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T&N – The Return of the Big Three

By: Kenneth Gallant

Blistering.com: I understand that Brian Tichy was the drummer for the new material, so why wasn’t Mick Brown involved in recording new stuff?

We hadn’t even thought of using Mick at that point. We were going to do a Lynch Mob record and when we started that with the new music Brian was actually playing with Lynch Mob. So it sort of made sense, plus Brian is great and he is a phenomenal drummer and he lives near us. You know George, Brian and I all live close to each other and we’re all good friends, so it was just kind of a natural thing as it was Lynch Mob. I would use Brian any day of the week because he’s that good of a drummer. He also wrote on it and it was Brian’s idea to call Mick and do Dokken songs.

Blistering.com: My two favorite tracks on the album are “Rhythm of the Soul” and “When Eagles Die,” so did you have any involvement with the lyrics to both songs?

All the lyrics to both of them.

Blistering.com: Oh that’s awesome. Is there a favorite song you have in particular for the new material?

If I had to pick one favorite it would have to be “When Eagles Die.” Only because it’s very close to me and I got to express a lot on that song. There’s a lot of textures and changes to it and it’s a three cord rocker, and it has an important message in there for me. I guess if I had to pick one that would be it, but I am fond of all the originals.

Blistering.com: I also enjoyed “Into the Fire” and I was really impressed on how you extended the song. It also came across with so much passion to it. Can you tell me a little about that?

Thank you. You know, it’s funny because when we had Mick in to do the drums we did the arrangement and laid the basic tracks down. We didn’t know what we were going to do in the middle, but we just let the tape go and left a space there. We figured we would just come back to that later, and then as George and I were working it we just got incredibly inspired and came up with the whole middle part. I mean, I am a little eccentric, but I love that part and there was passion that was something really hard felt. I can’t explain it, but it’s a really tremendous feeling when you reconnect with a song that was written nearly 30 years ago, and you come up with something that fits it and adds to it. I am glad you enjoy it though and hearing you say that is very rewarding.

Blistering.com: I know Tim “Ripper” Owens sang on “Kiss of Death” and it had a Dio vibe to it, so this is actually a segway into my next question about Ronnie James Dio. You played with Ronnie James Dio, so how was your experience playing with Ronnie?

Absolutely the best. It was obvious how great of a singer he was, but he was also an incredible musician, incredible bandleader and a great man. It’s one of the bigger losses of my life, and I still think about him probably just about everyday.

Blistering.com: Have you heard any of Dokken’s latest album Broken Bones?

I have heard the song “Empire” and I have seen the video, and then from there I have only heard snippets.

Blistering.com: Also, going back to the second T&N record, do you know when that will be coming out or even a release date in mind?

Not yet, no. I would guess, and we keep saying next year, so that is the game plan.

Blistering.com: And my final question: What was your decision to join Foreigner?

Well, I mean it just happened. I had done a movie with Jason Bonham called Rock Star that came out in 2001, and in that movie he and I had a great chemistry together. So in 2004 when he started working with Mick Jones they called me up and asked me if I wanted to come down and play a benefit show together. I came down and we played a few days together and we practiced and it just really felt natural and comfortable. You know that music is so in my brain that it would be fun to play and I loved playing with Jason, so it just had an immediate chemistry. Jason then talked Mick into reforming Foreigner and then we got new vocalist Kelly Hansen and we were doing it fulltime. I think the band just got too good and the demand became too great, so we have been doing it nonstop for almost eight years now. It’s unbelievable.

Blistering.com: Do you have a favorite Foreigner song that you like to play live?

I love the song “Waiting For a Girl like You” and it’s one of my favorite songs ever.

Blistering.com: Well that’s all the questions I have for you today Jeff.

Well, thanks man, you keep in touch and we’ll talk again.

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