Sunday, April 04, 2010

A Rock and Roll Dinosaur Rolls On

Wall Street Journal
During the eight years when Peter Wolf was putting together his new album "Midnight Souvenirs," he labored over which track should go where on the CD. His friends told him not to bother, nobody worries about that stuff anymore—everyone's shuffling playlists on their iPods anyway.

Mr. Wolf was adamant, and took great care to work out the best song sequence for the record, which comes out April 6. "I come from an era where an album is an album," Mr. Wolf explains on a recent afternoon at a chi-chi French bistro he's been coming to for years on Manhattan's Upper East Side. "Because things have changed, it doesn't mean my approach changed."

Mr. Wolf, now 64 years old and the former lead singer of the J. Geils Band, is a dinosaur. But he's a member of a select breed of dinosaurs, the few who wrote the history of rock and roll since the 1960s—and are still contributing to it. He's not as well known as Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones or Van Morrison, but he's been a rock star for more than four decades and has crossed paths with all of them many times. He probably couldn't fill a medium-size concert hall, but he's still making music that goes beyond rehashing the greatest hits of yore. He's rock's elder Renaissance Man—not just as a walking encyclopedia but as an ultimate fan who, Zelig-like, lived through pretty much the whole thing.

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