Vintage Guitar - January 2018 - open - 90

Jones onstage in
the '80s with his
sunburst Les Paul,
and (below) Les
Paul Custom.

"I own probably about 30 guitars," he
said. "I never was an avid collector. I just
occasionally bought one if I'd see something interesting. There were a few choice
stores on the tour circuit. We'd arrive a day
early and have a look around."
Jones co-produced all of Foreigner's
albums with heavy hitters like Keith Olsen,
Roy Thomas Baker and Robert John "Mutt"
Lange. Spending time in the studio may
have been a necessary evil, but he wasn't
glued to a console.
"We took time doing the albums and
spent a bit more than we needed to, sometimes, but it paid off pretty well.
"Now, I get claustrophobic spending too
much time in the studio. After 4, actually,
I started feeling like the studio was leading
the pack."
Contributing to his growing restlessness at
the time was work as producer on Van Halen's
5150 along with Billy Joel's Storm Front. In
the wake of their success, he turned down
other producing opportunities.
"That's when I really started to feel trapped.
Doing the Van Halen album was intense in
what was a very small control room. They
were highly excitable boys! Working with
them was great and I got to understand
just how gifted Eddie was. It was a learning
experience. A big one."

Through the late '80s, Jones
kept a grip on Foreigner though
his creative partnership with
Gramm was splintering. In '87,
they released the troubled Inside
Information and in '89 Jones
issued his star-studded solo album with appearances by Joel,
Ian Hunter, Carly Simon, Hugh
McCracken, Joe Lynn Turner,
Simon Kirke, Steve Ferrone,
and others. Gramm, who was
launching a solo career, left
Foreigner and was replaced
by Johnny Edwards for 1991's
Unusual Heat. Gramm was

back in the fold by '92 and Foreigner soldiered
on until dissolving in 2002, when he departed
once again.
In '05, Jones revived Foreigner with vocalist Kelly Hansen, former Dokken and Dio
bassist Jeff Pilson, and saxophonist/guitarist/keyboardist Tom Gimbel. Their first
album was 2009's Can't Slow Down and Jones
said the four of them work well together.
"They're really into it. The dedication is
intense; Kelly gives 200 percent every night
and there's a really good vibe - no sour grapes,
no baggage. Just great musicianship. It shows
with the crowds. Through some problems I've
VINTAGE GUITAR

90

January 2018

had the past few years, health-wise, they've
carried the flag. I owe them a lot and I'm so
appreciative they've stuck with me through
thick and thin.
"The longevity has proved itself. We've
strived for the last 12 years to invent a new
Foreigner legacy, and it seems to be paying
off. We never did a lot of video or photo
sessions, so a lot of people didn't really
remember the band. They remembered the
songs. But I think we've regained stature
and have a lot of kids coming to shows,
plus there's the more-mature audience, as
well. The atmosphere is as strong as it's ever
been for me, with crowd participation and
excitement."
Fans at certain shows in
the summer and fall were
treated to guest appearances
by alumni; Gramm, drummer
Dennis Elliott, keyboardist
A l Greenwood, guitarist/
keyboardist/saxophonist Ian
McDonald and bass guitarist
Rick Wills all participated
(original bass guitarist Ed
Gagliardi died in 2014). Wills
appeared June 11 in Marbella,
Spain. Gramm, Greenwood,
and McDonald sat in July 20
Wantagh, New York. Elliott
played August 2 in Tampa,
Florida. The biggest news was
Elliott, Gramm, Greenwood,
McDonald, and Wills all performing on October 6 and 7
in Mount Pleasant, Michigan;
both nights were filmed and
recorded for a forthcoming television special/DVD/
album.
New music from Foreigner
is forthcoming.
"I'm working with a fantastic
cellist named Dave Eggar,"
Jones said. "It's been so exciting
working with him - he's innovative and fresh and powerful."
Though his career has been
loaded with highlights including a Grammy nomination for Best New
Artist in '77, being inducted with Gramm
into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, having
saxophonist Junior Walker cut the solo for
"Urgent," topping the Billboard album chart
with 4 and the singles chart with "I Want to
Know What Love Is," there's one particularly
vivid memory for Jones.
"The first time we played Madison Square
Garden was huge because I live in New York.
Everybody was there from the label, and I had
my parents there from England. I remember
thinking, 'Wow, it doesn't get much better
than this!' But it did."


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