‘Jukebox Hero’ Lou Gramm returns to Biloxi for show at IP

Lou Gramm performs at Golden Nugget Casino Biloxi on Friday, Feb. 12, 2016.
Lou Gramm performs at Golden Nugget Casino Biloxi on Friday, Feb. 12, 2016. jclark@snherald.com File

Lou Gramm is a survivor. He survived the excess of the late 1970s-early 80s rock scene as the lead singer for the band Foreigner. He also survived a brain tumor and its after effects before returning triumphantly to the rock ’n’ roll stage.

The “Jukebox Hero” returns to Biloxi on Friday for a show at the IP Casino Resort as part of a double-bill with blues rockers Foghat, best known for their hits ‘Slow Ride” and “Fool For The City.” Tickets starts at $35 and are available at Ticketmaster.com.

With Gramm behind the mic, Foreigner became one of the best-selling bands in music history with a string of hits that still receive airplay on radio stations across the nation.

“Hot Blooded?” Yep, that was Gramm and Foreigner. “Feels Like The First Time?” Again, Gramm and Foreigner. There’s also one of the top-selling song of the 1980s — “I Want to Know What Love Is.”

Gramm is also an accomplished solo artist with hits such as “Midnight Blue,” “Ready or Not” and “Just Between You and Me.”

In an interview with the Sun Herald, Gramm talks about making some new music for his fans, as well as the possibility of a Foreigner reunion with Mick Jones.

It’s been about a year since you’ve been to Biloxi. Have you been doing any recording.

We have been working on some stuff. But, it takes time. You have to have some distance from them after you record so you can go back and see if it holds up or you need to work on it some more.

Do you still enjoy writing songs and recording?

I do. Although the creative end can be extremely frustrating, it’s also a labor of love. Even if you are struggling with it, when you finally make a breakthrough it’s such an amazing feeling.

With such as huge catalog of songs, how do you create a set list for a Lou Gramm show?

I think I know the songs from my years in Foreigner that get the most response and we’re able to do that and mix in two or three songs from the solo album. Sometime we even threw in a cover of The Beatles or “All Right Now” by Free.

I have to structure the set around my voice, too. If I start right out ripping, I won’t have anything left for the end of the show. We lay it out so that it rocks for sure, but so that it doesn’t tear me up. I have to warm up a couple of songs before I can let it rip.

Is there any song or songs that you're really look forward to in the set?

I like doing “Midnight Blue,” and that comes out of “Dirty White Boy.” I always finish the show with “Jukebox Hero” and then we do an encore of “Hot Blooded.” And that’s a cool segue. I think it leaves the people with a sense of satisfaction.

We follow each other on Twitter and we occasionally chat on there. I know you’ve been Tweeting about Journey and their nomination into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame. Is that something that’s important to you — to see Foreigner nominated for the Hall of Fame?

I think Foreigner deserves to be inducted but whether that happens or not, I honestly don't know. I’m trying not to place a lot of importance on it. If we don’t get in, it’s not the end of my world but I would like to be in there with my peers.

You’ve told me before that you are speaking with Mick Jones again. Any talk of you guys playing together again?

There has been a little chit chat of us doing something to mark the 40th anniversary of the first album. It’s just talk and it hasn't happened. But I’m patient with it because I think it would be a lot of fun and I think it would make a lot of our fans very happy.