Retooled Foreigner brings classics, new songs to MaumeeWritten by Lisa Renee Ward | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Foreigner’s latest album “Can’t Slow Down” is scheduled for release Sept. 29, but the title could be changed to “I Don’t Want to Slow Down” when it comes to bass player Jeff Pilson.
Pilson and the band are heading to Toledo to play Aug. 8 at the Northwest Ohio Rib Off at the Lucas County Fairgrounds.
Fans who come to the show can expect to hear one song, “Too Late,” from the upcoming album, along with some classic Foreigner songs mixed in with some new material from the past few years.
The legendary vocalist and rocker formerly of Dokken decided to join Foreigner in 2004 because “they made me an offer I couldn’t refuse,” he said, giving his best impression of Marlon Brando’s Godfather.
Pilson talked about his earlier relationship with Jason Bonham, with whom he worked on the movie “Rock Star” and who joined Foreigner in 2004.
“It just seemed like the logical thing to do,” he said. “When they called me up and we played, the chemistry was immediate and it felt great.”
Mick Jones is the only remaining original member of the band that formed in 1976. Vocalist Lou Gramm left the band in 2003, but according to Pilson there has not been a noticeable reaction to Gramm no longer being their lead vocalist.
He complimented Kelly Hansen, who joined the band in 2005, stating, “Everybody acknowledges how great Lou was and how important he was to the sound of the band, but it’s been pretty amazing how Kelly Hansen has just stepped in and done an amazing job in what are not easy shoes to fill. Kelly comes in and nails it every night and is a great showman; it’s like he is the perfect match for Foreigner,” Pilson said.
When it comes to current members, according to Pilson, “it’s the right chemistry of musicians. That’s part of what Mick was looking for when he reformed the band, getting the right balance. It’s taken us a few years to get it where it is. Ever since the band got together, we had great musicians; there have been a couple of little changes and I think they all worked out for the better, and we’re just in a position where the band is so strong right now; we are firing on all cylinders.”
Between last year’s album “No End in Sight: The Very Best of Foreigner” and the release of “Can’t Slow Down,” Pilson said he hopes the increased attention and interest in the band will create recognition by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame within the next three to four years. Pilson also remarked on the emergence of a younger fan base that he believes is inspired in part by the games “Rock Band” and “Guitar Hero.”
“Those things are bringing classic rock to the front of people’s minds, in particular young people,” Pilson said. “I am definitely noticing a lot of young people at the shows and they know the words, which really freaks me out because you gotta know the music when you know the words.”
Pilson said it is impossible for him to pick a favorite Foreigner song.
“The older I get, the more I appreciate great songs,” he said. “It’s more about groove and playing great songs than being flashy anymore. There are highlights in the set like during ‘Urgent,’ Thom Gimbel comes out and does a saxophone solo that is really amazing and I love playing things like ‘Waiting for a Girl Like You.’
“I love playing the ballads because they are really well-written ballads with fabulous bass lines,” Pilson said.