Even if you weren’t around back in 1976 when Foreigner started as a band, chances are you’ve heard of them and their great songs, or at the very least someone else doing a cover of one of their great songs. Over the last 35 years, the band has seen many members come and go the current line up rock solid. Led by Mick Jones (lead guitar, keyboards, bass, vocals), other members include Kelly Hansen (lead vocals), Tom Gimbel (guitar, saxophone, flute, backing vocals), Jeff Pilson (bass, backing vocals), Michael Bluestein (keyboards, synthesizers, backing vocals), and Mark Schulman (drums, percussion, backing vocals).
Foreigner spent the summer on the road in both Europe and the U.S. They just finished up the U.S. leg of the tour with Journey and Night Ranger, where in many cities they broke attendance records and sold out numerous shows. After a short break, they will be hitting the road once again with an acoustic tour in January. In addition to the crazy touring schedule, they also released a three disc set that comes with new recordings of their greatest hits as well as an acoustic CD and DVD from a live show in Chicago.
Foreigner recently partnered with NASCAR and recorded a special remix of their song Hot Blooded with new lyrics to reflect the No Limits theme of Texas Motor Speedway and auto racing. The song can be previewed by visiting the Texas Motor Speedway site.
For more information on Foreigner, visit their website at: http://www.foreigneronline.com. And don’t forget to grab up that new 3 disc set and definitely hit a show if they are coming to a city near you! I really enjoyed talking to their guitarist, Jeff Pilson. Read on to see what Jeff what to say.
Interview with Jeff Pilson
Michelle: Hi Jeff, thanks for taking the time to talk with me today. So what’s up with Foreigner?
Jeff: Well for the last few months we’ve been on the road with Journey and Night Ranger. We also went to the UK and Europe. It’s been a great tour. We also just put out a record that you can get at Wal-Mart called Feels Like the First Time which is a three disc set. One disc is us re-recording the classic Foreigner songs with this version of the band, one disc is a live DVD, and the other is an acoustic record. We’re really excited about it; the reactions have been amazing.
Michelle: You guys are on the tail end of that tour with Journey. Any highlights for you on this tour that you’d like to share?
Jeff: The whole tour has been amazing. We’re breaking attendance records in certain places and these three bands together is quite a package. You’ve got a lot of hits in there and it’s just a great night of music. It’s just so rewarding.
Michelle: In band years, Foreigner has been around forever. The band has seen many members come and go, but still maintains and is still one of the most well known bands in the world. How has Foreigner survived so long?
Jeff: We are very proud of our legacy. To last this long in an industry as fickle as this is a pretty amazing achievement. But to last this long, it all comes down to great songs. There’s something still fresh about these songs even after all these years. I think that is the key.
Michelle: What is your favorite Foreigner song and why?
Jeff: You know I have a bunch of favorites. Feels Like the First Time is a big song to me because when it came out because to me it sort
of defined a near era of hard rock, great melody, and great chorus. Waiting for a Girl Like You is just one of my favorite songs of all time period. I love to play it, I love hearing it, and it was an important song to me when I was younger. And the list goes on!
Michelle: You mentioned the three disc set earlier that includes some acoustic songs. Is that the first time you guys have ventured with acoustic?
Jeff: There was a thing called Rock Diamonds a few years back but that wasn’t an official release. So this one is the first official acoustic release and we are doing an acoustic tour that will start in January. We’re very excited about that.
Michelle: You guys have had sixteen Top 30 hits and nine Top 10 hits. Is there anything left for Foreigner to accomplish?
Jeff: Well we’ve probably done it all but that doesn’t mean we are done doing it! And it doesn’t mean we won’t try any less. I would love to see the band do a new song that gets recognition but if that doesn’t happen it’s not the end of the world.
Michelle: There have been a lot of people cover Foreigner songs. Do you ever think it’s possible for you guys to cover somebody?
Jeff: Actually on our acoustic record we do That’s All Right Mama, the Elvis song and people are loving it! The version came out just great and like I said, we are getting a great reaction about it. We love trying different things so yeah, I think there’s always room for that.
were actually in the film Rock Star, which was loosely based on a true story, with Mark Walhberg, Jennifer Aniston, and Zakk Wylde. Tell us about doing that movie and if you have plans to do any more acting.
Jeff: It was a fabulous experience. The movie was really a lot of fun. The director, Stephen Herek, is a great guy and he commanded a great atmosphere for everything. You know, there’s a certain synergy between actors and musicians anyway and it was very much felt and we all had a great time. I don’t know if I plan to do it again. I certainly would. That was a pretty fortunate thing that I was basically able to play myself but I think it would be great to do something more challenging acting wise. But I still get a kick out of seeing that movie.
Michelle: If someone were to make a film about Foreigner who would you pick to play you in the movie and why?
Jeff: Well Brad Pitt is the obvious choice (laughs). No really, I know exactly who I would get to play me – Eric Stoltz. There’s definitely a resemblance and he’s a fabulous actor. Who would you get to play you if they made a movie of your life?
Michelle: Ummm…hmmmm…Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
Jeff: Oh really? Interesting!
Michelle: Yeah (laughs), I think she’s funny. I like her a lot.
Jeff/Foreigner: Yes, she is very funny.
Michelle: So what’s ahead for Foreigner in the next year?
Jeff: We are starting to look into some various options about what we are going to do next summer. There are a lot of options already on the table so I’m sure there’s going to be a big tour in the works and lots more fun!
Michelle: Thanks again for talking to me, Jeff. Best of luck to you and the rest of the band!
Jeff: Thank you so much. This has been very pleasurable!