Foreigner's Mick Jones Finally Gaining Recognition For Guitar Playing

(Gibson) 2013 is a good year for Mick Jones. Foreigner are back on the road to sell-out shows and Mick Jones and original singer Lou Gramm joined the Songwriters Hall of Fame. With "Juke Box Hero," "Feels Like The First Time," "Urgent," "Head Games," "Cold as Ice," "Hot Blooded," and the global #1, "I Want To Know What Love Is," Foreigner have stacked up hits, from rockers to ballads.

These days, Foreigner's only remaining original member is Englishman Mick Jones himself, with ex-Hurricane singer Kelly Hansen fronting the band. But Foreigner was always Jones's band in the first place. Here, Jones talks about his Gibsons, the lucky number 9, and some strange meetings over his 40 years as a pro guitarist and songwriter…

Is it good to be back on the road?: Yes, definitely. The new band is playing great, Kelly is a great singer and the audience is there. We're having fun.

How does it feel to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame?: It was a surprise, but a welcome one. It feels like a validation of what we've done. You don't get recognized as a songwriter much, and to be recognized by peers… well, it was a proud moment.

You've got your recognition now as a songwriter – do you ever feel you are under-appreciated as a guitar player?: It was never really my personality to be a "guitar hero." I was always more interested in being part of a band, leading a band, than any personal fame as a musician. A lot of people I've worked with have said they think I'm "overlooked" as a guitar player but that's not my concern. I think I have a good appreciation within the guitar business, but I never really wanted to project myself so much.

But there's great video of Foreigner playing in 1981, playing "Juke Box Hero" where you are shredding like crazy.: Yeah, I'll take a solo once in a while! It's funny. A lot of people are praising me now as a guitar player than they ever did in the '70 and '80s. But that's fine. I'm not a shy and retiring type, but being a "guitar hero" never had as much importance as taking the time to craft the songs with my guitar. I don't think I've ever been overly-flashy. I'm there to enhance the songs and to deliver the songs. And that inflatable jukebox was a nightmare. Some nights, it inflated properly. Other nights it didn't inflate at all! Read the rest of the interview here.

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