By Jerry Shriver, USA TODAY
The former J. Geils Band jive master made a rollicking cameo at last week’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame gala;that was just a tease for Midnight Souvenirs, his first solo album in 14 years. Here, Shelby Lynne engages him in a soulful back-and-forth on Tragedy.
“It’s music based on the influences that I enjoy and grew up with,” the J. Geils Band frontman tells Billboard.com about the 14-song set, which will be released by Verve/UMe. “There’s some country elements, some Philly sound to it, some just good ol’ straight back rockin’ stuff. You try to absorb the influences but reshape it in a way it doesn’t come off sounding like a museum piece.”
J. Geils Band will ring in 2010 as a group when the funkiest rock band out of Beantown reunites for a New Year’s Eve gig in Connecticut. The popular ’70s and ’80s group, best known for hits like ‘Centerfold’ and ‘Love Stinks,’ has played sporadic dates in recent years, but frontman Peter Wolf tells Spinner the group isn’t looking to join the reunion tour bandwagon.
“The Geils thing, we don’t really get back for a reunion,” he says. “It’s usually a benefit or some kind of phone call that comes in and it’s usually, ‘Well, let me phone around and see what the reaction is.’ And that’s how it usually works.”
According to Wolf, they know every show could be the Geils Band’s swan song. “Every time, we know it could possibly be the very last time because sometimes decades go before we play,” he says.
Wolf will however be hitting the road in March, he estimates, for his new solo album, ‘Midnight Souvenirs,’ and he’s looking forward to playing already. “I love to play and love to perform and I can’t wait to do these songs,” he says. “I have a really great band of friends of mine, many people who played on the record.”
Peter Wolf will release ‘Midnight Souvenirs,’ his first new album in eight years, this coming March. For the record, the occasional J. Geils Band frontman has some help, with Shelby Lynne, Merle Haggard and Neko Case offering their services on duets. As for those choices, Wolf tells Spinner he went with artists who fit the song. “With ‘Tragedy,’ for instance, as soon as we finished it I thought, ‘It’d be great if we could get Shelby Lynne. I think she’d be perfect,’” he says. “So that’s more or less how it went.”
When Neko Case finally stalked on stage at the Wilbur Theatre the other night, she was upset. “We were having a fight with the promoter, and I could not be angrier right now,’’ she told the crowd. Case was perturbed because the marquee outside the venue was blank. “You wouldn’t even know there was a show,’’ she fumed. The singer-songwriter quickly recovered and put on a stellar show. Afterward, she spent some time with Peter Wolf, on whose forthcoming CD she sings. Wolf arranged to have victuals from Via Matta delivered to the band’s bus.