PHOTO BY BILL BERNSTEIN COURTESY OF FOREIGNER
Foreigner, the iconic British-American rock band, has withstood the test of time. With 14 #1 hits like “I Want to Know What Love Is,” “A Girl Like You,” “Double Vision,” “Head Games,” “Juke Box Hero,” “Urgent” and many other, they are known world-wide as one of the favorite rock bands of all time. They aren’t slowing down. They fill arenas, and continue to forge new musical peaks like the critically-acclaimed 2009 release “Can’t Slow Down.”
The frenetic ride of the original Foreigner incarnation reached a milestone in 2002 when original singer Lou Gramm and founder Mick Jones performed together for the last time. Gramm’s decision to leave the band prompted Jones to rally a newly-charged powerhouse lineup, including recruiting Kelly Hansen as vocalist, the absolutely incredible Jason Bonham on drums and Jeff Pilson on bass.
Foreigner are on an enviable roster of top #1 lists, like: List of best-selling music artists, List of number-one hits (United States), List of number-one albums (United States), List of best-selling albums in the United States, List of artists who reached number one on the Hot 100 (U.S.), and List of artists who reached number one on the U.S. Mainstream Rock chart. They have sold over 70 million albums worldwide.
The recent movie “Rock of Ages,” starring Tom Cruise, prompted an increase in sales of 400% sales for Foreigner. Mick Jones gives some insight:
AMFM: Mick, Foreigner has accomplished what other bands only can dream of, and spite of the typical hazards of personnel changes, has endured and thrived. How does it feel to still be a contender, survivor, and victor in this arena?
MICK: The whole thing– from the word go – has been great. I was sitting in a small apartment in my 20’s in New York City wondering what I was going to do – I had almost thrown in the towel – but somehow I got the strength and guidance and direction to take a shot at it. Despite the typical hazards you mention, the fans have spoken, and our music has stood the test of time. That I can do what I love doing and get paid for it is truly beyond my wildest dreams.
AMFM: Kelly, what is your favorite thing about singing with Foreigner?
KELLY: Being able to play in such a great band, playing such great music and being able to do it front of a really appreciative audience.
AMFM: Mick, Can you tell me one or two of your favorite memories, things you will always remember from your time on the road?
MICK: : People always ask me who the song “Waiting For a Girl Like You” was written about. The truth is that I came up with that song when my wife at the time was pregnant, with the premonition that we were having a girl. Ironically, it ended up being a boy, my son Christopher.
AMFM: What do you think of “Rock of Ages?”
MICK: I thought it was a blast. We initially knew there was a movie in the works but didn’t know about the cast at the point. When I found out Tom Cruise would be starring, I was surprised as I knew he was a great versatile actor, but couldn’t imagine him in the role. I saw that when Tom Cruise sets his mind to something, hes 100% committed and he really got inside the character.
AMFM: Which direction is Foreigner headed now?
MICK: We are enjoying the success of the past year, which has been wonderful. Next we’re gearing up for a national tour in 2013. On a personal note, I’d like to do more work with my children (musicians Mark and Charlotte Ronson, Christopher and Alexander Jones, Miami nightclub magnate and music agent Roman Jones, and designer Charlotte Ronson and Annabelle Jones).
AMFM: What would you like Foreigner to be remembered for in the annals of history?
MICK: The people and fans have been the judge of how Foreigner will be remembered. Luckily, they have continued to buy our music and come out to our shows, and have proven the validity of the band, and that this band indeed belongs.
Band site: www.foreigneronline.com