This month’s featured artist is Jeff Pilson. He is a super talented multi-instrumentalist and has spent the last few years as the bass player for Foreigner. Touring almost constantly in 2014 – Jeff talks about their recent UK tour and the Soundtrack of Summer tour hitting a city near you. To get tickets and learn more about the tour visit www.foreigeronline.com
Breedlove: It's hard to know where to begin – you’ve done so many amazing things in your career. When you look back – what brings the biggest smile to your face?
Jeff Pilson: I just have to pinch myself at all the amazing musicians/producers/engineers I’ve gotten to work with over the years. I mean look at the guitarists, George Lynch, Randy Hansen, Michael Schenker, Mick Jones, Tommy Shaw, and recently Don Felder – come on, life does NOT suck!!
BL: Foreigner just came off a European tour and jumped right into the Soundtrack of Summer tour. What’s that transition been like?
JP: Europe was great (it was primarily the UK), I think we really made some noise over there. The reviews, the shows, the audience reaction were all phenomenal. But then getting back to the States for a package tour with such amazing bands- it doesn't get much better than that. Hey, even the catering's been good this time out!!!!!
BL: Touring with Styx and Don Felder has to be pretty amazing. I know you all are playing some songs together – what’s the most fun to play?
JP: I love at the end of Don's set cuz they do Hotel California and Tommy Shaw comes out to join him for vocals and solos- like we did on the Soundtrack of Summer recording. I'm pretty sure Kelly's going to join him one of these days to sing, maybe Mick and I will have to go out some night and make an appearance- that would be fun!!!!
BL: After the Soundtrack of Summer tour you’re headed back to Europe for an acoustic tour. Is it nice to slow it down sometimes?
JP: I will say I love acoustic shows, not just because of my new Breedlove acoustic bass, but that certainly helps!!!! It's just so nice to break the songs down and sing them intimately and bare bones. It really shows the power of the song itself, and I love that. It certainly doesn't hurt when you have the quality of Foreigner songs to work with!
BL: Gear wise – you play a Breedlove Studio Acoustic/Electric bass. What drew you to that instrument?
JP: The feel, the sound, and the control. Lots of acoustic basses have eq and such on them, but these actually do what they say they'll do!!!! Plus you can just feel the quality in a Breedlove instrument- it makes you want to play. And the sound, both live and recorded- it is EXACTLY what I'm looking for. I seriously would not change a thing about the sound- it's perfect. As I've said before, one of the joys of having the Breedlove on the road with me is that we get to jam backstage before the show and it keeps me so inspired. There's no way to put a price on that!
BL: With Foreigner touring almost constantly this year – what do you do when you do find a spare moment?
JP: Well, I've tried to do as much producing when I'm home as I can- I wish I could do more of that. Pretty much when I'm home, if I'm not with my wife and daughter, I'm in the studio either recording my own songs, or producing someone else. I've got a very cool studio.
BL: Let’s switch gears – you’re not only a talented multi-instrumentalist, you’re a movie star! What was it like playing Jorgen in Rock Star?
JP: That was such a fabulous experience. The director, Steven Herrick, was such a great guy and so inspiring to work with. He really encouraged synergy between the actors and musicians and made it feel very real. We had so much fun. He trusted us, but kept everyone focused- not an easy task. The laughs on set were endless!
BL: Would you ever do another movie?
JP: I would, although it's a pretty large time commitment and time is something I never seem to have anymore. But yes, I'd love to do more acting. I'd actually like to try doing a part where I'm NOT a musician essentially playing myself!!!
BL: What’s next for Jeff Pilson?
JP: The SOS tour goes til Sept, then as you mentioned off to Europe for the acoustic tour. Then when I get back I'm hoping to finish a record I started with The Last in Line guys. That's the original Dio band of Vinny Appice, Vivian Campbell and Jimmy Bain with singer Andrew Freeman. We did 4 songs and it came out amazing. Our plan is to finish up in the winter. Then I hope to do some writing with George Lynch for a follow-up T&N record. Plus Foreigner plans on putting out a record of the Best of Foreigner 4 and More by years end and we'll be recording that in early October. I'm producing that as well so I'll have a lot on my hands there. Then more Foreigner touring! If I could just invent the 30 hr day I'd be set!!!!