Salisbury Press

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Foghat brings its blues-rock to Penn’s Peak

Wednesday, May 15, 2019 by ERIN FERGUSON Special to The Press in Focus

Foghat with Savoy Brown and Earl & The Agitators All-Star Band, take the stage May 18 at Penn’s Peak, Jim Thorpe. The concert starts at 7 p.m.

Dubbed the “Kings of Boogie,” Foghat’s sound mixes blues, hard rock and boogie.

Delighting long-time fans, and youths who play “Guitar Hero III,” a videogame that features the group’s big hit, “Slow Ride,” Foghat continues to release new music every few years and has never stopped touring or recording even though the group has had many ups and downs

“Rock and roll music has been around since the 1940s and ‘50s and our music is still valid today,” says Roger Earl, drummer and a founder of Foghat.

“We have a lot of younger people coming to see us. Teens to 30s, college students. Maybe we got it right in the first place since we have so many coming out to see us,” says Earl.

Foghat, founded by Earl and “Lonesome Dave” Peverett and Tony Stevens, formed in 1971 when they left the British blues rock band, Savoy Brown. Rod Price, slide guitar-guitarist, joined Foghat shortly thereafter.

The group released its first album, “Foghat,” in 1972.

Foghat’s band name came about from a nonsense word that was created from a childhood Scrabble game played by Peverett and his brother.

The group’s debut album, produced by Dave Edmunds, featured a cover of Willie Dixon’s “I Just Want To Make Love to You,” a remake of Savoy Brown’s blues song, “Leavin’ Again (Again!),” and “Sarah Lee,” a blues song with Price’s slide guitar solo.

The band’s second album was dubbed “Rock and Roll” for its cover featuring a picture of a rock and a bread roll.

Foghat’s albums include “Energizer” (1974), “Rock and Roll Outlaws” (1974), “Fool for the City” (1975), “Night Shift” (1976), a live album (1977) and “Stone Blue” (1978).

Over the years, Foghat had many changes to its lineup. The 1980s was a challenging time for the band. Sales began to slip and the album, “Zig-Zag Walk,” barely made the charts. In 1993, the original lineup reunited and produced a comeback album, “Return of the Boogie Men” (1994).

Earl’s music roots run deep.

“I started playing drums and got into music because I had a passion and love for music. I grew up in southwest London and music was always in my house.

“My father loved to listen music and my brother did as well. They played a lot of American music, so I grew up listening to it. Even my grandmother had a whole bunch of American records. The GIs came over to England and they brought their music with them. American music has always influenced the world of music,” says Earl.

Foghat now consists of Earl, drums; Bryan Bassett, guitar-vocals; Charlie Huhn, guitar-lead vocals, and Rodney O’Quinn, bass.

The album, “Under the Influence,” was released in 2016. “Live at the Belly Up” was released in 2017.

“We had a party at BB Kings in Manhattan, which we recorded for the ‘Under the Influence’ album, but we haven’t got around to putting the DVD together. We’ve been busy and we aren’t going to stop making records,” Earl says.

Earl & The Agitators, a Foghat spin-off band, features Scott Holt, who was the second guitarist in the Buddy Guy Band for about 10 years.

“We were short some songs for the ‘Under the Influence’ album and I had been introduced to Scott Holt, so I invited him down to our studio in Florida and between there and Nashville we got to work. Myself, Bassett and Holt got together and wound up writing 17 songs.

“We had a really good time, so we put the Agitators together. We did a live recording in Chicago and recorded five live tracks there so people could actually hear that we could play live instead of just being a studio band.”

Of the Penn’s Peak concert, Earl says, “Hopefully, a good time will be had by one and all. Everyone knows each other so it’ll be exciting. A night of rock and roll and blues.

“I am really looking forward to it. Penn’s Peak is a fabulous room and the people who run it are really terrific,” says Earl.

Tickets: Penn’s Peak box office, 325 Maury Road, Jim Thorpe; pennspeak.com; ticketmaster.com; 800-745-3000