Foreigner Won’t Slow Down

Foreigner might be known for its giant pop-rock anthems from the late ‘70s and ‘80s, but don’t expect the band to slow down. After more than 35 years of releasing hits and touring, the band is still in the game.

2011 proved to be a hugely successful year for the band. The release of its latest album last September, Feels Like the First Time, brought Foreigner its highest sales since the Eighties, placing them in the Top Ten of Classic Rock Radio as of April. The three disc package features an acoustic CD, a remastering of Foreigner’s greatest hits and a live concert DVD of a show the band recorded in Chicago for a PBS special.

“Anytime people are having fun, I am happy to be a part of it,” said Tom Gimbel, multi-instrumentalist of Foreigner.

Though the band’s newest release features old material, don’t expect a tired rerecording of the greatest hits.

“We’ve got all these new ingredients, it’s like a potpourri. We’ve got claves, some percussion, some saxophone and we got to try new vocal ideas. It was a really fun, experimental disc,” Gimbel said of recording Acoustique, the acoustic CD.

And 2012 is only getting better, as three Foreigner songs will be included in the upcoming movie-musical, Rock of Ages, due June 15, one day after the band plays Frederik Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids. Fans can experience their favorite Foreigner hits sung by actors Alec Baldwin and Tom Cruise.

As for the show at Meijer Gardens, fans can anticipate the nostalgia of summer nights past while singing along to the songs they love.

 “We enjoy getting out there and getting in touch with our audience,” Gimbel said.

The band’s members are not only committed to connecting with its audience, but it’s also involved in the local communities they visit. On each tour stop, they invite a local high school choir to accompany them on the song, “I Want to Know What Love Is.” Foreigner’s involvement with the Grammy Foundation, an organization that raises funds for music programs around the country, allows them to get directly involved, and the choir raises money for the Grammy Foundation by selling Foreigner CDs before the show.

“It’s cool. Kelly, our singer, will go [backstage] and sing with them ... the looks of exhilaration on their faces are the reason we do it. We’re happy to do anything at all to try to save some music programs. I was in a choir too, so we know the value of these programs.

 “The core goal of music should be expression and that is what people get from Foreigner. Songs about emotion and love, people can relate.”