s
s
Sections
Sections
Subscribe

Dave Alvin is talking about how the music business has changed over the years when he arrives at a cautionary stopping point:

"If I had a kid, I would not let them do this," he said.

There's a deep pause.

Really?

"No. Hell no," he added. "Unless they were really, really good."

Like Dave Alvin. And really, really good at living on the road.

For a 58-year-old singer-songwriter who calls touring his religion, he's been devout for more than 30 years.

It started way back in 1979 when he and his brother Phil formed the Blasters, now considered a seminal 1980s rock band that could dive windward into punk and leeward into the blues and rockabilly at any moment. He would later do a brief stint with the punk band X, then splinter off into country and folk with the Knitters, then go on to collaborations with the Flesh Eaters and Gun Club.

His solo work these days is filled with the late-night poetry of motels and diners, counted out with loping blues and rock riffs that linger.

Or, as he put it, "I always consider myself as living on the outskirts of pop-music town. I'm way out in the trailer park and that's where people like me live."

One of the most biographical songs on his latest album, "Eleven Eleven," is "What's Up With Your Brother?" -#8212; a tongue-in-cheek aside about his relationship with his older brother Phil and how no matter what Phil accomplishes on his own, the only thing anyone ever asks is, "What's up with your brother?"

It foreshadowed their recent reunion in the studio for his new album. And that's a good thing.

Before Alvin drops by the Sebastopol Community Center on Saturday night for a benefit and celebration of promoter Cloud Moss' 60th birthday, he took time to chat about his brother, the crowded music field and survival:

<strong>Q: What's your daily ritual when you're not out on the road?</strong>

<strong> A:</strong> Wake up and roll over, man. No, I've been in the studio making a new album and we just finished it Monday night. We just finished the last mixes and turned it over to the mastering guy, so I'm kind of in post-album aaaahhhh.

<strong>Q: What's that like?</strong>

<strong> A:</strong> Well it depends on if you like the record or not.

<strong>Q: I'm guessing you like this one?</strong>

<strong> A:</strong> Yeah, it's a record I did with my brother Phil. It's our first record together since -#8212; well, he sang on my last album.

<strong>Q: That was "What's Up With Your Brother?"</strong>

<strong> A:</strong> Yeah. We haven't gone in the studio and made an album together since I left the Blasters in 1985.

<strong>Q: What's it like being in the studio together again?</strong>

<strong> A:</strong> It's great. He's had a lot of health issues in the past two and a half years, so it seemed like time.

<strong>Q: Do you start to remember some of the old ways you guys work together and that blood-is-thicker-than-water thing?</strong>

<strong> A:</strong> Well, at this point, we're different guys. So there wasn't a lot of arguing. There was maybe a discussion or two. Not heated in any way.

<strong>Q: How have you seen this business change over the years?</strong>

<strong> A:</strong> It's incalcuable. The bottom line really is there are so many ways for people to access music now, so that's good. But it's also bad in that there are so many musical acts that it's a very crowded field.

<strong>Q: And it's pretty damn cheap to access a lot of this stuff, too.</strong>

<strong> A:</strong> Well, it makes survival for musicians difficult. I'm lucky in many regards. I'm so freaking lucky I've been able to do this for 30 some years because I have friends who can't. I'll be curious in 10 to 15 years whether anyone can be a professional musician any more.

<em>Bay Area freelancer John Beck writes about entertainment for The Press Democrat. You can reach him at 280-8014, john@beckmediaproductions.com and follow on Twitter @becksay.</em>