Rock ‘n’ Roll never forgets: The J. Geils Band to open for Seger in ToledoWritten by Vicki L. Kroll | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Peter Wolf, the charismatic lead singer of The J. Geils Band, is a ramblin’ jamblin’ man. He always has a story to tell.
“I remember the first time I met Bob [Seger]. We were playing at the speedway in Detroit, and on the bill was The MC5, Iggy Pop and The Stooges, Alice Cooper, Catfish Hodge, Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels, and The J. Geils Band. And the opening act was Bob Seger,” he said. “We knew Bob from his early days.”
It’ll almost be like old times Jan. 20, but The J. Geils Band will open for Seger and The Silver Bullet Band at the Huntington Center. The sold-out show starts at 7:30 p.m.
“A lot of Bob Seger’s influences and roots are very much the same as The Geils Band; we both love that certain old time rock ‘n’ roll, and we love a lot of the early R&B — Chuck Berry and Little Richard,” Wolf said. “It was nice that Bob Seger asked us to be part of his tour.”
Wolf and original band members keyboardist Seth Justman, bassist Danny Klein and harmonica player Magic Dick will be joined by drummer Tom Arey and guitarists Duke Levine and Kevin Barry.
“It gives me an opportunity to revisit a body of work that I’ve known and played for so many years,” Wolf said of the tour.
Thanks to the passionate frontman with a penchant for fast talking, The J. Geils Band became known for its live shows during the 1970s.
Remember “Musta Got Lost” and Reputa the Beautah? The rockers had a blast playing “(It Ain’t Nothin’ But a) House Party,” “Give It to Me” and “Detroit Breakdown.”
“The live stuff is basically, things like ‘Full House’ and ‘Blow Your Face Out’ records, they were pretty much like photographic documents of the evening, and we didn’t alter anything. What you hear is what was there,” Wolf recalled.
With the 1980s came MTV — and commercial success.
“I think our ‘Love Stinks’ video cost something like a couple thousand dollars,” he said. “As things developed, things became more expensive and it was almost as if the video became more important than the music, and that’s when it became troubling.”
Videos for “Freeze Frame” and “Centerfold” were in heavy rotation in 1981.
“We happened to connect just as MTV was really becoming powerful. And then, unfortunately, the band went their separate ways just at the height of MTV,” he said. “The Geils Band could have gone a lot further because we were able to adapt to the video medium and have fun with it.”
On his own, Wolf hit with “Lights Out,” “Come As Your Are” and “Can’t Get Started.” Rolling Stone called “Fool’s Parade” one of the 50 most influential discs of the 1990s and dubbed “Sleepless” among the top 500 albums of all time.
“My solo stuff, it’s critically well-received, but not too many Geils fans know about it; [the songs] never get played on the radio,” he said during a call from a recording studio in Boston where he’s finishing a disc to be released this summer.
“I got into music because it was the best way to meet musicians,” Wolf said. “By being in music, I got to do duets with Aretha Franklin, Little Milton, Merle Haggard, Mick Jagger. I still consider myself a fan. The solo stuff enables me to continue working with musicians I admire.”