Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Foghat storms back to Strong Island

We came out to celebrate the first annual holiday party for the Long Island Music Hall of Fame at Mulcahy’s in Wantagh.  It was a modest crowd which surprised me.  I expected more fans especially since Foghat has strong Long Island roots. It’s a tough time to get a crowd with holiday parties, Christmas budgets, and more important their fans are getting older. I should have called the venue to check when Foghat came on the stage, then again I would have missed the incredible bluesman Kerry Kearney and his band.  After they left the stage I painfully endured an hour of the posing Vince Martell (vanilla fudge fame) and his band of brothers.  You could have grabbed any bar band in any dive across the island and they would have played better.  That said, thank you gentlemen for your service to this country, but hey you clowns have to admit Kerry should have played before Foghat; it would have made an excellent transition.  Let’s move on… Fingerz from WBAB introduced Foghat and referred to an interview he had with Roger Earl, the drummer for Foghat which I recommend listening to.  Fingerz handled the interview very well.  

The music stopped.  The lights dimmed enough for our old eyes to make out ghostly shadows which approached from the side.  It was the moment we waited for.  It was Foghat.  Our ears were tuned to the sounds of the slide guitar.  The crowd, I counted a couple hundred or so in Mulcahy’s which is in Wantagh suddenly rose up.  Yes, the old buzzed fans slowly surged closer and the band kicked it into gear, their first song? Fool for the City.  I had to put down my beer and get in for some pictures.  I have never seen Foghat and this was one of those gigs I had to take in for posterity. 

Let me explain, when I was a kid, Foghat was one band I was told I needed to listen to by the older kids on my block. These kids were tough, they drank beer and smoked cigarettes and pot and they were just cool with their bell bottom pants, clogs, and leather bracelets which were stamped with their names.  The girls wrote in bubble letters and the boys parted their hair in the middle and had pimples on their peach fuzzed chins.  There was loud music blaring from homemade, poorly wired speakers from trucks and open windows, Ted Nugent, Steve Miller band, Farah Fawcett posters (if your ma let you hang one up) and the sleek Trans Am, preferably in black - with the gold bird spread out on the hood of the car and of course you idiot - you had to have the gold rims.  This was the life of the Bellecrest Bums.  All of those incredible perks of the decade which…when consolidated…created an energy which erupted into fits of puberty.   So here’s the deal (1978) I was brought into Freddy Petersdorf’s house and told to sit down and just listen…Freddy spitted out, “This was real music.”  He always had white spit in the corners of his mouth and had gapped front teeth.  He pulled out the albums from the sleeve and placed them on the turntable.   He told me in strict confidence and in secret, these were special albums.  They belonged to his older brother.  Freddy's brother (Hank) was even cooler than the cool kids on the block since he didn’t say a word to any of us…we were just kids and he was really old...almost twenty.  He smirked at us and shook his head and smoked his Marlboros as if we pissed him off.   The needle popped onto the album.   I waited and tap…tap… listened…a wave radiated from the speakers. This was rock and now it’s referred to something called classic rock, but I don’t care about any of that, I am sorry for getting off the topic since I was that kid again when Foghat was on the stage and taking in the music and even caught a couple of beat up drum sticks which were tossed to the crowd.  They played, their first hit, "I just wanna make love to you" and "Stone Blue," do yourself a favor when you're bummed out or down and listen to that song. It will get you back to your feet.  

Roger Earl is the last original member of the band.  He plays with Bryan Bassett who played Wild Cherry (Play that Funky Music) and Molly Hatchett. Charlie Huhn sang lead and was the ultimate professional long blonde rock star dashing from one side to the stage to the other and having a great time, tossing guitar picks to the adoring crowd.  Charlie actually sang for Ted Nugent back in his weekend warrior’s days.  The bassist was a local Long Island kid who I’m sorry did not get his name though he looked familiar.  The kid did a damn a good job.

Slow Ride was the last song on their set and after that Foghat shook hands with a few of us and they walked off and that was it…

Randy Jackson of Zebra fame held the court for a midnight jam session…Vince joined him for a couple of Beetles tunes and I walked out thinking it was late and put down my drum sticks and Foghat t-shirt and tuned the dial to WBAB and drove on into the night.

Thank you for reading this.

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