IN THE STORE!
FOREIGNER (Ex-DOKKEN) Bassist JEFF PILSON
Submitted By Caroline Walsh on
We've been life-long Dokken fans. And, as one of our first interviews, We get to interview an original Dokken member? How cool is that?
Now, for those who aren't so bright... The questions are in white text, the responses are in green, and the picture narrationis in red.
And this? This is blue! I feel like I'm on Sesame Street all of a sudden!So, I'll shut up now and let you guys enjoy the current FOREIGNER Bassist, Mr. Jeff Pilson!
This is James and Cassie and we're pleased and honored to have Mr. Jeff Pilson, currently on tour with Foreigner, with us. How are you doing today?
Very good thanx. A rare day off!!
I guess we'll pull a Sludge and start out by asking you to talk about your current project which would be your current tour with Foreigner and "Extended Versions" release by BMG. So, tell us a little something about both, if you could.
The tour has been great. The band is firing on all cylinders and kicking ass. The Live CD is doing well and the response has been amazing! Especially with the autographed version we're selling at gigs- it has 2 extra songs.
Some people are surprised to hear that you are with Foreigner. How did you joining them come to pass?
I think people are surprised until they come and see the band- then it all makes sense! Anyways, I got a call from Jason Bonham (and Foreigner's) manager, the legendary Phil Carson. He wanted to know if I'd be interested in playing a charity event with Mick Jones. I, of course, said yes- being a fan and all. Well as soon as we all played, the chemistry was obvious, so it just took off from there.
We all know your bass credentials. But, we found out on "Wicked Underground" that you can sing too! How was it, taking on lead vocals with the Lynch/Pilson project? And would you ever pull a Gene Simmons/Lemmy and be a bass playerwho does lead vocals too?
Singing has always been a big passion for me, so doing the L/P record was prettty second nature. Actually it took us both back cuz back in the day I would always sing when we would demo the songs George and I wrote. It was great. As for a Lemmy- who knows!
Do you keep in contact with George Lynch?
Yes, we moved last December so we're quite close to him now. I just went to his wedding a couple weeks ago. He and I are very close.
Leading on from that, when I met Dokken back in 2004, Mick was asked by some girl "What ever happened to Jeff?". Mick responded with something along the lines of "Jeff was thinking about leaving before he went to go do that movie (Rockstar) so when he went to go make the movie, we helped him out". Do you feel that was a factual statement or was there something more to the story?
Not exactly factual, but the gist is there! The bottom line is this. When doing Rockstar, Warner Brothers Films had offered to co-promote the next Dokken record to coincide with the movie. It was the biggest opportunity Dokken had had in many years. The catch was it had to be done under a deadline and Don wasn't willing to go along with that. That told me a lot. That was the end for me, really.
Speaking of the movie, how did you enjoy being part of that movie and soundtrack? And, did you ever think you'd be playing bass for Marky Mark?
The film was a great experience, lots of laughs, and just a great vibe overall. Mark did such an amazing transition into a "metal guy". It never felt like Marky Mark!
Speaking of movies/videos. One of the things that was so great about Dokken back in the '80's was the music videos. Do you miss playing a fire fighter, jumping through actual glass, or nearly getting caught in a volcanic eruption?
Not really. Videos are a very tedious process, and if the promotional machine is not in place, they aren't worth it. But Foreigner are doing a full-on live DVD in November for release next year. Live videos are cool.
People say those videos were "cheesy." Regardless if they were or weren't, they certainly were fun. One of our complaints about rock bands in the current state is that few of the new bands seem to be having fun and nobody seems to have much by way of a personality. Do you think the "Rock Star" is an endangered species?
No, in fact I think the movie ages rather well. The director (Stephen Harek) was brilliant
Here's a question I'm sure you get asked quite often but we can't help ourselves. Any chance you might put your differences with Don Dokken aside and maybe join the band again?
I've learned to never say never, but I don't see it in the near future. I think we're all pretty happy the way things are, at least I am.
Have you heard any Dokken material since you left the band? If so, what do you think?
I've heard a few songs. The first record they did after I left I thought was pretty uninspired, but I heard a couple things I liked from the last one. I'm sure they're capable of making a great record. John Levin is a great guitar player.
As a musician, does it ever get under your skin when you turn on a rock radio station and hear a song that isn't as good as something you've recorded yet gets a lot more air play?
Yea, kind of. I understand why, but I guess it always frustrates me that I'm such a better musician now than 20 years ago when all the opportunities were so available! It would be so much better if the opportunities didn't so closely follow youth!
The genre of music you're known for, and which we love, is sometimes called "sleaze rock" thanks to the over-the-top party lifestyle. In fact, Motley Crue made a fortune off a book talking about their exploits called "The Dirt" which some people compare in greatness to the Bible! Do you have one wild road story you would be willing to share with us?
Having sex on a washing machine during a party we were throwing for Dio up in Alaska in December 84! Great spin and rinse cycles!!!
Any words of advice for any aspiring musicians trying to get into the business? And, are there any "newer" artists out there that you like and think are doing good things for rock 'n' roll?
Do what you believe in- don't just follow the trends. And for God's sake- try something original! I think there are lots of great new bands out there. I think more melodic approaches are coming back.
After Metallica blew the whistle on music downloads, a lot of bands came out both for and against the ability of downloading music on the Internet. Do you think that the ability to download music has hurt the music industry?
Maybe the record business, but I think it's the one aspect of music which has stayed vital and keeps a lot of people still involved who otherwise would find it all too corporate and generic. Downloading and file sharing are here to stay, just have to come up with a fair way for artists to be compensated. I tunes is a good start.
If you were to put one song you performed on in a time capsule to be preserved for people to hear 1,000 years from now, what song would you pick to sum up your contribution to rock 'n' roll?
Ever Higher on the Lynch/Pilson
By the same token, what song, if any, do you wish you hadn't performed and wish you could erase from your catalog?
Bullets to Spare- Dokken Tooth and Nail
What's next for Jeff Pilson the man and Jeff Pilson the musician?
Lots of touring with Foreigner, a live DVD and a CD of new material relatively soon. Hopefully the Live War and Peace CD will come out soon, and maybe another studio W&P. Then it'll be about time for another L/P CD. Wow- I'm tired already!!!
If you have a one word answer that sums the person up, that will do. If you'd like to share a thought or memory, we welcome that as well!
Ronnie James Dio
The greatest singer in rock
Genius at promoting
He's a monster groove bassist.
"Wild" Mick Brown
Great to be in a band with- very funny and amazing team player
When he's on he's the greatest rock guitar player alive- I truly believe that
Like a big brother- and sometimes you piss each other off!
I'd like to thank Mr. Jeff Pilson for spending this time with us at the Metal Epicenter. Do you have any closing words you'd like to share with your fans, site links, or anything like that?
Just thanx for being there all these years- the best is yet to come!!!
Once again, thank you for doing this. We'll see you with Foreigner this summer!
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