While Peter Wolf and the J. Geils Band get ready to return home to Boston for a show at the House of Blues this weekend, the band continue to put on fiery live performances amid a legal mess with one of its founding members.
The word choices say it all for Wolf, who joined Chuck Nowlin on 100.7 WZLX to talk at length about the lawsuit brought on the J. Geils Band by Mr. J. Geils himself over the use of his name. “Deceptive,” “disturbing” and “fraudulent” are just some of the ways Wolf describes Geils’ legal action against the band.
Describing the lawsuit’s principal issue, Wolf compared his band to the Rolling Stones, Allman Brothers and Van Halen in that they kept their band name even through multiple lineup changes and losing members with the same name.
“The name represents the group as a whole,” Wolf says of those bands.
He added later: “The J. Geils Band represents an energy, an attitude, and a catalog of work that I and Seth Justman have wrote and the band has for many years committed to play and its a certain style…Not unlike Joe Perry and Steven Tyler of Aerosmith.”
Wolf continues saying, in likely a veiled shot at J. Geils, that for a band member to truly be part of the group he must embrace it and embody it in all aspects of work.
“It’s not just the musicality; someone has to commit their body, mind and heart. It takes a lot of energy and passion to make the show what it is and provide the music the way we do it. You can’t do a James Brown show and relax…You gotta be able to work,” he says.
Wolf makes it clear that the band were shocked by Geils’ actions and do not agree that the band’s integrity was being compromised.
“What Jay did behind everyones back was very disturbing…If we felt that the musicality and the integrity of the band was at stake we would not be on the road.”
Wolf took the suit as an attack against a brotherhood that should never happen between members.
“J. Geils did a very deceptive thing; it was not what we’d consider in any way a correct way to do to band brothers,” he said.
The band will perform at the House of Blues on Lansdowne St. this Saturday night, with or without Geils and his lawsuit.
“We’re not allowing one person to put a stop to Boston history, and by deceptive ways which we find to be fraudulent,” he says of the lawsuit’s attempt to derail the band’s current tour. “This was not a choice of the band. We love to play and we love our fans and when the opportunity came to play in an intimate venue, we could not allow one person to prevent that.
“We have a long history and our history is going to continue. Like bands that stay around for decades, there are curves and twists and binds. The good ones are able to get through it.”
Wolf also alludes to lost respect for Geils in the wake of the suit, indicating that the relationship between Geils and Wolf (and potentially the rest of the band) is permanently damaged. While we hope the lawsuit is settled amicably and some kind of reconciliation one day happens, it appears right now that the J. Geils Band will never again include J. Geils as a member.
Thanks to CBS and Classic Rock WZLX for allowing us to republish their story.
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