoke for me though but a great songwriter. Since then I have caught up with all your CDs and have enjoyed many a great story. I've met Mary Brown, been in the last bar on Earth, drove to Interstate City on the new highway and experienced East Texas blues with the black-haired girl. It took a long time for me to find my roots. They were there all the time in R&B of Wilson Pickett and the Four Tops and the blues of Jack Bruce and Cream. They were there with Toy Caldwell and the Marshall Tucker band and in the singing of Ronnie Van Zant and Rank and File and the chaos of Jason and the Scorchers.
So far, you are the only guy who has brought it all together. Keep up the great writing and put out another live CD soon.
I guess I do have one question. Have you ever been on Austin City Limits or will you in the future?
Tom Blair
Hey Tom:

Well, man, better late than never. Thanks for an amazing "short story." I'm very happy that the pieces finally all came together and you found that you always had your "roots." I'm also glad King Of California is out of the dreaded CD drawer. I'm awfully proud of that CD and hate to think of it gathering dust.

As far as your wife not liking story songs, well, perhaps someday some story song will click for her. It is kind of funny to me that some people don't like them. I mean, they're such a vital part of folk, blues, country and rock music.
Chuck Berry, Woody Guthrie, Dylan, Marty Robbins, Leadbelly, The Carter Family,
Springsteen, Hank Williams. I mean, even Snoop Dog does story songs.
But what can you do?. It used to bother me a bit but now I just write my songs and try not to worry whether everybody on earth likes 'em or not.

And more thanks for going to all the trouble and stress to track down the Outtakes In California CD. I think it captures the live, barroom vibe pretty well. I do plan to do another "for sale at gigs only" live CD in the next couple of months with the new line up of Guilty Men. Like story songs, some people don't like live albums but I enjoy them. They give you another side of the singer and the song.

And Austin City Limits? I did it in 2000 and look forward to doing it again.
Well, keep rocking, Tom, and tell your wife I asked her to please give story songs one more try.

From: Larry Weaner (Friday, November 12, 2004 at 22:33:17)
Answered: Saturday, November 20, 2004 at 03:44:48.


Thanks for writing The Man in the Bed. I'm sure I don't need to tell you why. I do have a question relating to dad's. Was yours a TV repairman? I noticed the electron tube clock in the CD picture and figured it was probably a momento from his shop. Why else would you put such a thing in your music room. That's what my dad did and I keep stuff in his old RCA tube box in my music room also. So here's to tubes, service calls and soldering irons...and if i'm off base, never mind.

Larry Weaner
Hey Larry:

Well, you're not too far off base. My old man wasn't a professional tv repairman but certainly an amatuer one. Our garage was full of tubes, wires and soldering irons and when the tv broke (or anything else) he'd fix it somehow. He even built our family stereo and speakers and my first couple of record players. I still have some speakers he built for me when I was a kid and, unfortunatley, years ago someone stole the harmonica amplifier he made for my brother Phil. So, I think your dad and mine were probably similar guys and the clock is in memory of them both.

From: Mark Mason (Saturday, November 13, 2004 at 18:23:44)
Answered: Saturday, November 20, 2004 at 03:35:20.

Dave Alvin,

A HUGE thank you for Ash Grove.

I, too, was shaped, hammered, refined, and had my mind blown at the Ash Grove. As a white kid from the "Valley" during the sixties and seventies, the Ash Grove told me about something more than shopping malls and cruising Van Nuys Blvd.

When I listen to your licks, I go back to the Ash Grove.

I have a bunch of photos of Willie Dixon, Lightnin' Hopkins, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee, and Muddy Waters...from the dark stage.

Thank you!

Mark Mason

And a HUGE thank you to you, Mark. Yeah, there are a lot of us Ash Grove kids out there. It's amazing how many people have come up to me at gigs this year across the country with Ash Grove memories, memorabilia and photos. It really was a pretty special, influencial place. If I was a millionaire I open up a club like that. Well, we can all dream, right? Our paths probably crossed back then - I was the little kid sneaking puffs off cigarettes in the front row- and hopefully they'll cross again.

From: Kirby (Sunday, November 14, 2004 at 12:28:27)
Answered: Saturday, November 20, 2004 at 03:26:53.

Dave...Wow! I'm still recovering from last nights show at the Paramount.You guys are totally insane! I'm always curious as to what kind of crowd will come out. Santa Fe is a funny place...Wonder how the show at the Launchpad went. They usually pull a younger audience, which is refreshing. It's disheartening when you're surrounded by nothing but older men rockin' out. Makes me wonder if I'm the only young female who knows who Dave Alvin is (surely not). Regardless, I was greatly impressed with your playing...the entire band for that matter. I had requested Long White Cadillac in an earlier letter, but I don't think it reached you in time. Oh well...maybe next time. Thanks for coming the distance to play. Loved you guys!

Hey Kirby:

Well, I'm always kinda curious what kind of crowd will come out myself. It does vary a bit from town to town and venue to venue and whether I'm playing electric or acoustic. I'm just happy when anyone shows up. Seriously. Old, young, in-between, female, male, left, right, middle of the road, drunk, sober, high, low, long haired, short haired, no haired, all races, creeds and colors are welcome. I consider the music I play to be in the folk music tradition and folk music is for everyone. I can imagine that it's "disheartening when you're surrounded by nothing but older men rockin' out" but us older guys still need to rock out too (I thought I did see more than a few women dancing that night but maybe I was just dreaming of some old girlfriends, I don't know).

This type of music has always been a bit on the outside of popular culture and sometimes it takes people a while to find it or connect with it. I'd love it if more young people discovered folk music (whether it's blues, r+b, mountain fiddling, rockabilly, gospel, country swing, bluegrass, honky tonk, murder ballads, doo wop, cajun, surf, singer-songwriters, whatever) and many of them will in one form or another at some time or another. I'm just glad you showed up in Santa Fe and enjoyed the show. Next time, Long White Cadillac, I swear.

From: Matt Sorrell (Thursday, November 18, 2004 at 09:03:09)
Answered: Saturday, November 20, 2004 at 02:55:57.

You've spoken a lot in interviews about your early influences, and most of them seem to be from the realms of early Rock and R&B, Blues, Country and Folk. I was wondering if any later rock and roll influenced you at all, since you came of age in the late 60s/early 70s. Also, since the Blasters kind of got lumped under the punk label, at least initially, I'm especially curious to see how punk music influenced you, if at all.

Thanks, hope to see you guys in St. Louis again sooner than later!
Hey Matt:

Well, I guess everything from Tony Orlando to The New York Philharmonic has influenced me in one way or another. Any musician is always listening to music whether sitting at home trying figure out how to play Louie Louie or standing in line at the 7-11 listening to the piped-in top 40 wallpaper muzak.
Yeah, my major influences are the more"traditional" American musics but certainly music I heard around me growing up has influenced me to greater and lesser degrees. Dylan, The Band, Paul Butterfield and Micheal Bloomfield, The Dead, The Stones, the Allman Brothers, Randy Newman, Ry Cooder, Bob Marley.
The usual stuff I guess.
As for the punk rock, well, it changed my view of the world and I certainly wouldn't have attempted to be a musican if not for the punk sensibility of 1976/77. You know, who cares how good you can play guitar just turn up louder and play. I was a fry cook and figured my life was over in 1977 until I heard the first Clash and Sex Pistols (to name a few) 45s from England and, of course the first couple of Ramones records. It reminded me of the garage/surf bands I heard in my neighborhood in the early 60's when I was 6 and 7 years old. Some of it (X, Television, Lydia Lunch) also reminded me of the small press poetry scenes that were going on at the same time that I was hanging around.
Punk rock, though, and it's effect on people is pretty subjective. Some people saw it as an extension of glam rock or hard rock. Some thought it was useless crap. Some thought it was dangerous and subversive. Some thought it was silly. Some thought it was the greatest thing that ever happened. All I know is that the freedom it promoted back then made me decide to play music and write songs.
And my favorite punk band from those days? The Weirdos from Los Angeles.

From: James (Monday, November 15, 2004 at 10:16:30)
Answered: Saturday, November 20, 2004 at 02:28:09.

My wife and I just saw you in Denver, and all I can say is "wow" and "Thank you"! We both agree we've never seen a better rock-n-roll show. What a band you have too! After the show we were rapping with Joe, Gregory, and Bobby Lloyd, and they are all solid guys as well as great players!
I was the guy talking to you about playing Telluride. It was probably a slightly odd venue to bring up but I thought about it this past summer, when I saw your preliminary tour schedule get posted, and there were no Colorado gigs. I live in Lyons,CO which is home to the promoter of two great festivals- Rockygrass and Folks Festival and the festival in Telluride. I've never been to Telluride, but every time I look at the somewhat overly diverse lineup I think "Dave and the Guilty Men would work as well as Lucinda Williams or Lyle Lovett. Wellanyway, that's just a little background about my comments. I understand your feedback about those sort of festivals must all be about where the beat falls. Many have an identity crisis anyway. Well, I guess you have some time off from the road now and I just want to say Thanks again for the show, for giving my wife and me a chance to say a few words to you, and for rippin' off a couple of "firmas" for us! Next time a round's on me!
Hasta en el futuro! -James and Amy Ross
Hey James:

Well, thanks for the big compliments. Yeah, I'm very, very proud of my band.
Great musicians. Great guys. I'm a very lucky guy to have them.
As far as the festivals you mentioned, well, some places, for a variety reasons, often want only the acoustic show while others don't mind the loud band or only want the loud band. Other festivals may not know who I am or may not like what I do. I don't really know and have pretty much stopped trying to figure out why I don't get asked to play certain places. My attitude is just to keep playing whether in a bar or a theatre or at festivals. Slowly but surely the word will spread. Well, at least I hope it spreads.
Tell your wife I said hello and I'll look forward to the beer.

From: Mark (Wednesday, November 17, 2004 at 21:52:18)
Answered: Saturday, November 20, 2004 at 02:08:49.

Always enjoy Dave's set at City Stages festival in Birmingham. Is there a Dave record that approaches that type of set? I've found some Dave and/or Blaster and/or Guilty Men records on BMG, Amazon, etc that have versions of signature cuts such as "Marie, Marie," but I never seem to find versions where Dave is the front man that we see in person. The live show always seems so much more free-wheeling than Dave's studio releases.

Is there a record or two that presents Dave in the "roadhose rock" front position that I would like to add to my collection?

Thanks for any advice.

-- m
Hey Mark:

You should check out the two live CDs I've released, Out In California and Interstate City. Both those CDs reflect the other side of my musical personality, the "barroom guitarist" as opposed to the singer/songwriter.
I try to juggle to two approaches as best as I can. Some people like the more reflective songs while others prefer to hear me bash on an electric guitar.
I enjoy doing both. You can also search for a copy of Outtakes In California, a companion CD to the Out In California live CD, that I only sold at shows. I stopped selling it at shows because, with the addition of Chris Miller on guitar, the sound of the Guilty Men has changed dramatically. I plan to have a new, for sale only at gigs, live CD available sometime next year. If you find 'em, I hope you enjoy 'em.

From: Chris (Tuesday, November 2, 2004 at 07:58:41)
Answered: Wednesday, November 3, 2004 at 03:51:12.

Hey Dave! I have a request! I'd love to hear you and the Guilty Men take on Rock And Roll Will Stand and Kathleen. Gaffney's accordian could replace the horns.

Also, I was wondering if you were a fan of Tom T. Hall - I often hear some similarities in style and tone in some of your songs.


Hey Chris:

Good ideas. I'll think about it but, you know, I'm not the same sort of singer that my brother Phil is. There are some songs that I wrote for The Blasters that
are harder for me to sing than others but I may try one of those two (or both) at some point. I am kind of leaning to doing Red Rose or Blue Shadows on upcoming gigs but, again, only if I feel like I don't suck completely on the vocals.

Yeah, I like Tom T Hall. That's How I Got To Memphis is a flat out amazing classic. I also like Faster Horses a lot. I've certainly been influenced in my songwriting by many of the great "country" (if you want to call them that) songwriters like Tom T, Billy Joe Shaver, Guy Clark, Mickey Newbury, Steve Young, Billy Swan, Wayne Carson, Merle Haggard, Hank Sr, Ronnie Self, Willie Nelson and countless other people whom I don't know the names of but who wrote amazing songs for someone else to sing. Mix those guys in with my blues, folk and early rock and roll heroes and then add some modern and some not so modern poets and writers in there and you've pretty much got my songwriting influences.

From: Lisa (Monday, November 1, 2004 at 19:31:53)
Answered: Tuesday, November 2, 2004 at 04:12:57.

Hi Dave:
I saw you Oct 2, 2004 at the continental club here in Houston, Texas.... Yes, it's me the gal who loves the way you say the word Texas..... Hey a few days after I saw you I got a phone call from Billy Joe Shaver and I told him how you signed my Ashgrove cd Billy Joe is the King.. Billy just laugh and said you know Lisa, Dave really is the King Of Californian.. LOL
I hope to see you soon in Texas.....
Hey Lisa:

Yeah, I remember you! I like the way you say Texas too.
Well, there are a lot of kings out there but Billy Joe Shaver is certainly King of the ass-kicking, brutally honest, break your heart, take you to hell and back, give you religion and a reason for living, Texas barroom and bedroom visionaries. Maybe Guy Clark and Terry Allen are his equals but theres not too many others.
Hopefully I'll see you in Texas early next year.

From: Wayne Whitzell (Sunday, October 31, 2004 at 13:09:41)
Answered: Tuesday, November 2, 2004 at 04:00:47.

Dave, First, I want to thank you for your music, lyrics and tone. Each has inspired and comforted me over the years. Again, a sincere thanks for your personal commitment to share your talents and hard work with the world...

Today, my questions are rather technical. Can you please list for me your effects chain? Also, does your Concert Amp have reverb? ...or do you use the Danelectro Echo for that function?

I am the guitarist in a local Bay Area band. We do a lot of Texas Blues and Nawlins Funk. However, there are two Dave Alvin songs in our arsenal of covers(hope you don't mind, we always give you credit), "Thirty Dollar Room" and "A Woman's Got a Right". They are truly a joy to play...

Thanks again,

Hey Wayne:

Thank you very much for your very kind words. I'm glad my stuff has "inspired and comforted" you. My favorite artists have also done that for me over the years and so do messages like yours. I really appreciate it.

Now the technical stuff. Well, if you scroll down about a mile or so on the Q+A page you'll see that I answered this already but in order to save you some time,
here goes. It's pretty simple. Onstage I use a Danelectro Echo pedal, a Boss overdrive pedal and a Boss tuning pedal. I play an early 80's Fender Concert amp that was designed and built by Paul Rivera. I think he only made 70 or so of these Concert amps. And, yeah, the amp does have reverb. In the studio, though,
I will use these pedals and anything else (sometimes the Danelectro tremelo pedal comes in handy) that strikes my fancy.

Your band sounds cool. Two of my favorite regional styles of American Music. When you say Texas blues, though, that could mean anything from Blind Lemon Jefferson to Gatemouth Brown to Doug Sahm. Maybe you do 'em all. Also, thanks for playing those two songs of mine. I think they've got good blues changes to play guitar over so I'm glad you enjoy playing them. Anyway, good luck with the band and keep rocking.

From: Annette Henderson (Monday, October 25, 2004 at 00:04:25)
Answered: Saturday, October 30, 2004 at 04:16:20.

Hey Dave

thank you for all your treasures; your consummate guitaring, textured poetry, and lyric's bound more beautiful by your rich baritone...ok, that sounds a bit much, but it's all true. you a difference, a shaman, enriching lives through your music, touching hearts and souls and even inflamming some while you had a "human moment". Thank you for completely embracing your passions and sharing your talents and awakening those with the capacity to receive it.

I also admire you, that despite your grueling schedule, you appreciate your fans so much that you make the effort to respond to the letters you receive. How gracious.

thank you for coming to the southwest.

ps hope you enjoyed the tape

Hey Annette:

Wow. Thanks. Ahh . . .well, ahhh . . . I don't think I can live up to what you wrote but thank you, thank you, thank you for your beautiful thoughts. I really, really appreciate them. The Guilty Boys and I will back in the southwest desert somewhere soon and we look forward to seeing you there.

From: Frankie Schirripe (Tuesday, October 26, 2004 at 15:29:02)
Answered: Saturday, October 30, 2004 at 04:08:54.

Hey Dave! Hope everything's going well w/you... We first met back at the Blasters Philly show in '02--I drove up that week to Boston for the Paradise gig & after the show, You, Chris, Bill, & Johnny were kind enough to let me hang out backstage, as well as share the beer & spot me smokes when I ran out!... I also saw you last year at the Bottom Line (RIP) with Tom Russell & Nancy--you signed my copy of "Any Rough Times"... The Bowery Ballroom show this past summer was great, as always... I wouldn't be offended if you don't remember me--I know you probably meet a billion people on tour--but I just wanted to drop you a line & let you know how much of an influence you've been on this nobody Singer/Gtrst/Poet from NJ... It's also awesome to know that one of my biggest musical heroes happens to be a completely down-to-earth cool guy whom you can knock back a couple of beers & b.s. with... "Ashgrove" has knocked me out!... Can't wait 'till you swing by the East Coast again... Oh yeah, my Dad, who's a doo-wop fanatic & '50's r'n'r nut (he's 60 this yr)and the person most responsible for turning me into a roots music afficianado--always tells me that if I ever saw you, to let you know that "American Music" is the greatest anthem ever written (no arguing there)... I turned him onto to you & the Blasters, when he didn't think anyone made "his" kind of music anymore... See ya soon, & next time you're in NYC, the beer's on me!...

All the Best,
Frankie S.

Hey Frankie:

Well, in regards to being a "cool guy", as I pointed out in another answer to a posting recently, I can be a jerk sometimes but I'm glad that that didn't happen when you came backstage. I'm also very glad that your dad dug The Blasters. There are lots of people out there who make "his" kind of music, from Big Sandy and Deke Dickerson to the originals still performing like The Comets and The Calvanes, but I'm touched that he connected with my brother and the rest of the Downey guys. We always wanted everyone of every age, race, political stance, religous belief or non-belief, gender and sexual preference to like The Blasters. I mean, after all, we were trying to play American music the best we could for all Americans. Sounds corny but it's true. And as for being "an influence", well, thank you very, very much. I only hope I've been a positive influence. I'm looking forward to the beer.

From: Charlie Cantrell (Wednesday, October 27, 2004 at 15:47:13)
Answered: Saturday, October 30, 2004 at 03:53:29.

Hi Dave,
I want to thank you for your kindness in autographing an Ashgrove shirt and two tickets
for my wife, Ann, and me at the Dallas show. We were held up in Oklahoma City and couldn't see your show, but my sister and brother-in-laws were able to make it. They were completely blown away by your performance, and have become devoted fans.

We had the shirt and tickets professionally framed under glass, and they look great.
Thanks again, and keep making great American music.

Charlie & Ann Cantrell
Hey Charlie and Ann:

"Framed under glass" . . . wow, I feel kind of classy.

I'm sorry you missed the Dallas show but I'm very glad your sister and various brothers-in-law enjoyed it. The Guilty Men and I need all the fans we can get so thanks for sending the family along. As far as continuing to make music,
well, I have no intentions of stopping. Keep rocking.

From: Dan Chusid (Wednesday, October 27, 2004 at 18:57:04)
Answered: Saturday, October 30, 2004 at 03:46:46.

Hey Dave,

Enjoyed the Casbah gig and posted those shots I took
of you and the Guilty ones. Get Bobby to bring 'em up on his
computer sometime so you can see them even though he hates
the way he looks in photos ;-)

Hopefully at some point when you hit town again I can do some
sound check photos of the band.

Images as usual are at:


Dan (Camera0bug) Chusid
San Diego
Hey Dan:

Well, to be honest, I'm not exactly crazy about how I look in photos either.
But I'm sure if anyone can make a funny looking bunch of guys like us look somewhat acceptable, it's you. Thanks for the effort. We appreciate it. See ya at soundcheck.

From: Joe Mascari (Thursday, October 28, 2004 at 15:59:27)
Answered: Saturday, October 30, 2004 at 03:41:55.

Ever since I saw you in June at the Rams Head in Annapolis, MD, I can't get enough of your music. I listen to everything I can get. Ashgrove is hot! Do you plan to tour back in the Baltimore area in the spring? If so, when? Thanks for providing me many moments of great lyrics and music.
Thanks Joe for the very kind words. I just hope you don't listen to my stuff until you get sick of it. The Guilty Men and I will, hopefully, be in your neck of the woods in late winter or early spring, if the fates allow, but exactly where and when I can't say for sure at this time. I look forward to seeing you at one of those gigs if you haven't gotten tired of my stuff by then.

From: jeff (Thursday, October 28, 2004 at 17:52:00)
Answered: Saturday, October 30, 2004 at 03:34:46.

Dave, I guess this is more of a comment than a question. But would, if possible, be interested in your thoughts.
In reading several articles/interviews over the past couple years, you mention, OFTEN, how you WONT be writing "10-12 songs" with/for The Blasters. It seems that one comment is a recurring theme in most of the interviews Ive read. Having read that one comment so many times, as it would be such a painful thing. Another comment I read was "I dont want to go back there". Kinda a "been there done that" kinda thing.
It appears you just want to hammer that point home. That it would be such a wrong (my view) thing to do.
It just seems it would be a shame, when you, Phil, John, Bill, and Gene are all sitting around in your golden years, looking back, having any regrets about not doing something one more time.
I guess it could be for a number of reasons. The dynamics, personalities of the members, making it difficult for all of you to be in cramped quarters to record? Coming up with the songs themselves, while also needing material for your solo gig? Time constraints? Having then to tour to support? All makes sense.
Hopefully its not because, my opinion anyways, that the Blasters thing was THEN, and not NOW. At least thats how I equate the comments.
And I respect your reason for not wanting too. Thats your personal area. I guess its just a yearning on our part (Blaster fans), wanting to see something go on.
You also mention the current Blasters thing. I agree with you in principle on this. I guess its a seperate issue, and actually is a common issue with bands in the past/present. The way I see it, the current Blasters are not THE Blasters, but still are The Blasters. Why? I think it all depends on who is left. And it varies from band to band. The Stones, take away Wyman, and then Ron Woods, would it still be the Stones? If you have Jagger/Richards, then you still have THE Stones. Take away Richards, and if your left with Jagger/Woods/Watts, then you have The Stones.
Journey doesnt have Steve Perry, well to me without him, you dont have Journey. Styx doesnt have Dennis DeYoung, but they still have JY and Shaw, so they still ARE Styx.
Aerosmith, same to me as the Stones, lose either Tyler/Perry and you dont have "THE" Aerosmith. Now, could Aerosmith go on tour without guitarist Perry? And bill themselves AS Aerosmith? yes, and rightfully so. Which they did. Because you still had Tyler.
Bands are identified with their fans via the voice (singer) and the sound (guitar player) (for the most part). Some bands, more so than others, all members are highly identifiable (Kiss, Trick, Stones, etc). Whereas others, the two main front men.
Now as for The Blasters. And this theory can be extended to any band. It depends who you take away, and whos left.
An example would be George Thorogood and The Destroyers. They booted out long time sax player Hank Carter. Is the band still the same? Yes. But take Thorogood out of the equation, could the rest of the band go on the road as The Destroyers? They could, but its not the same.
So, as for the Blasters. NO disrespect to John, Bill or Gene, but The Blasters could go on the road with Phil and Dave, and all new drummer, bass and piano player, and still be The Blasters. Why? Phil sings, which we all have identified with, and Dave writes and plays the guitar.
Now, could John, Bill, and Gene go on the road with new singer and guitar player and call themselves the Blasters? I guess they could, they would be singing Blasters songs, but its not even close.
So, that leaves us with the group as it is today. I think it should also be called something like "Phil Alvin All-Stars" or The Phil Alvin Band, but since Phil is so highly identified, he can call the group the Blasters, and it still be legitimate. Although leaning towards the 50/50 mark.
Sorry to have gotten so long here, it was meant just as a comment about how I keep reading/interpeting your disdain to do anything new for the Blasters.
Just my opinion, I think it would be a shame if one more attempt wasnt made to make a Blasters record with the Originals. All because of personality clashes, egos, etc. You are all so advanced from where you were then, since those songs were that great, just think what 7-8(?) new songs would be like! Or even do some covers. Chuck Berry, etc......Hmmmmmm
Hey Jeff:

Well, I'm sure the original Blasters will play together again several times before we reach our "golden years." It was too much fun doing the reunion gigs and the original band never sounded better (I only wish Lee Allen could've been there) to say that it won't happen somewhere sometime.

I also can't say that I'll never write new songs for the original (or even the new) Blasters to perform because you never know what's gonna happen down the road. But, for many reasons, it's not something that interests me at this time.
It really isn't a "been there done that" kind of thing. Believe me, I love that band and I'm extremely proud of what we did and I know, more than anyone else, that I wouldn't be a professional musician/songwriter if it wasn't for those guys but songwriting for me is not as easy as it might appear.

If Phil wants to rearrange and sing Dry River or any other of my post-Blasters songs, that's fine with me but I can't sit down and intentionally write songs for him (or Brittany Spears or anyone else) anymore. I don't have the patience anymore to discuss, argue or fight over words, tempos, styles and chord changes with anyone, not even my brother or the other Downey guys. Please don't think it's an ego issue, because it's not, it's just that after doing this for so many years I know that the only way that I can write songs now is to write them for myself. Again, if Phil, or Brittany or whomever, find some common ground with one of my songs, I'm deeply, deeply honored if they sing it.

As far as the whole new Blasters/old Blasters thing, my only real complaint with my brother is that he doesn't make enough records (you can ask him why he doesn't because it doesn't make sense to me). The way I see it, making their own CDs is the best way for the new Blasters to establish themselves as a separate entity from the old guys. I don't think Jerry, Keith or Johnny Bazz would disagree with me on that. I'm glad that they've finally gotten Phil into the studio and are releasing a new CD. It's about god-dammed time. I haven't heard it yet and I'm sure it sounds somewhat different musically than the old Blasters but as along as Phil is singing, well, then it's The Blasters.

Hopefully that clears up some of my interview statements a little bit.

From: Mark Weber (Monday, October 25, 2004 at 15:25:37)
Answered: Saturday, October 30, 2004 at 02:36:00.

I enjoy playing guitar along with your cd/dvds. Do you know where I might be able to obtain the tabs for any of your songs. Specifically I would like the music to Trouble Bound.
Best Regards,

Hey Mark:

One of these days I'm gonna get a songbook together with lyrics, chords and guitar tabs. My pal, guitar virtuoso Skip Heller (Skip has several great CDs available playing everything from jazz to rockabilly - check him out), has volunteered to write out the guitar tabs and no one knows my guitar style better than him but I just haven't had the time or $$$$ to get it together. Until then, I know that guitar tabs have been published for a few of the Blasters songs
(but not Trouble Bound) by Mel Bay Publishing in some rockabilly and country songbooks. I'll give you a tip on Trouble Bound, though. Drop the tuning on your low E string down to D and play the recuring riff using the D chord fingering on the second fret. It's always been one my favorite songs to play and I'm glad you seem to be enjoying it too.

From: john ludgate (Thursday, October 14, 2004 at 19:11:06)
Answered: Saturday, October 23, 2004 at 04:48:43.

II found King of California a year back and itimmediately became one of my
all time favorite CDs and to prove that I have bought it twice more after i lost both earlier copies while moving house. A brilliant collection of amzing music. Thanks.
Hey John:

Thank you very, very much. I'm extremely proud of that song and CD. My dad's favorite.

From: John Bealle (Wednesday, October 20, 2004 at 15:19:25)
Answered: Saturday, October 23, 2004 at 04:46:54.

My wife and I saw your show here in Dallas and it exceeded our highest expectations. You and the band were truly great and we took away a lot of great memories. You guitar playing is truly excellent which I did not realize until we saw you. Only got to listening to your music within the past 6 months as I got on to you via Los Lobos "The Ride". Now we are grinding through all of your CDs enjoying everyone somewhat upset because we had not heard you earlier but also feeling like old rock and rollers who are finding treasures at a juke box. Anyway, 2 quick questions: What was the brand of guitar you were playing that night so very good and effectively ? Second you sang a song where the lyrics started out something like, "I was born next to a river, that had concrete on its banks." Could you please identify its title and on what cd it is from. Please come back to Texas, keep up the writing of the awesome poetic lyrics, the great guitar playing, and the Guilty Men were very, very good and dedicated. Ashgrove is the best CD we have found this year and getting our friends easily tuned on to it. Best of Luck, and again thanks for a great show.

PS Thanks for the web site which makes it great to get into your achievements and current happenings.
Hey John:

Well, late is better than never. I'm glad you and your wife enjoyed the Dallas show, the CDs and the band. I'm very, very lucky to be surrounded by amazing musicians. And, thank you very much for the compliments on my guitar playing. Having such great musicians in my band makes me work very hard at being a better player so your compliment means a lot to me.

Now to question number one. I was playing a Fender reissue 1961 Stratocaster that's been modified a little bit.
Question number two, the song is called Dry River and an acoustic version is available on a CD called Blue Boulevard while an electric version is on a live CD called Interstate City. Both versions kind of pale in comparison to the way we play now, though. Recently, the great Texas songwriter, James McMurtry recorded a beautiful version of it. That was a great honor for me.

I always love playing in Texas and will certainly be back there as soon as possible so I look forward, hopefully, to seeing you and your wife at the next show.

From: Bob Wyman (Monday, October 11, 2004 at 09:30:40)
Answered: Saturday, October 23, 2004 at 04:10:52.

corrected version
My buddy Jack told me Dave refused him an autograph at a show in Tucson. Dave told him it would just end up on Ebay. That is the most ridiculous thing I ever heard! Jack and I have been enjoying Dave's music for a long time. I am a songwriter myself and play a few of Dave's songs too but I have yet to meet anyone else who has even heard of him! Jack and I are 50 years old and Jack just wanted to say Hi and get a momento, instead, he was reduced to looking like an idiot teeny bopper fawning over a self absorbed pop star. Is Dave really that shallow? He could have just said no but the Ebay thing is beyond belief!
Jack will let it slide but he won't hear Dave's music the same way again. I am chagrined to be even writing this but I have to say my piece and cannot imagine even keeping my Dave Alvin CD's. We like music but we do NOT buy into celebrity bullshit. Why embarrass us?
We are just people! It is demeaning to write this.
Reply? Will Dave even be bothered? What is wrong with this picture?
I am beyond words.

Dear Bob:

I'm very sorry about this "celebrity bullshit" misunderstanding. In fact, I sincerely can't apologize enough for the pain or embarassment I caused you and Jack.

The only thing I can say in my defense is that I was kidding when I made the
Ebay comment. Perhaps I said the crack with too straight of a face, I don't know. Sometimes people can't tell whether I'm joking or not. As far as the celebrity stuff, the reality of my life on the road (traveling with 5 other guys in one van pulling a trailer, staying in cheap motels and eating crappy food while trying to make enough money to pay for salaries, gas, motel rooms, insurance, the mortgage, etc) does not allow me to ever have any fantasies about being a glamourous celebrity. Nor does it leave me much time to be as "self-absorbed" as to seriously think my autograph would be worth anything on Ebay or anywhere else. And, yeah, I know, more than anyone else, that my name is not a household word.

But, can I be a jerk at times? Yeah, I can. Ask the guys in my band or ask my brother, Phil. It doesn't happen that often (I hope) but it does happen and, unfortunately, I was a stupid jerk to you and Jack. I realize that no apology or explanation can ever make up for my behavior and the hurt it has caused. I know you'll throw my CDs away and never sing my songs again but I can only hope that you and Jack read this and know that I'm honestly very, very sorry. If theres anything I could do to make amends to the two of you, please let me know.

From: patrick p. (Thursday, October 21, 2004 at 17:34:56)
Answered: Friday, October 22, 2004 at 03:38:58.

are you going to produce another Christy McWilson opus? If so, when?
Hey Patrick:

I'd love to. I'm very proud of the two CDs we've done together. Unfortunately, my time has gotten very tight and, because of that, Christy recorded a new CD recently with a different producer (although I did play guitar on a song). Hopefully, that CD will come out next year and then she and I can do something in the future. This past year she has done a few shows with me and we got to sing our version of Moby Grape's 805. I love singing with her. She's an incredibly soulful singer and an amazing songwriter. Thanks for asking.

From: Mike Patricks (Monday, October 18, 2004 at 21:47:00)
Answered: Friday, October 22, 2004 at 03:30:17.

Hey Dave--

Thanks for all the good music over the years--I saw The Blasters at the Whisky in 1980 and have been a fan ever since. Ashgrove is amazing--the solo stuff keeps getting better and better.

Anyway--an earlier question pointed out that you retired your '64 Strat--so now I'll ask the inevitable, what has taken her place?

Thanks again--

Hey Mike:

Since 1980 at The Whiskey? Wow! I'm impressed.
Anyway, I'm playing a Fender 61 reissuse Strat that has been modified a bit to feel and play, as close as possible, like my beloved 64 Strat. It still isn't the same but it's less worry on the road.

So, 1980 at The Whiskey? Who did you see us with? Ray Campi? X? John Hiatt?
Rubber City Rebels? The Plimsouls? Fast Fontaine? The Last?

From: Carol Hadikin (Monday, October 18, 2004 at 18:48:43)
Answered: Friday, October 22, 2004 at 03:25:05.

Hi Dave,

I hope that all is well in Dave-World. I noticed on the Yep Roc page, that you don't have any tour dates till November. If this is the case, I hope that you are gettting the rest that you so deserve, before hitting the road again. I don't know how you do it! I get tired just looking at the tour dates. I know, I get burnt out just going on the road for 2 days. I have noticed in the posts, that willl be playing the Great Pacific Nortwest, in 2005. Is there any chance, that this will include crossing the border, to Vancouver, BC (we are still considered part of the Pacific Northwest). I know, last time your drummer had a bit of trouble at the border, and didn't make the gig. I hope, that this won't stop you from sneaking across (we can always find you a drum machine...lol). I know, it's a bit of a hassle now, with all the paper work and the long procesing time, but I hope you don't forget about us frosty Canadians. Seeing and hearing you last summer, just wasn't enough. I was just wondering how long it will be till the next time? The last time I saw, and met (I'll have to tell you that story one day) Ry Cooder was in 1990, and I am still waiting to see him again.. I hope, I don't have to wait too long for you. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Take care.

Cheers, Carol

Hey Carol:

You're right, crossing the border these days is a complete hassle but it's always worth it in the long run. I enjoy playing in Canada very much and maybe we'll make it up there in January or Feburary but I think it's more likely that me and the guys will be touring north of the border sometime this summer. Maybe at one or two of the great folk festivals.

And, yeah, everything is fine in Dave-World and I am getting some rest although
I miss playing every night. Anyway, I'll tell you my Ry Cooder story ( I believe the US government should give him money just for getting out of bed - I think he really is a national treasure) if you tell me yours.

From: Bruce DeGrado (Monday, October 18, 2004 at 07:56:11)
Answered: Friday, October 22, 2004 at 03:17:04.

Hi Dave this is Bruce from Seattle Iknow you were good friends with Country Dick any chance of writing a song or songs with Joey Harris or Jerry Raney I think they are very underated song writers and it would be fun to hear what you guys could come up with. Hey heres a thoght how about when you come back to Seattle 2 nights at the Tractor you sold the place when you were here in Aug. Iam shur you could sell out 2 nights Iknow I would be there.Anyway just some food for thoght.I hope to meet you when you come back up here thanks for all the GREAT MUSIC it is the best keep rockin see ya when you get here. Bruce.
Hey Bruce:

I just saw Joey the other night at my show in San Diego. He's doing great. And I'll see Jerry in a month or so at a gig he and Buddy Blue are doing at The Coach House where I'm going to sit for a couple of numbers. Both are great guys and good songwriters. You never know what'll happen in the future, so, yeah,
perhaps someday I'll be lucky enough to write a song or two with them.

As for doing two nights in Seattle, well, that may happen in late January of 05.
Maybe we might do it with our pals, Los Straightjackets, so keep your eyes peeled for that and I'll see ya there.

From: Bruce (Sunday, October 17, 2004 at 12:24:44)
Answered: Monday, October 18, 2004 at 04:25:25.

Hey, Dave. Just wanted to thank you for a super show in Dallas a few weeks back and thanks for taking the time to sign an old LP and exchange a few words.
Wish I had the time to tell you just how much your songs mean to me. I mean, there's Dave Alvin, John Hiatt, Lyle Lovett and James McMurtry on my list (hmmm...two from Texas and another who writes a lot of stuff related to Texas...must be some sort of theme there). I just hooked up again with an old girlfriend from the late '60s in LA. A few days before the show we were listening to Somewhere in Time and we both just lost it. When you played it live, we just held on tight and tried to stay IN Control. A lot of your stuff has brought me to tears over the years....your imagery is so beautiful and heartfelt. Did I tell you I like your songwriting yet? I think Ashgrove is the best, most consistent recording yet. Keep up the terrific work and I can't wait to hear the next CD. Oh, I guess I get a question, too. Any plans to play Eugene, OR next time you head up to the Pacific Northwest? Dallas is a long way to go to see a show.

Hey Bruce:

Thanks for the very high praise. I'm a big fan of McMurtry and Hiatt and feel very honored to be mentioned along with them. I'm also very touched by your story about Somewhere In Time. Sometimes when I sing that song I wish there was someone I could hold on to.
Regarding your question, me and The Guilty Men should be in Portland in late January or early Febuary. We may also play in Salem but that gig is final.
Hopefully, we'll see you at one of those shows. Thanks again for your very kind words.

From: Jeff (Friday, October 15, 2004 at 18:47:55)
Answered: Monday, October 18, 2004 at 04:19:49.

Dave, truly enjoyed the set you guys did at the Blues Fest recently in Long Beach. You mentioned on stage how you and Phil had went to the Blues Fest oh-so many years before. How did it feel to be up there as performers, headlining, as opposed to those days of youth being in the audience.
And the version of American Music was the most incredible, scorching Ive heard, from the times Ive seen you guys, and on record. The solo you did at the end, on "Music", were you just winging it, or did you plan something ahead of time. I'm guessing it was one of the longest versions of "Music".
And the back-and-forth you did with Keith on several songs was great also.
I did a write-up for Billy Davis newsletter. If you read it, I hope it did the show justice.....Jeff Los Alamitos Calif
Hey Jeff:

Well, I was "winging it" a bit. Being onstage with a great guitarist like Keith can be a little intimidating so I tried to play as good as I could.

As far as playing the Long Beach Blues Fest, well, The Blasters headlined there in 1985, so it wasn't the first time we played there but it has been a long time since then. Yeah, it was certainly a kick to play there in our sort of hometown.
In 1980, Phil and I went to the first LB Blues Fest to see Big Joe Turner and The Hollywood Fats Band (I think Lowell Fulsom also played). The music was great but there were very few people there. It's wonderful that the festival has come so far over the years. I hope they ask us to play again in another 20 years or so. As far as the difference between being an audience member or a musician, well, I guess it felt like we finally made it when we played there in 1985 but in 2004 it sort of felt like we had survived as musicians. You know what I mean?

And, yeah, I read your review in Billy's newsletter and was deeply touched. I hope we were as good as you said. It felt good to us onstage but you never know what the audience is thinking. I'm glad you dug it. Thanks.

From: Michael DesAulniers (Friday, October 15, 2004 at 13:42:28)
Answered: Monday, October 18, 2004 at 04:04:42.

I tried to contact Dave's booking agents at the e-mail address you provide, but the message was returned as unable to deliver "The address is unknown"
Do you have an updated address? Or somewhere else that I could contact about booking Dave and The Guilty Men?
Hey Micheal:

Yeah, just call them. The number for Mongrel Music is 415-485-5100. Hopefully this'll help.

From: Fred Santa Cruz (Friday, October 15, 2004 at 02:30:11)
Answered: Monday, October 18, 2004 at 04:03:17.

Hello Dave great to see you in Phx again. It was odd to see you without a white guitar in your hands. Hope nothing happened to it, seems like you were kind of fond of that one.
Hey Fred:

No, nothing happened to it . . . yet.
Yeah, I am very, very, very fond of that white guitar, a 64 Strat.
So fond of it, in fact, that I've retired it from life on the road. There are many reasons why (that I've written about eleswhere) but I'll just say that it's on a guitar stand next to me right now and we're both very happy.

From: kristin roth (Saturday, October 9, 2004 at 02:57:07)
Answered: Thursday, October 14, 2004 at 04:09:36.

dave..i just wanted to thank you for the great show tonight in tucson! also, have you ever driven up highway 12 in utah through the escalante region? a must if you have not...i saw it for the first time last november. thank you also for signing my everett reuss book...i understand his mind! i just listened to that song again after i got home from the show and you really wrote a beautiful tribute to him...thank you.

cheers, kristin

p.s. i saw you years ago with the blasters and you are still amazing...keep up the great music! :) come back to tucson soon...
Hey Kristin:

Thank you for the compliment and it was my pleasure signing your Everett Ruess book. I'm glad we share a hero.
Yeah, I've certainly been through the Grand Escalante region and it's one of the most incredible, haunting, beautiful landscapes in the world. It makes sense that that was where Everett decided to disappear. In one form or another, I believe he is still out there in the canyons. Well, yeah, that sounds overly poetic and silly, but so what. See you in the desert.

From: MrBill VanDaWalker (Sunday, September 26, 2004 at 10:42:53)
Answered: Thursday, October 14, 2004 at 04:00:36.

Dave, I hope you can help me. You are unquestioningly (is that a word?) the only person I know of who would know the answer to this question. Is there an old protest song with lyrics in it including: 'they're having a field day. the cops are out on the streets of L.A. ... And if you're pregnant they'll kick you 'cause a pregnant woman counts as two ... or am I flashing? I have asked so many people and I am greeted with blank stares. I only want to know who sang it. what group or whatever or if I am flashing. Wild in the sixties. I remember you opening with just your guitar at an X concert way back when and have been a solid fan from then on. I will see you at the benifit with John and Excene soon. Thanks, for everything MrBill
Hey MrBill:

If I'm "the only person" who'll know the answer, well, then I hate to let you down but I have absolutely no idea what song those lyrics are from or who wrote 'em or who sang 'em. Sorry, man.
I hope you enjoyed the Gil T benefit. It was great seeing so many old friends in one place and it wasn't a funeral.

From: John S. Brennan (Monday, September 27, 2004 at 13:37:36)
Answered: Thursday, October 14, 2004 at 03:56:29.

I don't really have a question and I hope I've navigated through the formidable comment form sufficiently well. I just wanted to say I'm enjoying "Ashgrove" and think "Rio Grande" is the song of the decade. It's as near perfect as need be. "Nine Volt Heart" is right up there. Thirty odd years later and still missing Clarence. Rock on, and thanks. John S. Brennan
Hey John:

I was just listening to a bootleg of a 1967 Clarence White live performance and, yeah, he is still missed very much. A monster guitarist to say the least.
Thanks for the kind words regarding Rio Grande. That's Greg and my tribute to Clarence and his revolutionary guitar work. Of course it's Greg playing all the wonderful Clarence inspired B-bender guitar licks. I'll never be that good.

From: John Gunnell (Thursday, September 30, 2004 at 20:40:36)
Answered: Thursday, October 14, 2004 at 03:51:44.

I have two questions:

1. I am a Middle School Social Studies teacher, and along with map quizzes
and Chapter Reviews, I try to introduce my students to great American
music, whether it be Dylan or Waits, Kevn Kinney, or Wilson Pickett. Have
you ever considered the educational side of rock n' roll? It would be an
incredible endeavor to create some type of traveling seminar to introduce
kids to the incredible healing power of music, creative (song) writing,
and American cultural history.

2. Looking forward to your show at the High Noon Saloon in Madison,WI on
November 5th. I have a teacher staying with me from Japan and I am planning
on bringing him to the show. He has expressed an interest in hearing some
live American rock music. He would like to stop by after the show and say
"Konichiwa". Would it be ok? (Yes this is just a cheap, underhanded way of
getting to mee you myself, but hell, I thought it would be kinda cool for
him too.)

P.S. When I was in Tokyo last November I went to A Japanese rock club
called the Crocodile club, and I kid you not, they were country
line dancing. Long live American guitars!
Hey John:

Yeah, there is certainly an educational side to some rock and roll as well as all folk/blues/jazz//etc. I see American music as the soundtrack of our history, the good points of our country as well as the not so good. All of our ancestors stories are right there in the blues and folk songs and even some pop songs. I would imagine, though, that it might be difficult teaching that. Like John Sebastian said years ago, "It's like trying to tell a stranger about rock and roll." But you're the teacher and I'm the barroom guitarist so you know how to do it.

Usually, it's okay to come back and say hello. Unless the guys and I are getting ready to go on stage or changing our clothes or something. So, sure bring your friend around. I hope he enjoys the gig but, please, no line dancing.

From: Steve Anderson (Thursday, September 30, 2004 at 21:45:31)
Answered: Thursday, October 14, 2004 at 03:40:13.

Mr Alvin:
Just wanted to drop you a line and say thanks for the great show Sept. 18th at the Coachhouse. Being a man down on his luck and down on his love, the road trip to San Diego from Seattle was the ticket. I took a good buddy of mine(From San Clemente), who tried to get me back stage to say hello, but I believe you were in no mood to greet the crowd, as the tech-men blew the live recording for you.
No worries, Dave. The band was tight, the sound was right, and you my dear sir were outa sight!
Thanks again for the great show, and the inspiration you bring to us guitar strummin' music lovin' fools.
Look forward to seeing you in Seattle in the future.
Please come back to Bumbershoot sometime.
Steve aka. Leftydove
Hey Leftydove:

Yeah, it was a rough night for me and the guys but, hopefully, it didn't show too badly to the audience. Trying to record live is always a stressful situation and the technical problems didn't help matters much. Anyway, after listening to the tapes of the show, it wasn't anywhere near as bad a gig as we thought it was at the time.
Thanks a lot for making the long, long road trip down. To save you some money,
I plan to up in Seattle in late January or early Febuary. Either at The Tractor or The Crocdile. And I'm sure the luck and love thing will work itself out. It usually does.

From: Richard (Friday, October 1, 2004 at 11:49:43)
Answered: Thursday, October 14, 2004 at 03:32:26.


Caught your show at the Handlebar in Greenville, SC, last week. I took the whole family for my birthday. (My younger son got you to autograph a CD for me backstage as a present). You sure made believers out of the kids. My wife and I already knew. We've seen you there three times already and will be in attendance every time you hit town. Fantastic show. Come back often.

Thanks Richard. I'll try to get back to Greenville as soon as possible and I hope to see you there. And tell your son I think he's pretty cool.

From: Nick Jones (Sunday, October 3, 2004 at 06:46:20)
Answered: Thursday, October 14, 2004 at 03:30:29.

Hi Dave.

I'm mailing you from the UK and am relatively new to your music. A good friend of mine who is a singer songwriter performs a few of your numbers in his set. One song in particular really makes the hairs stand up on the back of my neck whe its played. He learnt it long ago but he can't remember the title of it.

It starts: 'For thirty years he rode the rail tracks, thirty years out on the skids'. and ends: 'one good sawn off shotgun and the name of the bastard that one day I'm gona kill'.

Can you tell me the title and which album its on and are there and plans to make a movie about it?!


Nick Jones
Hey Nick:

Well, I hate to say this but it isn't one of my songs. It sounds like a good one, though. Maybe it's a Tom Russell song. Or a Billy Joe Shaver song. Unfortunately, it doesn't ring a bell for me. I have some songs with railroads and shotguns in them but not those lines. Sorry, I couldn't be more help.

From: Scott Dwight (Friday, October 8, 2004 at 11:16:41)
Answered: Thursday, October 14, 2004 at 03:16:13.

Hi Dave,

Thanks for another great show at the Rhythm Room and for bringing along "Arizona's Own" Chris Gaffney. I notice that you quote jazz songs in some of your solos like "Jumping for Symphony Sid" etc. Last night during the end of "Out of Control" you played Horace Silver's "Song for my Father". Do you use these as a subtext to the song or just for the melodic interpolation?
Hey Scott:

A bit of both. Fathers are one of the images/characters that populate the Ashgrove CD, especially on Out Of Control, so that reference to Horace Silver's Song For My Father seemed fitting. It's also one of my favorite jazz themes and fun to play. I often quote Jumping With Symphony Sid during my solo on American Music, as well as other jazz, blues, country and old rock and roll lines. I guess I'm trying to connect some musical dots for people about how all American Musics are related to each other. When you get down to it they're all folk music in one form or another.

From: lisa (Friday, October 8, 2004 at 14:05:41)
Answered: Thursday, October 14, 2004 at 03:08:55.

Dave, I literally listen to you all day long. My favorites have changed since the release of "ASHGROVE". If it is any indication what I love about you so much, it is the blues of Rio Grande, Black Skies, 4th of July, and Abiliene.
To me you are the greatest artist, songwriter and performer. I am no spring chick, I am 45 so I have heard alot and seen alot. Please don't ever stop the ever soulful and moving music you provide.
Hey lisa:

Thank you very much. I only hope you don't get sick of my stuff after listening to it all day. I have no intention of stopping making music. My heroes, like Lightning Hopkins and Big Joe Turner, made music until the day they died and I hope to follow in their very large footprints.
45 ain't that old. Sounds to me like you're a very soulful "spring chick" in your heart.

From: Paul S (Friday, October 8, 2004 at 14:14:10)
Answered: Thursday, October 14, 2004 at 03:03:27.


I know that you've answered several times about the publication of The Crazy Ones, but I wanted to let you know that I look forward to reading your next collection. I have over the years passed my copy of Any Rough Times around to my friends - some who have signed it themselves and some have had you sign it - and it remains one of my favorite reads - a comfort book, if you will. Anyhow I was purusing used bookshops and have seen copies of it selling for over $100! Amazon has The Crazy Ones listed as having been published...do you know anything about that? Are there publishers copies floating around? Can't wait to catch you again - always a great show. Thanks, Dave, and keep on being the King of Cali.

Hey Paul:

Don't bother searching for The Crazy Ones because it doesn't exist. I never wrote a book of poems by that title, I told my then publisher that I might compile a poetry book with that title and he went ahead and sent a press release to bookstores without my permission. Of course when I heard that I got miffed and had absolutely no intention of ever writing a book called The Crazy Ones.
You can't force poetry, well, at least I can't.

I'm glad Any Rough Times is comforting and you've passed it around. I may reprint it at some point, perhaps if I ever do another book of poems. I'm pretty shy about my poetry and am a bit embarassed that it's selling for 100 bucks somewhere. Pretty amazing, though.

From: Bug Carey (Saturday, October 9, 2004 at 21:37:50)
Answered: Thursday, October 14, 2004 at 02:52:28.

Flashback 16 years old, going to the Ashgrove to hear Ramblin Jack and Jessie Fuller and Country Gazette....34 years later and I'm at Borders in Santa Barbara cruising to see what might wake me up and there's a CD called Ashgrove. Buy it and thanks, it's great. Lucky me.

Ah, I forgot, I need a question with this. Did I ever sleep with you?
Hey Bug:

It sounds like you saw a great show at the Ash Grove. Wow, Ramblin' Jack AND Jesse Fuller! A typically great Ash Grove double bill. Well, I'm glad you found my CD and very glad you enjoyed it. Now, as to your question . . . ahh, well, ahh, I don't think we ever slept together. Did we?

From: jim rindgen (Tuesday, October 12, 2004 at 15:59:55)
Answered: Thursday, October 14, 2004 at 02:45:26.

Did you ever think of selling some songs to Nashville? Every Night About This Time wouls seem like a natural for someone there to remake.
Hey Jim:

Well, I tried, many years ago, to interest Nashville music people in some of my songs but with little success. A lot of the older country music that I like is out of style in Nashville these days. They seem to only want a certain one dimensional songwriting approach that is quite the polar opposite from Billy Joe Shaver or Mickey Newbury, two of my favorite "country" songwriters. There was a chance, also many years ago, that George Jones was going to record Every Night About This Time but someone in Nashville decided that the song was "too country." Go figure!

From: Larry Baum (Sunday, October 10, 2004 at 21:17:32)
Answered: Thursday, October 14, 2004 at 02:36:45.

I enjoyed your song "Nine Volt Heart" and just wanted to let you know that the Chinese phrase for battery means "electric heart."
Hey Larry:

Thanks for the info and poetic translation. Very cool.

From: bill morrow (Wednesday, September 15, 2004 at 11:34:16)
Answered: Monday, September 20, 2004 at 04:24:39.

Borrowed a copy of "Any rough times are now behind you", and loved it so much that I want to have my very own copy. Can't find it anywhere. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks! By the way, saw/met Dave in Grand Rapids MI a while back, and the man is legend!!
hey Bill:

Good luck finding it. The publisher sold his company and the new owners no longer produce books of poetry. Maybe try eBay or the Yahoo American Music message boards.
I'm thinking that when I do another of poems, that I'll also reprint the older book. Anyway, I very touched that you enjoyed the book and, again, good luck tracking one down.

From: tim veenstra (Thursday, September 16, 2004 at 01:02:37)
Answered: Monday, September 20, 2004 at 04:21:17.

Caught your show in Grand Rapids Michigan a few months ago, loved it.
What is your signal chain? I am listening to "Black Sky" from Ashgrove, and you have a monster tone going on there. What gauge string, guitar, pickups, amp and outboard gear/pedals (if any)are you using?
Thanks for your time,
Hey Tim:

Thanks for the compliments. I'm real happy with the guitar tones on the new CD.
Anyway, I use a 64 Strat, with the original pick-ups, through a 1982 4/10 Fender Concert Amp built by Paul Riviera. I use a Boss overdrive pedal and a Danelectro Echo unit. Thats all. Nothing too fancy. Oh, yeah, I use D'Addario half wound strings, gauges 12 to 52.

From: kal (Thursday, September 16, 2004 at 11:17:15)
Answered: Monday, September 20, 2004 at 04:16:19.

Hey Dave-
Not really a question. I just want to say that your music and storytelling continue to hit home. Hell, I still listen to "Museum..." and
"King..." all the time. The new tune you did with Los Lobos is very haunting, and I mean that in a genuine way. See ya at the Continental in Austin on the 30th.
** I might have to hitch-hike to LA to see that show with X and The Paladins.
On second thought, an evening of guitar-slinging with you, Billy and Dave
Gonzales is probably more than this old cat could take! Rock on, and thanks for the tunes.
Hey Kal:

I'll look for you at The Continental Club and maybe at the Gil T Benefit on October 10 at The Echo in Echo Park, California. Yeah, it should be a guitar-a-ramma.

From: Frannie (Friday, September 17, 2004 at 08:26:57)
Answered: Monday, September 20, 2004 at 04:14:11.


Did you ever play with a band called the Pendelton's in Phoenix during the 1960's? I remember them from my high school days and I believe one of the guitarists was named Dave Alvin...just wondering...
Hey Frannie:

Nope, it wasn't me. Were they any good?

From: Matt Sorrell (Friday, September 17, 2004 at 09:10:43)
Answered: Monday, September 20, 2004 at 04:13:23.

With all of the press surrounding the big political tour this fall with Bruce Springsteen, John Fogerty and others, I was curious what you think about it. Have you ever done any overtly political shows supporting causes or candidates?
On a completely unrelated subject, I read on one of the older Q&A pages that you like Charles Ives. I recently got exposed to him and really liked what I heard. Do you think you'll ever do anything in that kind of classical vein? What about a film score?
Hey Matt:

Yeah, I really enjoy Ives and some Copland but, no, I'm not quite good enough to ever consider doing anything in that vein. The same with movie music. I've done some work on films, like John Water's Crybaby, but doing that kind of stuff is really a full time job and I'd rather be in a bar playing live. On the other hand, as they say, you never know.

As far as the political stuff, well, I'm all for it. No matter what side of the fence you're on, it's fine with me. Musicians and songwriters are citizens also so why should they have to shut up while all the millionaire pundits on tv get to talk. I've done many benefits and fundraisers for causes and candidates over the years and hopefully will do more when the right thing comes along. I don't, though, do any political preaching from the stage (well, most of the time) or anything like that. I'm not against people who do that but I'm not such a great public speaker and, to me, my songs should do most of the talking. Anyway, I will say this, what ever you do, don't forget to vote this year. It's pretty serious this time.

From: tina kyle (Saturday, September 18, 2004 at 12:47:28)
Answered: Monday, September 20, 2004 at 04:01:09.

Hi there,
My friends and I went to the show last night at the coach house and I was able to take a play list and I was wondering if I were to mail it would Dave sign and send it back to me? It is for my friend Steve who is a huge fan and it would be a great surprise and it would also be a great way for me to thank him for turning us on to Dave and the guilty men.
Thanks a lot,
P.S. By the way, the show was great!!!
Hey Tina:

You can send the set list to me care of my booking agents,
Mongrel Music
743 Center Boulevard
Fairfax, California 94930

I'll be on the road for much of the next two months, so I can't guarantee that I can sign it right away but I will sign it for Steve as soon as I can. Tell Steve hey from me and thank him for exposing you to me and The Guilty Men's music. And, especially, thank you for the compliment regarding the Coach House show. I'm glad you enjoyed it. We had a few technical difficulties that night and, hopefully, they didn't detract from the show. See you next time, I hope.

From: James (Sunday, August 22, 2004 at 17:30:06)
Answered: Sunday, September 19, 2004 at 03:06:00.

I'm looking forward to seeing your band at The Fine Line in Minneapolis. I am a audio taper and was just wondering what the bands policy is on open taping of your shows. I tape alot of Los Lobos shows and was hoping to tape your show also. Can't wait to see ya live!!! Peace, James
Hey James:

Feel free to tape the show. The live shows tend to be a bit different than the studio recordings so I don't mind people capturing the live show for themselves or their friends. The only rules are: 1) Swap the tapes, don't sell them, and
2) If the performance that night sucks then please destroy the tape. I leave it up to the tapers to decide the quality of the performance though. See you in a few weeks.

From: Nick (Tuesday, September 14, 2004 at 09:22:18)
Answered: Wednesday, September 15, 2004 at 03:37:33.

Hi Dave. My name is Nick. I was fortunate enough to meet you in Chicago, where you signed my Fitzgerald's book. I think I told you that my wife and I recently had a baby boy. When you play the Casbah, he will be 4 months. His name is Anthony. Now I know that he's a little shy of 21! But It's important to me that I expose him to the best things this life has to offer, and then let him choose. Do you think I could bring him to sound check at the Casbah? I know my question is insane, but you are someone I really look up to. Your music is the best American music has to offer, and the way you have treated myself and all of your fans, is the way I want Anthony to treat people in his life. Maybe if he hears you, there will be less of a chance he'll get caught up in all the crappy music being shoved down kids throats today. Don't think if Country Dick were alive, I wouldn't have already arranged a private baptism!I want the boy brought up right1 Either way Dave, I look forward to hearing you and seeing you. You are the best.
Hey Nick:

Congratulations on your baby boy, Anthony! And I'm positive that Country Dick would've been proud to have baptized him. The only question is, what liquid would Dick have baptized him with. Water? I'm not so sure.

Regarding The Casbah, The Guilty Men and I tend not to do soundchecks there (or at least very short ones) because the sound system is limited. I'd recommend bringing Anthony around to the Belly Up the next time we play there as we tend to jam a bit at the soundchecks there. I love both places for different reasons. The Belly Up is a really nice club and The Casbah is a really good joint. Know what I mean?

I think it's great that you want to expose your son to as much good music as you can before the pop culture machine gets a hold of him. My suggestion would be to play all sorts of music to him as he grows, everything from blues to classical to Country Dick, and just let it all seep in. He'll thank you later in life but he'll still probably like some type of music that'll drive you crazy when he's a teenager, but hey, that's what he's supposed to do, ain't it?

From: david goodfriend (Tuesday, September 7, 2004 at 13:02:22)
Answered: Wednesday, September 15, 2004 at 03:23:29.

Hi Dave;
I was on the "Blastered" CD and met you very briefly one nite when I barged in on you at the Iota to get it signed..my apologies for being so obnoxious prior to a performance
Your songwriting is just amazing and I have long admired it. I recently joined a band called The Shambells. Usually I play most of the guitar, but with ex-night
hawk guitarist Pete Kanaras aboard, I am mostly playing rhythm and loving it. And the songwriting in the band has come onto my plate. By default! So I have started banging out the tunes for our first cd.
I recently read a bio of Richard Rogers and the most important thing I learned from it....That songwriting is hard work and you have to do that work. If you sit around and wait to be inspired, it could be a long wait. So most nites I lock myself in my room with my dachshund maxie and plug away at writing. Just wondering what your comment would be on my observation. I know they are all different kinds of ways that you probably get to your songs.
thanks for the inspiration!
David Goodfriend
Hey David:

I started out as a songwriter "by default." When The Blasters decided to play original songs, besides blues, r+b and rockabilly covers, I was the only guy who showed up at rehearsal with songs so suddenly I was a songwriter and not a fry cook. It's not a bad way to start. And, yeah, far be it from me to disagree with Richard Rogers, songwriting is very, very, very, hard work. And lonely too. As you said, there are a million ways to write a song but most of the time you have to struggle for each word or note but sometimes, when you least expect it, BAM!, a good song pops into your head from out of the blue and it makes all the lonely, hard work worthwhile.

Good luck with your songs, The Shambells and your CD. And say hello to Maxie for me.

From: phillipe berger (Sunday, September 12, 2004 at 18:19:17)
Answered: Wednesday, September 15, 2004 at 03:12:58.

Dear Dave Alvin,

(please pardon, english is not my first language)

I have heard of you, but never heard your music until a recent show on the Voice of America. Now I am a fan and will do my best to tell my friends about your songs. You paint such pictures, the words make the people come alive for me.
I really enjoyed the interview on VOA. It sounded like you had fun, did you? I really enjoy that program, as the hostess has a way of getting everyone to tell great stories. And I like the chance to hear from the songwriters about writing and life. I hope you will return sometime!
Travel safely Dave Alvin and the Guilty Men.
Hey Phillipe:

I'm very happy that you enjoyed the Voice Of America show. It was a very, very relaxed interview (despite the extra high security in the VofA building) and the hostess asked some very good, smart questions. So, yeah, it was certainly fun. She said that people around the world would be listening and she was right. I've only played in France a few times. Twice in Paris with my old band, The Blasters, and I played gigs in Paris, Lyon and Nancy as a solo artist. I'd like to get to France more often but it never seems to work out. Perhaps next year.

Anyway, I'm very happy that you enjoyed my music and will try to turn your friends on to my songs. That means the world to me. Thanks for listening and for the kind words about my lyrics and, hopefully, I'll see you soon in France.

From: Steve Patt (Sunday, September 12, 2004 at 21:07:01)
Answered: Wednesday, September 15, 2004 at 02:59:10.

Hey Dave--enjoyed the party, stellar barbeque, and good peoples...hope we may get to play together sometime, I'm either in the studio (mostly on lap steel, dobro, or pedal steel)--or doing solo work. Can't say how much I;ve been getting major kick out of seeing Rick Shea play and occasionally open for him--it's like free guitar lesson. I'm doing mostly solo stuff now, but am ex-Chambers Brothers (1960's), ex-Edgar Winter ('70's), ex-Gene Clark (80's) and active on guitar )(mostly Tele), steel, mandolin, accordian, elec and acoutsic bases....anyway, love your tunes, and we'll share a stage someday, I'm sure...Cheers, Steve
Hey Steve:

Yeah, Geoff Muldaur can certainly cook BBQ and gather a very eclectic group of folks to eat it. Speaking of eclectic, man, you played with Edgar Winter, The Chambers Brothers AND Gene Clark? Wow. Now, thats eclectic.

I certainly learned a lot about guitar playing from Rick Shea when he was in my band. He's an amazing player, very tasteful, subtle and melodic. And a lot of sunburnt southern Cali Telecaster soul in him. Great guy, great musician.

Well, I look forward to at least seeing you at the next Muldaur food fest and maybe we'll get Geoff to break out the guitars and we can all make a glorious racket together. Or maybe over at The Cinema Bar whenever Rick is playing there next. Keep rocking.

From: Larry Gold (Monday, September 13, 2004 at 11:46:31)
Answered: Wednesday, September 15, 2004 at 02:48:08.

I am a long time fan of your music, (ever since I heard the Shakin' Stevens cover of "Marie, Marie" which led me to your band, the Blasters, over 20 years ago). However, I just recently discovered your Q & A page. I noticed that you do respond to the questions and comments of fans, so let me first say what an honor and privilege it is to communicate with you directly. I think you're one of the top song writers in America today and I hold your work up there with some of my all time favorites: Dylan, Springsteen, Johnny Cash & John Hiatt. Your songs are wonderful viginettes and stories of people that I can relate to on a host of different levels. Dave, as an observer of humanity and the human condition, you have no equal as a song writer: none.
I love the new CD Ash Grove, particularly the song "The Man in the Bed". The first time I heard the song I started to cry a bit; I guess it sort of hit home. My own father is 81 years old and his mental and physical health are starting to fail. I spend a lot time thinking about what I want to say or should say to him while he's still here, knowing that he won't be with me forever. My Dad has never been a great communicator on an emotional level but I know he has stories to tell: stories I've never heard. The song made me think about how my Dad might feel about the process of deterioration he's going through. Thanks for helping me get to the place where I could try to think about and understand some of these issues.
I would also like to know how you hooked up with Greg Leiz; his playing and production on your recordings is beautiful, especially his slide guitar work.
Lastly, I play guitar in a rockabilly/blues group based in Northwest Ohio; we're called "Pal Joey & da Sicilian Playboys". I've been performing a few of your tunes for quite a while and am currently playing American Music, Marie, Marie, Long White Cadillac, Leavin' and So Long Baby Goodbye at every gig; I love performing these tunes. So if you ever need another guitar player for your touring band, I already have some of the Dave Alvin catalog down

Thanks for all the great music for so many years,
Larry "Entertainment" (Gold)

PS. Do you remember playing a club called "Harpo's" in Detroit in 1981 or 1982? I was at the show. I think this was before Lee Allen either joined the band or began touring with the Blasters, am I right?
Hey Larry:

Oh, yeah, I remember Harpos! The Blasters played there twice, the first time was without Lee Allen but the second time was with Lee. Very sweaty, rocking gigs. Certainly my favorite Blaster gigs ever in Detroit.

Regarding your very generous compliments regarding my songwriting, I don't know if I'm really in the same league as those guys but thanks. It means an awful lot to hear that some of my songs mean so much to you. They mean an awful lot to me.
And, yeah, thanks for playing them with the Sicilian Playboys (I like the name).
It's hard to explain how good it feels to know that some of my songs are being played in a bar or a garage or wherever. Makes me feel like Chuck Berry, I guess. I just hope people dance to 'em.

Now, regarding your dad . . . well, man, all I can tell you is to tell him everything you want to tell him whether you think he understands or not. I said a lot of things to my parents during their illnesses and I'm very glad that I did. Ask him all the dumb questions you can think of. He may think you're out of your mind at first (just like my old man did) but I'm sure he'll eventually start talking and telling stories and answering every question you might have. Give it a shot, what have you got to lose?

From: Tom Blair (Tuesday, September 14, 2004 at 20:32:45)
Answered: Wednesday, September 15, 2004 at 02:26:29.

Hi Dave
Any chance of purchasing a copy of Outtakes in California? Was it only sold at shows?
Tom Blair
Hey Tom:

Yeah, it was only sold at shows and at the Village Records website. Unfortunately, all the copies I'd pressed up have been sold and I'm not planning on pressing anymore copies, at least not for a while. I'm going to try to record the current Guilty Men line up live and perhaps sell those recordings at shows. I guess, it'll be called something real clever like Outtakes In California Volume 2. You can try the Yahoo American Music message board to see if anyone wants to sell or trade or burn you a copy of Outtakes Volume 1. Good luck.

From: Ron (Saturday, September 11, 2004 at 09:55:46)
Answered: Sunday, September 12, 2004 at 02:19:07.


Bought your Ashgrove CD at a recent concert in Reno. The CD had your label but was filled with pop Religious music. Does the religious right have an agenda against you or what? Anyway, I'm wondering how if you can exchange this CD with the "right one".

Hey Ron:

Oh God, not again.
Yeah, this screw up has happened waaaaaayyyy too much. Believe me, I apologize.
YepRoc apologizes. The CD manufacturer apologizes. Everyone invovled apologizes.
Now, the thing to do is to call YepRoc at 877-733-3931 and tell them. They'll apologize and send you a new copy without the religious music. If they don't or you any trouble reaching them, call my booking agency at 415-485-5100 and they let me know that you haven't been taken care of.
By they way, just curious, but that Reno gig was about a month ago, what took ya so long to figure out you had the wrong CD? Or did you just think I was making some extrememly different music these days?

From: Jeff (Saturday, September 11, 2004 at 18:39:04)
Answered: Sunday, September 12, 2004 at 02:12:29.

Hey Dave, thanks for taking the time to answer questions. I'm sure you have a busy schedule, thats why we appreciate it all the more.
First, You've mentioned Chuck Berry as an influence on you. Besides doing "Promised Land" as part of the medley you do, any other Berry songs you've done live, either solo, or with the Blasters? And what about putting one of Berrys songs in a future cd?
Lastly, you always give praise to your band, the Guilty Men. And I agree, some of the best musicians Ive ever heard. You recently talked about why the awesome Rick Shea left. I was curious what happenned to Rick Solem the piano player you had? Always thought he gave the band a distict sound, loved his solo on Romeo's Escape. Any chance of you playing with him again? Thanks again...Jeff Los Alamitos Calif
Hey Jeff:

Well, I think most people have been hugely influenced by Chuck Berry (whether they admit it or not) and I'm certainly no exception. Some of my earliest memories are of hearing Chuck songs on the radio and the immediate impact they had both on my young mind (he could paint pictures with words like few others) and on my body (I could't help but jump around like a goof ball whenever one came on the radio back then). My favorites? Well, yeah, Promised Land, Memphis,
No Particular Place To Go, You Can't Catch Me, Almost Grown, and on and on.
I have no plans to record any his songs, though, in the future. He kind of put his stamp on them and only a few covers have even come close to his own versions. I sing Promised Land in the Jubliee Train Medley because it fit what I was trying to do thematically.

Yeah, Rick Solem is a motherf..... on the piano. I place him right next to The Blasters Gene Taylor in the boogie woogie/blues/New Orleans style of piano playing. He's also an extrmemely talented songwriter. He was recently at my house and played me some of his new songs. Amazing stuff. Sort of like Randy Newman and John Lennon writing songs with Professor Longhair. Hopefully he can get a CD out of his new material and get known for his writing as well as his piano chops. What I've said about Rick Shea also goes for Rick Solem, once a Guilty Man, always Guilty in my book.

From: Jason Johnson (Friday, September 10, 2004 at 06:51:00)
Answered: Sunday, September 12, 2004 at 01:57:40.

I'm a songwriter. Does Dave or the Blasters consider any original music submissions?


Hey Jason:

No, not really. I'm mainly a songwriter and I'm not really a good enough singer to sing other people's songs unless they move me so much that I don't care how good of a singer I am, I just want to sing 'em. Usually that means I'll try to sing old blues or folk or country or rock and roll songs. Sometimes I do all right, other times, well, let's just leave it at that. Good luck with your songwriting career. It's a hard business, take it from me.

From: Barry (Monday, August 9, 2004 at 07:05:23)
Answered: Sunday, September 12, 2004 at 01:51:48.

Hi, We recently attended your Trocadero and paradise shows. We were going to the Bowery Ballroom but Sarah pulled her hip muscle and fractured part of her hip during Marie Marie in Boston..So now she is on the disabled list thanks to " Marie Marie" . My question is -Has anyone ever gotten injured to your tunes in the past or is it a common thing? The shows were incredible and the addition of Chris Gaffney and Chris Miller really puts you guys over the top.The version of Dry River was incredible with Chris Miller and Joe Terry jamming hard on them...Thanks amillion for putting out a better record every time you record..And thanks for hangin with us backstage at The Trocadero...Barry and Sarah..See you in Phoenix and Tucson

From: Diane Rydzewski (Monday, August 9, 2004 at 09:20:37)
Answered: Sunday, September 12, 2004 at 01:39:49.

Hello Dave, saw your buddy Mr. Ben Vaughn perform on Fri. @ Tin Angel. He was wonderful - he sang a great song about Calif. women called, "Beautiful People Need Love Too". Pretty funny. I didn't realize you guys were friends til he mentioned it. I told Ben that me and the gang saw you and the GM perform last week in Phila. and NY and that you were superb.

Your show is the highlight of the year - you even rock David Bowie off the stage - saw db 2x in Atlantic City in May - been a db fan since early-mid 70's. Saw Boz Scaggs last week and your show rules all. Big Sandy's the next show in town! Thanx again for your amazing shows last week. It's always good to see excellent and gifted musicians.

Happy trails;-)

Phila., PA

Hey Diane:

I apologize that it took me so long to respond to your posting but things have been very busy this summer. Yeah, I've known and admired Ben for many years. In fact one of my favorite shows I ever saw was a Ben Vaughan Combo gig at the old Cubby Bear in 1987. We even wrote a song together a few years back called Times Gonna Catch Us, sort of a 60's r+b thing.
And thank you very, very much for the nice words about the show in Philly. The Guilty Men and I thought it was pretty special also. In fact, the show was recorded that night and we're debating whether to press up copies of it to sell at future shows but not for a general release. We'll see what happens but it was a good night of music and my guys are a pretty amazing band that only keeps getting better. I only wish I was as good as they are.

From: Kathy (Thursday, September 2, 2004 at 21:36:08)
Answered: Sunday, September 12, 2004 at 01:30:28.

Hi Dave
This isn't really a question...only a comment.

I experienced your band for the first time in Ottawa, Ontario Canada at the Bluesfest. I am a local singer/songwriter here and I was very inspired by your gift of powerful and sincere songwriting, and your haunting voice!
I just wanted to let you know that I have already written a song inspired by you and when I say inspired by Dave Alvin, I mean that I literally heard your voice singing a couple lines in my head and that's how it all started. Weird how different elements of inspiration gather into the subconcious. Anyway, thanks for song
Kathy Kennedy

Hey Kathy:

I'm very complimented by your comment and that I inspired a song for you. I certainly know what you're talking about when you say that you can hear someone's voice singing a song you're writing. It happens to me often. I'll hear an old George Jones record or a Howling Wolf record or a doo wop song and I'll start writing a song thinking of one them singing it. And, yeah, the creative subconscious is a constant amazement. I try not to think about it too much and just let it run wild. Anyway, I hope the song turns out okay and good luck with your songwriting career.

From: Carol (Thursday, September 2, 2004 at 12:23:07)
Answered: Tuesday, September 7, 2004 at 02:52:35.

Hi Dave,

I was reading something on the Tom Russell website today, and I thought this might interest you. Maybe you've already heard of this, I don't know. In March 2005, there is a Cowboy Train, leaving from here in Vancouver, and going to Toronto. I know that you aren't a cowboy, but in my eyes you are a highwayman, and bit of an outlaw (this isn't a bad thing, believe me). In other words, I don't think you walk the straight and narrow...but then neither do I. I just thought you would be great addition to the train, which already includes, Tom Russell, Ramblin Jack Elliott, Don Edwards, Paul Zarzyski (cowboy poet) and Wylie and His Wild West. Maybe if you were to go, I'd even be willing to take out that bank loan to go. Apparrently, it will be 5 days of songwriting, jamming and "drinking". All passengers, are encouraged to bring their instrument of choice. If I was going, I would bring my guitar and bottleneck. Then again, I would probably leave the bottleneck at home, well with all the empty beer bottles that would be lying around the train. Well, if you end up deciding to go, maybe you can take me as your guitar roadie. I work cheap. Take care.

Cheers, Carol

Hey Carol:

Oh, yeah, Tom asked me to do the train gig a while back and, though I'm complimented he asked me, I had to decline. Even though I'm a huge fan of Paul Zarzyski and Don Edwards and, of course, a huge fan and friend of Tom and Ramblin' Jack, and I couldn't think of a bunch of better folks to be stuck on a train with, it's just not my thing. A bit too claustrophobic for me. But if I was to go, you could certainly play bottleneck with me on some railraod blues and I'll be you're guitar roadie. If you do end up going, tell the guys I send my regards and have a beer for me.

From: Matt Sorrell (Tuesday, August 31, 2004 at 10:14:12)
Answered: Tuesday, September 7, 2004 at 02:39:56.

I meant to ask this in my last e-mail. I've noticed some interesting repeated images in your songs. The one that jumps out at me most is that of a pretty, faded girl behind glass-the hotel clerk in Interstate City and the title character in Black Haired Girl. Any significance to this image? I think it's pretty haunting and isolating and really poignant. I've been giving a serious listen to your stuff again recently and I'm really struck by how much your songs are really the equivalent of good short stories put to music. As a songwriter, do you concentrate more on lyrics or the music?
Hey Matt:

I tend to concentrate on both. It just depends. Some songs write themselves others need a lot of sweat on both the music and the lyrics. And, yeah, I like songs that tell a story, whether it's Marty Robbin's El Paso or Woody Guthrie's Pastures Of Plenty or Robert Johnson's Come On In My Kitchen, and I try to emulate those great writers.
As far as the "bullet proof glass" image, well, have you ever noticed how many daily interactions are conducted with one person sitting behind bullet proof glass? It can be pretty sad when you think about it.
Just a new blues image from our modern world.

From: Paul Mallary (Tuesday, August 31, 2004 at 17:49:15)
Answered: Tuesday, September 7, 2004 at 02:31:52.

I just saw you guys play at the palms in Winters. It was a great show.Any chance of an end of tour live album. You could sell it like outtakes in Ca. What ever you decide thanks for the music.
Hey Paul:

What The Guilty Men and I are thinking of doing is recording a live show or two and then only selling them at shows exactly ike the Outtakes In California CD. The band is playing on a very high level these days and we'd like to document it somehow. Record companies, many critics and some fans don't like live records but I do, and The Guilty Men live performances are so different than the studio performances that it makes sense to me to make both available. So, hopefully, sometime next year will be a "Available At Shows Only" live CD of the current line up. Thanks for asking.

From: Patty (Wednesday, September 1, 2004 at 11:43:48)
Answered: Tuesday, September 7, 2004 at 02:24:23.

Hey-just heard an ad for your concert at Long Beach. Saw you 20 years ago at UCI, one of the funnest concerts ever, the entire audience danced the whole time. And, you even autographed my leg. I'd show it to you, but I have washed since then!
You bring back great memories of a great time. Thanks. I'll be there this weekend.
(no response needed)
Hey Patty:

I autographed your leg, huh? Well, I'm glad you've washed your leg over the last twenty years but anytime you need another autograph, just let me know.
I guess I missed you this time at the Long Beach Blues Festival but maybe our paths will cross in another 20 years.

From: Dan Chusid (Wednesday, September 1, 2004 at 18:53:47)
Answered: Tuesday, September 7, 2004 at 02:20:26.

Hey Dave!

We've met at a few shows here in San Diego and most recently at the Belly Up gig.
I'm the guy with the camera that took some photos during and post show of you, the band
and Amy Farris.
Wanted to share them with you and been in touch with Amy but she wasn't able to access the photo link I gave her. Perhaps you'll have better luck: http://www.pbase.com/camera0bug/dave_alvin_

Also I've got some shots from the Blasters reunion tour gig at 4th & B (March 6, '02) and The Casbah
from 2-3 years ago if you're interested.

Looking forward to your next appearance here and maybe chatting after the show.


Dan Chusid
San Diego

Hey Dan:

Thanks for the photos. I'll try to get over to your site and check them out but Amy Farris is a bit of computer whiz and if she can't access the photos at your site, then I'll never be able to. See you in soon in San Diego.

From: Matt Boisseau (Thursday, August 5, 2004 at 19:01:48)
Answered: Monday, September 6, 2004 at 02:41:07.

Email sent to www.villagerecords.com 8/5/04

I received the new Dave Alvin CD, Ashgrove, today, and something weird happened when I played it.

Although the CD itself matched the case, in terms of looks and design and everything, 12 tracks of weird gospel music played instead of the ten tracks of Dave's unmistakable brand of rock, country, rhythm and blues. At first I thought it was a joke, but as I skipped through the tracks, I realized the entire CD was wrong.

Someone at the recording studio must have burned gospel onto a batch of Dave's CD's and shipped them out like that by mistake. I bet Dave never had a problem like this with quality control at Hightone...

Too bad I live in the sticks and need to rely on internet shopping, It'll be forever before I get this issue resolved.

Hey Matt:

I'm very embarassed and sorry for the stupid mix up. I can't apologize enough for this dumb situation. You're not the only one this has happened to. It seems that there was a "problem" at the pressing plant that manufactures the CDs. IF you, or anyone else, has not been able to get satisfaction from the internet site where you purchased the CD or from a retail outlet, then call YEPROC Records at 877-733-3931. They will gladly ( and with apologies) send you the real Ashgrove CD.

Yeah, you're right, this never happened with Hightone but it could have happened there as well as anywhere else. If it's any consolation, some people at recent shows have come up to me wanting to buy the religious music pressing of the CD. I tell them that it's not good religious music like Blind Willie Johnson or Sam Cooke with The Soul Stirrers but they say it'll be a collectors item someday.
Yeah, small consolation.

If you still haven't received any satisfaction, contact my booking agency at 415-485-5100 and they'll let me know. Again, Matt, please accept my sincere apology for this mess.

From: pete kelly (Monday, August 30, 2004 at 04:34:02)
Answered: Tuesday, August 31, 2004 at 02:26:02.

hi dave
i hope you are well ive been listining to your music managed to get hold of 7 cd,s of yours (just got ashgrove)its hard to pick a favourite
song though i think border radio is a great song,reminds me of when i was a
little lad growing up in sheffield england, listining to radio luxumburgs top
twenty, ear pressed to the speaker.also got the dvd blasters going home,fantastic bunch of musicians, including guest acts. i really enjoyed
watching PROPER HARD WORKING MUSICIANS & SINGERS ,and not this glut of
manufactured pap thats flooding the airwaves.
stay pure
pete kelly

Hey Pete:

Yeah, pop music is pretty prefabricated these days. Certainly no one can accuse Billy Boy Arnold, Sonny Burgess and The Calvanes/Medallions (our guests on The Blasters' DVD) of being manufactured.
Yeah, I also snuck the transistor radio into bed with me when I was a kid. My parents thought I was sleeping but I was almost hipnotized, listening to the border radio stations. I imagine Radio Luxemburg played slightly different music than the Mexican border stations did but, then again, maybe not so different.
I don't know. I think the important thing is just the simple act of listening to music across borders in the middle of the night unites our experiences. I thought there was something poetic and magical about that. I still do. Anyway, thanks for the kind words and, hopefully, see you over in the UK one of these days.

From: Tom (Saturday, August 28, 2004 at 19:23:46)
Answered: Monday, August 30, 2004 at 01:26:04.

Have been listening to Ashgrove for a couple weeks and was instantly hooked on the Man In The Bed(Isn't Me) and Out of Control but the Black Haired Girl is becoming one of my favorites. You should try some melding of your version of Somewhere in Time with Los Lobos' version. Your ending works well with their instrumental part. Keep up the great work. Will you ever be near the Richmond VA area? Hell, I'm 53 and writing to some fan club but if I ever go to another concert, it'll be you and the GM. I have an interesting story on how I got back to listening to you but I'll save it for now.
Tom Blair

Hey Tom:

I'm interested in hearing about what got you back listening so I look forward to that story. As far as melding the Lobos instrumental section of Somewhere In Time to my outro instrumental on that song, well, I wouldn't want to attempt to play like Lobos. It might get kind of embarassing for me. They're too good. In fact, they're about the best there is in my book.

Also, this little forum is hardly a fan club so don't feel wierd about writing. It's just a place to communicate with people who enjoy (or sometimes don't enjoy) the music. No autographed 8by10 glossies or membership cards here.

The Guilty Men and I, hopefully, should be back in the Richmond area in January or Feburary if the fates allow. If not Richmond then at least at the Birchmere or someplace around DC. I'm very proud of my band and if you do decide to "ever go to another concert," the guilty guys are well worth the hassle. I sincerely hope you make it to a show. I think you'll like it.
Black Haired Girl is one of my favortes also.

From: Deb Haas (Friday, August 27, 2004 at 09:57:16)
Answered: Saturday, August 28, 2004 at 03:06:20.


I met you a couple weeks ago after the Friday night show in Reno (great show as always). I showed you a picture of you that I had taken at a show at Big Eds in 2001. It was framed along with the signed set list and the ticket from the show (I had it framed as a birthday present for my husband). That night you said you would like to get a copy of the photo. I had a copy of it made for you and would like to know where to send it.

Hey Deb:

Thanks a lot for doing that! I remember you're photo very well. Usually I don't think I look very good in live photos (too much sweat and too many funny guitar player grimaces) but I really liked your shot. You've got talent. Anyway, I hope your husband dug it.
The best place to send it is c/o my booking agents:

Mongrel Music
743 Center Boulevard
Fairfax, California

Thanks again, Deb.

From: Wild Bill Irvin (Friday, August 27, 2004 at 09:13:00)
Answered: Saturday, August 28, 2004 at 02:59:11.

Dear Dave,

I'm a huge fan having seen you eight times in 1998 alone (Midwest and Pac Northwest); hope you don't think I'm a stalker!

I keep listening to the new album and liking it more every time. Songs like Everett Ruess just knock me dead! Sounds like something your buddy Tom Russell would write! :-)

Glad to see the issue of travel of your vintage Strat addressed in this forum. Gosh, though, Dave, after seeing you so many times at FitzGerald's and other places, I can't help but think the old one sounds a bit more bad-ass!

The riff at the end of "Somewhere in Time" leads in so well to "Ashgrove." On the current tour I saw you in both Springfield, MO and St. Louis, and at the St. Louis gig, you played those two songs together as a medley. When did you first realize that they go together? Moreover, with that, if you want to address the broader issue of playing medleys without coming close to being associated with jam bands, please do.


Wild Bill Irvin
Grover, Missouri
Hey Wild Bill:

Well, yeah, I agree, a Strat reissue, no matter how good, is not going to be quite as "bad-ass" as a great vintage Strat. But on the other hand I sleep better at night knowing my long time companion 64 Strat is safe and sound at home. It will still come out on the road whenever there are no airline flights involved and I can keep my eye on it.

Jam bands? I don't mind being associated with jam bands. Or blues bands or honky tonk bands or jug bands or surf bands or folk bands or Celtic bands or jazz bands or garage bands or rockabilly bands or punk bands or swing bands or bluegrass bands or just about any kind of band I can think of. To paraphrase Ray Charles, there are only two types of music - good music and band music. I'm a pretty open minded guy.

Now, the idea to morph from the end of Somewhere In Time into Ashgrove came to me when Greg Leisz and I were rehearsing the songs for the new CD before we recorded it. All the songs on the CD kind of relate to each other around similar lyrical themes so I thought a nice circular way of wrapping up the CD would be to have the end lead you back to the begining. Didn't mean to get too cosmic or arty, just trying to make a point about life, memory and survival. Playing it that way live is a lot of fun for Chris Miller and me. Everynight we play the transition differently. Some nights, yeah, we sound a bit like the Dead while on other nights we might sound a little like the early Butterfield Blues Band and then some nights we may sound like kids in a garage playing electric guitars for the first time and just digging the wonderful, loud noise.

I look forward to seeing you at another 8 shows!

From: Manu (Friday, August 27, 2004 at 00:31:30)
Answered: Saturday, August 28, 2004 at 02:30:26.

Hi Dave,
I'm a your fan since '80. I live in North Italy and I saw 3 your concerts. I remember a your concert in Olgiate Comasco (Como - Lombardia - Italy) almost 10 years ago, in a little theatre. You played with some actual Guilty Men, and there was a blonde pianist too. What is his name? It was one of the most faboulus concert I ever seen.

Some years ago I also saw you in an acoustic concert in a little pub in Sesto Calende in Italy and you made me an autograph "to Manu, mi amigo!"

Also I saw the "Original Blasters Tour" concert the last year... fantastic!!!

Your last CD "Ashgrove" is beautiful. I like very much every song, and specially "Nine Volt Hearth" and "Rio Grande". I listen to this CD every day.

I'm waiting for you and Guilty Men in Italy... soon I hope :))

Manu ;)

Hey Manu:

How are you, mi amigo?
Well, the blonde pianist was Rick Solem. He's a stunning, powerful pianist as well as a soulful songwriter/singer. I put him pretty close to Gene Taylor in the boogie woogie and New Orleans styles.
Anyway, I'm very happy that you like the new CD and I plan on bringing The Guilty Men to Italy next year, hopefully in the spring. I'll see you there.

From: Arnie Sinha (Wednesday, August 11, 2004 at 11:42:56)
Answered: Thursday, August 26, 2004 at 03:15:55.


Congratulations on your new album. I look forward to picking it up soon. At the risk of sounding corny, I just wanted to let you know how much your music has meant to me and my best-buddy Pete...both as a music lovers, and as ("so-so") guitar players (We played in a few rock/punk bands when we were kids). I'm now 37 years old, with a family, and don't get out to see live music as much as I used to. I grew up in San Diego, and have seen the Blasters and your band several times over the years (I was a regular in the Rockabilly scene in San Diego in the late 80's/early 90's. Lot of good music going on then - Big Sandy, Dave & Deke, Hooligans, Royal Crown, etc.). I still get your CD's whenever they come out. I can't decide which I like best between Blue Blvd, Blackjack David, or the one you one a grammy for.

I wanted to share some of our memorable Blasters/Dave Alvin moments:

- We saw you when you first went solo, and were touring for Blue Blvd, at "The Bachanal" in San Diego. There were only about 15 people in the room, and we came up and talked to you afterwards. You were a gentleman!
- I saw Phil play a solo gig at Linda's Doll Hut in Anaheim many years ago. He came in with nothing but an acoustic guitar (and a nylon-string classical type at that. No strap even). He propped one leg up on his guitar case and whaled away! The microphone kept slipping down in the stand, so I walked out of the crowd, got some duct tape from the bartender, and fixed it for him. He thanked me.
- Saw you at a (Big Sandy I think) show at the Foothill in Long Beach, having a beer at the bar.
- Saw you with the Knitters at the Belly Up, about 10 or so years ago.
- About 5 years ago the Blasters (minus you) played at a private birthday party in San Diego. We got to hang out and talk with Phil and the boys (Phil was throwing some heavy philosophy around). Also, Pete brought his guitar and got to play a song with Phil after the set. I have some cool photos if you're interested. Next time you talk to him, maybe you can ask him if he remembers it.

Anyhow, I figure you're busy and this email's probably too long already. I have a couple of guitar questions, but maybe I'll save those for later.


Arnie ("Slick") Sinha
Murrieta CA
Hey Arnie:

Thanks for helping my brother out with the microphone stand. That really means a lot to me, believe it or not. And thanks for sharing your memories. Well, next time you see me leaning agains't the bar, having a beer at a Big Sandy show, feel free to come on over and I'll buy you a beer for helping Phil. Then we can discuss guitars and Phil-osophy. Keep Rockin'

From: john taylor (Wednesday, August 11, 2004 at 12:54:46)
Answered: Thursday, August 26, 2004 at 03:10:38.

Hi Dave,

I saw you and Tom Russell plus Nancy Griffith a while ago at the Bottom Line in NYC. What a great showI I know Tom a little bit and he mentions you from time to time, always when he sings Blue Wing and how much he likes your version of it.
How did the two of you get together originally?

PS. Just got Ashgrove...I'm about to wear it out.

Thanks for the music,

Hey John:

To make a long story short, the great folk/country singer Katy Moffat introduced me to Tom Russell's music years ago and Blue Wing was the first of his songs that I ever heard. It's one of those songs I wish I had written and it's one of those songs that I judge all other songs by.

From: Matt Sorrell (Thursday, August 12, 2004 at 13:47:06)
Answered: Thursday, August 26, 2004 at 03:07:07.

Feeling kind of old since I just realized it's been almost 19 years since I first saw the Blasters live. You had already left and Hollywood Fats was playing guitar, but I did get to shake Phil's hand. That was my only Blasters live show, though I've been lucky enough to see you come through here (St. Louis)solo several times over the years. I saw Chris Smithers open for you at the Duck Room at Blueberry Hill a few years ago. That was my first experience hearing Chris, and he really turned my head around.
Just wanted to drop you a line to let you know that I still get stoked when I hear you have a new album coming out. Your music means as much to me now at 35 as it did when I was 15. Thanks for everything.

PS-I saw a video recently where you were playing your old Fender Mustang. I had heard that it was stolen years ago, and you replaced it with the Strat you currently play. Was the Mustang ever recovered?

Hey Matt:

No, the Mustang was never stolen. It's resting happily in my music room at home with all my other guitars. Every now and then I take it out and play it for old times sake. It still has broken glass in the body from me using it as a sheild agains't flying beer bottles from unhappy audience members back in the old punk rock days in LA. Ah, sweet memories.

Yeah, Chris Smither will definitely turn your head around. It's hard to think of many people more soulful, together and talented than Smither. He's always an inspiration to me.

And thanks very much for the comment about the music still being meaningful to you at 35. Whenever I hear Lightning Hopkins' song Santa Fe, I get the same goose bumps I got when I first heard it at the age of 11. Music is timeless no matter what MTV or VH1 or the Billboard charts tell us.

From: steve daniels (Monday, August 16, 2004 at 16:22:56)
Answered: Thursday, August 26, 2004 at 02:55:23.

Dave, saw your shows at Iota and the Birchmere recently and have to apologize for the lame attention from Iota, but the Birchmere audience loved you. I just got this cd called Every Night About this Time, any story behind it? or is it just some ripoff from Europe? Also, please come back to Virginia...we need you and the Guilty Men here...Steve Daniels
Hey Steve:

Well, the first Iota night was a bit rough but the second night was pretty cool and, yeah, The Birchmere gig was a lot of fun for us and Los Straightjackets. I'm certainly planning to get back to northern Virginia soon, maybe even January
or Feburary.
Now, Every Night About This Time is the European name for my first solo album. For whatever reason the English record company prefered that title to Romeo's Escape. So, no, it's not a rip off just a difference of opinion.

From: Bruce DeGrado (Wednesday, August 25, 2004 at 09:41:02)
Answered: Thursday, August 26, 2004 at 02:49:00.

Hey Dave was at the recent tractor tavern show and all I can say is WOW.Love the new cd.Loved the way you guys jammed out on most of the songs.Please please come back to Seattle soon.Took 3 people to the show and you now have 3 more fans we all bought the new cd and love it.The man in the bed is one of the most toching songs I have ever heard.My dad pasted away allmost 2years ago when Iam sad I put that song on and feel alot better.Like I said please come back to Seattle soon hope the rest of the tour goes well. Take care and see ya down the road. Bruce.

I'm very sorry to hear about your father. Losing a parent is about the toughest thing there is and, yeah, I wrote Man In The Bed to help me and anyone else to deal that loss. I'm glad it helped you.

I'm also glad you enjoyed the CD and the Tractor performance. I certainly plan to get back to Seattle as soon as possible and I hope to see you there. Oh, and thanks a million for turning your friends on to me and the band. We need all the support we can get in this age of pre-fabricated music.

From: Dann Froehlich (Tuesday, August 24, 2004 at 20:13:01)
Answered: Thursday, August 26, 2004 at 02:43:32.

August 21, 2004 Slim's San Francisco
What an awesome show! Dave and the guilty men are one of the best live bands ever. My wife and I flew up from the OC to catch the show at this fun, small club and had a terrific time. The band came on at 11PM and played until close to 1PM and just about set the place on fire with one great song after another. Unfortunately, when Dave picked up his acoustic guitar the sound tech didn't have it plugged in and after a few silent strums Dave gave up, apologized to the crowd for having to skip the acoustic part of the show (I was really hoping to hear "Man In The Bed", one of my favorites from the new CD) and reached again for his electric guitar. At this point, from our vantage spot two steps back from the front of the stage, we could see Chris, Greg and the piano player reached into their pockets, pull out dollar bills and place them on the set list taped to the top of the piano. As Dave announced the intro to the next song, Greg smiled at the other two guys and grabbed the cash. What was the bet? Do you follow a set list or do you throw the guys a curve ball from time to time to keep everybody on their toes?
Dan and Sandy
PS. Your band is just fantastic and as much as we liked Rick Shea the new guy is terrific as well. See you at the Coachhouse.
Hey Dan:

Thanks for flying all the way up to San Francisco!

Oh, yeah, I certainly throw the band curve balls. Sometimes I even throw them curve balls in the middle of a song when I'll start singing some other song entirely. It's not so much to keep them on their toes or play a trick on them but just to keep eveything fresh and go where the spirit moves me. There are certain songs in our show where there are planned places where anything can happen. For example, we've never rehearsed an ending to Long White Cadillac. Every time we jam out on that song we really have little clue of how or where it will end.

Yes, I always use a set list but the guys know that I'm very likely to change it once we get onstage. The great thing about The Guilty Men is that they can play just about anything so I feel totally comfortable changing things at any time.

Now, the betting between band members in regards to what I'll do or not do, well, I'd never seen that before. How can I get in on some of the action?

See you at The Coach House
Yeah, it was a drag about the acoustic guitar.

From: bruce (Wednesday, August 25, 2004 at 23:17:56)
Answered: Thursday, August 26, 2004 at 02:28:06.

Hey Dave! Out of Control references both you and your dad working at Kaiser in Fontana. When did you work there (or did you)? Just drove by the old mill property today...looks like they finally cleared out that decades old slag pit your dad worked at. I worked out there in the mid-70s. Got a girlfried in Dallas that I wanted to see, so I booked a flight to coincide with your gig at the Sons of Herman hall on October 1. Looking forward to it!
Hey Bruce:

No, I never worked at the Fontana Kaiser plant. Actually, my brother Phil worked there for a while in the mid-70's and, yeah, he worked in the slag pit. My dad was an organizer for the Steelworkers Union and spent many years in Fontana and Maywood working for the west coast steelworkers.

In the song Out Of Control, I'm singing in the voice of a character, not my own voice. I was trying to show a view of a world most people don't know or don't care about. What happens when a place like the Kaiser plant shuts down and leaves a chunk of people unemployed and forgotten. Some people recover and find a job that maybe doesn't pay as much as the steel mill job but it gets them by while other people get overwhelmed by events out of their control and then they go out of control. Does all that make any sense? I hope so. I'm not an economist just a songwriter.

Anyway, I look forward to seeing you in Dallas or, maybe, in Fontana.

From: Vene Franco (Tuesday, August 24, 2004 at 01:22:32)
Answered: Tuesday, August 24, 2004 at 03:42:41.

Hi Dave. I was in the audience Saturday night at Slim's in San Francisco. The show was amazing and I'm loving the new Ashgrove CD. Just wanted to share some memories. I realized Saturday that 18 years had gone by since the last time I saw you perform live. It was 1985 or 1986. I was a very young journalism student at Cal State Long Beach. It may have been at Fenders Ballroom and the Blasters were playing with Lone Justice. Crikey! These thoughts were running through my head as I looked around the room and wondered why everyone looked so old...I guess these are my well-worn peers. Well, I suppose my mileage is showing as well. I'm no longer in love, a size 4, or able to drink 6 beers in one night and remain standing. Still, once you started playing, all those years seemed to melt away and I truly thought you sounded as good (if not better...corny line, I know) as ever. Your bandmates were amazing as well. My friend and I were "crushin" on you boys. Best wishes for the remainder of the road trip. I'm going to pull out my old copy of Any Rough Times Are Now Behind You and reminisce a bit more. Take Care. -- Vene
Hey Vene:

Did we all really look "that old?"
Well, I certainly agree with you that music tends to wipe away time for a while. It's one of the reasons I love playing live.
And, yeah, the band is amazing. There have been shows during this recent tour where I can't believe how lucky I am that I get to play with such talented people.
"Crushin'", huh? Well, I pass that along to the guys also.
Anyway, I hope the next show you attend isn't 18 years from now, (I remember The Fenders gig very well - November of 1985, it was on my birthday) but even if it is, I believe the music will still erase all the years. This also sounds very corny but it still is true, you're as young as you feel.
I was also a student many years ago at Long Beach State. Some great writing teachers there then. Gerald Locklin, Elliot Freid, Richard Lee. A lot of what I know about writing, whether it's songs or poetry or shopping lists, I learned from those teachers.
Did you ever take any classes from any of them?

From: Martha Rowley (Monday, August 23, 2004 at 17:58:12)
Answered: Tuesday, August 24, 2004 at 03:29:05.

Hi Dave,
Thanks so much for recommending Tom Russell and Bill Morrissey. Caught them both; each was honored to hear you considered them favorite songwriters. I bought 'Borderland' and am enjoying the different versions of 'On the Rio Grande' and 'California Snow' in addition to the rest of that CD. Any possibility you might do a 'cowboy train' with Mr. Russell or take part in a McClinton-type cruise? Hope the tour continues well for you and the band and that you enjoy the current break.
Hey Martha:

Thanks for saying hi to Tom and Bill. They are definitely two of the best songwriters anywhere, anytime. As far as doing Tom's train across Canada thing or a cruise ship gig, well, probably not. I don't like being cooped up in planes, trains or boats for too long. Maybe if they let me drive the planes, trains and boats then I'd be more interested. On the other hand, you never know what might happen.
"Enjoy the current break?" Well, I'll try but I'd rather be on stage playing guitar than just about anything else.

From: Ray Hill (Saturday, August 21, 2004 at 15:44:02)
Answered: Tuesday, August 24, 2004 at 03:22:15.

Hi! Dave!

This is a question from UK! Are you ever likely to appear in UK?!

We bought your album 'Out in California', approx.18 months ago, on the strength of the track '4th of July', on a compilation CD with a UK magazine 'UNCUT'.Brilliant album! Love every track!

We would really like to see you LIVE, as unable to travel to US for forseeable future! We note from previous Q/A that you have appeared in Ireland!

Love your sound!

Ray & Lynda
Hey Ray and Lynda:

Hopefully, The Guilty Men and I will be in the UK next year. For various economic reasons it's difficult to take a six person band on tour in Europe for any extended time. Usually we blow into London and blow out immediately in order to save money. We also recently played in Glasgow, besides the Killkenny Roots festival in Ireland, but, unfortunately, we can't do too much more in the UK without losing money. The new CD, Ashgrove, has garnered some pretty good reviews over in the UK, so I will certainly try my best to get there as soon as possible and hopefully perform somewhere near where you live. I look forward to seeing you and thanks for the compliment on Out In California.

From: Ruth And Avi Shorer (Monday, August 23, 2004 at 00:47:52)
Answered: Monday, August 23, 2004 at 03:49:03.

Thank you so much. My son, Avi and I saw you at Slim's and loved the show. The best part for him was actually meeting you. He loved hearing Dry River live, but the fact that you took the time to come up and give him an autograph made him fly. He is 7 (almost 8) and loves your music. He considers you a good friend now. And I also love your music, of course, how else would he hear it so often? I really appreciate your kindness to him, it meant so much. I surprised him with the concert, told him only that he would remember the evening all of his life. He absolutely will. So will I. Thank you again.
Ruth Shorer
Thank you, Ruth.
Avi is very lucky to have a mother who loves him so much. I hope the music inspired him in some way or another like music did to me when I was his age.
Be careful though. He may grow up and want to be barroom guitar player like me.

All of my best to both of you and I hope to see you guys again.

From: Rob Grassini (Sunday, August 22, 2004 at 15:19:58)
Answered: Monday, August 23, 2004 at 03:47:41.


The show last night at Slim's was everything I expected and more. I was right up front with the Giant's cap and was blown away by the bands performance. It was too bad the acoustic set was passed over due to technical problems, you didn't look to happy at that point. I have been trying to catch your show for quite some time, I missed you at the Guinness Fleadh Festival in SF a few years back, finally found the tent you were in at the end of your show. All your CD's are with me on every road trip I have ever taken, it just feels right with your tunes playing while rolling down a highway. I won't miss another show in the Bay Area. Thanks for the music, I mean it.

Rob Grassini

Thanks Rob. I'll be looking for ya (in the Giants hat) the next time I'm up in San Francisco. If not there, I'll see you out on the highway somewhere.

From: sarah (Monday, August 9, 2004 at 13:11:41)
Answered: Monday, August 23, 2004 at 03:39:51.

Hey Dave,
Sarah from maine here. great showsin philly and boston! i can't believe i missed n.y. i received your regards via billy davis. thank you. i'm healing up alright. i wanted to tell you what a great groove sinful daughter had! i loved it. barry and i kept talking about it on our hellride home after the paradise. also, i noticed the different guit but billy davis filled me in on why you had that one rather than the cream one. i know what you mean, barry's guit Blukaty is going to quit traveling pretty soon too. we're looking for the same kind of guit to replace her for gigs. she means the world to us. was going to tell you in philly but i always forget everything i want to say when i see you. my brain turns to swiss cheese and all i can do is babble about how happy i am.
well, anyway can't wait to see you in arizona in october. i'll probably sit down and not take any chances with my bones at those shows. eat hearty, keep your strength up and becareful on the road. i'll see you soon. xoxoxo, sarah
Hey Sarah:

I'm very, very happy that you're healing from your accident at the Boston show.
I felt pretty damm bad that you got hurt at one of my shows and you and Barry were definitely missed in New York. Maybe next time I see you I'll only play ballads that way you can't get hurt again dancing.

In regards to the retirement of my 64 Strat from the road, yeah, it's just getting too difficult to travel these days with vintage instruments. Even though the airlines are supposed to allow musicians to carry their instruments on board planes, they've made it almost impossible to do so. Too many musicians I know have had guitars, and other instruments that they checked as baggage, stolen from the airports by whomever, so thats not a good option. Anyway, I really enjoy my 61 reissue Strat. I had the neck and body altered a bit to approximate the weight and feel of my beloved 64. It's not quite the same but it's pretty close.

Anyway, get healed, give my best to Barry and I look forward to seeing you guys in Arizona
Just kidding about the all ballads show.

From: Tom (Monday, August 9, 2004 at 09:16:45)
Answered: Monday, August 23, 2004 at 03:26:35.

Hey Dave,
Belly Up show was great... Amy Farris adds something special to your band... besides good looks. (Just ordered her CD, "Anyway." Caught the nod to "Poor Little Critters" during one of your jams. What was that ditty you sang during "Border Radio?" Also, are you coming back around this way anytime soon? How bout an acoustic gig?

Saw you play with Los Lobos ("Marie Marie")in Laguna Seca opening for the Grateful Dead in the late 80's... I'm curious what you think of the Dead (with Jerry)... I could see you doing a couple of their Robert Hunter-written tunes...


P.S. Black Jack David is the best album ever made by anyone. Truly.

Hey Tom:

I'll pass your compliment on to Amy. She certainly does add something to The Guilty Men in the talent (she has perfect pitch and a lot of Austin soul) and looks department. She was only filling in for Chris Gaffney that night (and at The Troubadour) but did an amazing job with absolutely no rehearsal. I really hope you enjoy her CD.
The song I worked into Border Radio was GOODNIGHT MY LOVE by one of my favorite west coast r+b singers, Jesse Belvin. A huge talent who passed away far too young.
I think the band and I will be back in the San Diego area in October at The Casbah near downtown. It's a ragged little joint compared to The Belly Up but
it's also fun play for us to play there. More of a barroom rock and roll show I guess. As far as an acoustic in San Diego, well, is there an appropriate venue down there for acoustic music? I'd like to know.
In regards to the Dead, well, I was never one of those people who put the Dead down. I always respected their ability to not only survive but to thrive outside of the mainstream of popular music. That is a very rare thing. I try my best at it as do many of my friends and the artists I admire. The Dead really blazed that trail for many people. What songs of Robert Hunter/Jerry Garcia would I ever do? Maybe DIRE WOLF or POOR PETER from Workingman's Dead or maybe LOSER from one of Garcia's solo records. Yeah, that song I could do pretty good I think.

From: Becki Ryan (Sunday, August 8, 2004 at 10:18:49)
Answered: Monday, August 23, 2004 at 03:07:18.


Not really a question... hoping you will forward to Dave my personal thanks for coming out with what I believe to be his best album yet..."Ashgrove".

I'm not one to post comments on websites or anywhere for that matter, however, I saw Dave last week at the Troubadour...pretty sure I'm not the first or last to say what a truley amazing artist Dave is. In fact, I'm certain others have expressed much more profound sentiments to Mr. Alvin, however, mere words cannot explain the effects his lyrics, voice and the incredible magic he performs on those guitars have on me.

Dave, if you are reading this and I hope you do... don't forget about us Angelenos. Please come back and stay a spell.

PS - I had the great fortune to meet you (briefly) 8/6 at the Troubadour after your performance - thanks for the music, your autograph (which I'll cherish "porvida!"), and most of all for being such a gracious, respectable man and for sharing your talent.

Hope to see YOU down the road -
Your pal,

Hey Becki:

Wow, well, thanks a lot for your kind words about the Troubadour show and the new CD. I'm extemely touched when people tell me how much my songs affect them because other peoples songs have the same effect on me (check out my list of favorite songs on the site). I used to feel awkward telling a songwriter or musician how much their music meant to me but then I figured, what the hell?
I should tell them whether they want to hear it or not. Writing songs can get pretty lonely and then playing them in front of people can be very scary, so I find that most songwriters are very appreciative of knowing that their songs have moved someone else so profoundly.
As far as playing in Los Angeles, well, I try to play there as often as I can but, for one reason or another, most of the time I find myself far away from home on the road somewhere. I do, though, have a fantasy of opening my own club somewhere in southern California. I'd book blues, folk, rockabilly, r+b, honky tonk, doo wop, zydeco, singer-songwriters, poets, surf bands, jazz groups of all styles, whatever music I like, and then I'd reserve every Saturday night for The Guilty Men and me to play. Until that dream comes true, I'll try to get to LA more often. See ya down the road.

From: Larry Saletko (Sunday, August 22, 2004 at 13:28:10)
Answered: Monday, August 23, 2004 at 02:44:08.

Dear Dave,
We really love your music. My wife and I decided to spend our 20th wedding anniversary night at your recent performance at the Troubador. We've heard a lot of rock music, been to lots of concerts, but your band was so loud that we couldn't distinguish vocal from instrumental. I also noticed several people who had their fingers in their ears. We sat in the balcony, got some beers and waited eagerly for you to appear, growing more and more disheartened as each band got progressively louder. But, we figured that the sound would be right for your performance. Within 5 minutes we were chewing up napkins to put in our ears. Your music has such wonderful lyrics - and you have such a resonant, deep voice - but we couldn't understand a thing. We endured for about a half-hour into your set, but then it was simply too painful to stay. We bought a copy of your new CD on the way out and we love it.

So, my question is, is it likely that you'll play at a venue near Los Angeles where we'll be able to comfortably listen to your music? We'd really like to enjoy your live performance.

Long time fans,
Larry and Cara Saletko
Hey Larry and Cara:

I'm very sorry about the volume at the show and very sorry it spoiled your 20th wedding anniversary.
Compared to many rock bands, The Guilty Men don't play excessively loud but sometimes what happens is that the soundperson mixes the band excessively loud through the club's sound system. What the musicians hear on stage is a different mix than what the audience hears so we really have no idea what is too loud and what is too quiet to the audience.
I recommend attending my annual January acoustic show at The Neighborhood Unitarian Church on Orange Grove in Pasadena or I should be playing at McCabes in the next few months. Those are usually better venues to hear the lyrics than in rock and roll clubs.
Again, I'm very, very sorry about the bad time you guys had on your anniversary.
I'll sincerely try to make it up to you ( and to the others who have complained) somehow.
I'm very glad you enjoyed the new CD.

From: Ann Christensen (Saturday, August 14, 2004 at 11:47:30)
Answered: Monday, August 23, 2004 at 02:35:21.

We were disappointed with the sound system at the Troubadour. We were looking forward to hearing you, however, the sound was torturous. It was garbled, muttled, etc. I understand they have a pretty awful reputation for sound, however, this is Los Angeles. Can't we (this City) do better? Looking forward to seeing you somewhere else.
Hey Ann:

Please accept my apologies over the sound at the Troubadour. You're not the only one to complain. As I explained to the other people who commented on the sound that night, the musicians have limited control over the sound going out into a nightclub. We are at the mercy of the soundperson and the house sound system. I hope that the bad experience you had doesn't stop you from attending another show of mine. Perhaps one of the acoustic shows at McCabes or the January show at The Unitarian Church in Pasadena might be more enjoyable. Again, please accept my apologies for an unpleasant evening.

From: Jeff Weber (Sunday, August 22, 2004 at 16:57:59)
Answered: Monday, August 23, 2004 at 02:19:17.


I've been seeing a Volkswagon commercial on television with a background track that sounds an awful lot like Dave Alvin. Could you tell me if it is? Thanks in advance.
Hey Jeff:

Nope. Not me. A million or so years ago I played background guitar on a Chrysler tv commercial that featured Priscilla and Lisa Marie Presley but that was the only commecial I ever did.

From: sean jackson (Sunday, August 8, 2004 at 21:32:06)
Answered: Monday, August 9, 2004 at 03:27:16.

Dave, I'm back after only a few days. I looked at the websites a bit more and noticed that you were playing the Belly Up, just up the 5 from me. I missed you at Street Scene a few years ago, so I didn't want that to happen again. What a great show! It was a nice mixture of old and new tunes. The Blasters songs were awesome. And your band is really tight. You've got some real good pickers there. And you really let loose on guitar. I guess I'm used to you being more economical on record (still making three minute singles, long after the death of the 45). You can hold your own with anyone I've seen, and I've seen a lot of good players. All in all, you guys made a real righteous noise!

I never realized you were in a band with Rosie Flores. I was in Nashville about a year ago, and she played in this honky tonk really late in the evening, for no charge. It seemed strange to me, but it was an awesome show. She's one of the greats.

I've never really put it together before, but Los Lobos, the Blasters, X, Rosie Flores, Pete Anderson, Dwight Yoakam, my music collection is filled with stuff by all you Los Angelenos. And there's this sort of inter-connection, kind of a "Kevin Bacon" thing going on that I never fully realized. I guess you all have been cross-polinating each other's stuff for years. Real people, real instruments, real production. It's among the most satisfying music that I've ever heard. Thanks.
Hey Sean:

Yeah, I've got a pretty damm good band and they can play anything that I throw at them from old Blasters songs to new songs of mine, from blues to folk to rock and roll. I'm very proud of them. Glad you made it to the show and I'm very happy you enjoyed it. The Guilty guys (and gal) all thought it was one of the best we've played this year. A really great audience that night.

And, yeah, those folks you mentioned, well, we've known each other for many, many years and we've always tried to help each other get by. Due to schedules and whatever else, we don't get to see each other as much as in the old days but the bonds are always there no matter what. As far as being in a band with Rosie, well, we were in Country Dick Montana's Pleasure Barons for a short but wild tour years ago and I had a great time with her. Rosie is an amazing singer and guitarist and I would be very lucky to be in any band with her.

From: Jim Haberlin (Sunday, August 8, 2004 at 17:27:47)
Answered: Monday, August 9, 2004 at 03:02:10.

Where can i purchase your new cd (Ashgrove)

Jim Haberlin
Hey Jim:

Well, you can try my label's website, yeproc.com, where they sell a bunch of stuff, or Amazon.com or VillageRecords.com or most major and independent CD stores should have it in stock. Well, they should have it in stock. Good luck. It really shouldn't be that hard to find and I do hope you enjoy it.

From: Gregory Nicoll (Sunday, August 8, 2004 at 13:34:24)
Answered: Monday, August 9, 2004 at 02:58:48.


I was talking with Davie Allan, the famous fuzztone guitarist ("Blues' Theme," THE WILD ANGELS, etc.), and he told me that even the most well-meaning fans have sometimes thought he was you -- such as the guy who came to Davie's CD release party for the LIVE RUN album and asked him if he would ever be working with the Blasters "again."

So...I wondered if YOU had ever been confused with HIM? Anyone ever ask you to play "Blues' Theme" at a show, or inquire as to what kind of fuzztone you used on "Theme from THE WILD ANGELS," etc.?

(BTW, I just sent the same question to bassist Dave Allen of Gang of Four, Shriekback, et. al.) I might use you guys' answers in a humor piece for an Atlanta music magazine in September. Too bad I couldn't find a contact for Daevid Allen of Soft Machine, hunh?

Curiously yours,

Hey Gregory:

Yeah, it has happened to me also but not much lately. Ususally it was in newspapers that didn't have, ah, well, ah, let's just say in newspapers with limited entertainment coverage. The worst example at a performance was years ago in Portland, Oregon when I was actually inroduced on stage as Davie Allen. I've also been introduced as Dave Evans and even Phil Alvin. So you get used to it.
Once at a benefit I played with Davie Allen a few years ago, he and I discussed the problem. All you can do is laugh. Tell him I said hello.

Theres also a another Dave Alvin who had a hard rock band called White Trash and another Dave Alvin who writes gospel songs. Maybe we should all do a gig someday
and see what happens.

From: Kris McGough (Saturday, August 7, 2004 at 13:11:16)
Answered: Monday, August 9, 2004 at 02:50:07.

Dave I saw you play in St. Louis at Off Broadway. You tore the place up. It was my first time seeing you live and I was mesmerized. Just wanted to tell you to come back to St. Louis. Please!
Hey Kris:

St. Louis is the hometown of my keyboard player, Joe Terry, and is also one of my favorite soulful cities. So, yeah, I'll come back to St. Louis at the first opportunity. And I'm very, very glad you enjoyed the the show. I don't know if I'm "mesmerizing" or not but I damm sure that my band is. See you soon!

From: John Kiechle (Friday, August 6, 2004 at 13:20:28)
Answered: Monday, August 9, 2004 at 02:46:06.


We'll be toastin' and dancing to your (and the Blasters) music come August 14 at the Downey High 30-year reunion...even though I think you went to Warren.

Rock on, bro.

-Johnny K

PS- Love the Ashgrove CD!
Hey Johnny K:

Naw, I actually went to Pius X in Hollydale-South Gate. Blasters Bill Bateman and John Bazz are former Downey High students although I believe Bateman was asked nicely (or not so nicely to leave) and he wound up at Warren. Anyway, have a great reunion and keep rockin'. As we used to say, "Downey Rules!"

From: sean jackson (Thursday, August 5, 2004 at 20:58:48)
Answered: Friday, August 6, 2004 at 02:46:46.

Dave, don't really have a question, only wanted to let you know what a pleasant surprize it was to come upon "Ashgrove" in the music section at Fry's the other day. It caught me by off-guard, but I knew I had to get it, especially after seeing the pictures of your rig -- it's a little slice of tweed heaven! I've been a huge fan forever...to paraphrase your brother, when I was in high school (class of '83) six guys knew who the Blasters were, and I told the other five. But that didn't stop me from playing your record at parties and gatherings, and it never ceased to amaze me how much people liked it once they heard it. And all these years later you're still producing great, timeless American music.

I took a quick peak at the websites, pretty good stuff...the Knitters, boy it's a long time since I've heard of that. I don't know what happened to my copy of that record. What was it, Poor Little Critter in the Road? Something like that. Good stuff. The other members of X...I was in a pool hall on Ventura Blvd once and they had a CD juke box with More Fun in the New World, and I pumped in several dollars and played every song...but I digress. Thanks a lot for keeping the faith Dave, the new record's great, and keep on rocking.
Hey Sean:

"Tweed Heaven" indeed!
Hey, man, thanks for all good words about the music. I appreciate it very much.
And I'll tell John, Exene and DJ that they owe you a couple bucks for the jukebox. Keep on rockin' yourself.

From: R. Dolf (Wednesday, July 21, 2004 at 23:48:09)
Answered: Thursday, August 5, 2004 at 04:04:03.


I heard you play last fall at North Seattle Community College with a young woman playing great fiddle. Who was that woman and where can I find more of her music? Will she be appearing with you Aug 13th at the Tractor?

Richard in Seattle
Hey R Dolf:

Her name is Amy Farris and she is pretty amazing. Her first CD is on the YepRoc label and it's called, ANYWAY. And even though I produced the CD I can whole heartedly reccommend it. She can write, sing and play the hell out of a fiddle/violin. Unfortunately she won't be at the Tractor show but she is sitting in with me and The Guilty Men at our shows in Los Angeles, Solana Beach and San Francisco. Maybe it's time you take a road trip to see her blow us off the stage.

From: Bob (Tuesday, July 27, 2004 at 15:50:46)
Answered: Thursday, August 5, 2004 at 03:58:50.

Hi Dave,

Just wanted to let you know how much I love Ashgrove. I'm on my third listen as I type this. "The Man in The Bed" makes me think of my Grandfather. He was a WWII vet, white-haired Cary Grant lookalike. When he was in the hospital with a stroke, all the young nurses remarked on what a ladykiller he must have been. After he died I heard a lot of stories about how he was a great dancer and all the wives wanted to spin around the floor with him.

"Somewhere In Time" is such a tender heartfelt song. Two years ago I lost my brother to a heart attack. He was only 34 and I often comfort myself with the thought that I will see him again. Your song has that ray of hope and determination.

As a guitar player (I play a Tele) I love the sounds and production. Thanks for the music, Dave!
Dear Bob:

Thank you very much for your note. It means the world to me that a song I wrote can affect people somehow. Like Woody Guthrie used to say about songs "lightening your load," I'm a firm believer in that. And, yeah, I know what you mean about Somewhere In Time. I'm very, very glad it offers some ray of hope to you as it does to me. Thank you again for your kind and touching words.

From: Karan (Wednesday, July 28, 2004 at 12:09:36)
Answered: Thursday, August 5, 2004 at 03:50:31.

Hi Dave,
My name's Karan and I'm a fan of yours in Charleston, WV. I used to see you play at the Palomino when I lived out west, but now I have to wait until you come back to Mountain Stage or to my hometown of Columbus, OH. Anyway, I've always wondered about the necklace you wear...where did it come from? did someone give it to you? what meaning does it have to you?

Well, thanks in advance for answering and I hope to see you somewhere soon! (I just missed your show at Little Brother's; it was a toss-up between your show and an AA convention, so make of that what you will.)

You're the greatest,
Hey Karan:

Yeah, someone very special to me made the necklace for me many, many years ago to keep me out of serious trouble and danger. I've worn it ever since. Now, I'm not a superstitious guy but it's worked all these years. Most importantly, though, it also keeps that special someone who is now very, very far away, very close to me.

From: Max Schulz (Wednesday, July 28, 2004 at 22:13:37)
Answered: Thursday, August 5, 2004 at 03:44:52.

Hey Dave -- got a fashion question: I just got home from your Birchmere show, which was fantastic. Brought along a few folks who hadn't heard you before and they are now hooked. Ashgrove ... East Virginia Blues ... American Music ... "Now they're out there having fun, in the warm California sun" ... grooving back into So Long Baby Goodbye ... tremendous way to end the show ... awesome all the way around (oh, and Los Straitjackets were a lot of fun too).

OK, so here's my question -- where can I pick up one of the shirts that you and the guys were wearing? At first glance they look like each sleeve has three sets of cufflinks, but in reality they were snaps, I think. They were pretty sweet. Who's your tailor?

Also, my friends and I wanted to buy some of your tshirts and CDs, but they closed up the store almost immediately after your set ended. Trust me, we'd have spent quite a bit of money if only we'd had the chance. I can't find those sweet DA t-shirts on your website (of course, it may be because I was a bit overserved). Any help there?

Muchas Gracias,

Hey Max:

Thanks for bringing your friends and turning them into converts. I'm very glad you guys enjoyed the show.
Now, the t-shirts and CDs? Well, try the YepRoc website, YepRoc.com, to buy the t-shirts and CDs. They've got a pretty efficent on-line store there that never closes.
Now, the shirts the band and I wear on stage, well, I tend to wear old western shirts with the snap buttons. I find 'em at swap meets or vintage stores or thrift stores. The Rockmount company out of Denver still makes the classic western shirts with the diamond buttons. The California Ranchwear and H-Bar-C brands still make some of the old style shirts and Wrangler makes a few older style shirts. Check the phone book for western clothing stores or square dance stores and ask if they carry those brands. Or maybe Rockmount has a web site. Or try eBay. Or start going to swap meets to find 'em. If you do start going to the swap meets, I guess I'll see ya there..

From: Davis Page (Thursday, July 29, 2004 at 15:41:38)
Answered: Thursday, August 5, 2004 at 03:31:52.

Saw you at Toe's Tavern in Pasadena, dunno, quite awile ago...shook your hand.
It was blues, really blistering. I remember being very stunned by the whole performance, and there was a singer who played some very nice open tuned guitar. There was this amazing caddy parked out back too, a convertible. I'd like to get a CD (which I think was for sale at the club) of that music. Can you specify which of yours or whatever band it would come under? I'd like to buy a copy, I'd appreciate it.

Hey Davis:

A gig at Toe's Tavern in Pasadena? That would have been a long, long time ago with my first post-Blasters/X band, The Allnighters. The steel player would have been Greg Leisz, who has played on all my solo records and produced a few including the newest one, Ashgrove. Yeah, he's one of the greatest. The record we had out was Romeo's Escape and I'm not sure if it's even in print right now. Good record, great band, inexperiened vocalist (me). Good luck tracking it down. Try eBay. Wow, what a memory you've got.
Oh, yeah, the Caddy? I have no idea about that. Mine wasn't a convertable.

From: RUSS (Thursday, July 29, 2004 at 19:27:57)
Answered: Thursday, August 5, 2004 at 03:24:57.

D.A. & the Guilty Men are playing here in Tucson on OCT 8. Can you please tell me the names of the current members of the band? I did hear that Rick Shea had left.
Thanks.......Russ Jordan {Long time Blasters fan} Seeya.......
Hey Russ:

Yeah, Rick Shea has decided to concentrate on his solo career and I wish him all the luck in the world. He's a major talent waiting to be discovered. And he'll always be Guilty to me.

Okay, the current line up? Here we go:

Gregory Boaz on bass
Bobby Lloyd Hicks on drums
Joe Terry on keyboards
Chris Miller on lap steel and electric guitars
and, of course,
Chris gaffney on accordion, acoustic guitar and vocals.

I honestly have to say the current line up is perhaps the best band I've ever had or been in or been thrown out of. It really is an amazing unit.

Anyway, I love Tucson and look forward to seeing at the show.

From: Bonnie (Friday, July 30, 2004 at 14:51:48)
Answered: Thursday, August 5, 2004 at 03:18:15.

Sorry to ask such a dumb question but what type of music do you play and what type of crowd do you usually bring? I love seeing live bands and noticed your playing at the Belly-up in Solana Beach, my neck of the woods. I look forward to hearing back.
Thanks and have a great day!
Hey Bonnie:

Well, I call it folk music. It's a mixture of rural blues, city blues, jump blues, r+b, soul, honky tonk, singer-songwriter stuff, old time ballads, stone age rock and roll, rockabilly, cajun, doo wop, California country, surf, protest songs, garage bands, letters to and from home, a little jazz and what ever else I can throw in to the mix.
Sometimes it's quiet, sometimes it's loud.
Sometimes you can dance to it other times you can't.
Hopefully that description helps.
Maybe we'll see you there and maybe you'll like it.

From: Debbie (Friday, July 30, 2004 at 15:45:53)
Answered: Thursday, August 5, 2004 at 03:10:38.

Thanks for playing my town three times in one month. I feel like the luckiest gal alive! No one I look forward to seeing play more than you.
Been loudly proclaiming for years that my life will not be complete until I've been to a Knitters show. I credit you guys with giving me my first listen to country/honky tonk. A major staple and a huge joy for me now. I'll see you then.

Debbie from D.C. (soon to be Austin)
Hey Debbie of DC (soon to be of Austin)

Well, your wish will come true sometime next year when the new Knitters CD comes out and we'll do a short national tour. Whether you're in DC or Austex, we'll find you. Just don't forget your pink (purple?) shoes!

From: Amy Mehaffey (Saturday, July 31, 2004 at 11:29:28)
Answered: Thursday, August 5, 2004 at 03:06:38.

Another comment from Amy - GREAT show, GREAT band, GREAT set last night at the Paradise - I'm so glad I was there. (Thanks for signing my CD) Loved the 4th of July - that was such a nice surprise...last night I forgot to tell you that Byron Coley says hello. He saw Chris D up in Montreal at a film festival a couple of weeks ago at a screening of Chris' movie "I Pass for Human" which he wrote and directed but surprisingly did not star in. He still wear ruffly shirts with really long ruffly sleeves. Unless he's on stage and then of course he's still shirtless. Hope to see you again - thanks for your music.

Amy Mehaffey

Hey Amy:

Yeah, tell Byron I said hello back to him.
I run into Chris D often around town these days and he's doing great. The Flesheaters project was not only fun for me, way back when, but I learned an awful lot from Chris D and John Doe and DJ Bonebrake during the short time we were together as a band. The live shows were pretty intense and, yeah, it never took long for Chris to rip his ruffly shirt off and crouch down at the edge of the stage half naked. We used to joke that everyone in the band should do it also as a tribute/joke but none of us ever had the guts or we weren't drunk enough.
Anyway, the last time I saw Chris at the supermarket he was still wearing a ruffly shirt. Like Lord Byron in the frozen food aisle or something like that.

From: Judi (Wednesday, August 4, 2004 at 12:22:50)
Answered: Thursday, August 5, 2004 at 02:56:05.

Hey Dave

Not being much of a groupie, this is my first email to a music legend.

This Saturday, 8/7/04 my long time boyfriend will be hitting the half century mark. We have chosen to accomplish this fete at the Belly Up Tavern with friends and because we love your music. How perfect is that?

His name is STORY VOGEL. Yep, Story is his real name. He's a tall guy with a long blonde pony tail. As you know, looks can be deceiving. We met in law school a long time ago and since then, he's become a history teacher and is running for the City Council in our small town. Who knew that he would become a piller of the community?

It would be such a pleasure to him and me if you could wave from the stage. One doesn't turn 50 often.



Hey Judi:

Well, you're not much of a groupie and, believe me, I'm not much of a music legend. Richard Thompson or Bobby Blue Bland or Ramblin' Jack Elliot, those are music legends.

Anyway, Do me a favor and shout out to me during the show to wave/salute Story
(yeah, a great name) on the occasion of his 50th. I do get kind of wrapped up in the lyrics and music of the songs and sometimes forget things while I'm performing on stage. Just ask the guys in my band. So I may need a quick reminder. Anyway, congratulations to Story on making 50. I hope I'm that lucky.

From: Teresa Marie (Wednesday, August 4, 2004 at 23:36:27)
Answered: Thursday, August 5, 2004 at 02:48:07.

Dear Dave,

First of all, congrats on the new album. ASHGROVE is truly an astounding album. It gives me goose bumps every time I listen to it. Somewhere In Time has helped me through a few tough times recently. I don't think I've ever experienced music that's as healing as yours (Plus, you and Los Lobos doing a song together on The Ride was like a dream come true for me).

And it's about time you came back to Vancouver! I look forward to your performance at Richards on Richards more than you could ever know. It's been too long since I had an evening that only a Dave Alvin convert can provide. I look forward to those multiple guitar solos.

So I guess we'll see you there. My Dad will be there too, as always. I've changed my hair colour again, but hopefully you'll still spot me in the front row, screaming my lungs out. Take care! Keep havin' fun on the road.

Hey Teresa Marie:

Thanks for the nice words about Ashgrove and I'm glad it's helped through whatever bumpy times you had to deal with, nothing too serious I hope.
Yeah, being a guest on the Lobos CD was a dream come true for me also.
Well, I'm really looking forward to the Vancouver show but I'm a little nervous because the last gig we performed there was one of my favorite shows I ever played with the Guilty Men anywhere. Hopefully this one will come close.
So, what are you now? A platinum blonde or a black haired girl?
Hell, if I had more hair left on my head maybe I'd dye mine too.

From: Tom Barrett (Wednesday, August 4, 2004 at 23:51:52)
Answered: Thursday, August 5, 2004 at 02:40:05.

Is there any way to purchase Dave Alvin's Outtakes in California, other than going to a show, since I'm in Wyoming and you aren't touring here?
Hey Tom:

You can try the on-line music store Village Records. That's the only outlet I've given permission to sell the Outttakes CD. Another possiblity is to go to the American Music Blasters/Dave Alvin chat room thing at Yahoo. I'm sure one of the members would set you up with a duped copy of that CD or of many other live shows. Good luck. I'll try to get me and the band up to Wyominig one of these days. Do you think anyone would show up?

From: Tess Foley (Sunday, August 1, 2004 at 12:35:56)
Answered: Wednesday, August 4, 2004 at 03:36:09.

Loved, loved, loved your show at The Bowery Ballroom last night.
I had never seen you live and it was an amazing show. (a new CD-buying fan is born.)

What I wanted to tell you is that you and your band are a really handsome group of men. It really is striking to see an entire band--of real men---who are all so handsome and sexy. (as opposed to boy bands, who are only handsome and not musicians at all.) What a nice thing to watch for an entire show.

I said this to my friend who was with me, but he said he never noticed. Figures.(I suppose that's good though). Speaking for the women in the crowd,
thanks for being such a good looking group of talented men.

Well, Tess, I really don't know what to say. Wow! Thanks. Thanks a lot.
I don't know if we're a handsome bunch of guys or not but I will say we definitely have some character in our faces.
But I'll tell the guys what you wrote. Hopefully it won't go to their heads and they'll start doing dance moves like The Backstreet Boys and wanting to lipsynch the songs. Actually, the idea of The Guilty Men doing choreographed dance routines sounds like it might be a few laughs. Anyway, I'm glad you enjoyed the show and thanks for an amazing compliment.

From: Deb Schuster (Monday, August 2, 2004 at 09:08:59)
Answered: Wednesday, August 4, 2004 at 03:23:12.

I saw you guys last Saturday (July 31st 2004)at the Bowery Ballroom in NYC. I enjoyed the show so much that I bought your new CD Ashgrove. Unfortunately, when I got it home & played it the CD featured Christian choir music, not you!
How do go about getting the correct CD??? I want Ashgrove!!
Thanks for your time...and music.


Hey Deb:

Either you're kidding me or my record label, YepRoc, has some serious explaining to do. Please call them immediately at 877-733-3931 and tell them what happened. Tell them that I said they should send you a real copy of Ashgrove ASAP. Please, please let me know what happens as I am very, very, very embarassed by this mix up and I'm worried that it may have happened to others.

Now, on the other hand, how is the choir music CD?

From: Diane Rydzewski (Tuesday, August 3, 2004 at 09:03:10)
Answered: Wednesday, August 4, 2004 at 03:14:50.

Dear Dave, just wanna say that me and the gang went to your shows in Philly and New York the other day. You and the Guilty Men were Fabulous - as always - never a disappointment. We love you! (don't mean to sound corny). Your new album is soooo magnificant. Bobby Lloyd mentioned in NY that you guys may come back to NY in the Fall to perform? We'll just hop the train from Phila. or drive. Thank you so much for coming to town!

P.S. Hopefully you guys will come out with a LIVE dvd! The recent Blasters dvd is excellent!

Peace and have fun,
Diane Rydzewski

Hey Diane:

It doesn't sound corny to me. Thanks to you and the "gang" for coming to both shows. I really appreciate it (I hope that doesn't sound corny). As far as coming back to the Northeast, well, probably not in the fall but there are tentative plans to come back through in the winter. Maybe January or early Febuary. You know, when the weather is nice. And, yeah, a DVD would be fun. We just need to find someone to put up the money but you never know what may happen. Until then, the live shows will have to do. Hopefully we'll see you at a show this winter.

From: Martha Rowley (Tuesday, August 3, 2004 at 14:26:19)
Answered: Wednesday, August 4, 2004 at 03:06:54.

Hi Dave,
Thanks for a fantastic show at the Paradise in Boston. Glad I got to hear 'Ashgrove' there and at Passims; outstanding on each occasion. I'm wondering if the Vermont item reached you backstage at Paradise? If so, hope it eased the memories of that first set at Passims! Things are looking up here in southeastern Vermont. Tom Russell is scheduled to play 8/12 in Bellow Falls and Bill Morrissey on 8/21. Hard to believe! Best wishes to you and the band for the rest of the tour. Hope I have the chance to hear you live again.
Hey Martha:

No, the "Vermont Item" didn't get to me. Maple syrup? Now, I'm curious. Was it local Vermont beer to make up for the no beer at Passims? Well, I hope whoever got the Vermont item enjoyed it. Maybe Gaffney got it before I could? Anyway, glad you enjoyed the show and send my warmest regards to Mr Morrissey and Mr Russell. They're two of the best. And, I certainly hope you get the chance to hear the Guilty Ones and me live again. We have no plans to stop doing what we do.

From: John Stuckey (Monday, August 2, 2004 at 09:31:52)
Answered: Wednesday, August 4, 2004 at 03:01:30.


I saw you and the Guilty Men with Los Straitjackets at the Bowery Ballroom in N.Y. over this past weekend and you put on one the best shows I've seen in a long time. I have not seen anyone play the guitar with as much skill and energy in my life!!! I sent you an earlier email after seeing you in Englewood N.J. asking if you would be mixing things up for the Bowery show, but I got my answer. They were both great shows but it seemed that you jiuced things up a notch or two for the Bowery show. I noticed you did not pick-up an acoustic guitar the whole night and 4th of July sounded closer to the tempo on Romeo's Escape. This might be a stupid question but do you and the band take a different approach depending on the venue and/or the opening act? Also, loved hearing you do Romeo's Escape to end the show, it is still one of my favorite albums (or disks I should say).

Thanks for the great music,

John S
Hey John:

Well, thanks for the nice words about my guitar playing. I'm certainly nowhere near as good as you say or as good as I'd like to be but, what the hell, I do love to make a racket on guitar and I'm very glad you enjoyed it. Yeah, I tend to mix the set lists up depending on where I'm playing and what mood the audience seems to in. I don't like playing certain songs (say, Man In The Bed or From A Kitchen Table or Andersonville) in rock and roll venues where a lot of people are dancing or talking or whatever. I'll save those songs for acoustic or folk clubs where people pay more attention to the lyrics. And, yeah, tempos tend to change along with the venue and the audience and mood of the Guilty Guys and me. Anyway, glad you dug Romeo's Escape and I hope to see you soon at another show.

From: Aileen (Monday, August 2, 2004 at 15:47:57)
Answered: Wednesday, August 4, 2004 at 02:52:03.

Thanks for the letter ' Thoughts before going on tour for Ashgrove '
beautiful letter and so warm.
I really enjoyed it.
No question, just thanks.
Hey Aileen:

Thank you for your letter.

From: Frank Strickler (Wednesday, July 7, 2004 at 09:06:49)
Answered: Tuesday, August 3, 2004 at 04:16:55.

Dear Dave: I don't have a question. just writing to say that I just finished reading your feature article in No Depression. Been a big fan since early 80's. Was pleasantly surprised to discover that you are into Everett Ruess and wrote a song about him for your new album. Music and hiking are my two big passions in life. Most of my hiking friends don't know much about music and most of my music friends never heard of Everett Ruess. Its nice to know that someone else is able to make a connection between the two. I assume you have read the book about Ruess and his amazing letters,A Vagabond For Beauty. I think about him every time I hike in Canyon Country. I would have bought Ashgrove anyway, but this makes it extra special. Hope to see you again soon in Phoenix. Or maybe on some trail in southern Utah.

Best Wishes,
Frank Strickler
Hey Frank:

Hell, you might even bump into Everett out on the trail, you never know.
Years ago I discovered an old book (1940) of his drawings, poems and letters in a junk store in Los Angeles. The cover was one of his drawings and it caught my eye so I opened it and was instantly hooked. He immediately joined the old bluesmen and barroom poets in my pantheon of heroes even though he was a different type of personality from them in some ways. I guess what got me is that Everett Ruess is, well, kind of pure. Uncorrupted. Kind of like the best music, poetry and nature is pure and uncorrupted. Maybe thats the connection you and I see that your friends don't see yet. Maybe the song will help.
(I'm writing this very late at night after a solid month and a half of touring so I hope that it makes some kind of sense.)
Anyway, hopefully see you soon in a barroom or on a trail.

From: Rudy Lukez (Tuesday, July 13, 2004 at 22:58:58)
Answered: Tuesday, August 3, 2004 at 04:16:29.

What inspired you to write and record the Everett Ruess story? I have spent a lot of time in southern Utah and it is always my favorite story about the canyon country.
Hey Rudy:

Read the question and answer above for more Everett Ruess info.

From: linda (Tuesday, July 6, 2004 at 08:18:01)
Answered: Tuesday, August 3, 2004 at 03:41:28.

Hey Dave,
Thanks for a great show at Birdy's in Indianapolis. I didn't realize you had some Indiana roots. So many great musicians play the midwest, but miss Indianapolis so it was a thrill, not only to see you and the Guilty Men, but to not have to drive for hours to do so.

Hope to see you here again.

-- Linda
Hey Linda:

Well, thanks for coming to Birdy's. I enjoyed that gig and hopefully they'll have us back soon. Yeah, my dad's family is from Indiana and I still have an uncle and some cousins there. I can't claim to be a Hoosier but I do have a soft spot in my heart for Indiana. Do a lot of musicians really skip Indianapolis? Why? Anyway, glad you enjoyed the show and hopefully see you in Indiana again.

From: bill bray (Monday, July 5, 2004 at 17:16:12)
Answered: Tuesday, August 3, 2004 at 03:35:12.


Love the new album! I see a Jerry Jones guitar in the picture on the back cover. I have a JJ 12 string and love it and the rest of his guitars. Did you use it on the new disk? If so, which tunes? Thanks.
Hey Bill:

Good eyes. It's a Jerry Jones baritone guitar and you can hear it on Everett Ruess, Somewhere In Time and Rio Grande. I think it might even be on 9 Volt Heart buried in the mix. I love his bari guitars and use mine often on records I produce. On the new Knitters CD (which should be out next year sometime), I play a TON of baritone guitar. I love the sound and it's, well, just fun to play.

From: Tom (Saturday, July 3, 2004 at 08:39:37)
Answered: Tuesday, August 3, 2004 at 03:29:11.

Hey Dave,
Why didn't you record with the Guilty Men on "Ashgrove?"

Hey Tom:

Well, there are a couple reasons. Mainly, it boiled down to geography and economy and schedules. Three of the Guilty Men live in different states and I didn't have the budget to fly them out and put them up in a motel for a couple of weeks. But I also believe in letting the producer pick whichever musician he thinks is best for the song. When I produce artists I expect them to give me the same control. Fortunately, Bob Glaub and Don Heffington are old friends of mine and they also, like Greg Leisz and I, grew up at the Ash Grove. So it was a band of Ash Grove alumni. I think that that was appropriate for this CD.

But just to clear up any misunderstandings, the current edition of The Guilty Men is unquestionably the best band I've ever had and I certainly plan to record with them in the near future.

From: Woody (Thursday, July 1, 2004 at 21:26:16)
Answered: Tuesday, August 3, 2004 at 03:11:38.

Dave, saw the YepRoc CD release show in Raleigh. 4th time seeing you here in Carolina, but you don't get out here enough! (though I hope to make G'Boro or Charlotte later this year).

Two questions:
(1) There has to be a Dave Alvin and the Guilty Men live DVD coming soon!?! You guys are the best live show in Rock and Roll. I'll need something to remember them by in 50 years when my hearing is shot.

(2) Any duets in the works for a future CD? The two on King of California with Syd Straw and Rosie Flores are great tracks. Maybe you can get Gaffney to sing falsetto and start playing them live?

New CD is fantastic, and the live show was again among the best of any artist I have ever seen. Hope the remainder of the tour goes smooth for you and the Men.
Hey Woody:

Well, theres been some talk about a live DVD and it may happen someday. The sticking point is always money. Maybe a millionaire out there will contribute to the cause but I ain't holding my breath.

As far as duets, well, I recommend a couple I did that aren't on one of my own CDs. Christy McWilson and I sang a duet version of Moby Grape's 805 on her BED OF ROSES CD, while on Katy Moffat's CD, LOOSE DIAMOND, she and I sang a duet of the ancient folk song, The Cuckoo. Both CDs are on the Hightone label and I think very highly of both performances. Christy and Katy are stunning singers who somehow make me sound good. Check them out if you get the chance.

I'm glad you dug the Raliegh show and hope you made it to Greensboro.
And, oh, yeah, Gaffney actually does a pretty good falsetto believe it or not.

From: Daniel Kimball (Thursday, July 1, 2004 at 18:35:37)
Answered: Tuesday, August 3, 2004 at 02:57:53.

Actually this isn't a question, but rather just something I wanted to share with you. Just recently I found out that my father has terminal lung cancer. I have been (and will be making many more in the near future)making several of the two-hour trips to his house in order to drive him to doctor's appointments. I often like to pick up some new music to listen to on the trip. Just the other day I picked up "Ashgrove" as I headed out of town. When I got to "The Man in the Bed" I felt numb. It is a great song, and it seemed so appropriate at the time. I have since read about it in the magazine "No Depression." Thanks for writing it. I just wanted you to know how moved I was by it. Take care.

Dan Kimball
Olympia, WA
Dear Daniel:

It's difficult to explain how much your story means to me. Music has always gotten me through the sad and hard parts of my life and so I'm extremely honored that a song of mine has touched you or helped you, even just a little bit, to get through this very painful period of your life. Thank you so much for sharing you story and I wish you and your father all the love and courage in the world.


From: Bethany (Sunday, June 27, 2004 at 09:51:08)
Answered: Tuesday, June 29, 2004 at 03:32:03.

Hi Dave,

I saw you at Poe's Pub in Richamond, Virginia last week, and I do believe you & the Guilty Men raised some ghosts up out of their graves! Thank you! In addition I want to thank you for the artwork you drew on the back of my new DA wife beater shirt, I will wear it proudly! Love the Ashgrove record, "The Man In The Bed" reminds me of Warren Zevon's "Keep Me in Your Heart"...just beautiful. Okay, so here is my question...can you please tell me the names of those Guilty Men? I'd had a bit to drink at the show & just can't remember 'em all! I look forward to seeing you at the Birchmere in July & gettin' a little Out Of Control!

Take Care, Bethany
Hey Bethany:

The Guilty Men are:

Bobby Lloyd Hicks on drums
Gregory Boaz on bass
Chris Gaffney on acoustic guitar and accordion
Joe Terry on keyboards
Chris Miller on lap steel and electric guitar.
I think they're amazing musicians and the best band I've ever played in.

By the way, I prefer the term, "husband beater."
See you at The Birchmere!

From: Brian (Friday, June 25, 2004 at 11:35:17)
Answered: Tuesday, June 29, 2004 at 03:26:28.


The first time I heard you play was when you opened for Dylan at University of MD. I had heard Dylan play Blackjack Dave, but from the moment I heard your rendition, I knew I'd be a fan of yours for a very long time. Since then, your music has gotten me through some very difficult downs and some very happy ups. I truly believe one of the best shows I have ever seen was your show at High Dive in Champaign, IL 2 years ago.
I'll be catching your shows at Iota Fri and Sat, and if there is anyway I can buy you a beer after a show, that'd be a true honor. Thank you for playing your music and for all the great songs you've written.


Hey Brian:

Thank you very much for your remarks and I'm very glad that my music has helped you in any small way to get through life's ups and downs. That is one of the best compliments a songwriter can get.
I'm sorry we didn't get a chance for the beer after the Iota shows but I was feeling very sick both nights and I mainly stayed in the dressing room blowing my nose. I hope you saw the Saturday night show because that one was maybe the best musically of the first 2 weeks of gigs. The less said about the Friday night show the better.

From: Francesco Lucarelli (Friday, June 25, 2004 at 06:32:42)
Answered: Tuesday, June 29, 2004 at 03:10:03.

Greetings from Roma, Italy.

I am Francesco Lucarelli and I am working
with Ermanno Labianca on a book about American Singer-Songwriters to be
published in Italy by Giunti later this year.

I would appreciate a couple of portraits of Mr. Dave Alvin
(an early one and a recent one would be appreciated) to be
used in the section dedicated to him.

I would like to know if you might be able to provide them
or put me in touch with his management.

In case you can supply such material, please send

dias / CD with images to:
Francesco Lucarelli
c/o Cattan
Via del Casaletto 167
00151 Roma

or via email to: flucarelli@ilfisco.it

Francesco Lucarelli

Hey Francesco:

The best and quickest thing to do is go my record label's web site, yeproc.com,
where there are press photos you can download. Feel free to use them. See you in Italia soon.

From: Bob Wyman (Monday, June 21, 2004 at 23:26:27)
Answered: Tuesday, June 29, 2004 at 03:07:02.

Hello, I would like to know if may submit a song to you? If so what do you require?
Thanks, Bob
Hey Bob:

I don't really perform other peoples songs too much (outside of old folk and blues numbers) because, well, I really feel most comfortable singing my own songs. I'm not really a "vocalist" like Crosby or Sinatra. I'm just a songwriter and barroom guitarist who sings as best he can. Good luck with your songs and songwriting career.

From: Tom (Monday, June 21, 2004 at 08:27:41)
Answered: Tuesday, June 29, 2004 at 03:01:24.

Hey Dave,
I saw Tom Russell the other night playing at the United Methodist Church in San Diego (hope you consider this venue... not for religious reasons; its just a nice venue). I ran into Tom just before the show in this tiny bathroom and started talking (great guy) and eventually the conversation led to you (you turned me on to him). I asked him to play "Blue Wing" and "The Sky Above..." (a song I'd love to hear you cover) and told him I'd be in the front row. Well, during his show, he mentioned you no less than 8 or 9 times and each time he pointed to me... "I did 'Bus Station' on Letterman, this gentleman loves Dave Alvin" (points at me)... I wrote this next with with Dave Alvin "California Snow" (points at me)... After "Out in California," "was that better than Dave's version?" (points)... Then he tried channeling you and imitating you (pointing...., decent impression). Literally, 8 or 9 times. It almost got embarrassing for me. But he's obviously a fan... Tremendous show. Helluva songwriter... I think he sings like you, though doesn't sound like you...

Any plans to write or tour with him again? I'd love a full album collaboration, but that's asking alot, huh?
Hey Tom:

Well, I'm deeply honored that Russell mentioned me so many times, I think. He's been one of my favorite songwriters for a long time now and a good pal through the years. I don't get as many chances to see Tom as I used to but I'm sure we'll write a couple more songs together before too long. As far as a CD of the two of us together, well, ya never know what might happen.
By the way, I've never heard Russell's imitation of me but I guess I'll have to work up an imitation of him for my shows.

From: nick (Saturday, June 12, 2004 at 14:11:56)
Answered: Tuesday, June 29, 2004 at 02:55:03.

Hi Dave. It looks like you have a pretty full tour schedule ahead of you. I was wondering if you and the guilty men are still driving yourselves, or if maybe you have other arrangements through your new label. I know you like to drive, but it seems like that could be the most tiring part. Maybe you guys could do a web cam thing for a couple of your shows, so people can see the city and venues from your perspective. I wish you the best of luck. You are an American treasure.

Nick Banche
Hey Nick:

Yeah, we still drive ourselves to the gigs. It's the only way I can make touring work financially. And, yeah, it is the most tiring thing about touring but, on the other hand, we get to do what we love for a living so it kind of balances out. Several years ago I promised Bobby Lloyd Hicks that someday, before we stopped doing touring forever, we'd do one tour with a tour bus and a full road crew. So, maybe someday.

As far as web cam shows, we've done several. I think most of the recent Belly Up shows were web camed as well as several others that I can't remember right now.

Anyway, thanks for being concerned about our sore backs from driving 500 miles a day to the next gig. I recommend some yoga stretches and some Red Bull.

From: Richard & CIndra (Sunday, June 6, 2004 at 17:54:32)
Answered: Friday, June 11, 2004 at 20:11:05.

A Note to Scot:

Dave dedicated The Fourth of July (with a small discussion of the song's meaning changing over time), to my now-wife Cindra and me at one of Alec's micro venue shows in Columbus, Ohio. It was a prelude to my proposing marriage (which he was aware of at the time). Our status changed from longtime live togethers to marrieds and our son ceased to be a 'bastard' until you cross him as a sometimes surly pre-teen.

I never got the chance to say "thank you". We are now in Montpelier,Vermont and are still part of the dedicated fan base. If you could pass this along, we are still so appreciative for the small but important role he played in what is still a strong and loving relationship and we'd like him to know that we have never forgotten his kind words.

--- richard and cindra
Dear Cindra and Richard:

Yeah, I remember you guys. Well, congratulations!
Not being known as guy who writes real "happy ending" love songs, it is quite flattering that one of my songs played a small part in your life, love and marriage. I think I told you that night, that when I wrote 4th Of July, I imagined it as a break up song but over time I came to see it as "let's stay together" song. The song never changed, I guess, maybe I did.

From: Steve Tanzer (Thursday, June 10, 2004 at 16:01:47)
Answered: Friday, June 11, 2004 at 20:02:56.

Dave: I just listened to 'Ashgrove' and it's just an amazing album. I wanted to especially thank you for 'The Man in the Bed'. The song is so empathetic and full of humanity that it almost transcends songcraft. As someone who saw my dad go downhill so swiftly his last two months, this song reminded me of what he might have been thinking and feeling. This song will always be in my heart and mind, as will he.

Steve Tanzer
Arden, DE

P.S.: I'll be talking to Brad about getting you back to our sylvan burg.
Hey Steve:

Thank you very much. Sometimes when songwriters talk about writing they say that they don't know where the songs come from, that the songs just pop into their heads or out of their heads as the case may be. Sometimes I don't agree with that because songwriting can real hard work that does require a bit of craft and thought, but when I wrote The Man In The Bed, I definitely tapped into something way beyond my limited creativity. It may be the best song I've ever written but I can't really claim that I wrote it with a plan or blueprint. I was just picking chords on the guitar and suddenly everything just flowed through me when I thought about my dad's last days. Anyway, I'm deeply touched by your (and others) comments regarding the song and what it means to them.

Anyway, I'd love to return to your "sylvan burg." Not only because the gig was so much fun but also because I lost the photo of Leadbelly you gave me and I'd love to get another copy if you have one. See ya then.

From: sarah frederick (Tuesday, June 8, 2004 at 08:16:22)
Answered: Friday, June 11, 2004 at 19:41:51.

i was just going over the Blaster's newsletter and reading about Ashgrove. Barry and i are foaming at the mouth, waiting. I'm sorry about your dad. i'm going through it too. my dad's heart is failing. he just had this big operation where they put a machine in there to shock it when it stops. it's awful. my dad was in vietnam and has always had a lot of problems from that. he's only 55. i've got 2 little brothers, it's real hard on them too. my ma is young,51. she's been with him since she was 17 and he got back from the war. gives me a reason to have that occasional 10a.m. beer. haha!
anyway, we're coming to see you at the end of july. philly, trocedero?, n.y. bowry ballroom, and the paradise in boston. i'm really looking forward to it. i need to relax a little. well, becareful on the road. see you soon.
sarah from maine
Hey Sarah:

I'm very sorry to hear about your father. He sounds tough, though, so I think he has a good chance of pulling through. I'm always pleasantly surprised by what people can achieve when they know that they have the love of their family. Normally I'm a pretty cynical guy but I firmly believe in the power of the heart. I guess that's what The Man In Bed is sort of saying.
I hope the song brings you some comfort through these trying times. I know it helps me.

I'm glad you and Barry are planning on attending some of the east coast shows and I look forward to seeing you guys. Hopefully by then the "foaming at the mouth" will have cleared up.

From: Jean-Marc PEZET (Wednesday, June 9, 2004 at 12:28:15)
Answered: Friday, June 11, 2004 at 19:30:51.

Hi Dave,

I have pre-ordered your new CD on Yep Roc, it's always a great time when a new Alvin (both of you ;)) ) CD is out.
As with your previous releases on Hightone, I was wondering why they never have been released on good ol' LPs (for example Big Sandy had all his albums out on vinyl, being on Hightone or his latest on Yep Roc).
Do you, or the record company, consider your music would not sell enough on

Thank you very much and best of luck for your new CD!

Jean-Marc Pezet

Hey Jean-Marc:

Yeah, I think they feel that the market for me on vinyl is limited. A lot of fans of Big Sandy, and other similar acts, won't buy CDs so there is more of a demand for vinyl product by them. There is, though, a vinyl pressing of Blackjack David on a US audiophile label. Unfortunately their name escapes me right this moment. It's very beautifully mastered and the sound is amazing. I just wish I had a better memory. Good luck tracking it down.
Yep Roc and I discussed a vinyl edition of Ashgrove but seeing how the songs are so long, it would be one and a half lps on vinyl. Who knows though? Maybe that wouldn't be so bad.

From: Ed Spear (Wednesday, June 2, 2004 at 17:46:33)
Answered: Thursday, June 3, 2004 at 03:06:42.


Congratulations on Ashgrove... I can't wait for my copy to arrive. And good luck on the tour; I'd like to say I'm looking forward to it, but I don't see you booked anywhere in the Denver/Boulder CO area. Are there any plans to give us a visit?

You might be interested to know that you and The Blasters are pretty popular here in Colorado. We now have a *commercial* radio station in town that plays you and/or The Blaster three or four times a day (KCUV-AM -- that's right, AM as in AMericana -- www.kcuvradio.com... the stream is free). They play alt-country, folk, blues, rockabilly, roots, Cajun and zydeco... And this is not some candle-watt college station, but a real, live, locally-programmed station with commercials and the occasional smarmy deejay--like all radio station--that is highly supportive of Americana artists. You show up right alongside everyone from Hank, Woody, Johnny, and Loretta to Lyle, Muddy, Dylan, and Emmylou... to say nothing of Tom Russell, BooZoo Chavis, Wilco, Steve Earle, Robert Earl Keen, Katy Moffatt, X... just about anyone you'd want in a record collection. (No, I don't work for KCUV, but all of my radio dials are welded to it these days and I'm definitely an evangelist for them.)

Hope to see you in Denver or Boulder, if only so I can avoid enriching the airlines any more. Thanks for 25 years (or so) of great music.
Hey Ed:

No need to explain, these days when you find a good radio station you gotta tell everyone about it. There are some great radio stations across the country but nowhere near enough to balance out all of the bad ones. I'm glad they're playing The Blasters and me with all those other great acts. Thanks for telling me, I'll pass it along.

As of today there is no firm gig in the Denver/Boulder area but I certainly plan on playing there this year. Probably in October or November. Until then, call up
KCUV and request something from the new CD. I need all the help I can get. Thanks.

From: lindalu (Wednesday, June 2, 2004 at 15:26:55)
Answered: Thursday, June 3, 2004 at 02:57:01.

HOPE all is well. Just heard your new cd on WMNF, Tampa. WOW! I ran into our library and listened. It is wonderful. Nine Volt Heart(how many of us can relate to that.) Somewhere in time,( saw you sing with los lobos sxsw)-
Black Sky, brought a tear. You always manage to create the scene and tell the story so well. .Ashgrove is really wonderful. 8 stars!!

poetry, do you ever plan on doing another?
Rick Shea, will he not be with the guilty men? on this tour?
special hello to all of the guilty men, hope chris gaffney brings his accordian on the road with you.
Your "necklace" of charms, -do they carry any stories?
In closing, you often say ..."see you down the road." (end of your shows,) is that something you started back when ?

peace always, lindalu , wmnf, tampa, florida
Hey Linda Lu:

Great to hear from you! Thanks for the compliments on ASHGROVE. It means a lot coming from someone like you who has heard so much great music over the years.

Well, yeah, Rick has left the Guilty Men but he will always be guilty as far as me and the rest of the guys are concerned. He's wants to spend more time pursuing his solo career and I can't blame hime for that. His replacement is the awesome Austin blues/honky tonk guitarist, Chris Miller. Chris plays both lap steel guitar and regular electric guitar and has played with Marcia Ball, Wayne Hancock, Sarah Brown, Dale Watson and other Austin luminaries. I'm honored that he's joined up with us.

As far as the poetry book, well, I was gonna do one this year but got so busy making the new cd and ran out of time. Maybe next year.

In regards to, "see ya down the road," I been saying it for so long that I don't remember where I picked that up. I guess it just showed up one day and never left.

And the charm necklace? Yeah, it's nothing but stories. Long stories. Too long to go into here or just about anywhere else.

Give my regards to everyone at WMNF and I'll see you at the big party in September.

From: John Fraser (Wednesday, June 2, 2004 at 05:07:55)
Answered: Thursday, June 3, 2004 at 02:41:18.

Well thanks for the reply re: Ottawa Bluesfest. I'm all a fluster waiting for the new disc. I was at your last show in Ottawa with Mr d+ Joni but there was no advance notice you were on the bill. so I wandered in and was checking out the T-shirts before the show and there's your smiling mug ?? Whaaa ?? I asked the kid " why the Dave Alvin shirts?" HE'S THE OPENING ACT !!! Man what a plesant surprise. You really rocked the place even though as you said you had to keep the chatter to a minimum and get off due to time constaints.It will be great to see you in a more intimate setting and for a longer time ! Hope the snow is all gone by then (kidding) and yeah we have Bud up here too so will be just like home.

ps : being a hack player , I've been working on 4th July , California snow , evening Blues and a few others but don't have the voice , so I'm smoking more in the hopes of getting that sound.
Hey John:

Well, there are some people who'll say I ain't got the voice for my songs either. I appreciate the compliment but I don't recommend anyone taking up smoking in order to sing like me.
Hell, I don't recommend anyone trying to sing like me either.

Keep the real Canadian beer cold for us and we'll see you soon in Ottawa!

From: Chuck Schilling (Tuesday, June 1, 2004 at 16:03:09)
Answered: Thursday, June 3, 2004 at 02:34:29.


I'm a huge fan of your work, and was wondering if you had ever crossed paths with Steve Wynn? I would love to hear the two of you collaborate on something and think it would be fantastic!
Hey Chuck:

Yeah, I've crossed paths with the legendary Steve Wynn many times over the last twenty some years. I used to see his old band, Dream Syndicate, way back in the old L.A. rock golden era and they alway's blew me away. I don't know if we'll ever write a song together but in 1983 we arm-wrestled (very drunk and very late at night) at a club called The Music Machine. He won.

From: Larry Garvin (Friday, May 28, 2004 at 17:45:11)
Answered: Monday, May 31, 2004 at 03:39:34.

Hi Dave;
I didn't really have a question as much as I just wanted to say "thank you" for all your great music and for being nice to a 16 year old kid from Yuba City, Ca. who used to call you all the time (Larry from Yuba City. This was back around 1983. I had seen the Blasters at the California State Fair and snuck backstage and pretty much hung around all day. Shortly after that, I got your phone number, I don't remember how, and called you a couple of times). Looking back, that was a really nice gesture to take the time to chat with "that annoying kid from Yuba City" - Thank you! Fast forward 20 years to today; I have been playing locally here for many years and my wife and I are moving next month to Nashville for me to look into studio work. Anyway, I just wanted to say thanks for being nice (and not brushing off) that kid!
God Bless, - Larry Garvin
Hey Larry:

Wow! I remember you very well. You played the piano or were starting to play the piano or thinking about playing the piano. Am I wrong? I don't think so. I sort of remember that you were into rockabilly and old r+b and country and the kids at your school were into Journey or Duran Duran or whatever and they gave you a rough time because of the music you liked (I had the same problems in high school) and you were looking for musicians to play with. I'm pretty sure that I'm remembering correctly.
Well, I'm glad you checked in to say hi after all this time and I'm very glad you kept playing music. Are you playing piano or guitar or what? Anyway, you're leaving California for Nashville? Well, there are a lot of talented musicians and songwriters out there and a bunch of very nice people but it's a tough town to get a break in. But you never know what'll happen unless you follow your dream (as Elvis said) so best of luck, Larry, and keep playing music no matter what.

From: John Stuckey (Thursday, May 27, 2004 at 07:31:21)
Answered: Monday, May 31, 2004 at 03:24:31.


I'm the guy who wrote you back in March asking if you were going to play Jersey or NYC so I didn't have to drag my whole family to Syracuse. Obviously you are a man of your word and I got my tickets for the Bowery Ballroom in Manhattan. When the summer comes I think of a good freind of mine named Tom Hanlon who turned me on to your music back in 1986. Like any typical July Saturday we descended on to his porch with a case Bud embedded in ice. Tom was a music junky and had the best collection ever. I say was, because Tom passed away about a year and a half ago from a brain tumor. He was a great firiend and I miss him. On that day in 1986 he said you gotta hear this Dave Alvin CD I just picked up. From the first notes of 4th of July right through New Tattoo I was hooked and the beer never tasted so good. I just want to thank you for the great music and Tom for letting me know you were out there.
Speaking of dearly departed, I would love to hear you do Warren Zevon's Carmelita.


Hey John:

I'm very sorry to hear about your friend, Tom. I've lost a few close friends over the years and I miss them everyday. The best consolation for me is playing music and listening to music. Without sounding too "New Age," I find that there is something immortal in music. When you listen to a certain song it's always that summer with your friend and the beers on the porch. There's a song on my new cd called Somewhere In Time that tries to capture that idea/mood/feeling, whatever you want to call it. Anyway, we'll see you at The Bowery and we'll
have a song and a beer for Tom.

From: Jeff Weber (Tuesday, May 25, 2004 at 10:12:40)
Answered: Monday, May 31, 2004 at 03:13:47.

Do you use any guitar effects live or do you just plug straight into a Fender?

We want to hear you play this summer!

Hey Jeff:

In the studio I'll plug into just about any effect box just to see what odd or interesting sounds will come out but when I play live I keep everything relatively simple, just a Dan-Electro Echo pedal, a Boss overdrive pedal and a Boss tuner. Not much by some guitarists standards but enough for me to get whatever sounds I need.
Hopefully you live somewhere near where The Guilty Men and I will be appearing in the next few months (It seems like we'll be playing just about everwhere) and
you can make it to one of the shows.

From: Bruce Pross (Friday, May 14, 2004 at 09:20:22)
Answered: Monday, May 24, 2004 at 03:31:11.

What's the name of the "hidden" extra song (cut #16) on the CD of "Public Domain"?

Hey Bruce:

It's a loose combination of some Big Bill Broonzy pieces.
Saturday Night Rub is the main instrumental but I also threw in a bit or two from Hokum Stomp and Hip Shakin' Strut. It's something I use to warm up before gigs sometimes but I never delude myself that I can perform it with any of the skill, polish and rhythmic power that Broonzy did. No false modesty just the sad truth.
Big Bill Broonzy was an amazing guitar player who was adept at many blues and ragtime guitar styles and, besides being a great vocalist, was also one of the premier blues songwriters. Quit reading this and go buy some his early records from the thirties now!

From: john magill (Wednesday, April 28, 2004 at 23:11:05)
Answered: Tuesday, May 11, 2004 at 01:46:06.

Hey Dave,
I grew up in Audubon, NJ with a kid that, in one summer, changed my life forever.
He turned me on to Gene Vincent, Los Lobos, X, and of course, the Blasters.
I don't think Skip Heller knew what he did for me, you never thank anybody for that. Besides, he was too busy bummin smokes off my Dad.
I think it's cool that he got you to sing on his record cause he's been diggin you since 5th grade.
Just out of curiosity, you ever meet up with Ben Vaughn? He's another Audubon Alumni.
Thanks for the Chestnut Caberet X show....Smokin!

Hey John

Yeah, Skip Heller is an amazing guy, soulful musician/composer and a good friend. You should write to him and tell him what you told me. I think it would mean the world to him. I think theres a skipheller.com out there in internet land where you can reach him. And, yeah, I was honored that Skip asked me to sing one of my favorite old jazz standards, TIME AFTER TIME, on his his HOMECOMING CD. The fact that I'm not a jazz singer didn't deter him at all. I think that soon more people will discover how talented a guy he is. A visionary of sorts.

I've been a fan of Ben Vaughn for many years. The first time I saw him live was at the old Cubby Bear in Chicago back in 87 and he completely blew me away. He's still great. We wrote a song togther called, TIME'S GONNA CATCH US, that Barrance Whitfield recorded. A pretty good song, I think. Sort of a Dan Penn or
Arthur Alexander r+b/country/soul song. Hopefully we'll write together again.

See you at the Audubon High reunion!

From: Kevin Meyer (Wednesday, April 28, 2004 at 14:04:45)
Answered: Tuesday, May 11, 2004 at 01:32:02.

Hey Dave...

Congrats on your new deal with YepRoc! From the look of things at their site, they look like they're gonna get behind this "album" (is my age showing?).

Look forward to seeing you and the guys in NYC in July and I've alerted my friends north of the border (Toronto) that help for their musical souls in on the way; one of those friends is a fan you made when you were kind enough to honor me on my 40th b-day. Who all of the Guilty Men will be on the road with you in the East? Are Brantley and Gaffney coming? And, are you planning any outdoor dates in the East in the summer? (Sorry, that's three questions...)

I'd love my daughter (who just turned three and is already pogo-ing around the house to your tunes) to see you guys play... she's got some serious Latin soul in her and made us forget all about the agony of waiting. I must also admit that while I will always be a seriously devoted fan and supporter... this little girl of mine is now the one who rocks my world.

Safe travels... let me know if there's anything I can do to help you guys out while you're in the East.
Hey Kevin:

Good to hear from you and CONGRATULATIONS again on the arrival of your daughter.
Your fortunate to have her in your life but she is also fortunate to have you as a father.

Now, regarding the not so sweet and sentimental Guilty Men, the current touring line up is Bobby Lloyd Hicks on drums, Gregory Boaz on bass, Joe Terry on keyboards, Chris Gaffney on acoustic guitar and accordion and the newest member, the amazing Chris Miller on electric guitar and lap steel guitar. Rick Shea has decided to leave The Guilty Men in order to pursue his solo career but he'll always be guilty to us.

As far as outdoor gigs, well, I guess the Canadian blues fests are outdoors as is the Syracuse blues festival. Those are the only ones I can think of right now. We'll have to do more outdoor gigs in the future so you can bring your daughter and dance with her without dealing with all that smokey barroom stuff.

Anyway, congratulations again and see you soon.

From: Felice (Saturday, May 1, 2004 at 00:36:18)
Answered: Tuesday, May 11, 2004 at 01:17:34.

Hey Dave! Hope you are well.

In another message posted here, you mentioned a previous concert where you were on the same show with Richard Thompson. Any chance that will happen again? I could conceivably die and go to heaven after that concert. Several years ago you played San Diego's Street Scene Weekend. RT also played that concert (different night). I discovered Los Straightjackets that weekend also. Street Scene has never been the same since. It was the first time I'd seen you play live.

Hope to see you in San Diego later this year. Very much looking forward to the new CD.

I know others have said it here, but you have no idea how much your music means to me.

I'll buy the beers next time you're in town!

Hey Felice:

Thank you very much.

In regards to Richard Thompson, yeah, I've done several shows with him over the past few years and I'm sure that our paths will cross again (but please don't die and go to heaven yet - we need all the fans we can get). I think he's one of the greatest songwriters around these days as well as being a brillant singer and, perhaps, one of the greatest guitarists in the known universe. Also a nice guy.

I'm looking forward to playing at The Belly Up in August and hopefully you can make that show but you don't have to buy the beers. Well, okay, maybe one beer.

From: Ted Thompson (Wednesday, May 5, 2004 at 23:00:22)
Answered: Tuesday, May 11, 2004 at 01:09:38.

Hey Dave, I had two quick questions. First, let me state that I am only 20 years old yet a big Del Fuegos fan (born too late). I've always wondered the reason your name is mentioned in the "thank yous" section of the bands first record "The Longest Day." My second question deserves an intro: Throughout the past two years or so, Boston has seen a great deal of performers and bands come through. Namely "rarities" such as Chris Smither (3 or 4 times), Tom Rush, a stint of Peter Wolf club appearances, John Doe, Paul Westerberg, Warren Zanes (yeah Dan too)and yourself (Blasters reunion, Passim and an upcoming Paradise show). I believe that you (and the above mentioned) belong to a group of ridiculously talented yet underrated and underexposed people, who (with the exeption of yourself and Smither) are touring consistantly more rarely. Do you see the musical future dim for young folks like myself, or do you think there could ever again be a revival of souful, meaningful and just plain good music? Personally, I consider folks like you, Smither, Wolf or Al Kooper at Passim and elsewhere an incredibly special thing which I will never forget. I hope such moments can continue, but perhaps those times will soon fade. Take care, -Ted
Hey Ted:

Well, let's hope they don't fade too soon.

Thanks for the very kind and sincere words of encouragement. Your question regarding the future of America's folk/blues/roots music reminds me of fears I had when I was a kid and was lucky enough to see performers like Lightnin' Hopkins, T-Bone Walker and Reverend Gary Davis play live. Not many kids my own age liked the music my brother and I loved and I worried that this music would die out. Well, all I can say, after all these years, is that it's still here. The blues/bluegrass/r+b/rock and roll originators are almost all gone but the music still lives. Everywhere I go there are new bands or songwriters or singers or hot shot guitarists or fiddlers or mandolinists, playing some variant of traditional American music.

I know that it gets depressing at times when so much of modern American popular music is, well, let's just say it's a far cry from Hank Williams or Robert Johnson, but good music still survives. Maybe not on televison or commercial radio but the music will survive. It goes through cycles of semi-popularity or semi-obscurity, but the music survives. I do think that going to see Chris Smither (or Tom Rush or Warren and Dan Zanes or any of the others you mentioned) is one way to support the musicians, keep the music alive and gather memories to get you through the rough times. I wouldn't trade my childhood memories of seeing Freddie King or Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson or Big Joe Turner perform live, for anything in the world.

As far as The Del Fuegos thanking me on their first album, well, they had opened some Boston shows for The Blasters before they got a record contract (and we shared a few dozen beers several times) and I was a big fan. It was the first time I was ever thanked on somebody's record and it was a big thrill for me. It still is. Maybe the Fuegos will get together for a few gigs in the future. Great guys. Great band.

From: Martha Rowly (Sunday, April 25, 2004 at 15:37:22)
Answered: Tuesday, April 27, 2004 at 04:04:13.

Hi Dave,
After catching you on 'Austin City Limits' a few times, I was able to
hear both you (Mississippi John Hurt workshop) and the band in Greenfield, MA in''02. You guys definitely out-played the headliners!
Added you to 'Warren Zevon' (God rest him) and 'James McMurtry' as people to troll for playing New England dates. Luckily stumbled over the Passim date last year and was able to get there for you and Chris Gaffney. Rumor has it only the club is 'dry', not the performers' backroom. Hope that was the case! Towards the end of the first set you did a haunting blues song which I believe mentioned some older artists and talked about being outside a club at night. Not on any album I have. Was it one of yours or someone else's? Already have tickets for the Paradise date on 7/30 and am looking forward to the new CD. Thanks for the great songs and wonderful music.

Hey Martha:

Yeah, Passim's is dry as a bone. As soon as the first set was done, Gaffney and I ran (literally) off the stage, out the front door and found the nearest liqour store and a couple of 6 packs. My favorite memory of that show was having the great Bill Morrissey join us for a song. He's one of my favorite songwriters and singers.

The song you're thinking of is called ASHGROVE and it's the title track of my new CD and, yeah, it's one I wrote. I will definitely be playing it at The Paradise so I'm gald you gonna be there.

I'm also a McMurtry fan and I also miss Warren Zevon very, very much. Great somgwriters are very rare and he was one of the rarest. I got to meet him a couple years ago and have a wonderful story about that meeting that I'll share sometime after a few beers.

From: beva (Saturday, April 24, 2004 at 09:19:26)
Answered: Tuesday, April 27, 2004 at 03:54:45.

Hey Dave,
I am a good friend of a friend of yours, ( Frank Furillo). We've met on several occasions in Minneapolis. I really want to see you play here again. I am really looking forward to the new album.
Frank and the guys in the Rousers just had a fantastic 20th anniversary show in Madison. It was a blast as usual.
Hope all is well hoping to see you play soon.

Hey Beva:

Any friend of Frank's is okay by me. I wouldn't have any career in the music biznizz if wasn't for Frank. To make a long story short, Frank, who grew up in Downey with my brother and I, actually put the band that later became The Blasters together. Frank is an amazing harp player (as you know) and he put a band together to play a friend's wedding. He had Bill Bateman playing drums and my brother, Phil, playing guitar and singing but Frank convinced Phil and Bill to let me play guitar with them. The rest is, well, history I guess. I owe many people for various things throughout my career but I owe Frank for just about everything.

I'm glad The Rousers played again, they were always great. As far as when I'll be playing in Madison, ahh, probably not until the fall. Sorry. But The Guilty Men and me will be playing 2 nights (July 3 and 4) at Fitzgerald's American Music Festival in Chicago (Berwyn). That's a shorter drive than Minneapolis.
Hope to see you there and give Frank my best!

From: Derek Doorn (Tuesday, April 20, 2004 at 17:47:56)
Answered: Friday, April 23, 2004 at 02:32:04.

I am a hospice nurse in the Denver/Boulder area, and just wanted to thank you for all the great music over the years, it has always helped lighten the load after a tough day. Are there any slide guitar solos on the upcoming album, and do you plan on doing any live? I thought it was great that you did one on Public Domain, and wondered if it was a one time offer. Would like to buy you a beer if you can make it back to Colorado. Derek
Thank you very much, Derek.

The way I see it, helping people "lighten the load" is the highest compliment I can ever get paid. That's what all folk music (acoustic or electric), or any kind of music is supposed to do. It's what Woody Guthrie did. It's what Muddy Waters did or what Hank Williams did or Big Joe Turner did or Curtis Mayfield did or Blind Willie McTell did.

There are a couple slide parts on the new CD but they're played by Greg Leisz, not me. As for me playing more slide guitar either on CDs or live, well, ah, gee, I don't know. I've played slide for a long time, and really got a kick playing slide on MAGGIE CAMPBELL, but I've known and worked with some of the best slide players in the world (guys like Greg, Kelly Joe Phelps and David Lindley) and I feel better leaving it to the professionals. But on the other hand, you never know what might happen.

Anyway, thank you again for the maximum compliment and for the doing the hard job that you do everyday. Both are very much appreciated. I'll see ya in Denver.

From: Richard Gebhart (Wednesday, April 21, 2004 at 08:12:51)
Answered: Friday, April 23, 2004 at 02:14:56.

Hello Dave,

Upon having missed your last perfomance in Ann Arbor, Michigan at the storied
Ark, I am pleased to report I have tickets coming to your impending July show.
I've had the opportunity to visit a myriad of music venues in my time and the
nuances of each is as varied as the performers. But the Ark is, in my eyes
and ears, a hallowed showcase for talents. The crowd's appreciation of the
music they are hearing is reflected in the respect they show for the artists,
and it's quite unlike anywhere else I've been in that regard. Between songs,
it's like you're on the greens at Augusta during the Masters, but when the
putt is sank, the crowd explodes in appreciation (I'm not a golfer, in spite of
analogy). I'm curious what your take is on your previous encounter(s) with the Ark.

Hope you are invited in at the studios of WDET in Detroit when you pass through.
Given the paucity of a thoughtful, free-form radio these days, we in Southeast
Michigan have a gem in Public Radio's WDET.

One last thought, Dave. I firmly believe the song "Haley's Comet" would
resonate sweetly within the Ark's loving walls.

Look forward to seeing you and the Guilty Men this summer!

Richard Gebhart
Hey Richard:

I've played The Ark two times in the past and enjoyed both shows but the last gig there was especially fun. It was during the acoustic tour I did when PUBLIC DOMAIN was first released. The group was Chris Gaffney, Joe Terry, Rick Shea and Brantley Kearns. The audience was wonderful. You're correct that between songs they were a bit quiet but by the end they were as loud as any rock and roll crowd.

Being primarily an acoustic venue, I hope they'll be okay with the full volume of The Guilty Men. I may play a few songs acoustic at the begining but seeing how my new cd, ASHGROVE, is predominately an electric blues-rock record (well, there are some acoustic songs on there to be accurate), I'll strap the Stratocaster on at some point and let it rip. And if you want HALEY'S COMET, then you got it.

Oh, yeah, I've been on WDET several times and it definitely is one of the great stations in America so hopefully they'll let me and the guys drop by again.
See you in a couple months.

From: Todd (Thursday, April 22, 2004 at 07:14:54)
Answered: Friday, April 23, 2004 at 02:00:49.


I have to admit that while I started as a Blasters fan, I now prefer to see you solo. Weird as it sounds, watching the Blasters reunion show left me wanting to hear $30 Room or Haley's Comet....I guess you've converted me over the last 10-15 years of seeing you. Anyway, when I listen to the Blasters retrospective, I've always been struck how your songwriting seemed to blossum like Robbie Robertson's--was The Band an influence?

Hope you liked the CD I gave you at Tin Angel. The Troc is really a very filthy unsanitary place (wait til you see the bathrooms!)--I think I'll pick you up when you hit town next year.

Many thanks for all the great shows and yes, I'm "one of THEM" who likes (and has requested) Andersonville and Kitchen Table.
Hey Todd:

Well, thanks for the tip regarding the bathrooms. I'll pass it along to all The Guilty Men.

You know, I've played plenty of joints where the conditions aren't exactly sanitary and sometimes those can be pretty good shows. Something about those places takes me back the old "punk rock" days, so I play a little louder, rock a little harder and jump a little higher. Although I appreciate your opinion and understand why you feel like skipping the show, it would be a shame if you missed it because I'm not sure if I'll get back to the east coast later in the year. That, and I also need all the fans I can get.

In regards to requests for ANDERSONVILLE and KITCHEN TABLE, I think those are two of the best songs I've written so I don't mind people asking for them. I just don't play them in dance halls, though.

As far as The Band being an influence, sure they were. Didn't they influence everybody? I especially have a soft spot for THE BASEMENT TAPE era when they were coming up with their unique sound and the guitar was loud and ragged.

As far as playing solo versus playing with the reunited Blasters, yeah, I started missing 30 DOLLAR ROOM and HALEY'S COMET myself on the recent Blasters reunion gigs. Maybe one day I can do a gig with both bands playing together. That would be a nice battle of the bands. Maybe we'll even play in a club with clean bathrooms.

From: Carol Smith (Monday, April 19, 2004 at 08:42:16)
Answered: Tuesday, April 20, 2004 at 03:02:48.

Hi Dave,
I've quite given up on hearing you, or any other good music on the radio, but I just got digital cable and (I find this hard to believe) it includes as one of the commercial-free music channels - Americana. They actually play good music-you, Tom Russell, Rosie Flores, even sometimes The Blasters. Too bad I have to pay the cable company a fortune for it.

I can't wait to see you in Indianapolis this summer - I already have my tickets. Could you get Hightone Records to put that show on their Tour Dates page?

-- carol s.
Hey Carol:

Well, yeah, it's a drag to have to have to pay to get a decent radio station but at least you don't have to listen to the damn commercials. I listen to the music stations that come with my satellite tv service and they are very good. They have stations that showcase acoustic folk, a wide spectrum of blues and r+b, bluegrass, classic jazz, singer-songwriter stuff and even some old time honky tonk gems. I just wish there was a station that played all those styles of American Music mixed together so we could see how they're all connected to each other.

Anyway, I'm no longer with Hightone Records so I doubt they'll have the Indianapolis show on theor web page but my new label, YepRoc, certainly has it at their site, www.YepRoc.com

The last time I played there was a couple years back with the amazing Richard Thompson. My dad grew up in Indiana and his brother, my uncle Clem who I'd never met, came to the show and we had a few beers together and I had a great time. A very special night for me. Anyway, I'm looking forward to playing at Birdy's (maybe uncle Clem and cousin Greg will show up) and I hope you enjoy the show.
See you soon.

From: James (Thursday, April 15, 2004 at 17:37:45)
Answered: Monday, April 19, 2004 at 04:09:45.

Hey Dave,

I'm a huge fan. Don't even remember where it started. I've been tuning into bootliquor.com lately and hearing you and some others in rotation, I get wistful for what FM radio could be (at least here in OR). I've noticed that you've racked up some producer credits in the last few years. Is it something you really enjoy, and under what circumstances would consider being hired. If one is expected to retrieve the golden fleece I'd take King Of California on the journey.

Hey James:

Good luck finding the golden fleece.
Yeah, radio can be pretty depressing these days. There are some great stations out there but not nearly enough compared to all the great music that's being made today that can't get heard. Satellite radio seems pretty open and eclectic but we'll have to see what happens there. I'll look up bootliquor.com and see what the're up to.
I've produced a lot of records over the past few years (Amy Farris' ANYWAY on YepRoc is the most recent) and enjoy doing producing but, all in all, I'd rather be in a club playing guitar with my band. Playing music live is my second favorite thing in the world.
Usually, I work with acts that I think I can help. Help them with their songs or help them find their sound or just to make a good record or (maybe the most important) help them get over their fear of the recording process. It can very intimidating walking into a studio. Let them know it's okay to try new things and make mistakes (God knows, I've made a million of mistakes in the studio).

From: Greg (Saturday, April 17, 2004 at 23:41:02)
Answered: Monday, April 19, 2004 at 03:56:16.

I came across a Slash album that has a two notes to a girl named sandy. She must have had your shirts dry cleaned and it was asked "where are our shirts?" It is signed "David Alvin" written in black marker. The other says "Now I know why my shirts smell so sweet" Love Phil Alvin. Does this ring a bell? I was excited to find this item and add it to my collection. If it is authentic I will be even more excited. Even though it is not autographed to me I will know that it is your signature in my collection.
Thank you for your time,
Hey Greg:

Wow, I've always wondered what happens to records or CDs that I sign.Did yo find it in a thrift store? Well, I'm just glad it wound up in good hands. As far as who "Sandy" is, man, I haven't a clue. I had a girlfriend a million years ago named Sandy but she wasn't in the dry cleaning/laundry business (last I heard she was living up in Napa making wine). I'm pretty sure it's our signatures though, it sounds like stuff we would've written on record jackets back then and if you've ever seen my brother and I sweat on stage then you know we definitely needed a dry cleaner.

From: pete kelly (Sunday, April 11, 2004 at 04:22:03)
Answered: Wednesday, April 14, 2004 at 03:06:18.

Hey Pete:

Thanks for the message! I hope the music didn't do too much damage. I remember when The Blasters played in Sheffield in 1982 at a technical college. Great gig.
Hopefully, I'll get back there someday. Keep rockin'!

From: Jeff domanico (Wednesday, April 7, 2004 at 21:39:07)
Answered: Thursday, April 8, 2004 at 02:58:54.

Hey Dave-I happened to be in Vegas 5 years ago August and caught the show by the courthouse the day after my 35th birhtday. Any idea where you'll be around August 27th this year for my 40th ? Hopefully somewhere near Colorado. I think it's going on four years since you've been to our beautiful state.
Also, was wondering what your stance was on the taping of your shows? There's some very nice recordings of some shows out there, so we hope you don't object !!!
Thanks and come back to Colorado soon !!!! Jeff domanico
Hey Jeff:

Yeah, I remember that show in Las Vegas. Pretty damn hot that evening. It was the last time I saw blues singer Top Jimmy before he passed away. I tried to get him up on stage to sit in with us but his health was pretty bad and he declined the offer.
Oh well.

I'm pretty sure that The Guilty Men and I will be in Colorado sometime this year, if not this summer then definitley in the fall/winter. Just in case, though, Happy 40!

As far as taping the shows, I'm all for taping unless, and this is very important, unless the show sucks. No kidding. If the show stinks, please destroy the tape. If the show rocked, then spread it around. I feel that the difference between the studio performances of my songs and the live versions is so drastic that taping is fine by me.

I'm not wild about folks downloading songs off the web, though, because the musicians/songwriters have to get paid to survive (I'm not talking about millionaire pop stars but the average musician who has to try to pay the rent and feed family and themselves off of minimal financial returns). Much of the ongoing debate regarding downloading is between the major record labels and the folks that want music to be free BUT the musicians (again, not the small group of millionaires but the working class musician) are the ones who get screwed.
Most touring musicians cannot survive without what little royalties they get paid from record companies or from song publishing. There will be very little live blues, folk, bluegreass, rockabilly, jazz, singer/songwriter, etc, because these are not the most commercial styles and most of us don't make a living playing live but from the royalties. It costs money to fill the van with gas and drive from Seattle to Tampa. Anyway, tape the live shows, enjoy the music, spread the word, spread the tapes but think twice before downloading. It really does hurt the musicians.

From: Robert Jordan (Monday, April 5, 2004 at 14:06:47)
Answered: Thursday, April 8, 2004 at 02:29:53.

Hey Dave! Love the Blasters DVD! We saw the show in Cincinnati and unfortunately I let not only the music but also the bourbon carry me away that night but was with it enough to realize I was seeing one great live band. My wife and I also saw you at the Lotus Festival in Bloomington a couple of years ago. We jumped to the front row after the flamenco group and loved it. (Even my wife was impressed). However, the first time I caught your show was a few years ago and you were opening for the great Richard Thompson. What a double bill; my two favorite artists on the same bill. Anyway to my question; After the Blasters show I had the opportunity to get some autographs and ask you if you'd heard Richard's version of "Shenandoah." Have you and what did you think of it?. If not I'd gladly supply you with a copy when you play that gig in July in Indinapolis. Until then take care and thanks for answering my letter.
Hey Robert:

Yeah, I remember you asking about SHENANDOAH but, no, I still haven't heard Richard Thompson's version of SHENANDOAH and I'm a little hesistant to ever hear it. Richard is just too damn great and after hearing his version I'm positive I'd never sing it again. He is not only one of great guitarists but also one of the great singer/songwriters. I don't think he gets the credit for his songwriting that he deserves.

Well, glad you enjoyed The Blasters DVD. I think we played pretty good that night. See you in Indianapolis.

From: Nancy Parton (Wednesday, March 31, 2004 at 23:18:44)
Answered: Saturday, April 3, 2004 at 04:43:23.

Hi Dave --

I hope you will be playing in San Diego soon. I could use a good strong dose of DAVE ALVIN MUSIC and would love to hear some of the new stuff that will be on your upcoming cd.

You know how music will creep into one's thoughts triggered by, well, really anything... I work in the East County and on occasion, when I am headed towards the office in the morning, once I've rounded the curve around El Cajon on I-8 and look out at the mountains across the valley and beyond, I will suddenly have "California Snow" in mind. Such an extraordinary song.

You seem to have such a broad appreciation for music. How about jazz or classical? Do you play any instruments in addition to the guitar?

Thanks in advance for the response.

Tall Nancy
Hey Tall Nancy:

Thanks. I think CALIFORNIA SNOW is one of the best things I've ever written and
I'm glad that it touched you.

I like and listen to ALL types of music except the stuff thats manufactured to sell to the lowest commond denominator and shoved down our throats constantly on radio and TV. I won't mention names because you know who I mean.
My main love is old blues/folk/rock and roll/country but, yeah, I also love Duke Elington, Miles, Coltrane, Mingus, Mose Allison, Dexter Gordon,
Lester Young, etc. Anything that touches the soul no matter what style.

I will certainly be playing San Diego this year, probably around late August or early September. I look forward to seeing you there and tell Interstate 8 that I said hello.

From: David (Wednesday, March 31, 2004 at 16:58:51)
Answered: Saturday, April 3, 2004 at 04:33:49.

Thanks for all of the great music over the years. I was first introduced to your music through your ties with the Knitters and all the great guys in X, and I am a big fan of the Blasters and Guilty Men. My question is, how did "Dry River" end up on James McMurtry's "Saint Mary of the Woods" album? James is a fantastic singer/songwriter, and he does a terrific version of your song (having Ian McLagen on organ can't hurt either). I live out here in Jackson, WY, and last year you guys were scheduled to play the Mangy Moose and it was canceled; hope that sometime soon you can make it up here.
Take care,
Hey David:

Yeah, I agree with you that James is an amazing songwirter/singer/guitarist and I was very, very honored that he recorded my song, DRY RIVER. I think his version is great and recommend any of his records to anybody.

As for the "how and whys," well, all I know is that one night, a few years back,
I was standing in front of Schuba's nightclub in Chicago having a cigarette when James walks up to me and says, "Hi. I'm James McMurty and I love DRY RIVER."

I answered with something clever and witty like, "Wow! Thanks, man. Nice to meet you."

He then said, "I'm gonna record it one of these days."

I said, "Great!"

The he said goodbye and walked away and that was that.

Speaking of DRY RIVER and The Knitters, we recently got together and did some recording for a new Knitters CD that should be out next year hopefully. One of the songs we recorded was DRY RIVER with John and EXENE singing. I can't express how wonderful it is to have people like John and Exene and James McMurtry sing my songs. Makes it worth getting out of bed in the morning.

As far as The Mangy Moose, we'll get up there one of these days and make up for the cancelled show. I promise.

From: John (Tuesday, March 30, 2004 at 12:40:18)
Answered: Saturday, April 3, 2004 at 04:06:10.

Hey John;

I think I erased your question accidentally but the answer is, yeah, The Guilty Men and me will definitely be playing in the New York City/New Jersey area this summer. So now your wife won't have to make the 5 hour drive upstate. Anyway, tell your wife she's safe and give her a kiss from me.

From: Michael (Tuesday, March 30, 2004 at 05:31:37)
Answered: Saturday, April 3, 2004 at 04:02:36.


Been a fan of your music since the early days. I came across the Blasters, as a young tennager after reading a interview / article in a English music paper in May 82. Along with the Stray Cats you guys turned me onto rockabilly, roots music etc.

Anyway, my question is . . . is it true you are going to be playing Ireland's Kilkenny festival in May? I hope it is true, I have waited years to see you play live in Ireland. What are your thoughts about playing Ireland for the first time?



Hey Michael:

Yeah, it's true that I'm playing at The Kilkenny Festival this year (2004) but it won't be the first time I've played Ireland. The Irish folk/blues promoter,
Larry Roddy, brought me over a few years back and I performed at The Galway Folk Festival as well some small folk clubs like Whelan's in Dublin. I loved evey minute of it. So much of American folk music has it roots in Irish/Celtic traditional music that going to Ireland for me is a similar pilgrimage as going down to Mississippi or to Sun Studios in Memphis. The last time I played in Ireland I was solo/acoustic (with the great Irish mandolinist/fiddler, Paul Kelly, helping me out) but this time I'll have my band, The Guilty Men with me and the music will be a bit louder with a bit more rocking material. I hope you come to the festival and enjoy the show. See you at the castle!

From: Ted Keeley (Saturday, March 27, 2004 at 14:17:24)
Answered: Monday, March 29, 2004 at 04:16:20.

Hi Dave. Congratulations on the DVD.It's fantastic and it finally means that I get the chance to see the Blasters play live! I don't know if you remember me but I'm the Australian guy you met one night in Hollywood in January,1985. You were reading poetry at a bar (the All American cafe,or something like that?)and there were torch singers as well.I think Exene Cervenka had organised the show. Anyway, I'd come over from Australia on vacation and I went to see if I could meet you at this place.I was a bit shy at first but Pleasant Gehman, who was serving behind the bar, said she'd introduce me to you when you came in, which was very kind of her. Anyway, we met and drank MANY Budweisers and talked a lot about music, the blasters etc.for hours.You were recording,or had just completed recording,Hard Line at the time, and you had a few misgivings,as I recall, about the guest producer idea.I suggested the band get Dave Edmunds or Nick Lowe,for what it was worth. Anyway, it was a great night for me because the disappointment of not being able to see the Blasters play while I was in the States was countered by the fact that I'd met you,drank lots of beer and felt that I'd made a friend-more than just met a favourite musician.You introduced me to Phil and Bill who turned up later,as well as John Doe and I still have the band photo on my wall that you all signed! Anyway, I always meant to try and contact you again after that night but I never managed to-(no internet back then!) I wanted to send you some tapes from my band as we covered about 5 or 6 Blasters songs in our repetoire.I still will if you'd like to hear them,despite the fact that the band broke up a long time ago. So thanks for the most memorable night of my American vacation(you rated higher than the Grand Canyon,even!) Cheers,
Ted Keeley
Hey Ted:

Better than the Grand Canyon?!?!?
Man, how many Budweisers did we drink?
The All American Cafe was Exene's regular Sunday night poetry/music salon at the long gone Cathay deGrande. I remember the torch singer was the great Julie Christensen (who later went on to sing for years with Leonard Cohen) and I remember Pleasant tending bar but the rest, I hate to say, is lost in a beer stained haze. Maybe if you send me the recordings of your old band it'll trigger my memory circuits. Send it to me c/o Hightone Records
220 Fourth Street
Oakland, California
I do remember 2 bands from Australia who performed songs of mine or told me they did anyway. One was called The Barnburners and the other were The Rockin' Emus.
Was one of those your band? I think, maybe your band was The Barnburners. Am I right or am I just having a bad Bud flashback?
Anyway, thanks for the memories (and beer) and keep rockin'!

From: Pete Schouweiler (Sunday, March 28, 2004 at 20:11:45)
Answered: Monday, March 29, 2004 at 04:01:47.

Are the lyrics to "Jubilee Train" available somewhere?
Hey Pete:

Well, if you find a copy of The Blaster's NONFICTION lp, there are lyrics on the inside record sleeve. Sorry that I can't be of more help at this time but I am planning to do a songbook at some future date and JUBILEE TRAIN would certainly be in there.
The first line is
"Honest John was dirt farming man and he worked everday of his life, the dust blew up and the bank shut him down then he heard about a Jubilee Train . . ."

From: John Tkach (Friday, March 26, 2004 at 22:41:55)
Answered: Monday, March 29, 2004 at 03:52:52.

Just finished watching the new Blaster's DVD and you and Phil (and the others) are still great.

I am a huge Tom Russell fan as well. What are the chances of you and Tom getting together and recording a complete CD together?
Hey John:

I'm glad you enjoyed the DVD. I think the Blasters are better than ever. We should play together more often, maybe in another few years or so. You never know.
As far as a Russell/Alvin CD, well, you never know about that either. It's been discussed but usually after several beers. Maybe he and I could write an entire record of new songs. Who knows? Stranger things have happened. Hell, the Blasters reunited for some gigs and a DVD. Stay tuned.

From: Ambrose Pollock (Thursday, March 25, 2004 at 19:45:46)
Answered: Monday, March 29, 2004 at 03:46:28.

Dave My Man, In and around May 23rd happens to be my lovely wife Michele and Myself's 17th wedding celebration, We are not celebrating by watching pornos or throwing furniture or tv's through windows or anything like that. However, to augment our already wonderfuly bizarre reality, we thought of you. Are you performing in the western states even remotely near central Calif. in the recent future???????? We saw you with Kelley Joe Phelps in Santa Cruz or Can of Screws or whatever you want to call it a while back and really enjoyed your show. So whadya say? Where you gonna play? Keepin' the faith, Ambrose and Michele
Congratulations Michele and Ambrose!
17 years, wow, sounds like true love to me. Unfortunatley, I won't be playing anywhere in late May. When my new CD is released in June, I plan to be on the road for the rest of the year and so May is going to be a kind of vacation month for me. Sorry. Perhaps the porno and busting furniture and smashing TVs is not such a bad idea. Maybe I'll be playing near you guys for your 18th anniversary. Well, congratulations again and don't break too much stuff.

From: John (Tuesday, March 23, 2004 at 10:00:29)
Answered: Monday, March 29, 2004 at 03:37:06.

Dave , been a big fan since the first blasters LP and have everything 'cept your outakes and the blasters box set , (your first solo might have been one of the last LP's I bought new) I look forward to your summer tour as I see you are listed at the Ottawa Blues Fest! Yippie , got some buddies coming in from parts unknown to see ya then so PLEASE stay healthy til then , no diving off stage or anything like that, I'm counting on you brother !
ps: there are some chord's on the web of your stuff , some accurate ,some not but for someone like me , tone deaf , they are a big help so will be waiting for your upcoming songbook , must be true I read it on the net !
Hey John:

I have no intention of missing the Ottawa Blues Fest and I hope you and your pals enjoy the show. I don't get up there very often (I was there a few years ago opening for Bob Dylan but haven't been back since) and I've always had a good time in Ottawa, so don't worry, I won't fall off a stage or nothing like that. I hope I don't, anyway.
Regarding the songbook, it might take a while. I have a good friend who is quite talented at writing out music tabs and I'm trying to wrangle him into doing it for me. I think he will but how long it takes him is another matter.
See you soon in Ottawa.

From: dawn marie devine (Monday, January 13, 2003 at 14:44:50)
Answered: Monday, March 29, 2004 at 03:25:00.

I'm curious:
what were some of Dave's artistic impressions from the reunion tour? Songs that worked the best, favorite venues, mishaps that turned into gems.

- dawn marie devine.
Well, I think the band is better now than we were back in the old days. Everyone is a better musician and we have more fun on stage and less arguments and fights. I miss Lee Allen, though. If he could've been with us then it would've been perfect. We were never up to Lee's level of musicianship (well, at least I never was) but I think we've gotten closer and he would have been proud of us.
Too many good shows to list a favorite, same with venues although I'm always partial to Fitzgeralds in Chicago and I've never heard Bill Bateman play better than he did at our gig in Portland, Oregon. And he ALWAYS plays good.

From: John Tkach (Friday, January 10, 2003 at 22:03:12)
Answered: Monday, March 29, 2004 at 03:18:21.

I don't have a question, but this is the closest thing to sending sentiments.

I am really pleased that all is going well for you Dave and the rest of the other Blasters.

I just loved the Blasters ever since I discovered them probably close to 20 years ago. I recently got the new Blasters live and it is every bit as good as they have been in the past.

I read an article recently that talked about all of the trials and tribulations that you (Dave) have gone through. I'm sure that the road has been hard, but I am glad that you didn't lose the faith and have continued to make some of the best music that has come down the pike in a long time.

I would take the Blasters to a desert island as one of my must have groups - along with all my Dave Alvin releases as well.

Thanks for the music and for all you have given it. And keep on keepin' on.

John Tkach

Thank you, John. See you on the desert island.

From: Tim (Tuesday, December 31, 2002 at 12:17:13)
Answered: Monday, March 29, 2004 at 03:17:14.


I was wondering if the song Delia from Public Domain has any connection to Delias Gone by Johnny Cash. Both songs seem to tell the same story from different points of view. Pretty cool in my opinion, but could just be an overactive imagination.

Hey Tim:

I don't know.
The version of DELIA that I heard when I was 12 or 13 years old (and based my version on) is the one by Blind Willie McTell on his 1941 Library of Congress sessions. As odd as it sounds, I've never heard the Johnny Cash version but there are several folk songs with Delia in the title. Not all of them are about the specific murder that happened in Savannah, Georgia at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries.
The way I always saw the narrative of this particular DELIA was that it told the story/tragedy from various points of view not just the killer's. It showed how her death affected different people: her parents, her killer and the narrator who always loved her. It's that very complicated simplicity that great folk songs have.

From: Don Andrew (Saturday, December 21, 2002 at 10:43:14)
Answered: Monday, March 29, 2004 at 03:07:05.

Dave Alvin--I just read the article about your "Andersonville" song, in the DEC '02 issue of Civil War Times. I also am a history buff, and my gggrand pa was at that hell hole, but survived. I have loved the BLASTERS since I first heard you guys a long time ago. I will find, and buy the CD with that song on it, as well as your new one. Keep up the good work.

From the Heartland of America---Don Andrew
Hey Don:

It's amazing how that song touches people. Some folks hate it but others
(sometimes the people you'd least expect) love it. I think it's one of the best I've written and the live version on OUT IN CALIFORNIA is the one I prefer.
It's also amazing how many people I meet who had relatives in Andersonville.
My great, great, great uncle, Asa Powell, was not one of the lucky ones who survived. Some small mementos of his from the war and from Andersonville Prison were handed down to me when I was a boy and I treasure them more than just about anything.

From: Ken Gallegos (Tuesday, December 10, 2002 at 10:23:37)
Answered: Monday, March 29, 2004 at 02:58:57.


Thanks for the great music and performances over these past twenty or more years. I have always considered you to be something like the "Tom Joad of Rock n' Roll".

There aren't very many bands/performers who will rouse this 40+ elementary school principal to go to a local club to hear music. When I see your name or The Blasters playing locally in SF or Petaluma, I go and have a great time.

I hope you're still making great music twenty years from now. Keeps us all young. Sincerely, Ken Gallegos

Thanks for the very kind words, Ken. The music, gigs and fans keep me young also. I wish I was the Tom Joad of rock and roll. Mighty big shoes to fill.

From: jim (Monday, December 9, 2002 at 09:30:34)
Answered: Monday, March 29, 2004 at 02:55:43.

When you play leads it appears that you are using only three fingers on your left hand (fret hand). Is this a reccomended style? Most books and teachers make you use four fingers on your left hand.
Hey Jim:

Being a self-taught guitarist, sometimes I use 3 fingers on my left hand, sometimes I use 4, sometimes I use 2, sometimes I use only one. The books and guitar teachers are correct when they advise that you always use 4 fingers but I've developed so many bad guitar technique habits over the years that I just do what I do and try not to sound too bad doing it. I guess my advice is, whatever I'm doing on guitar, do the opposite.

From: Scot (Monday, March 22, 2004 at 02:37:56)
Answered: Monday, March 22, 2004 at 02:39:25.

Hey, I thought you said Dave just answered a lot of questions. Where'd they all go?
Good question, Scot. Dave cleared up such a huge backlog of mail that I had
to start a new page, lest the current one get too unwieldy. Look above to the links to past Q&As from Dave.


Return to Blasters page.

Return to Dave Alvin page.

Return to Scot's page.

Dave Alvin Q&A/Comments/Questions