How much does Barrence Whitfield & the Savages love music?
When the singer calls for his interview, the quintet is in a Rochester, N.Y., record store owned by a friend who closed it to the public so the band could troll leisurely for treasures.
"I'm just taking a little break from the action," says Whitfield, 60. "I've been record collecting my whole life, and I still love it. We all do. This is what we call fun."
So is what Whitfield and company do on record and on stage. After taking a hiatus for some of the members to start families, the Savages -- founded during the early 80s in Boston -- regrouped during 2005 and has put out two new albums, including the just-released "Under the Savage Sky." Whitfield likes to quote guitarist Peter Greenberg as saying "we feel like we were frozen in time, melted and resurrected five years later, but he acknowledges that while still as rowdy and hard-rocking as ever, it's not the exact same group as it was before the break.
"Peter been listening to a lot of jazz now, and we've all been listening to a lot of music, so we've kind of grown in that sense," explains Whitfield, who was born Barry White in Jacksonville, Fla. -- and changed his name for obvious reasons. "Our record horizons have opened up, and we appreciate all kinds of music a lot more.
"But, y'know, at the heart of it we're not THAT different. We've still got the energy. We're still out here playing good rock 'n' roll with a lot of energy. We've just been out here reintroducing ourselves and it's been more than we can ask for. We're just pretty happy that a lot of ears are listening to this stuff and saying, I haven't heard good rock 'n' roll like this in many years.
"We know we're doing something right."
Whitfield and the Savages plan to keep doing it, too. The group will be in North America through September 12 and then head to Europe, and it's hoping to be supporting "Under the Savage Sky" well into 2016. Another album is likely, too, with no signs of fatigue on the horizon from the Savages.
"I think the spirit of getting back on the road and performing in front of people who are interested in hearing what we've got and what music we love and the energy we project when we show up on stage -- that's what it's about," Whitfield says. "Hopefully we can keep it going and you'll see a lot more people coming forward saying, 'Hey man, that band, Barrence Whitfield & the Savages, what an act! And what a record they put out!' That'd be cool."
Barrence Whitfield & the Savages, Bonehead and Dirty Copper
Saturday, Aug. 29. Doors open at 9 p..
PJ's Lager House, 1254 Michigan Ave., Detroit.
Admission is $10.
Call 313-961-4668 or visit pjslagerhouse.com
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