He was born July 10, 1950 in New York, New York and is best known for playing with Foghat. Cartwright replaced original Foghat guitarist Rod Price in late 1980. He played lead and slide guitar on Foghat's last three major label releases, Girls to Chat & Boys to Bounce (1981), In the Mood for Something Rude (1982), and Zig Zag Walk (1983). Foghat was a still a major headlining act when Cartwright joined, but changes in music during the 1980s led to the band's loss of popularity and it wasn't long until they were performing in nightclubs and theaters.
Foghat disbanded in 1983 and Carwright then joined a group called The Kneetremblers with two other Foghat members, bassist Craig MacGregor and drummer Roger Earl. In 1986 they began calling themselves Foghat and toured as such until 1990 with recurring lineup changes; Earl and Cartwright being the only group mainstays. In 1990 original Foghat vocalist Lonesome Dave Peverett formed his own version of Foghat, and the version including Erik Cartwright became known as Roger Earl's Foghat. Cartwright worked with Earl until 1993, when the original Foghat members reunited and Cartwright then found himself out of a job with many pairs of multi-tone Wingtip shoes on hand.
An accomplished guitarist, Cartwright at first had opposition from Foghat fans due to his replacement of original guitarist Rod Price, but it wasn't long until he proved himself with equal musicianship. Cartwright brought a somewhat new sound to Foghat, as he played Fender guitars, while Price had been noted for his use of Gibson guitars.
Some of Erik Cartwright's other musical affiliations include working with: Bux, Tears, and Dan Hartman. He now lives in Coeur d' Alene, Idaho, where he works at Burt's Music and Sound. He joined Foghat onstage on July 7, 2006 at the River City Rod Run in Post Falls, Idaho, and played guitar with the band on their encore, Slow Ride.
After leaving the Foghat organization in 1993, Erik Cartwright was hired by Pat Travers as second lead guitarist in his band. The relationship lasted only a few weeks, and Cartwright was again out of work, but still with the shoes.