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Interview:
The Blasters want to be known for their blues
 

By GARY GRAFF
of the Oakland Press

» See more SOUND CHECK

Being part of this weekend’s Anti-Freeze Blues Festival in Ferndale is a big deal for The Blasters, who feel they don’t get enough props from that end of the American music spectrum.

“Any Blasters album has got what would be solid blues songs on it,” explains frontman and co-founder Phil Alvin, “but because it’s a whiter style than most of the blues bands, The Blasters seem to be left out of the Blues society worlds. It’s very hard to get the blues guys on the radio to play blues tunes off a Blasters record. I’m not sure why.

“So for whatever reason, people don’t consider The Blasters a blues band, even though anybody who plays blues knows who we are.”

The Blasters have been playing their particular brand of “American Music,” as their first album was dubbed in 1980, since emerging from the Los Angeles punk scene. Alvin has been leading the group since the departure of his brother, guitarist and chief songwriter Dave Alvin, in 1986, and these days he’s hatching plans for more recording to follow up 2005’s “4-11-44” — including an EP this year to coincide with the Blasters’ planned spring appearance at the Viva Las Vegas festival.

“We’ll put six to eight songs on there, I think,” says Alvin, whose girlfriend is from the Detroit area. “We’ll play some of the stuff out there in Detroit. There’s one tune that’s kind of popular at shows called ‘Bipolar Lover,’ which I wrote because of my experience in the bipolar world — not my own polarity, but how I seem to be a bipolar magnet.

“It’s gonna sound like The Blasters, but we’ve been incorporating some more acoustic instruments recently. It’s nice to hear things ring a little bit. But we’re also still doing strong electric songs. It’s nothing that you wouldn’t have heard from The Blasters ever; we’re just sort of widening the scope a little.”



The Blasters perform Saturday, Jan. 8, as part of the second night of the 17th annual Anti-Freeze Blues Festival at the Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale. Laith Al Saadi and Motor City Josh & Black Beauty also perform. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25. Call 248-544-3030 or visit www.themagicbag.com.



Web Site: www.themagicbag.com

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