Rock ‘n’ Roll is a vicious game. Myles Goodwyn said so in the song. Bands have been providing examples since the 1920’s when blues pioneer Robert Johnson started what would become known as the 27 club, after dying, allegedly having drank poison whiskey given to him by a jealous husband or boyfriend.
Now consider this: the Heinz 57-like band known as Foreigner – named so for their band members multiple countries of origin, didn’t ‘hit’ until 1977. By comparison The Rolling Stones came crashing through the gates, so to speak, in the mid 60’s. Still, Foreigner’s principle members have been down if not completely out, for years. Singer Lou Gramm – considered one of the finest voices in rock, was within fifteen years of making it, out of it. It was 1992, after rehab, he became ‘born again’, citing his having been tired of the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle and in search of greater depth.
In the spring of 1997, Gramm was diagnosed with a brain tumour. While benign, the surgery damaged his pituitary gland and the recovery program left him overweight and with diminished voice. Still, he managed to get back to touring with Foreigner in ’98.
He left Foreigner again in 2003 going on to form the Lou Gramm Band recording and performing past songs and coming with Christian Rock too.
In a moment of ‘how do we make this matter to fans’, it was 2012, when the name of his band became “Lou Gramm the voice of Foreigner”
Now, what about the other key member of Foreigner?
Foreigner guitarist, producer and founder Mick Jones says that a health scare years ago that left him in a haze and unable to play guitar.
When Jones was forced to take a year off, he publicly blamed it on a heart valve problem, but now admits it was significantly more than that. “I’d had a virtual nervous breakdown, brought on by a bad prescribing of medication,” the guitarist tells CBS Sunday Morning. “It was a very dark time for me. I literally didn’t know where I was anymore. I didn’t know who I was. I mean, honestly I never thought I’d play on stage again.”
The situation left Jones unable to play guitar. “I lost the ability to play chords briefly, only for a couple of months,” he reveals. “And my brother brought a guitar over for me and said, ‘You play guitar. Play it. You’re a guitarist. Play the guitar, you know.'”
“It was terrifying,” said Jones. “You just somehow try and hold on”. Jones celebrated his 70th birthday December 27th and he has returned to Foreigner. They’ve released “The Best of Foreigner 4 & More”, featuring most of the classic 1981 album “4” and additional Foreigner hits recorded live in Atlantic City in October.