Mick Jones’ Foreigner Gear, Then and Now
England’s excellent Guitarist magazine recently had a decent interview with Foreigner’s Mick Jones. It’s always great to read an interview with one of the “older” players, even if there isn’t a whole lot of gear detail – which unfortunately was the case with this interview. But there were a few details, some of which confirm a bit of what I extracted from a 1979 issue of Guitar Player mag.
Though the Guitarist interviewer left a lot of questions on the table, it’s cool to read just for the tidbits – because Jones, like many axe-slingers of his era, experimented quite a bit with trying to get a better sound.
Here’s what he said in the recent interview that he used back in the day (more details are at the link above):
“I used Marshall heads with Fane speakers [Hiwatt cabs]. I didn’t use Celestions for quite a long time, as I just felt I could get more expression from the Fanes.
“My three-pickup ’62 black Les Paul Custom was my main guitar. I took the middle pickup out….
“That has actually ended up being the [Gibson] signature model…. My manager had a rapport with Gibson, and we started to discuss the modifications I had made, including switches which send the signal direct from the pickup to the output, bypassing the [vol and tone] controls. Gibson has reproduced it brilliantly. I’m really happy with how it’s turned out, and honestly I can hardly tell the difference between my original and the signature guitar.
“I used it all over Can’t Slow Down [2009 album with the new band], along with my tobacco sunburst Les Paul from the early nineties. I still use Marshall [JCM]900 amps and cabs with Celestions [no specifics] live and on the album – it’s a really straight setup.”
> His acoustic is a blonde Gibson J200.
Loves the Guitar
Thought this was cool, from the interview:
“It’s my constant companion and it’s there all the time. It represents so much. I’ve sacrificed a lot of times in my life for this instrument, for my rapport with it and what it means to me. My playing, my writing, my success has all been tied up in the guitar.
“I lost sight of that at one point…. I was getting wasted a lot of the time and I wasn’t functioning properly. I fell into a deep hole for a while and kind of lost my connection with the guitar.
“When Lou finally left the band, it took about 18 months for me to get my sh*t together and get healthy again, and I thought one day: What is it that I do? What’s the most important thing to me? And I realized: I play guitar. That’s what I do.
“From that moment I just got the urge to play again and that was one of the motivating forces in putting the new band together. Since 2005 we’ve been working hard on getting our reputation back….