By Everett Brazil, III
The Newkirk Herald Journal
NEWKIRK — The classic rock band Foreigner has been entertaining audiences for more than 40 years. Formed in the 1970s, the band has had many hit songs, including “I’ve Been Waiting for a Girl Like You,” “I Want to Know What Love is,” “Hot Blooded” and “Cold as Ice.” Although there have been many lineup changes, they still continue to dazzle audiences today, and on Saturday evening, Aug. 17, that audience will be at 7 Clans First Council Casino Hotel, beginning at 8 p.m.
The band formed in 1976 by Mick Jones and Ian McDonald. That lineup has changed repeatedly through the years, and Jones is currently the only original member still with the band, writing much of the band’s music. Other current members include Kelly Hansen, Jeff Pilson, Tom Gimbel, Mike Bluestein, Bruce Watson and Chris Frazier.
Gimbel was not a founding member, but he has been performing with the band for nearly 30 years, touring across the globe on guitar, sax, keyboard and backing vocals. Gimbel was asked to join the band almost by accident, in the early 1990s.
“A friend of mine was playing golf with someone from Atlantic Records, and (they) said they needed someone who was a multi-instrumentalist,” he said.
Gimbel himself was no stranger to rock music or touring, as he had previously performed with Aerosmith, playing guitar and saxophone for several years.
“It was a real treat. They were clean and sober, and everyone was into fitness,” he said. “It was nice to be in that healthy environment.”
The band has toured across the globe, more recently playing internationally.
“We’ve just gotten back from a long trip overseas. We went through Europe, including Germany, Switzerland, we did a trip in Poland, then we went to England and Scotland,” he said.
While they’ve played arenas and other large venues, they also play smaller locations, including casinos, a trend they see growing in entertainment.
“They are part of the landscape now. Nearly all the bands re playing there,” he said.
A special treat will be the Newkirk High School (NHS) Choir, who will sing an encore performance at the end of the show. It is part of a program to promote the musical arts in schools, and the choir will receive a $500 donation as part of the event.
“We‘re trying to make people aware schools are pushing music out of their programs,” he said. “It is important to all of us to get that message out.”
It is also good for the choral students, especially those considering a career in entertainment.
“It gives them some experience in getting on stage, in front of a big crowd,” he said. “Hopefully, they’ll want to continue to perform.”
The choir program has already started planning on how to use the funds, including on uniforms and contest entries. The NHS choral program is proud to receive the donation.
“The kids are really excited. The outreach that they’re doing is really generous,” said NHS Choral Director Riley Faulkner. “The fine arts are an outlet for kids emotionally. It is a lifelong activity – they can do it forever.
The band as well is proud to come to Newkirk and support the choir, and looks forward to a rocking show.
“Any time we’re there and anyone wants to rock with us, that is a good thing,” Gimbel said. “Oklahoma is known for great rock, especially on a Saturday night. It is going to be wild.”