Thursday, April 24, 2014

Woofah-Goofah and the Master Blaster

In Boston in the late 60s, Peter Wolf (J. Geils Band) was a DJ on the late, great WBCN-FM. He was known as Woofah-Goofa. You may better know him as the lead singer for the J. Geils Band from 1967 to 1983. They put out an awful album that year titled "Freeze Frame" after which he went solo to little aplomb. He did reunite with the J. Geils Band briefly in 1999, but that received even less aplomb and he went solo again. But let's get back to radio because that's far more interesting.

Wolf is no Bostonite. He was born in the Bronx, as Peter W. Blankfield. Wolf has more of a ring to it so lets stick with that when addressing him in the 3rd person.

After dropping out of  the Museum School of Fine Arts in Boston
Wolf was singing in a group called the Hallucinations. He became connected to the music scene and after parties often migrated to his place. One night a law student named Ray Riepen told Wolf of his plan to buy a radio station. peter was too broke to participate fiscally, but he was in. Wolf became the stations music director, program director, and a night shift DJ.

In 1967 the Hallucinations broke up and Peter was left minus his band. This is when he and a couple kids from Worcester Polytechnic Institute got together and formed the J. Geils Band. They were the house band at a club called the Boston Tea Party located on 53 Berkeley Street.  The WBCN studio was at 171 Newbury Street. Peter would run from the end of one gig to the start of the next. Under Riepen the station flipped from classical to AOR... Free Form FM. Teaparty house emcee Charlie Daniel became his informal co-host can called him Woofah-Goofah, Wolf called Charlie Master Blaster.  They played rock 'n' roll and rhythm 'n' blues and whatever else they wanted.

Alas it could not last. By 1969 the demands of the band were in conflict with his radio gig and Wolf left radio for good. He continues today as a solo artist. He has done some live performances on various stations... but then in 2011 he made an appearance on WZLX where he broke out some of his old jive talk for his old Boston audience.