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The Blasters - September, 2004 Tour of Scandinavia            --By Billy Davis


Tuesday September 14, 2004

I met the four Blasters: Phil, John, Jerry, and Keith and soundman Rick Brown in London where we all were connecting towards Stockholm Sweden to start the tour. I was along to cover the tour for the Newsletter and website, as well as working as a roadie, sometimes tour manager, and bus bartender. Ha Ha!

We all sat in the airport for a few hours as our flight was delayed. Phil showed us his latest computer art titled Blasto – Scand –’04 on the cover of his tour itinerary. This tour now has a name.

We flew in to Stockholm and were picked up by Micke Finell of the Refreshments band. He also happens to be the boss of Rock Around The Clock productions who are promoting the tour. He wanted to welcome us personally to Sweden. 

Phil couldn’t stop talking about a magazine he picked up on the flight called Business Life that pictured a man on the cover that Phil thought looked like himself. We drove a few hours to a ‘Bed and Breakfast’ hotel in Hofors. It was a beautiful place far from the city, right on a lake bank, and only a few kilometers from where we would play the show the next day. The Blasters had stayed here once before playing this same venue and loved it.


Wednesday September 15, 2004        Tengergården at Enviken, Sweden

After breakfast a big red tour bus arrived to pick us up. We met our driver for the tour, Göran Pårs. He does it all when needed – driving, tour managing, soundman, and stage set-ups. Göran turned out to be a great friend of the band and we all agreed we couldn’t do a tour here again without him – he’s the best.

The Tour bus was really cool. It had a big Rock Around The Clock Logo on the side. We had 7 comfortable seats inside and two sleep bunks, tables, and only one window that opened – on the driver’s side.


It was raining as we arrived for sound check at Tengergården in Enviken. A few guys in vintage American 1950’s cars led us there. It’s a little roadhouse type place out in the middle of farm country with a cool Blasters poster on the wall advertising the gig.

Phil found a piano inside and entertained as Göran, Rick, and I set up the stage equipment. The backline instruments (which is everything but guitars) were rented for the tour. Because we would be playing some unusual places, we were carrying everything needed to put on a rock show. We had a full PA, soundboard, cables, amps, and even lights. Jerry Angel worked with the road crew on setting up his drums every night to his exact specs. As he was setting up, I came up with the idea of putting the Blasters logo on the bass drum head. I found a Blasters poster, cut it up and with Jerry’s approval, taped it on the kick drum.

Rick Brown was in charge of the sound. Rick has been the Blasters soundman since 1985 and knows everything to the smallest detail about how to make the Blasters sound exactly like the Blasters every night of a tour.


The Blasters started off their first Blasto-Scando sound check jamming on Led Zeppelin’s WHOLE LOTTA LOVE then a new R&B version of Dave Alvin’s DRY RIVER. Phil joined the band for PRECIOUS MEMORIES, A LITTLE WALTER SHUFFLE with harmonica, a complete version of DRY RIVER, YOUR KIND OF LOVE, and another harp tune called BLUES WITH A FEELING. Phil played a newly acquired 1973 Stratocaster, which he is using as his second guitar.  Keith Wyatt had his ‘74 Gibson Les Paul Gold Top.

 We went back to the hotel where we were served a delicious Swedish meal with Red Wine and were joined by the promoter, a great guy named Ulf Back, and a few of his friends that helped set up the show.


We arrived at the venue and Phil decided to sit in the bus for some quiet time. A few fans spotted the door open and forced their way into the bus past me. I asked them to see Phil after the show, but one guy who was already drunk proceeded to sit himself down next to Phil and said “Only after I ask Phil a few questions.” Other than that I couldn’t understand a word he said - I figured there was a language barrier, so I asked our driver to translate. Göran got the guy out of the bus and said he spoke perfect English, but was already pretty liquored up. It turns out all he required was that Phil sing BLUE SHADOWS tonight. Even though Phil is very cool in handling these situations, now I knew: Don’t leave the tour bus door open.


The show started with the Blasters familiar set opening song ALL YOUR FAULT. Phil announced: “The Blasters have a new record coming out next week. Buy it if you want. Don’t buy it, at your own risk.”

Phil dedicated BLUE SHADOWS to Stig. That was the guy who forced his way on the bus before the show. Phil dedicated ONE BAD STUD to: “This man right here (pointing to a guy in the audience) because I think he is gonna kick my ass after the show – and also to Finnish Merchant Marines. They don’t even know how bad they are.” Phil explained his dedication: “The first time we played in Helsinki, there was a guy like this standing in front of me and there was a mosh pit off to the side. We started ONE BAD STUD and the guy goes ‘Yaaaa!!’ He reaches into the mosh pit and pulls a guy out of it. The guy doesn’t want to go, so he grabs him by the hair and goes ‘Bam!’ and blows his face open with blood and then twirls it thru the whole song going ‘Yaaaa Yaaaa’ and then drops him at the end.”

The Blasters came out for a second encore and Phil signed an autograph for someone in the crowd. They started off playing the JOE TURNER MEDLEY. John Bazz’s bass didn’t come on right away and everybody looked confused. But Keith Wyatt held it together and played a long opening solo.

 The Blasters played very good for an opening show of a tour. They played 9 songs not heard on last year’s Original Blasters tour, so it was a fresh and entertaining set for me. The good-sized crowd of 250 had a few crazies in front, but the rest of the audience was a little sedate. Everyone was very satisfied.

 Set list: all your fault, rebound, border radio, your kind of love, red rose, I’m shakin’, dry river, american music, blue shadows, boneyard, slip of the tongue, so long baby goodbye, daddy rollin’ stone, long white cadillac, marie marie, one bad stud. Encore: precious memories, 4-11-44, joe turner medley. Beer: Carlsberg.


Thursday September 16, 2004        Umeå, Sweden at Droskan

We drove 6 hours up the East coast of Sweden to Umeå. We passed some beautiful country, lots of paper plants. We learned that John Bazz loves barns and that Phil loves to call John’s barns BlastoShacks. Phil educated us on facts such as ‘Racecar’ being the longest word that when spelled backwards is the same. Hmmn? Good to know.


The Blasters came on and sounded good considering they didn’t do much of a sound check. Phil’s voice was a little weak in the beginning but got better as the show went on. They are playing a great version of Dave Alvin’s DRY RIVER, which appears on the Blasters 4-11-44 album. The Blasters call it an R&B Memphis Stax Records version. Keith Wyatt plays some soulful guitar licks and Phil finishes it off with a big vocal finish. The song is very different from Dave Alvin’s version. Phil intros the song playfully saying: “Here is a song I fixed for my brother.”

DARK NIGHT was a highlight. The band really steps it up a notch on this one with great solos by Keith.

There were many requests from the audience. Of course, calls of MARIE MARIE came, prompting Phil to say: “You can cut my toe off with a brick if I don’t do that one.” Another request was for ONE MORE DANCE. Phil responded: “That’s a good call. Come backstage and I’ll sing it for you.”


Phil uses the same dedications and intro statements for certain songs. The band often hears what Phil says and knows right away what song Phil is calling for them to play. This time there was some confusion: Lately before DADDY ROLLIN STONE Phil says: “This is a little bragga docia.” Phil said it and Keith must have thought he meant another song. Keith responded “You played that song already.” Phil assuming Keith was right and said: “You’re right. I’ll change that. BLUE SHADOWS.”

A girl named Marie requested MARIE MARIE near the end of the set and then thanked Phil by grabbing him around the neck and giving him a tongue kiss. I guess her husband didn’t mind. Maybe he was such a serious Blasters fan he even told her ‘don’t wash that spot.’ Ha!

Phil was ready to sing his song with a harmonica but forgot to grab the mic to play the harp through. Rick Brown ran from the soundboard right up to Phil and told him to use that Mic. Phil said: “Oh?” Got the mic and then poetically announced to the crowd: “That was Rick Brown. He follows us around.”

It’s rare to hear Phil announce the individual members of the Blasters, but tonight he did it before the instrumental BONEYARD: “Featuring the fantabulous guitar styles of master Keith Wyatt, the ever stick and drums of Jerry Angel, the subtle, but still illegal, bass trappings of John Bazz - and I have very little to do with this song.” The Blasters put on a good show that was essentially in a restaurant. The buffet was good – tacos and pizza.

Set list: all your fault, border radio, rebound, dry river, i’m shakin’, red rose, dark night,  4-11-44,  long white cadillac, so long baby goodbye, slip of the tongue, boneyard, blue shadows, American music, marie marie, Encore: one bad stud. Beer: Spendrups.


Friday September 17, 2004

This was a travel day so we had a few hours in the morning to walk around Umeå and visit some music stores, a record store and see a little of this college town. But not long because we had to drive towards Norway for our next gig. The plan was to drive 10 hours to a hotel in Steinkjer, which is the nearest hotel to the Norwegian gig. Again we saw some beautiful country as we headed due west across Sweden into Norway. We also stopped at McDonalds for lunch; yes they are in Sweden too. The band couldn’t resist posing with Ronald.


We passed some high points with clouds flowing down the hills across our road. We passed so many beautiful lakes as Phil would repeatedly exclaim, “God Damn it!” He just wanted to jump out of the bus a few times to go fishing. Along the way we made our first stop in what would later be our favorite petrol station / snack bar called Stat Oil.

We stayed at a hotel in Steinkjer just over the border into Norway. Some of the band ate Pizza for dinner and then went to a local bar where we watched a lounge style keyboard player who took requests. We were invited to go to a private party by some Norwegian bikers. We didn’t think that was a good idea. They might not understand that we had to get up early the next morning.


Saturday September 18, 2004                Saetervika, Norway at Kongo Publichouse

The next morning we drove 2 hours further into Norway where we saw mountains and lots of rock formations. Phil entertained everybody playing guitar in the front of the bus. As we approached big rock formations and lots of water we knew it must be the Norwegian Sea. We finally reached the sea completely across Sweden and Norway east to West. It was worth it. Phil said: “This must be the Viking fishing village.”


Everyone got out of the bus and immediately ran to the water to see the view and get some photos. What a beautiful place – rocks formations rose from the water in the distance and the shores were solid rock. There was a lighthouse out in the distance just up the coast. I later asked one of the staff at the venue if I could walk to it. They said it was across a water way and offered to take me there on a small boat. That was very kind of him but I didn’t take him up on the offer. I took a walk up a mountain that looked right down on the fishing village and the venue which in a green roofed building far on the far edge of the village.

We had dinner over at the restaurant that closed at 18:00 hours. I guess people don’t go out to dine after 6 PM even on a Saturday in this little town. – Great place though and great people.


The following 7 photos by Frode Atle Bye


The venue was completely made of pinewood inside and out. It had a decent sized stage and was all standing room.  The full band got together at sound check and played a full version of JULIE, which is a song off the new album. This is the only time the band would play this on the whole tour. Why I don’t know. Also they did PRECIOUS MEMORIES, WINDOW UP ABOVE and JUST TO BE WITH YOU.

The band had to wait around until show time because the hotel was two hours away in Steinkjer. The backstage room was very small so we used the tour bus as the dressing room.

We all sat in the dark and counted the people coming in to the show. We saw one taxi with a light on top that said #479. The Taxi returned every five minutes with more passengers. We were about 90 minutes from the nearest big town, so it was hard to imagine where he was picking up all the passengers from. It became a game to try and recognize the headlights of #479 in the distance among other cars coming to the show. Each time he past us heavy with passengers, we would cheer for #479. But the creepy thing was that we could never see a driver. Was in always in the shadows, or very short, or was there any driver at all?? Was this the Twilight Zone?

Lots of conversation was spent considering if there were 478 more taxis somewhere in Norway. Norway is very sparsely populated so I doubt they need that many taxis. Just before show time Cab 479 made its final trip, parked right in front of our bus and a driver came running out to go into the club. We didn’t get a good look at him as it was raining.


Showtime: Phil came to the stage and said: “We’re here at the eighth annual - Were here on the ocean - the west coast.” We were told that they only do a big name Rock n Roll show once a year in this place. Over the stage were concert posters numbering from 1989 to the present featuring artists such as Dave Edmunds, The Leroi Brothers, The Tail Gators, Jim Suhler, and The Refreshments. The crowd acted like it was a once a year gig. They were all different ages, dancing, and very excited to hear live American Music.

In SLIP OF THE TONGUE Keith takes a long solo in the beginning. Phil uses the opportunity to take his shirt off or light up a cigarette. Though a lot of these clubs have a no smoking policy. Phil gets away with it because as he says: “It’s part of the act.”

This was a memorable show because the crowd was so enthusiastic and it was such an unusual place. But Phil’s voice was very hoarse and he couldn’t hold notes smoothly at any time during the show. Rick Brown, the soundman, is very skilled at mixing Phil’s voice so that any weaknesses don’t show.

In the encore, Phil dedicated LONG WHITE CADILLAC to: “This goes out to Cab 479.” That prompted me to call the song ‘Long White Cab-illac.” Anyway, Phil was hoping to identify the driver of Cab 479, but he never came forward. They played ONE BAD STUD and then the house music came on, but the crowd wouldn’t let the Blasters leave. They returned for one more.

Set list: all your fault, rebound, border radio, dark night, i’m shakin’, precious memories,  4-11-44, dry river, red rose, daddy rollin stone, slip of the tongue, boneyard, so long baby goodbye, American music, marie marie, Encore: long white Cadillac, one bad stud, blue shadows. Beer: Dahls Pils and Ringnes.



Monday  September 20, 2004    Malmo, Sweden at KB

The previous day was a travel day from Steinkjer Norway – a 14-hour drive to the 350-year-old city of Gothenburg, Sweden where we stayed the night. We arrived at 1 AM last night. The guys spent the day in the bus reading, listening to music, or napping. Phil Alvin wanted to have some fun and worked on a drawing of the tour bus with the whole crew packed in a bus that was called ‘BlastoSardines.’ There’s a big Sardine who says, “Let my people go.” Phil’s artwork sat in the windshield of the bus for the next week.


This morning we drove a few hours from Gothenburg to Malmo. We had little time in Malmo, which is the third largest city in Sweden.
We arrived at the club called KB and it was raining lightly. This was a big rock club that had posters advertising Motorhead coming soon. We set up the stage and didn’t bother with much of a sound check. Phil stayed back at the hotel to rest his voice.
A band called the Buckaroos opened up the show. They sounded good and are a well-respected band in Sweden. They opened for the Blasters on their 1991 tour in Sweden as well.
There wasn’t much of a crowd – about 300 in a place that fits 700 people.  Because it was a Monday and there was a big soccer game being played between Malmo and Djurgarden that night.
The Blasters came to the stage and had their first technical difficulty of the tour. Keith Wyatt’s guitar sound was silent. Before I could get to the stage, John Bazz wheeled over a spare Peavey guitar amp we keep on stage for emergencies like this. It still didn’t work.
Phil meanwhile tried to stall the audience. Jerry yelled: “Tell another joke.” But Phil instead played a little bit of ST. LOUIS BLUES on his guitar and then recited some Edgar Alan Poe poetry.
I got to the stage and immediately checked Keith’s effect foot pedals; they can often be the culprits. That was it – a battery went dead and was cutting off the signal. I removed that pedal to go and find a spare battery while they started the set.

They started with ALL YOUR FAULT and as Keith was still distracted by trying to fine-tune his sound - or was he changing his amp back because he preferred playing a Fender Twin reverb here in the large clubs. They began RED ROSE but not smoothly and the tempo seemed slow.



So they played a slow version of RED ROSE. By the third song, 4-11-44 the Blasters were back in full gear and the crowd was enjoying the show.

Lars Frederiksen and one of his band mates from the punk band Rancid were at the show dancing around in front. They dropped by backstage before the show to say hello. In DADDY ROLLIN STONE Phil changed the lyric to: “Big Lars may be twice my size but he don’t know as much as me.” These guys are big Blasters fans. They do a few Blasters cover songs in their set and recorded MARIE MARIE on Lars last solo album.

There were a few fans right in front of Phil who were requesting some odd song. Phil said to them: “I can sing it to you if you come backstage.” Of course they yelled, “We’ll be there!” Phil responded: “I’ll make sure you get back there.” Later on they did get backstage and sat down with Phil who pulled out the harmonica. One of the guys started singing OH SUZANNA but way out of key. Phil said: “ Wait a minute. I’ll straighten you out.” Phil began playing the song on harmonica, in the correct key. The two guys said they owned a club called “The Pisshole” and promised the band they would have a night of blues if they came to hang out there after the show.

The guys came out to the tour bus after we finished packing up and asked who was up for going to ‘The Pisshole.’ Only Phil was up for it, we all wanted sleep. Phil went off with them and later told us they stayed about an hour playing guitars and drinking, and then Phil went back to the hotel for some sleep.

 Set list: all your fault, red rose, 4-11-44, I’m shakin, border radio, dark night, dry river, rebound, boneyard, so long baby goodbye, slip of the tongue, daddy rollin stone, blue shadows, american music, marie marie, Encore: long white Cadillac, one bad stud. Beer: Budweiser.

Tuesday  September 21, 2004    Helsinki, Finland at Tavastia

We woke up in Malmo and drove across the Oresund Bridge into Denmark. The Oresund Bridge is the world's longest single bridge carrying both road and railway traffic, it’s 16 km long. On the other side is Copenhagen where we were flying towards Finland.

The show at Tavastia was highly anticipated. The Blasters were always well received there and in 2000 had a show planned that was cancelled. The Blasters have a big following in Finland, which has a solid fan base of American music fans.

The Blasters minus Phil came for sound check and played a few instrumentals. Keith Wyatt was trying out a new Guitar Amplifier called Mad Professor ( www.custom-sounds.com ).. A rep from the company named Harri Koski brought the amp and set Keith up to use it for the evening.
The big amp had all kinds of extra features like multiple gain stages. It might have been more than is needed for a Blasters show. The amp also hummed very loud when not being played through.


Before the show we all had dinner in a restaurant next to the club. It was Jerry Angel’s birthday. We celebrated with a birthday cup cake with one candle. Happy Birthday Jerry!

Some of the Blasters went back to the hotel, which was a few blocks away. There was a big construction site in the middle, so when Phil made his way to the club, he attempted to cut through the construction site and got lost inside. He made it but I bet he has some stories.

When the Blasters hit the stage, the club was very crowded – a big crowd for a Tuesday night. It had been 13 years since the Blasters were here last and the crowd knew it.
The Blasters opened strong – sounded great and looked great. The sound and lighting in Tavastia is top notch.
Phil sounded fine but commented: “I went into a barn and came out a little hoarse.” Next Phil took on one of his more challenging vocal songs – I’M SHAKIN. He said: “We’ll cross our fingers on this one.” Phil sounded just fine on it. Everybody loved the show.

The crowd was really into it, yelling requests and dancing around. I even heard someone yell: “Bring out the reindeer.” When Phil dedicated SO LONG BABY GOODBYE to Lee Allen, the crowd cheered very loud. Lee was always a big favorite in Finland and the fans always appreciated seeing him perform.

Keith Wyatt has really stepped up on this tour. He seems much more animated coming to the front center of the stage to take his solos and jumping in the air at the end of ONE BAD STUD. This was a great show, the best of the tour so far.

The following Tavastia photos are by Janne 'Drac' Kurunsaari



  Set list: all your fault, border radio, red rose, 4-11-44, dry river, rebound, I’m shakin’, precious memories, trouble bound, dark night, boneyard, blue shadows, so long baby goodbye, slip of the tongue, long white Cadillac, american music, marie marie, Encore: daddy rollin stone, one bad stud. Beer: Karhu.



Thursday September 23, 2004    Haverdal Sweden at Göstas Cafe


Wednesday was a travel day to get back to Sweden from Helsinki. We flew into Copenhagen and drove to our hotel in Halmsted, Sweden. On Thursday afternoon we drove to the gig in nearby Haverdal at The Göstas Café for sound check. The venue looked like a roadhouse but is a small restaurant right against the road. We pulled the tour bus behind the building. We were right next to the Black Sea - a very scenic view.

The wall of the Café facing the ocean was all glass so you could see the ocean from the seats inside.

The room was very small, only seating about 100 people. The band set up in the corner of the restaurant right on the level floor. We had to move a lot of restaurant furniture to make space for the band’s equipment. Strange to play a small place after playing our last show in a big hall like Tavastia. But I expected it would be interesting to hear a loud rock n roll band in an intimate setting.

As we set up, the owner, Ulf Sandberg, played a bunch of old 50’s rockabilly records like Charlie Rich’s earliest recordings from Memphis.


The all glass side of the restaurant faced the setting-sun on the Black Sea. The band sound checked with a blaring sun on them. Phil sat down with an acoustic guitar that was lying around the restaurant and worked out a few ideas from Blasters songs with Keith. Next the full band got up and played BIG BOSS MAN.

Not much sound checking was needed. There was a small PA and though the drums were put through the PA, they would be loud enough to be heard over the PA sound.

We sat down for dinner with Ulf. Dinner was great. After that, he brought out his acoustic guitar and played and sang us a Swedish folk song. Phil countered that with an acoustic version of THE MOUNTAIN DEER and then AIN’T THAT CRAZY, which brought a lot of laughs.

We drove back to the hotel for some rest, but couldn’t help being tourists. We stopped along the way to take a few photos of a beautiful windmill. We never got a photo of an IKEA store in Sweden.


The Blasters opened up their set with a song rarely played from the first Blasters album on Rollin Rock Records - LOVE 24 HOURS A DAY. Phil apologized for being a little hoarse in the first song. Phil told a fan after the show: “It’s all that driving around that takes its toll, ten hours to Norway and eleven back and well, I just can’t shut up.” It’s true, when driving in the bus, Phil would sit in the front seat while the band sat at a few chairs around a table in the back engaging in conversation. Phil hardly could resist the temptation to turn around and add to whatever subject was being discussed. Sometimes we had to half-jokingly yell at him to keep quiet. Phil would, but he always finished making his point.

Phil’s voice cleared up after a few songs and by I’M SHAKIN,’ which is a tough one on the voice, he sounded good.
Phil dedicated Charlie Rich’s REBOUND: “To Ulf for playing us all those Charlie Rich records.” Then later in DADDY ROLLIN STONE Phil changed the lyrics to say: “Big Ulf maybe twice my size but he don’t know as much as me.” Everybody liked Ulf.
Phil dedicated JUST TO BE WITH to me, because I had been bugging him all tour to play that one. It’s the only song on the new Blasters 4-11-44 album that Phil plays harmonica on.
Keith Wyatt was getting big applause for his guitar solos. The people here really appreciated his guitar playing.
By show’s end, Phil was drenched in liquid. Now, that isn’t all sweat. Phil gets over-heated and douses himself with water to cool off.

It was a great show. After the band hung around to chat with the fans, sign autographs and have a few drinks.

A few of us took the opportunity to explore the shoreline of the Black Sea by moonlight. Near the shoreline there is a jetty made of stone that by the AM hours that night was uncovered by the low tide. It was cool being able to walk so far of the shore. It was a beautiful view of the stars and the endless sea to the west.

 Supposedly Ulf the owner was enjoying the music so much, some people were sneaking in for free that night and we also heard drinks were free. We were told that this might be the final live music show in 10 years at Göstas. They lost their license to sell liquor. But what a way for Göstas to go out - with a Blasters show.

 Set list: 24 hours a day, all your fault, border radio, rebound, 4-11-44, precious memories, dark night, red rose, I’m shakin’, your kind of love, dry river, boneyard, so long baby good-bye, just to be with you, slip of the tongue, blue shadows, daddy rollin' stone, long white Cadillac, american music, marie marie. Encore: trouble bound, one bad stud. Beer: Pripps Blue


Friday September 24, 2004    Gislaved, Sweden at Gisleparken


Today we drove a few hours to Gislaved and stayed in a hotel in the center of town. Down a walkway of shops there was a community bulletin board that had a poster advertising the Blasters show that night.

At about 6 PM the crew and Jerry Angel (in order to set up his drums) drove to find the venue on the outskirts of town. It was hard to find the venue. It turned out to be a community center in a park.
There was a big room with a stage that appeared to be a banquet room with a dance floor for weddings. We were playing in a smaller room on the side.
At sound check we met up with Jake Labotz from Los Angeles who was going to be the Blasters opening act on the next 4 shows. Jake does solo country blues.


The Blasters came to the stage and the size of the crowd was a little disappointing. It was a weird venue and even weirder crowd. It seemed no one there, except two people I met who knew who the Blasters were. One guy kept asking Phil Alvin to play songs as if they were a cover band. Phil would just say: “Sorry, I don’t know it.”


The Blasters played well, and Phil sounded in fine voice. After the first song, Phil announced: “We got a new record out next week. If you leave me your phone number, I’ll call you to make sure you picked it up.”
John Bazz broke a bass string on DRY RIVER, which is unusual, because it’s not a hard driving song that would normally eat up bass strings.
At one point I yelled out a request and Phil said: “Yeah, Billy, that’s a good idea.” They played LOVE IS MY BUSINESS for the first time on this tour.
 A lot of people danced in front of the stage, but got a little rambunctious pointing in the face of the band members and one guy kept getting in the face of Phil Alvin. A good portion of the crowd seemed drunk before the show even started.
They played for 70 minutes and left the stage after MARIE MARIE. Phil, John and Jerry exited stage right and went towards the dressing room, which was a few minutes’ walk across the other side of the complex. Keith walked off stage left and hid behind the PA speaker waiting for his band mates to come out for the encore.
I thought the crowd cheered loud enough to get another song so I ran backstage and told Phil they were calling for more.
Phil didn’t want to come out and said he thought the crowd was weird. He has been in show-biz long enough to know when the crowd vibe isn’t good. The only problem was that Keith was stuck out there.
Eventually the crowd calmed down and Keith escaped.

 Set list: all your fault, border radio, trouble bound, red rose, dry river, I’m shakin’, rebound, love is my business, 4-11-44, blue shadows, dark night, boneyard, so long baby-goodbye, daddy rollin' stone, long white cadillac, american music, marie marie. Beer: Carlsberg


Saturday September 25, 2005    Jössefors, Sweden at FolketHus


We drove north into the countryside not far from where we started the tour (Enviken) to Arvika where we were staying in a nice small hotel called Jenny’s Hotel. We met up with Jon, the promoter, a cool guy who owns an original Blasters ‘Rollin Rock Has Got The Sock’ T-shirt. That’s a super rarity from 1980. I was drooling.

On to the sound check. The Folkethus was a big concert house. It’s a real nice place with a decent size stage and a big dance floor area. We started loading in our equipment and had a lot of help from a few guys in 50’s haircuts. We had a good feeling about this place. The promoter Jon was already was a buddy of ours. Somebody from the venue tried to impress us early by putting two cases of Zeunerts Beer in our way on the stage. That was a nice greeting.

These people really appreciated Americana. Two load-in helpers were bidding on my vintage Texaco Gasoline jacket. They offered up to $500, but I didn’t have the heart to part with it.


The Blasters sound-checked on BONEYARD and RED ROSE and we’re served a nice dinner of Swedish meatballs. The band went back to the hotel. I decided to hang around the club, because it was such a cool place. A local teenaged rockabilly band played first. They were really good and energetic. Jake La Botz did his set next and asked me to announce him to the crowd. I said “Ladies and gentleman, from Los Angeles, Evangeline recording artist Jake La Botz.” Jake played a good set of country blues that was very well received, considering that the crowd was filling up with mostly rockabilly kids.

I took a look out the window and was surprised to see a bunch of American 1950’s cars pulling into the parking lot.

As the blasters headed towards the stage we could see there was a big crowd. This was gonna be a great gig. John Bazz stopped behind the backstage curtain and starting playing the opening rockabilly bands standup bass just for fun.


The Blasters opened the show to an enthusiastic crowd with ALL YOUR FAULT Phil said: “I had a Swedish girlfriend back in the United States but she done throwed me down.” They did TROUBLE BOUND and Phil and Keith have an ongoing joke about the song being too fast, so each show they go back and forth telling each other, “not too fast.” Phil dedicated RED ROSE to: “The guys who came out from Oslo. There are some drunk Norwegians in the house.” About four songs into the set, a fan yelling to Phil for MARIE MARIE, started asking Keith for MARIE MARIE. Keith just passed the buck and kept motioning that the fan should tell Phil.


 Phil responded to a fan that kept yelling “One More Time.” Phil gave a generic answer not knowing what the fan was talking about. He said: “I promise I’ll do it more than one more time.” The MARIE MARIE fan finally got through to Phil. Phil said, “I promise we’ll do MARIE MARIE.’ After a pause he responded to the fan again in the mic: “Three times you want me to do it?” The rest of the band laughed. Phil said intriguingly: “That’s an interesting request. All right, we’ll maybe do it three times. You wanna hear it once now?” The Fan yelled: “Yeah,” and Bazz yelled: “Yeah.”  Then Phil said: “Then once again later. (Laughs) You’re making my job easy you know.” I don’t think the band took Phil seriously until he turned to them and said: “Let’s do MARIE MARIE.” Bazz just looked and Keith and cracked up laughing. Then they went into it. As it finished “Phil pointed to the fan and said: That’s one. I’ll stick a few more in between.” MARIE MARIE is the big finishing song so you know they still have to do it a second time.


Some fans were asking about the availability of T-shirts and CDs on this tour. Phil started off LOVE IS MY BUSINESS with some sarcasm: “I didn’t bring any T-shirts or CDs because I’m a business man.”

After BONEYARD the fan yelled MARIE MARIE loud enough that you could hear it in the back of the hall. Phil said: “Keith, the customer is always right. Et toi, bon temps rouler; for the girl in the red shirt.” That’s a little French intro that Phil always uses before MARIE MARIE. It translates to ‘Let the Good Times Roll.’   They went into MARIE MARIE again. The rest of the Blasters couldn’t help smiling. It’s probably the most fun they have ever had playing their most-often-played song.

After AMERICAN MUSIC Phil said : “Et toi, bon temps friggen  rouler;  I guarantee.” That meant MARIE MARIE for a third time! The girl in the red shirt got up on stage, started dancing around Phil. Phil just gave her a strange look and then she returned to her spot in the audience.

The Blasters left the stage and the crowd chanted loudly “We want more, We want more.”

Phil came back and said, “I’ve got to do this song for Jon who put this show on. We have not done this song for many years.” The last time the Blasters did STOP THE CLOCK was when Smoky Hormel was in the band on guitar. It was a regular song on the 1989 tour set list. The band did a good version - a little slow - but great to hear such a rarity. Before the show, I walked into the backstage area and saw the four Blasters sitting in a circle with Phil teaching the song to them. John remembered it, but Jerry and Keith had never heard of the song. It went over just fine and I’m sure Jon was happy. ONE BAD STUD finished the show and the girl in the red shirt was still yelling for MARIE MARIE.


After the Blasters set, another rockabilly band called ‘Snake Bite’ played a set. That was good because the venue wasn’t closing, so we could hang around and party for a while. Backstage the Blasters invited anyone to come back and they signed autographs and posed for photos. We met up with a few of our friends who traveled from Oslo, Norway, just for this show. Frank has a club in Oslo called “The Wild Bunch” and has been trying to book the Blasters in there for some time. It sounds like a wild place.


Set List: all your fault, trouble bound, border radio, red rose, I’m shakin’, precious memories, marie marie, 4-11-44, love is my business, dark night, bone yard, marie marie #2, long white Cadillac, daddy rollin’ stone, so long baby good-bye, blue shadows, American music, marie marie #3. Encore: stop the clock, one bad stud. Beer: Zeunerts


Sunday September 26, 2005    Stockholm Sweden at Akkurat


We made the long drive across to the east side of Sweden to the country’s biggest city, Stockholm. The club was located in the middle of the city.

The band didn’t bother to sound check. Phil stayed back at the hotel to rest his voice.

Jake La Botz opened the show and as a bonus, Jerry Angel sat in on drums with Jake.

By the time show time came, the small club was jam-packed. It was difficult to get back and forth to the stage. I had to set up the guitars on stage, drinks, water and towels and check that the amps were on. The Blasters friend Drac from Helsinki was back stage visiting the Blasters as well as promoter Micke Finnel.

The Blasters started their set very strong. The crowd was enjoying it.
For the third song, Phil made a dedication: “For Drac.” The song COUNTY FAIR was recorded by the Blasters on Phil Alvin’s County Fair 2000 album (HighTone Records 1994). Drac from Helsinki had made that song his request for the tour and had asked Phil a few times to do it. That was a treat because it’s another one that the Blasters haven’t played for a few years.

In REBOUND, Phil broke a guitar string. Changing strings on Phil’s guitars was one of my jobs. But I’m not a good string changer because it’s always in dark place, the band is so loud and you can’t hear if you’re close to tuning the correct pitch. Then if you use an electronic tuner, it has to have a light because of the dark. And of course there’s the pressure of needing it done fast. The tightly packed audience made things even more difficult to get from the soundboard to the stage to change the string. By the time I got to the stage, they were almost done with the next song. I started working on the guitar while Phil pulled out his second guitar - a Fender Stratocaster - for TROUBLE BOUND. As the song ended, Phil said to the crowd: “Guitars can’t take it.” Oh, oh? That meant that Phil broke a string on the Strat as well. I was still working on the first guitar as Phil turned around and said to me, “I have to have that guitar.” I thought quick and said to him, “Do a harp (harmonica) song.” He nodded his head in agreement and played JUST TO BE WITH YOU, one of my favorites. That song gave me time to restring both guitars and then everything was fine.

A funny moment happened in RED ROSE when Phil’s guitar cable fell out of the guitar. He didn’t notice for a little while that he wasn’t plugged in. I guess it’s loud up there, and he couldn’t hear his own guitar.

There were a few technical difficulties that only the band and crew noticed like in the instrumental BONE YARD; Keith uses an alternate tuning where he drops his E string down to D. He must have mis-tuned because as soon as the guitar was heard, it was way out of tune. Keith tried to play the notes on different strings as to avoid that mistuned string, but it wasn’t working. By mid-song there is a pause / break where everything stops then starts up again. Jerry Angel appeared to be giving up as if he didn’t want to continue the song. Keith quickly retuned and called for Jerry to finish the last half of the song and that part sounded fine.

The band was in fine form, Phil sounded great, and it was a very responsive crowd. It was satisfying to have a great show on our last night in Sweden and Scandinavia.

Before the last song, Phil said: “We’ve been driving all over Sweden - I mean all over the place. And I have to send this song out to Göran, our driver. Göran if you’re around, this goes out to you. He’s the Iron Man.” Then they went into ONE BAD STUD.

The following 8 photos by Janne 'Drac' Kurunsaari



 Set List: all your fault, border radio, county fair, dry river, rebound, just to be with you, red rose, slip of the tongue, bone yard, long white Cadillac, precious memories, love is my business, so long baby goodbye, dark night, blue shadows, American music. Encore: marie marie, daddy rollin' stone, one bad stud. Beer: Heaven, Hell, and Fallen Angel.


Wednesday September 29, 2005    London England at The Borderline


 It was nice to have two days off in London. Lots of stuff to see and record stores to visit. Phil Alvin had a few interviews to do. One with Maverick Magazine and another with “The Independent” Edition where he picked his top 10 roots music songs.

This would be an important show because the soon to be released Blasters 4-11-44 album was being put out by London-based Evangeline records. They set up this show.
We arrived at sound check fresh. The band played a few songs concentrating on DRY RIVER as Phil explained some changes in the arrangement to the rest of the band. Next they did RED ROSE and then CRYIN’ FOR MY BABY, which was never performed on this tour. We ate dinner and the band went back to the hotel.
The décor was interesting in the club. It was darkly lit with swirling lights on the back of the stage. The crowd was smaller than we figured because it was a Wednesday night.
Jake La botz played his set and sounded great.
Soundman Rick Brown played some great old R & B music between sets. The Blasters came out and sounded solid. DADDY ROLLIN’ STONE was a high point of the night. The band seemed to push a little harder and the crowd felt it.
Some clever and new Phil Alvin dedications tonight. Phil dedicated PRECIOUS MEMORIES: “To Johnny Paycheck, who paid his last bill” referring to Paycheck passing away last year.
For the instrumental BONE YARD, Phil said: “Here is a song I can take a cigarette break on, because cigarettes are gonna send me to the Boneyard.”
Phil dedicated I’M SHAKIN’: “To any of you guys who were at Dingwall’s last year. I hope you’re out of the hospital.” Phil referred to the Original Blasters July, 2003 show at Dingwall’s. The tempature in the club was so hot, the band members almost fainted. They had to cut the show short.
After song 4-11-44, Phil announced that the new album was coming out on October, 4th and that members of the record company were in the audience. 

Near the end of the show Carlos Guitarlos, a musician and friend of the Blasters from Los Angeles, came running into the club. They say he just arrived in town. Carlos never misses a chance when the Blasters are in town to join the Blasters on stage for ONE BAD STUD. Phil spotted him coming in and said: “The devil himself has entered the house.” After the song, Phil said: “Remember to go see Carlos Guitarlos tomorrow night.” Carlos was playing the Borderline the following evening.

The Blasters finished their set with MARIE MARIE and said: “See ya next summer.”

For the encore, the band came to the stage and waited for Phil. Keith Wyatt took the opportunity to entertain the crowd with an instrumental version of Hank Williams HEY GOOD LOOKIN. The crowd enjoyed it and clapped along. Phil came to the stage with an excuse, “I had to look for some ice.”

The last song was to be ONE BAD STUD. Phil always jokes with Carlos Guitarlos and said: “This goes out to my good friend and the Blasters good and long time friend, a brilliant musical genius and psychoactive drug taker (laughs). My good friend Carlos Guitarlos.” Carlos came on stage and picked up Phil’s guitar. Phil continued: “He stayed at my house last summer, and he was talking the whole time and there was nobody there.” They finished with a great version of ONE BAD STUD with Carlos taking a solo and Keith doing his full solo. The song ended, Phil grabbed his jacket, kissed Carlos on the cheek, and said: “Good night. We’re the Blasters.”

After the show, the record company supplied us with copies of the new CD. It was finally in our hands. We all went back to the hotel for a drink. But not long after, everything was closing (pubs close at 11 PM in London), so it had to be a short night and tomorrow we would all fly home.

 Set List: all your fault, border radio, rebound, daddy rollin’ stone, precious memories, I’m shakin’, 4-11-44, dark night, red rose, bone yard, your kind of love, dry river, so long baby goodbye, slip of the tongue, american music, marie marie. Encore: trouble bound, one bad stud. Beer: Budweiser (brewed in England with a higher alcohol content)