Foreigner resumes busy tour schedule, with two NJ shows coming up

FOReigner interview 2021

Foreigner (from left, Bruce Watson, Michael Bluestein, Kelly Hansen, Mick Jones, Jeff Pilson, Luis Maldonado and Chris Frazier).

“I’ll just give you two words: ‘Road Dogs,’ ” laughed Foreigner bassist Jeff Pilson as he discussed the band’s shows at The State Theatre in New Brunswick, Oct. 29, and The Etess Arena at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, Oct. 30, its penchant for touring, possible new music and more.

Foreigner has been in existence since the mid-’70s and, over their four-plus decades of making music, has seen multiple changes in trends and in their own personnel. Yet this has never deterred guitarist and co-founder Mick Jones from pushing forward. The entertainment industry, like so many things, ebbs and flows with the demands of the masses. But Foreigner keeps chugging along, slow and steady, moving from destination to destination with undeniable strength.

Their 2019 album, Double Vision: Then and Now, was a concert album, recorded at a show that featured reunited former band members along with the current band.

“It is really a cool record,” said Pilson. “It’s really a nice little taste of then and now: an aptly named title.

“As far as other things that we are doing right now … We have been on the road since May. … So, we are back working and everything is going strong there. We are going to be in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which I think is going to be really interesting (laughs) and so, we are just rocking out as much as we can.”

Whoa, wait. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade? So tell us Jeff, will there be a lot of Milli Vanilli-type lip-syncing going on?

“You’ll just have to tune in and see,” he said with a laugh.

As the band is working a more steady schedule, things are returning to a more normalized way of life. But during the pandemic that wasn’t always the case, especially for the band’s crew. Pilson says he and his bandmates felt a duty to help those who take care of them night after night.

“We did online auctions and we all got a lot of our instrument companies and various merchandisers to donate gear that we were auctioning off, and I donated some gear of my own to try and raise money for our crew, because it was no fault of theirs that they were out of work for a year and a half, and that’s tough on anybody,” Pilson said. “We felt very responsible and like we had to do something. So we raised quite a bit of money for them and tried to keep them as busy as we could, but we’ve got to thank the fans. The fans were really, really helpful and we have a very grateful crew as a result, and I think it’s a really wonderful thing for the fans to step up like that.”

Now that they are back on the road, what has it been like after having so much time off? And has there been any talk of new material?

“We’ve had fits and starts,” Pilson said. “What’s great is, we’re hitting a lot of places in America that we don’t ordinarily hit because we’re not able to go overseas yet. We are planning on going overseas next year but this year is all USA. So we’re getting to a lot of great new places, which is really fun and very insightful, and just cranking it up in as many places as we can.

“Foreigner has 16 Top 30 songs, so you can’t get away with leaving out too many of them from the set (laughs). But having said that, yes, there is new material being bandied about. We are working on some stuff. There is no real timeline for it. It’s basically: When it is ready, it’s ready. I don’t see us putting out a whole record of new material, but we often put out different packages and live things, and what I do see is adding some new material to one of those packages in the next couple of years. No, I can’t give you a release date or anything like that, but there is material being worked on, and it’s great. Something to look forward to.

“It’s all Mick, of course. Mick Jones is the writer in chief. He has been working with Marti Frederiksen, who has been kind of his writing partner for the last several years. They wrote a bulk of (2009’s) Can’t Slow Down together. Kelly Hansen, our singer, was in on that, too. They’ve been working: Mick has been flying to Nashville and seeing Marti occasionally, so there’s material being bandied about. Mick and I have worked on a few different things. There’s a few different things moving around and it’s all good.”

Jeff recognizes that New Jersey audiences are perceptive and have been known to hold entertainers to a high standard. So what is in store for the show in New Brunswick and Atlantic City?

“I think there may be a couple of new little things in there,” he said. “You’ll just have to come and see. We have a couple of new tricks up our sleeves; you always have to keep it fresh.”

For more about Foreigner, visit foreigneronline.com.

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