“We’ve got a number of dates already down and we’re going to the studio in Florida to re-learn some more stuff. This time we’re going to be making live recordings on the road, see what comes of it; things have changed over the years and it’s time for some new representations of our music. The world changes and there’s nothing wrong with that, music changes too; without music life would be a mistake,” says Roger Earl, drummer of the classic rock band Foghat.
Currently back out on the road in support of their most recent studio album, Under The Influence, Earl says that band is “Sounding better than ever” and that “They’re having a lot of fun with it.” “This album, I think it’s really, really good,” he said with confidence as he explained how it came about. “Not that our other albums weren’t good but this one is special; it took us three years to complete. The first year and a half we spent in our own studio going over the basic idea and started writing and putting down different tracks.”
The recording process changed for the better when they brought songwriter/producer Tom Hambridge on board to take some of the pressure off of lead guitarist Brian Bassett. “Brian was doing an incredible job for us but he was pulling triple duty. Four years ago I was a presenter at the Memphis Blues Awards and I was asked to present an award to Buddy Guy; talk about a thrill, a highlight for me for sure. After the show, we went to the hotel bar as we often do (laughs) and we started talking with Tom Hambridge who is a fantastic songwriter and he said that he wanted to produce an album. We were quite thrilled to give him a shot and as it turned out, he was a terrific producer; he held everyone together and this was the best time that I’ve had making a record. We wound up finishing the album in Nashville with guest musicians like Kim Simmonds from Savoy Brown,who gave me my first shot by the way and Nick Jameson was there to re-record “Slow Ride” for the 40th Anniversary of the song; can you believe it’s been 40 years since we did that (laughs)? Gosh, where did that time go?”
Over the years, Foghat has evolved in terms of cast and is not the same group which Earl and Lonesome Dave Peverett formed circa 1971. Cancer claimed Peverett and a heart attack took the life of lead guitarist Rod Price but the band carried on despite their loss. “We may have changed personnel but we’ve tried to stay true to the core of the group,” said a retrospective Earl. “I’m still here and we have Brian on guitar along with Charlie Huhn on vocals and currently Rodney O’Quinn from Pat Travers on bass guitar. We generally use Craig Macgregor on bass but he’s battling some health issues at the moment so he hand picked Rodney to take over and he’s fit right in. I’m very happy with the current lineup and we all get on very well so it’s a win win for us.”
Earl is currently endorsed by DW Drums and Paiste Cymbals and just like the band, things change over time. “I was with Ludwig Drums forever but I felt the company changed a bit when Bill Ludwig left; the company just wasn’t the same. I called DW and was invited to their factory and I saw the entire process that goes into making their product and it was impressive. They are fantastic, terrific people and I’ll be with them until I depart the earth (laughs). I switched cymbals too because I decided I wanted some variety in sound. One day I was talking with Bobby Rondenelli (Rainbow) and he said, “Hey Roger, you should try Paiste,” so I did and they’re great! I use Promark sticks as well.”
Over his career, Earl has had many accolades, triumphs and fond memories; some of which he recounts without hesitation. “Oh geez, so many over the years but when we did the “Rock Legends” thing, a highlight was seeing Greg Allman; it had to be the best he’s sounded since the Fillmore. Another was years back, Savoy Brown opened for The Who and I recall Keith Moon walking in with Zildjian Cymbals under his arm and as he changed out his old cymbals for those new ones, he gave me his old ones right off of his drum kit; I was thrilled of course. The guys in The Who were always friendly; I got to perform “Magic Bus” with them which is also something I’ll not forget.”
Earl says that Foghat will continue to tour and play their brand of blues and rock as long as they have an audience for it but until then they’ve got this tour, recording for a future release and the new CD to promote and have no intentions on slowing down. Look for Foghat coming to New Jersey at the “Quick Chek NJ Festival of Ballooning 7/31/2016” in Fairfield, New Jersey. To discover more about Foghat, the tour and news on the band; please go to www.foghat.net.