By RUBEN MOSQUEDA // Classic boogie rock act Foghat issued new album 'Under the Influence' and make their way out to Albany, Oregon this weekend.
Drummer Roger Earl one of the founding members of Foghat got his start with Savoy Brown in 1968 before departing in 1970; he later surfaced with Foghat along with ‘Lonesome’ Dave Peverett on lead vocals and guitar, bassist Tony Stevens and guitarist Rod Price. Chances are you’ve heard Foghat’s renditions of the Willie Dixon’s “I Just Wanna Make Love To You” or Chuck Berry’s “Maybelline” at one point or another on classic rock radio; if not there’s no doubt you’ve heard two of their own tracks “Slow Ride” or “Fool For The City.” There’s no question if you’re a fan of classic radio you’re quite familiar with the band’s signature albums; 1972’s ‘Foghat,’ 1975’s ‘Fool for the City,’ and their live 1977 effort simply titled ‘Live.’ Foghat have been releasing music consistently since their incarnation through 80s, 90s and into the new millennium. While recent albums don't gain much fanfare they are consistently good and are a welcome addition to any collection.
Fast forward to 2016 where find singer/guitarist Charlie Huhn sitting in for the late ‘Lonesome’ Dave Peverett; a role which Huhn has been in since 2000. Huhn though born in Portland, OR later relocated to Michigan where he was raised. He landed on people’s radar when he stepped into the vacancy left in Ted Nugent’s band when singer/guitarist Derek St. Holmes departed.Huhn was part of Nugent records; ‘Weekend Warriors [‘78],’ ‘State of Shock [‘79],’ ‘Scream, Dream [‘80]’ and ‘Intensities In Ten Cities’ a live album issued in 1981. Huhn then moved on to other projects; amongst them German hard rock act Victory, he's worked with guitar virtuoso Axel Rudi Pell and a revamped Humble Pie reformed by drummer Jerry Shirley.
Huhn has been on the road perfroming with Foghat across the country cranking out the hits alongside some new cuts. Huhn has been recorded two previous studio album with Foghat ‘Family Joules’ and ‘Last Train Home.’ There was also a live album issued in 2007 titled ‘Live II.’ Foghat's current line-up consists of Huhn, Earl, lead guitarist Bryan Bassett [Wild Cherry], and bass player Craig MacGregor who returned to the Foghat in 2005. Foghat recently released a new album [Huhn’s 3rd studio effort with the band] comprised of covers titled ‘Under the Influence’ and it's rather good. "We're doing three songs from 'Under the Influence' on this tour. Roger wants to do the entire thing! I said to him Rog we can't do that---we have to do the hits!," says Huhn of the band's passion for making new records and performing new material. "This is my 17th year in the band. Can you believe that? I guess they're stuck with me now?" Huhn was recruited to sing in Foghat while playing with Jerry Shirley in Humble Pie. Huhn shared the story with Oregon Music News. "I was playing with Humble Pie, I was in that band for about 12 years. We were opening for Foghat in Toledo [Ohio]. Well, as it turns out the band [Foghat] was watching us. I guess they were curious as to who would be singing the Steve Marriott parts. That was the first time I saw them and they had the original band back together. So a few years later when Dave [Peverett] was on his deathbed he gave Roger the nod to move forward. Dave said 'get him in the band.' I was honored to have been asked and have been in the band since," says Huhn humbly.
One might ask with a band like Foghat that can tour behind all the classics and live on the band's legacy, why issue new music? Huhn explains, "We're not a legacy or novelty act. We're serious about our craft. We don't want to fall into that trap where we don't 'create' something new. I have to say that's it's Roger that has kicked us in the ass. He's like 'okay it's time to start writing a new album.' That helps get things going." Foghat present a high energy, boogie rock show that is respectful to the band's past with a few current nuggets sprinkled throughout. Good times.
Charlie Huhn and Foghat will be performing at the Linn County Fair, in Albany, Oregon on July 16th, 2016 the show kicks off at 8:30 PM.