Foghat to play show at Community Arts Center

The band Foghat first rose to fame in the 1970s with hit songs like “Slow Ride,” “I Just Want to Make Love to You” and “Drivin’ Wheel,” but the group’s current fanbase now includes more than just the baby boomers who originally discovered their music on the radio. Thanks to movies like 1993’s “Dazed and Confused” and video games like 2007’s “Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock,” the boogie rock music of Foghat has continued to find new audiences through the years.

Soon, local fans of all ages will get a chance to experience the group playing live, when Foghat puts on a show at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 14 at the Community Arts Center, 220 West Fourth Street. Opening acts slated for the program include students of the Uptown Music Collective and the rock band Firefall (“You Are the Woman,” “Just Remember I Love You”).

“The last three years have been some of the best years we’ve had in like 30 years or more,” said drummer Roger Earl. “The band is playing great, and we have been doing a whole bunch of sold out shows.

“Life is really good at the moment,” he added.

As the lone original member of the band remaining, Earl said that Foghat will continue to tour as long as he can still get back behind his drum kit. Since forming the band with Dave Peverett, Tony Stevens and Rod Price in 1971, it’s been Earl who has carried the Foghat flag through the decades by being the only member of the group to endure its many different configurations.

“I sometimes tell people, ‘You better come and see us, otherwise we might not be around much longer,'” Earl said. “I do that instead of saying ‘this is Foghat’s last tour,’ which everybody else seems to be doing.

“Of course, we are never going to do a last tour,” he added. “I guess the last tour will be when I depart, and I have no intention of doing that.”

For most of the last two decades, Foghat’s lineup has remained largely the same. In 1999, the group brought on Bryan Bassett to play lead guitar, and a year later added Charlie Huhn to take over lead vocals and rhythm guitar, following the death of longtime frontman Peverett.

Before joining Foghat, Bassett played in two other widely loved bands — Wild Cherry and Molly Hatchet — and his most famous guitar lick can be heard in the opening of Wild Cherry’s 1976 hit single “Play That Funky Music.”

“The reason that Bryan is in the band is because of ‘Lonesome’ Dave — he picked him,” Earl said. “When Rod Price left the band, Dave said ‘Bryan will do it,’ and Bryan has done it ever since.

“Bryan is an incredible guitar player and slide player,” he added.

Much like Bassett, Huhn also played with some big acts prior to his days in Foghat, including a run with Ted Nugent that saw him take over lead vocals on the track “Weekend Warriors.”

With Earl, Bassett and Huhn now comprising the nucleus of Foghat, the group also brings in Rodney O’Quinn to play bass when it goes out on tour. O’Quinn has been playing with the group since 2015, when he was picked to replace longtime Foghat bassist Craig Macgregor, who would later die from lung cancer.

“(O’Quinn) used to play with another band, and Craig went to see them one night and he called me up the next day and said, ‘You need Rodney O’Quinn, he’s like a mini-me,'” said Earl. “It has worked out great.”

As for his own playing, Earl said that his drumming style has seen some changes through the years. That’s mostly due to some injuries and surgeries that have forced him to adapt his playing style. He’s now currently back to playing with a traditional grip with his left hand, after attempting to switch over to a tympani/matched grip.

“I probably can’t play quite as fast as I used to, but I think my playing has improved immensely,” Earl said. “I play in a much more relaxed style, and I have more control.

“I used to have what I think you could call ‘youthful exhuberence’ which might be construed as playing songs a little faster than they were meant to be,” he added, with a laugh.

At the upcoming Foghat concert at the CAC, Earl said fans can expect a great show that includes most of Foghat’s biggest and most memorable hits.

“We’re going to blow their sneakers away,” he said. “It will be rocking.

“Every year, we will change up the set and put in four or five different songs,” Earl added. “We have a studio down here in Florida, where we recorded our last three albums, and we go down there and pull a new set together each year.”

Foghat has recently enjoyed playing shows with acts like Bad Company, George Thorogood and Dwight Yoakam, but having the students of Uptown Music Collective help open up this show should be a special thrill for them. It’s also extremely exciting for all of those at UMC.

“Anytime our students get to perform on the same bill as world class rock bands like Foghat and Firefall, it’s an amazing educational experience as well as an amazing life experience,” said Dave Brumbaugh, UMC’s executive director. “Interacting with successful professionals, and having the chance to step on the same stage with them isn’t something that every young musician get’s a chance to do.

“We are so thankful for people like promoter Paul Mahoney, and the many other people and organizations that have given generations of our students opportunities like this,” he added.

For more information on the show, visit Caclive.com or call 570-326-2424.