WILKES-BARRE — Foghat might be an English rock band, but lead guitarist Bryan Bassett will be returning to his home state for the band’s performance this week at the F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts.
Bassett, who was born and raised in Pittsburgh, has been a regular member of the blues rock group since 1999. He said he’s looking forward to making the trip back to Pennsylvania soon.
“I’m always excited to come back home,” Bassett said. “I used to play in cities up and down the turnpike, before starting to do shows in the tristate area.”
Bassett’s road to Foghat was a long one, dotted with stints in other successful bands along the way.
In the early 1970s, Bassett started out with the band Wild Cherry — best known for their hit single, “Play That Funky Music” — before a time spent producing records. A stint with Molly Hatchet led Bassett to become friends with Foghat’s late original lead singer, “Lonesome” Dave Peverett.
Since 1999, Bassett has been acting as the band’s lead guitarist, with a lineup that has remained mostly unchanged over the past 20 years, with the exception of the 2000 death of Peverett and the 2018 death of bassist Craig MacGregor.
“It’s amazing to have your bandmates be your friends and family,” Bassett said.
Saturday’s performance will be just one in what Bassett called a “really busy summer,” which has placed the band on stage with acts like Lynyrd Skynyrd, George Thorogood and the Atlanta Rhythm Section. And this week, they’ll be taking the stage once again with English blues rock group Savoy Brown.
“The band’s in really good form,” Bassett said.
Bassett said that longtime fans of the band will have a lot to enjoy at the show, from classics like “Slow Ride” and “Fool for the City” to other, deeper cuts.
“We always do our big hits; that’s the core of the end of the show,” he said. “We want fans to hear the great songs that are on the radio, and we’ll knock their socks off with some deep album cuts.”
Bassett said that one of the most exciting things about performing with Foghat is what he calls the band’s “multigenerational” fans. According to him, the band exploded in popularity in recent years after the song “Slow Ride” was included on the rhythm-based video game “Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock” in 2007.
“All of a sudden I got really popular at my daughter’s elementary school,” Bassett laughed. “The kids would have me sign their toy guitars.”
But whether you got into Foghat through a vinyl record or a video game, Bassett said he can’t wait to play a show for you.
“We’re looking forward to putting on a great show for the people of Wilkes-Barre,” he said.