"Guys like you and me; they strike oil under our gardens and all we get is dead tomatoes".Eddie Wilson- Eddie and the Cruisers
Not necessarily the case with Alvin Jett; artistic endeavor at the root, like in the movie Eddie and the Cruisers. Let's sub out the greed theme that was portrayed in the the 1983 movie for, social demand perhaps? Spin it just right and it fits.
I was able to talk to one of my favorite "missing" musicians, Alvin Jett, recently. Nobody has heard from him in a couple years and, to this day, I still get people asking almost weekly about what might have happened to him, and what became of him? "Like Eddie and the Cruisers, he just up and disappeared", is what I tell folks. I think it's sexy put like that, good story telling like that. Perhaps we should shuttle him in for a night, then whisk him a way, like that.
Now, I know that he didn't drive his car off a bridge under duress over his artistic integrity not measuring up to record label needs. I am not even sure his car would have started. It was no secret that Alvin needed to get out of town and get it together. Nobody was surprised by his exit. And it was also no secret that there were and still are a lot of people who genuinely care about him, and want him to get stable once and for all, and return to his roots.
This local rise to fame story; he who was awarded the top blues act in St. Louis by the Riverfront Times in 2010, the man and myth once relied upon by this promoter, on many occasions, to fill the room as well as other larger stages at local festivals, had to leave or risk, well, whatever he was running from. I will leave it at that.
Alvin and his band, Phat noiZ, made up of Alvin Jett on vocals and guitar, Marlin Harris on drums and Nephew Davis on bass, were part of the Soulard musicianhood--those local blues players good enough to have earned the stage at joints like Hammerstones, BB's, 1860 and other clubs requiring a "standard" of excellence measured by how well you fill the house. "The boys", as I called them handled my blues jam every Wednesday for a couple years, at the Wolf Public House. They took over after my band, Jimmyleg and the Browndogs had run its course. Since I owned the joint, I learned a lot by jumping in with these guys, and the other blues musicians trekking out to West County, each Wednesday, until Alvin bailed.
Yes, it was good to hear from ole Alvin Jett. He was energised and working hard to invent and/or re-invent himself in a major market somewhere far away. That big smile of his will inventively get him in the door, as he always has, and he will deliver. I asked him what I could do to help get him back to the Lou and he said it was complicated, but doable. I might have been the one who said it was doable. I am working on it, ifyouknowhatimtalkinbout.
On a street in New Jersey a crowd gathers to look into a store window. It's the end of the movie, and "A Season in Hell", produced from a rescued master is finally released and premiered for the first time, and as the lights from the television dim, the crowd walks away, leaving only one person standing at the window. The reflection appears in the store window, revealing it to be a much-older and long-lost (insert Alvin) Eddie Wilson. He smiles serenely, proud to know that his work, misunderstood all those years ago, is finally being heard, and he disappears into the night.