Roger Earl is the man with the beat. Pounding his drums for over 35 years,
this British rock nroller is partial to rock & blues (always
has been). |
Born in England on May 16, 1946 Roger grew up in Hounslow (West London). He
was a scruffy little sod...dirty and covered in mud from head to foot. Always
getting into things, he would often be sent to bed without any
Music was always encouraged in the Earl household. Small living room with a
BIG piano. In the mid fifties, Dad introduced Roger to Great Balls of
Fire by Jerry Lee Lewis and the house was never the same. "Dad
played piano somewhat in the style of Fats Waller but a bit heavier handed
(wonder where I got it from???)." He later took Roger & brother Colin
to see Jerry Lee around 1960 and it all began. He wanted to play Piano, but as
it was usually occupied by Dad or Colin he started taking drum lessons at 13,
for about 2 years. He bought his first Premier (Black Pearl) drum kit at 15 by
saving money from after school part-time jobs.
After discovering Jerry Lee, there was Little Richard (what a great
band!...the drummer was particularly impressive) and Chuck Berry, who was
always on the turntable. He then discovered Muddy Waters and bought his record
"Live at Newport". Muddys drummer Francis Clay was his first
major influence . While hanging out at music stores in London he discovered
blues greats like John Lee Hooker and...the list goes on.... Around this time
he also heard Buddy Rich on a Jazz at the Philharmonic recording
and "it took my breath away".
At 17 Roger joined his first band, a Blues R & B Band called the TRAMPS,
made up of school friends Dave Hutchins, Ray Dorset and Dick Howe. They were
together in various forms for about three years. Ray Dorset eventually formed
a hugely successful band with Colin Earl called MUNGO JERRY.
Roger left school at 16 to pursue a career in commercial art in London. to
support his drum & cymbal habit. He did this for about 4 years
(quite successfully) until he joined SAVOY BROWN at the age of 20 ("I
didnt receive payment for the first 6 weeks from SAVOY but at least I
was semi-pro. I continued auditioning for other bands during lunch
hours and after work during this time because I still wasnt sure I had
the job") He auditioned for people like The Crazy World of Arthur Brown
and Jimi Hendrix, among others.
His five albums with SAVOY BROWN (one of the hippest blues-rock acts on either
side of the Atlantic) between 1968 and 1970, were Getting to the
Point, A Step Further, Raw Sienna (which became
a British Blues Classic), "Blue Matter and Looking In.
During a couple of lunchtime sessions, Roger, Dave Peverett, Tony Stevens,
Colin Earl and Bob Hall (Savoys Pianist) cut a rockabilly album called
"Warren Phillips and the Rockets. He also played drums on Chris
Jaggers first album and Mungo Jerrys debut album in 1970.
SAVOY BROWN did their first U.S. tour in 1968 with greats like B.B. King,
Albert King, Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Charlie Musselwhite, the J.Geils
Band and saw great artists like Bobby Blue Bland and Buddy Guy. After touring
the U.S. he knew he was home.
In December of 1970, Roger, Dave Peverett and Tony Stevens left SAVOY BROWN to
form FOGHAT. They hooked up with Rod Price and released their first record in
1972 on the Bearsville Label (a subsidiary of Warner Brothers) and followed
with their first U.S. tour. They became an immediate success, following up the
gold debut with lots of other gold albums....Rock n Roll, Energized,
Rock n Roll Outlaws. 1975s Fool for the City, which included
Slow Ride, made them superstars. They continued the gold with
Night Shift, their 1977 Foghat Live (which went Platinum) and
Stone Blue. These were followed with Boogie Motel in 1979, Tight Shoes, In the
Mood for Something Rude, Girls to Chat and Boys to Bounce and Zig Zag Walk.
By this time it was the mid eighties. Punk was in and musical tastes were
going through a transition period. So were the members of Foghat who went
their separate ways for a few years to pursue individual interests. Settled
comfortably on Long Island, New York, Earl admittedly didnt know
how to relax. He played with the New England Jam Band on weekends for a
couple of years with people like James Montgomery, the Uptown Horns John
Butcher, Charlie Farran, Fran Sheehan, Elliott Randall and Mark Rivera. He
then toured with his own band for awhile
In 1993, the four original members of Foghat recorded Return of the
Boogie Men and they were on the road again. The road, as it always had
been for this most traveled hard rock blues band, proved still
kind to them. Three generations of fans are still boogie-ing to their music.
Their current live record Road Cases is a great example that good
rock and blues will never go out of style.
"Music is sound and emotion," says this most philosophical of
drummers at age 52. "My heroes came from places like Mississippi and
Chicago and sang about stuff I couldnt quite understand when I was 15.
But I knew I loved it. I belonged to a record club and I remember the first
time I saw Howlin Wolfs name on a big list of records I could buy.
Howlin Wolf? I thought, He HAS to be great with a name
like that. And I wasnt disappointed. Roger has never forgotten his
early influences and says that "the one thing you cant ever forget
is how to be a fan."
Roger uses white marine pearl DW Drums with Black Hardware....(two 24"
bass drums, 6" x 14" edge snare drum, two rack toms - 12" &
14", floor toms - 15", 16" & 18"), PAISTE Cymbals (Sig
Series), ATTACK drum heads, and PRO-MARK "Roger Earl" drum sticks.
The man admits with his typically British wry storytelling sense, that there
were times that he may have had "too much fun". And hes
learned from it well. But now, at 52, with daughters of 11, 16 and 30 and a
three year old granddaughter, hes achieved an inner philosophical sense
which lets him expound on his wild times with wit and candor. "The one
thing I dont regret in my life," he says wistfully, "is having
children. Theyre the absolute joy and pleasure of my life. Theyre
the best. Were very close."
Roger has always, and still loves to fish. He goes fishing every chance he
gets. He is also very active, rides his bike, runs and tries to stay as
healthy as possible. He currently lives on Long Island on a houseboat on the
harbor where he can keep an eye on the fish and watch the birds. Snice.
When asked what made him emigrate from London, England to Long Island, New
York (of all places) he simply says...when we got off the boat, it was
the first place there."
Roger Earl is still hammering away....still a noisy sod. And this
rocknroll, road-warrior wouldnt have it any other way.