Foreigner plans to make this year's 40th anniversary summer tour "a family affair" according to group founder Mick Jones -- including the other acts on the bill and the return of some prodigal sons.
The group kicks things off June 11 in Syracuse with longtime pals Cheap Trick and former drummer Jason Bonham and his band. And Mick Jones tells Billboard that original Foreigner members Lou Gramm, Ian McDonald and Al Greenwood will be appearing on select dates. "They're not on the whole tour, but there will be some appearances," Jones says. "It's the right time to do this. I'm looking forward to that and we'll see how it goes, and I'm sure it'll go down well."
The reunions will certainly be a highlight during a busy anniversary year for Foreigner. The group will be touring extensively; In addition to the summer dates -- 37 dates running through Sept. 9 in Auburn, Wash. (tickets go on sale Jan. 13 via www.LiveNation.com) -- the group is also playing U.S. dates starting Jan. 30, with a European tour beginning May 20 in Switzerland. A two-disc, 40-track anniversary compilation with some brand new material is planned, while Jones will be publishing his memoir, A Foreigner's Tale, due out this spring.
"I could never have dreamed this would happen or that we would still have some kind of relevance 40 years later. It's unbelievable, really," says Jones, who formed Foreigner during 1976 in New York, releasing its first album a year later. "I think it's fitting at this point that we do this. I'm very proud of everything we've done and what we've achieved, and of how the new band [lineup] has fought back for me and for the heritage of Foreigner. It's kind of the way I always dreamed that Foreigner would appears, as a very exciting live band and everything that goes along with it. It's really been very inspiring for me."
The compilation album, meanwhile, will precede the tour, adding a new recording of "The Flame Still Burns," a song Jones wrote for the 1998 film Still Crazy (the group has already released a video for the song), along with "a few others in the offing, another [new] song that we're working on right now, and then all the greatest hits and more."