Well-pol­ished golden hits still in de­mand

One of the best-sell­ing acts of all time, For­eigner, keeps mov­ing with old hits and a new line-up, writes John J Moser.

Central Otago Mirror - - NEWS -

For­eigner, the rock band that sold 35 mil­lion al­bums from 1977 to 1987 to make it one of the top 50 best-sell­ing acts of all time, has hit the road again this sum­mer, con­tin­u­ing a tour­ing sched­ule that hasn’t slowed down since its hey­day.

What is it about For­eigner that gives it such a fol­low­ing, more than 25 years after its last top 40 hit?

"You know, I think it’s just great songs," says Jeff Pil­son, a for­mer mem­ber of Dokken and Dio who be­came For­eigner’s bassist in 2004. "Time­less songs that res­onate with peo­ple, and the songs that still mean some­thing to peo­ple to­day.

"The power of a great song is pretty eter­nal, and I think we are ben­e­fi­cia­ries of hav­ing great songs."

For­eigner un­ques­tion­ably has great songs - nine that made the top 10 in that decade, in­clud­ing the plat­inum hits Dou­ble Vi­sion, Juke­box Hero and the 1984 chart­top­per I Want to Know What Love Is, and the gold sin­gles Feels Like the First Time, Hot Blooded and Cold as Ice.

The group has un­der­gone mul­ti­ple per­son­nel changes that have left it with just one orig­i­nal mem­ber - gui­tarist Mick Jones, 69, whose health prob­lems in re­cent years had kept him off the road for long stretches.

Orig­i­nal singer Lou Gramm left in 2003; cur­rent singer Kelly Hansen joined in 2005.

Pil­son says Jones’ health has im­proved and he tours with the band, though he doesn’t play ev­ery show.

"His health is fine, he’s all good," Pil­son says. "It’s just not rec­om­mended that he do all the shows. We have a lit­tle more gru­elling sched­ule, I think, than is nec­es­sary for him. But all is good, his health is great. He’s in great spir­its, he’s play­ing great."

The nights Jones doesn’t play, gui­tarist Bruce Wat­son fills in, and the nights Jones plays, "then we have three gui­tar play­ers", Pil­son says. "And we work out dif­fer­ent lit­tle parts and we get to give you a lit­tle bit of some spe­cial stuff."

There have been 25 mem­bers in For­eigner’s 38-year his­tory. Pil­son says he feels like "an old veteran".

The irony is that Pil­son has been on just one For­eigner al­bum, 2009’s Can’t Slow Down, be­cause that’s the only disc of new ma­te­rial the band has re­leased in 20 years.

"It’s funny how that isn’t a huge deal for me, just be­cause I know that so much of the legacy is from the mu­sic that we’ve done, that the band has done be­fore I was in it," Pil­son says. "But it was sure a joy to be part of a new For­eigner record and I’m look­ing for­ward to do­ing another one."

That next one may be com­ing soon. Pil­son says For­eigner hopes to get back into the stu­dio.

"We’ve talked about it, yeah, " he says. "Hope­fully there will be some new mu­sic next year. That would be great."

Part of what has kept For­eigner from do­ing more new al­bums is the fact that it tours so much, Pil­son says.

For­eigner will join Heart and Three Dog Night at Queen­stown’s Gibb­ston Val­ley Win­ery on Jan­uary 31. Tick­ets avail­able via Tick­etek.

Still shin­ing: Mick Jones, Kelly Hansen and Thom Gim­bel of the band For­eigner per­form in Berlin ear­lier this year.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.