Echoes of history: Foreigner combines new lineup with classic hits

Friday, January 8, 2010

PADUCAH, Ky. -- The Carson Center in Paducah will host rock legends when Foreigner hits the stage Jan. 22.

With classic chart toppers like "Hot Blooded," "Urgent" and "I Want to Know What Love Is," the band's fans often can be found singing along at the concerts. But the rockers are breeding a new generation of fans with the band's latest album "Can't Slow Down."

"This is an incredible gig," Foreigner bassist Jeff Pilson said. "I love the band, the music, the people. I really feel like it is all positive, and with the successes of the new album, we are definitely doing well."

Pilson joined Foreigner's lineup in 2004 after years of performing and recording with Dokken and Dio. His arrival was part of the evolution of Foreigner, which now includes Pilson on bass and backing vocals; Brian Tichy on drums, percussion and backing vocals; Michael Bluestein on keyboards, synthesizers and backing vocals; Thom Gimbel on guitar, saxophone, flute and backing vocals; Mick Jones on lead guitar, keyboards, bass and vocals and Kelly Hansen as lead vocalist. Jones is the only original Foreigner member still with the group.

"Can't Slow Down" has been released exclusively through Walmart. The album debuted at No. 29 on the Billboard 200 and No. 12 on the Rock Albums. The title track "Can't Slow Down" is dedicated to NASCAR after a show at Texas Motor Speedway sold enough copies of the "No End in Sight: The Very Best of Foreigner" to put that greatest hits album back on the charts.

"The sound of Foreigner today echoes of its history, but we are progressing as a band as well," Pilson said. "The collaboration of everyone's individual backgrounds definitely gives the new record a unique twist."

"Can't Slow Down" is part of a three-disc set that includes the new album, a disc of remixes of the original Foreigner hits and a DVD with footage from live performances.

"The remixed tracks have been really perfected," Pilson said. "We tweaked the sound, brought out more of the bass and drums to really drive the sound. It's rich, without changing that classic Foreigner sound."

For the shows, Foreigner will be performing mainly classic material.

"We will be doing at least a couple tracks off the new album at every show," Pilson said.

Most likely, the crowds will hear "Can't Slow Down" and "When it Comes to Love," the two biggest singles from the album thus far.

After a long career in music, Pilson said the key to success is listening "to what is in your heart. Don't try and follow trends, find what you really love, stick to it, and sooner or later it will come around if it's real," he said. "It takes a lot of persistence. It's a tough road, and you have to really love it and sacrifice everything."

Foreigner's tour swings near Southeast Missouri for two nights. On Jan. 21, the band will be in the Bottleneck Blues Bar at the Ameristar Casino in St. Charles, Mo., (tickets are $50 and $55, available at www.ameristar.com) and on Jan. 22nd at the Carson Center in Paducah. Tickets for that event are $25, $45 and $65, and are available at www.thecarsoncenter.org or by calling the box office at 270-450-4444.

"Whether we are in Europe or here in the states, we love playing live," Pilson said, "and we always look forward to entertaining the crowds, whatever generation of Foreigner fan they represent."

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