through once. I put it on and played guitar to whatever song came up. There were little things I'd forgotten. But some songs are ingrained in you. A lot of the (American Music LP) Rollin' Rock songs are ingrained in me because they were the first songs I ever learned. In some ways, I know those better than the others."
The boys were loose and fooling around. At one point Bateman and Bazz were talking about some non-music stuff and Dave said loudly, "C'mon let's do NO OTHER GIRL!" and Bazz says, "We just did it right now (pointing to Bateman) you didn't hear it?" Dave laughs and says, "Yeah the Zen version of NO OTHER GIRL."
The band discussed certain criteria in deciding what songs to do. They wanted songs they thought Phil would remember the lyrics to; they didn't want songs that would blow out Phil's voice: One of those they mentioned to stay away from was I LOVE YOU SO (The Bo Diddley song).
Then there were songs that they just didn't like, and just about all the songs they ever released were discussed. Dave vetoed ROCK BOPPIN BABY and Gene Taylor's request of BAREFOOT ROCK. Dave suggested either BREATHLESS or HIGH SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL but none of the other guys showed interest. Gene mentioned WHAT WILL LUCY DO but they never got around to trying it. There just were too many songs to choose from. There were a bunch of classic Blasters songs that they had to leave room for in the set. John Bazz, the only member at the rehearsals who is in the current Blasters, was able to be a reference of which songs Phil still sings in recent years. Those songs would be easy for Phil to be ready for.
They prepared a lot more songs than could be played in one set, but with the intention of being ready for Phil-surprises. They talked about ROLL 'EM PETE and different ways to play it if Phil changes the tempo. Gene Taylor says that it was played a lot slower in the old days as opposed to Phil's faster tempo in the new Blasters.
Dave Alvin's guitar tone sounds better than ever here with the Blasters. He says, "Yeah cause now I'm allowed to play loud," but in all seriousness, Dave has spent many years honing his unique guitar sound. Dave: "Another of my musical concerns was: would they let me be who I am now - playing guitar wise. I take longer solos and play a little louder. By the middle of the first song in the first day of rehearsal, I knew all this would be fine. I was pretty relaxed."
At the session the Blasters members were seeing the Rhino records Testament 2 CD compilation for the first time. They looked it over and had many stories to tell about the sessions contained within. Gene had a funny story to tell about the band working through the night to finish up the Non Fiction album in 1983. Gene was summoned from a passed-out position at the bar in the middle of the night to come and sing his TAG ALONG vocal.
They recalled the process that the song CAN'T STOP TIME went through. They blame producer Jeff Eyrich for changing the song not to their liking. Supposedly, Dave wrote it with a totally different groove and the producer turned it into a pop song. The band left it off the original album release. Talking about songs that didn't make it onto Testament, Gene and Bill agreed they liked JUNGLE SOLDIER. Dave who wrote the song says, "I hate it, but it has a great Lee Allen solo." The song still remains unreleased.
The band seemed to have fun at the rehearsal and the conversation amongst all of them, complete with inside jokes, showed these guys are right back in the groove. John Bazz, "It was going so well at rehearsal that I knew music would not be an issue or problem. In some ways it was more enjoyable to do rehearsals than the live show because it's almost hard to have fun during the show --Your responsibility is to perform the music as well as you can. At rehearsal you can be a little more playful."
At 6:30 PM the band wrapped up the first day and loaded out. Dave was tired from a gig the night before and a long drive home. Dave couldn't have been too tired: He was seen at the Merle Haggard concert at the El Rey theatre later that night. John, Bill, and Gene played a gig the night before with the Blue Shadows band at Linda's Doll Hut in Anaheim and tonight (3/3/02) they had another Blue Shadows gig at All Star Lanes In Eagle Rock.