Foreigner Explore Acoustic Side With New Album and Tour
Foreigner have always been a hard rocking group in the eyes of many, more likely to grab electric guitars instead of the acoustics. But at least temporarily, that’s something they’re looking to change with the ‘Acoustique’ part of their new three disc Wal-Mart release.
Working up an acoustic version of ‘Say You Will’ from their 1987 ‘Inside Information’ album a few years back proved to be a popular move with the Foreigner concert audiences, and gave the band the nudge to pursue the idea of recording an entire disc’s worth of acoustically reworked Foreigner hits. (The new album also features a disc of electrically re-recorded favorites, plus a live DVD.)
Founding member and guitarist Mick Jones is surprised that it took this long. He tells Acoustic Magazine in a new interview that it started off with the band playing acoustically for radio contest winners, which led to Foreigner scheduling several shows where they performed a full setlist of songs in the acoustic setting.
It was a revelation for Jones, who says “I had never thought that the songs I’d written could be performed that way for a full audience.”
Jones goes way back to recall the moment when the then-fledgling Foreigner was trying to get signed in the ’70s, Clive Davis gave praise to their demo, but he asked the band to come by his office “with a couple of acoustic guitars and sing the songs to him live, right there.”
Davis, who had proven himself to have quite an ear for talent, wanted to peel back the layers and hear the songs in their barest form, because as Jones notes, “when there is nothing else there but a voice and an acoustic guitar a good song will shine through, and a bad song will fall down.”
Certainly, with quite a few albums and hit singles since then, it’s clear that the songs didn’t “fall down” on that day in Davis’s office.
The new acoustic arm of Foreigner’s latest release has given Jones and Foreigner a fresh perspective on the classic material, and they’ll take the new arrangements on the road towards the end of the year for their first ever fully acoustic tour – dates that will feature a compacted lineup of Jones, singer Kelly Hansen, saxophonist Thom Gimbel and bassist Jeff Pilson, who also helped to produce the new album with Jones.
Having seen Foreigner deliver an absolute knockout of a performance earlier this summer, we’re looking forward to it. Hopefully the reboot of album track ‘Fool For You Anyway’ (originally found on the band’s 1977 debut), which is a standout on the new disc, will make it into the setlist.