The Band Answers Your Questions
American Music Reader: Has Dave Alvin ever considered performing one of his studio albums live it its entirety?
Dave Alvin: No. It doesn't interest me that much. The only one that would be fun to do in its entirety would be maybe the first Blasters record (Slash Records) or maybe King of California. I would do that.
American Music Reader: Did I hear Phil Alvin was in a band called "The Strangers" before The Blasters?
Phil Alvin: Dave Carroll (later a drummer in the Blasters from 1993-94 ) was in a band with me, Johnny Bazz, Bill Bateman, and a guy named Steve Barnes, a very influential guy on bass. We called the band "The Strangers." We were being managed by Buddy Banks and the great jazz bass player Al Morgan. Al taught me to sing MINNIE THE MOOCHER. At the time of The Strangers, David (Alvin) was playing flute. He was about 15 when we took him on one of his first outings to a jazz festival. David always hung out with me and my friends, but up until then had never been out all night long. The Jazz fest was in Monterey Park at a place called Jimmy's Yearly. Louis Jordon was there. His piano player had David play flute. I was crying, David played so good. That's when Lee Allen saw David and offered to give him saxophone lessons.
American Music Reader: What happened on the Border Radio soundtrack where a song was left off the first pressing?
Dave Alvin: They screwed up the mastering and repeated a song called LA FRONTERA I, where LA FRONTERA II should have been. That was on the first 10,000 copies. That first pressing had the piece of film included as a bonus. I was told the second pressing would be corrected.
American Music Reader: How did Steve Bartel come up with the design of the first Blasters album on Rollin' Rock Records:
Steve Bartel (answered in 2003): The letters were cut out and stuck on pins to give that drop-shadow. We set it up so it could be shot as one photo. Rockin' Ronnie Weiser said "I'll pay for just one shot on a cover." Cass Alvin (Phil and Dave's Dad) shot the photo of the band in the basement. The Logo on "The Face" album is mine too. I designed that.
American Music Reader: What did you think of The Blasters Live: Going Home DVD and CD?
Dave Alvin: I think it's great. Some of that stuff like Gene Taylor's DON'T LIE TO ME is amazing. I think that might be my best guitar playing, at that point, captured on record. We had just come back from a tour of Europe, so we were perfectly in sync.
American Music Reader: I have heard that the great Hacienda Brothers band, led by Chris Gaffney, had a third front man named Teddy Morgan. What happened to him?
Teddy Morgan: I met Chris at the Doll Hut in Anaheim, CA, at a gig. The drummer of the Forbidden Pigs was my drummer and he knew Gaffney. Gaffney came to the show; then we stayed at his house that night and played with his dogs. I frequently saw him in Texas at shows. We all had worked with Jeb Schoonover (Hacienda Brothers manager), who had this vision to put put us all together. We recorded a 4-song demo and did some shows in California. I had stuff going on in Nashville and when the time came to record the first album with Dan Penn, I was just too busy, so it was decided they would go on without me. I would have loved to have done both The Hacienda Bros and my Nashville project. I moved to Nashville to record a record, which didn't come out, but it led to a lot of other work and contacts, producing, and writing. But Chris Gaffney! -- What I loved about him was that he was someone who could relate to everybody, but be himself. He could be friends with the punk rocker or an old man. The ladies loved Gaffney, too. There's not many people who can be like that and still act like themselves. He had that spark.
American Music Reader: Hey Keith Wyatt, can you tell me what equipment you used to record the 4-11-44 CD? It sounds like you used that Les Paul Gold Top that you've been playing at live Blasters shows for so many years.
Keith Wyatt: I didn't even own the Les Paul Gold Top/P-90 (1954 reissue) when we started the record, but it does make an appearance. I cut most of it with my '73 Strat, my original 1953 ES-295 Gibson hollow body, a 1983 Telecaster, and then the Gold Top. On one track - I think it was SLIP OF THE TONGUE, I used (producer) Bruce Witkin's Telecaster - I don't know the vintage. The rockier stuff was cut with the Les Paul, although I used the ES-295 on 4-11-44 and LOVE IS MY BUISNESS. I think we wound up keeping the Strat only on DRY RIVER. Amp-wise, it was virtually all done running from my guitar into a Fender reverb unit, then to a 1967 Fender Dual Showman head through either a 1X12 or 2X12 cabinet. I used my Matchless Amp on a couple of things, but I don't remember what. When we cut basics, we were all in the room, and I had the speaker inside a baffle box for isolation. For overdubs, I played in the control room and ran a speaker cable out into the room. Witkin used the basic SM-57 setup for close miking; he had another mic set up a few feet away for room sound, but don't remember what it was. --AM