FOREIGNER's JEFF PILSON: Farewell Tour 'Doesn't Mean We're Going Away'
February 12, 2024
In a new interview with Anne Erickson of Audio Ink Radio, FOREIGNER bassist Jeff Pilson spoke about the band's farewell tour which launched in July 2023, at Atlanta's Ameris Bank Amphitheatre. He said: "This is year two of the farewell tour, yes. And it doesn't mean we're going away. It just means this is the end of the nine-months-on-the-road kind of touring. So that's why it's a farewell tour. I mean, we'll still be there. There's some unfinished music we'd love to finish up, if possible, and perhaps we'll do other shows; we're kind of working on that now. But yes, this is the last time we're out there for the long tour, which it's bittersweet. I'm gonna miss it in some ways, but [I'll] be happy not to have to do the traveling. [Laughs]"
Regarding the music he and the rest of FOREIGNER have in the works, he said: "Yeah, there's a couple of songs floating around that I would love to see us finish. And maybe 2025 will give us the time to do that.
"It's very, very difficult to do that when we're on the road," he explained. "It's just really, really hard. And then when we have time off, people need the time off. So, it's very hard to write and record, touring as much as we do. But like I say, maybe in 2025 we'll have some time to deal with that."
This past December, Pilson told Raul Amador of Bass Musician Magazine about FOREIGNER's ongoing two-year farewell tour which will include a 2024 run with STYX as well as a two-part "Feels Like The Last Time Farewell Tour" residency at The Venetian Theatre inside The Venetian Resort Las Vegas. Jeff said: "There may be something going on in '25; we just haven't heard yet. But what I will tell you is at the end of '24 will be the end of our doing long tours. That's really what we mean by this farewell tour. We're not gonna do the long tours anymore. No more nine months of the year on the road. That will end at the show in Vegas. There may be some other things happening in '25. We'll see. It's all kind of to be determined, but the gist of it is that we don't want to do those long tours anymore, and that's what's going by the wayside."
Regarding why now is the right time for FOREIGNER to call it quits, Pilson said: "It's traveling. It's family. It's all that stuff combined. We're not that young So, there is all that. And basically we wanna have a life; it would be nice to have more of a life. I mean, my daughter is in college now. I've missed a lot of stuff with her, and so I wouldn't mind going home and spending a little more time in my studio 'cause, boy, do I love to record in my studio. [Laughs]"
Earlier in December, FOREIGNER frontman Kelly Hansen spoke to Guy "Favazz" Favazza of the St. Louis, Missouri radio station KSHE 95 about the "Renegades & Juke Box Heroes" trek with STYX, which will visit venues across North America starting June 11, 2024 in Michigan. After Favazza suggested to Hansen that FOREIGNER extended its farewell tour in order to take in the STYX dates, Kelly insisted that this is not the case. "I've been saying constantly, in every interview, on stage during the show, at the meet-and-greets, everywhere I can, that this has always been a two-year farewell, because we couldn't get everywhere in one year," he explained. "I've been saying it all over the place. Listen, of course, I can't exactly repeat everything, every day, everywhere, all the time, but I've been saying it constantly. So if someone has not looked more than one inch in front of their face, then I can't help them. I've been saying it, so it's always been the plan to do this for 2023 and 2024. The days of touring nine months a year is over after 2024… And that is over, and I'm sure there's gonna be certain appearances or shows or something maybe along the way after that, but the days of doing this nine-months-a-year thing is over."
Kelly continued: "I am not one to go out there and say, 'It's just gonna be for two weeks,' and then 10 years later I'm saying the same thing. That's not who I am, that's never who I've been, and I've never portrayed myself like that. And so if you didn't hear it any other time during the year last year, I'm sorry, but I have been saying it constantly that it's gonna be a two-year thing."
Joining Hansen, Pilson and founding FOREIGNER guitarist Mick Jones in the band's current lineup are keyboardist Michael Bluestein, guitarist Bruce Watson, drummer Chris Frazier and guitarist Luis Maldonado.
In July 2023, Hansen was asked by Mike Hsu of 100 FM The Pike if he and his FOREIGNER bandmates already know where and when the final show of the farewell tour will take place. Hansen said: "We're just starting to kind of wrap our brains around what that might be. And listen, there's a lot of pressure from a lot of different areas to get me to continue to do this. And I can't see that I'm gonna continue to do this. So we're now looking… 'Cause when you're a band like FOREIGNER, you're already booking a year in advance. So we're already deeply into 2024. But we haven't decided yet where the last show's gonna be."
The only remaining original member of FOREIGNER, Jones suffered from some health issues beginning in 2011, eventually resulting in heart surgery in 2012. Ever since, it is never announced whether he will be appearing with the band for specific shows — it just depends how he is feeling.
Hansen told 100 FM The Pike about Jones: "He's with us whenever he's able to be with us. And he is still the architect of this band. And he and I have worked closely for many years. And the great thing about it is that we've always been very simpatico about our ideas and about how we think things should be done. So, yeah, whenever he can be with us, he is."
After singer Lou Gramm left FOREIGNER in 2003, Jones took some time off before regrouping a couple years later with an entirely new lineup, featuring Hansen and Pilson, among others.
Gramm was the voice on FOREIGNER's biggest hits, including "Feels Like The First Time" and "Cold As Ice" from the band's eponymous debut in 1977, and later songs like "Hot Blooded" and "I Want To Know What Love Is".
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