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Topic: J. Geils Band comes together right now Return to archive
February 23rd, 2005 09:32 PM
Ten Thousand Motels J. Geils Band comes together right now
By Ed Symkus
Wednesday, February 23, 2005

There are many different Peter Wolfs running around inside of Peter Wolf.

There’s the Woofa Goofa — former disc jockey and lead singer for the J. Geils Band — ever dressed in black, running around the stage like a ball of energy; the artist, honing his craft with a brush and oil paints; the songwriter, churning out tune after tune when the Geils Band made the leap from covers to originals.

And then there’s Pete, the soft-spoken fellow at the other end of the phone — laid back, relaxed, speaking thoughtfully about his music, past and present.

But it’s the first Peter Wolf, the Woofa Goofa, who’s about to make a return to his old Cambridge stomping grounds this weekend when the J. Geils Band gets back together for a live show to benefit the Cam Neely Foundation’s “Betting on a Cause & a Cure” fundraiser at the Charles Hotel.

“I spent a lot of time in Cambridge,” says Wolf from his Back Bay apartment. “I lived in Cambridge when musicians and artists could afford to live in Cambridge.”

When he returns this time, along with Jay Geils, Danny Klein, Seth Justman, Magic Dick and Stephen Bladd, the band will have come full circle as far as a performing outfit: Instead of doing an arena-style show in front of thousands of people, they’ll perform an intimate set for only 250 fans. It’s close to the way they started out in 1967. And it’s fine with Wolf.

"The J. Geils Band started out in clubs,” he says, referring to joints like The Catacombs and venues like The Boston Tea Party. “Everyone, from Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker and Miles Davis, to the Rolling Stones and the Beatles, started playing in the clubs.”

This particular club setting will mark the first performance by the band since their brief, and successful, reunion tour in 1999, which was the first time they played together since their mid-1980s breakup, due in part to crumbling relationships.

“There was a big fan who approached us,” says Wolf of that first reunion. “He was involved in the music industry, the Geils Band was one of his favorites, and he tried very hard to put it together. Each of us thought it was time to let bygones be bygones, and focus on the music, and the fans we had established, and focus in on the body of work we created.

“I had no seconds thoughts about it,” he adds. “And it turned out very well.”

Everyone eventually went back to what they were doing before the tour. Then, last year, the band was nominated for the Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Fame (but didn’t get enough votes for induction).

“But at that point,” recalls Wolf, “the Hall wanted to know who would be attending, and they requested us do so a song, so that started some of us to communicate with each other. I was out one night with Cam Neely and Denis Leary, and Cam was talking about this event. Aerosmith had played a previous one, and he was trying to think of something special. I just happened to mention the Geils Band as a possibility, but not a certainty. So I called around to see if the others were interested, and everyone accepted. This is really a tremendous cause, and that’s really the reason why we’re doing it.”

But are Wolf and the band ready to do it?

“We’ll get together and just sort of go through it,” he says of a planned rehearsal. “I’m sure the set list will contain a lot of things that people want to hear.”

And he’s not the least bit worried about being in his 50s and playing rock ’n’ roll. He says he doesn’t even think about it.

“I don’t feel I have to apologize for how long I’ve been committed to doing my work,” he says. “I don’t think writers have to apologize, or painters have to apologize, and certainly no one criticizes [older] jazz or blues musicians. I think it’s more a press thing. Look at Van Morrison or Bob Dylan or Neil Young. They’re as popular today as they ever were. Yet there’s also a lot of good new artists. I think what it comes down to is anyone making work that has an impact on you.”

Other work Wolf is currently doing is performing — he just sang at a Nashville concert that will be aired as an upcoming PBS special. And painting — “I’ve been working away. That’s what I do during those bouts of insomnia. I bring out the old paint brush.” And getting ready to record — “I call [my previous album] ‘Sleepless’ my Sunday morning record. This one’s gonna be a Saturday night record.”

He says that if the opportunity came up, he would gladly do a reunion gig with his pre-Geils band the Hallucinations (though their bass player, Joe Clark, has passed away), and has great memories of that group.

“Hallucinations was a band that, had we been able to keep it together …” he pauses in his memory, then says, “It was a really unique group, sort of ahead of the curve in a sense of neo-punk attitude.”

But he doesn’t pause at all when asked what he thinks about when a Geils Band tune comes on the radio.

“One always enjoys hearing what you do being played,” he says.

And he admits to especially enjoying hearing his extended Rapunzel introduction on the often-played live version of “Must of Got Lost.”

“With the Geils Band there was always this great communion between ourselves and the audience,” he says. “And the thing I enjoy about that one is that it was so spontaneous. I would do a different rap every night. And that one just happened to be the one they recorded.”

The J.Geils Band performs at the Cam Neely Foundation’s “Betting on a Cause & a Cure” fundraiser at the Charles Hotel on Feb. 26. Also featured is a black tie Monte Carlo casino and a buffet dinner prepared by Peter Davis and Jody Adams. Tickets are $2,500. Call 617-346-5900. Ed Symkus can be reached at

(About the Cam Neely Foundation)

[Edited by Ten Thousand Motels]
February 23rd, 2005 09:35 PM
glencar Now this would be a group that has earned a spot in the HOF.
February 23rd, 2005 10:53 PM
VoodooChileInWOnderl J. Geils was a great band in the first albums, then they became pop and clowns, I saw them @ MSG in 1982 and the show was great but the album "Freeze Frame" was commercial pop

Later in 1994 I saw Magic Dick and J. Geils Band at the Bottom Line and the show was great, pure blues almost nothing from the J. Geils Band but let me tell you a local blues band was the opening band and they were one of the best unknown band I have ever seen, same for a band who opened for Johnny Winter in 1999

Then later in 1999 I saw Daniel Klein with some of you in Hartford in my birthday, they playes pure blues again and I had some beers and a long conversation with Daniel, in fact very funny. To summarize I told him to go back to the roots and later they reunited for a tour, now they're gonna do the same shit when first they need to make an album like their first and a tour like the "Full House" album and let me tell ya... I will be willing to travel to see them if this is the case
February 24th, 2005 07:09 AM
bez85 I saw the J. geils Band at the Cambridge Corn exchange in England 1973. It was, and still is the best rock-n-roll show I have ever witnessed..
February 24th, 2005 07:24 AM
Mr Hess
glencar wrote:
Now this would be a group that has earned a spot in the HOF.

I saw them live many times in the 70's.
February 24th, 2005 07:46 AM
Nellcote The Mighty J Geils Band was one of the most legendary
live acts ever.


Four hour shows, with multiple encores, were not unusual.
I, as well, was fortunate to have caught many of them at:
Bahston Gahden
Foxboro Stadium
Cape Cod Coliesum
Provdence Civic Center
Wustah Centrum
Orpheum Theatre

Tell me when you have seen a four hour Stones show?

The 1st album I ever bought,in the early 70's was their 1st album, which still blows me away today.
I get the chills even typing this about this band..
Spent New Years Eve '04 at the Hard Rock Bahston enjoying a Peter Wolf two 1/2 hr musical masterpiece, which always leaves you yearning for more.

If you ever get the chance, see this band if they get it going again, however, I read where this gig this weekend is only a one off item...

However, you never know......
February 24th, 2005 07:55 AM
Ten Thousand Motels wrote:
“I don’t feel I have to apologize for how long I’ve been committed to doing my work,” he says. “I don’t think writers have to apologize, or painters have to apologize, and certainly no one criticizes [older] jazz or blues musicians. I think it’s more a press thing. Look at Van Morrison or Bob Dylan or Neil Young. They’re as popular today as they ever were. Yet there’s also a lot of good new artists. I think what it comes down to is anyone making work that has an impact on you.”

Great quote from a very soulful guy who also cares about his fans. I sent him an email through his website a few years ago and he replied personally. Gotta say though that the Geils reunion in '99 was a flop based on how many fans were at the show I saw (~ 1,000 in a huge outdoor arena). I loved every minute of it, though from 2nd row center.
[Edited by UGot2Rollme]
February 24th, 2005 08:26 AM
Nellcote wrote:
The Mighty J Geils Band was one of the most legendary
live acts ever.


Amen bro

I remember the show at MSG had five encores or something like that and all of them because of the audience was wild asking for more
February 24th, 2005 10:06 AM
Nellcote Exactly Voodoo.
Pure no hold back "blow your face out baby" Rock & Roll.
I've not experienced it the same since, quite frankly.
February 24th, 2005 10:20 AM
Zeeta These guys sound wicked - What albums do you recommend??

Lemme know negros!
February 24th, 2005 10:36 AM
VoodooChileInWOnderl I'm gonna reommend two albums to start:

1.- The first album is great their rendition to "Serves you right to suffer" is the best ever

2.- Full House Live
February 25th, 2005 02:07 PM
Honky Tonker Nothing new here, just more praise for teh great, underrated JGB. Excellent live and good selection of songs.
February 25th, 2005 03:55 PM
Jumping Jack J Geils opened for Lynyrd Skynyrd many times in the mid 70s and together put on some of the best shows I've ever seen.
March 3rd, 2005 07:37 PM
Nellcote A review of the show.....BLOW YOUR FACE OUT BABY....

J. Geils a sure bet for rockin' time
By Christopher Blagg
Monday, February 28, 2005

Rock star reunions always fall flat. There's just too much bleary-eyed nostalgia and too many bruised egos to contend with. The J. Geils Band proved to be the exception Saturday night at the ``Betting On a Cause and a Cure'' benefit in the Charles Hotel. Avoiding the sentimental schmaltz of most reunion affairs, Peter Wolf and company blazed through a no-frills, r & b-drenched set of hits from their trove of classics, easily slipping back into their roles as the undisputed champion of bar bands.

This was not your typical J. Geils crowd, as T-shirts and jeans were replaced by Versace and Armani. At the live auction just before their set, someone in the star-studded crowd spent $45,000 to have dinner with Denis Leary. If Wolf was thrown off by the tuxedoed movie stars and Fortune 500 honchos littering the dance floor, it didn't show. Jumping onstage in his mangled black porkpie hat and appropriately leather pants, Wolf descended on the crowd with manic glee. All of the remaining members (except drummer Stephen Bladd) were present, including keyboardist Seth Justman and guitarist/namesake J. Geils.

Harpist Magic Dick started things off with a harmonica-wheezing shuffle before the band launched into the rocking juke-joint bounce of ``First I Look At the Purse.'' The crowd's initial response was rather stiff, consisting of scattered, polite black-tie applause and some rattling of jewelry. Wolf was undaunted, and by the time the band finished its early r & b classic ``Hard Drivin' Man,'' he had the wives of all the CEOs shaking and twisting in their sequins.

The Caribbean/r & b fusion of the band's early smash ``Give It To Me'' brought even the most reserved of the older, moneyed men cramming the ballroom to their feet. An entire room of movie and television stars, retired hockey greats and silver-haired CEOs unashamedly roared the familiar chorus of the bitter pill anthem ``Love Stinks,'' and awkwardly shaped hips to the keyboard boogie of ``Must of Got Lost.'' If the band sounded a bit rusty at times, its sheer energy and joy, personified exponentially by the charismatic Wolf, kept the set bubbling along.

The high point came on the ridiculously infectious rocker ``Aint Nothin' but a House Party,'' with Wolf alternately testifying on bended knees and jumping out on the dance floor to dally with the crowd.

A three-song encore was granted after much raising of wine glasses, the band laying into a boozy version of the Motown classic ``Where Did Our Love Go.'' Of course the crowd's pop craving was inevitably satisfied by the supersmash hit ``Centerfold,'' but Wolf mumbled through most of the tune, seemingly eager to get the overplayed single out of his own head. Sticking to its roots, the band ended the night with the greasy r & b of ``Cruisin' For a Love.''

If the J. Geils Band never reunite again, it can be rest assured that it went out in style.

( J. Geils Band, at the ``Betting On a Cause and a Cure'' benefit, Charles Hotel, Cambridge, Saturday night. )

March 4th, 2005 11:47 AM
Ten Thousand Motels Thanks for posting that follow up Nellcotte.
March 4th, 2005 12:16 PM
Snappy McJack Blow Your Face out, Snitcha's!!! Mussa got los'!

Cuz' dis iz a post about desperashiiiin!
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