Mick Jones talks about Foreigner’s Wal-Mart deal

NEW YORK (AP) – Mick Jones has watched classic rock bands like the Eagles, AC/DC and Journey reach new levels of popularity thanks to Wal-Mart; now he wants to get his band, Foreigner, in on the action.
“To me, the most important thing is that the band regains recognition again and proves in a way that it is a force. It’s been around for 30 years, and there are few other bands that have been around for that long,” said Jones, a founding member of the band. “I’d like to regain our position in that club.”
Foreigner is releasing a three-disc set of new and classic material in Wal-Mart Stores Inc. on Sept. 29. “Can’t Slow Down” will include a CD of new material, another of remixed versions of Foreigner hits and another live DVD of performance footage, all for $12.
Jones says the Wal-Mart exclusive deal is the perfect way for the band – best known for hits like “Hot Blooded,” “I Want to Know What Love Is” and “Urgent” – to re-establish themselves.
“As we’ve been off the album scene for some time, we need a lot of support to get the word out,” Jones said in an interview Wednesday. “Although we’ve played a tremendous amount of shows, a lot of the public doesn’t realize that we’re back.”
With the decline of traditional record stores and the challenge of veteran acts getting onto Top 40 radio stations, exclusive deals with stores like Wal-Mart have given bands such as Foreigner the media splash and advertising support that record labels used to provide.
“The whole system has changed,” said Jones. “We felt that this was a really good opportunity to get the maximum exposure for our album. … For us at this stage, I think it’s really good.”
Foreigner – which these days includes lead singer Kelly Hansen, bassist Jeff Pilson, guitarist Tom Gimbel, keyboardist Michael Bluestein and drummer Bryan Head – worked with Aerosmith producer Marti Frederiksen as well as Jones’ stepson, Grammy-winning producer Mark Ronson. Ronson has been a producer for Amy Winehouse, Lily Allen and others.
“We had never worked officially before – obviously when he was growing up we would jam and we would do all kinds of stuff; I knew from an early age that he had a special talent and he had the passion for music,” said Jones.
“This time, it was kind of funny. I kind of sat there and let him do all the work,” he laughed. “It was a lot of fun and he introduced a completely different flavor on this one track to the rest of the album … It’s all come together really well. I think it will be quite a surprise when people hear it.”
As for the band’s new sound, Jones said it’s contemporary, but not so modern that people won’t know they are listening to Foreigner.
“We’ve kept the kind of identity I guess but in a way I guess we have brought it up to the present,” he said. “I think it stands up to anything that’s out there at the moment.”

On the Net:
AP-ES-07-30-09 1006EDT

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.