New Peter Wolf album; Throwback video

peterwolfIt’s criminal, you know, that the J. Geils Band is not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  And it matters for one selfish reason: there is a credibility bump that translates to dollars available on the road. Simply put, you get in, your career gets better.

So selfishly – and correctly, I might add – the Boston band needs to get in.  They need to earn a spot for one main reason: so they will continue to play live as a band, and more fans (like me) can see Peter Wolf and the band blaze through the rock and blues and soul revue that they do so well.

Wolf, meanwhile, rolls right on along, all 135 pounds of him.  The 70 year-old singer, who has reunited with the Geils boys as recently as last year for the opening slot on the Bob Seger tour, has his own band, and they are set to hit the road for a tour. On April 8, Wolf released A Cure For Loneliness,  a followup to 2010s Midnight Souvenirs.  While the previous album leaned on a rootsy, country-ish Memphis groove, the new record is a soul album, lashed with country, with the always-present Boston R&B.  Plus, there is a reworked cover take on the J. Geils hit “Love Stinks”, tipped musically to bluegrass.

A couple links follow, one for the first single “Wastin’ Time”, one of the two or three best songs on the record, The second link is to a brilliant and unseen-outside-of-Boston PSA for the Boston library.  It is a bit of subversive video work before it was cool for libraries and NPR to play things a bit more hip.  Plus, a nice job of keeping the acting straight from the “Woofa Goofa”.

ADDENDUM: I got into a discussion at a music club one night with a friend, and we ended up trying to rank the top 5 rock and roll frontmen of all time. (Not the singer/songwriter Springsteen/Prince/Sly  Stone model – frontmen, you see,  can’t be known for playing instruments.  They sing.  They play some tambourine). I said Peter Wolf belongs on that top 5 list.  May have even said he was top 3.  We were drinking. I probably mentioned that if you really think about it, Wolf may be the most underrated frontman of all rock and roll time.  I think we agreed on Jagger at the top, and then it got murky real quick.  Freddie Mercury? Steven Tyler?  Eddie Vedder?  Roger Daltrey?  Paul Rodgers? Jim Morrison? Elvis?

 

 

 

VIDEO: J. Geils Band in Boston – Aug. 7, 2011

The wonderful, rollicking, rolling, rhythm and blues of the fantastic, still doin’ it, dirty water-drinkin’ J. Geils Band.  They tore it up in Beantown Sunday night in the first of a series of mostly East Coast dates (except for an annual pilgrammage to Detroit on August 19) .  Worthy video choice here – and don’t tell me they don’t belong in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame…

VIDEO: “Looking for a Love”

Our most popular post? Who would have guessed the J. Geils video…

As of this week, the Rockforward Music blog has posted 308 times since we started watching all things roots-rock back in mid-2009.  I’ve written and posted video about Indiana music, and bits from a more national perspective, that are either interesting to me, a bit odd, or maybe just some damn good, goosebump-inducing rock and roll that’s worth spending four minutes of your day on.

There ‘s been weeks when it has been all great rock video posts from YouTube.  There’s been weeks when I have posted my diatribe on the uselessness/irrelevence of MySpace.  Some weeks find me writing every day, some weeks produce one (though high-quality and award-winning) post.

And since we started, there have been two posts that reign as the most popular, day-after-day, stretching for months at a time.  Their daily traffic many times surpasses the roots-rock news updates, the concert previews, the album reviews, the show reviews and even the the behind-the-scenes peeks at the sleazy underbelly of rock music that get passed to you, the reader.

One of these two popular posts (I will write about the other next week) has been a ten-minute, three-song live video featuring the legendary R&B/rock stylings of the J.Geils Band, recorded with one camera, close to the Fenway Park stage as the band opened for Aerosmith in August, 2010. 

Why this video?  My guess? 

I don’t really know.  In the big rock picture, J. Geils is, for right or wrong, not a huge band (and still waiting to get into the R&R Hall of Fame), though they picked up a second generation of fans with the “Centerfold”/”Freeze Frame” punch. It is a pretty clean side-stage shot, though only slightly above-average sound.  A big, unique setup at an old baseball park, so that is intersting.  The bill is shared with Aerosmith.  It is a vintage, interesting, from-the-soul performance.   It is all those things.  But why this more traffic-worthy than of the other 307 entries, many of which took a whole lot more time to write than putting the one video on the blog. 

Truthfully? I have no fuckin’ idea. 

But I like it.

Peter Wolf at Fenway Park (photo: Boston Globe/click photo to read their review)

And the nicely trashy rumor at the show was that J. Geils singer Peter Wolf got into a heated argument with Aerosmith front dude Steven Tyler before the show after Wolf was told he couldn’t take his moves and romps onto the ramp that stretched into the crowd – only Tyler was going to be doing that.

Watch the video: Wolf uses the ramp.

2011 Rock Hall Nominees: Who will get in? Who won’t? Rob tells all

With the 2011 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees just announced, there are a couple easy picks and many nominees that elicit a “huh?”  Plus, the slights just keep on comin’ 

First, who is not nominated: Cheap Trick, Rush, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Devo, Stevie Ray Vaughn or KISS. And how about Willie Nelson? It’s criminal, I say. 

Among the 15 artists, first-time nominees (artists who released their first record in 1985 are eligible for the first time) include Bon Jovi, Tom Waits, Neil Diamond, Donovan and Alice Cooper. Previously nominated artists include J. Geils Band, LL Cool J and the Beastie Boys, along with New Orleans legend Dr. John, disco queen Donna Summer, and R&B/disco act Chic. Also nominated are Laura Nyro, Darlene Love, Chuck Willis and Joe Tex.  Continue reading “2011 Rock Hall Nominees: Who will get in? Who won’t? Rob tells all”

Remember Them? Detroit’s Rockets Return

The Rockets (then)

There once was, and is again,  a rock and roll band from Detroit called The Rockets.  A helluva rock band.  No big hits, but Detroit rock radio embraced them, and they were local heroes from 1972 until they faded away in 1983.

The pedigree that made them noteworthy were two leaders that were driving forces behind the Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels.  Johnny (Bee) Badanjek (drums) and Jim McCarty (guitar) both fueled the R&B rock and roll craziness of Ryder’s sound, and, as musicians do, eventually left the band to do their own thing.

They became the Rockets. 

You could have dubbed them “Kings of the Openers”; they opened for the big rock bands of the time  – and not just in Detroit. They traveled with KISS, Seger, ZZ Top, among many.  But they never could get any bigger than that.  Never had a big radio hit beyond the Motor City.   But even the band’s later stuff , like “Rollin’ By The Record Machine” elicited a vintage Bob Seger energy.

With lead vocalist Dave Gilbert, the Rockets reached their biggest success in 1979 with a Top 40 hit doing a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Oh Well”.  The hard partying Gilbert  ended up taking a job hanging drywall, and died  in 2001 at age 49.

Badanjek is one of rocks truly great drummers.  And McCarty an engaging, gritty rock guitarist.  They had continued to play music, just not together.  That changed when they formed the Motor City Music Review in 2009, a Motown/rock and roll cover-type band. Then into a band called the Hell Drivers, with new frontman Jim Edwards. Things started to happen. 

Promoters in Detroit and Flint and Toledo started to call.   How about a Rockets show? So they morphed back into The Rockets. And if the story ended here, with the band playing bars in Detroit, it would still be good, right?  Continue reading “Remember Them? Detroit’s Rockets Return”