The big, bad Peter Wolf
Any single one of Peter Wolf’s biographical details could make for an interesting book. The 65-year-old singer for the J. Geils Band and solo performer was college roommates with director David Lynch, as a child his father occasionally left him with Norman Rockwell as a babysitter and some of the acts that have opened for him include U2, Fleetwood Mac and Tom Petty.
“What happens a lot of times is that it’s been in vogue for performers and musicians to write these books,” he says, “and people have been after me for the past decade to do one.”
So does this mean that a Wolf memoir is forthcoming? His answer is loaded with both possibility and trepidation.
“It’s in there, and it’s got to come out, so I would imagine so,” he says, “But there’s very few books of that nature that I find worthwhile.”
Surely he found Keith Richards’ autobiography a stimulating read?
“Yeah, I helped Keith with that,” he says.
So you might have to wait before even pre-ordering a copy of “Freeze-Frame: The Picture Perfect Life of Peter Wolf” (our title, not his). But in his live performance tonight he will be telling quite a few stories, mixed in with solo material and Geils fan favorites.
“Sometimes when we’re backstage and the stories come out, they just end up onstage,” he says.
Highlights on any given night might include tales of being chased down a back alley by Sly Stone, hanging out with Van Morrison, when the Irish singer called Cambridge home in the late ‘60s, recording with Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, or living with David Lynch when they were teenagers at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts.
“It was sort of like the odd couple,” says Wolf of his former roommate. “He was very neat and meticulous. I was sort of the bohemian mess.”
Keeping with this bohemian mess tradition, Wolf says the stories he shares are very off-the-cuff.
“Some nights we’ll put in 18 songs or sometimes 16 songs, depending on if I just rap on,” he says. “It’s all just very spontaneous.”
Give it to me
There was only one time that Peter Wolf can remember actually rehearsing a story. The J. Geils Band frontman heard people yelling out specifics from a story he had told to introduce the song, “Must Of Got Lost” after it appeared on a live album in the ’70s.
“I didn’t even know what people were yelling out when they were yelling out, ‘Raputa! Raputa!’ and people were getting into it and I had to sit in a hotel room and memorize it.”