Rock Around the World •   ‘r 1976   17




It’s 2:00 in the morning, and I gotta get this article together; I’ve been sitting here pondering for hours, persistently digging through what are now frazzled brain cells in an effort to come up with a Foghat story that is not only interesting to the readers of Rock Around the World, but which will incorporate some Fogfacts that haven’t already been said. Suddenly it occurs to me that Paul Fishkin (more fondly known by the group as “The Fish”), Bearsville Records and manager Tony Outeda have nurtured a smash hit act which is virtually hookless. In this age. with the thousands of rock bands flapping around in the whirlwind, that in itself is quite an eminent accomplishment. Dedication and persistence have not only augmented Foghat. but have done so with polished integrity. Quite a commendable goal to reach.

Funny thing about goals—how they change and flow with the days’ happenings. Both Lonesome Dave Peverett, guitarist and vocalist, and Roger Earl, the sassy-sort drummer, left the reigns of Savoy Brown in ’72 with the goal in mind to form a new group. Undeniably Savoy was churning out some pretty zingy music, but as the story on the street goes, Earl and Peverett were somehow at the short end of the stick. Once out on their own, that stick was gone. Over there in left field was Rod Price. guitarist from the historical artifact Blackcat Bones, of which Paul Kossoff was also a member. Price plays a real spicy slide guitar on his prided Les Paul. neatly complementing Peverett’s rhythm; the trio combined with bassist Tony Stevens, got it all together. and goal one was accomplished. They decided to call themselves Foghat, a name for which absolutely no one has an explanation. but really, what’s in a name anyhow? Goal number two was to get out there giggirg, and to produce an album.

That Foghat must be lined with satin, as right from that first LP creditability was established, as Dave Edmonds agreed to produce it. Edmonds was already a demi-God in his own right to many English blues fanatics as a result of his glorious works with Love Sculpture, and with his affiliation, Foghat was granted an automatic degree of respectability. Though the first album (simply entitled “Foghat”), did not sell too well at first (it has since been ceritfied gold). the first track of the album. “I Just Wanna Make Love To You” was a hit when released in May of 1972, and the group then hit the road, “commuting to America,” as Lonesome Dave puts it, as the Englishmen were still living in their native homeland at the time. In these early days, Dave was lamely built to be a sort of mystery man. It was not until their latest LP release (the 5th for the group, “Fool For The City”), that his full name even appeared for credit. Lamely I say. as with even this fact in mind, and some investigation, this potential “hook” turned out to be just another dead end alley. The group is frustrating’y gimmickless, and has made it purely on the tradition of English blues without experimentation, but flavored with sonic 1950’s American rock. The result is catchy, predictable and great fun

live, which is how the group prefers to play, yet eons and light years away from subtle, in direct contrast to the group’s almost sneaky emergence on the concert scene.

Foghat’s second LP, (“Rock and Roll,” cleverly tagged with this name by the cover which is a photograph of a rock and a roll), and their third (“Energized.” also certified gold), were both produced by Tom Dawes, a protege of the late Brian Epstein, v, ho quietly disappeared from rock illumination after the break-up of The Cyrkle. (known for the smasher “Red Rubber Ball,”), of which he was a member, and who was just as strangely resurrected briefly to work on these two LPs (1973); since then, he has once again vanished from the spotlights. Yet the unpretentious Foghat rock had started rolling, perhaps with the help of these discreetly influential friends, still terribly overlooked by the industry in general. but seemingly on tour forever, swooping up scores of unexpecting fans wherever they appeared. Here again, goals had been met and re-set, with an admirable ability to remain humble. With the release of “Rock and Roll Outlaws.” and then “Fool For The City,” from which their current hits “Slow Ride,” and the title track were both culled. (both produced by Nick Jameson. best known for his work with Tim Moore). Foghat really skyrocketed, and had built a sturdy foundation from which to blast off. As Foghat members are confident enough to leave obstinance behind, those who have worked with them are invariably eager to do so again. Promoters love them as they haven’t “copped attitudes.” not to mention the revenue flowing around, and the group is impressively breaking attendance records all over the country. as in Pittsburgh last February. where they broke one previously held by Led Zeppelin by drawing almost 3000 people more. Last April a non existent concert promotion company allegedly sold $16,000 worth of tickets to a Foghat concert that was just not happening. The group and Outeda were enraged and promised the people of St. Cloud. Minnesota, that somehow they would make amends for this blasphemous deception. Demand for the group is on the constant uprise, three out of their five albums are gold, with “Fool” just a splinter away from that gleaming platinum

status. The group is currently recording their 6th LP while “Fool For The City.” after its release, still rides firmly in the charts. (Says Roger Earl. “We don’t like the quick in and out.. . .”)

This sixth LP is being produced by Jimmy lovine. noted for his engineering of Springsteen’s “Born To Run.” and Lennon’s “Rock ‘n Roll,” and “Walls and Bridges” albums, and should be released in late September. just prior to their next undoubtedly mammoth concert tour. The latest album will include the group’s third bassist Craig MacGregor. who joined Foghat earlier this year. “These last six months have been the happiest of our lives.” beams Rod Price, “Craig is fabulous, we all feel he has added just whatever that vibe was we needed to keep the flow optimistic. It’s a constant boost of spirits.”

MacGregor. aside from his musical additions, has been helpful in some more obscure areas as well. Reared in Connecticut. Craig’s knowledge of baseball was quite instrumental this past July 3rd. when the DeeJay’s from Pittsburgh’s 13Q challenged the group to a game, opening up. shall we say, for the Phillies/Pirates game. Welp . . . Foghat whipped ’em 6-2; drummer Roger Earl. first up to hat. slammed a home run, to the amazement of all. no doubt with Mr. Earl being the most surprised.

Peverett, Earl and Price seem quite content lolling about in American suburbia (“All night T.V.!” Price loves it . . .). Smart move, their relocating to this side, ‘cur from this base they can unrelentlessly charm our audiences with their brazenly blended tones. Winning American support is an overwhelming challenge . . . and when they return to England to face the cynical faces and press members, they will be well above and beyond their petty pickings, finally achieving the ultimate goal. But it was not all apples . . . they worked damned hard. As a support act. they tried to play with the best; as headliners, they constantly challenge themselves with top-notch support acts for themselves. “We work best under pressure.” Mr. Earl states adamantly, “if you’re working with a hot act, you just can’t he sloppy, you’ve GOT to be good.” NOT said. The rest is in the

dollars and sense.

—Donna Goldsmith-