Foghat: Ready To Take A Slow Rocking Ride Through Southern California
The legendary Foghat remain busier than ever, ready to make 2017 an absolutely epic year. Recently announced performances include Jeff & Larry’s Backyard Barbeque, a Live Nation tour with Jeff Foxworthy & Larry the Cable Guy. Also on the schedule is Rock Getaway – two weeks of great music on the Riviera Maya in Mexico from October 26th through November 5th! Foghat will be sharing the stage with the likes of Santana, Don Henley, Roger Daltrey, Bad Company, Pat Benatar, Steve Miller, Foreigner, Cheap Trick, George Thorogood, REO and more!
But first, it’s time for another visit to Southern California. where Foghat will be performing two very special club shows. Expect to hear raging renditions of Fool For The City, Slow Ride and many other Foghat classics at The Rose in Pasadena on May 25th, and at The Canyon Club in Agoura Hills on May 26th.
Highwire Daze Online recently caught up with Foghat’s longtime drummer (and original member) Roger Earl to discuss the upcoming So Cal shows, their brand new album Live At The Belly Up, their current studio entreaty Under The Influence, playing at the Ronnie Montrose Remembered show in the OC earlier in the year, and many other topics of intrigue! Grab a bottle of Foghat Wine and read on…
What are you looking forward to the most about the upcoming dates in Southern California?
We don’t normally get a chance to play in clubs, we usually play in venues or casinos or festivals, so I always enjoy playing smaller rooms. About 6 or 7 years ago I believe we played in California at the Canyon Club and it was fun.
What can an audience expect from these two live shows that you’re going to be doing?
We’re redoing the whole set this year. We took a couple weeks off this month to work on the songs. We’ve got four days of rehearsal before we come down to California. We are going to play some of the new songs off of the new album. And we are revamping the set, moving the songs around.
For people who haven’t heard the new album, how does Under the Influence compare to classic Foghat releases?
It’s a rock and roll record. I think people are just going to have to listen to it themselves to judge. I’ve really taken to it. It’s taken about three years to get it done. It’s the first time we used a producer in 20 or 30 years, Tom Hamburg produced the record. Ron Beckett our slide player helped out on the recordings when we were messing around with the songs. And we also helped mix some things. It took two or three years to get it done. And Tom Hambridge is an incredible producer. He is great to work with. He is also a drummer. I was okay with that.
One drummer to another, that must have been fun. [laughs]
It was. The coffee table suffered at about 3 or 4 in the morning after a couple of cognacs. Other than that we had a good time as well.
What made you decide to release Live at the Belly Up on CD, and record this particular performance?
Well they offered this gig down at the Belly Up in San Diego. It’s a very cool club, so I figured why not play there. So we didn’t get paid as much. They have a great engineer there. Our front of house guy was there. The recording was terrific. We got a chance to play some of the new stuff off of the new album live and record them. We also did another song, 8 Days in a Row which I don’t think has been recorded before, not live anyway. And a couple of other songs. So it turned out pretty good. So we put it out on the label. Foghat Records.
You have a few things coming up this summer. Tell me about Jeff Foxworthy and Larry The Cable Guy Backyard BBQ that Foghat will be involved in.
We haven’t done any shows with Jeff and Larry yet. I expect it to be interesting. It’s going to be a lot of fun. They’re both really cool guys. Music and comedy. They have been accused of being a comedy act, but I’m looking forward to it. It sounds really fun and interesting. Backyard barbeque. I’m good at barbeques.
Then you have another show coming up, the Rock Getaway in Mexico? Tell us about that show.
That’s in October and November down in Cancun I think. We are playing six shows down there, Thursday, Friday and Saturday in October and Thursday, Friday, Saturday in November. I don’t know, free food, free booze on the beach down in Mexico. It will be pretty out there. Fantastic. There is a whole bunch of great bands playing. Actually it’s going to be a vacation for the crew. Our wives and girlfriends, everybody is going to be down there. The office is gonna close down for a couple of weeks. Everyone can work from laptops. I’m looking forward to it. Coconuts, lime juice and tequila. Yeah, that sounds like a good deal. Only on the days off, though. [laughs]
Earlier in the year you did a special guest appearance at a Ronnie Montrose Remembered show. Tell me about that and tell me about working with Ronnie Montrose in the past.
When Sammy Hagar was in the band, we did a bunch of shows around 75′ 76′ somewhere around there. We became really good friends. Ronnie was an incredible guitar player and a really cool guy. We all became really cool friends, in fact. Sammy and the rest of the band would all be hanging out with us – maybe because we had all the food and wine and whatever they wanted. It was a lot of fun. It was a fantastic band. They played great every night and that first album that Montrose did, it’s a classic. After he passed, they asked if I would come and play a few songs and I said yeah I’d love to do that. So as a tribute to Ronnie I played a few songs. What was interesting was, playing with a whole bunch of other bass players and drummers, and guitar players that were younger than me. They all seem to know Foghat tunes. It was a lot of fun and Ronnie was a beautiful man. He was an incredible guitar player. It was an honor for me to do it.
Do you still enjoy playing Slow Ride and Fool For The City after all this time?
Oh yeah! I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t enjoy it. One of the things about Foghat when we were making albums and when we record, we’ve always had control of what we do. It wasn’t like a producer or somebody would tell us what to do. We stand by what we did, Slow Ride is a great tune to play as is Fool For The City. I don’t have a problem with it, in fact I look forward to it every night.
Do you have any messages for Foghat fans here in Southern California who are reading this now?
R: Yeah, a good time will be had by one and all. And I think we are going to have some Foghat wine available there as well. I’ll sign the bottles and help you drink them as well – after the show…
(Interview by Ken Morton – Photos by Jack Lue)
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