After six years fronting Foreigner, Kelly Hansen figures he doesn’t have to apologize anymore for not being Lou Gramm, the group’s original singer and the voice of its hits.
“I think with (the 2009 album) ‘Can’t Slow Down’ we really jumped over the last hurdle we hadn’t done together as a band, which was write and record an entire album of new material,” Hansen, 50, says. “It was the first (album) Foreigner had done in a while, so it was very satisfying and an extra rubber stamp on our claim.
“You are constantly having to re-establish yourself and the band. There was a time in the late ’90s when (Foreigner) suffered in reputation, and I think we’ve spent a good part of the last six years going all over the world to re-establish that this band is very strong and relevant and full of great songs and worth hearing.”
The current lineup of Foreigner — led by founder Mick Jones, its sole remaining original member — is also putting it stamp on the older material via “Feels Like the First Time,” a Wal-Mart and Amazon.com exclusive that includes re-recordings of the hits, a disc of acoustic performances and a concert DVD. Meanwhile this year also marks the 30th anniversary of Foreigner’s best-selling album, “4,” though the group is not doing anything special to commemorate it.
“You have all these anniversaries coming along, which is great and shows what a great heritage Foreigner has,” notes Hansen. “But we’re feeling really good about the band right now. We’re all having a great time and, you know, (Jones) doesn’t have to do this. But he feels this band is good and he’s having fun doing it and it’s enjoyable and meaningful and people want to come see us play.
“That’s what it’s all about — and what it should be all about.”
Foreigner performs with Journey and Night Ranger at 7 p.m. Sunday, July 31 at the DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township. Tickets are $35-$135 pavilion, $25 lawn with a $75 lawn four-pack. Call 248-377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.
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