There are a number of classic bands that seem to get away with reforming themselves again and again and continuing to make new music and tour well after many others have disbanded. How similar to their old selves these bands sound today is a matter of opinion, of course, but quite a few of them seem to attract enough fans to support a busy touring schedule. One of these bands is Foreigner, a group that includes only a single original member.
For me personally, there are classic bands I can listen to today that include only a few original members and others I simply cannot accept in their current form. Foreigner has been firmly in the latter category for a number of years. The reason for that is because, for me, Lou Gramm is the sound of Foreigner. The members that currently comprise the band that calls itself Foreigner are probably fine musicians, including lead vocalist Kelly Hansen. The problem for me is that Hansen is not Lou Gramm.
I would not hesitate to name Lou Gramm as one of my favorite rock vocalists of all time, but that’s not why I am reluctant to accept Foreigner without Lou Gramm. It’s because Gramm’s voice is so unique and recognizable, and for fans like myself, Lou Gramm’s sounds is what makes Foreigner sound like Foreigner. Without Lou Gramm, the current line-up just sounds like a very good cover band playing Foreigner songs. They’re all very good at what they do, but when it comes to sounding like Foreigner is supposed to sound like, they just aren’t getting it done.
For some lucky fans that feel the same way I do on this subject, there may be a chance to hear the “real” Foreigner in the future, or at least the most “real” version you are ever likely to hear again. That’s because it has been announced that Lou Gramm will join the group for some performances during their up-coming 40th Anniversary Tour.
They are not currently revealing how many shows there will be featuring Gramm or where those performances will take place. Founder and lone original member Mick Jones says, “They’re not on the whole tour, but there will be some appearances. It’s the right time to do this. I’m looking forward to that and we’ll see how it goes, and I’m sure it’ll go down well.”
In addition to Gramm, original members Ian McDonald and Al Greenwood will also make appearances. Right now it is not known whether all three original members will appear at the same time or on different dates. The tour is scheduled to start on July 11th in Syracuse, New York and wrap up on September 9th in Auburn, Washington for a total of 37 dates. At least two other acts will accompany Foreigner on the tour, including Cheap Trick and Jason Bonham, but it’s not clear whether they will appear on every date during the tour.
In addition to the U.S. Dates this summer, the group will also embark on a European tour that starts in Switzerland on May 20th and will be playing a few U.S. dates beginning January 30th. A new 40-track two-disk anniversary compilation is set for release before the start of the summer tour and will include some brand-new material.
Fans will also be interested to know that Mick Jones will be releasing his memoir, A Foreigner’s Tale, sometime in the spring. It will reportedly offer his unique perspective on the group’s history, his life story and musical career. Don’t expect too many tawdry details of life on the road or backstage shenanigans since Jones says those kinds of things are not what the book is about. “A few tidbits here and there” are all he will promise with regard to those kinds of revelations.
Let’s face it, these guys – like so many of us – are not getting any younger, so if you are a fan that has been longing to see the group perform with Lou Gramm in his rightful place as Foreigner front man, you’re opportunity may be right around the corner. Tickets for the tour go on sale January 13th through Live Nation.