Kelly Hansen doesn’t get starstruck any more, which you might expect from someone expected to step into the big shoes of Foreigner lead singer Lou Gramm.
Guitarist/songwriter Mick Jones is the only original member of Foreigner, which had numerous hits in the ’70s and ’80s including “Head Games,” “Double Vision,” “Cold As Ice” and “I Want to Know What Love Is,” to name just a few.
The band plays the Enmax Centre, Sunday, Oct. 15, with Honeymoon Suite.
“I’ve been singing with the band for 13 years now, so I’ve got over being starstruck. Mick and I are really good friends. His career is one that I respect,” said Hansen, enjoying a little bit of a break in Los Angeles.
“He’s a great guy and whenever we’re together we always have a great time,” he said.
“We spend nine months of the year touring.”
Foreigner just released a two-CD career retrospective collection called “40 Hits in 40 Years,” including the big hits and relative obscurities like “Night Life,” “Headknocker,” live acoustic tracks and several featuring Hansen singing lead vocals.
And with so many songs to choose from, it can be difficult to choose a set list.
“It really all depends on the crowd. And we know what songs work best in certain markets,” he said.
“We used to open our shows with ‘Night Life.’ But it really all depends on the crowd.”
“We wanted to release a real retrospective,” Hansen said of the 40-song collection. “So of course Mick got to choose his favourites. And I also got to choose mine. I really love the live performances and ‘Give My Life For Love’ is a really powerful performance.”
They have no plans to release new music.
“We’re really focused on touring on the greatest hits package now,” he said.
He joined Foreigner in 2002 after deciding to take his career more seriously.
“I wasn’t happy with where my career was going, and decided that I needed to be a little more proactive about it. I heard Mick was starting a new project and started asking people I knew about it. I didn’t know if it was a Foreigner project. The next thing I knew they invited me to jam. We had a lot of fun and played for hours. Then they called and asked me to join Foreigner,” he said.
He respects Lou Gramm, the lead singer whose shoes he filled.
“I have a lot of respect for him and just want to do the best job I can of singing the songs,” he said.
He shares Gramm’s bluesy, soulful style of singing, but doesn’t cite him as a direct influence.
“I really respect him. I listened to a lot of music, so I’m sure it (Foreigner) was there. I grew up listening to Aretha Franklin and Ray Charles. Hurricane (His popular band in the ’80s) was a more melodic metal band and a real departure from what I was used to singing,” he said.
Foreigner and Honeymoon Suite play the Enmax Centre at 7 p.m. Oct. 15. Tickets range between $68.25 and $102.25.