July , 1980
By John Liebrand
"Life is a pair of high-top tennis shoes," said Lonesome Dave Peverett, guitar player for the teenage blues/rock boogie band Foghat (a group that definitely knows its foot apparel). Peverett was in town recently with Foghat for a concert to promote their new album, Tight Shoes, that features a pair of high-top sneakers on the cover.
Tight Shoes is album rock without over-powering characteristics or extravagant excesses. It won't irritate the listener with Van Halen screams, badger one with Kansas melodies, or break your front teeth like Ted Nugent with too much volume. It does nothing wrong and many things right. It's the perfect gift for the person who can't decide between Heart, Led Zeppelin, or the Eagles.
Tight Shoes is like municipal bonds. They're a safe investment and as good, or better than anything else in album rock. But Foghat's major strength lies in concert, where the band attacks the music with the intensity of a maniac with a knife. They also do interviews.
Peverett said Foghat hasn't been touring as much as usual for the past two years because of studio activity.
"We're ready to play," said Peverett. Revealing new enthusiasm and determination. "We're straining at the bit."
Foghat started years ago in England when drummer Roger Earl, bassist Tony Stevens, and Lonesome Dave left the bluesy rock band Savoy Brown because of personal and musical differences and formed their own band.
"We were getting a bit frustrated with not doing enough rock and roll and having the leader of Savoy Brown always wanting to do jazz and a lot of long solos," said Peverett. "The band would just sit there for hours...just jamming away till the audience started losing interest.”
Peverett and a few other members of what is now Foghat cut a late '50s rock and roll type record when they were still in Savoy Brown.
"They tried to release it under the Foghat name, but we wouldn't let them." recalled Peverett. "I'd like to see it released, but we don't want to use the Foghat name to trick the public into thinking they getting something they're not. I played it to somebody a couple of weeks ago and he thought it was a new wave album. It's ten years old."
Do heavy metal bands have any social conscience? It seems strange that traditionally only mellow rock and folk musicians ever use their music for political or humanitarian purposes.
Peverett looked concerned as he said, "It seems strange to me that people who like bands like the Eagles and Jackson Browne are more likely to get involved in social issues than hard rock fans. You know, now that you mention it, nuclear power plants are cropping up everywhere...it kind of bothers me. Maybe we should do something about that. We have done some benefits on a small scale like a benefit for the blues record library, so people could go to the local library and check out old blues tunes."
Foghat has always been an interesting name. Why the band is called Foghat rather than something else like the Dave Clark 5, or Hogfat, or something? What is Foghat? Is it something to put on sandwiches?
"It's just a word that my brother and I invented when we were kids," explained Lonesome Dave. "It's never meant anything, although we thought it was a quite humorous name at the time. We used it in scrabble games. Later we wanted to use it in a band.”
"When we first started, we had this singer that we wanted to call Luther Foghat, but he wouldn't go along with it. We had about 50 possible names for the band, none of which we particularly liked. The one we almost went with was Brandywine, but it was a tad too hokey. We even went to all the trouble of getting a wine-colored record cover and everything. We were raking our brains for ideas and I mentioned 'Foghat.' Everybody said 'Yeah,' and the rest is history."