It took Craig MacGregor a while to figure what instrument suited him best.
He started playing piano when he was 7 or 8, then tried the trumpet and moved on to the drums, which he stuck with for about three years. But the future Foghat bassist knew he wanted to be out front, so he chose to take up the bass, which, for him, created ?the best of both worlds,? according to his biography on www.foghat.net.
MacGregor played in some local Connecticut bands before joining up with Foghat in 1975, and he?s been rocking on and off with the band ever since.
In his spare time, he?s played with the likes of Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, John Lee Hooker, and Elvin Bishop, and toured with acts including Aerosmith, the Beach Boys, Blue Oyster Cult, the J. Geils Band and Journey.
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?
Craig MacGregor: I think a lot has to do with the integrity of the band. It is a ?run whatcha brung? kind of band. In other words, there?s no cruising with this band. Everybody, every night and every show gives 120 percent. We are very appreciative of all the folks that come out to see us. So we put out everything we have for them. They certainly deserve that.
GM: How did the idea to put out another live album come about? Was it a "spur of the moment" kind of thing?
CM: It wasn?t so much a "spur of the moment" kind of thing; it was more that there have been some tunes that we never recorded live before. Also, we really wanted to get something out with this configuration of the band.
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?
CM: It would have to be the strength of the players in the band. Both albums certainly hold their own; true there is a common thread, but at the same time they both have their own merits. The difference would have to be what Charlie and Bryan bring to the table (and trust me they do bring it!)
GM: What gets you excited about playing live?
CM: It?s as if you walk around doing your usual daily things, and you?re running about, but, when you walk out on the stage, it?s like going to 220. Its a great feeling to know how much the audience gets off on what we do up there. It?s a great sense of accomplishment as well. And certainly it?s more fun than four guys should be able to have.
GM: It's always seemed to me that the foundation of Foghat, as it is for all rock bands I suppose, is that rhythm section. It's just rock solid, and it just seems like that's what really still drives Foghat. How has that chemistry developed over the years?
CM: Roger and I have always tried to put down the strongest and to-the-point groove that we possibly can. We?ve played together for 30 years, and this telepathy thing happens. We know where each other is headed. It kinda becomes a single mind set. Not to mention it?s a hellofa lotta fun. Remember this: ?You can have a car, but if you don?t have a road to drive on, you ain?t going nowhere.?
GM: What's the weirdest thing that's ever happened at a Foghat concert?
CM: It would have to be when B.O.C. put a small cage under Dave?s electric piano. In the cage was a small piglet with ?HOGFAT? stenciled on it.