Rod Price

Lead and slide guitarist with Foghat
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The Independent Online

In the Seventies, the British band Foghat, with their unfashionable brand of blues and boogie, became favourites of middle America. They toured America constantly after placing five songs in the US Top Forty between 1976 and 1979 and released 12 albums featuring the mighty pairing of "Lonesome" Dave Peverett (on guitar and lead vocals) and Rod "The Bottle" Price (on lead and slide guitar as well as backing vocals).

Roderick Michael Price, guitarist, singer and songwriter: born London 22 November 1947; twice married (one son, two stepsons, two stepdaughters); died Wilton, New Hampshire 22 March 2005.

In the Seventies, the British band Foghat, with their unfashionable brand of blues and boogie, became favourites of middle America. They toured America constantly after placing five songs in the US Top Forty between 1976 and 1979 and released 12 albums featuring the mighty pairing of "Lonesome" Dave Peverett (on guitar and lead vocals) and Rod "The Bottle" Price (on lead and slide guitar as well as backing vocals).

Price left the group in 1981 but returned in 1993 as Foghat enjoyed a new lease of life when their cover version of Willie Dixon's "I Just Want to Make Love to You" and their own composition "Slow Ride" were used in the film Dazed and Confused.

Born in Chiswick, west London, in 1947, Rod Price grew up in a musical family, his father and brother being lovers of classical music. However, when Rod heard Big Bill Broonzy on the radio, he was hooked on the blues and talked his mother into buying him an acoustic guitar. By 1966, he had developed an amazing slide technique using a bottleneck, which would earn him the nickname "The Bottle".

He beat a young Paul Kossoff (later in Free) at an audition to join the Shackey Vick's Big City Blues Band, which dedicated itself to covering material by US bluesmen. But they failed to capitalise on the British blues boom instigated by Alexis Korner and John Mayall and, in 1968, Price moved on to Dynaflow Blues and then, the following year, the heavier Black Cat Bones.

In early 1971, Price answered an advertisement placed by Dave Peverett in Melody Maker. Peverett had just left the British blues band Savoy Brown, taking with him the rhythm section of Roger Earl (drums) and Tony Stevens (bass). Price had become a fixture on the London circuit and, when he spoke to Peverett on the phone, the two guitarists realised they already knew each other. They decided to join forces and form a group called Foghat (a word concocted during a demented scrabble game).

"When we got together, it clicked," Price recalled:

We dug into our blues roots. The reason we were successful was our passion for the blues. All we really wanted to do was to play; success was just the icing on the cake.

The impresario Albert Grossman, who had made his name with Peter, Paul & Mary, Bob Dylan and The Band, was about to launch his own label, Bearsville. When he saw Foghat in London, he offered them a record deal and flew Todd Rundgren over to produce their début album (although the sessions were completed with Dave Edmunds).

US radio picked up on the group's muscular rendition of "I Just Want to Make Love to You" and Foghat's constant touring did the rest. In 1974, their fourth album, Energized, was the first of eight gold albums. The band broke big in late 1975 with the slide-riff-heavy "Slow Ride", the single extracted from the album Rock'n'Roll Outlaws. The barnstorming "Drivin' Wheel" co-written by Peverett and Price, "Stone Blue" and "Third Time Lucky (First Time I Was a Fool)" kept them on the radio for three years, and in 1977 Foghat Live went double platinum. Price became known for his tour de force performances and lengthy slide-guitar solos played on a Les Paul Jr Custom.

By 1981, he had decided to leave. "I was truly burnt out, exhausted from the pressures of touring and writing," he said. Both Peverett and Pearl continued to tour, with rival line-ups of Foghat. Price began guesting with "Lonesome Dave's Foghat" and the original quartet reunited in 1993 for the album Return of the Boogie Men.

Price released two solo albums, Open (2000) and West Four (2003), and was featured prominently on the Foghat Decades Live double-CD in 2003.

Pierre Perrone

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