An interview with the legendary singer Peter Wolf was featured on the April 1 edition of Greasy Tracks as host Chris Cowles marked his 1,000th show at WRTC.
Wolf plays Infinity Hall in Hartford on April 20 and the Ridgefield Playhouse on April 22.
Wolf is best known for his work with the J. Geils Band which he fronted from 1967 until its break-up in 1983, before going on to a well-received solo career. The Geils Band would reunite a number of times between 1999-2015, but never for any extended periods of time.
Just as Wolf and keyboardist Seth Justman proved a potent writing team
during their tenure with the Geils Band, when Wolf went solo he began working with renowned songwriter Will Jennings. Wolf and Jennings wrote a third of the tracks on Wolf’s latest effort, A Cure For Loneliness (Concord Records).
Wolf has long had a voracious appetite for music, stating: “I didn’t join a band to meet girls, I joined my first band to meet musicians.” While playing clubs and colleges in metro-Boston, Wolf gained the overnight slot as a DJ on the pioneering FM rock station WBCN in Boston, joining in 1968, shortly after the station went from a classical format to “underground rock.” It was here Wolf developed the persona of the “Woofa Goofa.”
It was not uncommon for Wolf to go right from the stage playing with the J. Geils Band across town to the WBCN studios, but this would soon change. While it was not uncommon for touring musicians such as Jimi Hendrix, Van Morrison, Jeff Beck or members of Led Zeppelin to make late-night visits and spend hours hanging out with Wolf at the station, the growing popularity of the Geils Band meant more road dates that took the band farther from Boston.
At the crossroads of having to make the decision to commit to being in a band full time or continue his radio gig, Wolf never looked back and would go on to record 13 albums with Geils as the band became fan favorites across the country, known for high-energy shows that merged memorable originals with choice blues and soul covers.
Wolf has maintained the same spirit with his solo career and live performances. Backed by The Midnight Travelers, a crack group of players led by guitarist Duke Levine, Wolf mixes solo material, J. Geils Band classics and a smattering of soul and blues covers.
Having Wolf on the 1,000th program for Cowles was fitting given the focus of his weekly show that debuted in May 1995. Initially called The Back Porch, a primarily blues-themed show which initially aired on Saturday’s and Sunday’s, before maintaining the Saturday afternoon slot — although alternating weekly with a soul-based program dubbed Greasy Tracks. As time passed, it became Greasy Tracks, bringing the two styles together for what is today the longest-running soul-blues program in Connecticut.