January 5, 2008

Bassist Jeff Pilson (FOREIGNER, WAR & PEACE, ex-DOKKEN) has issued the following:

"2007 turned out to be an exhausting touring year for FOREIGNER. Our original intention of starting a new record was sidelined when it became apparent the touring schedule simply wouldn't allow the time needed to do the job right. So this year we hope to approach it anew. We did have a few productive writing/jamming sessions where some valid ideas were tossed about, but just didn't have the time needed to bring anything to fruition. So the plan this year is to make the show schedule extremely sparse in January, February, April and parts of May. There will still be one run of shows per month (with exceptions),but the hope is to develop the needed momentum to get new material worked up. Mick [Jones] is dedicating as much time as he can to getting his new ideas down, which certainly will be the road map for all of us. Kelly [Hansen, vocals], Tom [Gimbel; guitars, saxophone, flute], Jason [Bonham, drums] and I plan on doing the same, but with FOREIGNER it really is Mick Jones who drives the engine. Then we plan on getting together to hash it all out. The plan has flexibility built in, as you never know what may come out of all this, but even if three new (but GREAT) songs come to light we'll be quite happy. The thing you can be quite sure of is, with Mick Jones establishing the precedent you KNOW the material will be amazingly strong. Hopefully we'll have a new product out by fall. There may even be a few surprises in store. It all really depends on how the pre-production and production processes go. Oh, and I should mention a personnel change in FOREIGNER. Longtime keyboardist Jeff Jacobs left the band. It was just that time as Jeff has a wonderful family and lots of opportunities in the Chicago area. Jeff will be deeply missed. But we were very fortunate in finding Paul Mirkovich as his current replacement. Other than a long list of duties as keyboardist and musical director for the likes of WHITESNAKE, CHER and many others, Paul is recently best known as the musical director for the show 'Rock Star' (both seasons with INXS and SUPERNOVA). Paul has been a fabulous addition and has made what could have been a difficult transition quite seamless.

"And let me tell you how excited I am about the new BENEDICTUM record. This is one of the best metal records I've ever been involved with. It really is that good. I'm SOOOO pleased with the results. The record hits stores in Europe on January 25, America sometime later (either February or March). Once the details are worked out, I'm hoping to have a link through my website for people to buy the record. I really can't imagine a metal fan being unhappy with this one. The band is operating on more cylinders than a fleet of NASCARs!!! Veronica sings her butt off, in that powerful but oh-so-melodic and emotional way. Pete blazes on the guitar (and his writing chops are so advanced on this). New drummer Paul kicks some serious ass — chops but tons of feel — and new bassist Jesse lays it down in a way befitting a world-class bassist in a world-class band! The lyrics are a universe unto themselves, handling some deep but relevant issues, but there's still a fist banging sing-along quality to the record that makes it irresistible! George Lynch even makes a cameo with some truly amazing solos on two songs. If you haven't yet noticed — I'm stoked!!! In fact on one of the songs George plays on (an amazing cover of ACCEPT's 'Balls To The Wall'),I guest on bass. So you might say there's a bit of a Lynch/Pilson feel to it as well. Craig Goldy also came in at the last minute to lay down a phenomenal solo on the European bonus track, 'Catch The Rainbow'. And yes I do mean the old RAINBOW tune. The whole track literally came together — start to mix — in 24 hours. Craig blew us all away — what a powerful vibe these sessions had. His playing was surreal — so much feeling. Also, Manni Schmidt from GRAVE DIGGER does a guitar duel with Pete on the track 'Burn It Out'. All in all, there's something for everybody on this disc, and again, I couldn't be more proud to be involved. My hope is that 2008 will see BENEDICTUM as becoming a common household name in many heavy metal households!!!

"I am frequently asked what George Lynch is up to, and besides the previously mentioned work on the new BENEDICTUM CD, I did have the pleasure of playing on seven tracks from George's latest project the SOULS OF WE. The music is George's most inspired in years, and the record is really strong. Singer London LeGrand is a real character with appeal to both modern and old-school fans. The lyrics are great. George is really excited and feels he hasn't had this strong a connection with a singer since Oni Logan in the early LYNCH MOB days. And when George is inspired and on fire — watch out world! I don't yet know who will be in the final version of the band, but George and London are in sync with some great music. I can't imagine George's fans not loving this. Hopefully the record will be done soon.

"Those of you who may not have had the chance to see the 'new' FOREIGNER live, should have plenty of opportunity in 2008. There are already several dates in March. Then, after more album work, the plan is to start up hard and heavy in late spring. The bookings aren't yet finalized (much depends on album progress, etc.) but I'm hearing word of hitting Japan, Europe and much of the States this year. No doubt we should be heading somewhere near you somewhere along the way! The band is really something worth seeing. It's much higher energy than most people expect, and the songs are just so damn strong. Kelly Hansen has proven to be a phenomenal front man, and just watching Mick Jones play guitar is worth the price of admission. Plus with the talent of Thom Gimbel and the magic of Jason Bonham, I'd put us up against anything that's out there. In fact one of my bigger disappointments is that more people on my message board haven't chimed in about their experiences with the band (some exceptions aside). Maybe that can change this year. Hopefully I'll (we'll) be seeing you soon.

"And then there was December 10, 2007. Wow, what a magical night. Take anything you heard about how good ZEPPELIN were, and multiply it by ten! To be right there for such a night of musical magic, all I can say is that it was truly an honor. And it really was all about the music. Yes the excitement in the air as ZEP opened up with 'Good Times Bad Times' was powerful. But then it only got better. It was so organic. A band of masters coming together listening and working off one another. Not only was it humbling, but it really gave me the excitement I had when I was a kid listening or watching ZEPPELIN for the first time. And I wasn't the only one — obviously! At one point my wonderful wife firmly grabbed my arm to call attention to Sir Paul (McCartney) who was next to us rocking out to 'Rock And Roll' like a 12 year-old-kid! Wow, that was cool. The funny thing is that where he was standing I don't believe he thought anyone could see him, so I think his excitement was genuine. Headbanging and arms flailing — no one's too cool to rock out to ZEPPELIN. Anyways, it was a night that left a lasting impression. We were all beaming with pride at Jason, who really did play at a transcendent level. They all did. It was fabulous. And I can really say that we got to open up for ZEPPELIN in what has to be one of the most legendary shows of all time. I'm honored, and grateful to have been there. I only hope I can show my appreciation by getting better at my art and making the best music I've ever made. I'm quite inspired these days. Hopefully there will be a chance to put it all on display soon.

"Which brings me to the other looming projects I'm asked about. When shopping around the live WAR & PEACE (from 2004 in London and Oakland),the response I got is that there was much more interest in another studio record of new material (live albums supposedly don't sell anymore). So my thought is the next 'downtime' I have (Lord only knows when that will be),to begin working on a new WAR & PEACE record. Then I'll try and arrange the release of the live record to coincide with that. Kind of a two-for-one deal! I have absolutely no timetable for that (would be impossible to plan right now),but you can be sure I'll mention it here on the website when I do. I also get asked quite often about another Lynch/Pilson record. George and I do talk frequently and we both just assume that one day we'll do another record (we reference it often),but again, no timetable. I feel really good about George's SOULS OF WE project, and do wish him much success with that. And with FOREIGNER working so much, it'll be a while before we could honestly approach another disc. But it took us 20 years to have the chance to make the first one — the next one ought to take a lot less than that!

"So that's about it for now. I do want to take the opportunity to thank my ever supportive and understanding family for being there for this incredible journey. It would be impossible to do all this without their blessing. I miss my wife and little girl when I'm on the road more than words could express. But it really is the interaction with the fans, those magical musical moments, and the honor and pleasure of making music that makes it all worthwhile. And to have a family (well, a wife, this is all Olivia knows) who sanction that — that's a real gift. One I could never take for granted. So keep those emails, and especially your forum comments, coming. I look forward to hearing from and maybe seeing you at a rock venue near you. May 2008 bring you all the blessings you ask for — and more."

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