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Interview:
The J. Geils Band is ready to blow our faces off again
 

By GARY GRAFF
Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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Peter Wolf credits "the joy of getting out there" as the impetus for keeping the J. Geils Band on the road for the past six years -- and, of course, stopping regularly in the Boston group's adopted home town of Detroit.

And, he adds, with members in their 60s and 45 years on from the troupe's debut album, a feeling of mortality is creeping into the equation, too.

"Every time we get together, there's this sense of you never know if this is the last time," Wolf, 69, who was born Peter Blankfield in New York, says by phone from Boston. "So there's an amazing energy coming out for this tour that is unlike anything preceding it. It just has an intensity that has been pretty consistent from show to show.

"It's the ability to be able to keep visiting the body of work that was such an important part of my life for so long, and to revisit it is always really interesting. We get into rehearsals and sometimes we look at each other and we hit a song like 'Looking For a Love' or 'Give It To Me' and you look around and go, 'Whoa, man, this still has a potency to it.' That's a great feeling."

Geils opened for Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band during the first stage of its tour last fall, which Wolf says helped put the group in "a lot of places we hadn't played for many years," including the West Coast. Though Geils "doesn't go out there very much" by design, the group is still trying to build its touring momentum but also keep things interesting to for repeat fans.

"With the body of work we have, we've tried adding lots of songs that might be more obscure, things like 'Chimes' and 'Make Up Your Mind,' different songs that have been influential and we've played through the years," Wolf says. "In putting together the two hours, it's not unlike what happens with the (Rolling) Stones or many bands; there's a certain variety of songs the audience wants to hear, and we always try and do some different aspect to it.

"So I think each new tour is a new opportunity to get out there and be a Rolling Stones or an Allman Brothers or bands like that who are able to continue and keep the bar high."

As for new Geils material, Wolf says "that hasn't presented itself of yet," though he's preparing a new solo album for release in 2016. For the time being, however, he sees Geils as a touring entity first and foremost.

"When I come into a bunch of shows and dates with Geils I sort of hang my hat up and give it 110 percent to get out there and do the job that needs to be done," Wolf explains. "That said, there are no plans for any future tours, either, so we put all our energies into this, and if there's a next time we'll put all our energies into that, too."

The J. Geils Band and Ian Hunter & the Rant Band

8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 11.

DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township. Tickets are $39.50-$99.50 pavilion, $29.50 lawn with a $75 lawn four-pack. Call 248-377-0100 or visit palacenet.com.


Web Site: www.palacenet.com

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