Interview and story by Don Wilcock
Four bands saw this music journalist through the dark nights of the disco-dominated 1970s pop music scene: the Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, Van Halen and the J. Geils Band.
The first three groups still exist but haven’t produced new music up to their earlier standards. The fourth doesn’t exist under the Geils name, but their lead singer, Peter Wolf, is writing music that is more real and heartfelt than he was between 1969 and ’81 when he left the band. He plays with his current band the Midnight Travelers at The Egg in Albany on Saturday night for the third time in three years.
The first three groups still play arenas, essentially presenting an oldies greatest hits show. Wolf plays venues one twentieth the size, performing new music just as heady, raw and dynamic as he did with Geils but with the added wisdom of lyrics that stand tall next to those of other grizzled veterans, some of whom fall generally under the label of Americana like Ray Wylie Hubbard, Billy Joe Shaver and, yes, Bob Dylan.
Why, you may ask, is Wolf playing to much smaller audiences if he’s better than his contemporaries?