Little Feat plays the Belly Up Tavern on October 6.
When I grew up in northern Virginia during the ’70s, I thought that Little Feat were a local D.C. band. In a way, I guess they were. Although the band originated and was based out of Los Angeles in 1970 by guitarist Lowell George and keyboardist Bill Payne, the group actually relocated for an extended period in 1974 to Baltimore, Maryland, while recording Feats Don’t Fail Me Now.
Listening to a DJ in the D.C. area named Cerphe on WHFS, DC101, and WAVA, I heard George’s voice and the irresistible second-line rhythms of Little Feat constantly, and it wasn’t long before the rest of the region took Little Feat to heart and treated them as the first-class rock royalty that they are. I highly suggest digging up a copy of their performance from the 1976 Pinkpop Festival in the Netherlands, a priceless document of a band at the top of their game.
Well, sadly, the outfit that calls itself Little Feat these days is not the same group it was. After seven Little Feat albums and one solo record, Lowell George passed away on June 29, 1979, at the Twin Bridges Marriott in Arlington, Virginia, just four miles from my home. When I heard the news, I imagined Lowell’s soul flying out over the Potomac River, and I think it’s safe to say that the magic that constitutes Little Feat passed on with him.
But here we are in 2009, and the gentlemen who are performing next week are all amazing musicians (including Bill Payne, Paul Barrere, Kenny Gradney, and Sam Clayton) and, WTF, they can of course call themselves anything they like.
My thoughts/prayers go out to drummer Richie Hayward, who is currently battling cancer (a benefit concert in Agoura Hills is scheduled for October 4).
DJ: Jon Kanis
Station: BZoO Worldwide Radio (bzoo.org)
SHIFT: Every Sunday & Monday, 11 p.m.–1 a.m.