Foreigner's Tom Gimbel looks forward to tonight's show and every time the band plays

Foreigner's Tom Gimbel looks forward to tonight's show and every time the band plays
Tom Gimbel during performance in New Lenox, IL in 2013. Photo by Matthew Medlen Photography

Foreigner, one of the most popular rock and roll bands in the world, takes the stage tonight for a sold out show at Genesee Theatre in Waukegan.

After nearly 40 years in the game and album sales of more than 75 million, Foreigner is still selling out tours and going strong. “The Best of Foreigner 4 & More” was released last December and hit the charts at the beginning of March, rocking The Billboard Top 200 Catalog Chart. This came right after the announcement that they were joining Kid Rock on this summer’s First Kiss tour.

The band is comprised of founder and lead guitarist Mick Jones, lead vocalist Kelly Hansen, bass guitarist Jeff Pilson and multi-instrumentalist Tom Gimbel.

I grew up with Foreigner’s  rock and roll anthems like “Feels Like the First Time,” “Urgent,” “Head Games,” “Cold as Ice,” “Hot Blooded,” and others. Songs I still can’t help but crank up and sing out loud with.

Since I can’t go to tonight’s show due to a previous commitment, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to chat on the phone with Gimbel, who has been with Foreigner for 20 years (from 1992-2002 with original lead singer Lou Graham and from 2005 to today with Hansen).

Gimbel, who plays rhythm guitar, keyboards, sax and flute in the band, said he still looks forward to every time they play.

“It never gets old, not for me,” an enthusiastic Gimbel said. “I love to see the looks on people’s faces, just love to see them singing along. I hope it never ends,” he said, adding that shows are now a cross section of three generations. “We’re very big in the 6- to 8-year-old market,” he chuckled.

What to expect at tonight’s show: “We’re gonna rock like a rock band should,” Gimbel avowed. Songs will be mostly the Foreigner hit list. “We try not to leave anything out.”

Of all the instruments Gimbel plays, which also includes the drums, he said, “the guitar is my thing, that’s really what makes me crazy.”

His favorite song to play guitar? “Double Vision. I still get excited every time we play it. It’s a really cool song to sing on top of that.”

Foreigner plays about 100 shows a year. “It keeps us going, keeps us young,” Gimbel said. “We never really stop touring. We wind down toward the holidays to recharge our batteries, but then we’re right back at it.”

Gimbel referred to his band mates as “caring, kind people,” a “real joy” to work with, a “learning experience. I learn every day. What an honor it has been to work with these guys for so many years…I’m very fortunate and blessed, especially to have worked with someone like Mick Jones for two decades,” Gimbel said.

In his spare time, Gimbel likes to practice instruments. “I like to fool around with different saxes. I play along with albums and try to match the singing. Cold Play is good for that,” he said.

He also plays golf, a sport he got into when the band took a break between 2002 and 2005. He even became a certified golf instructor. And, he’s also been learning some cooking from Hansen. “Kelly is an incredible cook,” he said.

Where does Gimbel see the band five years from now? “As long as the people want to see us, we will continue to play. The music shows no sign of slowing down.”

If you didn’t get tickets to tonight show in Waukegan, as of this writing, there are limited seats left for Saturday night’s show at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wis., and tickets are available for the July 26 show with Kid Rock at the First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre in Tinley Park. Find tickets at http://goo.gl/4EhJ5O.


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