FOREIGNER's KELLY HANSEN On Performing With Original Members: 'Everyone Had A Great Attitude'

April 3, 2019

FOREIGNER's "Double Vision: Then And Now" concerts last fall saw the band's original members take the stage with the current members. Singer Lou Gramm, drummer Dennis Elliott, keyboardist Al Greenwood, guitarist/saxophonist Ian McDonald and bassist Rick Wills joined guitarist Mick Jones and the rest of FOREIGNER's present-day lineup — Kelly Hansen (lead vocals),Tom Gimbel (rhythm guitar, sax, vocals),Jeff Pilson (bass, vocals),Michael Bluestein (keyboards),Bruce Watson (guitar) and Chris Frazier (drums) — for a number of songs, with lead vocal duties split between Hansen and Gramm as well as some performed together.

Asked by "Rock Talk With Mitch Lafon" what it was like to play with members of FOREIGNER's original incarnation, Hansen said (hear audio below): "It's like celebrating the legacy of the band and this catalog of songs. Most bands go out there and they play their show and then they wait for their two or three songs that the audience really knows at the end of the show to climax the show. And it's just so different, 'cause every song with this band is a well-known, well-crafted song; it's a great song to sing. There's, for me, no preference to sing any particular one over another one; they all are just… I'd like to call 'em a basket full of beautiful ripe fruit that I get to choose from.

"As far as the bandmembers go, I think this band has always gone through a lot of changing people — ever since, like, the second record — and over time, you start to look back and you start to recognize what you've accomplished and how much it's meant not only for you and your life but also for the musical world," he continued. "And I think that's kind of — and I don't wanna put words in their mouths — but I think there's a little bit of that going on with the guys. And to be able, all of us, to come together to celebrate the legacy of this band was really cool. And I think the willingness of the original members to come out and do something with us was a nice thing to see, that they were giving us at least that credence. And that was very valuable and meaningful."

Hansen added: "You'd think it would be really odd… It was a little hesitant when we just first met, but everyone had a great attitude, and no one came in with any bullshit. And they were really cool and really open and really giving and really trusting. And everyone just came in and we just did our thing, and it, surprisingly, worked out really, really well, and we have a good time together. We all like to hang out together as well. And those guys are really great about letting us kind of sometimes pick their brain, like, 'What guitar did you play on that song, on that piece? And how did it go?' Because you can't really always get all that information just strictly from listening to the tracks. So it's been a really great thing, and I think it's been a really interesting thing for the audience as well. And that definitely was a big part of it as well. It's also a matter of sharing the understanding of the songs, 'cause I think a lot of people know the songs, but they don't always know that FOREIGNER is the one that did 'em. So that kind of helped in that area as well."

FOREIGNER's first-ever ticketed reunion concert featuring all original members took place last August at The Sturgis Buffalo Chip in Sturgis, South Dakota.

Gramm and Jones's June 2013 performance of "I Want To Know What Love Is" and "Juke Box Hero" at the Songwriters Hall Of Fame in New York City marked the first time the pair performed together in a decade after Gramm left FOREIGNER for a second time. Hansen has fronted the group since 2005. Jones is the sole remaining founding member in FOREIGNER's current lineup.

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