Author Topic: Foreigner/or a cover band?  (Read 13903 times)

chump329

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Foreigner/or a cover band?
« on: March 08, 2012, 11:46:44 pm »
Hi,

New to the site, so I thought I would put this out there. I have been a Foreigner fan since the mid 70's & seen them many times over the years & have their released stuff, as well as various live bootleg stuff. I mention this because I after not seeing them since 85, I just seen them in Bridgeport, Ct in February & left feeling disappointed. The band was great & for the most part I enjoyed myself, but the issue has to made about no original member present on stage/touring with them. I understand that Mick is or was ill, but to keep going out and performing under the name Foreigner & charging high ticket prices for basically a cover band is absolutely insane. I know there are other Classic Rock acts that do it as well, but It doesn't make it right. Nothing against the touring band because they were-well actually very good, but that is not the point here. I know that it is my opinion, but there has to be some integrity involved in this kind of situation. If Mick had been there, I would be fine with billing it as Foreigner. He wasn't, so I'm not-especially at $85 for the top ticket!!!!!!!! Just thought I would bring it up. I know this is a fan site & I am not trying to insult anybody at all-especially the current/touring band members, but I felt that I ripped off by the ticket price I paid for basically a cover band!!!

smarcus1031

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Re: Foreigner/or a cover band?
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2012, 02:33:33 am »
@chump329, I just came back from seeing "Foreigner" at The Wells Fargo Center in Santa Rosa. I paid $65.00 per ticket and all pre-publicity advertising and promotion including here on the official website all mention that Mick Jones is part of the band, and NO WHERE does it say that he will not be appearing on this tour.  @chump329 I agree with you 100%!  What I saw was an excellent COVER BAND!!! I actually question whether they can legally call themselves Foreigner with no original band members...

I originally bought tickets for this show because it was going to be an acoustic show and I was looking forward to seeing/hearing Mick, Kelly, etc. play the songs acoustically.  I saw Foreigner at The Wells Fargo Center two years ago fully understanding that Mick Jones was the only original band member, but he WAS/IS the heart and soul of Foreigner and enjoyed that show a lot, it is the reason I bought tickets this time.

If Foreigner is going to tour without Mick Jones then ethically (does anyone remember that word?) they owe it to their fans to announce it on their official website and let their long time fans decide if they want to pay top dollar for a cover band.

I can pay top dollar and see Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers with almost all of the original band or for $15-$20 see an excellent cover band that plays rockin' versions of all their songs.

I am not happy about being misled, and I will be looking into legal action to get my $130 back (I bought two tickets.)  I come from a family of lawyers, and I personally worked for the Grateful Dead for 13 years managing their mail order ticket sales office...After Jerry Garcia died they could have toured as the Grateful Dead because four out of the original five band members were still there, but they decided to tour as The Dead NOT the Grateful Dead because they were NOT the Grateful Dead without Jerry...

Enough ranting.

TomCat

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Re: Foreigner/or a cover band?
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2012, 10:28:00 am »
We are all entitled to our opinion, but mine is I totally disagree 100%! I saw them 2 weeks ago & I knew Mick wasn't going to be there, it's all over the forum about him being out since last summer. He is recovering & should be back with the band soon. Foreigner may not have Mick temporarily, but these guys in the band are the most talented & nicest guys you could meet. I would pay to go see them anytime because I enjoy the music & have had a blast at every Foreigner concert I've been too. The band is not misleading anyone if you are a fan of Foreigner, which most people on this board are...you would've known he wasn't going to be there. I love Kelly, Jeff, Mark, Michael, Tommy & Bruce who has been doing a great job filling in for Mick!!! :)
Good luck with your legal action.

Jennifer  :)

rv67

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Re: Foreigner/or a cover band?
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2012, 11:22:52 am »
It is quite obvious that you have not been following the band..People have choices..Foreigner did not force you to go buy a ticket. If you did not have any foreknowledge about Micks absence then that is not Foreigners responsibility too do so. it is your responsibility to make sure WHO you are going too see. it is obvious You didn't do your homework to see if all the members are in the band YOU want to see....i agree with Tomcat...good luck with your legal persuit!!! Do enjoy Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers....

LynnHey

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Re: Foreigner/or a cover band?
« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2012, 12:24:02 pm »
Since I have been a Foreigner fan since the beginning, I have seen the band in different forms, from 1978-2009. (My favorite has to be with Lou, Mick, Dennis & Rick). I do believe that when Mick was ill, they should have cancelled all shows until he was able to return, or at least put a disclaimer in the advertising, that due to illness, Mick would not be performing. Most people found out that Mick wouldn't be at a show, only when they actually went to the concert. There was information posted on this site from fans that went to a concert and reported that Mick wasn't there, but no one knew how long he would be out.  Most probably thought it was for only a few shows, not knowing the severity of his illness, since that information was just released a couple of weeks ago. 

Touring without any original member makes them a cover band, in my opinion, whether it's one show or 30 shows. 

On that note, I hope Mick is on the road to recovery and will hit the stage soon with his band!

ForeignerFiles

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Re: Foreigner/or a cover band?
« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2012, 03:04:45 pm »
This is really kinda of two issues at play here.

I personally do not feel that Foreigner is a "cover band" at present. For a variety of reasons, they are one of those bands in the music industry that has had a constant changing of lineups throughout its 35 year career. There have been double digit musician lineup changes over all of those years - some  members stayed for a short time, others for much longer. (Since I'm writing this quickly w/o access to my notes, I don't recall specific tenure lengths off the top of my head, but face it, they have been numerous and varied throughout the years). With so many lineup changes, I hardly feel that the appellation "cover band" really applies to Foreigner in this case.

Now - the flip side to that is that fans are going to have attachments to various individuals within a band and much star power will be attributed to original or founders of said bands. Because of this (and this is directly the role that Mick plays in this situation), I *do* feel, as mentioned previously, that once Mick's health situation precluded him from playing live beyond a couple of shows (I mean, hey, everyone gets the flu or other illness that might cause 1 or 2 show missings - that isn't a big deal, it happens), then I do think Foreigner (the business/management) should have had the courtesy of at least posting information/disclaimers at all of those continued (and current) shows informing the public if Mick would not be playing and would be understudied by a different guitarist.  This is no different than what theater companies do when you attend live performances - they state it in an insert (or verbal announcement) at the show ("Bill Smith is unable to perform the lead of Hamlet due to illness, therefore the part of Hamlet will be performed by John Doe, the understudy for Bill Smith, for this evenings performance"). Sometimes if it is a situation where the company has known ahead of time that a named actor won't be performing, it will be relayed even earlier to advertising prior to the show date.

I understand that this is all a business and performers/band/etc. have to be paid, and that the promoters may be concerned of losing some money/lower ticket sales - however, I think honesty in this situation would be more beneficial in the end and prevent things like people suing after the fact and all of that. I think that an attendee to a Foreigner concert is still getting their money's worth, because you still have talented musicians providing you with entertainment, and the current lineup is all part of the band Foreigner. We all hope that Mick being out proves to be a temporary situation - but be straight up, address the issue and just provide information to the fans as to who will or will not be performing on a given show. (Again - you don't have to violate a performers privacy - just see my example about how the theatre companies do it). You may lose a few tickets to those who specifically wanted to see Mick Jones playing live, but overall, I don't think it would impact the overall tour.

IMHO - I think in some respects this is turning into a similar case of bad PR the way it did when dealing with Lou Gramm's initial health crises' and resultant post surgery performances. Nothing was really made public, and there was some awful backlash that I recall personally observing from fans at the time (where people felt cheated out of their money and decrying the lack of information). And this was in the relative internet infancy - I can't imagine how it would have been today.

Jan

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Re: Foreigner/or a cover band?
« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2012, 04:43:54 pm »
First of all, welcome to the Foreigner fan site, new members!

I may be able to add some insight to this topic.  Our Performance Center just hosted Foreigner on 2/24.  As a donor and season ticket holder, I volunteered to help with all things Foreigner! In doing so, I had a little more of an inside look at how the program came together.

Our venue had been slated for Acoustique featuring Mick, Kelly, Tom and Jeff in January. Many tickets had been sold.  In December, the band's management contacted the Performance Center and said that Mick was ill. The EPC was offered a new date in February with full band electric, as there were some conflicts with Michael and Mark's schedules (I assume they had some  prior solo obligations). The EPC was also offered the option of canceling the show. Foreigner's management very specifically stated that Mick would not be there.  Our venue sent out a flyer explaining that one of the artists was ill and the concert would be full band electric etc.  They offered refunds to anyone who couldn't make the date or who was unhappy with the change.  They also offered to re-seat or refund $$$$ to anyone who had seats upfront and did not want to be behind standing, screaming, rocking fans!  Anyone who called in with questions was given more details!  We had no problems or complaints.  The die hard fans already knew Mick would not be there and the very casual fans wouldn't have really known Mick.  Our show was almost sold out and we had a wonderful VIP/Meet and Greet.  One of my friend's husbands said this Foreigner show was one of the best concerts he has ever been to! He has been to a lot of concerts!
 

@ Marcus -- your beef should not be with Foreigner -- your venue had all the information.  In fact, a venue in Atlantic City canceled a sold out show when they found out Mick wasn't going to be there.  I assure you, that caused way more problems than the show going on with Bruce!!!!!

Foreigner has had a lot of band members come and go, but this group of guys are all long time members since the band re-formed in 2004. (Except Mark, but he has been Foreigner's drummer off and on for years!)(Tom has been a member since the 90s!)  Those of us who have been going to concerts since the re-formation feel that this is Foreigner!  These are our guys -- we have come to appreciate the wonderful talent that each brings to the stage!  We also appreciate the wonderful people that they are!  They are all truly dedicated to putting on fabulous high energy shows that totally rock!  They are true to the spirit of each song -- most songs sound even better than the original studio recordings!!! Kelly is magnificent in his vocal interpretation and delivery of each song!!!!! What more could a fan ask for than a fabulous show performed by the nicest, fan-friendly guys in the biz!!!!

I think I can say that collectively, it breaks our hearts that Mick has had health problems.  We all adore him and love watching him on stage!!!  He is our guitar hero!!!  We are looking forward to Mick's return to the stage!!!!!  However, we are so happy that Bruce Watson has stepped in for Mick!  He is an excellent guitar player and Mick selected him -- so we are just fine with that!  Bruce is also a super nice guy and fits in with the band.

We absolutely want the shows to continue with Bruce until Mick returns!!!!!  Foreigner shows are the most fun and we would all be bereft if they canceled the tour!!!!!

By the way, I always YouTube recent concerts of any band/comedian etc before I buy tickets.
We hosted Ron White -- some people walked out because his language was "filthy and he drank scotch and smoked a cigar on stage!"  Really????? -- a glance at YouTube would have cleared that up!!!!  There are plenty of recent videos showing Bruce and explaining who he is and why he is there.

Mick owns the Foreigner name and he is in charge!  The Grateful Dead changed their name to The Dead because Jerry Garcia died!  Queen performed as Queen + Paul Rodgers because Freddie Mercury died!  

I'm sure this whole situation is very stressful for the band members!  They have carried on admirably!!!!!  It is up to us fans to support them wholeheartedly!  

We must also thank Tom for stepping in and playing Mick's keyboard parts!  Wow -- he just nails them every time!  He and Michael really have their parts together finessed, too!!!

So, a big thank you to Bruce and Tom for filling in for Mick and doing a wonderful job!  Another big thank you to Kelly, Jeff, Michael, and Mark for carrying on!!!!  A special thank you to Kelly!!!!  In addition to belting out the hits, he has taken on the role of emcee!!!!! We all love and appreciate  each one of you!!!!!

Jan
 






 
















« Last Edit: March 09, 2012, 05:05:03 pm by Jan »

rv67

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Re: Foreigner/or a cover band?
« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2012, 06:12:11 pm »
 ;D Thanks so much Jan i love the way you explain things....your awesome ...

TomCat

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Re: Foreigner/or a cover band?
« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2012, 06:14:33 pm »
Well said Jan!!! I will just DITTO everything you said!!  ;D

Jennifer  :D

LynnHey

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Re: Foreigner/or a cover band?
« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2012, 06:42:21 pm »
After doing a bit of research, I found the following:

The Truth in Music Bill is now the LAW in 33 states:

The bill makes it mandatory for a live performance to include at least one recording member of the group who still has the right to use the group name. Otherwise, the act must be billed as a “tribute” or a “salute” so that the public knows what it’s paying for.


The bill was introduced to prevent promoters who owned the rights to band names from using the name to deceive the public into thinking that it was the original band when no original members were present.  The same goes for any person owning the rights to the name of the band...you still need one original member to be present to use the name.  
« Last Edit: March 09, 2012, 06:43:58 pm by LynnHey »

ForeignerFiles

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Re: Foreigner/or a cover band?
« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2012, 06:48:37 pm »
Jan - I am very glad to hear that venues are being notified and that in the case of yours, that they were informing people prior to the show. When I saw Foreigner earlier last summer, it was right before Mick dropped off the tour (he happened to remark at that show that he had been feeling under the weather), and I've not had an opportunity to see any further shows recently, so I've been unaware as to how venues/promoters/band have been handling the issue.

I presumed from comments posted here and elsewhere (FB, for example) that there was no type of mentioning at all at any shows that Mick was not playing. Now, granted, we have no idea how each venue or promoter is handling the situation - but I am very glad to hear confirmation that mgmt has been informing the venues of what's going on especially in regard to the Acoustique/rescheduled electric dates. Again though, Foreigner has no control over what venues/promoters choose to disseminate to the public.

That being said - I do wish there had been a bit more said on this site (like on the tour dates or news page) or on the official FB site of the fact that Mick would not be appearing at shows, to hopefully inform more casual fans of what was going on. These were two areas that mgmt had direct control over, and in my opinion, it might have helped in heading off some of these kinds of issues, which then lead to the debate over "cover band" and all of that.

It is easy for those of us that follow the band closely to have been aware of what was going on - but to the more casual attendee, not so much.

I have to laugh a bit though - the "cover band" debate has been going on since at least 1990 - with people calling Foreigner that when Johnny Edwards was fronting, and then again even after Lou rejoined in 92, b/c the bass and drum positions were no longer being held by original members. Go figure... :)

ForeignerFiles

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Re: Foreigner/or a cover band?
« Reply #11 on: March 09, 2012, 07:01:46 pm »
Re: Lynn - I'm curious as to how such a bill covers incidences of illness or temporary leave in a group.

I did find the actual bill text for the state of Pennsylvania that (in short, behind all the legalese) specifies that at least one or more members is defined as being part of the group if they have the legal right to release material under the ownership of the band name, or if they have at some point been on legally released recorded material by the band.

Which, if I am understanding correctly, would cover Foreigner band members who were on either the Mr Moonlight or Can't Slow Down recordings, because those individuals recorded and released under the Foreigner moniker. Perhaps in this case, it covers the current situation, because you have Kelly, Tom and Jeff still in the band and currently performing.

Again, it may also be covered if mgmt is notifying the venues/promoters of the situation (Mick out sick) - but the band has no control over how that information is further disseminated.

I'm not knocking the bill at all - I think its a valid tool in both protecting the consumer as well as protecting those bands who are dealing with imposter groups (think a lot of the old Doo-Wop groups). I don't think it really applies in this current situation regarding Foreigner - and considering how Mick is about his business dealings regarding the ownership of the Foreigner name, I'm sure his lawyers probably have all the bases covered in this situation.

ETA: Here is the link to the PDF of the exact bill wording of Pennsylvania Senate Bill 929, where it outlines the specifics of the bill. Whether or not this is the exact wording of the bill in each of the states that have a similar bill, I have no idea, as presently there is not a Federal bill that I am aware of:

http://www.bowzerparty.com/downloads/PA%20Consumer%20Bill.pdf
« Last Edit: March 09, 2012, 07:05:04 pm by ForeignerFiles »

Jan

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Re: Foreigner/or a cover band?
« Reply #12 on: March 09, 2012, 11:50:00 pm »
Thank you, Lynn, for your comments! Thank you FF for providing the text of the PA bill.  Like you, I would interpret that any members on the "Can't Slow Down" album would be considered "band members." Actually, that means four members:  Kelly, Tom, Jeff and Michael would be covered.

The other point is that Mick continues to be a member of the band -- no question.  I'm sure the law allows for illness!  Mick also owns the name.  FF is right --that Mick's attorneys have covered all the bases. 

This is the craziest discussion I have ever read!  The "original' members; more accurately, the first members, left the band after the second album!  Foreigner is Mick's band!  He gets to pick who is in the band and who is not!!!  I am sure he has reasons for all of his decisions!  Members have come and gone through the years for various reasons.  Musicians move around between bands -- drop out of the industry -- whatever.  IMO, confusion arises when there are two bands performing with the same name eg., LA Guns. Tracii Guns is touring with one group and Stacey Blades is touring with the other.  I'm sure that is why Lou performs using his own name and reference Foreigner.

 saw a special regarding the issues with the Doo Wop groups.  It was so sad -- some of the original members were still alive and destitute.  They were cut out of royalties by unscrupulous managers in the beginning!  Then the imposter groups made money off the names and had no connection whatsoever with the bands. Most of the public wouldn't know. I would guess that laws like the PA law were enacted to protect the public and the band members.  Interesting that Kool and the Gang is performing under that name -- the band was formed in 1948!!!  Seriously doubt there are any "original" members!  Maybe their recordings cover the name usage.

Our venue is scrupulous in providing information to the public.  We have an amazing director and staff!!!  The Foreigner management was very upfront with all the information.  I have to think that venues which made no mention either didn't think Bruce subbing for Mick was a big deal or thought most people knew.

There have been discussions on FB and the board since the first show Mick missed.  We saw three of the shows just before he left!  Mick looked pale in St. Louis -- but it was  almost 100* before factoring in humidity and stage lights!!!  Tom Petty's Mike Campbell had a heat stroke on stage in StL last year -- so I thought the heat was bothering him!  He was fine the next week at Tinley Park and seemed really upbeat in Indianapolis the week after that. His departure was really sudden!  Joel Hoekstra said he had to learn all the guitar parts in one night!! 

Nice to read that everyone posting is enjoying the concerts even without Mick!  That is a testament to the current members and to Mick for selecting them!  February was my first time seeing the band with Bruce -- he is delightful and an excellent guitarist!!!!

We all hope to see Mick soon!  Until then, thanks to Bruce and Tom for subbing for him!!!








ForeignerFiles

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Re: Foreigner/or a cover band?
« Reply #13 on: March 10, 2012, 12:28:54 am »
Jan - just to comment about Foreigner's original members (when the band started in 1977): Dennis Elliott and Lou were part of the original '77 lineup and they both remained members well after the second album. Dennis drummed all the way through 1991's Unusual Heat (and supporting tour). Lou left the first time around 1987/88, after the release of Inside Information.

I'm not in the music industry, so I have no idea what legally defines as being a member of a band - if its based on original members, founders, songwriting, employed by a label, by the definitions of a contract, etc. etc. I am trying to get some feedback/opinion from those who would know as far as how those particular music bills would fit this situation. There seems to be some consensus that regardless of who "owns" the name, that it does make a difference as to who is physically performing as well.

If I get some answers, I'll post em here.....

Speaking of examples of band name usage, wasn't there some kind of similar issue with Bad Company at one point, with Paul Rodgers and lawsuits and 2 different bands, or am I getting this confused with something else?

Tatjana

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Re: Foreigner/or a cover band?
« Reply #14 on: March 10, 2012, 12:37:26 am »
I’m not an expert but I’m quite sure that the legal issues are covered otherwise Mick and the management wouldn’t have been doing it since I’m sure they know these bills too.

And I agree with Jan: This is one of the craziest discussions ever and it is not the first time that this topic is being brought up. I’m actually so sick and tired of it that I didn’t want to chime in; however, I would like to contribute a few things.

I happen to find it rather amusing to read comments on the various facebook pages. Comments like: “Foreigner is Lou, Mick, Dennis and Rick”
It is funny to read since this wasn’t the original line up anyways either. You can say that this is your favourite line-up but it is not the original. If you want to be a hair splitter you need to say that Foreigner is no more since Ed Gagliardi got replaced.

Next thing I find quite amusing is the fact that people say: “Without Lou Gramm there is no Foreigner!” I ´m sure those people would have no qualms accepting any group of guys as Foreigner as long as they are having Lou Gramm in the line-up and would never ever call it a tribute band.

I know it is the hardest for fans to accept the change of the lead-singer since most people identify a group with the voice.

I have stated this a couple of times but I’m going to repeat it:

If somebody would have told me a couple of years ago that I’d ever accept anybody else fronting this band other than Lou Gramm I would have laughed right into his face!

The reason why I found it easy to accept Kelly is the fact that he is able to deliver the goods. He knows how to belt out classic Foreigner hits! He knows how to nail them! He knows how they need to be performed so that they sound alive and fresh just like back in the day when they were written.

So I don’t really get the point when people are saying: “I enjoyed the music but I also felt as if I had seen a tribute band.”

Did you enjoy the music or did you not? If you enjoyed the music then why complain? Isn’t the music what it’s all about?

The internet is brimming with great reviews from various concert goers (not only the die-hard fans but also casual music listeners) regarding the current tour and even though people are disappointed that Mick wasn’t there (I fully understand people’s disappointment!) nobody actually felt “betrayed” or ripped off .

If you love the music of Foreigner you just need to go and see this line-up. No other “tribute band” is able to deliver the goods like they do!

Tatjana :)