The J Geils Band’s Peter Wolf tells Night Flight about the freedom found in taking a solo flight

By on March 7, 2016

In 1985, J. Geils frontman Peter Wolf spoke with Night Flight about how after so many years of being one of the best live acts and hardest working acts in show business with monster performances like their iconic “Musta Got Lost,” it was, ironically, the breakout appeal of Freeze Frame that helped do in the band at that time.

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Wolf stopped by the New York offices of Night Flight to sit down for a chat with journalist Lisa Robinson to talk about his solo debut, 1984’s Light’s Out, his first release since he led the J. Geils band to the top of the pop charts in 1981 with “Centerfold,” off Freeze Frame.

“Success doesn’t necessarily make things easier,” Wolf said at the time. “People kind of think that. It definitely makes the sort of financial sense either, it gives you the freedom to do certain things, but it also brings upon whole new sets of problems. I think that for a long time we really stuck together to try to get ourselves out of this hot water we were in and we were very good friends. And then with the success new problems arose, personality problems between people.”

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He admitted it wasn’t his intention to go solo.

“It’s bizarre to me, but it just happened and they are doing their thing and I find myself doing mine. It’s not something by choice of mine, but sometimes these things happen and you’ve just got to move on,” he said.

In the ensuing three decades the band has put aside those differences and reunited on occasion, starting in 1999 with a 13-date tour. The most recent occasion was in late 2014 and early 2015 when they opened for fellow Seventies rocker Bob Seger and his Silver Bullet Band out of Detroit, who, like Wolf and his Geils mates, shared a great love for the blues and Motown.

“With the J Geils band we really had a great sense of tradition with our music, especially a lot of the black music that came from the United States, the real early Motown and great blues players, John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters and James Cotton. These are people that we became friends with, I became friends with, we studied and played, we learned a lot from,” he said.

“I think, as far as the new hip-hop scene, it was something we were aware of. I just hadn’t been able to work that close with people that were making that kind of music cause I was a member of a band. This gave me an opportunity to really explore those areas and not to make a hip-hop record, to make a rock and roll record with those elements in it. Cause basically rock and roll when it started was basically dance music and that’s really what it still is. It’s become very sophisticated obviously, but basically the fundamental sense of it is good time dance music.”

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Today, Wolf has a new solo album, A Cure For Loneliness, due out in April. Wolf just premiered his new song, “Wastin’ Time,” via Rolling Stone. While the song has an almost country twang to it, we have no doubt there will be plenty of good time dance music on the album that we can’t wait to hear.

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About Steve Baltin

Steve Baltin is an author and journalist who has written for every major music publication, including over 600 articles at Rolling Stone, as well as writing for Billboard, L.A. Times, Vice, CNN, MOJO, and countless other publications. He's the host of the Hulu and Virgin inflight music interview series, Riffing With, which launched in 2015, and that same year he debuted Werd, a live magazine experience. He's also hosted iHeartRadio's "Speak Easy" show and various live events for Sonos, tand for the past ten years has been an instructor for the NARAS-run Grammy Camp, a summer program for high school students. He lives in Los Angeles, California.