BILOXI -- Former Foreigner vocalist Lou Gramm said he has some fond memories of the Gulf Coast, but he will never forget being in New Orleans for Mardi Gras in 1978.
"This was one of the coldest Mardi Gras they had ever had," he said. "We were there shooting the album cover for 'Double Vision.' It was so cold it seems like they had trouble getting the parades going. I thought they were going to cancel Mardi Gras."
Gramm said the band found at least one way to stay warm during the cold.
"We all had flasks and in between shots, we would take a sip," he said. "We were freezing. I think (original drummer) Dennis (Elliot's) eyes were a bit crossed because he started sipping his drink the night before -- just getting ready."
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Gramm, who has one of the most recognizable voices in rock, will be returning to the Coast on Friday for a solo performance at the Golden Nugget Casino Biloxi.
"There's nothing like performing," he said. "When we come out, from the first note, the crowd gets into it, and they are out of their seats, even if they are supposed to be in their seats."
He said his set includes all of the Foreigner hits the crowd wants to hear.
"They are singing along to every song and just having fun with it," Graham said.
Foreigner pretty much ruled rock radio in the late 70s and 80s with hits such as "Hot Blooded," "Feels Like the First Time" and "Dirty White Boy."
The band had its biggest hit in 1984 with "I Want to Know What Love Is." Although the song was massive, Gramm, who co-wrote most of the band's songs, said it led to some creative friction with Mick Jones, Foreigner lead guitarist and his songwriting partner.
"'I Want to Know What Love Is' followed up 'I've Been Waiting For a Girl Like You,' which was the last single from 'Foreigner 4,' and it was also a ballad," he said. "After 'I Want to Know What Love Is,' we released 'I Don't Want to Live Without You' and suddenly, we were known as a 'ballad band.' I think that hurt our rock credibility. I'm a rock singer."
Gramm left Foreigner and released his first solo album "Midnight Blue" in 1986 to both critical and commercial success.
"We play some of the solo stuff along with the Foreigner songs," he said. "We mix it up."
It's been many years since Gramm performed with Jones, who leads his own version of Foreigner. But he said any remaining bad blood has been replaced with fond memories.
"We were inducted into the Songwriter's Hall of Fame a couple of years ago," Gramm said. "It had been a decade since Mick and I talked. We patched up our differences and we talk on a regular basis now."