There are many reasons why Foghat continues to rock throughout the decades.
“The main reason is I won’t lie down. I love my job,” drummer and founding member Roger Earl said.
While the lineup may have changed since it first formed in 1971, the band has continued to record and tour. The current lineup — featuring Earl, Craig MacGregor on bass, Bryan Bassett on lead/slide guitar and Charlie Huhn on guitar and lead vocals — has been together longer than the original band, Earl said.
“Everybody’s friendly. We get on real well. We’re happy drunks when we drink,” he joked.
The band will perform its mix of rock and blues April 19 at the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles. Foghat will play classic hits including “Slow Ride,” “Fool for the City” and “I Just Want to Make Love to You,” as well as songs from their most recent album, 2010’s “Last Train Home” which features original songs and re-worked blues classics. The concert will also feature special guest Cosmo, the former lead singer of Boston.
With all joking aside, Earl attributes the band’s longevity to the shared love of music.
“Music is sort of a precious thing to us. You get a chance to entertain people. Let’s face it, people would give an appendage to do what we do,” he said. “I love my job. It’s a pleasure being able to play music and earn a decent living at it. I’ve met hundreds and hundreds of musicians that are struggling or have day jobs which they hate, and what they really want to do is get home where they can play the guitar in the evening or play the drums or keyboards. I know how fortunate I am.”
Along with releasing a live concert DVD late last year, Foghat also recently released several singles. Two of them, “The Word of Rock N’ Roll,” and “Boogie Train,” were created with help of fans. The singles are the winning entries in songwriting contest in which the band asked fans to write lyrics to the song “495 Boogie,” the first instrumental that Foghat had ever recorded.
“We narrowed it down to two people, and we couldn’t decide which one to do, so we did them both,” Earl said.
The lyrics to “The Word of Rock N’ Roll,” released last summer, were written by Phil Dessinger. Released last month was “Boogie Train,” with the lyrics written by Chief Warrant Officer 4 Tom Mix. Mix, who served tours in both Afghanistan and Iraq, wrote the lyrics while deployed.
“The proceeds of the single go to a cause called Fishing for Freedom,” Earl said.
The organization brings together returning veterans and volunteer boaters for a day of tournament bass fishing. Earl said it’s important to draw attention to what’s going on and help those who are returning home.
“We do whatever we can. Whatever you think of the war, or wars, the men and women are heroes,” Earl said.
Whether or not Foghat will hold another songwriting contest in the future remains to be seen.
“It’s not inconceivable,” Earl said. “But at the moment we’re working on a new album. We’re going to have guest guitar players and singers on there as well.”
Earl said he really enjoyed working on “Last Train Home,” which featured a number of guest musicians.
“It’s not that we’re lacking in talent in the band. We have great singers and two great guitar players, but it’s exciting when you play with another musician. It makes it sort of different to bring somebody else in to give their ideas,” he said.
The band has their own studio in Florida, and have already recorded about seven or eight songs for the new album, he said.
“In fact, after we play St. Charles, we’re going back down there for a week to do some more recording and writing,” Earl said.
They hope to finish recording by the end of May, with a release date sometime at the end of the year.
Along with creating music, the band is also producing their own wine, Foghat Cellars. The wine is made in California in partnership with winemaker Steve Rasmussen.
“Not making a lot of money out of it, but we have some first class wines,” said Earl, who speaks passionately about the winemaking process.
A passion for the music is shared by fans both new and old. Earl said it is very gratifying to see range of ages attending the shows — especially to find a new generation of fans that have discovered the band.
“We get a lot of younger people, like 16 to 25 or 30-year-olds coming to our shows, and either found out through Guitar Hero or their parents turned them on to Foghat,” he said. “And it is, especially when you get a lot of young people in the audience, you sort of think that maybe what you were doing in the first place was worthwhile and you got it right.”