Jimmy Kay from Canada’s The Metal Voice recently interviewed current FOREIGNER bassist Jeff Pilson (Dokken, Dio) who called in from his hotel room on a headlining tour with Foreigner in North America.
Watch the interview here:
When asked about his legendary answering machine messages
“Actually there was a bootleg a long time ago of my answering machine messages. There was a period, especially in the 90’s when I would just make these epic answering machine messages and I sort of got known for it, so then I felt obligated to continue. One time I did Pilsonian Rhapsody, I actually did, Bohemian Rhapsody done to an answering machine message. I went crazy with all the voices and music. I did the Batman theme, but of course I said PIL-SON instead of Bat-man and again played all the instruments. If you can ever hear the bootleg there are some pretty hysterical stuff.”
When asked which of the three bands Dio Foreigner and Dokken he is most proud of
“It would be Dio because there was a connection about Dio. It was the most heaviest powerful band I had been in and I took what I learn in Dio and brought in back to Dokken later on. I would say Dio but I am really proud of Foreigner. Foreigner is on a headlining tour now and we worked our asses off to get back here of course we have Mick Jones great songs but we had to work our way back”.
When asked if Foreigner will be writing a new studio album
“I don’t see us do a whole record of new material like we did in 2009 that was a tough situation for us because we are on the road so much that it was really tough for us to come up with a whole record of new material, it was a lot of work and a lot of stress. I don’t really see that happening again. What I do see happening is what we had done on the last couple of years is that we will put out a new song here and there maybe include it in some package. I see us going recording of new songs but not full albums.”
When asked if Foreigner is still Foreigner without Mick Jones can the band exist without Mick
“It’s a fair question but I will ask anybody who asks that have you seen the band live. When Mick is not there, it’s still very much Foreigner. It’s sanctioned by Mick. I understand how people feel about original members but with Foreigner it’s really about the songs. Lou Gramm was one of the greatest rock voices ever and it’s not taking away from Lou it’s actually flattering Lou that his performances were so universal that we can carry on and do those songs even when he is not there, so we can also do those songs when Mick is not there. The only way it could exist without him being there is if he passed away because he will always be connected to Foreigner. Even if Mick Passed away the legacy of the music is so strong to me yes Foreigner could exit but I don’t anticipate it existing without Mick in some way or form.”
When asked if there are any unreleased Dio Songs?
“As far as me having it no, as far as being unreleased material yes there is. There is actually a fair amount of unheard material. There is talks and they are in the works of someday the music seeing the light of day. In order for it to be releasable there would have to be things done to it . Yes there is Ronnie on songs that people have not heard does exists.
However I do remember playing Ronnie a riff and us starting to work on a song and I believe the riff is going to surface on the upcoming Dio Disciples record.”
When asked if there will be a new studio album and a US tour by the classic Dokken lineup
“The reunited Dokken gets offers all the time and we talk about most of them, we are all on speaking terms and we get along fine. It’s down to opportunity. I think all of us have somewhere in us where we would like to do perhaps one final studio record together. So I see that as a distinct possibility somewhere down the line but as a whole US tour the problem is kind of obvious it’s our scheduling. Maybe someday some limited shows, its not impossible and I think a recording is possible but it’s kind of first things first. The last time we talked about a recording Don was starting to work on his Dokken album, fair enough, there is no hurry. Maybe some day but nothing in the books right now.”
When asked who much truth there was to the bickering and hatred of Don Dokken and George Lynch
“It was a drastically over hyped version that something that is essentially true. The two of them get along pretty good now but there was a time in the early days they didn’t get along great. What really blew it all up is when we were doing publicity for the Tooth and Nail record we had a publicist who wanted to come up with a publicity angle that would really help sell the band. So what they centered in after talking with everybody was wow Don and George don’t like each other and that just exploded and it became the media hook that got stuck with the band and then it became a self fulfilling prophecy and then it became our worst enemy. Did George like the fact that the band was called Dokken, of course he didn’t like that he just wanted to have a regular band name. ”
When asked when he joined the band was he an equal partner in Dokken
“It was equal right from the beginning and that was the brain child of our managers Cliff Burnstein and Peter Mensch and they new about the personalities of the band and the name so right from the start it was an equal split except for Breaking the Chains album cause I wasn’t on it but they gave me a little piece of it. Don and George also encouraged me to write and to be a participant right from the beginning. ”
When asked how the whole band fell apart after Back for the Attack Album
“It was our personalities exaggerated by drugs.”
When asked about him producing the new Last in Line album and a timeline on it’s completion
“Right now they are talking about January 2019 as a release date, the record is not completely done recorded.”
When asked about his memories of the late Vinnie Paul from Pantera
“I didn’t know him well, actually Pantera opened for Dokken on our very first tour, Pantera they were really sweet to us, they were just starting out. My memory of Vinnie was that he always brought fun with him, he was a very nice man. There were some strip club trips in the 90’s , he was always up for a good time. I hope he rests in peace.”
When asked about his new band/ project and new album project with George Lynch, Robert Mason (Warrant) and Mick Brown
“That record is actually done although it’s going to come out until April 2019 it is phenomenal, it’s a very inspired piece of work. We have a new band name but we are not announcing it yet. George is playing his ass off on it. The music is very natural to what we are there is a bit of Dokken in there, there is a bit of Lynch Mob in there, it’s kind of that direction although it gets a little deeper, we got pretty musical and deep on this record. We are trying our best to do a couple of live shows at some point. The whole record is recorded and done it’s being mixed right now to be released April 2019.”