Foreigner is spending this summer thrilling audiences across the country on the ‘Soundtrack of Summer‘ tour alongside fellow rock legends Styx and Don Felder. We’ll be getting weekly updates from the road courtesy of Mick Jones‘ assistant Tim Hare. In this third installment, Hare talks about flying on a private jet during a lightning storm and the the tour getting some much-deserved time off as a milestone birthday approaches.

If you had asked me a year ago if I thought I would be flying in a private jet with the band Foreigner, I would have looked at you as if you were from another galaxy. Yet here I am, 30,000 feet in the air watching lightning burst among the clouds, creating a beautiful - and slightly terrifying - viewing experience. We have just completed a private show in Arkansas, and we are due in Cincinnati the next day to pick up the 'Soundtrack of Summer' tour.

I have never been on a private jet before, so this is a pretty amazing experience. Mick and Kelly [Hansen] are sitting in front of me, with the rest of the band and our Tour Manager scattered closer to the pilots in the front. I’ll admit that every time we had some turbulence, I immediately thought of the scene in 'Almost Famous,' and would get a little nervous. I think Mick could sense some anxiety, so he would turn around and make a quick joke or ask me a question to keep my mind occupied. All the “band boys” had told me horror stories about turbulence on private planes, yet they kept assuring me that this was a very smooth flight. Bruce [Watson] seemed to enjoy Heaven’s lightshow the most, as he couldn’t take his eyes off the spectacle.

After safely landing on the tarmac, we were greeted with our bus. Mick turned to me saying, “Hurry, take a picture for your Ultimate Classic Rock blog! Not many people get to ride in a private jet and then get picked up by a tour bus.” Sometimes I just shake my head and wonder, “How did I get so lucky?”

You could feel the excitement in the crew these past few shows, as we were getting close to our first break of the summer. We have been grinding it out and everyone was looking forward to going home for a few days to see friends, family, siblings and significant others. There are beach parties, home maintenance, sporting events, quality time with the kids and sleep to catch up on.

A few band and crew members are avid golfers so we saw an increase in tee times as we got closer to the end of the first run. I am sure the more competitive ones want to work on their game, so they can come back and claim best golfer bragging rights. Thom Gimbel, Ricky Phillips, and Don Felder are rumored to be the best players, but I will see who reigns supreme at the end of the tour.

Interesting fact about Ricky Phillips: he recommended Kelly Hansen for the Foreigner job on two occasions, helping Kelly land the job as our fearless front man. I think Ricky made a pretty good call, don’t you?

I was incredibly excited for the time off, as I would be celebrating my 30th birthday a few days into the break. I remember on my 28th birthday sitting on a park bench writing down a list of things I wanted to do before I hit 30. I’m not sure why we place so much emphasis on that number, but it’s a part of our culture. Since that day I have traveled to Israel and Europe, seen almost all of the U.S. and Canada, flown on a private jet, received guitar lessons from Mick Jones, worked with Tom Petty, Smashing Pumpkins, Wiz Khalifa and Mac Miller; run the Boston Marathon, shared war stories with a few heroes, attended a few festivals and increased my extended family by working with such great people. I am really proud of these last two years and the 30 years of my life. Hopefully I can inspire you to go and make the most of your summer. Come spend a night with us. You won’t regret it.

Hope to see you at the shows, Juke Box Heroes.