Four decades later, it still feels like the first time for Mick Jones and Lou Gramm.
The Foreigner co-founders reunited on stage for a handful of shows earlier this year, playing such beloved hits as “I Want to Know What Love Is,” “Cold as Ice” and “Waiting For a Girl Like You.” Now, the ’70s rockers are digging deeper into their catalog to mark the 40th anniversary of second album “Double Vision,” released in 1978, which they’re celebrating with four “Double Vision: Then and Now” concerts, kicking off at Los Angeles’ Microsoft Theater Friday.
The shows — which will also be held in Rancho Mirage, Calif., Atlantic City, N.J., and Uncasville, Conn. — will feature current and original members of Foreigner, including drummer Dennis Elliott, keyboardist Al Greenwood, bassist Rick Wills, and guitarist/saxophonist Ian McDonald.
Jones, 73, and Gramm, 68, chat with USA TODAY about getting the band back together, putting their bad blood behind them and working on new music.
Question: Why did you choose to commemorate “Double Vision” with these reunion shows?
Mick Jones: Well, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the band’s foundation, I wanted to do something special and a little unexpected. We did a couple of shows earlier in the year together and everybody hit it off so well. My two lead singers, Lou Gramm and (current frontman) Kelly Hansen, really hit it off like a house on fire and the rest of the guys were happy to be a part of it. It was very emotional. It brought up a lot of stuff from the past, but it just felt natural and we fell right back into it.
Q: Was it hard to get all the guys back together?
Lou Gramm: Surprisingly not. Everybody was actually pretty boned up on their instruments and with a little bit of practice, it was sounding good. Everyone was anxious within reason. We didn’t want to make more of it than what it was, but it ends up being a lot of fun.
Q: With so many members of Foreigner past and present on stage, how do you plan to divvy up the set list?
Gramm: The original band is concentrating on songs from “Double Vision” and then (the current lineup) plays songs from any and all of the albums. After they play and we play, we come out for an encore and do “Juke Box Hero” and “Hot Blooded” together.
Q: What do you remember about the reception to “Double Vision” in 1978?
Jones: With that album, there was a huge amount of pressure on us to avoid the “sophomore jinx.” A lot of people were wondering whether we could repeat the incredible success of the first album (their 1977 self-titled debut). Plus, we were going head to head with The Rolling Stones’ “Some Girls,” (which was released the same month as “Double Vision”). We kept a tally of sales and after about 10 months, we outsold The Rolling Stones. It didn’t get much better than that.
Q: Lou, you said in an interview back in 2013 that you and Mick had “no relationship” whatsoever.
Gramm: At that point, we weren’t on very good terms. But in 2015, we were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and they wanted us to perform together. So we kind of broke the ice in rehearsals, and it certainly was an honor to be inducted with my writing partner. After that, the relationship warmed up.
Jones: We both were struck by much good stuff we’ve achieved together, so why not just bury the hatchet and move on?
Q: Why didn’t you speak for so many years?
Jones: We were at odds with each other. We had never really come to any kind of closure on several breakups of the band and still felt a little animosity between us. Things were said — very often things that we had nothing to do with, but it seemed like people got a laugh out of spreading misinformation.
Gramm: It just wasn’t feeling right. One thing led to another, and I decided to go my own way. I don’t regret that because it gave me the opportunity to really grow as an artist and a songwriter, and I think I’m a better person for it.
Q: Now that you’ve reunited, could there be new Foreigner music on the way?
Gramm: Mick and I had about five or six Foreigner songs that we were working on when we parted (ways). I still have the the demos of those songs, and we listened to them again a few months ago and they still sound good to us. So we may pick a few of those up and then work on some new ideas.
Jones: That’s an interesting little project for next year. The rest of the time, we’ll be touring our (butts) off.
Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/music/2018/11/07/foreigners-lou-gramm-mick-jones-burying-hatchet-reunion-shows/1917423002/