But Wolf’s creative energy transcends music. Drawing and painting are another side to his artistic abilities. Wolf studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. He still calls Boston home and can often be found in off-beat music clubs, listening to local acts and sharing conversation with other music lovers.
But free time is a rarity for Wolf these days. The recent release of his seventh album, Midnight Souvenirs, has brought the musician back on the road. And in turn, the road has brought Wolf back to his stomping grounds. He had the chance to handpick the venue for his recent (and sold-out) hometown show and quickly chose the Wilbur Theatre for its intimacy and underground feel.
In the midst of concert dates, talk-show appearances and press events for Midnight Souvenirs, Wolf sat down for dinner with myself and Scene’s Bobby DiMarzo (who has been close friends with him for over 20 years) to discuss music, art and what it’s like to be friends with the Rolling Stones.
Melissa: I heard you have the most impressive vinyl collection. Do you remember the first record you ever bought?
Pete: A lot of people call it a record collection, but I started buying these records when I was 5 or 6 and treasured them as much then as I do now, so to me it’s a bunch of things that I love. A lot of collectors are into quantity but I’m more interested in quality. My first record ever was Little Richard’s Long Tall Sally.
Melissa: Over the years, you’ve shared the stage with many rock ‘n’ roll greats like Bruce Springsteen and The Rolling Stones. What’s your friendship like with Mick Jagger and Keith Richards?
Pete: I toured a lot with the Stones throughout the years. Keith, Mick and I have also recorded a number of times over the years, so it was over this time that we became good friends. They are both unique and very different from one another, but they complement each other, they’re like the “odd couple” (laughs). But really, the thing about Keith and Mick is that they both have a deep passion and love for the Rolling Stones.
Melissa: So I learned the artwork featured on the cover of your latest album Midnight Souvenirs, is your very own. Can you tell me about this?
Pete: Well the album had been completed for a while and I was thinking of different ideas for the cover. Several people suggested why don’t I use my own work for it so I decided to go with it. I worked on many things until finally I drew this one sketch. I drew it very fast and it sort of popped out really quickly. I tried several different things but kept coming back to this one drawing because it resonated so much with me. When I showed other people they loved it and that was it.
Melissa: You’ve been so busy on the road promoting Midnight Souvenirs…from Letterman to Detroit. Tell us about your hometown show at the Wilbur Theatre back in May.
Pete: I chose the Wilbur because they haven’t showcased too many rock ‘n’ roll acts and they have a full bar which is always a plus. I’ve played almost every major venue in Boston, so sometimes I like to search out more independent venues in the city.
Melissa: After your solo tour you’re returning to Boston in August for a big show at Fenway Park—you’ll be back playing with J. Geils Band and Aerosmith will play too. Are you excited for this gig?
Pete: Yes, Bruce Springsteen brought me up on stage several times at Fenway Park but this time should be a little different…they used to call us (J. Geils Band) the bad boys of rock and now they call Aerosmith by it. So I look at it like, it’s going to be a show with the baddest boys in rock’n’roll.
Melissa: What’s a free night for Peter Wolf like?
Pete: If I’m not working on the road on the weekends, I tend to stay in. I prefer to go to clubs on weekdays, the people who see live music during the week seem to be a more dedicated crowd. I like to check out bands in Somerville and Cambridge. Ever since The Rat in Kendall Sqaure closed down, The Middle East has sort of become the new home for up and coming bands.