LOU GRAMM Says He Hasn't Heard From MICK JONES Since 2013, Despite Having Performed Together In 2017 And 2018

April 5, 2024

In a new interview with Paul Stephenson of VRP Rocks, original FOREIGNER singer Lou Gramm was asked about his current relationship with the band's founder, guitarist Mick Jones. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "It was silence after I left the band, and then when we got into the Songwriters Hall Of Fame [in 2013], when I saw him and he saw me, we hugged each other and [we said], 'So good to see you. It's been a long time,' blah, blah, blah, blah. We had lunch, stuff like that. And then, at the performance, we congratulated each other and this and that, and we performed a couple of songs on stage with a backup group, and everything was nice. Then all the Atlantic people were there, and we went over and took pictures with everybody from the office and all that stuff. It was all smiles and hugs and everything. And after that night, never heard from him again. Never heard from him again."

When Stephenson noted that it will be "interesting" to see what happens if FOREIGNER is inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame and both Gramm and Jones attend the ceremony, Lou said: "I'm not sure. I mean, I'll be friendly and cordial, but I'm not gonna be like I found my long-lost brother or anything."

Gramm went on to say that it's been disappointing to see his relationship with Jones deteriorate to such a point where they don't communicate with each other. "It's very difficult, because we worked our tails off together, writing most of those songs," he said. "And I think we were the focal part of the band too, so the live show was very important and stuff. And I thought we had a very good friendship during most of those years. But after that 'I Want To Know What Love Is' [disagreement over songwriting credits] happened, it was different. We barely spoke to each other on tour even. I knew that what he did to me, he was wrong and he was dishonest. And he made a fortune and I made nothing. And [I] got no credit from my peers or anybody. It's that Mick Jones magic touch. 'Look, he did it again. 'I Want To Know What Love Is'."

FOREIGNER is among the nominees for the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame's Class Of 2024.

To be eligible for this year's ballot, each nominee's first single or album had to have been released in 1999 or earlier.

Eligible since 2002, FOREIGNER has had a huge number of rock hits, including "Cold As Ice", "Double Vision", "Hot Blooded", "I Want To Know What Love Is", "Juke Box Hero" and "Urgent", and has been nominated for three Grammy Awards, with no wins.

According to the Hall Of Fame, the FOREIGNER members that would get inducted include only the classic-era musicians Mick Jones, Lou Gramm, Dennis Elliott, Ed Gagliardi, Al Greenwood, Ian McDonald and Rick Wills.

Lou previously discussed FOREIGNER's nomination for the Rock Hall during an appearance on the February 13 episode of SiriusXM's "Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk". Asked how he thinks it happened now that FOREIGNER finally got on a ballot, Gramm said: "Well, I think the person that had the vendetta is no longer associated with the Hall Of Fame. And there's some people with real rock sensibilities now running the show and they know very well that we belong there and they're doing the right thing… I think that when [Rolling Stone co-founder] Jann Wenner was finally removed from his position [last September at the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame's board after sexist and racist comments], the dark clouds started thinning out a little bit and somebody saw something in a different light and put us up for nomination this year."

Asked what his reaction was when he heard the news, Lou said: "I had very strange, mixed feelings about the fact that we were nominated. Well, I'm happy about it now, but all the stuff that went down for years while our rock compatriots from our era were getting in the Hall left, right and center, and I don't even know if we were even nominated once or maybe once, but decades went by and there was no word about us and it just seemed that obviously our credentials warrant the nomination and it just seemed something was strangely wrong and I got the sickening feeling that it was personal."

Gramm went on to say that he has not been in contact with his Jones about the Rock Hall nomination. "No. Not at all," the singer said. "The last time Mick and I talked was the night we were inducted into the Songwriters Hall Of Fame. That was 2012, I think, or 2013. I felt that I was very friendly towards him and he was so-so towards me, and I wasn't surprised, after that evening was over, that I didn't hear from him. I didn't expect to."

When host Eddie Trunk pressed Gramm about the fact that he shared the stage with singer Kelly Hansen and other members of the current and original FOREIGNER lineup in 2017 and 2018 to celebrate the band's 40th anniversary, Lou seemingly had no recollection of the fact, saying: "All the other guys from the original band that are left have made numerous guest appearances, but I haven't made one. [FOREIGNER manager and former Atlantic Records executive vice president] Phil [Carson] asked me to come to the big outdoor venue in Buffalo, and I had heard that Dennis and Rick were performing with them on a semi regular basis, and I just couldn't see my way clear to make an appearance out there, and that's the last I heard from anybody."

Asked if he would be okay going up with Mick and the surviving members of FOREIGNER who are inducted into the Rock Hall and performing at the ceremony, Lou said: "Yes. I don't know what the vibe would be with Mick, 'cause the funny thing is when I left the band in 2003, we hadn't communicated at all until that Songwriters Hall Of Fame. And so that was almost 10 years. And then after the Songwriters Hall Of Fame, we haven't communicated until now, if we make it in, and I'll be anxious to see if he's willing to communicate then."

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".

The 73-year-old Gramm left FOREIGNER for good in 2002 and has battled health issues in recent years, including the removal of a non-cancerous tumor. He told the Democrat & Chronicle in 2018 that he was planning to retire, but still reunited with FOREIGNER for several shows that year.

FOREIGNER replaced Gramm with Hansen in 2005. Jones, the only remaining original member of FOREIGNER, suffered from some health issues beginning in 2011, eventually resulting in heart surgery in 2012.

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 for the past 19 years.

In July 2017, FOREIGNER reunited with Gramm, Greenwood and McDonald during a concert at Jones Beach, New York. Gramm sang lead with the band for the first time in 14 years, while multi-instrumentalist McDonald and keyboardist Greenwood, both founding members of FOREIGNER, had not performed with the group since 1980.

FOREIGNER's October 2017 reunion shows — featuring Jones, Gramm, McDonald, Elliott and Wills — performing all together for the first time since the early '80s, as part of the group's 40th-anniversary celebration were filmed and were released as the "Double Vision: Then And Now" CD and DVD in 2019.

Back in 2019, Gramm and Jones took part in a joint interview with Dan Rather's AXS show "The Big Interview", discussing everything from their multiplatinum-selling success to personal difficulties (including battling serious health issues) to lighthearted moments, like the time the band inadvertently left Jones behind at a 7-Eleven outside Kansas City while on tour.

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