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VENTURA COUNTY WEEKEND | ROCKTALK

Foghat's 'Slow Ride' Not Yet Over

The veteran blues-rock band rolls into the Ventura Theatre on Friday.

August 29, 1996|BILL LOCEY | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

With all that cash amassed during a 25-year career to keep him company, Lonesome Dave Peverett probably isn't all that lonesome after all. He and his pals in Foghat will do "Slow Ride" one more time for classic rock fans and probably a bunch of bikers, too, at the Ventura Theatre on Friday night.

The Rolling Stones successfully reinvented American blues music around 1965, and for a few years after countless British bands did the same, including, among others, Fleetwood Mac, Ten Years After and Savoy Brown.

Savoy Brown featured guitarist Kim Simmonds and, on its best three albums, singer Chris Youlden, a guy so thin he looked like the poster boy for 6 o'clock.

In 1972, after the aptly named album "A Step Further," three-fifths of Savoy Brown--singer-guitarist Peverett, bassist Tony (formerly Tone) Stevens and drummer Roger Earl--formed Foghat. Guitarist Rod Price completed the lineup, which remains intact today.

"It was basically a difference of opinion with the management," Peverett said of the breakup. "Savoy Brown, as you know, is Kim Simmonds, and he was getting into kind of a lighter thing than we were. He was getting a jazz thing and we wanted to do the 'Louisiana Blues.' And Chris Youlden? He's still in England. He put out an album a couple of years ago and plays occasionally. But he was the kind of guy that you always had to push--he never wanted to do anything."

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Foghat has done plenty. The band has recorded 16 albums, including six gold, one double-platinum and one platinum, scored five hit singles, and played the arena rock circuit.

"There have been a few changes," Peverett said. "In the '70s, we were playing bigger arenas and the music itself became bigger sounding. Since then, we've gotten back to the blues thing, back to the basics."

Near the end of the Jimmy Carter administration, music was getting away from the basics, finding new ways to redefine hipness. Punk rock was scaring parents, music videos dominated MTV and new wave music was making a fashion statement as well as making people dance. A lot of this, especially punk, was a reaction to so-called dinosaur rock, at which Foghat was very proficient.

The group took a break for several years and switched to Plan B.

"We just felt like it was the right time to take a rest," Peverett said. "MTV, punk and new wave were happening and we had been on the road for 16 years. We figured, if we were going to take a break, this was the time. It was good to get away from it for a while and gain some perspective."

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But the boogie beat is infectious and people were definitely ready to hear Foghat do such songs as "Fool for the City," "Louisiana Blues" and "Slow Ride."

"Oh, no, we're not tired of playing 'Slow Ride.' " Peverett said. "That's the one that gets the crowd worked up, and from a live point of view, that's the one that gets them up to party. Then again, our association with 'Slow Ride' sometimes obscures the fact that we've done other things. We've done a lot of blues stuff that has been overlooked, but that's probably because radio just plays the hits."

And without Foghat, Steppenwolf, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Led Zeppelin, classic rock radio would go away. Foghat, with both a live CD and a studio album in the works, isn't about to go away.

"We're enjoying the music still," said Peverett. "If we didn't enjoy it onstage, it wouldn't be any fun at all. We have the people that come to see us from the early days, and then we get a younger crowd that heard our music in the 'Dazed and Confused' movie. I can't complain. We're still playing good after 25 years, and I think anything after three years is a bonus."

Red Dragon and Picasso's Mask will open the 8 p.m., $15 show. Call 648-1888 to find out more.

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Cheapskate Dream Date of the Week: Tonight at Nicholby's in Ventura there's a video shoot for Reset Records in Carpinteria in order to supply more victims for the weekly TV show "Locals Only."

Four bands for five bucks always works, especially if one of them is that reggae-flavored dance band Papa-Nata and another is Southern Cross, which, in terms of musicianship, is about the best band around these days. Also on the bill are Spice and Euphoria. Show time is around 9 p.m. at the venue located at the corner of Oak Street and Main Street. Call 653-2320.

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