Peter Wolf to sing, share stories in Ann ArborWritten by Vicki L. Kroll | | firstname.lastname@example.org
It was Peter Blankfield’s grandmother who gave the rowdy youngster growing up in the Bronx his nickname: “Little Wolf.”
“She was the lady who gave me my first cigarette, my first taste of whiskey, and she brought me to the theater,” he said of Anna, who was an actress in New York City’s Yiddish Theater. “She had a great influence on me. She was somebody who sort of steered me in the direction that I’m in now.”
And that term of endearment became his stage name — eventually.
“I started as a painter and painted all my life, and I always was a music fan. And then when I came to Boston to study painting, I had a roommate — his name was David Lynch — he decided to go into filmmaking, and I decided to go into music,” he said.
Wolf became a star as the passionate lead singer with a penchant for fast-talking storytelling in The J. Geils Band. With that energetic frontman, the group’s live shows became legendary.
Think of “Must of Got Lost” with Wolf’s epic intro, complete with “Woofa Goofa with the green teeth.”
“We used to go through Cleveland and Detroit with The J. Geils Band; just being able to connect with the audiences and having audiences remain loyal throughout the years is a meaningful thing for someone that does what I do,” the singer-songwriter said.
His love of music was influenced by a concert organized by DJ Alan Freed he saw when he was 10.
“At that show was Jerry Lee Lewis; Little Richard; Chuck Berry; Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers; Buddy Holly; The Everly Brothers; Screamin’ Jay Hawkins; Jo Ann Campbell, the Blonde Bombshell; Dion and the Belmonts; and Dicky Doo and The Don’ts. So I was baptized into rock ’n’ roll at a very early age,” he recalled during a call from Boston.
“Seeing that show, it was pretty hard to beat. When I look back at it, the remarkable thing is I remember every performer and I don’t necessarily remember the exact songs they did, but I remember all the different performers; it just stayed with me all my life.”
Wolf will play two sold-out shows May 4-5 at The Ark in Ann Arbor.
Tags: "Little Wolf", Ann Arbor, Boston, Bronx, Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, Cleveland, David Lynch, Detroit, Dicky Doo and The Don’ts, Dion and the Belmonts, DJ Alan Freed, filmmaking, Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers, green teeth, Jerry Lee Lewis, Jo Ann Campbell, Little Richard, New York City’s Yiddish Theater, Peter Blankfield, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, The Ark, the Blonde Bombshell, The Everly Brothers, The J. Geils Band, Woofa Goofa