Back in 1983, Barry White (a.k.a. Barrence Whitfield) and Peter Greenberg were working at Nuggets, a record store, in Kenmore Square in Boston. Greenberg, who had previously played guitar in DMZ and The Customs, had recently quit his job playing guitar with Lyres and had begun to form an instrumental Rock n’ Roll band with ex-Lyres Phil Lenker on bass, Howie Ferguson (and Real Kids too) on drums. Once Barry White began some impromptu singing at the record store, Barrence Whitfield and the Savages took off—killing any idea of an instrumental group.The first iteration of the Savages went on to record two critically acclaimed, blockbuster LPs that combined the best of 50/60s rocking R&B with high-octane garage/punk. The first LP, Barrence Whitfield and the Savages was released on Mamou Records in 1984 and was re-released in 2010 on Ace Records with additional material. John Swenson wrote in the Ace liner notes “that in the dark days of the early 1980s… The Savages kept Rock n Roll alive.” The original Savages recorded a second LP in 1985, Dig Yourself on Rounder Records that also rocked in an Esquerita-like manner.
According to Andy Kershaw of the BBC’s Old Grey Whistle Test, “What positioned Barrence and the band way beyond any other rock’n’roll of the era was a unique marriage of Barrence’s personality and R&B shouter elan to the bounce and insolence of Peter Greenberg’s essentially rockabilly guitar style. With the addition of much ill-mannered saxophone, we have here a band which embodied the heart and soul of rock’n’roll.”
In 1986, Greenberg and Lenker moved on, and the original Savages disbanded soon after. Little did they know that this would be temporary. Thankfully, Barrence kept it alive over the years producing a wide-range of mighty-fine recorded output while continuing to tour worldwide and becoming internationally renowned for his wild performances.
Barrence Whitfield & the Savages LIVE!In 2010, after a 25-year hiatus, Whitfield, Lenker, and Greenberg decided to hang out in the desert and play some shows in the Southwest. This led to the recording of the Savage Kings LP in Cincinnati in December 2010. Cincinnati, Ohio, home to King Records, served up the chance for the Savages to honor and channel their heroes who recorded on King as well as produce a great Rock & Roll record.
The core Savages lineup of Whitfield, Lenker, and Greenberg was now ready to go, supported by an All Star team on Savage Kings that included Andy Jody on drums and Tom Quartulli on sax. Check out their star-studded BIOS! The LP was released in the summer of 2011 on Munster Records in Europe and Shake It! Records in the USA.
Since the release of Savage Kings the guys have been extensively touring Europe and the USA.
In April 2013, Barrence Whitfield and the Savages became Bloodshot Records Recording Artists and that famed label will release the albums worldwide. A new LP of mostly original material, dubbed Dig Thy Savage Soul was recorded at UltraSuede Studio in Fall 2012 and will be unleashed on August 1. You can dig they savage soul on CD or on long-playing vinyl, as well as in those handy mp3 files. The Savages will begin a world tour to support the new LP in the Northeast and Midwest USA in September, Europe in October, and the balance of the globe this coming Winter and way into 2014.