The architect behind Foreigner’s extraordinary catalogue of smash hits, Mick has crafted some of rock music’s most enduring songs and produced 10 multi-platinum albums. Grammy and Golden Globe nominated songwriter, performer and producer and winner of the prestigious Ivor Novello songwriter award in Britain in 1998, Mick first began playing guitar in his early teens. "I knew early on that I could never hold a regular job. I had to play guitar. I had to somehow make my way into music" he says.
After starting his own Blues/Rock band and opening for the Rolling Stones in pubs across South London, Mick’s first big break came in 1964 when he moved to Paris and was hired to play with French singer Sylvie Vartan and later hired to work as musical director for French rock icon, Johnny Hallyday. Jones returned to his native England in the early 70’s to reform the band Spooky Tooth with Gary Wright. After Spooky Tooth broke up, Mick moved to New York City and, in 1976, formed Foreigner with fellow Brits Ian Mc Donald and Dennis Elliott, and Americans Lou Gramm, Alan Greenwood and Ed Gagliardi.
In his own words:
"My initial musical vision for Foreigner was to combine Blues and R&B with British Rock and make it sound soulful and authentic. I?d grown up in England and had the English influence but I was also inspired by many elements of American music, from Mississippi Blues to Country and Western. Foreigner was the vehicle to get that musical blend across."
"I’m grateful to be surrounded by the talented musicians that make up Foreigner today. Now each night on stage brings Foreigner’s music alive with energy and excitement. Thanks guys for making it all new again!"
Quotes from Mick talking about Foreigner and the new "Feels Like The First Time" 3-Disc Album:
"When doing the ‘Hot Blooded’ solo I did my damnedest to set the amp on fire, which is what originally happened," Mick says laughing, "I turned it up to 11, I kicked it. . . "
"My feeling over the years is that if you can write a song on an acoustic instrument, and it sounds good, you know you have a good song," Mick explains. "The first time we approached these songs this way I was flabbergasted about how well they adapted back to their nucleus. It’s been an eye opener how stripping the songs bare brings fresh meaning and emotion out of them. The reaction has been so strong that it made me rethink the whole thing and put more attention to the unplugged show. People feel the intimacy, I talk about the songs and how they came about."
"Its' been 6 years since the new line-up has been in place. The success, for me, merited giving the public studio recordings of songs by the new band," Mick Jones asserts. "People know the new Foreigner, so the Foreigner they see live is the same Foreigner they can get on record."
Answering an ad seeking a lead vocalist, Kelly joined Hurricane in 1985. Signed to Enigma/Capitol during the late eighties and early nineties, Hurricane recorded three critically acclaimed albums, racked up five Top 20 MTV videos and landed the top 35 single, "I’m On To You".
After Hurricane disbanded, Hansen worked in a group with Poison guitarist C.C. DeVille, toured as a vocal group arranger and backing vocalist with Liane Foly for her album, Caméléon and composed music for television.
As the new lead singer in Foreigner, Hansen explains, "the best part about being in this band is getting the chance to do something I feel I was meant to do. I feel extremely fortunate to be given this wonderful opportunity to play with such a substantial group of people, and it just keeps getting better. I think there are times in life where the right combination of people come together at the right time, through luck, timing or for some other unknown reason to create something magical. What happens onstage with this group of guys is something that is rare and palpable. It’s like the old saying, "if I have to describe it, you wouldn’t understand."
Kelly reflects on his tenure in Foreigner:
"I think we’ve done an amazing amount of work since 2005—we worked our asses off for 6 years and people have rediscovered us. I’m told there has been a huge increase in radio airplay that has propelled us into the Top 10 at Classic Rock Radio. Our appearances on video games such as Rock Band and parents turning their kids on to music they love have been a big help. When people come to our show we give them an energetic, action-packed show, which is fun to experience."
Quotes from Kelly talking about the new "Feels Like The First Time" 3-Disc Album:
"This is an extra rubber stamp on our claim to these songs You are constantly having to re-establish yourself. There was a time in the late 90s when the band suffered in reputation, and I think we've spent a good part of the last six years going all over the world to re-establish that this band is very strong and relevant and full of great songs."
"We were doing these live acoustic shows that were being broadcast," he recalls, "and we got a huge response. It was kind of shocking and surprising, and also something that was really new for us. We've never really done that, kind of laying yourself out naked, without lights and amps or anything. It was a real different feeling and a challenge, so we came back and decided to record it. We're still working out the details for touring but it should be interesting."
Though best known for his work as an original member of seminal 80’s rock band Dokken, Jeff has played bass and sung with a host of groups including rockers Dio and MSG, and his own bands War and Peace and Lynch/Pilson. Jeff also had a principal role, along with band mate Jason Bonham, in the 2001 Warner Brothers film Rock Star, alongside actors Mark Wahlberg and Jennifer Aniston.
Jeff sums up his experience with Foreigner: “It all feels so natural because I was a big fan of the band, and the music and style are a part of my blood. Foreigner, to me, was always the perfect combination of strong songs, great singing, intense heavy rock musicianship, with a touch of R&B added in. Plus the band has great chemistry. There’s just no feeling in the world like going out and kicking butt every night. I feel like I’ve finally found my home!”
A multi-instrumentalist, Tom plays rhythm guitar, keyboards, sax, and flute. It was the music of Blood Sweat and Tears and Chicago that truly fired his interest in the sound of horns. Equally influenced by progressive rock bands, it was the groundbreaking work of big band trumpet player, Maynard Ferguson, that changed his life. “When I started playing sax I tried to sound like him, learning to nail the high notes,” reveals Gimbel. “This was good training to play the solo on “Urgent” years later!”
After graduating from Berklee College of Music in Boston, Tom began touring with Aerosmith playing keyboards and saxophone. With them, he did two world tours, numerous TV and film appearances including Woodstock 2, Wayne’s World 2, Saturday Night Live and MTV unplugged.
“Foreigner just seems to keep getting better. These songs still resonate beautifully. Mick is really wailin’ and Kelly is a phenomenal singer. Mark and Jeff Pilson are like a freight train. The sound is tough.”
In his own words:
As a little, tiny kid I liked Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, the Supremes/Temptations and of course, The Smothers Brothers!
Then later, I heard Elvis, Motown, The Beatles, The Who, The Rolling Stones, Broadway Musicals and "two older sisters who incessantly played classical piano music!"
But I always loved The Who. Pete Townsend's playing/writing/singing is why I wanted to someday be a rhythm guitarist/writer/singer.
In the early 70s I went through a Jethro Tull phase, which got me started on the flute which then led to the sax and... jazz, baby!
Graduated Berklee College Of Music in 1982, and started working with Jon Butcher Axis, with whom I recorded 3 albums for Capitol Records. Then in 89 I was hired by Aerosmith to play keyboards, sing and play sax.
With them I did two world tours and several SNLs, Wayne's World Two etc...(see old bio)
I first met Mick and Lou in '92.... We had so many great years of touring throughout the 1990s and up until 2002. I cherish those memories.
When the band took a break between '02 and '05, I got extremely into golf and I am now a certified golf instructor. Thanks to Mick and Foreigner, I played in a bunch of celebrity tournaments during that time, and still have a healthy love/passion for the game.
After Mick reformed the band in '05, a new phase of Foreigner began, which has just been magnificent to be a part of. It feels like the band is truly kicking into overdrive now and the recent shows in the UK, Europe and the USA have been the best I can ever remember. The really cool news is, it feels like we are just getting started!
Michael Bluestein began piano studies at age 9. Growing up he was exposed to a wide range of artists including Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, Boston, Mozart, The Who, and jazz pianist Thelonious Monk. After studying at Berklee College of Music, Michael made his way out to Los Angeles where he has played with Boz Scaggs, Stevie Nicks, Enrique Iglesias, Anastacia, and with the house band on Jimmy Kimmel Live.
Michael describes the experience of playing all the classic Foreigner songs as “truly surreal. I grew up hearing and loving all these songs, and never dreamed that I would have the chance to be in the band playing them! The energy on stage is amazing and I love looking out and seeing everyone singing along with every word”.
Bruce Watson is a self-taught guitarist who beginning in the early 90’s found himself smack dab in the middle of the L.A. session scene. Over the next 20 years he had the honour and pleasure to work with artists like B.B King, Rod Stewart, Christina Aguilera, Elton John, Sara Bareilles and Gavin Degraw to name a few as well as hundreds of TV shows, films and commercials. “The range of musical styles I get to play doing that kind of work is really challenging and really fulfilling not to mention the opportunity to play with so many great musicians.”
When asked to describe what it’s like to be a full member of a band like Foreigner Bruce replies, “The level of musicianship and commitment to excellence in this band is very very high. Every single day we’re trying to find little ways here and there to improve the performance of this unbelievable catalogue of songs and I LOVE that. No one’s kicking back AT ALL.” He goes on to add, “I’m blown away every single night to see the power of these songs and the impact they’ve had and continue to make on peoples lives. It’s unbelievable.
Chris Frazier was born in Washington DC and lived in Massachusetts as a boy, and Wyoming as a young man, before moving to L.A. to pursue a career in music. He came from a musical family and began playing drums at the age of 5. Through his childhood and early adulthood, Chris played in school bands and various garage bands before moving to L.A. Over the years, he has recorded and performed with Steve Vai, Edgar Winter, Eddie Money, Whitesnake, Carole King, Tiffany, Eddie Van Halen, Ted Templeman and Gene Simmons, to name a few, before joining Foreigner.
When asked how he feels about performing and touring with Foreigner: "A dream come true. I've always been a fan ever since I heard Double Vision on the radio. That song is going somewhere right from the beginning. Great groove, cool riffs and saxophone? In Rock? Who does that??? Anyway, I had all the albums and the thing that's so cool is that Mick managed to fuse Rock, R&B and pop into one sound. For me that covers a broad spectrum of rhythmic feels that I love to explore. I'm also honored to be working with such talented and down to earth people. Normally you get one or the other."
With 10 multi-platinum albums and 16 Top 30 hits, FOREIGNER is universally hailed as one of the most popular rock acts in the world with a formidable musical arsenal that continues to propel sold-out tours and album sales, now exceeding 80 million.
Responsible for some of rock and roll’s most enduring anthems including “Juke Box Hero,” “Cold As Ice,” “Hot Blooded,” “Waiting For A Girl Like You,” “Feels Like The First Time,” “Urgent,” “Head Games,” “Say You Will,” “Dirty White Boy,” “Long, Long Way From Home” and the worldwide #1 hit, “I Want To Know What Love Is,” FOREIGNER still rocks the charts more than 40 years into the game with massive airplay and continued Billboard Top 200 album success. Audio and video streams of FOREIGNER’s hits are over 15 million per week.
With more Top 10 songs than Journey and as many as Fleetwood Mac, FOREIGNER also features strongly in every category in Billboard’s “Greatest of All Time” listing. At times, the band’s weekly catalog sales have eclipsed those of Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, the Rolling Stones, the Who, Def Leppard, Van Halen, Aerosmith and most of their Classic Rock peers (Source: Nielsen SoundScan). FOREIGNER‘s catalog sales were recently celebrated in Business Insider as hitting the Top 40 among the Best Selling Music Artists of All Time.
FOREIGNER is one of the most viewed YouTube Classic Rock artists with weekly viewings frequently exceeding the million mark.
Founded in 1976, FOREIGNER‘s debut album produced the hits “Feels Like The First Time,” “Cold As Ice” and “Long, Long Way From Home.” The album Double Vision followed, as did a string of hits including “Urgent,” “Juke Box Hero” and “Waiting For A Girl Like You.” Those songs helped give FOREIGNER‘s next album, 4, its impressive run at #1 on the Billboard chart. At the zenith of 80’s sound, FOREIGNER‘s fifth album, Agent Provocateur, gave the world the incredible #1 global hit,” I Want To Know What Love Is.” This musical milestone followed the record-breaking song “Waiting For A Girl Like You.”
FOREIGNER‘s founder is Songwriters Hall of Fame member Mick Jones. A visionary maestro whose stylistic songwriting, indelible guitar hooks and multi-layered talents continue to escalate FOREIGNER‘s influence and guide the band to new horizons.
Jones reformed the band after a 2002 hiatus and selected lead singer Kelly Hansen to help write an inspired new chapter in the history of FOREIGNER. One of rock’s greatest showmen, Hansen is among the most respected, consummate professionals in rock and roll. With a 35-year career that spans almost every area of music, from the role of lead vocalist to producing and engineering, Hansen has led FOREIGNER into the digital age while inspiring a whole new generation of fans.
FOREIGNER’s lineup also includes multi-instrumentalist Tom Gimbel, noted Dokken bassist Jeff Pilson, Michael Bluestein on keyboards, guitarist Bruce Watson and Chris Frazier on drums. An unprecedented new level of energy led the group to a re-emergence of astounding music that speaks to FOREIGNER‘s enduring popularity.
With renewed vitality and direction, FOREIGNER hit the Billboard charts again with the 2005 release of their live Greatest Hits album, Extended Versions. Can’t Slow Down followed in 2009 and entered the Billboard chart in the Top 30, driven by two Top 20 radio singles, “In Pieces” and “When It Comes To Love.” To follow was the release of the band’s three-disc set, Feels Like The First Time, which included an acoustic CD with an intimate and unique re-interpretation of many FOREIGNER classics, studio re-records by the new lineup and a live performance DVD showcasing the group’s exceptional live energy.
FOREIGNER’s music experienced another surge in popularity in recent years thanks to usage in primetime television, major motion pictures, video games, advertising, and digital content. Films such as Rock of Ages, Bad Moms, Angry Birds, Magic Mike, Pitch Perfect, The Good Boys, television shows Orange Is The New Black, Stranger Things, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon have all strongly featured Foreigner’s songs. Advertisers including Toyota, Google, Molson, and Ford have turned to FOREIGNER’s music to engage their fans.
In June 2013, Mick Jones was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. A multi-talented and multi-dimensional “musician’s musician,” Jones has also written songs such as “Bad Love” with Eric Clapton and “Dreamer” with Ozzy Osbourne, and produced records for others including Billy Joel’s Storm Front and Van Halen’s 5150. A Grammy and Golden Globe-nominated songwriter, Jones is the winner of the prestigious British Ivor Novello Songwriter Award for “The Flame Still Burns,” the soundtrack music for the film Still Crazy.
In May 2014, Atlantic Records Chairman Craig Kallman presented the band with RIAA gold and platinum digital awards for six FOREIGNER songs. These awards signify 500,000 and 1,000,000 downloads of FOREIGNER hits. That is more individual awards than any other heritage rock band, and an illustration of FOREIGNER’s resonance in the digital era.
In recent years, FOREIGNER has headlined several Live Nation tours, rocking across the country and the world with contemporaries and friends. In 2014, FOREIGNER headlined The Soundtrack of Summer US amphitheatre tour with Styx and Don Felder. A hits compilation album of the same name was released to coincide with the tour and immediately hit the Billboard Top 200 chart. In 2015, FOREIGNER joined Kid Rock on his “Cheap Date: First Kiss Tour.”
In October 2016, FOREIGNER hit a major milestone when the band performed for the very first time at New York’s iconic Carnegie Hall with a sold-out acoustic show. The concert highlighted the band’s ongoing relationship with the GRAMMY Museum’s initiative to promote music education in our nation’s schools. It included an a cappella contest among New York high schools who competed for a $5,000 prize donated by the band.
The year also brought the release of FOREIGNER‘s first ever live acoustic album In Concert: Unplugged, recorded at a once-in-a-lifetime private concert hosted by Edsel B. Ford II at the Ford Motor Company Conference & Event Center in Detroit, MI. The band’s royalties were donated to JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) and the album is available exclusively via Amazon.
The year 2017 marked the celebration of FOREIGNER‘s 40th anniversary. The Warner Music Group released a double CD set “40,” which includes 40 songs recorded between 1977 and 2017. The album spent several weeks on the Billboard Top 200 chart and it features two tracks recorded especially for this release, “Give My Life For Love” and a new version of “I Don’t Want To Live Without You.” The album spent nine weeks in the Billboard Top 200 chart. The US anniversary headline tour played 40 shows across the United States where the band was supported by Cheap Trick and Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience.
In April 2018, FOREIGNER topped the Billboard Classic Album Charts for the first time with FOREIGNER WITH THE 21ST CENTURY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA & CHORUS, a live recording of FOREIGNER’s first-ever orchestral shows in Lucerne, Switzerland. The band went on to headline orchestral shows in the US, Europe, Australia and New Zealand throughout the year including sold-out appearances at London’s Royal Albert Hall and the iconic Sydney Opera House. In the summer of 2018, FOREIGNER starred in a thirty city Live Nation US summer tour with Whitesnake and Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Evening in support.
The excitement continued in 2019 with the premiere of Juke Box Hero, the Musical in Canada. Following a series of sold-out workshops in Alberta and Calgary, the musical premiered in Toronto in February and a Broadway run is on the horizon.
The November 2019 release of Double Vision: Then & Now is a DVD/CD package that celebrates the 40th anniversary of the iconic album. It features a stunning reunion concert that brings together the current and original band members playing all the hits at the top of their game.
2020 kicked off with a three-day run at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra in mid January. Another highlight was a sold out January/February residency at The Venetian, Las Vegas. The Covid-19 nightmare forced the band to postpone almost a hundred shows all over the world including a sold out show with Whitesnake at the 18,000 seat London 02 Arena. Foreigner will shortly announce 2021 touring plans that will include summer orchestral events at Red Rocks Amphitheater in Denver and The Greek Theater in Los Angeles.
Foreigner’s catalog sales hit Top 40 in Business Insider's Best Selling Music Artists of All Time, ahead of Britney Spears, Bob Dylan, Phil Collins, Prince, Queen, Bon Jovi and Def Leppard.
Foreigner has 9 Top 10 hits – that’s the same as Fleetwood Mac and more than Journey and most of their Classic Rock peers.
The 2018 orchestral album spent 12 weeks at #1 on the Billboard classical chart. It generated sold out US and international concerts including a spectacular night at the Sydney Opera House.
Audio and video streams over 15 million per week.
Digital downloads of ‘Juke Box Hero’ and ‘I Want To Know What Love Is’ certified platinum by the RIAA indicating Foreigner’s resonance in the new era.
Foreigner’s connection to a younger demographic is illustrated by the massive increase in streaming generated by the band’s song uses in such hit movies and TV shows as ‘Good Boys’ and ‘Stranger Things’.
Breaking the record in Billboard magazine, ‘Waiting For A Girl Like You’ was #2 in the Top 10 for 14 weeks and landed Foreigner at #49 on Billboard’s Hot 100 All Time Top Artists chart above The Eagles at #54, Fleetwood Mac at #73 and Aerosmith at #90.
Foreigner ‘4’ sat at # 1 on the Billboard charts longer than any album by any artist in Atlantic Records’ 70-year history.
Foreigner, consistently in the Top 20 at Classic Rock radio, has more airplay than Bon Jovi, Eric Clapton, Fleetwood Mac, U2, Bruce Springsteen, The Who, Bad Company and more.
Foreigner’s leader and founder, Mick Jones, was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2013.
Jukebox Hero, a musical based entirely on the hits of Foreigner, was launched in Toronto in 2019.
Mick Jones produced/co-produced every Foreigner album, as well as Billy Joel’s ‘Storm Front’ and Van Halen’s ‘5150’ and has written songs with Ozzy Osbourne and Eric Clapton, with whom he wrote ‘Bad Love’. Eric received a Grammy for that one!
The Foreigner catalog has sold more than 80 million albums.
Foreigner has 16 Top 30 hits:
I Want To Know What Love Is (1)
Waiting For A Girl Like You (2)
Double Vision (2)
Hot Blooded (3)
Feels Like The First Time (4)
I Don’t Want To Live Without You (5)
Say You Will (6)
Cold As Ice (6)
That Was Yesterday (12)
Dirty White Boy (12)
Head Games (14)
Blue Morning, Blue Day (15)
Long, Long Way From Home (20)
Juke Box Hero (26)
Break It Up (26)