Do you ever ask yourself, “Who is that dude behind the bar? What the hell does he do when he's not pouring me a pint?” You should ask him sometime, because you never know who he might be. For example, if you are a regular at either Blooms Saloon (on Potrero Hill) or Finnegan's Wake (in Cole Valley) then you've probably seen Alvin Warwas.
Here's his story.
“After I graduated from Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a master's degree in aeronautics and astronautics,” Warwas recounts, “I went to work on an early version of the Star Wars [missile defense] program.”
And then …
“I started playing folk music in coffeehouses around Boston,” Warwas continues. “I performed in a group called Gary, Louise, & Alvin. I sent [Pete Seeger] a song. He liked it and sent it to Broadside Magazine in the Village. I had several folk songs published there over the years.” For the uninitiated, Broadside was the original underground zine for the folk scene in early-'60s New York; it's authentic counterculture history.
Today, Warwas continues to write, perform, and self-release his music. Last year, he penned the locally themed folk ditty “Pitch to Barry” and slipped a demo into the jukeboxes at both his bars.
“I was thinking about how Barry Bonds was setting all these records, and no one had written a song about him,” Warwas explains. “Anyway, I had this image from a few years ago when one of his kids in the stands was holding a sign saying 'Pitch to My Dad.'”
Since then both KFOG and KNBR have featured the tune, and Warwas recently produced a CD single as well.
So, yeah, you never know who that dude behind the bar really is, right?