Bruce Watson (left) and Jeff Pilson of Foreigner will take the stage when the rock band performs Sept. 14 at Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett. (Associated Press)

Bruce Watson (left) and Jeff Pilson of Foreigner will take the stage when the rock band performs Sept. 14 at Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett. (Associated Press)

Classic rock mainstays Foreigner to perform in Everett

The band was a monster hitmaker in the late 1970s and early ’80s with songs like “Cold As Ice” and “Waiting For a Girl Like You.”

EVERETT — If you were a teenager in the late 1970s and early ’80s, you heard Foreigner everywhere — from rock ‘n’ roll radio stations to the eight-track tape deck in your car.

Now you can see them live in Everett.

Foreigner, one of the best-selling rock bands of all time, is scheduled to perform at the Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett on Sept. 14.

The band’s latest album, a greatest-hits compilation titled “Juke Box Heroes,” was released this year. It features new recordings of the band’s best-known hits, such as “Feels Like the First Time” and “Cold As Ice” — songs the band surely will play in Everett.

Bassist Jeff Pilson, who played with Dokken before joining Foreigner in 2004, said the band was one of his favorites from the start.

”Oh, yeah, I was a big Foreigner fan,” Pilson, 63, told The Daily Herald while on a tour stop in Syracuse, New York. “I loved the music, I loved the recordings, I thought they were great. I loved Lou Gramm’s voice. He’s one of my favorites. So, yeah, big Foreigner fan.”

Foreigner’s history dates back to 1976, when it was formed by British guitarist Mick Jones, who’d played with Leslie West, along with fellow Englishman Ian McDonald, late of King Crimson, and Americans Lou Gramm, Al Greenwood and Ed Gagliardi — hence the name “Foreigner.” (Their first choice, Trigger, was already taken.)

With Jones’ knack for songwriting and Gramm’s distinctive lead vocals, the band’s 1977 eponymous debut album sold 5 million copies in the U.S., with three singles reaching the Top 10.

Follow-up albums “Double Vision” (1978) and “Head Games” (1979) also were big sellers, establishing the band as one of the preeminent stadium rock acts of the era.

After a lineup change, Foreigner saw more success in the early 1980s with albums “4” (1981), which featured the hits “Urgent,” “Jukebox Hero” and “Waiting For a Girl Like You,” and “Agent Provocateur” (1984), featuring the hit “I Want to Know What Love Is.”

Pilson, who studied music at the University of Washington, said he considers “Waiting For a Girl Like You” to be one of the greatest rock compositions of all time.

Foreigner’s fame waned in the late 1980s and 1990s, but has seen a resurgence with fans since founder Jones reformed the band in 2004 with Kelly Hansen on lead vocals.

Current members are Jones, Hansen, Pilson on bass, keyboards and backing vocals, Michael Bluestein on keyboards and backing vocals, Bruce Watson on guitar and backing vocals, Chris Frazier on drums and Luis Maldonado on guitar.

In 2007, Foreigner was asked to open for Led Zeppelin when the band performed at the O2 Arena in London in tribute to Ahmet Ertegün, the founder of Atlantic Records. Ertegün died in 2006. He had fallen into a coma after tripping and hitting his head at a Rolling Stones concert.’

Foreigner was granted the gig because “I Want to Know What Love Is” was Ertegün’s favorite song.

“Of course, it turned into a wild show with 2 million requests for 20,000 tickets,” Pilson said. “They shut down the internet. It was a crazy thing.”

The band celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2017 with a sold-out summer tour that also featured Cheap Trick, and also in 2018 with a U.S. summer tour that also included opening acts Whitesnake and Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Evening, led by the famed drummer’s son. In 2019, Foreigner again toured throughout U.S., Canada and Europe.

In all, Foreigner has sold more than 80 million records, and Jones was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2013.

Pilson said he’s looking forward to the Angel of the Winds Arena show in Everett.

“Music is coming back,” Pilson said. “As long as we’re all careful and really pay attention to what’s going on, it sounds like we have nothing but good things ahead. I’m really excited for that and hope that people keep coming to shows and experiencing the fun that we have every night.”

If you go

Foreigner is touring with its “The Greatest Hits of Foreigner” show this year. See the band perform 8 p.m. Sept. 14 at the Angel of the Winds Arena, 2000 Hewitt Ave., Everett. Hits include “I Want To Know What Love Is,” “Cold As Ice,” “Waiting For A Girl Like You,” “Hot Blooded” and “Say You Will.” Tickets are $39.50. Call 866-332-8499 or go to www.angelofthewindsarena.com.

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