Blast from the Past

The Blasters keep the fire and brimstone burning

"The recording industry was a furniture business!" he shouts, referring to pioneer Ralph Peer and RCA/Victor. "And a recording master, that is only important to someone who can't make that song again. As long as corporations make value out of freezing the music, freezing the masters, saying you stole four bars of this song or whatever, musicians themselves have been able to get away with murder. They don't have to compete against music through time. They only have to compete with what's in their immediate history or memory."

Alvin claims to be more than ready to release more studio recordings — the Blasters' first, last and only studio album since 1982, 4-11-44, was released in 2004 — but he remains intensely suspicious of any and all recording contracts. He believes the Internet will eventually make label exploitation obsolete, but he knows he won't live to see it. Ultimately, the survival and furtherance of the natural language of American music, regardless of fashion and form, remain his passion and mission.

"Country music!?!" he barks, exasperated by idea of genre, any genre. "It's fucking ridiculous! Were there really cowboys? There were. And they wrote poems. But it wasn't cowboys who made this music. You know what Hank Williams said about playing at the Opry? 'They got me here in this git up!' A white cowboy suit and a hat. As long as we've had these investment groups, we've had these divisions: the white guy singing the blues and the black guy singing white music. But the music doesn't lie.

"Music has a job to do," he repeats. "It's our music."

9 p.m. Monday, July 3. Beale on Broadway, 701 South Broadway. $12. 314-621-7880.

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