For more than 40 years, Roger Earl?s kept time like a fine Swiss watch.
The English rock ?n? roll drummer grew up in a household where music was encouraged. Roger wanted to learn how to play the piano, but his Dad and brother monopolized the instrument.
At age 13, he began taking drum lessons, and he bought his first drum kit with money he had saved from after-school, part-time jobs. Earl joined his first band, a blues/R&B band called the Tramps, a short time later.
At age 20, he joined the blues-rock band Savoy Brown, where he met Lonesome Dave Peverett. In December 1970, the pair left Savoy Brown to form Foghat.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
Goldmine: Let’s talk about Foghat Live II. Even with newer members, Foghat still sounds very much like the band that started it all in 1971, with those powerful rhythmic grooves and strong riffs that really grab you somewhere south of the belt. What is about the band dynamics that creates such a gripping live sound?
Roger Earl: Well, I guess everyone has done their homework!
GM: How did the idea to put out another live album come about? Was it a spur of the moment kind of thing?
RE: Craig joined the band in January of 2005, and we started to play some songs that we hadn?t played in a long time ? ?Chateau Lafitte ?59 Boogie?, ?Night Shift?, etc. I wanted to capture the (sound) live, and we had a number of band tapes and they sounded real good. Carl (Davino, our front of house sound guy, is the 5th ‘hat and has been with us for 20 years (seems like it anyway), gets great sounds (oh no, he is going to want more money if I keep this up) and Bryan is a brilliant engineer. I thing we got it right on this night!
GM: Listening to Foghat Live II, and forgetting for a moment the actual
songs included on both, what do you hear in it that reminds you of Foghat Live and what’s different about it?
RE: I remember wanting to do Foghat Live real bad. Again, I had tape cassettes of each night, and they sounded really good apart from occasional upped tempos on the drummer and bass player?s part. We would be over the top with speed. Ah! Youthful exuberance!
Live was recorded at two shows in Rochester and Syracuse (Coliseum-size, big, loud rooms) whereas Live II was recorded in a 600-seat theater with really good acoustics. We had a full day of rehearsals before the date to get everything right and even then, I think a couple of drum mics went south that night.
There is a real difference sonically between the two (30 years, but I don?t like to make comparisons. Nick Jameson mixed the first Foghat Live. I was the only band member there at the studio; you know I would make the tea, bring in the biscuits and say stuff like, ?I think the drums should be louder?.
Live, I think, still sounds great today. If the same can be said about Live II in 30 years time? We are just capturing moments in time.
GM: What gets you excited about playing live?
RE: I still get chills, seriously, walking out on stage with thousands of people cheering and screaming. Dave was always a gas to play with, never gave it less than 110 percent even when he was ill. Craig, Bryan and Charlie are likewise, serious about their musicianship, but they also know how to have fun with it. I get pictures sent to us by fans and we have these big shit-eating grins on our faces.
Yeah, playing live is a blast and we play our asses off every chance we get.
GM: It’s always seemed to me that the foundation of Foghat, as it is for all rock bands I suppose,