Nov 25, 2019
I know I have said this podcast is on hiatus for the year, and technically, it is. I’m developing new ideas, both for the Department of Tangents Podcast and some new podcast projects. But, this interview came through after I had made that decision, and it has a bit of a special meaning for me as I get ready to head back to home to Bloomfield, New York for the holidays.
Bloomfield is just outside of Rochester, one of the most hardcore classic rock cities in the nation. Foreigner was a staple on local radio there when I was a young fellow, at least in part because Gramm is from there. And, as I found out in this interview, Gramm still lives there with his family.
The occasion for the interview is the release of a new Foreigner live album, Double Vision: Then & Now, a CD and DVD combo that includes the current line-up of the band plus a reunion of original members Gramm, Mick Jones, Al Greenwood, Dennis Elliott, Ian McDonald, and Rick Wills. The album was released November 15, and I hope you can head out to a local brick and mortar record store to pick it up. If you’re in Rochester, you can try the Record Archive, Bop Shop, or House of Guitars. I just might see you there.
Gramm was supposed to join the band again for some dates, but had to bow out due to illness. He’s fully mended now and hopes to get another chance to do that in 2020. He’s also got some new music of his own, which he says harkens back to his days in Black Sheep, his band before Foreigner. We talked about what it felt like to be onstage with the original members and the current members of the band, and I get to debunk at least one story told to me by a schoolmate from high school about meeting Gramm on the Canandaigua Pier years ago.
Watching the video footage of the show, I was surprised how many of the songs I could sing along with, how many I remember hearing on my old stereo in my room on WCMF, which broadcast from Rochester. And I surprised myself in the interview by how much of a fanboy I became. I was not expecting that reaction from myself. Apparently, though, I’m not alone. Gramm says he gets people telling him stories about how Foreigner’s music fit into their lives through the years. I thank him for his patience.