LOU GRAMM CALLS CURRENT FOREIGNER LINEUP 'FALSE ADVERTISING'
Former Foreigner frontman Lou Gramm feels that co-founding guitarist Mick Jones touring under the band's moniker is "false advertising." Gramm, who's gone on record as saying that Jones often treated him no better than a sideman during his years in Foreigner, left the band in 2003 to pursue a solo career and was replaced by current lead singer Kelly Hansen in 2005.
With Hansen a vocal dead ringer for Gramm, Spinner.com asked him its weird being replicated on stage by a band he no longer fronts: "It is. It totally is. But what's stranger to me is that, as I've learned talking to people who see those shows, is that in many cases the audience, especially if they're younger, don't even know it's not the original lead singer. In Foreigner's case, as I understand it, the singer was actually trained to deliver pretty much exactly everything as I did it, note for note. If I were in the audience and learned that while I was there, I'd get up and leave. I think when the band name remains the exact same, but something as important as the lead vocal is different, it's misleading. It's like false advertising."
•Gramm told us that without him, there's no Foreigner, no matter what Jones calls it: "He's put a new band together, and is calling it Foreigner. And that's all well and good, but unless I'm singing, it's not."
•Mick Jones, who is the sole original member of Foreigner still recording and touring with the band, explained that he had sensed for a while that original frontman Lou Gramm was seeking greener pastures: "Through the '90s, y'know, Lou and I were kind of really not seeing eye-to-eye. And I always felt since the late-'80s and '90s that Lou was far more interested in doing a solo career. So I'd been fighting a long time and I just wanted to resuscitate the band and see if I could really present a band like I felt Foreigner deserved to be."
•Foreigner with Journey and Night Ranger perform on Friday (August 19th) in Virginia Beach, VA at the Farm Bureau Live At Virginia Beach.
•Lou Gramm tour dates (subject to change):
September 8 - Corona, CA - Marquee 15
September 10 - Blue Lake, CA - Blue Lake Casino & Hotel (with Starship starring Mickey Thomas)
September 17 - Pine Ridge, SD - Prairie Wind Casino
October 1 - St. Louis, MO - Veterans Memorial Amphitheatre
•"Jingle Bell Rock Tour" with Lou Gramm, Eddie Money and Mickey Thomas from Starship (subject to change)
November 25 - Harris, MI - Island Resort & Casino
November 29 - Effingham, IL - Effingham Performance Center
December 1 - Morristown, NJ - Mayo Performing Arts Center
December 2 - Glenside, PA - Keswick Theatre
December 5 - Newport News, VA - Ferguson Center For The Arts
December 9 - Larchwood, IA - Grand Falls Casino Resort
December 10 - Riverside, IA - Riverside Casino & Golf Resort
December 16 - Coarsegold, CA - Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino
December 17 - El Cajon, CA - Sycuan Live & Up Close
•Coming on September 13th is a Foreigner's three CD/DVD set, Feels Like The First Time. The collection is named after the band's 1977 breakthrough hit, and features one disc of acoustic versions of the band's classic hits -- including a cover of Elvis Presley's "That's All Right" -- full band studio re-recordings of the band's hits, and a new live DVD, which will eventually air on PBS.
•The set is available exclusively through Wal Mart. The Juke Box Heroes disc on the collection was originally recorded for licensing purposes -- meaning that the band would sell the new re-recordings to movies and TV, rather than the old tracks, which would bring in a fraction of the royalties. The band said that the new recordings sounded so good, they wanted to share them with fans.
JUST OUR OPINION
•In all fairness to Jones, Lou Gramm quit Foreigner not once, but twice. Seeing as he co-wrote most of the band's hits with Jones, he's free to go out and perform them whenever and however he wants. But Mick Jones formed the band -- he actually HIRED Lou Gramm to be in Foreigner -- so the band is his free and clear. He owns the name.
•BUT: Voices are like fingerprints -- no two are the same; but some are DECEIVINGLY CLOSE. The singers now fronting Foreigner, Yes, Styx, and Journey are imitators. Mick Jones is selling tickets to a show where you'd never miss HIM if he was gone -- but you'd DEFINITELY miss the sound of Gramm's voice.
•So, it's totally cool for him to go on the road as Foreigner and actually BE Foreigner, but stealing a dude's fingerprint to make your show more legit is a dirty trick.