Foghat were in that select group of Brit bands that had many hits in the U.S. yet never any success at home. Their defining moment came with this mid-70s single about the rock’n’roll mainstay SEX..With their signature song, “Slow Ride”. The rhythm was a John Lee Hooker riff that was the heart and soul of the song. It wasn’t copied, it was inspired. You only get in trouble if you steal people’s melodies and words, as Led Zeppelin did. All the British rock guitarists in the late 60’s and early 70’s cut their teeth on John Lee Hooker and the other early blues masters. Rock and Roll’s repertoire would be pretty lean without them.
Released late in 1975, “Slow Ride” was a trajectory-changing event for Foghat. As a single the song peaked on the singles chart at #20.. (Foghat never made the UK chart) seemed counter- intuitive among the disco movement. The disco era was the halcyon years for Foghat. It was almost like a counter culture movement to the whole “disco sucks” movement. Let’s Boogie and get it on! Theirs was a style which took no prisoners! That no-nonsense aggression, relentless touring and blistered blues battering had landed Foghat a legion of fans… Regardless of what music press said about Foghat…”mindless”.. “generic”..” “Homo- neaderthalic” music. Basically, they were the “punch-line” to every musical joke.”Slow Ride” is still remembered and known today, due in no small part to it getting a second wind from various uses in marketing. Video game, Guitar Hero brought in a whole new audience. The best was the girl in the Carls’ Jr. ad riding the mechanical bull with “Slow Ride” playing in the background. Ironically, the author, “Lonesome” Dave Paverett was a devout vegetarian.
You can’t speak about Foghat without delving back to the Savoy Brown days. The pressure was on Savoy Brown to decide what we were going to do. Led Zeppelin were the kings at that time; every guitar band’s aspiration was to emulate them, and they were setting the “bar” for what was happening. Blues was fading out. Band leader, Kim Simmonds was developing a more aggressive songwriting. As it may be the rest of the band were getting into a heavier rock thing.
They also knew what they were doing. Confirming Savoy Brown’s resilience, what could have been a fatal severance instead saw them bounce back even stronger. Singer, Chris Youldon who would come on stage wearing a monocle.. a bowlers hat and a giant cigar would have to step down because of his long lasting drinking problem. So here comes Lonesome Dave taking over lead vocals, Savoy Brown went straight back into the studio to record “Looking In”; a behemoth of an album incidentally blessed with one of the most memorable LP sleeves of the age. A troglodyte-like savage staring into one of the eye sockets of a monstrous, overgrown skull.
Again, the critics were unanimous; Savoy Brown had delivered another classic… And, again, they spoke too soon. Simmonds was impossible to get along with. He was unfair in regards to money splits. Complained about solos going too long.. except for him of course.
Savoy Brown and Foghat
So Lonesome Dave says “fuck this”! He decided to split and takes bass player Tony Stevens and drummer, Roger Earle..Rod Price a guitar buddy to play lead. Peverett decided to call the new band Foghat (thought by some, mistakenly, to be a pun of fuck-it); this was actually a made up word he had made up as a child while playing Scrabble with his brother. He used his new word to create Junior Foghat, an imaginary childhood playmate who became an alter ego and therefore the genesis of the “Lonesome Dave” persona that he was to employ as a performer. Peverett was any thing but “lonesome”… his stories of the road were famous!