1979 – present (42 years)
Downey, Los Angeles County, California, United States
- Dave Alvin (1979 – 1986)
- John Doe
- Lee Allen
- Phil Alvin
- Smokey Hormel
The Blasters are an American rock and roll music group formed in 1979 in Downey, California, by brothers Phil Alvin (vocals and guitar) and Dave Alvin (guitar), with bass guitarist John Bazz and drummer Bill Bateman.
Dave Alvin, the group's primary songwriter, left the band in 1986 for a critically-acclaimed solo career. He was initially replaced on guitar by Hollywood Fats (birth name: Michael L. Mann) who appeared with them at Farm Aid. Phil Alvin has led various incarnations of The Blasters intermittently since then, including a few reunion tours and live albums of the original lineup. Personnel as of 2008 was Phil Alvin together with John Bazz, Keith Wyatt, and Bill Bateman.
The Blasters stink of rockabilly. A unique part of the Los Angeles punk scene of the 1980s, they project the essence of small streets of post-war neighborhoods, car culture and the sun-bleached concrete of Downey, California. They are lead by Phil Alvin's soulful bellowing about causing chaos, chasing women and the loss of the citrus groves. Influenced by the likes of The Rolling Stones, Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, and many others who came and went during the 1950's, The Blasters play the songs of the working man's curse and rock and roll romance. Founding members Phil Alvin and John Bazz, with the addition of Keith Wyatt on lead guitar and Jerry Angel on drums, are carrying on their hard-won legacy of one of the most credible and recognizable bands in Americana music.
The Blasters first started playing in the late 70's, hammering out burning rhythm & blues and roots-influenced rock and roll in biker bars in their hometown of Downey, California. It wasn't long before word about the band's searing live sets spread to Los Angeles, and the band carved out a name for itself in the city's burgeoning club scene. Along with X and Los Lobos, the Blasters became an LA favorite. They enjoyed a punk rock following to their bluesy straightforward rock, playing to the fans of the newfangled American punk rock movement that was just at its beginning. Their debut recording on the small but feisty Rollin' Rock label has since become a coveted collector's item.
Soon thereafter, they began attracting the attention of other record companies. The band was on the crest of the wave during the resurgence of American roots rock, a genre they helped define with their debut album "American Music." Many have tried to imitate The Blasters' sound but no one has been able to harness the passion and perseverance with which they play. With a tradition of producing timeless and meaningful songs, touring extensively, and collaborating with some of the most respected roots rock artists, like John Cougar Mellencamp and Lee Allen.
The Blasters have continually stayed true to their original vision: to play songs built on America's greatest musical traditions. Upon Dave Alvin's departure to pursue a solo career in August of 1986, the band was as strong as ever and riding high on their success. After rigorously touring, The Blasters took some time off the road to reflect and work on new material. At that time, a number of major films hit theaters featuring The Blasters tunes including Bull Durham ("So Long Baby, Goodbye) and Some One To Watch Over Me ("Marie, Marie").
The Blasters spent the next few years attempting to find a guitar player suitable to measure up to the impeccable standards by which The Blasters play. The band met veteran guitar maestro, Keith Wyatt. 4-11-44 is The Blasters' fifth studio album. It is fourteen tracks of their signature rock and blues. Phil Alvin's vocals are as powerful and true as they ever were and the band follows through with steady, raucous riffs and rhythms. Their music continues to be used frequently in dark, pulp films and television shows such as From Dusk to Dawn, Streets of Fire, and Six Feet Under. Originally released in the UK in 2004, 4-11-44 was released on Rainman Records in August of 2005.
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