Bryan Basset's interview
by John Molet - April 2003

Hi Bryan, I first wanted to tell you the French audience really appreciated your work with Molly Hatchet for the album "Devils Canyon", but doesn't seem to really know about your work with Foghat. Can you tell us about your musical career?

Hi John and thank you! Of the three albums I recorded with “Molly Hatchet”, “Devil’s Canyon” was my favorite. I have great memories of recording it in Brackel, Germany and I am happy it was so well received by our French fans. As for my music career, it began in the niteclubs of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where I performed with a variety of “cover” bands and spent 5 or 6 years learning my craft. My first international success came as a member of the funk/rock band “Wild Cherry” when our song “Play That Funky Music” became a hit single in 1976. I recorded 3 albums with “Wild Cherry” and spent several years on tour with such great artists as “The Average White Band”, “The Isley Brother’s”, “Earth, Wind and Fire”, “The Jackson Five” and the “Commodore’s”. Being a Rock ‘n Roller at heart I left the R&B flavored “Wild Cherry” and tried my hand at running a rock band. The band was named “Airborne” and we played for some years but disbanded when no record deal came along. I relocated to Florida and began a 15 year association with “Kingsnake Studio” as a recording engineer/guitarist/producer, and started a “blues rock” band named “Blue House”. I engineered a couple CDs for LOFT records a French label and several “Kingsnake” artists have had success in France particularly “Lucky Peterson”, one of the finest musicians I have ever recorded. One evening in 1988 the great rock guitarist “Pat Travers” brought “Lonesome Dave Peverett” to one of my band’s shows. Dave and I hit it off and began a lifelong friendship based on our mutual love of “Blues” music. Dave asked me to go on tour with him, which I gladly did, and we played together for 4 years. In 1992 Foghat reformed with their original members. I had met Danny Joe Brown and Bobby Ingram on a European tour and we had become friends, I was quite happy when I was asked to join the band. I spent the next 7 years rockin’ hard with “Hatchet” until I left to join Foghat as Rod Price’s replacement in 1999. (I hope this answer isn’t too long John..I think that was a 2 bottle of wine question and if every we get the chance to share a glass I’ll be glad to fill in the details!)

For many people, Foghat was pretty much Lonesome Dave Peverett. Can you tell us what Lonesone Dave was to you, what did he represent (musically and on a human point of view)?
This is a very emotional question for me. Dave was my mentor, a teacher by his actions, a partner and quite simply my best friend. I have a certain view about music and the music business and about what it means to be a musician or an artist and the purity of spirit I think it needs. I have been in the music business a long time and have met so many egotistical and/or mercenary people that I began to think my feelings about music and the business of music were just naïve. Then I met Dave, a rock superstar to be sure but also a giving and down to earth person who loved music for it’s own sake and performed with an honest energy that came from his soul. To see a musician of his stature embody all the things I hold dear validated my feelings about what it means to be a musician. To share the stage with him and feel the energy he put forth was a privilege and something I will never forget.

I'm a die-hard southern rock fan (Lynyrd Skynyrd, Molly Hatchet) Point Blank, 38 special, among others) and to me there are similarities between this music and Foghat's. What is your opinion?
I feel that the similarity between Foghat and the bands of the southern United States comes from them both being rooted in “American Blues”. Southern rock adds the “flavor of the south” and I know Foghat and Savoy Brown while in London in the early years were very influenced by the seminal rockers such as “Gene Vincent” and “Chuck Berry”. Put it all through a Marshall amplifier and there you have it, the sound that has captured us all for over thirty years now.

It seems Lonesome Dave had many friends in the southern rock world.
Over the years Dave toured with almost all of the major Southern Rock bands. I believe they all respected his talent and those who knew him personally held him in the highest regard.

How would you define the Foghat musical style?
It is the blending of British Blues Rock and American Boogie Rock and Roll with a bit of Pop Rock song arrangement thrown in for good measure and a dash of freeform improvisation. Or as Dave would say “It’s just Rock and Roll!”

I grew up listening to records from Savoy Brown and Foghat. Of course, I got all of their records and the ones I like the most are "Energized", "Fool for the city", "Night shift, "Stone blue", certainly because all these albums have southern influences. What do you think of these recordings? Which songs, from these albums, do you play live ? Did you like Foghat at that period (between '74 and '77)?
I think that the band was at it’s peak during this period. I love those recordings; they are all ingrained in my brain and a part of my rock and roll memory bank. We try to draw tunes from all the albums, changing a few selections every tour so our fans who come to see us every year can hear numbers they haven’t heard performed live before. We are also working in songs from the new CD “Family Joules” …we just need to play for 4 hours to get it all in (grin).

When Lonesome Dave passed away, many fans thought the band would not continue. How Foghat is received these days in the US?
We did not know if we could or even wanted to continue ourselves. Dave’s death just stunned us and stopped us dead in our tracks. Everyone went home and I returned to “Molly Hatchet” briefly. Bobby Ingram was kind enough to bring me on board for the “Kingdom of XII” sessions. My family and I are indebted to him for that. We kept in touch with fans on the website and they were very supportive and seemed willing to except a Foghat without Dave. In my last conversation with Dave he asked me to keep the band going, I just didn’t see how. But players must play and slowly we came out of our fog and started to think about other singers. It was Roger who remembered a singer that impressed Dave, that singer being Charlie Huhn of Humble Pie / Victory / Ted Nugent. We scheduled a rehearsal in New York and the chemistry was immediate. We decided there and then this would be the new lineup. The response has been great in the US. The band and the fans feel Dave’s presense at every show as we play his great songs. I think Dave would approve; I wouldn’t be here otherwise.

Is there a chance you might come here in Europe?
We are now planning for distribution of our new CD in Europe. We would love to tour in support of it. There are no European shows on the calender yet but it’s a prioity with us this year.

Can you tell us about this new album, "Family Joules”?
The most lasting impression I have of making this record is how much fun we had recording it. I have made quite a few albums in my time and believe me recording is sometimes more work than fun. We picked a great place to record, Pyramax Studios a movie studio complex in Lake Helen, Florida. I designed a mobile digital recording system and we setup in a huge soundstage area and recorded at our leisure. Pyramax had a great crew who built a few isolation areas for me and I sat at the board with a guitar in my lap and we rolled tape or actually ‘spun disk’. Everyone in the band brought song ideas to the table and basically we would write during the day and record at night. I think it was a great release for everyone to be involved and creative and it is an important step for our new lineup. We had a great time and so far our fan’s opinions have been very positive.

Can you tell us about Tony, Roger and Charlie?
Trying to get me in trouble are you? (grin). Well as a guitarist who grew up listening to Savoy Brown and was deep into the British blues invasion I cannot be more blessed than to play with one of the greatest rhythm sections ever to come out of England. They lay down a hard deep groove every gig. I turn around at points in the show and I have to slap myself when it hits me who I am playing with. Charlie I cannot say enough about. To fill Dave’s spot with such style and grace and also bring his own personality to the show is remarkable to me. To do justice to Dave’s songs and maintain his own idenity speaks volumes about his professionalism and the depth of his talent. I’ll stop now before they owe me too much money. (grin)

Are you still in contact with Bobby Ingram?
No, I haven’t talked to him recently. Bands are a lot like sports teams; you spend several years seeing people every day then BOOM you’re gone and on a new team. I’m sure to see him during the summer touring season so we can catch up on things. I understand I’m on a track from the new live CD so I’ll be talking to him about that.

Which bands do you appreciate in classic rock or southern rock?
All of them! I love it that so many are still out playing. On a personal note Doug Gray of “Marshall Tucker” and “Charlie Daniels” ;two great southern gentleman and two great bands who made the “Volunteer Jam” tour I played on an absolute ball; and “Blue Oyster Cult and ”Steppenwolf”, bands we work with on a regular basis who make touring a lot of fun.

Do you have something to say to the French fans?
Yes, thanks for taking time to let our music be a part of your lives and we hope to perform live for you in the not too distant future.

If you had to spend the rest of your life on a desert island, which five albums would you take with you?
Tough one John! Hmm ok this is going to be a strange selection but there is a small stack of CDs that are always near my player and they are : 1) ”John and Julian” (a classical guitar duet album by John Williams and Julian Bream) 2) John Mayall’s “Looking Back” some the most killer Peter Green and Eric Clapton licks ever. 3) Jeff Beck’s “Cosa Nostra” the Green Apple album or any Beck album really 4) Allman Brothers “Live at the Fillmore” no explanation needed 5) Man I can’t pick just one!&! OK “Joe Satriani “The Extremist” for a killer engineering job and to make sure I practice. Or “Anam” by Clannad or “So” by “Peter Gabriel” or “Johnny Winter” or Little Feat or

Thanks a lot Bryan for answering these questions. "Road to Jacksonville" wishes you all the best to you and Foghat. Keep on rockin'.
Merci beaucoup John. All the best!


Close Window