Best known for his tenure fronting the J. Geils Band, singer Peter Wolf was born and raised in the Bronx, and came from a family active in show business. His father was a dancer, song plugger, disc jockey, and singer of light opera; his mother, an organizer for the civil rights and labor movements, was a teacher for inner-city children in the Bronx. Wolf's earliest passion was painting, and he was accepted on a scholarship to the Museum of Modern Art's Special Studies for Children, and later to the High School of Music and Art, just blocks from the Apollo Theater, where the young Wolf would make weekly visits. Seeing performers like Jackie Wilson, Dinah Washington, Otis Redding, and James Brown sparked his early interest in blues and R&B. After graduating from high school, he hitchhiked through the Midwest; in Chicago, he became involved in a couple of blues and folk music societies while studying painting at the University of Chicago. While there, he visited the South Side blues clubs, drawing influences from the musicians he saw there.