Aha Moment: Dave Alvin & Curtis Mayfield
Friday, May 25, 2012
A generation ago, the singer-songwriter Dave Alvin founded the rootsy-rock band The Blasters with his brother Phil in Los Angeles — and they made an indelible mark on the early 1980’s punk scene. “We became you know, I won’t say rock stars,” Alvin remembers. “We became cult heroes.”
But the life of a working musician, often playing to very small crowds, was trying. During a rough patch in the late ‘80s, Alvin found himself mourning the deaths of family and friends, deeply in debt, and ready to give up on the music industry.
In 1989, Alvin went to see Curtis Mayfield perform at the Palomino Club in Los Angeles. While he was initially disappointed to find the soul legend playing to a meager audience of 80 people, Alvin was transformed by the performance. “I’ll just be me,” he resolved. “[I’m] gonna play to 80 people and love it as much as Curtis did.”
(Originally aired: January 13, 2006)
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