First thing you need to know, Foreigner 2019 is not your Father’s Foreigner.
Gone is the golden voice that belted out the songs of many people’s youth. Lou Gramm (vocals) and Mick Jones ( Guitar, Keys, vocals) wrote collectively or individually a Rock n Roll catalog which placed the band as one of the biggest selling bands of all time. Gramm may be gone but Mick, his new band and the songs remain.
Foreigner 2.0 is led by what a front-man should be. Kelly Hansen has the chops to rival Gramm. Kelly Hansen has the energy to rival Mick Jagger. Kelly Hansen has the comedic banter to earn a position at Just For Laughs. Tunes like JukeBox Hero, Cold As Ice and Urgent are delivered with power, tightness and adrenaline. In short – Hansen makes it feel as if the (over forty) patrons in attendance are back in high school and worrying about pimples.
Jones (who was taught how to play ‘Hey Joe’ by Hendrix himself) is a legendary figure. Not many men or women can grace a stage with such a pedigree of tunes. Waiting For a Girl like You,Dirty White Boy, Hot Blooded,Feels Like The First Time andI Wanna Know What Love Is – all part of a Rock n Roll catalog which has stood the test of time. Rock n Roll purists cringed at the music of Foreigner in the eighties along with most of the eighties’ bands. Listening to Foreigner 2.0 in the present day makes the case for Rock n Roll 2019 being ‘dead’ ring true.
With many 2019 Rock bands, it is all about melancholy and Zeppelin – like screaming. Too many bands called Rock n Roll lack songwriting, harmonies and swing. Too many bands lack diversity. Foreigner and Foreigner 2.0 may have a sound that makes people aware who they are immediately yet within that sound is talent on many platforms. Within that sound is something that is essential to Rock n Roll. Saxophone.
Jeff Pilson (bass), Bruce Watson (lead guitar), Michael Bluestein ( keys) and Chris Frazier (drums) are powerhouses in their own ‘homes’. Collectively, released upon the masses, they are a band of gypsies hungry to rape and pillage musical souls with conviction. Foreigner 2.0 are kicking at the door of becoming Foreigner 6.0. Like the iPhone – Foreigner may change but the ‘apple’ remains close to the tree.
All the great bands in history have included Sax or horns on their records and live. Sax is what made the transition of Jazz ( Rock n Roll in popularity once upon a time) to Rock so smooth. The transition of Blues to Rock so smooth. The transition of Country music to Rock so smooth. Saxophone brings soul and a grounding to the guitars. It is a leash to harness the errant solos or the runaway singers. Tom Gimble last night at Place des Arts was the gatekeeper. Filling in and breathing out at the proper time.
Foreigner 2019 may not be your Father’s Foreigner but they are are not dead nor are they disabled. Foreigner 2019 are alive, well and making your son’s band look bad.
For the fans of Rock n Roll in Montreal – watching The Damn Truth emerge from seedlings in the garden of Montreal music has been – thus far, satisfactory. Yet in the immortal words of one of Rock music’s founding fathers; “I can’t get no …”
Obtaining ‘satisfaction’ as a Rock outfit is beyond reach if you take your craft seriously. Perfection is striven for yet always just out of a finger’s touch. That is the ingredient which separates bands with success and those without. Constantly working hard.
Montreal’s The Damn Truth have had more success in the Montreal Rock n Roll scene than anyone in the past five years. Touring with ZZ Top and opening for Styx – just two achievements reached. Working with top level producers and engineers; a couple more pats on the back. The latest notch in their guitar straps? Touring Quebec with the critically acclaimed band The Sheepdogs.
In 2012, the CD Dear in The Headlights was released. It was the beginning of numerous radio appearances and live shows which introduced the band to Montreal and eventually; the world. It was the beginning of introducing Lee -La Baum’s infectious energy and chameleon-like vocals. It was the start of showcasing Tom Shemerr’s raw piercing guitar riffs and groundbreaking solos. Drummer Dave Traina’s hard driving beats and unique rhythms a la Bonham. Newcomer PY Letellier on bass – grounds it all in slightly sloppy, groovy vehicule. All in all, the city of Montreal was introduced to a talented Rock outfit with an endless amount of work ethic and hunger.
Fast forward to MTeluson a cold January evening 2019 – nothing has changed onstage. The Damn Truth still perform as if it was their very first show and their musical life ( career) depended on the outcome. Success has not reached the ears of the band. If it has, then their love and passion for what they do – easily dismisses the accolades as a monkey dismisses a fly.
Whether pounding out tunes such as I Want You (He’s a Lightweight)or Kinda Awkward from their rookie CD to new tracks off their 2016 album Devlish Folk– one thing remains the same; the fans’ reaction.
There is something in the air when The Damn Truth play their hometown. It is beyond hometown support and /or love. It is beyond great tunes. It is superior to a Rock show. What The Damn Truth bring to the stage (aside from energy) is honesty. Integrity oozes through their sweat and into the first row. From there, like an epidemic – it is passed throughout the venue. The most jaded of music fans cannot dodge the bite of the band’s vicious and truthful fangs.
In this day and age of auto-tune, loops and programmed music, The Damn Truth are throwbacks to an era when music mattered more than the money. The days like the Fillmore West when the East Coast Blues, Funk and Country guys met and blended with the California music scene. The days (and nights) when those musicians talked about creativity and making great music. The days when bands played for the fans from the heart.
An audience cannot be fooled. An audience knows when a performer is real or calling it in. An audience knows authenticity. The Damn Truth are the real deal and that is why the audiences grow larger and larger at The Damn Truth shows.
I Want To Know What Love Is, Cold As Ice,Juke Box Heroand so many hits embedded into the souls of music fans of all genres.
The legendary rock band have a tour which is coming to Montreal on
March 12th !
Foreigner’s 18-city tour launches in Vancouver on February 22nd and rocks across Canada as the band – Mick Jones (lead guitar), Kelly Hansen (lead vocals), Tom Gimbel(rhythm guitar, sax, vocals), Jeff Pilson(bass, vocals), Michael Bluestein (keyboards), Bruce Watson (guitar) and Chris Frazier (drums) – bring Foreigner’s arsenal of hits to Canada.
Please listen below to my chat with multi-instrumentalist Tom Gimbel.Aside from his current job – Tom once toured with Van Halen as their sax player. Who knew?
Tom Gimbel, the multi – instrumentalist for the band Foreigner – is no stranger to music.
Listen below as he speaks of his early influences, his love of playing the drums, rhythm guitar and saxophone. He also speaks of touring with Aerosmith, INXS and how he hooked up with the Mick Jones through a ‘personality’ test …?
Hope you enjoy. A great guy and a true music lover.