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Interview:
Blaster brothers Dave and Phil Alvin reunited, and feeling so good
 

By GARY GRAFF
Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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Brothers who play together stay together -- at least later in life.

That's what Dave and Phil Alvin, onetime bandmates in the Blasters and now 59 and 61, respectively, have learned recently. Last year they released "Common Ground: Dave Alvin & Phil Alvin Play and Sing the Songs of Billy Broonzy," their first album together since Dave left the Blasters during 1986. They're still on the road promoting it (including a show Saturday, Feb. 28, at the Ark in Ann Arbor) -- and getting along better than ever according to Dave.

"It's pretty fun," says the younger Alvin, who's maintained a busy solo career and played briefly with X during the interim. "It reminds me of, in some ways, the early days of the Blasters and how everything then was fun, everything was new. This is that same kind of feeling; I would say back to square one, but maybe square one and a half.

"And it's different because there's not a lot of the old drama. We're different people in some ways now, more mature, and there's less bickering, or quibbling. And I think there's a mutual respect between the two of us now that perhaps wasn't there all the time over the years."

Dave Alvin says the "Common Ground" album, which debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart, was an easy kind of project for the brothers to get behind because of their mutual love for the music. "I think if I had written 12 song for us to play and sing together, there would be perhaps more discussion, at various volumes, than there was," he says with a laugh. But the project's success has led to the inevitable question of whether there will be new music for the Alvins in the future, which Dave says is well within the realm of possibility now.

"I think we could do that," he says. "I don't know when, because that is a long process. When you're writing for someone else it's difficult; I can write a song about the girl that broke my heart, and he can say, 'No girl broke my heart. I'm not gonna sing that.' So there has to be some things you have in commonality with the person who's going to sing your words.

"I kind of felt years ago we had gotten to a place where we'd wrapped that up, and maybe I'd written all the songs we shared a commonality with. But that might not be true. I think there's more there, so we'll see."

Dave Alvin and Phil Alvin with the Guilty Ones

8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 28.

The Ark, 316 S. Main St. Ann Arbor.

Tickets are $25.

Call 734-761-1818 or visit www.theark.org.

Web Site: www.theark.org

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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