FOREIGNER‘s Kelly Hansen has blasted dinosaur rock bands who continue to perform well past their prime.
The 62-year-old singer, who has fronted FOREIGNER since 2005, broached the topic of groups who should have retired while they were still at the top of their game during FOREIGNER‘s August 14 concert in Austin, Texas as part of what is being billed as the band’s final tour.
Prior to launching into the FOREIGNER classic “Hot Blooded”, Hansen told the crowd (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “As most of you probably know, this is what we’re calling our farewell tour… This is not a decision that came too lightly.
“I want you to understand something, from an artistic point of view, and I don’t think that many people talk about this, but we all know that there are bands out there that are traveling, playing, taking your money and not giving you a real live performance,” he continued. “No matter what you say about me or about us, we’re fucking real deal. And it’s hard to sing this beautiful catalog of songs when you’re 30. I’m 62. And what we decided was that we are gonna give you our best and leave you at our best every single show to the very end — because these songs deserve it and you deserve it. Anything less is someone saying ‘fuck you for supporting me for decades.’ So any time you see anyone out there who’s doing that, tell them to go fuck themselves. Listen, if you ain’t got it anymore, you ain’t got it, all right? Just deal with it and move on.”
For the first leg of FOREIGNER‘s U.S. Live Nation-produced tour, which kicked off on July 6 at Atlanta’s Ameris Bank Amphitheatre, the band is being joined by LOVERBOY.
The only remaining original member of FOREIGNER, guitarist Mick Jones suffered from some health issues beginning in 2011, eventually resulting in heart surgery in 2012. Ever since, it is never announced whether he will be appearing with the band for specific shows — it just depends how he is feeling.
After singer Lou Gramm left FOREIGNER in 2003, Jones took some time off before regrouping a couple years later with an entirely new lineup, featuring Hansen and bassist Jeff Pilson, among others.
Gramm was the voice on FOREIGNER‘s biggest hits, including “Feels Like The First Time” and “Cold As Ice” from the band’s eponymous debut in 1977, and later songs like “Hot Blooded” and “I Want To Know What Love Is”.
Hansen discussed FOREIGNER‘s decision to call it quits this past February in an interview with the 96.1 KLPX radio station. He said: “One of my things that was important to me is that I not be out there doing these songs that I shouldn’t really be doing anymore ’cause I can’t do them anymore. I wanna do these songs justice and deliver them strong and vibrant and then quit while we’re ahead like that. I’ve seen far too many people who are — for probably many different reasons — still out there when maybe they shouldn’t be. And I guess everyone has their own view of their vanity, whether it’s visually or instrumentally or vocally, and I think that we’re really at a peak right now. It’s getting harder and harder to do this really difficult, challenging but wonderful catalog of songs every year, and I just wanna do them right. And I don’t wanna start having to do less of them right.”
This past January, Hansen was asked in an interview with Rob Rush Radio if this is indeed FOREIGNER‘s last-ever trek. Kelly said: “Our plan is to do this into 2024. I’ve been asked many times by many different people to continue doing this. And, really, for me, it’s a matter of being able to perform these songs at the level they deserve and that the fans deserve, and I cannot allow myself to do less than that, just as a human being.
“It’s gotten tougher and tougher every year to sing this great catalog of songs,” he admitted. “And it maybe sounds like I’m whining. I’m not trying to whine; I’m really fortunate to be able to have done this and do this with the band. It’s just I don’t wanna sacrifice the quality of these songs and the performance of these songs. So I think it’s better to say, ‘You know what? I’m gonna leave here strong and let the memory of this live thing be strong as well.”
Asked what he will miss the most about touring with FOREIGNER, Kelly said: “Amazing crowds and amazing band. I mean, what a great band with people that we all enjoy being around each other. We enjoy each other’s company, and playing a catalog of songs that you couldn’t dream of, you couldn’t buy. And as a singer, to sing so many hits songs — from the start of the show to the end of the show, there’s no fluff or filler — and that’s just a dream to have happen. And so I’m gonna miss all that. And it’s been a hard decision to make, but I think you have to get on to these things early and make sure you’re doing the right thing. I’ve seen far too many other live entities happen that I really feel shouldn’t be out there anymore.”