Blood Brothers

The Blasters Dave and Phil Alvin agree to disagree

"It feels good," he says. "I always felt that there was the Blasters, the original Fabulous Thunderbirds, Rockpile and the first few Mink DeVille records, and they did something. Those are the acts that broke the door open for everybody that came after them. We created an atmosphere where that kind of music was accepted. I think that's our ultimate legacy. People forget that there was no roots-rock infrastructure in those days. Today, there're 8 million websites and No Depression magazine and venues all across the country where you can go out and tour and play this music. That wasn't the case back then. For whatever reason, we were one of the bands that made older, traditional-style music palatable to people.

"I miss the guys," Dave continues. "We all grew up together; we've known one another since childhood. But at least we can play a couple of gigs together. It'll kind of be like going home, that's my feeling about it. It's partially nostalgia and partially because there's really not anyone out there doing this particular kind of thing anymore, the kind of rock & roll and R&B the Blasters played."

For his part, Phil harbors no nostalgia for the old days and views the Blasters as a living, breathing, ongoing entity.

"I don't differentiate between the Blasters as I play with them now and the old Blasters," he harrumphs. "If it wasn't for the fact that [current Blasters] Keith Wyatt and Jerry Angel told me, 'Go ahead and do this: it's the right thing to do,' I would never have agreed to play. And I'm still not sure it's the right thing to do. I don't want to fool audiences into thinking they're coming to see Dave and Phil after these reunion shows are over, and I don't want people to think that's the way I'd even want it. Jerry Angel and Keith Wyatt are as good as any players I've ever worked with."

The brothers disagree on other issues as well. Lee Allen passed away several years ago, but Steve Berlin also played sax with the Blasters for a while in the '80s. Phil says he'd like to invite Berlin along for the reunion shows, while Dave says Berlin wasn't an original member and therefore shouldn't be part of the reunion. Dave wants to limit the reunion to the five shows currently booked up and down the California coast, while Phil believes if they're going to reunite, they might as well take the show to fans all over the country.

You get the feeling that on any given night, disaster could result, and we'll be reading fratricidal Alvin obituaries before this mini-tour is complete. Count your blessings, OC: the Blasters' show at the Galaxy Concert Theatre on Thursday, March 7, is only their second scheduled concert, and hopefully, we'll get to see them rage once more. Does Dave think they'll make it through the whole run?

"Well, we're brothers, and you know how that goes," he says with a laugh. "And it's usually okay once we actually play. There were only a couple of times when any fights between us actually spilled over onto the stage."

The Blasters perform at the Galaxy Concert Theatre, 3503 S. Harbor Blvd., Santa Ana, (714) 957-0600. Thurs., March 7, 8 p.m. $26.50. All ages.
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