Phil Alvin

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Phil Alvin
Phil Alvin, July 4, 2009, Irvine, California
Phil Alvin, July 4, 2009, Irvine, California
Background information
Birth namePhilip Joseph Alvin
Born (1953-03-06) 6 March 1953 (age 69)
Downey, California, U.S.
GenresRock, roots rock
Occupation(s)Vocalist, musician, songwriter
Instrument(s)Vocals, guitar, harmonica

Philip Joseph Alvin (born March 6, 1953) is an American singer and guitarist known primarily as the leader of the rock band The Blasters. His voice has been described as ", resonant, [and] supremely confident."[1]


Alvin grew up in Downey, California in a music-loving family where he and his younger brother Dave Alvin were exposed to blues, rockabilly, and country. Inspired and influenced by the music they grew up with, Phil and Dave formed the rock and roll band The Blasters in the late 1970s with fellow Downey residents Bill Bateman and John Bazz.[2] The group released four studio albums between 1980 and 1985. While never achieving mass market success on the music charts, the group's recordings and concerts drew critical acclaim and a cult following across the United States and Europe.[2]

In 1986, after The Blasters had disbanded, Alvin released a solo album, Un "Sung Stories". He then returned to graduate school at California State University, Long Beach, where he eventually earned a master's degree in mathematics and artificial intelligence. Numerous accounts have stated that Alvin earned a Ph.D. degree.[3][4] However, there is reason to believe that this accepted wisdom is not accurate, and that Alvin's most advanced degree is in fact a master's degree.[citation needed] Incidentally, before launching his music career, Alvin had taught mathematics at the same university.[5]

When The Blasters reconvened in 1986 without Dave Alvin, who was pursuing a solo career and other projects, Phil resumed his role as the band's lead vocalist, rhythm guitarist, and harmonica player.[4][5] In 1994, he released a second solo album, County Fair 2000.[4] In 2005, under Alvin's leadership, a revised configuration of The Blasters released 4-11-44, the first studio album from the group since 1985.[2] The band followed that effort in 2012 with the studio album, Fun On Saturday Night.[2]

In June 2012, while playing in Spain with The Blasters, Alvin had a near-death experience owing to an infection from an abscessed tooth. Though he had an emergency tracheotomy and flatlined twice, he recovered with his voice intact.[6]

In 2014, Phil and Dave Alvin released the album Common Ground, a selection of Big Bill Broonzy covers, as a duo.[7] It was the first studio collaboration by the Alvin brothers since the mid-1980s.[8][9] They followed up with Lost Time in 2015.

More than 40 years after The Blasters got started, and despite ongoing health concerns in recent years, Phil Alvin remains their frontman. The lineup includes two other original members, John Bazz and Bill Bateman, as well as Keith Wyatt.[10]


with The Blasters[edit]

  • American Music (1980)
  • The Blasters (1981)
  • Over There (1982)
  • Non Fiction (1983)
  • Hard Line (1985)
  • The Blasters Collection (1990)
  • Testament: The Complete Slash Recordings (2002)
  • The Blasters Live - Going Home (2004)
  • 4-11-44 (2005)
  • Fun On Saturday Night (2012)

Solo albums[edit]

The Blasters videography[edit]


  1. ^ Boehm, Mike (December 14, 1992). "A Rich, Vibrant Late-Night Show with Phil Alvin". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2019-09-17.
  2. ^ a b c d Sullivan, Denise "Artist Biography: The Blasters",
  3. ^ Cromelin, Richard (November 12, 1998). "A Blaster From the Past". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 26, 2014.
  4. ^ a b c Ankeny, Jason "Artist Biography: Phil Alvin",
  5. ^ a b Willman, Chris (June 1, 1986). "Phil Alvin: New Blasters, Old Songs". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 28, 2014.
  6. ^ Rosen, Craig (December 15, 2012). "The Blasters' frontman Phil Alvin takes to the stage New Year's Eve after a scary 2012". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2019-09-17.
  7. ^ Gallo, Phil (February 19, 2014). "Dave Alvin & Phil Alvin Talk 'Common Ground' Album, Premiere 'All By Myself' Song: Listen Exclusively". Billboard. Retrieved June 26, 2014.
  8. ^ Dougherty, Steve (May 29, 2014). "A Torn-Up Band of Brothers, Finally on the Mend". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved June 26, 2014.
  9. ^ Lewis, Randy (June 6, 2014). "Dave and Phil Alvin, former Blasters mates, resurrect partnership". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 26, 2014.
  10. ^ Fadroski, Kelli Skye (August 2, 2021). "X, Los Lobos and The Blasters rock Pacific Amphitheatre". San Bernardino Sun. Retrieved 2021-10-05.

External links[edit]