Foreigner is the band responsible for bringing to the world such famous and enduring anthems as ‘Feels Like the First Time’, ‘Hot Blooded’, and the world-wide monster hit, ‘I Want To Know What Love Is’. For most of their career, the band has battled with internal struggle, mainly with their original lead-singer Lou Gramm. When Gram finally left the band in 2003 to pursue a solo career, Foreigner’s eternal leader Mick Jones began formulating a new line up.
This is how Foreigner met the enigmatic Kelly Hansen.
Hansen had been the lead singer for the popular 80s group Hurricane for most of the late-eighties and early-nineties. When Hurricane disbanded, he jumped from project to project until he answered the call from Foreigners’ Jones. Since then, Hansen reflects on singing with Foreigner as having been about finally getting the chance to do what he was meant to do.
“I was taking the place of someone who was iconic, but I had to go in and be me. With the rest of the band, we didn’t want to be the same old band; we wanted to be a forward moving entity,” said Hansen. “It’s like sharks. If they don’t stop and take a breath, they die.”
Ironically, Foreigner hasn't stopped to take a breath since. When Hansen joined the band in 2005, Foreigner began an international tour that hasn't stopped, save for an occasional holiday break. Of course, trying to stay fresh can be the toughest part with longtime touring acts, but Hansen believes Foreigner succeeds by enjoying the company your with.
“The music is never a problem. Trying to do the songs justice is what keeps us going; keeps it interesting,” said Hansen. “But the traveling can wear you out, so you have to find ways around that.”
So Hansen and the rest of the band have taken to practical jokes.
“I like throwing things at our drummer while he’s playing. I usually have pretzels backstage to snack on, so one night I took a bag of small pretzels on stage and threw them at him. One beamed him right in the forehead,” Hansen laughed. “He didn't know what hit him, so eventually I had to fess up.”
All jokes aside, Hansen is grateful for getting the call and having performed with Foreigner for the past ten years. He knows that such a sustained career in music is a fortunate thing to obtain and praises the band’s longtime fans for keeping them relevant.
“We are always super grateful for our longtime fans; for their coming to every show and turning on people to the band; recruiting new generations.”
Longtime fans in the Coastal Bend, and those of the newer generation, will get a chance to find out what love is when Foreigner performs in the Selena Auditorium at the American Bank Center on Sunday, Oct. 27 at 7:00 p.m.