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Hello. I´m living in Sweden and have listening to your musik for many eyars.
Me and some of my friends have hooped that same day mabee yuo should came to
Europe for a turné. Have you ever play´d in Europe?
We look forword to see you here some day.
Thank you for all the good musik.
Leif and Kristina Johansson
Hey Leif and Kristina:
Thaks for listening all this time.
I have played in Sweden (Malmo, Upsalla, Stockholm) but it has been
a long time. Too long. I guess I haven't been there since the mid-90's
(Wow, time passes quickly). Part of the problem with touring overseas
is that I want bring my entire band with me and that costs a lot of money.
Especially considering the value of the US dollar in relationship
to the Euro. But, all that aside, I do feel that a long European tour is
way overdue. If I can make that happen (maybe next year)
then I hope you can make it to one of the shows.
I'll be looking for you.
Dave, I saw your Q&A here in which you mentioned that your old pal Dan Zanes had
asked you to participate in one of his family CDs, but you declined. You should
reconsider! 75 percent of Dan's material on his CDs is traditional/folk
songs--you do like folk songs, don't you? He doesn't present them in a cutesy
manner that would be bad for your barroom-bluesman image. And since your
audience skews on the older side and older folks tend to have kids, appearing on
one of Dan's CDs might win you some new fans. Besides, Lou Reed, Deborah Harry,
John Doe, and the Five Blind Boys of Alabama (among many others) have played on
Dan's CDs; you'd be in excellent company!
I agree with you that it wouldn't hurt my image to appear on one of Dan's cd's but,
just to set the record straight, Dan hasn't asked me to appear on any of his great cd's yet.
He has, though, asked to me come to a couple of kids shows and sing a song or two.
One of my problems is that his shows are always at 10 or 11 in the morning and those are
not my best hours. Also, I'm a bit inexperienced regarding playing for kids.
Theres an art to it that I don't know if I possess. Maybe I could appear as some sort of
"scared straight" kind of figure. You know, like, "Hey kids, don't smoke cigarettes,
drink beer and play music in barrooms!! You could end up lookking like this guy!!"
I'm kidding of course. Maybe next time Dan asks me to sing at one of his shows,
I'll do it. Hopefuly the show will be in the late afternoon. Very late in the afternoon.
Wonderful to hear you are writing! Nick Cave has given a few interviews where
he has described his writing process. He says previously, he relied on
inspiration, waiting for lightning to strike. Lately, he's actually rented an
office, where he goes for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, to write, just like
it's a job. He said the wait-for-inspiration thing wasn't working for him
anymore. (Some of this has to do with his having a family, of course.) I was
wondering where you fall on this question? Does treating writing as work
eventually force or draw the creativity out, or do you have to feel inspired?
Btw, I see you're coming to the midwest in February. If you're doing a solo
tour (as it seems you are?) you should look into LVD's Concert Hall in Goshen
Indiana. < http://www.lvds.info/ > It's a very nice, historic place, holds
several hundred people, and they have a very appreciative, open-minded, music-
oriented base audience most of whom come to whatever's happening there. (I've
seen Carrie Newcomber, Salamander Crossing/Rani Arbo, Foghorn String Band,
Elana James, Robin & Linda Williams, etc., there, just to give you an idea of
who they feature.) The local college radio station (the Globe, out of Goshen
College) plays you with some regularity, and would publicize. Anyway, just a
thought for whatever it's worth.
Hope you are well, and please consider playing "Andersonville" more often for
us Ken Burns fans out there.
Well, I'm always writing. Whether it's on a pad of paper or just in my brain,
I'm always writing. The issue is whether I like what I'm writing or not.
Usually the answer is "not," I should, perhaps, be little less critical of myself
and whatever song I'm composing at the time but being hyper-critical
tends to make better songs. At least for me.
I don't have children so I don't need an writing office like many of my
parent/songwriting friends have. I just need a hike in the hills or a story
in the newspaper or an overheard conversation or a broken heart
or someone else's broken heart or . . .
I do view songwriting as work. Really hard work. Sometimes the only way
to get a song is through sweat, discipline and blood.
Other times (rare but wonderful times), the songs just appear like an old friend
knocking on the front door.
I'll let my booking agents know about the gig in Goshen.
It sounds like fun.
So how did you end up at power play studios in newark in 1994?
Hey Sue Ellen:
How did I end up at Power Play Studios in Downtown Newark in 1994?
Well, it was pretty simple, Greg Leisz and I drove there.
Seriously, there was a video director at that studio
(whose name I'm sorry to say I can't remember) who said that
he could do a couple of "live" performance videos for a pretty inexpensive fee.
I tend to hate most of the videos I've been invovled with, from The Blasters through
my early solo career, and thought that if he could just film Greg and I playing
together (without a contrived story line or dancing girls or corny special effects)
then that would be okay. I think the director did a great job capturing the two of us
doing what we do.
I just wish I could remember his name.
Dave, I noticed in your Ashgrove CD a pic of you sitting in a music room with
serveral amps, in the pic there is a old national amp, do you know the one I
mean?, I have one exactly like it, my father bought it about 1950, I've tried
to do some research on the amp but have not been able to find any info, do you
happen to know anything about it, by the way, saw your recently at the Palms
Playhous, Winters Ca, Great show, cu-doo's & hope to see you again sometime,
thanks // mike g...
The little National amp belongs to the brillant recording
engineer, Mark Linett, who has recorded many of my cd's.
That's about all I know about it. Usually when I'm recording,
theres a variety of amps laying around the studio
and I'll plug in and use whichever one suits the song.
Unfortunately, I often don't make mental notes of which amp
I use on which song unless it's one of my regular amps.
Mark may have told something about it's history but
apparantly I wasn't listening.
You might want to check out Vintage Guitar magazine
(they may have a website, I don't know) to start tracking info
on your father's amp. You're pretty lucky to have
a little treasure like that. How does it sound?
I just gots to know what effect or amp, was used to get the leslie speaker sound
with the guitar on Redneck Friend...
Sorry to disappoint you but I can't really help
you on this one. My genius producer/guitar wizard,
Greg Leisz, played the guitar part you're referring to
and I don't feel comfortable revealing someone else's
guitar gear/tricks. I will say that he used a pedal and he
could have gotten it from TrueTone Music in Santa Monica.
Or he may not have.
Good luck finding that sound.
Dave, this e-thought is inspired by one from Nick Banche, & your answer, on 04
First of all, he took the words out of my mouth re his musical/artists
comparisons of your work. (My five free auto notifies on Pollstar are: Dylan,
Prine, Emmylou, that Alvin guy & Burning Spear) You had me with Blue Blvd.
When I lived in NC managed to catch you at the Double Door, Handlebar, Evening
Muse,Visulite etc. Thanks for selling 'outtakes' as some of those shows.
Speaking of shows, was just playing a compilation, 'Blowing the Fuse-1958'
which included 'Walking with Mr. Lee' and recalled Interstate City. Great
tribute, as usual when you acknowledge the greats of your own roots, and
educate your audience.
Secondly, Nick's question was for your take on the state of/outlook on music
today. You noted in part: "Some sort of tradition based American music will
always be played. Blues, folk, bluegrass, rockabilly, zydeco, country . . ."
So here's my question: Do you ever listen to reggae? What is your take on it?
Pos/Neg, don't give a hoot? Not the current dancehall rap stuff, but old school
like Burning Spear, Heptones, Meditations, Mighty Diamonds, Wailing Souls
Israel Vibrations etc.
Thanks and hope to catch you with the GM sometime this year.
(p.s., recall the Jacks LP cover. 'why don't you write me Dave?, make me feel
Any fan of the great doo-wop group, The Jacks,
is all right by me. Too bad they're not listed
on Pollstar, I'd love to see them perform live
if any of them are still with us.
Yeah, I dig the older reggae stuff.
One of the best concerts I ever saw was Bob Marley
singing with Peter Tosh many, many years ago.
You certainly can't say one bad thing about the Wailers
as a band. As tight and powerful as James Brown's
early 70's JB's or Springsteen's E-street ensemble.
I also dig reggae crooners like Dennis Brown.
I think that Marley, Brown and a lot of the reggae guys
learned a lot from Curtis Mayfield (one of my heroes)
as well as from some of the old New Orleans records
that my mentor, Lee Allen, played tenor sax on.
All music, no matter where it's from,
is connected. Most musicians listen to whatever music
can teach them something they don't know or that touches
them in that mysterious way that music touches all of us
without regard to any outside imposed categories.
So whether it's Lee Allen or Bob Marley or The Jacks,
it's all the same to me.
Greetings from the Garden State !!! Do you have any plans to release a new
album anytime soon? I know it has only been about a year since West of the West
came out but I am ready for some new Dave Alvin music. Also wanted to know how
your record company goes about deciding what "genre" your music gets lumped
into. When I uploaded West of the West & Ashgrove to my music library on my PC
both are listed as Country. Don't get me wrong, I like a lot of country music
and see a lot of your songs could fit that category but don't think they should
lump artists into a category, especially someone whose music as as diverse as
yours. Reminds me of a question my brother-in-law asked me when I played him
some different samplings of your music to try to reel him in and make him a DA
fan. He said "some of this sounds like country, but some sounds more like blues
or rock. What category is Dave Alvin in." I said Dave plays "American Music"
and he looked at me like I was from another planet. I went on to explain that
your music transends several "categories", blues, rock, country, folk,
rockabilly, etc. and that it is all American music. I still don't think he got
it but what are you going to do. Anyway, I guess it really doesn't matter where
they lump you as long as people catch on and listen. Hope to hear some new
music from you soon and hope you get a chance to play here in NJ again sometime
Greetings from the Golden State!
Well, I think that you're explanation is as good
as any I could come up with. People tend to want to categorize
everything - music or otherwise - so, as you said,
"what are you going to do?"
I've always considered myself as basically a blues guy
but I don't want to limit myself to what some people define as
blues. The "blues form" and the "blues scale" is a constant
in just about all American folk and roots music as well as jazz
and pop. Because of that, I can hear the blues in country music
as well as in the loud garage band down the block.
As a songwriter, if I feel like writing a polka one day,
I'll write a polka. If I feel like writing a country song
or a rockabilly song, then I'll do it. It's hard enough
writing songs to have to bother yourself with somebody's
By the way, my record company tends to promote my cd's to
any radio station, no matter the format, that they think
will play them. Most record store make up their own merchandize
categories of which I have no control over.
Regarding a new cd, hopefully there'll be one as soon as I finish
writing some songs that I think stand up next to the other ones
I've written. That's my only criteria.
See ya in Jersey!
Thanks for taking time to conisder fans' questions and comments, very classy . .
I hoped you might share a little of the inspiration or the story behind the
lyrics of your song "4th of July", I
find X's recording of this song is one of the most powerful and poignant rock
songs I have ever heard.
Thanks again, all the best.
Well, it's all kinda there in the lyrics of the song.
A million years ago, I was working a day job and my then girlfiend
was working her day job and our lives seemed destined to be that
forever. One night, as I was smoking a cigarette alone on the stairs,
the Mexican kids in the neighborhood started shooting off fireworks
in the street and I realized that she and I had forgotten that
it was the Fourth Of July. I used to think it was a song about
a break-up but over time I've come to see it as a song that could be
about many things. It could be about breaking up or getting back
together or reclaiming your independence from a relationship
or a dead-end job or whatever you feel the song is about.
I'm glad you dig the X version. I dig it too.
Dave, I see that you guys all hooked up at the King King to play with
Bill. But, from one person who attended, here is what they had to say..., which
was posted through the American Music Group:
........."I met the illustrious PZ (roadofplenty) and we got audio (2 sources;
minimum!). Blue Shadows were great and may be firing up again if Jake
moves back to LA. The Blasters were tearing it up pretty good...Dave
and Phil managed to be civil for a brief set, after which the wheels
came off the car...and Dave wasn't seen or heard from again. I know
they have their reasons to quarrel but it was very unfortunate that it
happened during Bateman's doc taping......."
Notice the middle portion......Is things THAT strained between you guys
that it always has to be an issue? Geez, Keith and Mick can mend it up enough
to record and tour, the Police are doing it, Glenn Frey and Don Henley, all
record and tour....are the egos that big? You guys are brothers. Time is
slippig away. Soon, others will be talking about you guys in the past tense,
the same way you do, when thinking of all the guys you knew, who are know gone.
Its a shame , that in the present, the talk is more likely to be about who
is getting along with whom or not, and not the music, or any future Original
Blaster recording....what a shame. Jeff
Well, it ain't so much egos as it is just being brothers.
There's a line in Bob Dylan's song TANGLED UP IN BLUE
that perfectly captures my relationship with my brother:
"We always did feel the same
We just saw it from a different point of view"
Unlike Jagger and Richards and the others you mentioned,
Phil and I are brothers and, as a matter of fact, get along
pretty damn well despite what some people think.
But brothers have a different, more complicated dynamic
than just bandmates or songwriting partners.
Some people thought we'd never play together again
before we got together for some shows in 2002 and 03.
And we'll do it again at some point when it's right
(Hell, Phil just joined me onstage with The Guilty Men
last weekend at the Hootenanny festival).
Despite whatever artistic/creative/business reasons
we fight or make asses
out of ourselves, my brother and I love each other
as only brothers can and that will never change.
Some nostalgia for you.....
I remember in the 80's watching Miami Vice and in an episode that dealt with
racial issues, I suddenly heard 'Dark Night' coming from a car radio in the
episode. I knew then that the producers had to very very cool to include a
Blasters song. It certainly is no big deal now (do you even like the song
anymore?), but do you remember anything about it then? Did you feel
embarassed, pissed off, pleased? Did the way it was used make any sense to you?
To be quite honest, I never saw the Miami Vice
show that featured DARK NIGHT. I'm pleased to know
that it was used in an episode about race relations
(because that's what the song is about) instead of
background music for a coke dealer in a white suit
and gold jewelry.
Hell yeah, I "still like" the song!!!
I've often thought about adding it
to The Guilty Men concert song list but
have not done so because my brother Phil still
performs it regularly with his current Blasters.
Maybe I should start doing it. We'll see what happens.
The Seattle gals and I came down from Truckee to see you guys play Avila
were we so happy to see all of you on stage together, You all looked so healthy
and the sound was great!
But what happened ? no encore, and how sad were we when we heard you had left...
no signing of CD's or t-shirts? thought we could buy you a beer :(
we couldn't even get close enough to yell to you.....
next time then.....see you at Kate Wolf Fest
Okay, Janis, I guess next time I'll buy the beer
as a make up gesture.
Regarding no encore, we played our alloted time
so, unfortunately, there was no time left for an encore.
Regarding the early departure, well, let's just say
that I was a bit exhausted after playing the Strawberry
Festival a day before and then driving across California
to make the Avila Beach show in the early afternoon.
Yeah, I know, I sound like a crybaby but what can I say?
The Guilty Men and I also had a recording session the next
morning and wanted to get home to prepare and rest up
(If you're interested, the songs we recorded
will be posted on the davealvin.net
site in the next few weeks).
Give my best to the Seattle gals and next time
you can yell at me all that you want.
Who is the female singer who sings with you on the song "Here In California".
You have the song featured on your new website. I noticed the song didn't get
good remarks on an album recording site, but to me the song is beautiful. The
girl has the loveliest voice... and compliments yours perfectly. You two made
an excellent duet. Also, you did an outstanding job on your new website.. its
very nice. Although, the registration for the message board does not work. It
was very frustrating, I finally gave up.
If you could let me know what her name is though, I would be very interested.
I'll be going to see your brother and the Blasters when they come to DC in
The singer is the great Christy McWilson.
I'm very glad you enjoyed her voice.
I was fortunate to produce two cd's for her
over the past couple of years and, hopefully, she'll be
doing more touring and recording in the near future.
She's got one of those voices that make me cry.
As for whatever web site gave the song a bad review,
well, to hell with 'em.
They may not have dug my version of Kate Wolf's song
(and that's fine by me) but you can't tell me that
HERE IN CAIFORNIA isn't a great song.
Thanks for the compliment about the new webpage
(davealvin.net) and my apologies regarding the
registration page. Try again in a month or so.
We're still working the bugs out of machine so to speak.
Hey Dave - Been missing you on the internet. Must be awful busy. Am I right
that you are not preforming at Sunset Junction this year? I don't see any
listing and that makes me sad. you and the Gulitymen rocked last year. My
feet are still movin. Hope I am wrong or that you change your mind.
Cheers - Elaine
Sorry but we're not playing The Sunset Junction this year.
I had a good time last year but I'm trying to take some time off.
You know, stop and smell the roses or something like that . . .
maybe stop and smell the cactus blossoms, I don't know.
I'm actually trying to finish writing and then record my next cd.
After that comes out then me and the guys will be back on the
highway. Hopefully next year we'll meet back at the Junction.
Hi Dave, I am a long time fan(early 80's)and have met you on a few occasions. I
must say that you are very generous with your time and gracious to your fans and
we thank you for that. I want you to know that we all go through tough times and
look for inspiration wherever we can get it and your words and music have
sustained me(us) through some trying times. Thanks Dave, you're on my cd player
a lot! Mike
Thank you very, very much Mike.
Sometimes all I have to hear is a song by
Big Joe Turner or Lightning Hopkins or Curtis Mayfield
or Billy Lee Riley or Fred Neil or Chris Smither,
and I feel able to deal with all the crap that we all
have to deal with. I'm extremely proud and touched that
my songs can have the same effect for you.
My son and I are big fans here in Birmingham....have loved your performances at
City Stages over the years and hope to see you here again soon.
On a flight to Boston this week I was reading "Let fury have the hour: the punk
rock politics of Joe Strummer"...did I say I was a Clash/Strummer fan? Then
later in my hotel room I was reading "Any rough times.....", and "Driving into
Los Angeles 1994" really hit a chord, so to speak. It was very clear to me
that, by the end of that poem, you and Joe (and Curtis) were saying the same
things about the power of music and about never giving up, e.g., "We gonna
fight, 'til you lose" and "you keep on pushing". So, I know you are a Strummer
fan from some comments you made at Smith's Olde Bar in Atlanta a few years ago.
Was Stummer an influence, not just on your music, but also on your outlook on
life (are these two the same?) or did the two of you happen to reach the same
place though by different paths?
Best regards and best of luck, Dave....and I'm very happy you listed to Curtis
Mayfield that night years ago and started writing songs again.
Joe Strummer didn't influence my social/political outlook (I developed that long
before punk rock came around) but he, along with a couple of other early punk
pioneers, certainly changed my life to some extent. I was working as a cook in
Long Beach, Ca when I started hearing the first punk 45's, The Clash's being my
favorite. Then I found out that Strummer and Sex Pistol John Lydon were only a
year or two older than me and were making such inspiring music, well I decided
to somehow make some kind of loud, hopefully glorious racket myself.
Long story short, my brother and I and the rest of the soon to be Blasters,
started hanging out a bit in the local punk clubs, put the band together and
quit our day gigs.
I saw The Clash's first LA gig back in 78 or 79 and was absolutley blown away.
A very, very tight band especially compared to some of the local punk bands
(some might complain that they were too tight but I never saw that as a bad
thing) with a great, eclectic range of influences from reggae to r+b. They
helped rip down the genre barriers for a while. I didn't keep up with what he
was doing for a long time but then I saw one of Joe Strummer's last shows in LA
and thought the same thing. An intense, honest performer and a great,
devastating songwriter. I'll have to check out the book.
Yeah, Curtis Mayfield and Joe Strummer. Powerful stuff. They could have made a
very cool record together. Keep o
Hi Dave, Thank you so much for such an amazing show at Acoustic Music San
Diego. I felt like I was given a rare glimpse into how many of your songs were
originally written. As always, The Man in The Bed was a real treat. It's
interesting how a song you wrote for your dad, has turned into such a
meaningful gift for so many people. My question is related to your memories of
your cousin Donna, and the music that she turned you and phil on to. When you
talk about the magic of the Ashgrove and the artists you went to see there, I
can't help but to think of people that we've lost, like Ray Charles, James
Brown, Waylon Jennings. So here's my question: What is your take on the state
of music today, and the outlook for the future? I'm kind of worried myself. I'm
a high school teacher, and I haven't met any kids with the drive and love for
music that you and Phil had. I meet a lot of kids who love Rap, but would never
think of playing an instrument. When I think about what you do, I think about
John Prine, Richard Thompson, and Bob Dylan. You are too modest to see yourself
in that light, but you are a very rare American Treasure. Thank you very much.
I look forward to seeing you play again real soon.
Well, thanks for your extremely generous words but I'm not modest. I'm just
honest. I've played with Prine, Thompson and Dylan and, believe me, when you
play with people like that you see your strenghts and weaknesses pretty quickly.
I also saw so many astounding "American Treasures" as a kid sneaking into bars
(everyone from T-Bone Walker to Lightning Hopkins to Big Joe Turner to Reverend
Gary Davis) that I measure everything I do against their example. Does that make
As for the state of music today and the outlook for the future, well, ah, that's
a big question. All I can stay is that it's a mixed bag. I'll try to look on the
positive side right now. I know that there are some kids out there who love
roots music in one form or another and will carry some of the tradition on
(You have to remember that my brother Phil and I were kind of oddball kids who
loved "old" music while the kids we went to school with either hated it or had
no positive experience of it). Some sort of tradition based American music will
always be played. Blues, folk, bluegrass, rockabilly, zydeco, country, whatever,
they all go in and out of style but they manage to survive somehow. There are a
lot of young songwriters and musicians in the Americana world that are trying to
get their stuff heard and in time some of them will succeed. As for me, all I
can do is do what I do. I know that sounds like a trite bumper-sticker but it's
Someone will come along and grab the torch when the time comes. Th
Dave - The Saturday show at McCabes was sublime. I was concerned when Amy
Farris opened the show. I thought that might mean we would get less Dave
Alvin. I need not have worried. You put a lot of soul (and blues) into that
evening. I appreciate the "easter eggs" too - the songs that we rarely hear,
Evening Blues and Blue Boulevard. I really thought it was the best Dave Alvin
solo performance I have seen. Thanks for putting out for the home crowd. I
got more than my money's worth.
A question - you said that you play Evening Blues rarely. Why is that? It
may provoke memories of your past (as Blue Blvd does) but it sounded
heartbreakingly wonderful. I loved the blues licks. I felt like I was on a
porch listening to a Mississippi Delta poet.
I hope that your trail leads you back to LA soon. I'll be there for sure.
All the best,
Well, man, thank you very much. I enjoy gigs like McCabes because I can pull out
some of the songs that I consider my "shy" songs. They're shy because they don't
like to go out in public that often. MARIE MARIE and FOURTH OF JULY love to get
all dressed up and go out on the town but songs like BLUE BOULEVARD, KITCHEN
TABLE, MAN IN THE BED, ANDERSONVILLE, BROTHER ON THE LINE and EVENING BLUES like
to stay at home and read a good book. The main reason I don't perform EVENING
BLUES often is that the song is played in an open tuning on the guitar that
takes a couple minutes to get correctly in tune. And it's a bit of a
finger-picking monster for me. I really appreciate your kind words regarding my
performance of it at McCabes. That kind of intimate blues feeling was exactly
what I as
Hey Dave Bruce from Seattle here just saw your brother Phil and the Blasters at
the Tractor great show he dedacated Dry River to you. A couple of weeks ago I
bought Border Radio great film I love all the old posters on the walls brings
back alot of memries of bands I saw growing up in Fullerton. Do you think you
will do any more acting? Just between you and me I loved your small part in
that film.Anyway just thoght Id ask. See ya next time your in Seattle hopfully
that is going to be real soon. Bruce
I'm glad you enjoyed the Border Radio movie. It may not be Citizen Kane but it's
the only "home movies" some of us have from those old days. Regarding me doing
any more acting, I have absolutely no plans to ever act again. I have zero
acting skills. None. Nada. I can't act. Can't be done. I've known some amazing
actors and I have nothing but great respect for their art and the difficulties
they go through to perfect their skills and somehow make a living. The last
thing they need is a barroom guitarist trying to steal their
I've been introducing my kids to the Blasters. I have been a huge fan since
college and actually took my then-girlfriend to see you guys in Chicago in
September 1985 after I proposed to her!
I bought a copy of Testament and it is great to listen to all the Slash
recordings one after another as it highlights the diversity of your
songwriting. Listening to Dark Night the other day I noticed how the first 12
words of the song are so precise, they instantly set the time, place and mood
for the story, yet none of the words refer to either time, place or mood. It's
a powerful song.
Anyway, just wanted to drop a note of appreciation for the many hours of
pleasure I've had with your music and I hope you will come to the East Coast
for some performances soon.
Very truly yours,
Well, thank you very much for your kind message. Thats a great story about
taking your fiance to see The Blasters and now your exposing your kids to our
stuff. I hope they enjoy it a little bit.
Thanks also for the compliment regarding the lyrics to DARK NIGHT. I've often
thought of doing that song with my own band but I don't think I can sing it
anywhere as good as my brother Phil does. Maybe if you get to one of my east
coast gigs and yell a request for it, well, you never know what may ha
As always, I enjoyed seeing you in NYC immensely, and had lots of fun posting a
review and photos on the new archive. I'm just concerned after reading a
comment on your myspace that you "made it through" a San Diego gig a week or
two ago. What's shakin' babe? Hoping all is well and you're getting a break
Hey Sue Ellen:
I'm very glad you dug the NYC show and thanks a lot for posting your photos and
review. I thought the Guilty Men were spectacular that night. All I had to do
was just stand on stage and not get in their way.
Regarding the San Diego show, well, it was a tough one for me. The last time I
did a performance at that church, I hung out all night with one of my oldest and
dearest pals, Buddy Blue, and we had a great time. It was the last time I saw
him. He died a couple of months later. Going back to play the church without
Buddy being there was rougher than I thought. The gig turned out good (it's a
very cool venue with outstanding acoustics) but I was pretty sad for most of it.
I finally told the audience why I was upset and then everything got a lot
See you back on the east coast som
We are doing a new series over at the roots and blues music Web site,
www.Americanaroots.com, on "The Power of Song." The idea is for writers to
write a story -- true, false or somewhere in between -- about a particular
song's impact on their life.
I was asked to debut the series, and did so with my true story about hearing
your song "Fourth of July" on my wedding day, July 4, 2007. Kind of a funny
tale of trying to find "Romeo's Escape" with little time to spare ... here is a
link to the article:
Enjoy -- come see us in Salt Lake/Ogden soon.
That website sounds cool. I'll check out your story about hearing 4th Of July
on your wedding day (Congratulations, by the way). The only question I have is,
"July 4, 2007" hasn't happened yet. Or has it? Have I been out on the road so
long that I don't know what year it is? It's very possible.
Thank you for a great show at McCabes in Santa Monica. I was thrilled to have
an oppertunity to hear AMY FARRIS live. Her CD is wonderful. and others that
night who did not know of her where blown away. I play your music and hers ,
the Knitters and John Doe ( the genreal audience stuff) in my dental office in
West LA continuously and am always being asked who it is. We are hoping to get
in when the Knitters are at the Getty. Now, I do understand this thing about
requests . . . but hear goes. and I know these are not Knitters tunes but
Shenandoah please and if you have any influence John Doe (you harmonize TWIN
Brothers . you will surely break hearts that night if those songs make the play
rose in w la
Yeah, Amy is great. It's a thrill for me to get the chance to perform with her
and I'm glad that the audience enjoyed her so much. I'll let her know what you
As for John and I singing harmony together, ah, not too likely. I'm not really
a harmony singer (I can sing a song's melody but I've developed the skill to
sing harmony while someone else sings lead) and I really don't sing in The
Knitters except on very rare occasions. I figure that The Knitters have enough
singers already. I may put Shenandoah back into the Guilty Men shows at some
point. It is one of my favorite folk songs.
You work in a dental office? Are you a dentist? Boy, I could use your help.
Maybe I could sing Shenandoah while you pull this molar that's been killing me
hey long time fan here-- i could ask you a hundred things but i'll keep it
short; first how come you've never played the new orleans jazz fest? we'd
love to see you there. second any chance that you will compile the songs
you've done on others records into an album(or two( of your own? and last of
all does budweiser still have any recordings and video of the blasters from
back in the day??
Thanks for not asking a "hundred things." I'd be here all week trying get
through them all. All right, 3 quick answers:
1) I'd love to play Jazz fest in New Orleans but they've never asked.
2) I am planning to put some sort of cd together (for sale at gigs and on the
internet only) in the near future. It feature tracks from various tribute
records as well as one or two things that have never appeared anywhere before.
3) I have no idea if Budweiser still has the tape of The Blasters' Bud
commercial (Hey, everybody has bills to pay). The funniest thing about doing
that commercial is that our pianist, Gene Taylor, couldn't make the commercial
filming so we dressed up our road manager, Wally Hanley, as Gene. Because we
were lip-synching to our pre-recorded track, no one realized that Wally couldn't
play piano. In fact one of the cameramen pulled Wally aside and told him how
much he enjoyed his piano playing. Go f
I have some pictures of Dave Alvin that I took at a concert & back stage hanging
out with him & James McMurtry. How can I get these pix to Dave? They're good & I
think he'd like them.
You can post pictures using the show archive feature of the site.
Click on the Shows link on the home page, enter the date of the
show when you took your pictures. If there's already an entry for that date,
just proceed to upload your photos. If not, at least add the giginfo which
details where and when the show was, then when you're done with that, you'll
be able to go back to the show's date and upload pictures.
You won't see any of them online until I review and approve them, but this
process generally only takes a day or two.
I was sooo happy to see you are coming back to Southern California, thank you!!
Are any of the shows going to be with the Guilty Men? I know either way I wont
be disappointed, because I first fell in love with you and your music at the
Acoustic show in San Diego, but I would really love to see you play with the
Guilty Men again, you guys are awesome together.
Anyway, see you soon,
Sorry, the upcoming Southern California shows are just me solo acoustic.
I can try to bang on the guitar as loud as I can to pretend that Guilty Men
are up ther with me but it's just not the same. One or two may join me onstage
but nothing is really planned. I hope that you still stop by anyway.
I've been a big fan since I first caught you at The Palms in Davis, CA not long
after King of California was released. Caught you and the G-Men at The Pour
House in Raleigh (my new stomping grounds) this past fall and lots of times in
between, and I am amazed at how reliably you, with or without your band, put on
an amazing show every time.
My question to you is about collaborations--or a specific one that I'm kind of
surprised hasn't happened yet. I know that you are a pretty prolific
collaborator with other songwriters and performers, as is another one of my
favorites, Steve Earle. I'm wondering how it is that, to my knowledge, you two
haven't come to work on any projects together. It seems you both like to mix it
up musically, from rock to country to folk to sad, sad songs (though you work
more in blues than he does). It seems that you would have a fair amount in
common, musical sensibility-wise and songwriting talent-wise. And from the
photos I saw of you and Steve sharing the stage in the Songwriters' Circle at
Hardly Strictly Bluegrass a couple of years back, I know that both of you are
aware of each other's existence. Do you two just not generally run in the same
circles? Or is this a collaboration that stands a chance of happening someday?
Thanks for your compliment regarding the live shows.
I learned years ago to always (I know that this sounds really corny
and "show-biz" but it's true) play every show like it's your last.
And thanks for hanging in as a fan through the years. There were
a lot of great times at the old Palms in Davis (theres also
a lot of great times at the new Palms in Winters).
Steve Earle is a great songwriter and I really enjoyed the
songwriters show with him, me. Joe Ely and Guy Clark (Boy,
that was a special line-up!!!!). As for projects together, I believe
we're on a couple of the same tribute cd's but we've never recorded
or written together. You can never tell what may
happen in the future but I'm sure that Steve Earle doesn't need
any help from me writing a song or playing a guitar.
See you in Raliegh or, maybe, back in Cali.
I have searched everywhere for Alvin's cd 'Outtakes in CA' to no avail. You
recommended going to Village Records but what they offer is "Out in CA" not
Outtakes. Any help? Much appreciated, Patty
Sorry that it's so hard to find.
Hell, I only have 2 copies of
Outtakes In California and it's my cd!
If Village didn't have any copies
then eBay might be the best place to look
or try the Blasters/Dave Alvin chat room on Yahoo.
Someone there might have an extra copy to trade or at least
burn you a copy.
I only pressed up a certain amount of copies of that live cd
to sell at shows as a sort of collectors item.
Anyway, good luck and sorry you're having so much trouble
finding it. It's worth the search, I think, just to hear
Chris Gaffney's soulful version of Sonny Boy Williamson's
song, HELP ME. He's such a great singer.
Hi Dave.....Brad Elligood here...your brother in Little Milton...Just
wondering, will you be appearing with The Guilty Men @ McCabe's next month, or
will you be by yourself? Either way, looking forward to seeing you then. Hope
you had a nice holiday season.....Until Then......Take Care, Brad
I hope that you had a nice holiday season too.
I'll be solo at McCabes. I think Chris Gaffney will
be joinging me for one of the nights and you never know
who else might drop by. I hope to see you there.
And, yeah, we're all still missing our friend Little Milton.
From the Mongrel site I see that you'll be in St. Louis on my 50th birthday -
February 8th. I'm the one who was wanting you to play at my party here on
Saturday the 10th, so this will be almost as good (and a hell of a lot cheaper
for me!). Several weeks ago Pollstar listed an Old Town School gig for you on
the 9th and I was just going to tell Chris how easy it would be for you to come
to St. Louis the next day.
I was going to have friends from Chicago, Cleveland and other places come in
for the party, but you obviously have decided to travel around this winter, so
that is nice for larger amounts of people to hear your great music.
If your St. Louis gig is an acoustic show, please consider doing "Everett
Reuss" and hopefully Off Broadway will have electricity this time for the PA!
Hey Wild Bill:
Well, happy 50th!!!! Congratulations.
I'm glad that things have worked out so that you get to save some money
on this gig. The Pollstar ad for the Old Town School gig was a mistake.
I'm not playing there this time in Chicago but instead, The Guilty Men and I
will playing at Fitzgeralds. So tell your friends if they want to go.
Anyway, I will be playing The Off Broadway with the electric band, but
if you yell out EVERETT RUESS and remind me that it's a request for the
birthday boy, well, you just might hear it.
See you on your B-Day.
Sensitive Pete Shovlin here. hope you are well. Hats off to you on West of The
West, a tremendous album. Looking forward to the next album/live DVDs,
whichever come first!
I'm planning a full on assault on the roots scene in my part of the
world...Ive previously pulled off a decent take on King of California.
However, I would love to do an acoustic version of Why Did She Stay With Him,
but I just can't find an arrangement or tuning to do it justice. I found a way
starting on E and then using barres up and down the neck for the rest of the
chords, always leaving the top two strings open, so there's some sort of drone
effect. However, it's just not the one. Do you ever tackle this song live? How
do you do it? Do you usze capo, or any alternative tuning.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Sensitive Pete Shovlin
PS It's about time you hauled ass back to the UK
Hey Sensitive Pete:
Best of luck with your "full assault on the roots scene"
over there! I look forward to hearing your "decent" version
of KING OF CALIFORNIA. Now, regarding WHY DID SHE STAY WITH HIM,
I'm touched that you chose that song. That one means a lot to me.
I've recorded it both acoustically on OUT IN CALIFORNIA
and with a band on BLUE BOULEVARD but rarely perform it anymore
because . . . well, because . . . it gets me a bit teary-eyed.
I guess, you're not the only sensitive guy in the world.
As for playing it in open tunings, I've never tried it because
of the many minor chords in the song make it difficult
for me to get a nice groove going. Does that make sense?
I play it in the D position while keeping the high E string open
for the drone effect. I'm curious what your 2 string drone sounds
like so I may try playing it in the E position with your drones.
Sorry that I couldn't be of more help.
I hope to cross paths with you over in the UK soon.
Again, good luck!
Hey Dave. Happy New Year ! Saw you over the summer in Phila (actually met you
as you and the band were pulling up to the World Cafe Live) and have tickets
for WCL show later this month. Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy
your music, your show over the summer was phenomenal - quite a band you got
there. Very cool how you communicate w/ people via this website. I can
understand how the one guy started crying at one of your shows. "Abilene" at
your Phila show over the summer had a similar effect on me for some reason. I
wasn't crying, but it definitely hit me in the gut (in a good way).
Not sure if you take requests, but would like to hear 9 Volt Heart in Phila,
if at all possible. If not, no big deal. I'm sure I'll enjoy the show no
matter what you play. What was Jackson's reaction to your version of "Redneck
Friend" ? Take care, travel safe - see ya in Phila in a few weeks.
Well, thanks for your extremely kind words about my band and my songs.
I also enjoyed that show last summer in Philadelphia. It's a great venue
with good on-stage sound (I hope it sounds as good to the audience) and they
treat the musicians like human beings which some clubs do not.
Anwyay, I think theres a pretty good chance of hearing 9 VOLT HEART at the
upcoming Philadelphia show. I've worked up a new arrangement that's a bit
more r+b than the recorded version.
As for Jackson Browne's reaction, I don't know yet.
I ran into him about a month ago at (of all places) a Merle Haggard concert.
"You cut my song!" Jackson said smiling. "I'm looking forward to hearing it."
I just hopr that he's still smiling after he hears it.
I was listening to the Blasters "Testament" over the holidays and reading the
accompanying booklet. I saw that you are credited with backing vocals on "Just
Another Sunday." Is there a story behind why you sang on that song?
Also, I was reading "The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia" by Michael Gray. There's an
entry on you and Gray says you learnt guitar from T-Bone Walker. I was
wondering if he meant you learned by watching him play or had a lesson from him.
I hope to be at World Cafe Live in Philadelphia on Jan. 19 for the show with
Good to hear from you!
Theres not to much of a story to my background vocals on
JUST ANOTHER SUNDAY. The man producing that particular track,
Don Gehman, had heard my vocal demo of the song and thought that
my voice had some quality that might sound cool buried in the mix.
Buried waaaaaaayyy back in the mix.
It wasn't my first vocal on a record. My first was as a background
singer (along with Loudin Wainwright III) on The Beat Farmers
version of BEAT GENERATION. Now that one has some good stories
related to it.
Regarding T-Bone Walker, I learned from him strictly from watching him
night after night at The Ash Grove or some other joints when I was a kid.
I was too young and much too shy to actually ask him any guitar playing
questions. Mainly I asked him about the pianist Lloyd Glenn
and other musicians he'd worked with in the past. I can play a bit
like T-Bone, and some other people come much closer to duplicating his
style, but nobody can PLAY like T-Bone. Only he could do that.
See you in Philly
Dave, I was listening to Ry Cooder's 'Chavez Ravine' recently and wondered if
you ever had a chance to work or play with him. Seeing that you are both 'L.A'
guys there might be some mutual interest. I think it would be really
interesting to see what kind of music you guys would 'excavate'. I use excavate
because I find you both into the 'archaeology' of music or in simpler terms:
I'll see you in Philadelphia this month. I am dragging a friend who has never
heard you live but I have raved about you to him for a long while.
Thanks and keep up the good work.
Well, I sincerely hope that your friend enjoyes the show
after all of your raves. I'll try my best to live up your kind words.
In regards to working with Ry Cooder. Well, if I practice 10 hours a day,
everyday for the rest of my life then I maybe good enough to play
with Ry Cooder. I've said this before, but he's so good
the US government should send him money just for
getting out of bed in the morning.
See you in Phill
I'm looking forward to hearing you and the Guilty Men in Northampton, MA, the
end of this month. I'm the Vermont beer lady, for what that is worth!
My question is about song-writing with others. I know you have done this
with Tom Russell (who's train trips I've been on ) and with others. I grew up
exposed to musical theater where one partner wrote lyrics and another wrote the
music. I'm curious if this is the way you write with others or if you and
whoever you are writing with work on both music and lyrics. Certainly you and
Tom each have the skills to do both. As a 'long-in-the tooth' English major, I
can imagine contributing to lyrics but could never write music myself! Do
musicians trade off on both? Wondering. Thanks.
Thanks for the beer!!!!
As for your songwriting question, it just depends.
Sometimes someone will appraoch me with some music
(or I'll approach them) and we'll just work on the words
together but normally, it's all from scratch.
Whether it's Tom or whomever, we just sit around with
guitars and pad of paper and go at it. Someone may have
an idea for a song or maybe not. Sometimes the idea
just comes to you as you're making a racket, singing
gibberish and telling stories. Theres no right or wrong
way to write a song whether with someone else or by
yourself. The hard part is just doing it.
I'm sure that there is a musician somewhere near you
who has tons of music and no lyrics and they're looking
for someone like you to write with. Good luck.
I see Dave's name is mentioned as one of the musicians contributing to the
"Brawlers" disc of Tom Waits'
recent Orphans boxed set. But which song did he play on?
I'm playing all the guitars on Tom's version
of Sea Of Love. I'm very proud of that.
Thanks for asking.
Do you think you will ever do another rock n roll album? I love both of
your "styles" but the way you put a story into a rock song amazes me.
Thanks for the songwriting compliment. It's much appreciated.
Now, regarding your question,
when you say a "rock and roll album" do you mean like
The Blasters records? Or just an electric cd?
To do a record like The Blasters I need The Blasters
to do it with. Does that make any sense? I wish I could
sing like my brother but I can't (I know I can't because
I've tried) and even though all The Blasters love each
other very much, we just can't seem to get along long
enough to make anything new.
As far as an electric cd, I think Ashgrove was pretty
electric and even West Of The West had some loud moments.
If you mean writing some songs that sound like Sun Records
or Chess Records or Specialty Records, I try that all the time.
It's not as easy as it sounds (if it was everyone would
be doing it).
At this point in my career I just let the songs
dictate how the records will sound. If it's a quiet song,
I let it be quiet. If it's a rocker, I let it rock.
I hope this answers your question. Keep rockin'.
Just writing to add my voice to the chorus of praise regarding your Ann Arbor
show. It was fantastic (even if you didn't play "Loser" as I obnoxiously
requested repeatedly! Hey, a fella has to ask!)
I wanted you to know that I am dedicating myself to the very pleasant task of
bringing at least one person who's never seen you live to every concert I can
get to. I had two at Ann Arbor and three at Benton Harbor (and actually four
more if you count a group who I didn't bring, but for whom I played your
records first back in the '80s).
(I would like to encourage everyone to take the "Bring a Newbie to See Dave"
pledge! Though we need a catchy acronym, me thinks.)
Anyway, I wanted you to know the following. I brought a friend to Benton
Harbor, who had been a hard sell before the concert, but who left quite the
fanatic. He was at Ann Arbor too, of course, and as we were driving home the
four of us were sharing impressions, and he confessed that he had started
crying about the second song in. He's a pretty mature, stable, well-educated
guy--very into sports and things, and while a sensitive fellow, this surprised
us a bit. We asked why, and he wasn't able to articulate the why all that
well. Seems you just touched him somewhere deep, and it was beautiful and
painful, too, and he just had to let it out.
Two little items: 1) I live in South Bend, so I drove down to Florence Avenue
this past summer to check it out. It's only about 4 blocks long, in what used
to be the working-class, Polish part of town. There's a large church at the
west end--couldn't find the sign, but appears to have been Catholic at least at
some point, which would make sense. The street was obviously quite interesting
at some point, but it's pretty run down now. Probably best to leave it as it
exists in the imagination. 2) The Earl Hooker song. There's an "Earl's
Blues" and an "Earl's Boogie Woogie." Is there an "Earl's Mambo"? Chess has a
collection sub-titled "Two Decades of Killer Fretwork, 1949-1969" and it
includes a song called "Earl's Rumba"! So, the search for that elusive Mambo
Hope to see you soon! Is it true you're coming to Chicago on February 9th?
Wow! Great story. I just hope your friend started crying
because he liked the show and not because he didn't.
I like your "Bring A Newbie To See Dave" idea. It could really
help me and The Guilty Men spread the word. I'll leave the
"catchy acronym" up to you. I'm not good at that kind of thing.
Yeah, my dad grew up on Florence in South Bend and after
hearing all of his stories about his youth there, I decided
that I wanted to leave the visuals to my imagination.
Now regarding the "mambo." My mistake. It's not Earl's Mambo,
it is Earl's Rhumba and it is available on the Chess reissue
you mentioned. My apologies for misleading you but a mambo
or a rhumba, I can't tell the difference. I think I will, though,
play Earl Hooker's version on one of my upcoming shows on XM.
It's time he got some airplay!!!!
See you soon.
Hey Dave - Merry Christmas and all of that... My gift to my son and myself
are tickets to Safari Sams gig next week Saturday. I so look forward to it. I
was hoping to have your book of poems delivered before, but it is not looking
so good. Maybe you can autograph it for me at a later time; perhaps at
McCabes? So many things people wish for at Christmas time, I am keeping mine
simple. I would love to met you at Safari Sams if that isn't asking too much.
You could make this girls Christmas Dream come True! You may remember me as the
fan that avoided the Harmonica at the Sunset Junction gig this past August.
See you next week and all the best to you and yours. Keep Rockin'
Sorry I didn't get a chance to say hello to you at Safari Sams
but I was feeling a bit under the weather that weekend
and didn't want to give too many people the cold that I have.
I'd certainly autograph the book of poems for you at Mccabes
if you recieve your copy by then and look forward to saying hey.
Until then, look out for flying harmonicas!!!
First, thanks for answering all these questions here - it's great to have access
to you this way. Second, I understand you allow taping at your shows. How do
you feel about archiving and trading the results? archive.org is a growing site
live music archives, for example, and it would be nice to see a Dave Alvin
collection there. They won't do it, though, without band permission. You can
check it out here.
Thanks and Happy Hoildays! - Joe
Yeah, I don't mind people taping the shows
and I don't mind them swapping the shows either
(charging money for the tapes is a different matter).
The archive sounds pretty cool but (as I've pointed out
repeatedly) my computer is so old that I can't access
their site. I plan on joining the 21st Century later this year
by getting a new, hot rod computer. If it helps, just tell the
archive folks that live show swapping is fine by me.
Think that'll work? Happy belated holidays back to you.
So a little bird told me that your return to "The Church" may be coming soon,
in February or March in fact. Let me selfishly say that as someone who was
fortunate enough to have been front and center the first time around, PLEASE
make it some date other than the 16th of February that I heard mentioned. We
will be traveling that week, and it would KILL my wife and I (and one of your
newest fans, our daugher) to miss the show!! How about I buy all your beer at
the Belly Up next week if you make it March instead?
Anyhow, selfish groveling aside, I am sure you will once again put on a great
show regardless of the date!
It was cool meeting you at The Knitters Belly Up show.
Yeah, sorry about the Church gig. It will be Febuary 16th.
Oh, well. I'm positive your ski trip to British Columbia
will more than make up for missing the show.
Have fun on the slopes.
I was able to catch an acoustic show in Cleveland (Beachland Ballroom) last
fall. I took some nice photos during the show. Just wondering if there is any
interest in seeing them.
The man who runs my website, Scot, is starting a new page
on the site where people can post photos of me or the band.
It's much easier for me to view them that way seeing how
(as many of you may already know) my computer is so old,
and I'm a borderline comouter illiterate, that I can't
open most files (Is that the right term?).
I don't know how Scot's new system works but I'd enjoy
seeing your photos. Unless, of course, I look really tired
and road weary and bleary eyed and sweaty and dishevelled
and . . .
I recently discovered your music while listening to an Internet radio station
called BootLiquor Radio out of San Francisco. These folks play a lot of your
music, and every time they played a song I'd go "That is a great song." Each
time I checked to see the artist, it was you. After looking at your
discography, I realized that I had heard some of your music performed by other
artists, such as James McMurtry.
You have a new fan. I am bowled over by your writing and performance. I just
bought "Interstate City" as my first of your CDs and look forward to buying
all of your music that is available.
I look forward to a performance in Kentucky so I can see you live.
Good luck to you, Sir. Your music is bringing me a lot of joy.
Well, thank you very much for your very kind words.
I'm very touched that my music brings you "a lot of joy." Thanks.
I've heard of BootLiqour Radio but (due to my computer being
so old and obsolete) I've never heard it. Is it KPIG under
another name or is it a separate Internet station.
No matter, it sounds like a good station to me and I'm very
happy that they've helped you discover my recordings.
I hope that you like my other cds as well as Interstate City.
I do pass through Kentucky (usually Lexington) at least once
every 2 years, so if you're anywhere nearby, I hope that you can
make out to a live show. See you there!
Hi, Dave. While I'm enthused about your tour w/James McMurtry and your
respective bands (hope you
don't have to memorize the lyrics to 'Choctaw Bingo'), it's clearly designed for
more mid-sized venues.
However, since you clearly enjoy collaborating with other artists, have you ever
considered a stripped-
down tour with fellow Knitter and X pal John Doe? THAT'S a concert I'd try to
book in a blink.
Good to hear from you. How's things in beautiful Arden?
I think John and I did one show together years ago in Turlock,
California (or was it Madera?) and it was fun.
Unfortunately, our schedules though don't usually line up
and when they do it's to do Knitters gigs.
But you never know what might happen.
And, no, as great as the lyrics to Choctaw Bingo are,
I don't have to memorize them. James can handle that epic
on his own quite well.
I hope you can make it out to one of the upcoming shows.
Greetings from a new fan in Oklahoma City. One day last summer I did what I
call a "random grab" of CDs available for checking out from the public
library. One of them happened to be your Public Domain album. I loved it and
tried to search online for more, but I'd misread your name as Alvin Dale and
got nowhere. Then, the other day I did another random grab and this time I
happened to get Out in California and loved it, too. Having your correct name
spelling, I ended up at this site.
Now I know how to buy a CD of the mysterious Alvin Dale. Hope to see you live
sometime; I'll be checking your site, Pollstar, etc. Best of luck to you.
And a Merry, though belated, Christmas back to you.
Yeah, the "mysterious" Alvin Dale. I hear that record collectors
have searched in vain for just one of his records.
He must be really good.
In all seriousness, I'm very glad that your "random grab"
exposed you to my records and that you enjoyed them.
I couldn't ask for more.
I hope that you can make out to a live show and maybe
I'll play an Alvin Dale song or two.
just a simple question: i would like to be/get a newsletter for both dave & the
i grew up in so-cal seeing them and being a huge fan-i now live in jackson hole
A simple answer. Go to blastersnewsletter.com and sign up
for the newsletter or I think you can also
read the newsletter at the site.
I'm excited to hear that you are coming back to New York in February. I had to
miss the South Street Seaport show which was a bummer 'cause I haven't seen
the Guity Men in a couple of years. I did catch your show at Joe's Pub and
that was a lot of fun albeit too short.
The show at The Bowery Ballroom is booked as James McMurtry & Dave Alvin. Will
you be playing with James or is this a co-headlining gig? Solo or with Band?
Thanks, see you in February.
It's a co-headlining gig with both James and I playing
with our repective bands. We're flip-flopping the order
of appearance on different nights in different cities.
We did a couple of gigs earlier in 06 out on the west coast
and had a ball so I figured why not do it back east.
Kind of like the old r+b tours of the 40's and 50's.
See you in Febuary.
Dear Dave -
My daughter Ryan and I were planning on being at the Bowery Ballroom show
regaled in our Brian Wilson shirts, but alas the age requirement for this gig
is 21+, not 18+ as I believed. She would've made 18 by 5 days. Anyway,
lacking some sort of, oh, you know, behind-the-scenes machinations or holiday
miracle backstage dispensation, she'll be home and I'll probably be there with
less deserving company. Just so you know.
Rock on, and see you soon.
Is it really a 21 and up gig? I didn't know that about The Bowery.
I'm very sorry that Ryan can't get in. As for the "behind the scenes
machinations," I can't say anything about that because I don't know
the people at The Bowery (They seem to change personnel every year).
Sometimes the barroom authorities look the other way and sometimes
they don't. I can't promise anything until I get there and even then
things like that can be dicey. What a drag. I wish that I could be
Mahalo, for playing Kihei, Maui , Hawaii...... it was a great show and a fun
one at that!!!!!!!!!
Joe and Nicole
The pleasure was all mine. I'm very glad that you
and your wife enjoyed the show.
I can't wait to get back to Hawaii
and continue trying to get my legs tan.
Dave - I heard your Highway 61 Revisited cut on NPR here in Tampa.
Apparently put out by UNCUT Mag on Highway 61 Revisited Revisited.
I can't find it anywhere.....so here's a presmuptuous request.
Would you either point me to some web site where I can download (and pay) for
the song, or put it on a CD and release it in the near future???
Keep making great music, dude.
I'm very glad you dug my take on Highway 61.
It's a hard song to cover because Bob Dylan nailed it the first
time but when UnCut asked me to record a version, well,
I couldn't say no.
As far as tracking down a copy, I'm sure it's up on some music sites
but I don't know which ones (I'm a bit of a computer idiot).
You could also try asking for a copy on the
American Music/Blasters/Dave Alvin chat room on Yahoo.
A lot of people swap live shows and other recordings there.
At some point in the near future (probably after my next studio cd),
I'm going to release a cd featuring various tracks recorded for
tribute cd's and other rare oddities. I'm postive Highway 61
will be on that but that may be too long to wait. Sorry.
Anyway, good luck finding it.
First heard you on KDVS in Davis, CA in 1980 and have not stopped listening
since. My wife and I saw you at the 2003 Kate Wolf Festival where you spoke at
a little get together with Greg Brown and Eliza Gilkyson of a John
Lennon/Beatles Rolling Stone interview about songwriting. I wondered if you
recalled which issue that may have been in.
Thanks for always being there.
Wow, you have been listening for a long time.
Thanks a lot for hanging in so long.
The John Lennon interview was actually in Playboy not Rolling Stone.
It was one of the last interviews he did before his death
but it came out right after his murder
so that may be of some assistance in tracking down the month of that
It's a great interview where he's asked to comment or explain how many
of his songs were written. It's really is one of the best "how to"
manuals for begining songwriters. I was just beginning to write songs
when I read it back in 1980 and it was extremely helpful.
Good luck tracking it down and I hope to see you at another
Kate Wolf fest.
I'm a long-time fan, you might be my favorite all-time singer/songwriter ever.
I hke with the dogs every morning in the Santa Monica Mountains. Some days I
find your songs echoing in my head. Your music is good company in the Southern
California wilderness, on top of a hill, looking out at the ocean.
Thanks for the music and the company.
Well, thank you very much for your extremely high praise,
especially from a fellow hiker.
I love to hike Sycamore Canyon up by Point Mugu
and inland over in Cheeseboro Canyon and Ahmanson Ranch.
When I'm not playing music every night in some bar,
hiking is my other therapy.
I've written a couple songs while hiking and have been embarassed
a couple times when I think I'm alone and singing to myself and some
other hiker comes around the bend. They must think I'm the crazy
old man of the mountain. Anyway, thanks for your sweet message
and I'll see you on the trail.
I am really sorry that you never got back to us about Vinny's CD. Vinny was
really cynical, saying that he never really expected to hear from you anyway,
but I told him, no, Dave isn’t like that, he answers all his emails and is
very gracious – just busy.
Then I went to your website and of course, there you are answering all your
emails---except mine. Now I’m disappointed.
(Still a fan.)
P.S. Hope your birthday was great.
Well, I'm glad that you're still a fan
and I sincerely hope that you're still a fan
after reading this. Regarding answering the messages
that come to the site, I just grab them at random and try
to answer as many as I can. I'm not a movie star
with thousands of fan letters but I do
get more messages than I can handle sometimes.
So please accept my apology that I didn't respond promptly.
Now on to Vince's demo cd. I get a lot of demo's and I can't
listen and respond to all of them (I can tell Vince is getting
more cynical by the second). Another reason I normally don't
listen to demos is that theres very little I can do to help
the songwriters. I don't own a record label so I can't give
them a recording contract and I tend to only record my own
songs so I'm not really looking for other people's songs to
record (I'm just not that great a singer). I'm also not
looking to produce any other artists at this time because I don't
have the time to properly devote to them right now
. I'm sorry to sound like just another music industry
schmuck but what can I do?
Okay, after saying all that, I did listen to Vince's cd and
I enjoyed it. Daddy's Grave and Wasted were my favorites.
I like the dark mood and tough honesty of those songs.
I don't know if any Nashville artist would cover the songs
or not, but Vince's songs are good and I think that
a label like Bloodshot may be interested in him. To take
a line from Daddy's Grave, "We all have our cross to bear."
Tell Vince I think he has a talent for writing songs
and I wish him all the luck in the world.
I caught your recent tour ending gig at the Ark in Ann Arbor and had a great
time as usual. That night you did an instrumental mambo tune for the encore. I
think you said it was by Earl Hooker. Any more info on this tune or if it is
available on CD?
Also, I just picked up the new Tom Waits 3-CD set ("Orphans"). I see that you
played on it, but it doesn't list which song(s). Just wondering which one(s)
you were on and how that collaboration came about.
Finally, I wanted to compliment you on the radio show it sounds great!
I'm glad that you dug the radio show. I really enjoy turning people
on to some music that doesn't get played too often on the radio.
Very cool that you remembered the Earl Hooker mambo jam.
Appropriately, the song is called Earl's Mambo and his version
is available on a various artists Chess Records reissue
called something like, Blues Guitar Killers. Good luck tracking it down.
Earl Hooker is one of the great overlooked blues guitar
virtuosos who, sadly, died way too young. He was a sideman
on many blues records in the fifties and sixties and he also cut
some excellent solo sides like the mambo.
I was lucky to see him once at The Ash Grove
back when I was a kid and he's always been one of my favorites.
He's also one of Chris Miller's (the other guitarist in The Guilty Men)
favorites. Richard Thompson once told me that Earl was his favorite
blues guitarist. Now, that's some high praise!
The Tom Waits track that I play the guitars on is his very dark
and bluesy version of Sea Of Love. He cut it for the Al Pacino movie.
I just answered the phone one day and Tom asked me to come down
and play guitar. It was that simple. I've had the great luck
of playing live with Tom a couple of times over the years and he's
a very, very good guy. Just like you'd expect.
So seeing the message from Miss Dark Eyes, I decided to see if I could recall
how many times I have had the good fortune to see you perform in the last year
or so, and I have come to the conclusion that I should be labeled an Alvin-
head. Given all of the various formations, permutations and incarnations, I
have come up with 10 as the magic number since you played the Church in
November of last year. From the Flesheaters gig at the Casbah, to the
incongruous sight of you drinking beer from a green bottle at Mongo's, to the
odd but even more oddly fun vibe of the Knitters at the Old Temecula Theater,
every gig has been it's own nugget of joy. I would have to say the last two
(Joshua Tree and the Getty) have created the fondest memories, as my daughter
has finally been able to see and hear what my wife and I have been raving
about for so long. She loved the show in the desert (right down front like a
good rocker) and you taking the time to chat with the two of us after the show
made her smile (By the way since you have had a birthday since J-Tree, are you
now a "mature" 9 year old?). As for the Getty, my daughter had the best line
of the night in my mind. I had originally seen it billed as a solo show, and
so assumed it was going to be acoustic. Well about half way through the show
she turns to look at me. With raised eyebrows and a sense of irony and
sarcasm far beyond her 8 years she simply says: "Acoustic?" and then you were
off and rockin' again as usual. Needless to say we had a blast!
Well sorry for the ramble, and we'll see you at the Belly on the 27th, where
my wife will be celebrating another anniversary of her 39th birthday, with a
decent sized group of old punks and rockers. We know we are in for another
treat of a show, and if by chance you could sneak in Carroll County Accident
this time around it would be great!
Cheers and Happy Holidays,
p.s.- Once again, I think I speak for all of us out here when I say thanks for
being so engaging at shows, and willing to take the time to respond to us here
on the site. We truly appreciate it!
Happy Holidays back to you and your family.
10 shows?!?!?! I think I probably owe you some money or something.
I'm sincerely touched that my music means that much to you.
Also I'm impressed that you traveled as much as I have to get to all
the far flung locations where I've been playing. If that makes
you a "Alvinhead," I guess that I could be called a "Jonhead" seeing
how I'm at all the same places you are!
I really enjoyed the Joshua Tree gig. It was very loose and fun.
But the Getty show was one of my favorite gigs anywhere, anytime.
Having the amazing Calvanes singing doo-wop harmonies with me
and The Guilty Men was a moment I'll always treasure.
Regarding the upcoming Knitter shows, Carroll County
is one of my favorite Porter Wagoner songs
but I wouldn't hold my breath expecting to hear it at The Belly Up
but you never know.
See you soon.
Hey Dave -
My daughter Ryan and I talked with you after the South Street Seaport show in
New York this past summer where you were kind enough to autograph her arm, the
other having been done by Felix Cavaliere of the Rascals the day before, and
start a brief "Groovin'" sing-a-long with us .. very cool. I asked if you'd
be coming back around with the band, you said maybe in winter at the Bowery
Ballroom, and behold, a Feb. 2 date is set ... man of your maybe word. We'll
be there in our Brian Wilson shirts.
Thanks and my best to you and yours,
Gary Cahill (and Ryan Winter Cahill)
A "man of your maybe word." Wow. That's not a bad title for a song.
I do use maybe a lot. In my line of work it's about the most honest
thing I can say on some occasions. Well, I'll be looking for you and
your daughter in the Brian t-shirts at The Bowery Ballroom.
Maybe we'll sing Groovin' again or maybe Good Lovin'. Maybe.
I enjoy your songwriting very much. I find your songs evocative, moody and
intelligent. Thanks. In the event you have not read it, I wanted to recommend to
you the book "The Sacrilege of Alan Kent"by Erskine Calder. I suspect it would
resonate with you, as it and your songs do with me.
Bryn Del Mano
Thank you for your complimentary words regarding my songs.
They're much appreciated. As for the Erskine Calder book,
I've never read it or heard of the author but I'll keep my
eyes open for it. If you say it's good, then it must be.
Thanks for the tip. See you at the bookstore.
Good Day, Dave:
Great year for me. I was lucky enough to see you 3 times - March, July,
September - Great Music
('BEST of the WEST' I'll call it), Great Performances, Great Memories. Thank's
for ALL of it. You are
always so gracious to my 'intrusions' after your shows to say Hi and get a pix
I sorta need your help. Here's my 'Catch 22' predicament I've gotten myself
into: Thanks to my
going around preachin' the Dave Alvin gospel to all who will listen and to the
fact that they all
know I have all your CD's, they all want (and expect) me to just start burning
copies for them.
One in particular wants me to copy my entire collection of your music for him. I
think I'm going
to be making enemies, because I'm refusing to do so. I somehow feel it is a
contract' between a performer and his fans to do so, not to mention that it must
you and all involved in producing these CD's. Mike's band is VERY soon going
into the studio to
start recording to have CD's to sell at their shows, etc. I get to do the CD and
cover design and
burn them off for the guys, and I don't think it would be fair to be giving them
away and I wouldn't
want someone else copying their music to give away. Can you please give me a
good answer (or
some sort of come-back line) that will get the message across to them ??
Anyways, thought about you on your Birthday, sent silent wishes your way - did
you get them ??
Not that I would forget your birthday, it is also my Father-in-law's birthday.
He's pretty proud of
the fact that it's on Veteran's Day, being a WW2 war Vet and all. Hope yours was
I too have been anxious for the DVD to come out, and now I hear 2 of them coming
out - Oh YEAH !
Can hardly wait.
Thanks, Dave - See you next go around (anytime your in the Michigan - Ohio area
- we'll be there).
Hope your cactus garden is growing & blossoming beautifully
Hey Miss Dark Eyes:
First of all, thanks for your "silent" birthday wishes and for making it out to
so many shows this past summer. I'm very touched that you're so moved by the
music and don't worry about the "backstage inrusions." You've always been a
Now to the issue of burning copies of cd's. Well, it is becoming normal for
people to do it for their friends and I'd really sound like a stick in the mud
if I demanded that you (and everyone else) stop sharing music. I will say,
though, that if it reaches a point where everyone is burning cd's and no one is
buying them there will be no records made by anyone except the superstar acts.
The recording process will be financially unprofitable for us smaller groups and
surviving by touring will be impossible.
What I don't think most people realize is that most musicians make no money by
touring. On a business level, touring is strictly to help promote your music and
help to get to people to buy your cd's. The money generated by live performances
goes to salaries, motel owners, gasoline companies, insurance companies, rent a
car companies, etc.
Certainly The Rolling Stones or U2 or Madonna make millions playing stadiums,
but the rest of us struggle to make ends meet playing bars and dance halls up
and doen the interstate highways. Most of my income comes from recording and
publishing royalties and if nobody buys the cd's then I (and thousands of others
like me) won't be able to afford to do what we do anymore. It's as simple as
Maybe I better start practicing for my new career: "Would you like fries with
your order? Do you want your Coke small, medium, large or biggie size?"
Anyway, thanks for asking and, hopefully, see you soon back in the
My name is Gary Wiley. I was at your show in Asheville, NC a short while back
and just wanted to say how much I enjoyed finally seeing you live. I've been
a fan for quite some time and also do some "street team" duties for YepRoc.
First of all, I wanted to tell you that Asheville is such an odd town to play
in. I am a bassist in a couple of popular local bands, and have also toured
as bassist for Martina McBride, Chely Wright, and subbed a little with
Confederate Railroad. The folks that were at your show definitely enjoyed
it. I knew several of the people there and I've heard nothing but good
comments. So, please do try and make it back again. The Grey Eagle is a
wonderful venue that brings such diversity in music to the Asheville area,
but, you should have your agents check out The Orange Peel
www.theorangepeel.net I don't have any affiliation with them, just a bass
picker sharing an idea.
Once again, thanks for such a powerful show even though the crowd was small.
I always like seeing performers doing what they love, no matter what the
Have a wonderful day!
Back when I was 13 or 14 years old, my brother, Phil, and I would follow Big Joe
Turner,the great blues shouter, from gig to gig. We saw Big Joe perform in a
variety of venues and situations, sometimes in front of sold out crowds in a
Hollywood music club or in front of several thousand people at some "oldies but
goodies" revue show in a theatre or, unfortunately, in a neighborhood joint
playing to a handfull of listeners. He was always great. If he was singing to a
packed house, Big Joe might be a bit more of an entertainer and feed off the
crowd's energy, but even in an empty bar on a Sunday night, Big Joe Turner would
dig deep into himself and sing like the bar was full of adoring fans.
I finally got up the nerve to ask him what it was like singing to thousands one
night, to hundreds on the next night and then almost no one on the following
night. He gave me a hard earned and wise answer. "Well, sometimes there's people
and sometimes there ain't."
He didn't need to say anything else. It may sound corny but what I learned from
him was that after all is said and done, you play music and sing songs for the
sheer love of it. If you really love it, you play each gig like it was your
first and your last, whether theres people or whether there ain't. If you don't
really do this line of work for any other reason, the up and down grind will
kill you sooner or later.
Now, after saying all of that, I had a great time in Asheville and thought the
audience was great. Especially for a rainy Tuesday night. Thanks for your kind
words about the show and say hey to gang over
Greetings from Vancouver Canada. Please file this under the "squeaky wheel gets
the oil" department. Any word on when your live DVD is going to be released? I
know you had earlier indicated that it would be sometime in early 2007 so it is
not like it is even overdue yet and I also appreciate that you may have little
input as to when it is released (but maybe you do) but the waiting is killing
me!! Do you know what songs are going to be on it? (Is it the same as the
You're right that I have little input in this issue. If I did,
believe me, this dvd would have been out a long time ago.
It does look and sound great and the band is on fire. That said,
various legal and business issues (nothing serious) have delayed
the completion of the project. I expect it to be out sometime in 2007.
And, yeah, it's a lot of the same songs that are on the Great American
Galaxy cd but with a couple differences.
There is, though, another live Guilty Men dvd that will be
released in the early months of 2007. It's the complete
performance that I did (with the 98-03 line up of The Guilty Men)
on the PBS tv show Austin City Limits.
New West Records has already released dvd's of Merle Haggard,
Billy Joe Shaver, Willie Nelson, Fats Domino
(feauturing my hero Lee Allen), Waylon Jennings
and Lucinda Williams from the show and I'm extremely
honored that they've chosen to include me in such a group.
Maybe that will oil the "squeaky wheel" until the other dvd comes out.
Have not heard anything new about the DVD release in a while, and there does
not seem to be any news here or the Yep Rock Site.
Any ideas as to when it might grace my player and start shakin the windows and
riling up the neighbors?
Thanks in advance!
Best for the Holidays,
Check out my answer to the similar question above. I do like
your line about "riling up your neighbors." Who knows, though,
they just might dig it. Happy Holidays to you too.
I see you are coming to the Rams Head in Annapolis, Maryland. I have seen
you there several times. You have always been great! Are you coming with the
Guilty Men or will this be a solo gig? Will it be the second leg of the
summer tour? Any new music? Either way, I have 8 tickets and can't wait to
turn on some new friends to your music.
"Second leg of the summer tour?"
I guess you could look at it that way but it'll be a pretty cold
summer in January.
The tour is with The Guilty Men and the amazing James McMurtry
(and his great band) are sharing the bill with us on this winter
er, ah, summer?) tour on the east coast.
As far as whether I'll be playing any new music, it's hard to say.
I never know if I'll get the guts up to play new songs. It can be
pretty scary for me sometimes. We'll see what happens.
Anyway, thanks for buying 8 tickets and I hope that your friends
enjoy the show. See you there.
Hey Dave , been awhile since I spun "king of California " but today had it on
repeat, man that is a great disc , awesome songwriting .
is it my favortie DA disc , hmmmm ?
Thanks for your kind words about King Of California.
I don't choose favorite cd's out of my work but that one is
certainly (How can I say this and not piss off my other cd's?)
pretty special to me. It was a very liberating experience for me
to record an acoustic cd and to finally find my singing voice
in the process. Thanks again.
Dear Dave - I was inspired by your songs a few years back while spending the
summer in the wilderness of the High Sierra. Many musicians seem to enjoy the
camping lifestyle and the live music being performed was awsome. A man I fell
in love with played a mean rendition of "King of California" and I was hooked;
on him and your music. This summer I arrived back in L.A. just in time to
catch you at the Sunset Junction gig. I was overwhelmed by the music and the
ability of all the members. When the harmonica player tossed his harp into the
crowd it landed right between my feet but I was so dazed by the performance I
couldn't react quick enough and pick it up. A great show. I thank you. My
son and I got tickets for the Getty Center and were in about the 11th row
center. I am 51 my son is 21. He absolutely loves "Ashgrove" as a favorite
albumn and I wanted to let you know that the performance that night may have
been the best I have heard in 40 odd years of rocking and rolling. Looking
forward to the show at Sarfari Sams. We will both be there. Thanks Dave -
I'm really glad that you wrote to me. You won't believe this but
after the Sunset Junction show, Jack Rudy, the harmonica player,
was kind of upset at himself for throwing his harp out into the
audience. He threw it because he got wrapped up in the music and
thought it was the right thing to do at the time but later was
worried that his harp might have hit somebody and he'd be some kind
of harmonica throwing loser who possibly injured someone. Seriously.
I can't wait to call him and let him know that everything worked out
just fine. He'll be very happy.
I'm very happy that you and your son enjoyed the gig at The Getty
Museum. It was pretty special to me having the great r+b vocal group,
The Calvanes, up there with me and The Guilty Men. It was one of
my favorite gigs that I've ever done with any band, anywhere, anytime.
The only bad thing about it was that it wasn't prefessionaly recorded
for posterity (or for fun, at least).
I know one guy who taped it but he wasn't happy with the audio. I just
hope that bootlegs of that show pop up on the web because I'd love
to get a good copy.
So, some guy won your heart in the High Sierra while singing one of my
songs? I'm very happy that I could play a small part in bringing you
together. Best of luck and see you soon.
Thanks for your recent reply about flash photography, Dave. Since I hadn't
received a reply before the Seattle Knitters show, I thought better of it, and
decided to enjoy the show sans photos.
And enjoy, I did. While I'd seen the Knitters before, you folks seems very hot
and tight that night at the Showbox. I'd brought some buddies, and you (in
particular) definitely have some new fans! Maybe now they don't think I'm
(quite as) crazy.
I doubt you'd tip your hand on this one, but my bet was that you were recording
a potential live release. Any truth to that very wild hypothesis??
Anyway, I'm a big fan, both of the music, and the personal character that you
exhibit in these random emails from fans.
Thanks for your sensitivity regarding the flash photography
and for dragging down some friends to The Knitter extravaganza.
It was a pretty fun gig but your hypothesis was wrong. A live Knitter
cd is not a bad idea but it's never been discussed in any serious way.
Oh, well. I know that there had to be some tapers out in the crowd, though.
Maybe one of them got a good cd out of it.
Hi Dave, I just want to wish you a Happy birthday coming up and I sure do hope
to see you down here in Florida soon. I moved from the northeast and never get
to see u anymore.. Come on down! Skippers Smokehouse is waiting and so am I
with a new slew of fans..
Sarah also wishes you a happy Birthday and appreciates you hangin with her
at the Reggatbar in cambridge
It's good to hear from you and thanks for the birthday greetings.
Yeah, getting down to Florida is not a easy as it sounds but I do
love playing at Skippers and I'm sure that I'll be down there
sometime in the upcoming year (in fact, I played in Tampa 3 times
in the past couple of years - they may be getting sick of me,
I don't know). It was great to see Sarah up in Boston.
Things seem to be going okay with her but I think she'd like to
be out playing some gigs. Send her my best and I'll look for you
when I make it down to Florida.
Hey Dave Bruce from Seattle here saw The Knitters at the Showbox last Oct. and
started thinking the last 3 times you played the Tractor you sold it out do
you think you might start playing the Showbox? That would be good for you
(more people to see you) but kind of sad for me as I live about 5 blocks from
the Tractor and love that place.I guess I should not be so selfish but love
seeing you in smaller places. Anyway thanks for all the great music though out
the years. See ya next time your in Seattle be it the Tractor or the Showbox.
Well, I'm parial to The Tractor too. You're awfully lucky to live
so close to such a great bar/nighclub/hang-out.
If I lived near there, I'd be hanging in there just about every night.
They'd definitley get sick of seeing my face real quick.
As far as playing The Tractor, why would I stop?
I do like The Showbox (they are very, very nice to the musicians)
but The Tractor kind feels like a home away from home.
See you there!
Happy Birthday to you........
Hope you have a great one.
Thanks for your message but especially, thanks the birthday kisses.
Give my best to Frank if you see him. Tell him I drove by Guadalajara
the other day and thought of him. He'll know what I'm talking about.
See you soon, I hope.
No question, just wanted to wish you a very happy birthday!
Renee in SF
Thank you very much, Renee. I wish the same to you whenever your
birthday comes around.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for suggesting August Wilson!!!! I have just
returned from the Milwaukee Repetory production of "Gem of the Ocean". The
acting was superb, the play, typical genius. I cannot even begin to put into
words the extent of my feelings.
Yeah, August Wilson was a true genius. I'm glad you were so moved
by his words.
So many of his plays are so deeply based in blues music
and metaphors, that watching or reading his work is like
listening to a great song by Skip James or Memphis Minnie.
Good luck on your quest and I'll see you somewhere down the road.
Just wanted to say happy birthday...enjoy!
Ed & Betty
Never stop rocking the The Rythem Room. Thanks.
Hey Ed and Betty:
Thanks for the birthday message. It's much appreciated.
And, yeah, I have no intention to "stop rocking."
At my age I may look a bit silly doing it but,
on the other hand, it's all I know how to do.
Happy Birthday Dave! It was a good week for getting the country back on
track. Yay!! A request here: Where can I find the DA stickers?? You've
given me two - one for the Alfa and one for the Acura but I've replaced the
latter with a S60 Volvo. And the car just cannot reflect my varied interests
without a nod to DA.
Hope you enjoyed your summer tour. Thanks for coming to the Turf Club in St
Paul! We like every opportunity we're given to lord it over Minneapolis.
Yeah, it looks like we finally have some of the old fashioned
Constitutional checks and balances back in government.
That can only be a good thing.
As far as the DA stickers go, I think I have a few left but
I'll try to find one for your new car. Just like in politics,
I'd hate not be represented among your "various interests."
Happy belated birthday, Dave! Hope it was your usual blast of a birthday. If
you talk to Smog, tell him I saw "Dirty Al" at the NY Dolls show in SF last
week and Al says hi.
Thanks for the belated birthday message and please forgive my belated
response. I'll certainly pass your message to Smoggy. My questions to you:
Who is Dirty Al?
How were The Dolls?
How's your son? Did he enjoy The World Series?
Looking forward to seeing you
and the SF gang soon someday, somewhere.
Why are Dave's answers incomplete?
Good question, Scot. For some reason, many of Dave's recent responses are
getting cut off and I don't yet know why. We're looking into it and will try to
correct the problem soon.
I'm a fan going back about 15 years or so (I was late to the Blasters party,
but discovered you when I was working as a writer for a magazine called CD
Review.) Anyway, thought you'd be interested in knowing that my 75-year-old
father, a retired professor of economics and longtime folk guitarist, fell in
love with the "Public Domain" CD when I played a few cuts for him off it this
summer. (He had liked the Springsteen/Woody Guthrie tribute, and I said if you
like that, you've gotta hear Public Domain.)The upshot is that our family
chipped in and bought him a banjo for his 75th birthday in June, and he's
spent much of the summer and early fall teaching himself not only to play it,
but to play and sing some of your songs from Public Domain (He does a pretty
mean "Mama Ain't Long For The Day" and "What Did The Deep Sea Say"). He lives
in central New Jersey, and wanted to get the Folk Music Society of Princeton,
NJ to invite you for a talk/performance, but I'm not sure if he's actually
going to follow through on it. Probsably couldn't afford you, anyway. :)
Keep up the great music--loved the California songwriters album and saw you
this summer with Guilty Men in Cambridge, MA--you guys were great!
Wow! That's a wonderful story. Your father sounds like a great guy and I'm
extremely touched that my CD had some sort of affect on him. The fact that he's
teaching himself banjo at 75 gives me some hope for the future seeing how I've
always wanted to play some banjo but have been too lazy or distracted to learn.
Now I've got no excuse. It sounds to me like he's the one who should do the
lecture to the Folk Music Society of Princeton. I mean anyone that can combine
economics AND the very uneconomical love of folk music, has definitely something
to say. Please send him my best and tell him thanks for the inspi
I just wanted to tell you how much I really appreciate your album, "Ashgrove."
It's one of the best records I've heard in a long time. I am a 50 year old,
lifelong, east coast musician, influenced by many different players and musical
styles and I am very happy to add you to my list greats. I was certainly
familiar with your work in the Blasters but this is the first solo album of
your's that I've purchased and just love it. It is in the van's cd player and
played often while driving from gig to gig. Your vocals compliment your writing
style perfectly. It's just great, inspiring music to listen to. Your song "The
Man In The Bed" is especially poignant as my wife works in a critical care
health facility and from her stories and experiences, we can both really relate
to those lyrics. Thanks for all that you've done and I wish you many more years
of continued inspiration and success.
Thank you for your very kind words about ASHGROVE. I'm very happy that it passed
the critical van test. That's pretty high praise. My band and I travel in vans
across the country and a record has to be pretty special to pass the tough van
On a more serious note, my thanks to your wife for doing the sometimes thankless
job that she do
dear Dave, your appearance next friday at the Getty filled up within 20
minutes ! I was at work and not
able to get to a phone for personal use until about 10am the day they started
the reservations for your
concert. so I missed out. and am waiting for your 07 schedule to be posted.
your music is so wonderful and at different times in my life your lyrics have
given me hope. I mean to say
sometimes a sad sad song can be uplifting, in that I realize someone else has
felt this way. 'the man in
the bed' so deeply affected me since I heard it not for the first time but more
clearly after my fathers long
illness and suffering with dementia. and California Snow made me cry the first
time and meny times after
that when hearing it since i am a so. cal native and did read about the deaths.
And Wanda & Duane
another favorite .
also to say you should consider The Canyon Club in Agoura Hills CA. X has
been there a couple times in
the last few years.
question The Knitters are scheduled at the Belly up in Salona Beach dec. 27
will you be with them. ? The
calander reads 'The Knitters and Guest.'
I get alot of spam so please write hello surfer rosa in the subject if
Hey Surfer Rosa:
I'm sorry that you couldn't get tickets for the Getty show. I appreciate you
trying. A lot of friends of mine couldn't even get tickets and there was nothing
I could do to help them either. I guess people like shows at museums. Go figure.
I hate to tell you that it was a pretty special show. The great doo-wop group,
The Calvanes, joined The Guilty Men and I on stage and we had a blast (If you
don't care about doo-wop, we also played CALIFORNIA SNOW). Maybe someday we'll
do the same kind of show again locally if, as they say, the fates allow and it
won't be such a hassle to get tickets.
Thank you for your comments about my lyrics giving you some hope. I also think
that sad songs can help get us through bad times as much (or evene more) as
happy songs. I mean that's why the blues were invented, right? I'm also glad
that my song, MAN IN THE BED, helped you deal with your father's illness. The
song has helped me deal with my own father's illness and death and to know that
it's helped others is the greatest compliment I can recieve as a songwriter.
Oh, yeah, I'll be with The Knitters at The Belly Up. It isn't The Knitters
unless all The Knitters show up. If I didn't make the gig then it would just b
Dave, had the pleasure of both meeting you and seeing your fine performance at
the Belly up down in
Solana Beach. Great show. I have a couple of quick questions: Did I hear you
dedicate a song to "The
Steamer " Bud Furillo? If so , why? I have been a fan of his since the old
Herald Exam in LA. Secondly, did
you consider Lowell George as a possible canidate for West of the West ? Always
have been a big Little Feat
fan and always thought of him being a great Cal songwriter. Did you ever meet
him? Thanks Dave and look
forward to seeing you whenever you get within 200 miles of Santa Monica. Groove,
I certainly did dedicate a song to Bud Furrillo. He had recently passed away and
one of his daughters, Jackie, was standing right in front of me. The Furrillo's
lived in Downey, California, where I grew up and I was friends with his sons,
Frank and Andy. In fact I wouldn't have a career in music if it wasn't for
Frank. He's a great harminica player and, to make a long story short, Frank
convinced my brother to let me play guitar in a group they were putting together
to do a gig at a wedding. Frank left the band after a couple of gigs then my
brother and I went to start The Blasters.
I certainly did consider Lowell George and he certainly is one of the great
California (or anywhere else) songwriters. I thought about a few of his songs
(ROCK AND ROLL DOCTOR, WILLIN') but I didn't think that I could do anything to
the songs that Lowell George hadn't already done. He's an imtimidating talent.
But who knows? If I ever do a WEST OF THE WEST VOLUME 2 . . .
Sadly, I never got the chance to meet him. If I had, I probably would've been
too intimidated to sa
Just want to tell you how much your song Dry river
means to me. I grew up not all that far from you
in La Habra. When we moved to S Fonda St in 61
we were surrounded on three sides by Orange &
Lemon groves. By the time we moved away in 69
they were ALL GONE. What else I love about Dry River
is how absurdly hopeful it remains. Looking back I consider
those Orange & Lemon groves and thee time spent playing
them as aspects of Heaven.
The other thing I wanted to ask was whatever happened
a couple years back when you were scheduled to play
in the Underground Gardens in Fresno? It sounded like
a great venue! But I heard the concert site was changed
to a more conventional site.
Keep up the great work!
The Fresno gig was moved from the Underground Gardens to a venue downtown
because (I was told) of fears that the amount of people and the volume of the
music might have a negative effect on that cherished California landmark. I
would've loved to play a show down there beneath the streets of Fresno but I
also think that their fears might have some validity. I would've felt miserable
if any damage to the gardens happened at my gig. Anyway, we had a great show
downtown without any significant damage to life or limb.
Speaking of California's changing landscapes, I'm old enough to remember when
the area around the Underground Gardens was farmland. Now theres a couple of
cheap motels, some sad apartment buildings, beat up gas stations and
look-a-like tract homes. Ah, progress! I appreciate your comments regarding DRY
RIVER. I don't claim to have a favorite song that I've written but that song
means an awful lot to me. It kind of gives me some "absurd" hope. Maybe it does
for you too. I play it at just about every show because of that. I just hope
people don't get tired of hearing it.
Yeah, there's something heavenly about those old groves. If you drive out by
Piru or Fillmore or down to the Pauma Valley, you can kind of get that feeling
one thing I've always enjoyed about seeing you and phil playing together and
separately, is your uniquely different styles of playing guitar. I think it's
interesting that your playing styles are different, but your early musical
influences are essentially the same. How would you describe your individual
syles? Do you think the resonsibility and demands of being the lead guitar
player in a successful band, played a part in the development of your own
style? Would you ever consider a project with just the two of you playing and
Dave, from the perspective of a fan, I can't begin to tell you how much I
appreciate that you take the time to answer so many questions.
Well, Phil has always been a great fingerpicking guitarist when he wants to be.
He can play 3 to 4 finger style (like Blind Blake for example) with his picking
hand while I'm strictly a 2 finger guy. Most people don't know what a good
fingerpicker Phil is because the musical style of The Blasters doesn't suit that
type of guitar playing most of the time. If you ever get a chance to see him
play solo acoustic though, you'll see what I'm talking about.
Now, why did we develop different styles when our musical roots are the roughly
the same? I really don't know. He just kind of naturally gravitated to the
pre-war blues and ragtime guitar styles while I was attracted to the more
aggressive urban blues, rockabilly and rock and roll styles. When we first
played guitars together (We never played together growing up - I wasn't good
enough) at the first gig of the band that would become The Blasters, our two
different approaches complimented each other pretty well.
As for a project of just the Alvin brothers singing and playing guitars . . .
well . . . ahhhh, well, you never can what might happen but I wouldn't hold my
breath. As for the questions, I try to answer as many as I can when I can.
I can't talk to everybody at a show so it's nice to have some communication and
a sense o
Dave,Thanks for the great show in Chattanooga tonite!!! Awesome as always!!! thanks again, sincerly, we the priviledged few.
Dear Cricket (of "The Priviledged Few"):
Even though it's taken me, oh, almost 2 months to respond, your words are very, very much appreciated. See you again someday in Chattanooga I hope.
Just wanted to say "THANK YOU!" to Mr. Alvin for his appearance at "Nightfall" in Chattanooga, TN on 09/15/06. Those who were not able to attend missed a performance that was absolutely legendary!!
I have been a fan since my buddy brought in a "King of Califronia" CD for me to listen to. I fell instantly in love and went that very day and bought my own and have been an avid follower ever since.
It took some convincing, cajoling and a few unmentionable personal acts with my husband to get an escort to see you. My hubbie was a little reluctant to take me to see you because you are the only man he feels like I am cheating on him with when I listen to your music. But alas he gave in and escorted me to see your show and WOW!!
I started off on the front row with my buddies but my hubbie advised me to move back since he felt like I might be overwhemled and rush the stage.
So from the mom of two who is trying to put herself through nursing school "THANK YOU!!THANK YOU!!" for doing the "Nighfall" show and putting on the amazing performance that you did.
Wished I could have stayed to get your autograph but my other half was scared I would run off and join you on the road.
Best wishes and safe journeys!
Hey Marie Marie:
Well, you seem to have great powers of persuasion over your husband. He sounds like a good partner and a very, very lucky guy. Hopefully he wasn't too bored at the show.
I really enjoyed that gig. The weather the evening was perfect and, not knowing what kind of reception to expect having only played Chattanooga once before, so was the audience. I don't know if it was "legendary" or not but the show was a whole lot of fun for The Guilty Men and me. Like I said on stage that night, you gotta play good in the hometown of blues diva Bessie Smith.
Anyway, tell your husband that I thank him for escorting you that night. And I especially want to thank you for letting me know how much the performance (and my songs) meant to you. Words like that make everything worthwhile. Now, about running off with me and the guys . . . well, you're probably better off with just an autograph.
I just came home from seeing you at the Pour House in Raleigh. Earlier, I had seen you in S.F. and was wanting you to "bring it to Raleigh" like you had at the GAMH. Well you and the guilty men certainly did, and then some. Thank you so much.
Saw you with the Blasters in 83 and with X in Sacramento at the infamous Club Can't Tell, (I was right against the stage at your red square nosed boot!!) and countless times since. You never fail to blow me away and I just wanted to thank you for another great show. Out of Control was phenomonal. As was Stone Blind Love.
thanks again for making a Cally girl feel at home, even in NC
I'm happy that I made you feel back at home in Cali for a while in North Carolina. I dig The Pour House in Raliegh and, even though downtown Raliegh has a slightly more laid back vibe than San Francisco's Tenderloin District (home of the Great American Music Hall), I had a blast at that gig because The Guilty Men and I didn't have to worry about "putting on a show" there. We just played for the sheer fun of playing. Does that make sense? I hope so.
Wow, you remember my red boots!!!! I loved those boots and I still have them in a box in my closet. Unfortunately, I'm too old . . .er, ah . . . mature for red boots. Red boots really are a young man's fashion. I also remember that gig in Sacramento because of the particularly wild drive that day up the central valley from LA to the gig. If I ever write a book about my time on the road, that drive will certainly be in it.
Anyway, thanks for your kind words and don't get too homesick.
hello dave! i am still basking in the glow of your wonderful set here in raleigh monday night at the pour house. i'd say you and band were cookin. i've seen you all over the place now, the paradise, slims, gamh, the sugar shack, some little dump up in santa rosa, that funky outdoor swamp bistro in tampa, the social in orlando, and now in raleigh (i'm sure there are more but ya know how the memory is). the venues may change and the crowd...ME..get a little older but you only get better i'd say. i'm always curious how you choose what songs to play from your vast and remarkable catalog? is it by feel? do you choose depending on what landscape you are geographically in? i may have missed an announcement somewhere but i was surprised to see a different drummer with you and not bobby hicks who i'd seen with you 30 times probably, no sweat though as you literally didn't miss a beat. hope all is well with him, he's a fantastic player. thanks so much for coming to raleigh. i think we came out for you in fine form. an 8:15 to 10:30 show on a monday with the national treasure like you simply can't be beat. thank you thank you thank you.
Bobby Lloyd Hicks is doing great, thanks for asking. After many, many years on the road with me and various other musicians, Bobby needed some time off from the rigors of touring. Of all the musicians I've played with throughout my career, I played the longest with Bobby, since 1991. Greg Leisz has worked with me off and on since 1986 but not on on the road nonstop like Bobby has. I'll tell him that you said hello.
I ususally choose what songs to play at a show on several things. If I'm promoting a new cd then the set will have a lot of songs from that cd. If it's a noisy club/audience then I play loud songs. If everyone is dancing then I'll stick to dance numbers. If the audience is a listening crowd then I'll pull out a few of my slower, lyric driven songs. Yeah, sometimes geography plays a role.
Maybe an old folk or blues song that mentions (or comes from) the city or area that I'm playing in. Sometimes I simply play some songs just because I want to play them. I do try to balance my sets with songs from all (or most) of my career from my newest solo cd to the first Blaster records. Hopefully I'll play something somebody wants to hear.
Normally, I'd say "See you in Raliegh" but apparently you're as much of a traveling man as I am, so I'll just say, See you soon somewhere!
Just a quick hello and congratulations on the 9 volt show on XM 12! I heard it on 9/18 and was blown away by your first songs. I remember when I was 16 and first heard you and your brother, my brother Frank told me about the artists who inspired you guys, and we ran out and bought these records, so it was a pleasure to hear Big Joe Turner, Lightning Hopkins, Lee Allen, and Charlie Feathers!!
I'm glad that you dug hearing Lightnin', Big Joe, Lee and Charlie on my XM show.
I've always wanted my own radio show so that I could play music like that and expose more people to what I consider essential listening. I'm extremely happy that the folks down at XM gave me the opportunity. The frustrating thing is that my monthly, hour long show is all that I fit into my schedule and theres so much amazing music to try to fit into too little time. Oh well. Please keep listening and (if you want) let XM know that you enjoyed the show. Also, send my regards to your brothers Frank and John. I hope that they're doing good.
Long time fan, and I want to thank you for so many years of pleasure.
One question -
I'm in Seattle, and I was at the recent (stunning) Tractor show. I took a bunch of pictures, with a decent camera (not a cellphone). I've got the highlights posted on my website:
But my question is - does it bother you having flash photos taken while you're performing? I wouldn't want to distract you, but I do enjoy having a nice remberance.
I'm looking forwards to the upcoming Knitters show at the Showbox, and wondering if I should bring my camera/flash.
Again, thanks for so much fun over the years -
|Well, Bill, I'm pretty late responding to your message (at least a couple of weeks after the Knitters Showbox show). Please forgive me for that. Now, regarding taking flash photos at gigs: it can be problematic on stage to suddenly be blinded by a camera flash. I don't mean to sound like some kind of whiner but the flash can sometimes break my concentration and I start making more mistakes than usual (which are more than enough already). I hope you came to the Knitter show and had a good time. I don't remember being blinded that night by any flashes so either you didn't take any photos or your photography technique is very, very subtle.|
Where did all the questions and answers go?
Good question, Scot. I made some room on this page by moving the older
asnwers from June and earlier to a new page. See the links above.
Hey man, Let me start out by apologizing. What for you ask? back in the
early 90's I caught you here in the Detroit area at Alvin's, a perfect
little dive club to see any band. Well the fact is at the time I was hard
into Eddie Cochran and others like him and I kinda felt let down. I guess
when I chanced to buy an album, yes I said album by a little band called
the Blasters I thought holy-crap. Having been teethed on Jerry Lee lewis
and Elvis and Motown and I do mean teethed I used bite on the jackets
before I could sit and listen to them; along with country blue grass and
as a teen, "Punk" you Guys were the culmination of all that; senseless
anger gave way to passion with purpose. Well I didn't expect what I saw
a quiet soft spoken man singing songs that I likened to hippie music. I
came up and told you as much, after the show as we sat on the edge of
the stage. I started writing rockabilly music but, it always sounded more
like outlaw country. Which is no surprise since I've listened to a fare
amount the whole time and "thank the music Gods for the Beat Farmers"
Which leads me were I am now, writing this note. After listening to
the farmers for alot of years your name kept coming up in conversations
with other devotees of alt country. I chanced accross Interstate City
and decided I'd give it a listen with a more mature ear. I was really
diggin it and regreting that I didn't take the time to be in the moment
when you were right in front me singing these same songs. Then...I heard
the line "My name it don't matter you don't know me no how but I wish
you would listen to what sayin now.... all I can say is wooooa!!! well
everything I had been doing up till that point finally made sense. What
this all comes down to, is I believe in Karma and I think I put some bad
Jouju on myself when I turned my nose up at some of the best music being
written and/or recorded in my time. I am playing hell at finding others
to create with. My most recent venture imploded when the guitar player
decided that he wanted to do music that more resembled alternative music
from the eighties. That being said, I felt the need to unburden myself to
you in hopes that my Jubilee Train will pull into the station soon. When
I am blocked with writing or just on my way out on a friday night I turn
on "Long white cadilac" and roll down the windows and shake the curbs
loose. Even though you don't know it, you've helped me write about five
songs out of nearly twenty. I'm certain you don't remember this but with
Buddy's passing and the passing of my father who was a picker in his day,
I thought to myself, we can share our triumphs with others but regrets
are something we ourselves carry like over-packed luggage and the handles
about broke-off this one...Hope you make it out this way agian someday
soon I'd like to see ya play and be able to appreciate it.
Apology happily accepted.
Hell, maybe I owe you one just in case I did put on a crappy show way back when in Detroit. Your sincere, no bullshit message means the world to me. Thank you very much for sending it. I've had more than a few dissappointed people at my shows over the years who come to the gig hoping to hear The Blasters and get stuck with Dave Alvin instead. But what can I do? I can't sing like my brother or blow sax like Lee Allen. All I can do is be myself and sometimes being myself sounds like The Blasters and sometimes it doesn't.
But I also have to be honest and say that I've done the same thing more than a few times with artists I like. Sometimes we go to a show and get a bit too hung up on what we want to hear and miss out on some pretty great stuff that's actually being played. It's only human nature, I guess.
I'm proud to have "helped" you write some songs. That's a pretty damn good compliment, I sincerely appreciate it because I could certainly say that about several songwriters who've influenced me. As for finding the right musicians, yeah, it isn't easy but don't give up. That Jubilee Train will show up in one form or another.
My band, The Guilty Men, and I are playing at The Ark (not quite as funky as Alvin's but it's good joint) in Ann Arbor in late September and hopefully you can make it by the gig. Even if you don't dig the music we can at least have a beer in memory of Buddy Blue. Keep rockin' brother.
Dear Dave Alvin: I think an earlier version of this got lost. Basically,
though, I wanted to say thanks for responding to my last and thanks for
an awesome gig at Moe's a little while back (my wife and I went to the
first of 2 shows, Wednesday, I think). The band tore it up, and I think
it was one of the best shows of yours I've ever seen, including Blasters,
Pleasure Barons, All-Nighters, etc., for 20+ years. I'm a couple CDs
behind, but we bought Ashgrove at the show and rocked it all the way
home on Highway 1. Your writing is my favorite aspect of your work, but
your guitar playing, bandleading, and singing are damn impressive, too.
Thanks for doing what you do. There's only a few artists whose careers
I follow as closely as yours--Bob Dylan, Lyle Lovett, PJ Harvey, Rhett
Miller, Shane MacGowan. Weird list, I know, but I mean it as high praise
that for me you run with that crowd--and it's your stuff I'm listening to
most of late. Like I said my wife came to the show with me. She's not
such a huge rock and roller, but she thought the show was one of the best
I've ever dragged her to; in fact, she loved it. Her praise is hard-won
since it was a weeknight and we had to hire a babysitter and so on.
By the way, she teaches your work sometimes in a high school creative
writing class. She especially likes your ability to get a whole story
across in a few details and to handle emotion without becoming mawkish.
She mixes up the songs she uses in a unit on song lyrics as poetry, but
you're usually in there--especially "California Snow." She wants me to
ask you this: Would you have any advice for high school writers trying
to write song lyrics? I want to ask you about your singing: Would you
agree that your singing gets more expressive from King of California on
(not to denigrate those earlier albums that I listen to all the time),
and--if so--how'd you make the change? Thanks and take care! --Simon
P.S. Thanks too for this function on your website. I don't know anything like it for an artist of your stature. Your generosity with us in terms of your time is much appreciated.
Sorry if I missed your previous message but working on a computer is not one of my strongest talents. Thank you for your wonderful message. I agree with you that The Guilty Men live are as good as any group I've ever been invovled with. I dig every band I've ever played/toured with but I REALLY LOVE THE GUILTY MEN.
They can play anything I throw at them and play it better than I can.
I'm honored to be added to a list that includes Dylan, Shane and P.J. Harvey but I'm more honored to have impressed your wife on a week night. Unfortunately I don't really have too much advice for kids trying write song lyrics. The only advice I really have is just to do it. I don't mean sound like a Nike ad. I guess what I'm trying to say is don't be afraid to make mistakes or embarass yourself. Just write the song. I have to tell myself this all the time.
As for my vocals, I started using a capo on my guitar during the making of KING OF CALIFORNIA and discovered that keys like Bflat were better suited to my voice than some of the more guitar friendly keys were. I also stopped trying to sing "above the band" like many of the great blues and soul singers do (my brother is great at singing above the band). I started to let my voice sink into the song and concentrate on the emotions of the song. I hope that makes a little bit of sense.
Tell your wife I said hello and good luck with the kids.
Here's a note from my son Josh re your Seattle show. Thought perhaps you and the folks here would enjoy Josh's saga. Did you get his note?
Rex [Some Rumbler's "Buried Treasure" is headed your direction tomorrow]
I wish I had the time to give you more details, but suffice it to say that Heather and I made it to Dave and co's show in Seattle last weekend and it was great. The kind of show that makes you think "Damn, I need to get out and see live music more often!". I've enjoyed his new album (and old albums with the Blasters that I have on CD) but it was well worth seeing live. Great energy. We almost got skunked as the show had sold out. We tried to scramble tickets anyway but there was no such luck from the establishment. Standing there scratching our heads, a guy came up and said "Are you two big fans of Dave Alvin"? I said, well I first saw him with the Blasters 20 or so years ago w/ my dad. He was in The Rumblers. The guy said, "well you should get in then. I have two extra tickets. Why don't you buy me a beer and we'll call it even". One of those nights when everything went right. I didn't get a chance to say hi to Dave: the show being packed it wasn't like I could wander backstage and it was too late for this 8-4:30 workaday lad to stay up and haunt the back halls looking to weasle in. I did pass a note his way through the woman who was selling T-shirts but who knows if he got it. I told him I was instructed to tell him hello from you if I saw him, so I said hello through the note. Again, great show. Just thought I'd let you know.
Yeah, I got your son's note at The Tractor and was a bit dissappointed not to meet him but I understand entirely. I'm just glad that a Rumbler's kid was impressed by the show. That means a lot to me. Thanks for sharing his message and send him my regards. I'm looking forward to hearing the BURIED TREASURE release and to us crossing paths again soon. Until then, keep rocking.
For those who may not be familiar with The Rumblers:
The Rumblers were a hard rocking, bad-ass, instrumental rock and roll, r+b, surf band in Southern California back the early sixties. They took their name from the Link Wray instrumental, RUMBLE, and their sound resembles Link's in some ways. The Rumblers made records for a small record label in my hometown of Downey, California on The Downey record label some of which can be found on various surf and rock and roll instrumental cd reissues. They were sort of hometown heroes to all of us guys who later became The Blasters and I recently cut a cover version of their classic raunch and roll song, BOSS. I highly reccommend The Rumblers to anyone who digs unadulterated rock and roll.
Just wanted to drop you a note to say thanks for another great Belly Up show on Saturday. Never leave disappointed when you play there. Really enjoyed seeing Faron Young, er, I mean Chris Gaffney, Dave Gonzalez and the Hacienda Bros do a phenomenal opening set as well. When I saw Mojo in the crowd and then up on stage to introduce them, I was hoping he might show up for some fun in the encore, but alas t'was not to be.
Anyhow, on to my question: When someone was (loudly, and insistently) requesting California Snow, you mentioned you would play it "when" you played the church. May I take that as a solid sign that you will be returning to Normal Heights for what I know will be another phenomenal acoustic performance? I was front and center last year, and will move mountains to be there again should you return!
Thanks again for all the terrific music and stories, keep it up!
I'd love to play at the church in Normal Heights and hope to be back there relatively soon. I had a great time there last year when I played there for the first time. A great room with great acoustics and a great audience. The only sad thing is that that gig was the last time I saw my old friend Buddy Blue alive. Going back will certainly be a bit of a melancholy experience for me now that he's gone. It might be a bit therapuetic though going back and playing some blues for Buddy. See you there.
So what does your wife think that the Kate Wolf song is saying? Just curious.
Dave - Love doesn't happen on first sight (attraction does)it something that has to grow. I have known her since she was 14, but it took 11 years and her brother's blessings (best friend's little sister, dangerous territory there)before we even went out on a date. All that while was a courtship probably neither of us figured was happening until it did.
Though it appears the two in this song are trying to make it grow out of a little more necessity, which I believe to be from the historical time frame in reference in the song. There are given's in life - you grow older, grow smarter, ain't no more gold in California and the hills will turn brown each summer and of course the obvious you will die sometime. Given the last one, these two have decided to give it a try with each other, for better or for worse.
That explanation sounds about right to me.
Yeah, a best friend's little sister is definitely "dangerous territory" but it sounds like everything has worked out. Congratulations.
At the Sunset Junction show yesterday "morning," you talked a little bit about the notorious Sunset Pacific Motel to the side of the stage. What is the story behind that locale, and what is your relationship to it?
Well, many years ago I dated a woman who bartended at a great bar called L.A. Nicola that used to be across Sunset Blvd from the Sunset Pacific Motel. Often when I'd go to pick her up from work after midnight (and have a late beer) there would always be a scene at the Sunset Pacific involving the police and drug dealers or drug addcits or petty theives or gang bangers or prostitutes or all of the above. Never a dull moment around that joint. Sometimes the action spilled into my girlfriend's bar. Like I said, that was many years ago and the neighborhood has changed dramatically and the Sunset Pacific has been shut down and boarded up for over a year. I guess someone is planning to turn it into a up-scale hotel/spa.
I guess at the Sunset Junction, playing right in front of the empty shell of the motel, I just got a little nostalgic for my old girlfriend who is long gone, as is her bar and the Sunset Pacific Motel. It's anybody's guess what happened to the motel's former inhabitants.
Any chance of a UK tour - we'd love to see you this side of the pond
Hopefully next year sometime. I enjoy playing across "the pond" and seeing my pals over there. I usually hit London and Glasgow every two years or so but economics make a full blown tour of the UK difficult. The traveling expenses of touring with a 5 to 6 person band cost more than I can make on the
gigs. I'm also reticent to tour overseas solo acoustic because I think most people over there want to see the loud, sweaty band than my singer-songwriter side. Anyway, all that being said, you never can what will happen.
The show in Bakersfield was alot of fun. Loretta ( a new fan!) and I had a great time on the train, at Fishlips, which is a hoot, especially Kim, and of course the show. As Shawna predicted, a perfect setting.
I have decided to begin my roots adventure with the Blues, my all time favorite music and a core. Nothing quite reaches my heart like good blues. I was fortunate in finding 3 books that were wonderfully varied. First, NPR’s The Curious Listener’s Guide to the Blues. A good general introduction to history, types, forms and musicians. Then the last two are quite different. Blues People: The Negro Experience in White America and the Music that Developed From It by LeRoi Jones. He is obviously an academic so it was at times dry and hard to read but a wonderful history by a black writer about life beginning in Western Africa until the 1960’s when the book was written. His insights are compelling and the explanations for the progression of black music absorbing. The final book is Really the Blues by Mezz Mezzrow and Bernard Wolfe (written 1946). Mezzrow was a young Jewish kid in Chicago in the early 20’s. Through a series of wrong place/wrong time situations found himself in reform school where he was introduced to instruments and then in prison where he met his first bluesmen. Through experiences inside prison and out, he decided that he related best with the black community: he lived with, played with and became accepted by them. The book relates his life in tough Prohibition Chicago with some street philosophy interjected. A vivid picture of the music, black counterculture and black America, in vernacular, in the early years of the Blues.
You have mentioned that you are a Blues player first. I wonder if you have favorite early Blues music etc? Any lesser known figures? I am beginning at the beginning with some Vaudeville such as Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith and early Blues: i.e. Blind Lemon Jefferson and Lonnie Johnson then move to the vibrant 30’s with Robert Johnson etc and so on. As I progress I can identify the nuances between styles and era’s. I was thrilled to find how much was recorded and re-released from the early days. Not like seeing the originals as in your Ashgrove days, but the best available now.
Looking forward to my continued pursuit.
Yeah, Fishlips was a good time. Very down to earth folks who treat the musicians like pals not employees. I'm sorry that we couldn't talk more but I had to drive back home a long distance that night and couldn't hang around for the six pack. It's difficult to have any deep conversations after shows, usually because I'm somewhat exhausted after performing for 2 hours with The Guilty Men. So please pardon any percieved inattention on my part to our brief conversation. I wasn't trying to be rude. I'm just coming down from the performance zone and my mind is still onstage. I hope that makes sense.
Anyway, I agree with you that nothing reaches the heart like good blues. It seems that you're off to good start in your education but I'll add my two cents just for the hell of it. Here are some of my favorite 1920's-30's blues performers:
Charlie Patton, Tommy Johnson, Memphis Minnie, Skip James, Blind Willie McTell, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Blind Willie Johnson, Blind Blake, Blind Joe Reynolds, Blind Boy Fuller (just about anyone with "Blind" in front of their name is okay by me), Geeshie Wiley, Lonnie Johnson, Mississippi John Hurt, The Mississippi Shieks, Bo Carter, Bessie Smith, Georgia Tom, Tampa Red, Leroy Carr and Scrapper Blackwell, Petie Wheatstraw,Big Bill Broonzy, Robert Johnson, Gus Cannon, Furry Lewis, Robert Wilkins, and the list goes on and on and on. . . Just remember that I enjoy listening to scratchy old records that drive most modern Americans insane but if you can get past the limited sonic quality, you'll find some of the greatest art ever created.
BLUES PEOPLE is a great book that looks at Black American musical history from a different angle than many white writers ever explore(especially back in the early 60's when he wrote the book). I don't know if Leroi Jones would consider himself an "academic," maybe more like a radical, African American beat poet/playwright. I certainly recommend reading the plays of the late genius August Wilson who had a deep love for old blues that permeated his writings. I'd also highly recommend a somewhat controversal book written by a friend of mine, Elijah Wald, who is a brillant guitarist, writer and musicologist. The book is called ESCAPING THE DELTA. It was published a couple of years ago and I'm certain that you track it down on Amazon or any decent book store. You may not agree with everything he says but it's one of the best books ever written about the blues. It's funny that you mentioned Mezz Mezzrow's REALLY THE BLUES. Recently my guitarist, Chris Miller, discovered that we both read that book when we were 12 years old and that it started us, somewhat, on the musical path that we've followed since. Mezz (despite all of his shortcomings - or maybe because of them) is one of our patron saints. Very funny, cool book.
Good luck on your journey into the blues. You never know where it'll take you.
Hi Dave I have a comment, and a question. I was telling my girlfriend
a few days ago about this style of guitar playing that I loved, on El Paso
by Marty Robbins. Thirty years ago, after hearing the Dead's version
I bought Marty's record Gunfighter Ballads & Trail Songs just to hear
that guitar. As much as the lyrics, it's the sound of that guitar that
makes the song. But there are no credits on the album so I had no clue
who it was. As far as I knew it might have been Marty himself.
Segue to last week; I bought West of the West (I chose that one over some others of yours at the store -though I'll get them all eventually- because it has a Kate Wolf song; so glad to see she's not forgotten), and heard a debt to El Paso in "Sonora's Death Row." (You may not have written it but you chose it.) Saw you at the Belly Up last night (my birthday present to myself), Wow! Playing the Ashgrove CD this morning, your music is so wonderful I looked up your web site, read through a bunch (great job!) & there on top of your non-top-10 list is El Paso. It inspired me to search for who did the guitar work, and I was knocked out of my socks to find an actual video of Marty doing the song at
At that site someone commented that Grady Martin was the one on the album (I doubt if it's him in the video but I could be wrong). Someone says elsewhere "Grady did the lead and did it in one take. Also, he played it with a borrowed guitar!" I looked up Grady Martin & found I'm not the only one to realize he's incredible. He also played on "Pretty Woman" , "On the Road Again", & many other greats. But you probably knew all that already. I can see I'm going to have to track down more of his music. Thanks!
Is your interview with Buck Owens available anywhere?
Yeah, I forced my mother to buy me a copy of El Paso when I was about 4 or 5 years old. Then I had her teach me how to work the record player so I could play the 45 over and over and over. That song is certainly one of the biggest (if not the biggest) songwriting influences on me. Marty Robbins is an extremely under-rated songwriter but I also agree that part of the magic of the record is Grady Martin's guitar work. Yeah, I've also heard the legends about his session for El Paso. I don't know if they're true or not but a archetypal performance like Grady Martin's (and Marty's!) certainly deserves a few myths to go along with it.
The interview I did with Buck Owens a few years back was for Mix Magazine, a solid publication for record producers and engineers. They probably have a website that may lead you to a copy either on-line or through back issues. My favorite quote from Buck was when he said that his biggest musical influences were Bob Wills and . . . Little Richard!!!!! Pretty cool!
Oh, yeah, I do not think Kate Wolf will ever be forgotten.
I saw your gig @ Coach House last Friday night....epic as usual. I would like to take this chance to really thank you for making time for me to sign those couple of pictures for me up in your dressing room. I enjoyed talking a little bit about Little Milton, he was a great man and performer. I know he has a special place in your heart. If you would like, I have some great photos that I took of Milton at Long Beach Blues Festival, as well as some great candid shots. Where can I send them to make sure you receive them? Thanks again for being so cool to me.
It was certainly a pleasure meeting you and getting a chance to talk about Little Milton.
Yeah, Milton was a great, underappreciated treasure and his premature death was, in my biased opinion, a national tragedy of sorts. People like him are becoming a very, very breed. I'd love to see your photos of him so feel free to send them to me care of my booking agents:
743 Center Blvd
Fairfax, California 94930
Thanks for the nice words about The Coach House show and I'll look forward to seeing your Milton shots!
The show last night was awesome. It was the best I’ve ever seen. My mom says you blew the house down and your band was so hot. Thank you so much for signing the back of my guitar. Whenever I hear Dry River from now on I’ll think of what you said at the show and smile, so will my mom. I appreciate your taking the time to look at my songs. Are you playing at the Not Strictly Bluegrass Festival this year? I think I’ll be there at least part of the time. We couldn’t go last year because it was on Rosh HaShana. Hope you come back soon.
Your friend, Avi (from Berkeley)
You are always welcome at my shows. And I really enjoyed your lyrics. When I was your age I wrote songs but I would never dream of showing them to anyone (I still feel that way sometimes). You're a smart, talented and soulful guy. I want you to practice your guitar, keep working on your songs and don't get depressed or angry if you can't find the right musicians to play with. It takes a lot of time to find the right bunch of people to make music with. You should try to enjoy everyone you play with whether they're as good as you or not. You'll find the right people eventually so just enjoy the process, don't fight it. Does that make sense? I hope so. Right now for you it's all about learning. Learning how to play and what to play, learning how to interact with other musicians and learning patience and empathy. All that will make you a better musician, I promise.
I won't be at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Fest this year. You did a miss a good show last year but some other are more important. There will be other shows in future and someday you'll be playing them with your own group. Good luck and say hey to your mom for me.
I remember a year or so ago a fellow filming your show at the Continenal Club in Austin. I talked a bit with that fellow and he mentioned that he was filming for a DVD about you. Can you tell me how that is progressing and when/where you expect it to be released?
Looking forward to September 8th. You and the Hacienda Brothers, my two favorite acts, playing together is like a dream. Only way I'd miss that is if Hank Sr. and Bob Wills both rose up out of the grave and were playing a show together the same night.
Thanks for comparing The Guilty Men/Hacienda Bros show to Hank Sr and Bob Wills.
We couldn't even shine their boots but it's a nice compliment none the less. As for the live DVD, it should be out in the begining of 2007 or so. It got bogged down in legal and business jazz. It looks pretty damn good if I say so myself. Joe Murray, the man filming and directing the DVD is an extremely talented film maker and he did an extraordinary job. It ain't Hank and Bob but who or what is? See you in Texas.
My gal pal and I came out to the gig Friday at GAMH. We had a great time> Just like the ol days. The room was filled with energy and your voice was music to my ears. I have been a fan for many many years and have watched your career evolve.
I must add here that one of my fav tours that you were involved in, which not to many people talk about, was the Pleasure Baron's tour! I'm sure it must have been a gas for all involved. I was greatly sadden by the passing of C. Dick shortly after. Going thru old pictures I found a couple of him at SXSW or Jack's Sugar Shack. I thought that you might like a copy? If so, I would be glad to send it anywhere you say.
Anyway... thanks for doing my favorite song, "Dry River" on Friday. Thanks for all the years of great music and your support & inspiration to all the other musicains coming behind us.
On a side note: I hope you still have the Milagro that I left you and the G. Men so many years ago and that it made it to that necklace you wear.
There's some great tunes on Ashgrove.
A Fan In San Francisco
Thanks for your very kind words and for sticking around all these years. I know it sounds corny but I really do appreciate it. I think I'm an incredibly fortunate man to have people like you for fans.
As for Country Dick, I miss him (and Buddy Blue) every day. You don't run across people like those guys very often. Maybe at the next show you can bring your photos of Country Dick or you can send them to my label, YepRoc, although I don't know their address off the top of my head. I'd love to see them.
The Pleasure Barons tours (they're were two of them, believe it or not) were an intense experience. I almost died during the first one after contracting menningitis and it took me 2 years to finally get paid for the tour (Dick lost the tour money gambling in Vegas after the last show of the tour - typical Country Dick stuff but for some reason you couldn't be mad at the guy). Outside of all that, it was a blast. The second one with a different line up (Dick, Mojo, John Doe, Katy Moffatt, Rosie Flores) was a total gas. Less drama and lots of laughs. And I got paid.
Thanks again for you support over the years and for the milagro even though I think I lost it. Sorry but these things happen. I think that was what Country Dick said after losing all the tour money.
I wrote the first of August, but wonder now if my letter made it through, as you have responded to many others since my submission. I will be happily, make that "estatically", at your show this Friday at the Coachhouse, sitting in the front row group. Can't wait for another of your superlative performances - have been forced to wait, though, since earlier this year, as that's when we saw you were coming back, and quickly made our reservations. I love your voice - the most sensual baritone ever, your beyond-belief-unless-you-actually-see-it guitar playing, and your masterful, beautiful, heart-wrenching lyrics. Not to ignore the Guilty Men, though - they complement you, and each other in every wonderful way. My original letter was primarily, though, about the incredible impact your song "Man In The Bed" had on me. I bought Ashgrove as soon as it was released, as is my custom whenever you put out anything, but I was not prepared for the emotional, watershed moment that happened from the very first note of that song. My Dad had been sick for many years, battling one thing, then another, and had withdrawn from his friends, not wanting anybody to see him in his diminshed physical condition. I had brought in 24 hour home care help the beginning of 2003, as he could not any longer take care of himself. That, though necessary since I didn't live close and he didn't want to leave his home, was just one more battle he had lost, one more painful reminder he was dependant on others. His had been a fine life, a vital, active, happy existence after the sacrifices and poverty of the Depression, and the heart-in-mouth experiences in the war as a waist gunner on the Flying Fortresses based in England. But, as his body broke down, so did his spirit in many ways. The loss of our Mom, and many of their lifelong friends, only added to his sadness. He was quite depressed, wanted only to die and be released from the body that had betrayed him, and in his mind, now defined him. The minute I heard your song I knew I would be playing it at Dad's service, no matter when it happened that he would get his wish and leave us. He died November 21, 05, went "gently into that good night", in his own bed at home in his sleep - what he had always wanted, just not as soon as he would have liked. I spoke for an hour at his memorial, using his own words from his oral history done in 1992 at my request. His sly, sweet, endearing sense of humor and his cogent observations were everywhere throughout his history, and the audience - his remaining friends from high school on, and my friends, many who knew Dad, were enthralled with his eyewitness accounts and learned much about history and Dad's accomplishments and adventures. He raced hot rods he and his friends built when they were in their late teens, before enlisting, and a quote from his history captured everyone's imagination and elicited laughter. He said "I can remember many nights coming down Kendall Drive (we're from San Bernardino) racing some other fool, with everything wide open but the glove compartment, on tires that today I wouldn't go around the block on." Near the end of the service, I told everyone about your song. We had included the lyrics in the Memorial card so that everyone could follow along with the words and see how perfect that song was for Dad's life, and death. The sledgehammer, the nurse that "didn't know", the trembling hands, the man he was (and in our minds, he still was), and the way he was now "existing" - even the verse about the doctors as Dad had been raised Christian Scientist, and didn't have much use for the medical community -absolutely was right-on. I played it, and everyone was profoundly moved, and many were in tears. A lot of new fans of you were made that day - even the funeral director wanted more info about you and the song, saying he would get it and use it as another way he might be able to comfort family members in the future. I ended Dad's service with words to the effect that we would, should remember Dad as that hotrodder, the man he used to be, finally released from the body that had broken down. I still play it often, as it continues to ease my sorrow. You accomplished so much with Man In The Bed, It was a loving tribute to your own father, and you honored the other men of that incredible generation. But you also beautifully captured the feelings of all of us who want to be remembered as who and what we were/are, and not by any disease that managed to lay us low. I can't adequately thank you for giving voice to those feelings. I am so looking forward to your show at the Coachhouse. I always feel great, energized, positively euphoric after seeing you perform. I love so many of your songs, but wondered if you ever did Evening Blues, From A Kitchen Table, or Blackjack David in concert. Those three songs are classics - lyrics and melodies both - and I'll keep my fingers crossed that one day I'll hear them live. Will you have CD's available Friday? I want the new live album and West of the West, the only 2 I don't have. Wanted to wait to buy them directly, before resorting to ordering them from Village Records. Take care of yourself, and thanks for all the lovely memories of performances and albums over these many years. Sincerely, Laura Russell
Thank you. I can't tell you how moved I am by your message. The Man In The Bed is the most personal song I ever wrote but somehow it has struck a deep chord with more people than I ever imagined. The story of your father reminds me of my father (and of close friends that have passed away). I wrote it as an attempt to deal with the pain, anger, sadness, etc, of his final days and his death and knowing that it brings some help to you and your family, well, it is the greatest compliment I can recieve. Thank you again.
See you at The Coach House.
As a fifth generation California native, I am now living in North Carolina, tryin' hard to make my way back. I was lucky enough to be visiting and saw you with James McMurtry in SF. You made my trip. I have seen you twice in Raleigh and playing with the knitters since I've been here and I am going to see you next month again here. I hope you are gonna bring just like you did at the Great American Music Hall cause I haven't seen you play like that yet in NC. (even though i understand, I still want to see you rip it up here and show these people how we do it in CA).
I have been a fan since I dragged my boyfriend to the GO GOs in Sacramento in 1983. The Blasters opened and after that my whole music world changed for ever. Thanks for continuing to write and grow as a musician, when I am in full pout over not being in California, I always listen to Dave.
Wow, I remember that gig with Go Go's! Downtown Sacto in some great old theatre. All The Blasters got a bit drunk that night but that's another story.
I'm happy that that night changed your music world. That's one of the highest compliments I can get. I'm also very touched that my music helps your homesickness. It helps mine too.
I promise I'll try my best to "rip it up" in North Carolina the same way we did in California. If me and the guys aren't doing that, please feel free to walk up to the stage and let me know somehow. I'd hate to let you down after all these years. See you in Cali or Carolina.
You were absolutely unbelievable as usual lastnight. Andrew and I saw you at The Great American Music Hall in San Francisco. Awesome.... truly awesome. You would be well worth a higher ticket price to see. Such a show, such talent all around that stage. A great joy to watch. Great friends of ours introduced us to you back on the East Coast at the Birchmiere in Alexandria Virgina, probably ten years ago. We saw you with Big Sandy, The Reverend Billy T. Wirtz and others.. We've been going to your concerts ever since and have even moved out to Cally. We've been here six years now.
I dropped off a cd for you to give a listen to (if you would be so kind with your time) by a California singer~songwriter named Robyn Harris from Saratoga, California. She will be playing tonight at the Hotel Utah. I was hoping you might be able to give a listen and a shout out to Robyn to give her any insights you might be able to give. She'd love to be doing gigs like yours.
We can't wait for our boys (7 & 5) to get old enough so we can bring them out to see you and the Guilty Men.
Have an awesome time in Reno. We try to see you whenever you are in town playing. : )
The Passett Family
Andrew, Lori, Tobiah & Isaac
P.S. I gave you Robyn's second cd. Her release party is tonight. Her first cd was Pocket My Pride 2005
First off, thanks for the extremely generous words about the Great American show. And, yeah, there is a lot of "talent" on the stage - it's an honor every night I walk on stage with my band. On the right night, they're as good as anybody!
I remember the "Roadhouse" tour with Buddy, Billy, Dale, and Bg Sandy and his guys very well (It would be a blast to do another tour like that again!). I'm very happy that you've stuck with me through the years and even across the continent (Hopefully you're enjoying life in California). I look forward to meeting your sons when they reach "nightclub" age. I promise to keep playing until then at least.
As for Robyn, I did get the cd and will try to listen to it as soon as I can. It isn't easy breaking in to this business (and even harder staying in it). The only real advice I can offer anyone starting out sounds pretty corny but it is the truth. Just be yourself. Be as honest as you can with your audience and yourself. The artists that tend to last from the old blues singers to Sinatra to Dylan to Haggard to James Brown, have followed that rule. I wish her all the luck in the world and I hope that the Hotel Utah gig went well.
I first heard your name on NPR in late June 2006 and went out to buy West of the West which as I mentioned in an earlier email, took my breath away! When at the end of July I was frustrated with all my contractors and handymen and my house not to mention the 90 deg heat with 90% humidity I decided enough! I was out of Wisconsin. I just didn’t know where I was headed. By chance I glanced at your website and found you would be at the Calgary Folk Festival and started searching for tickets. I booked at 2:00pm on Friday and was on plane by 6:00pm. Saturday I was able to get tickets for the festival and for the rest of the weekend relaxed, soaked in the sun and listened to good music in a beautiful setting.
The “workshops” progressively got better and better , in my blues/rock oriented opinion, with a great main stage performance, be it at a considerable distance, and then to top it off, hangover or not, a stellar finish on Sunday with songs from West of the West. Be still my heart. My weekend was perfect.
But the experience only wetted my appetite for more. West of the West was no longer sufficient. Although I hesitated over The Guilty Men and a more country/folksy influence, more Dave Alvin was imperative! Out of California, Ashgrove and King of California have not disappointed. The same infectious passion and quality infuses each . I particularly like the variety of style. Since I have the advantage of hearing all for the first time, I can with confidence say all that hard work you have mentioned about practicing voice and guitar have definitely paid off - 4th of July and Little Honey, from great to greater!
As I am (ad)venturing out in other areas of my life right now, I am thoroughly enjoying the new direction in music, away from the more homogenized, retail brand to the roots oriented music you have turned me on to. As I read through past interviews and labels and even your web site I am able to glean new names in music to further my collection. You are obviously well versed on roots music in all genres, and I would love to learn more, would you have any recommendations (books or music)? I love change and delving into newfound interests.
Since I will be back in California at the end of August, I figured I it was time for my month end Dave Alvin fix and checked your schedule. Lo and behold you are playing Fishlips in Bakersfield. I have recruited a friend to hop on a train and head south for the evening from the Sacramento area. Shawna at Fishlips promises a more intimate setting than main stage Calgary and said it is perfect for one of your shows. I look forward to a night with the Guilty Men.
Hope to have a chance to say hello in Bakersfield. Thanks again for all the great music.
Well, if I don't get to bed soon I'll never make it to the Bakersfield gig! It should be a fun gig. The people who run the place are very nice and down home so the vibe will definitley be laid back.
Thanks for traveling all the way up to Calgary for the folk festival and I'm very glad that you enjoyed it. I had a great time with the exception of the "hungover" workshop on Sunday morning. I rarely perform at 10:30 in the morning, hungover or otherwise, so I had no idea whether my performance was any good or not but if you thought it was good, well, then it was.
I agree with you about how much homogenized music is force fed to us these days.
It's all the more frustrating because there is so much good music being made these days in so many different styles. It can be difficult to find but the search is certainly worth it. As for recommendations, well, yeah, there are the artists and song lists on my site but beyond that, maybe look up the great KPIG radio station on your computer. KPIG plays a lot of the great music that doesn't find it's way on to mainstream airwaves.
Thanks also for your very kind words about my practicing paying off. I really appreciate it. See you in Bakersfield.
No need to respond to this. Just some unwanted song suggestions, in case you are interested in such things (if you're like some of the other musicians I've known, you probably aren't. Ha!) Anyway, when I listen to the following songs, I often find myself wondering, man, I would love to hear Dave do that:
"East St. Louis Blues (Fare You Well," by Blind Willie McTell
That has finally risen to the top of my favourite BWM songs. Don't know why. Maybe it's the mystery to it--what's with that woman, anyway? what's she up to? Why is she so negative to him? And it has this closed-circle aspect to the tale.
"It Takes A Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry."
Self-explanatory, I hope!
"West LA Fadeaway"
Sounds like a Dave Alvin song more than a Dead song already!
See you in Ann Arbor 9/24!
Actually, I do have a question. Did you ever see Gram Parsons--in the Birds, FB Bros., or solo--or meet him back in the day? Did he have much influence on you at all? I heard a duet you did with Rosie Flores at McCabe's back in 1990--I don't know the song--and, besides being just gorgeous, it really put me in mind of Gram and Emmylou Harris. It was beautiful.
Well, those are all good ideas for cover songs. I'm especially fond of Blind Willie McTell and have already recorded covers of his "Ain't Long For Day" and his version of "Delia" on my PUBLIC DOMAIN cd. Maybe if I ever do a volume 2 of that cd I'll cover East St. Louis Blues. It is a great song that has, as you point out, the necessary mysterious aspect of great blues poetry. I have been getting complaints lately from some folks who think I do too many covers already, so maybe there'll be no more covers for a while.
As far as meeting Gram Parsons, no, I never had the chance. I was still just a kid in high school when he passed away but that whole late sixties, west coast country and country-rock scene certainly had a big influence on me growing up. My dad bought me the first Burrito album when it came out and I had a couple of the Byrds country-rock albums that feautured Clarence White. Great music, as was the more obscure stuff from that era like The Dillard and Clark Expedition, The Gosdin Brothers, Steve Young, etc. I was always (and still am) basically a blues/r+b guy but I can't deny the role that country-rock had in shaping my musical view of the world.
I love the sound of your recordings as well as the material and playing. I have a Long Beach based roots band. Do you have any referrals to great studios or engineers?
When you're in a roots kind of band, it can be a difficult process finding a recording engineer or producer that understands the aesthetic nuances of the music. Often engineers try to make a roots group sound like Pink Floyd or Kenny Chesney or whatever is currently popular on the radio. Unfortunately, trial and error is the best way to find the right engineer for your group. I've been very lucky to have worked with a recording genius like Mark Linett for many of my recordings. Paul duGre is another amazing engineer for roots stuff. Recently I've been working with Craig Parker Adams who has a great ear for what I do.
I highly recommend any of them but, sorry, I don't give out phone numbers through the website. Good luck on your search and with your group.
I am so looking forward to seeing you 9/9 at the Continental Club here in Houston, Texas............
I guess my question is will The Guilty Men be playing with you??? the reason I ask is on your tour date page it has Dave Alvin w/The Hacienda Brothers...
I can almost hear you saying Texas........
Of course The Guilty Men will be with me at The Continental Club. Perhaps there wasn't enough room in the advertisement to fit in "And The Guilty Men." I don't really know why they wouldn't advertise the band. Oh well, what can ya do?
I'm looking forward to getting back to Houston where I promise that I'll say "Texas" several times for you. By the way, say hi to Billie Joe for me.
I saw you play last night and tonight
at Moes Alley, and I thought you were
great! You've got a band that smokes,
and you are as good and better than
when you were in X and the Blasters,
and I loved you then.
I used to see you play with the Blasters
in San Francisco, and I loved to dance to
your music. I used to always come up there
from Watsonville to see your band, No
Alternative, Robert Gordon, etc.
Do you remember Club Mabuhay?
I too was underage in the clubs,
and got to see all my favourites.
I was sixteen.
Seeing you and your band brought back
so many memories. I too am a singer
and composer, and used to dream of
performing like those I saw, even you.
Now, I do too. Anyway, I love your style. I've watched
you play throughout the years. You've kept
what you had, and evolved into so much more.
You and your band are wonderful!
Lori Ann Day
Thanks for your sweet comments and memories and thanks also for coming out both nights to Moe's Alley. I appreciate it and so does the band. I certianly do remember the Mabuhay Gardens in san Francisco (How could you forget a joint like that?). The Blasters played there twice in the early days and I saw great shows there by The Dead Kennedy's and The Avengers. I'm glad to hear that you're out doing shows after sneaking into bars as a kid. I think it's kind of important for kids to hear music live, especially music that isn't like the commercial stuff that's force fed to them on TV and radio. I'm always happy to see very young kids at my shows because hopefully the music can inspire them a bit like the music of the old blues singers I heard at clubs like Ash Grove inspired me.
Best of luck with your music and I'm proud that I could be some small part of you following your dream.
My grandma Annie Consiglio was one of your biggest fans as am I. Im not as cool and in touch as I used to be but it seems my daughter really has a love for old vinyle records, every thing blues and early rock recordings she just loves. Can you recommend any shops in the southern california area where she can find old records or posters.
Wow, great to hear from you! Well, are you Patty or Tom's son? Annie Consiglio, for those who don't know, was the wife of my godfather, Tommy Consiglio Sr, and I always considered her to be my godmother. I thinks it's great that your daughter (wow, you have a daughter - man, I'm feeling old) is getting interested in blues and early rock and roll music. Unfortunately, most of the great old record stores have gone the way the dinosaurs, but I do recommend Amoeba Record Store in Hollywood (Amoeba also has a ton of old posters but they aren't cheap). They have a pretty good stock of ancient and modern blues and rock and roll records. Of course, she could always do what my brother, Phil, and I did when we were her age which was to religiously search through dusty stacks of old records in thrift, junk and antique stores. It's great to hear from you and please give your daughter and family my best.
Dave...just saw your show at the Palms in Winters. Thank you so much
for coming. I'd seen you before with the Blasters at the Boardwalk
in Sacto, but this was my first time seeing you solo. The Palms show
was fantastic. The guitar work blew me away...and do not underestimate
your vocals. You have a wonderful, evocative voice. And not only do I
appreciate your seering blues, but I think you have written some of
the best ballads I have heard in the last few years. The Man In The
Bed.....From A Kitchen Table...these are gorgeous emotional songs. And I
thank you for those. I love that you are a historian of music..that you
appreciate ALL of the contributions that have come before you. I just
wanted to say that I appreciate you....your music is intense, moving,
touching and has meant a great deal to me. I am in the process of trying
to convince the woman that I have loved for most of my life to marry
me.....despite my flaws and my mistakes along the way. I am planning to
sing some songs for her..and yours' are definitely in the mix. Wish me
Well, best of luck with the marriage proposal. I don't know which one of my songs might help you get her to say yes (certainly not WANDA AND DUANE), but whichever one you do choose, I sincerely hope that it works for you. Thanks for your very kind comments about the Winters show and my songs. I'm very proud of the ballads of mine that you mentioned and very proud that they touched you so deeply. I rarely perform them live with the loud, electric band but if you ever make it out to one of my acoustic shows you'll certainly hear one or more of them. Anyway, again, my sincere best wishes with your marriage proposal.
Was there a Dave Alvin LP or CD called "Everynight About This Time". I did not find it in your discography?
EVERY NIGHT ABOUT THIS TIME is the European release title of my first solo record which as titled ROMEO'S ESCAPE in North America. The music and cover are exactly the same just the titles are different. I hope that clears up any confusion.
HI DAVE...I'M LOOKING FOR THE MOVIE SOUNDTRACK TO >>>BORDER RADIO<<<. I HAVE LOOKED ALL OVER FOR IT WITH NO SUCCESS. CAN YOU HELP ME??? I WOULD PREFER IT IN CD, BUT CASSETTE WILL WORK. THANKS. WE HAD A SHORT DISCUSSION @ THE SPRINGFIELD, IL HILTON ONCE, AT THE END OF YER GIG!!!
Sorry, but I can't help you out on this one. The company that released the soundtrack album, Enigma, went out of business many years ago and I have no idea what or who owns all their master recordings. Also, it was never (as far as I know) released on a cd. eBay may be your best bet or perhaps someone on the Yahoo Blasters/Dave Alvin message board may have an extra copy to trade. I hope that the soundtrack is re-released someday. I think it has some pretty cool/fun stuff on it. Good Luck.
I see another poster mentioned the Blasters playing with the Red Devil's.
Those were my two favorite bands in those days - I'd drive all over
California to see either or both. Alas, whereas I have and can find
Blasters recordings, I've never seen a Red Devils recording of any sort.
You still see Johnny Ray...is there any way to find Red Devils recordings?
Whatever became of Emmy Lee? If there were costs involved, I'd be
happy to pay them.
The only recordings of the "rockabilly" Red Devils (as opposed to the "blues" Red Devils with 2 of the same members - Johnny Ray bartel and his guitarist brother, David Lee) that I know of are on a Rhino album called L.A. ROCKABILLY. Theres one song that features the great vocals of Emmy Lee while another track is an instrumental by me with the Red Devils backing me up. There may be other recordings out there but I really don't know. I also don't know the current whereabouts of Emmy Lee. I ran into her a few years ago at some show and she looked great but I don't know if she's still singing or not. You may want to Google Johnny Ray Bartel/Red Devils and see what pops up. Best of luck.
East Coast born, but have spent 25 years "Here in California" (SF, actually). Always loved your music and performances with the Blasters, X, Knitters and am just as mesmerized by you & the Guilty Men (great name, by the way) and, of course you alone. Your new album makes me proud that I have to sons born & raised in California!
OK. Story time:
One of my favorite moments involving you was at the 2003 Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in GG Park (can you believe all of those performers and it’s FREE to the public??!). Anyway, as you guys were really tearin’ it up on stage, I moved up the hill a bit to get a better view. A pretty, elderly (about 70 plus?) black woman sidled up to me and said matter of factly “Who in the hell are these guys? I haven’t heard music this good since I was on the Chittlin’ Circuit with Ray.” “Ray? That Ray…?” I asked. “Yes”, she said. “I was a back up singer with him… not a Raylett, though. Just a back up singer… and (out of nowhere) boy was he horny!” I told her who you guys were and was about to ask about her experiences in music when you and the G-men slammed into “American Music”. She just about jumped out of her shoes! I mean this gal was swept UP! Grabbed my hand and was just boppin’ and swingin’ this white boy around like a yoyo. Her last words to me were “Whee Doggie, I’m outta here! Gotta go git me somma them albums.” I told her a few of my faves and off she went! You blew her mind and touched her soul. Mine too. Beautiful.
Q. Anyway, you and Al Anderson are my heroes! Both of you have an enormous interest and appreciation in all kinds of music and aren’t afraid to step through a musical door your fans might not know. You more “roots”, Al more “jazz” I guess. So my question is, have you ever been on the same bill as NRBQ when Al was with them? Did you ever sit in with them? Have you ever met Large Allen? If you did, how was it?
So while I’m dreaming, how about doing a hopped up album with him and a few stars from the G-men and the Q sittin’ in! Oh, Lordy! You and Al could alternate songs and just rip it up on guitar and vocals!
See you soon at the Great American Music Hall!!!
Wow, great story!!!
Thanks for passing that story along. You made my day! I hope that if she found some of my records that she enjoyed them as much as the show that afternoon in Golden Gate Park. Maybe she'd want to go on the road with me and guys as a "Dave-ette?"
Yeah, probably not but I can dream can't I?"
Al Anderson is certainly a monster guitarist, singer and songwriter. He real master. I've met the other members of NRBQ but I never had the opportunity to meet Al. I'm pretty shy and he is kind of intimidating in his way. I've only played 2 shows with NRBQ (once at the old Living Room club in Providence and the other time at Slims in San Francisco - both gigs were back in 89) but I was only playing guitar for my pal Syd Straw who was opening for them. I've seen them live numerous other times and have always been blown away by their songs, musicianship and humor.
As for an album with Al and me, well, ya never can tell what might happen. It would certainly be a kick.
I hope you enjoyed the Great American show last weekend.
Just wanted to let Dave know, in case he doesn't already, that The Rumblers CD "BOSS" is available on Amazon.com and that it is indeed the Rumblers on Downey Records. It's a great CD!
Thanks for the info Julie. I own a great Rumblers reissue from several years back (as well as some of their original Downey label 45's) and I highly recommend theirs recordings to anyone who enjoys thrashing, early 60's surf/r+B/
garage rock and roll.
Hey Dave Bruce from Seattle here thanks for the great show last night at the Tractor Tav.It seemed that you were having as much fun as we were. Love the new C D I think SONORAS DEATH ROW is my favorite dont know much about Blackie Farrell but that is a great song.Sorry I didnt make it to Tacoma but new job and all you know any way see ya in Oct. with the Knitters. Oh and thanks so much for the picture it is in the rotation on my computer. Thanks for all the great music over the years. Bruce.
Yeah, SONORA'S DEATH ROW is certainly a great song and Blackie Farrell is a great, though overlooked, songwriter. He was one of the members of the original Asleep At The Wheel way back when and people like Leo Kottke, Tom Russell, Robert Earl Kean, Bill Kirchen and Micheal Martin Murphy have recorded his songs. He lives with his family on a ranch in Northern California. That's about all the biographical info I have except that Blackie's also a great guy to have a beer with. He's the real deal.
You're right, I did have a great time at the Tractor. I'm glad that you did too. See you in October!
Dave,,....I taped Live at the Ritz on mtv several years ago, it's faded and old....Is there any way for the band to put this out on DVD??-you guys were smokin'...I think you hit your peak at that show...lots of atmosphere and energy.
Yeah, it was a pretty good show that captured The Blasters in a pretty good performance not too long before I left the group. Unfortunately, neither The Blasters or me own the rights to the film. I don't even think that MTV (who originally broadcasted the live show) own the rights to the film. The way that film production companies go in and out of business (and the ownership of the tapes has probably changed hands several times), it might be very difficult to find out who actually owns it and then the costs of obtaining the rights to release the film would be way too expensive. Maybe someday someone will release a compilation of all The Blasters filmed concert performances but, sadly, I'm not holding my breath.
I've managed to acquire all your solo & GM albums except "Outtakes in California" although they are extremely scarce here in Sweden. But, with the aid of dealers on eBay and Village Records it's not an overwhelming task these days. My question concerns the status of Outtakes - is it forever deleted or is it still possible to get a copy of it?
Thank you for taking the trouble to track down my recordings. I really appreciate it. I know that the European distribution for my cd's varies from country to country and that some titles are especially hard to get. As for the OUTTAKES IN CALIFORNIA live cd, yeah, I stopped pressing up copies because I didn't want it to compete with the newest live cd, GREAT AMERICAN MUSIC GALAXY.
Both cd's were made only to sell at shows, or on collector sites on the web, and I wanted something that reflected how the current line-up of The Guilty Men
sound in concert. I wouldn't say that it's "forever deleted." I'm sure that at some point I'll print up more copies in one form or another. I do know that some people have found a copy on eBay. Sorry that I can't be more helpful with this.
Good luck tracking one down.
I think the OUTTAKES version of Sonny Boy Williamson's HELP ME, with Chris Gaffney doing the vocals, is pretty cool if I say so myself.
I can't believe that you recorded with Bill Morrissey. I'm so jazzed! I can't wait to hear. My friend Rodney, who's since passed on, turned me onto him. He used to do the drinking and dialing thing and it drove us both nuts. One day he handed me a cassette of Inside and as soon as I heard Casey, Illinois, I understood. I just can't call you late at night anymore. We both laughed like heck and my heart's been Bill Morrissey's ever since.
Here in California is such a great song. There's no gold.... I'm getting my arms around West of the West. Sonora's Death Row holds many memories for me. Ask me about the time I played it for Andre the Giant. That's a story!
No need to publish, I just wanted to say hi! Kisses to Gaffney... tramps and hawkers. Youse guys. We're looking forward to seeing you at Moe's.
First, let me apologize for not answering every question or responding to every message that's been posted in the last couple months. Your messages here mean a lot to me and I appreciate all of them but I've been pretty busy lately and just can't get to them all. I promise when I take another break from touring in a couple weeks that I'll try my best to respong to as many as I can. Thanks.
You played SONORA'S DEATH ROW for Andre The Giant?!?!?!?!? That's got to be a pretty damn good story.
As for recording with Bill Morrissey, it was a HUGE thrill and honor. I think Bill is one of the greatest songwriters, finger-picking guitarist and low-key vocalists is the world. He can certainly charm you as he's breaking your heart with his lyrics. Just a monster talent. I don't know yet what the CD will be called or when it'll be released or even on what label (perhaps Rounder, his long time label) it'll come out on. I can tell you that it's really great, really magical, if I say so myself. It's his usual folk/blues mix. Amazing songs and an intense, intimate vibe that you feel like Bill is singing directly to you. As I was playing guitar with him in studio, I felt extremely lucky to be in the presence of such a soulful talent. I pretty sure that it will released early next year. You won't be disappointed.
I don't know if I'll kiss Gaffney but he'll be with me at Moe's so you can kiss him for yourself. See ya there.
Hey there Dave,
I hope this doesn't come across wrong, but hoping you can give me a little information. I try & catch all your shows south of LA, but must admit that I like the rockin' shows better. The last show you played at the Casbah was just on fire...while the shows at the Belly Up are more singer/songwriter oriented. I realize the Belly Up is an older crowd & the Casbah is more a rock n' roll club...so really, I'm just wondering if the upcoming Belly Up show might be a rocking show or a mellower show as I am expecting. Again, I love it all, but the rock stuff is just so much more fun & it seems you are more able to really show what you can do with that axe (The HOB show the Blasters put out on CD was the best live lead guitar I've seen...and I've seen everybody...and MANY times...you were in a class all alone that night...amazing. Sadly, it doesn't come across as well on CD...but then again, that is the beauty of live music...it's living & breathing). In any case, a little info. for expectations would be the tits!
Hey there Jesse:
The Belly Up shows are more mellow? Really? I've never thought of them that way.
The Casbah is certainly a more "in-your-face" kind of atmosphere that isn't quite suitable for quiet ballads but I don't think that the set lists were that different between the two venues. I could be wrong, though. The upcoming Belly-Up show will feature my entire, loud band (too loud, some people tell me, but what the Hell?) so I think it should be a pretty rocking show. I hope you make it. If it gets too mellow just yell at me.
I saw you play Mainstage at the Calgary Folk Music Festival on July 29, 2006. I was blown away by your blistering guitar work. I apologise but I did not know your work/art until seeing you perform.
My question: which of your albums has your searing blues guitar lines on it? Or do you just reserve those solos for live performance? I'd love to buy at least one of your albums on your recommendation.
Yeah, I had a lot of fun at Calgary this year. And a pretty good hangover on Sunday morning. Anyway, for recordings of my electric blues guitar style, I recommend my ASHGROVE cd or even the new cd, WEST OF THE WEST. I do kind of save most of the blistering stuff for live shows so you may want to go to my record company's website - yeproc.com- where you can pick up my most recent live cd called THE GREAT AMERICAN MUSIC GALAXY. It's only sold throuh that website or at my gigs (execpt, unfortunately, in Canada). That recording will sound pretty close to the show you saw in Calgary. Thanks for asking.
This is really not a question but a comment. I saw that you are going to be performing in Pittsburgh on 9/23/06. I can't wait to see you. I used to see The Blasters in San Francisco in the early eithties at clubs such as The Kubuki, Slims and The Stone (not sure on that one) and the Berkeley Square. I also saw you at a little bar in LA. I saw you in SF again around 95 in Noe Valley, a church I believe, it was a tribute to Merle Haggard. Great show as well. It's kind of funny, I was sober for that show as I am now and some of the music I used to like back in the day has fallen by the way side but not in the case of listening to the Blasters or you. I had the opportunity to meet your Mom back then and have met you and John. As I read through the credits it brings back such great memories. Those were some wild days. I loved the passion and intentsity of the Blasters and then the compassion and eloqence of your music alone. I was also a big fan of X back in those days as well. Great music all the way around. Oh, I guess I have one question. I vaguely remember a piano player that used to play with the Blasters in the early days, the name Gene comes to mind. He was a big guy but a great musician. I believe he may have passed away. Not sure... Let me know if you have a minute. I am very excited to see you perform again. Kindest regards, Julie Mason.
You met my mom?!?!?!?! Wow. Where? At the Whiskey? My mom and all her sisters used to get a big kick driving up to Hollywood from Bell, Downey and Whittier to see The Blasters play. Imagine 5 little old grey haired ladies sitting in booth while a sorts of Hollywood mayhem and high-jinxs went on around them. It was very, very cute. One night John Travolta sat at their table and talked to them all night long. That was very nice of him. I'm not a huge fan of his movies but he scored big points with me that night.
As for The Blaster's pianist, Gene Taylor is very much still alive and kicking ass on the keys. He currently is a member of the Fabulous Thuderbirds and lives down in Austin. With all due respect to other pianists, Gene is maybe the best living boogie woogie piano player anywhere.
Thanks for your wonderful words and sharing your memories. Especially about my mom.
I've written you before, but my questions went unanswered and now I can't recall what they
were (though I'm sure they were pretty spectacular - haha). In any event, I do have 3 questions:
1. Have you ever considered recording each show and then offering it for sale to your attending fans?
I know that "Outtakes" and "Great American Music Galaxy" somewhat fit that bill, but is there a greater
souvenir of the actual show attended? Who wouldnt want something like that?! Depeche Mode is
doing a similar thing with their summer tour, and I've often wondered why more artists don't do
something like that. Anyway, if you ever do something like that I'll be the first in line for the cd.
2. I've been taking my sons and nephews to your shows, and we're often hoping to get a photo with
you after the show. I was able to talk to Robbie Fulks and get a great shot of him with my kids after
the show a while back at Slims, but we're always ushered out of the place before we get a chance to see you. We'll be at the GAMH show Aug 18th, is there any way to get a photo with you after the show?
3. You often perform a few songs with your opening acts (Robbie tore it up with you at the Slims show, and that history of surf rock set you did with Los Straitjackets was phenomenal); is that something that is rehearsed or do you guys just say "let's do this"?
Dave, thanks for your time and all your great music. "West of the West" is wonderful, and we're looking
forward to hearing a lot of those tunes live.
I'm also sure that your other questions were "spectacular" and I apologize for not answering them. Maybe they were just TOO SPECTACULAR! I don't know. But your current batch are pretty good too.
Even though I'm all for recording each show, the cost of semi-professionally recording each show is waaaaaayyyyyyy outside of my budget. Depeche Mode probably makes more money at one gig than I do on an entire 4 week tour.
I encourage fans to record at my gigs and, for now, those tapes and whatever live cds I release are about the best I can do.
I'm sorry that the Slims staff booted you out too soon for a photo. After show photos are possible but I'm usually extrememly sweaty and a bit exhausted after a gig. A dry shirt, abeer and a smoke are all that I'm really thinking of at that moment. I never intentionally turn down after show requests for photos or autographs if someone can wait around for a while after a gig. But I also rarely ever go out right after I perform and do an organized "meet and greet." Again, a dry shirt, a beer and a smoke are my main priorities right after I walk off stage. I know that at some clubs the bouncers can be pretty brutal with fans (and even friends and family) but if you can hang in there at the Great American, then I'd be more than happy to accomodate you.
As for the encore songs with other acts, well, they usually start as "Let's just do this," but as a tour progresses the songs kind of just take shape on their own. I like to keep it pretty loose so that the spontaniety factor stays high.
Well, I hope to meet you in San Francisco, before or after the show.
Just a quick note to thank you and the boys for playing at Off Broadway in St. Louis without electricity. I wonder how many other bands could/would adjust to this type of situation. The music was real, raw and powerful. The crowd, in the candlelight, was enthralled. It means so much for you to make the effort and come to our town. And then this, is really beyond words. You all showed amazing dedication and brilliance. Thanks.
Your more than welcome, Bill.
That was indeed a memorable show. Candlelight, warm beer, high humdity, tornadoes, fallen trees in the dark streets, no air conditioning but a great audience and Joe Terry playing a toy piano! What a night. I'll never forget it.
I hope to see you next time when the power is back on.
Hey Ya Dave,
Just caught y'all at the Regattabar in Cambridge Mass. last week. A phenomenal performance was passionately delivered ( despite the rather stuffy and rigid daylight atmosphere of the room) by one and all of the Guilty Men.
Reminded me of a few other times in my long, blues-lovin' life when I've been moved to a whole 'nother realm of reality by live music. Big Mama Thornton got to me that same way back in the early seventies when I was a 15 year old runaway, from Boston to Boulder, looking for peace on the highways of America. Kinda like the character in "Abilene" but without the stripping experience.
Stevie Ray Vaughn did it too, back in 1983 in Providence. So did Big Joe Turner with Roomful of Blues backing him up. Big Joe sat in a wheelchair on the dancefloor at Lupo's in 1979 and belted out vocals that could shear through the toughest of souls. Hubert Sumlin, John Lee Hooker, Marcia Ball, Sonny Landreth (WOW!) and local harmonica boy Johhny Hoy have all touched me that way over the decades, as well.
But, Dave, gotta hand it to ya! Who woulda thunk that American Music- in my opinion the practice of which is a sacred and noble vocation- would have a skillful champion such as yourself holding out the torch for all the world to see?
You are very generous in lavishing praise upon other musicians, Dave. Can you accept the greatly deserved accolades sure to be lavished upon you, now? You seem to be such a humble person (ugh, but I really don't know you, either) in interviews and in the flesh after a show. How do you keep your cool while handling all that fire and responsibility? Bud and smokes can't be the ONLY de-stressors you employ.
A very personal inquiry, I suppose, but an answer from you could have value to those young aspiring singer/sonwriters out there who may suffer from excessive stage fright or overinflated egos. It is really all about the song, though, isn't it?
Thanks for being one of my top five musical heroes of all time, Dave. I look forward to your next recording even while still greedily devouring "West of the West." Yum.
Well, those are extremely generous words about me and I sincerely appreciate them. I don't know if I'm that "humble" really. I'm just realistic. Let's just say that when I was a little kid and I had the opportunity to see giants like T-Bone Walker, Big Joe Turner (long before the wheelchair), Lightning Hopkins, Jimi Hendrix, Reverend Gary Davis and Freddie King perform, well, it kind of puts everything into a certain perspective. I think I write pretty good songs, I'm a decent and emotional guitarist and I've heard worse singers (my vocals being the thing some people criticize me most for). But not many performers are in the league with the artists I just mentioned. All I can do is try my best to keep the spirit alive and put a bit of my own mark on the tradition.
As for the "all about the song" thing, yeah, I tend to agree with that. Although Aretha Franklin and George Jones have recorded some pretty weak songs and made them sound amazing. I usually get pretty nervous before I perform so I do put a lot of my faith into the songs themselves. If the songs are halfway decent then you're going to do fine on stage. Speaking of songs, it sounds like your life story has more than a few good songs in it. Thanks again for your generous words and best of luck.
Hi. Last night (Friday, 7/14/06) my wife Nancy & I saw you and the Guilty Men at the South Street Seaport here in NYC. We were totally blown away. This was as good as any live music I have EVER heard. I've been wanting to hear you with a full electric band ever since getting "Interstate City" ten years ago, an album that continues to get regular play in our house, especially the great "Jubilee Train/Do Re Mi/Promised Land cut. And it was great that Nancy & I had the chance to have a few words with you outside your tour bus at the Seaport. We got there pretty early (5pm), and weren't even sure where the stage was, but sure saw your bus. I've been a big Blasters fan since that first album on Slash in '81, and saw you guys whenever you played in New York (what's Phil doing these days?). Most recentlly, Nancy & I saw you at The Bottom Line, I think sometime in May of 2003, when it was just you and Chris Gaffney, and Tom Russell opened for you. Somehow we'd never heard Tom Russell before, and now he's one of our favorites. Like you, his songs tell stories, have a narrative, and I really like that. That was a Saturday night, and we'd just come from seeing a great play about Hank Williams called "Lost Highway." That was one hell of a day for us, all told. Just like last night was. I'm amazed by the barn-burning energy you put out. And to get that for free in New York outdoors on a beautiful night was a really great gift. Can't thank you enough, Dave. We'll definitely be there next time you're in our area. See you later.
New York City (since '77, but I'll always be from Iowa)
Hey Ted ("alway's from Iowa" - check out the following message)
Yeah, old Tom Russell is pretty good. That was an intense show that I'll never forget. My last gig at the Bottom Line before it disappeared into that zone where all the old nightclubs go. Oh well. Anyway, thanks for making it down to the Seaport show. I'm glad that you finally got to see the full band make a big loud racket. I had a ball that night and it sounds like you did to. Great audience, great sound, interesting venue.
Pretty swanky bus wasn't it? Unfortunately, that wasn't my bus. The promoter supplied it as a dressing room for us. Well, it was fun while it lasted.
I hope to run into you guys the next time the guys and I hit New York. Or see you in Iowa.
I saw you for the first time last year playing acoustic, and I was happily surprised because I usually don't listen to that type of music(no offense). What type of music can I expect to hear from you and the Guilty Men when I go to see you again?
Well, I can guarantee that whatever show you come to see (or already saw) with The Guilty Men will be a lot LOUDER than my acosutic solo show. I get the feeling that the volume may not be an issue for you. I hope you enjoy (or enjoyed) whatever show you're coming too. See you there.
Dave - thanks for the great show in Sioux City last night! I enjoyed getting to visit with you and learning of your interest in conservation. All I can say is that you and your band members are really decent people - down to earth, friendly and kind (as well as great musicians).
By the way, the person who's name escaped us is David Zollo. He works with Greg Brown and Bo Ramsey. Also, in case you're interested, the web site for the organization I work for is www.inhf.org.
Thanks for the great music and inspiration to a hell of a lot of people. You really have a lot of "friends" out there. Have fun getting caught up with them all on your tour!
Lisa (from Ames)
Thanks for making the drive out to Sioux City. Thanks for the complimets about the show. Thanks for coming up with David Zollo's name (I'm a fan of many Iowa songwriters like David, Greg, Bo and the extremely underrated Dave Moore).
But most of all, thanks for working to save and restore what's left of the wild Iowa prarie. It was an honor to meet you.
Good Day Dave Alvin ~
Love West of the West & the bonus tracks! Thank You!!!
Somewhere in the vast expanses of my mind I have linked together a couple of your songs, and I'm wondering if they somehow fit together in your world as well...Did one become Out of Control because they fell Between the Cracks, or did they fall Between the Cracks because they were a little Out of Control?
Looking forward to the Birchmere show July 7th ~ it ain't Poe's Pub, but it'll do!
Take Care, Bethany
Good day to you, Bethany:
Well, your philosophical question makes me think of the old, "What came first,
the chicken or the egg?" In the "vast expanses of my mind" I honestly can't come up with a decent answer. Sprituality versus existensialism and all that.
I sometimes play those two songs together in concert (I think I may have done so at The Birchmere) but the answer to your question is probably forever lost in the dark corners of my subconscious. I guess that's the long way of saying that I don't have a friggin' clue one way or another.
I hope that you enjoyed the Birchmere show. And, yeah, it ain't Poe's Pub but it'll do.
I've been a big fan for 15 years. I'm getting married on july 8, and convinced my wife to delay our honeymoon so we can to go to the amangansett show on july 9. It would really mean a lot if you could play Gospel Night.
I'm very sorry that I let you down on your request. I feel terrible that you postponed your honeymoon to come to a gig and I didn't play the damn song. I hope that you and your wife can forgive me. As for GOSPEL NIGHT, I honestly never thought that I got a good vocal on that song. It's kind of difficult to sing. I wrote it envisioning Jerry Butler or Lou Rawls or someone like that singing it and, well, I ain't in their league. Congratulations on your marriage. Kiss the bride for me.
Dear Dave, I first heard you just a few days ago on Fresh Air.
Well...I down-loaded your West of the West Album from iTunes and...
I AM BLOWN AWAY! Thanks for the FINE., GREAT MUSIC. I planed to get to bed 1hr ago but can't stop listening to your very fine guitar, voice and music selection, all, beautifully produced.
Simply, a very fine job throughout. Congradulations on your hard work and care on this LP (it shows).
Best regards- Christopher Radcliffe, 1:40 AM, June 29, Atlanta GA.
P.S., If you need a updated website "look" let me know. ( it's my day job )
It sounds like you may be afflicted with a disease I suffer from, insomnia caused by staying up listening to music. Not such a bad disease. Right now I'm listening to an old live album by Etta James and Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson recorded 20 some years ago at the long gone Marla's Memory Lane club in downtown LA. It still sounds pretty damn good.
Thanks for the good words about WEST OF THE WEST. I'm pretty proud of it and, yeah, Greg Leisz did an amazing job on the production. If it wasn't for him the cd wouldn't sound anywhere as solid as it does.
Thanks also for the offer on webpage design but I really don't have much to do with it. My pal, scot, manages it as a labor of love when he's not too busy surfing and exploring the universe as a full time astronomer. A pretty amazing (and patient) guy and I can't thank him enough for all that he's done for me with this site.
Just listened to your interview on "Fresh Air", enjoyed it very much. Thought your comments about the divide between people living so close together ("what's a woody?") were very interesting. Lots of food for thought there, and way cool that you incorporate that aspect into your choice of songs on the new CD, which, by the way, is OUTSTANDING!
Caught you here last year at WorkPlay with the Knitters, wish you and the Guilty Men were making a stop in the 'Ham this go-round. Your date in Atlanta is the day after my birthday, so that's my present to myself. TOTALLY looking forward to it! Keep on rockin'...
Vicki in Birmingham
Thanks for the nice words about the Fresh Air interview and the new cd. Terry Gross is such a great interviewer that she could make a brick sound good. She kind of gently leads you into saying things that you may not have said in another interview. It was my fourth time being on her show and I still get nervous. Go figure.
Sorry that we're not playing Birmingham this year. I love the City Stages Festivial downtown and I was invited to perform there this year but I just couldn't get the logistics to work out. Anyway, I'll try to make it up to you in Atlanta for your birthday.
Dear Dave Alvin: A couple things: First, I want to say thanks and thanks again. Thanks for the set at the Santa Cruz Blues Festival, which was the best of a great weekend. This is no small compliment, since I also saw the Lobos and John Hiatt (with Luther Dickinson, who is the most emotionally evocative guitar player I've ever heard) and B.B. freakin' King, but--like somebody said--you guys were the best of the best. Thanks again for something like three dozen shows I've seen over the years and for the book and all the records and CDs. I first heard you at a Blasters/Rank&File Show in San Diego, and I've been listening ever since in all kinds of formats (like Flesheaters, Guilty Men, Pleasure Barons, etc.) I do wonder sometimes how your more rcent songs might sound in a Blasters format, but I've got a brother so I'm not really asking about that. I just saw on-line that Buddy Blue had died, and your attendance at his service and my sadness over his passing helped me get geeky enough to write you. My real question, though, is this--and I hope it doesn't sound snarky at all: So many of your songs are about guys who might be called "losers" or "hard-luck cases," many of them living in a kind of retro-world of cheap rooms, fast women, and so on. Now, you're obviously a Grammy-winning, highly successful artist whose work is (if I'm any judge) among the best songwriting of its era. For all I know, you've got a mortgage and an overfed cat. You probably vote in every election you can. So why do you think you're so attracted to the outsider's perspective, and do you ever feel any concern about your ability to write from that perspective credibly? Genuinely curious and deeply grateful, --Simon
First of all let me say that I'm trying to answer as many as I possibly can of the questions people have sent in over the past month and a half while I've been on tour.I know I'm very late and out of date on some of them but I'll try to get to as many as I can over the next couple of days.
Now, on to Simon's message.
Thanks for your very, very kind and supportive words about the Santa Cruz Blues Fest. The Guilty Men and I had a ball. In fact it was one of my favorite festivals that I ever played. It was extremely well run and had a great low key vibe without all of the stress and security hassles that sometimes occur at festivals. As for being the "best of the best," I don't honestly think that's true but I'll gladly accept the compliment. I am, though, very proud of my band and, on a good night, I'll put them right up there with just about anybody this side of Count Basie's Orchestra or Muddy Waters early 1950's group. I've always been lucky to have been surrounded by great musicians my entire career from The Blasters onward. Musicians that are much better than me and know how to make me and my songs sound good. The current line-up of the Guilty Men is perhaps the best bunch I've ever had. Chris Miller on guitars, Joe Terry on keyboards, Gregory Boaz on bass, Steve Mugalian on drums and, when possible, Chris Gaffney on acoustic guitar, accordion and vocals. They are a great band!
Regarding your question about the subjects of some of my songs, well, I may have a mortgage and an overfed cat or I may not. It doesn't really matter. I write songs about people, places and things that interest me or move me in some way.
I don't think of the situations/people in my songs as "retro" in any way. Hard times are not a thing of the past. Para-phrasing what someone once said, all of us (with or without mortgages, kids, over-fed cats) are one or two paychecks from being homeless. That economic balancing act, and what might happen if you slip, is what some (not all by any means) of my songs are about. People just trying to get by another day. Trust me, I'm not starving but I ain't rich so I never worry about my credibility. All you have to do is keep your eyes open to the world around you. Some of the people I know are having hard times getting by and I'm writing for them as well as myself. As for "fast women," I tend to view all of the characters in my serious songs as having good reasons for behaving the ways that they do. If you're referring to the characters in my song OUT OF CONTROL, well, to be frank, those are real people who live in our real world and I'm just explaining their lives and their blues. Nothing retro about it. Does any of this make sense? I know you're sincere with your questions (Not a geek!) and I appreciate you asking. Hopefully, neither one of us will lose our balance on the economic high wire.
And, yeah, I miss our friend Buddy Blue very, very much.
See you soon at another show I hope.
what songs/type of music do you plan on performing at the south street seaport in NYC on Friday, July 14th?
Well, seeing how I'm answering your question a month or so after you posted it and a month or so after I performed at the South Street Seaport, I can say with complete assuredness that I'll be playing a pretty sweaty, rocking electric show there. Not too many quiet songs because of the noise from the FDR Expressway. If you did come to the show, though, I sincerely hope that I played something that you wanted to hear and that you enjoyed the show. Please accept my honest apology for answering your question way too late. I never take my computer on tour with me so I can only answer questions when I'm back home for a day or two.
Hi Dave, I've been a fan of your music for many years now but was overjoyed when I saw the track listing for West of the West. It was like travelling back in time to all the great music I used to listen to many years agoincluding The Beach Boys, Jackson Browne and John Stewart. In fact your album made me dig out all those JS records(on vinyl of course) that I hadn't played for many years; California Bloodlines,Cannons in the Rain, Phoenix Concerts, great stuff that hadn't had an airing for a long time.Just a couple of questions before I go. Obviously you have written a number of songs with Tom Russell (another musical hero of mine) but have you ever considered doing any projects together? Say an album and a tour-ould love to see that in the UK. Also because West of the West is so good is there any chance of a volume 2 sometime down the line. There's still a lot of great Californian music out there to be covered. Many Thanks for the great music, Brendan
I'm very touched that WEST OF THE WEST had such an effect on you. Yeah, John Stewart made some amazing records throughout his career. He still does. That was one of the reasons I did the WEST cd was to encourage old and new listeners to discover and re-discover some great songwriters. My plan seems to have worked in your case.
A Russell/Alvin tour and cd? Well, Tom and I have done many acoustic tours together over the years, both in the U.S. and in Europe. It's been 3 years or so since we last played together so we're long overdue for a gig or two. Nothing planned but anything could happen. Would we ever do an entire cd together? Well, I did produce one of his records (ROSE OF THE SAN JOAQUIN) and co-produced with Tom a tribute album to Merle Haggard (TULARE DUST) but we've never seriously discussed doing a cd together.
It could be fun. Again, nothing planned but anything could happen.
As for a second volume of WEST OF THE WEST, it could be easily done. It could have songs written by Steve Gillette, Lowell George, Captain Beefheart, Tom Janz, Jesse Belvin, etc. Too many to mention. But I think I'll leave it to someone else, maybe someone younger who could do songs by NWA, Social Distortion, Snoop Dogg, Green Day, Pennywise, etc. It might be kind of cool, I don't know. I guess all I can say is nothing planned but anything could happen.
Caught you at the World Cafe Live in Philly Saturday night. Once again an awesome show. Chris Miller's performance deserves recognition as well.
My wife and I were discussing that some of our favorite cuts from your albums are the duets you put together. When are you going to add your own "June Carter" to the shows? Just a thought, some good tunes that need the womenly touch to pull off. Killed the car ride from Jersey Saturday night discussing the Kate Wolf cut off of your latest release and what the song is saying. I'd tell you what we (she) concluded, but I won't go into that now.
May you stay on the touring circuit forever - OK take a break every now and then, that was kind of selfish.
I hope to keep on the "touring circuit forever." Heroes of mine like Lightning Hopkins and Howling Wolf were fortunate enough to do it so I hope to be as lucky as them. Theres an old story about Willie Nelson from the days before he became a huge star and was grinding out a living playing beer joints in Texas. After a gig one night, the drummer asked Willie, "Willie, how much longer are we gonna have to play these honky tonks?"
"For the rest of our lives if we're lucky." Willie wisely answered.
I would seriously love to have Christy McWilson or Katy Moffatt or Amy Farris or
Syd Straw or Rosie Flores or many other female singers out on the raod with me as my "June Carter." Unfortunately, like in just about everything else in life,
it all comes down to economics. Gas, hotel rooms, insurance, salaries, etc, all make this a shoe string lifestyle. If there is ever a chance of it happening, though, I will not hesitate to add one of them (or, all of 'em!!) to the Guilty Men line-up. Then, I guess, we'd become the Guilty Persons or Guilty People or Guilty Something-or-others.
And, yeah, Chris Miller is a monster, monster guitar player. He kicks my ass every night.
So what does your wife think that the Kate Wolf song is saying? Just curious.
thank you so much for playing in the unbelievably excruitating sultry Turf Club last Saturday night (July 1st.) You all must have been so HOT up there, but you managed to keep it going despite the no air-con. O.K. so here is the question as i was not a part of the after show convo with 2 of the 4 Teardrops of which i am one:
Did you enjoy swapping stories wuth you best friend Gaff about Green Bay and the whole freak scene there? What exactly did you "hear"about the Teardrops? Do you know that all 4 of us were in attendence @ your show that night?
Wendy Jean a/k/a Teardrop Sissy
you rock my world :)
Hey Wendy Jean a/k/a Teardrop Sissy:
Well, all that Gaffney told me was that the beautiful Teardrops were very funny, opinionated, somewhat wild and that you helped him keep his sanity. "Wonderful gals. The Teardrops do rock." were his exact words. The two Teardrops that I met at the extremely hot, humid and sweaty (I guess that means "sultry") Turf Club gig left me with the same impresssion. He didn't, though, give me any dirt or gossip, if there is any dirt or gossip. Is there any dirt or gossip? Just kidding. Sort of. I didn't know that all 4 Teardrops were in attendance at the show. Maybe I'm glad I didn't. I just would've been shy and tongue-tied or something. If you guys ever do attend another gig of mine, let's hope that the damn club has air conditioning.
I just saw your show at fitzgeralds on july 3rd. I have to say that was one of the best shows i have ever seen in my life nd i saw all the other bands at the festival. I was just wondering if you were planning on playing fitzgeralds next year so i can bring my dad to see you guys. Thanks again for putting on a great show
Wow! That's a BIG compliment. Thanks a lot. Wow.
Regarding playing Fitz's next year, I don't know. It's one of my favorite places to perform but I usually play the great 4the Of July Festival there every other year so that people don't get sick of me. But you never can tell what might happen. It's very likely (I hope) that The Guilty Men and I will be back at Fitzgerald's sooner than next July. Maybe New Years if Bill Fitzgerald wants to book us for that. Maybe Valentine's Day or Arbor Day. Who knows!
I'd love your dad to come see the show whenever it happens and, if he does, I hope that he enjoys it.
I am really looking forward to your return to Greenville, SC, in September. You have been through a few times before about that time of the year, and it's near my birthday, so your show is a gift I give to myself--although I have been known to take friends and family along. Last year, however, you came through with the Knitters and played to a disappointingly small crowd at the Handlebar. I don't know how performers find the resources to put on such a great show in those circumstances, but you guys were fantastic that night. The usual Dave fans that didn't turn out just don't know what they missed. Anyway, we will see you in September with the Guilty Men, and I can't wait.
Well, as I said in my answer to the next question posted, I try to live up to the old show-biz motto of, play every show like it's your last. All The Knitters, though, had a good time that night at The Handlebar. Seeing how The Knitters never played Greenville (or much of anywhere else to be accurate) until the tour last year, we weren't expecting a huge crowd but the people who did show up were a typical, wonderful Handlebar audience. I also don't think a lot of fans of my solo work come to Knitter/Fleasheater/Blaster reunion shows because I don't sing at those gigs so they won't hear 4th Of July, King Of California, Ashgrove, etc. I could be wrong about that, I don't know.
Anyway, see you in September and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
Just a quick note to say THANK-YOU for the fabulous show you played for the small crowd of faithful gathered at the wonderful Livery in Benton Harbor, Michigan, last night (July 4th). Your demographic, especially in the mid-west, is getting a little long in the tooth, and getting people out on a holiday evening isn't an easy thing to accomplish. But you (and the Guilty Men) sang and played one of the hottest concerts I've heard by you (or anyone for that matter) in some 30 + years of concert-going. You played like you were in front of a thousand people, as if FDR was in the audience! The mid-west, especially out-side the larger cities, isn't the easiest place to put an audience together for real music, but those that are there are extremely appreciative of artists like yourself who make the effort. I think, in the end, it's really worth it. Word-of-mouth can really work wonders. For example. Way back in 1986 or 87, I bought your first record in Philadelphia--I had no idea who you were, hadn't heard you ever, but the art and song titles were intriguing, and I figured, what the heck? After that, I was hooked. When I moved the mid-west in '88, I started calling our local college radio station (WSND) and requesting they play you. They had your first record, did so, and soon they were playing you all the time. Last night, in Benton Harbor, there were two of the DJ's who worked at the station almost 20 years ago. So, who knows how it all works, but I'll tell you, your love for the music, the tradition, as well as your justified pride in your own songs, and in your skills--and that goes for the whole band--was quite evident last night. Amazing stuff. Thanks again! John.
Thank you for your very kind words and for hanging in with me all of these years. I appreciate it more than you know. Thanks also for making it out to the Benton Harbor gig. Yeah, the absolute worst night of year to play a show is either the night after News Years Day or the last night of a three day 4th Of July weekend. It's a coin toss but either one isn't going to attract many people.
Anyway, when faced with a situation like that, I do really try to put on a half-decent show for the people that did make it out. Not that I don't have my off nights but I do my best to live up to the old show-biz cliche of play every show like it's your last. These days you can't take anything for granted.
Speaking of long-in-the-tooth, I wish FDR had been in the audience. I'd love to shake his hand. Maybe he'll bring Lincoln with him. I'd like to shake his hand too.
dave, how are things? i designed a poster for your show in st. louis and posted it on your myspace page messages. i didnt realize that it was billed as 'Dave Alvin and the Guilty Men' i can change it to say that if you want..? let me know if you see something you want changed or anything added..just wanted to get your approval before i start putting them up..(im not working for any promoter or the venue..just a fan) ill bring some 11x17 prints to the show and if you want a hi-res file i can send it to you too.
i also designed a poster for the knitters..john posted it on the knitters page on myspace.
looking forward to the show! take care, -tim
Thanks a lot for the poster. I'll try tocheck it out at my myspace page if I can get my ancient computer to ever open up anyhting over there. My friend/co-manager, Nancy Sefton, runs that site and I can only access it when I visit her office (Don't ask why I have such an archaic computer, it's a long and silly story).
I don't know if you made it to the St Louis gig but (with the tornadoes, massive power outage and having to perform entirely acoustic by candlelight) it was definietly one that I'll never forget.
I'm writing from Montreal and am looking forward to your shows in Quebec City and Ottawa.But,hell,I wish you woulda been able to stop in the town in between.We haven't seen you here since '85 with the Blasters on a bill with the T-Birds (memories are made of this!).Anyhow, I forgive you. I love your records and your show in Ottawa a couple of years back was great.In a universe filled with tons of crappy music yours stands out amongst the best.I hope you're having fun on the tour and see you soon.If you could chuck in "Walk Right In" into your set it'd be great.It's a great summer song.Cheers!!!.
Well, I guess that I have make two apologies to you. The first apology is for not responding to your email until now. The second is for not playing WALK RIGHT IN at the shows in Quebec City (What a beautiful city!) and Ottawa (Yeah, it's a pretty town also). The only excuse I have for the first is that I was on tour when you sent your message and I never take my computer on the road. The reason I don't play WALK RIGHT IN too much these days is that I really need Brantley Kearn's fiddle and Chris Gaffney's accordion to make that song work live. I'm very sorry for both offenses.
Regarding Montreal, well, ahh, you know it's kind of funny but I haven't played Montreal since that Blasters gig that you refer to. It was at the gig that Gene Taylor and I both quit the band. I'm glad that you have a good memory of the show but it was a very sad night for me. I've got no bad feelings toward Montreal (another beautiful city) but no one's ever invited me to play there since that gig. Maybe one of these days. I once had a beautiful girlfriend from Montreal, though, but that's an entirely different story.
We just saw Dave at the Calgary Folk Music Festival. He blew us away on the maistage on Saturday night with his wild guitar licks accompanied by a hot band.
We also saw him in a more acoustic workshop on Sunday morning where he shared some sad ballads.
There were no more CDs in the festival store, so would like to know which album you would recommend would be best to get that full blown electric in your face experience. Then I can try to source it here.
Thanks in advance.
You ROCK DAVE!!
Bonnie in Calgary (fiancee of guy who told you your electric performance gave him flashbacks :-).
Interstate City is certainly considered one of Dave's more
harder-rocking albums! Although you might also consider the newer
Ashgrove as well.
I heard you chatting with Terry Gross a couple months ago about a recording you did or were doing of California bands. You were talking about having recorded a Brian Wilson track.
Anyhow, despite my bad memory of the exactly what was said, it sounded like something I might enjoy. Is there a CD out somewhere?
Love your stuff.
The album is called West of the West and is available now!
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