Foreigner Interivew

Ten minutes With Foreigners Tom Gimbel

We at have Foreigners very own multi-instrumentalist Tom Gimbel!

             Jared Wingate: First let me thank you Tom, for taking the time off of your busy schedule to chat with me for a bit. Before I became a Photojournalist, I did live stage tour design & stage management for ten years, so I know exactly how busy this life style can be.

Tom Gimbel: Not a problem Jared.

Jared Wingate: Let’s give your fans a little background on you & where you were raised… What was it like for you, growing up in the New England area?

Tom Gimbel: Well I was in New Jersey when I was born and raised, but it was a great time for me growing up. There was so much music on the radio, we actually listened to the radio primarily in those days. It was rare to have a record. If you bought an album it was the album for the whole year… (Laughter ensues) Best bet is if your brother or sister gives you an album you know, mostly it was the radio. Starting off with The Beatles Elvis Presley when I was very young… I loved Johnny Cash it just progressed into the 60’s, a ton of great Motown stuff, from James Brown & the Jacksons, Sly & the Family Stone… That stuff was being played on the radio a lot, all the Marvin Gay & Al Green, which got me… Especially Stevie Wonder, I was a big Stevie Wonder fan as a kid… So that was just a really fantastic era to grow up in. I got more into records, I started getting the Who albums… That led me to the normal stuff like, Yes & Pink Floyd, Emerson, Lake & Palmer & Genesis& all this really cool music that came in for a while & then was gone… Then we got into the real Classic Rock bands, bands that stood the test of time, Bands like the Who ZeppelinForeigner & Bad Company, That was really the good stuff that survived over the years. So anyway, those are my Rock-n-Roll roots… I always liked Jazz, I dabbled in Jazz, I just didn’t have it in my roots like I did Rock. It just connected with me, that rebellious attitude at the core of rock music you know, it’s like where any angry enough rock musician comes from. (Laughter ensues)… So for me you know it was being the youngest of four kids & my brothers & sisters just picking on me, my brother kicking me like a football… That was my anger days, so rock was a perfect fit for me… Most people would gravitate towards other kinds of music you know… But I think you won’t find any well-adjusted rockers. (More laughter ensues) 1420653_10200932986781994_321728328_n

Jared Wingate: So tell me was it those bands that inspired you to pick up an instrument and think “yes, this is who I want to be”?

Tom Gimbel: Yes, I always felt kind of like Music picked me, I didn’t pick music. The energy that I felt when I was playing the drums then later the rhythm guitar & the energy felt jamming with other people. Starting in School I was the drummer in the 5th grade School Band. It’s a great feeling to pay with other musicians, more of a natural high & never gets old, it never gets old!

Jared Wingate: Speaking of you playing drums, tell me about your first band and how you got the name “Your Sisters Ass”?

Tom Gimbel: (begins laughing) Oh my gosh… That, I… I can’t believe that’s in there. We were just sitting around, it was a high school band, and we were listening to music, trying to come up with a name & not getting anywhere you know, every band does this… They will sit around for hours trying to come up with a name. Then finally someone just shouted that out. It was so off the wall we immediately agreed that has to be it. We actually got into a lot of trouble for that when we put up the sign (laughter ensues) I guess that’s why they changed it to the A**.

1414844_10200932986661991_360209666_nJared Wingate: After graduating from Berklee, how did you come about touring for Aerosmith, who gave you your first break?

Tom Gimbel: Well I was working in the clubs, you know it was a great club scene… It was in Boston in the 80’s, and was in some bands that played some tremendous originals. And I was working the club circuit and that led me to a guy named James Montgomery he was a blues artist up there… And that led me to a guy named John Butcher. Who was one of the top names a local & international act that was signed to Polydor Records at the time, so I hooked up with him & we did three albums for Capitol Records so that positive intervention lead me to Aerosmith. Some of the guys I had worked with & John Butcher went on to work with Aerosmith & recommended me to them. So Aerosmith was happy to find someone who played keyboard, sax & can sing. We were up & running & we had a great time. Just so many wonderful memories of doing shows around the world with those guys. They really did, it sounds corny but they really did take me under their wing.

Jared Wingate: So what was it like going from one of the world’s top selling bands (Aerosmith) to another of the world’s top selling bands (Foreigner), & was it easy to assimilate from Aerosmith to Foreigner?

Tom Gimbel: Yes, That was a thing of a lifetime for me because Aerosmith was Keyboards, Sax & Singing & Foreigner was Guitar, Sax & Singing. That’s what I sat out to be was a rhythm guitar player & that’s exactly what they were looking for. So it was a perfect fit, a dream of a lifetime for me. And a lot of stuff that I’ve learned from touring with Aerosmith also would apply when touring with Foreigner.

Jared Wingate: How did you meet Mick Jones & Lou Graham & what was it like?

Tom Gimbel: Oh That Was Incredible, I feel so blessed working with such great singers you know. James Montgomery, John Butcher, Steven Tyler & then Lou Graham just had amazing, AMAZING technique and sound. First time I’d heard Lou, we were in rehearsal and in those days we had these beautiful wedges and when he started singing his voice came through those wedges and made my knees kind of weak. (Laughter ensues) A little bit of Jell-O knee going on. I was just completely floored man, the talent you’re dealing with is a class act & take you in like you’re part of the family. Rehabilitating me after Aerosmith because we are family. You’re one extra guy so you’re always sort of in the door but out of the door (hardy laughter ensues) In Foreigner Mick was like: “You’re a part of the family now” and have been really kind of rehabilitating me after Aerosmith. (More laughter)1384728_10200932986741993_201179665_n

Jared Wingate: You’ve done a bit of acting too, tell us what was it like working with Mike Myers & Dana Carvey on the set of Wayne’s World 2?

Tom Gimbel: OH MAN Wayne’s World 2 Was So Funny! They actually recorded a version of Aerosmith singing “Wayne’s World Excellent”… (Hardy laughter ensues) we were doing Saturday Night Live and we were just laughing the whole time it was so well done & so well scripted. Aerosmith was on Saturday Night Live four times and we met the hosts Mike Myers, Tom Hanks, Jeff Goldbum. There’s just a list of stories I have from the Saturday Night Live experiences. You know meeting Lenny Pickett, the sax player for the Saturday Night Live Band. He is like every ones sax hero. Along with Junior Walker. Junior Walker isn’t alive anymore but I did get a chance to hang out with Lenny Pickett. It was just indescribable it was such a learning experience, how cool he was & how down to earth he is. One time they let me be in the band and we played this song called Cryin by Aerosmith man it had those horns that went “BA Ba ba BAAAAAA” with this whole horns arrangement. We had gotten the original one out of the studio and handed it out to the Saturday Night Live guy, and G.E. Smith was the leader of the band at that time he says: “Well were going to rehearse a bunch, just conduct rehearsal” So here I was, a Berklee graduate you know, conducting the band going “Ok let’s take it from the bar 37, everybody ready?’ (Hardy laughter ensues) they were just staring at me like, “if it was like it is on the record we get it” they were like “yeah we heard the record, we’ve seen the chart were ready” But of course they played it perfectly.


1394966_10200932986581989_494069574_nJared Wingate: Last time I toured with a band I was on the road for 18 long, grueling months… How long has Foreigner been on the latest tour & are you starting to feel homesick?

Tom Gimbel: (Hardy laughter) ha Ha HAA! Well I know about those 18 month tours, I did 20 months with Aerosmith but, yeah with Foreigner we just go and go and go. It’s not like we have a tour & it just stops and eventually it starts again, it just goes basically until the fall nonstop. I mean you get a few days off, you know you get a little 5 day break here and a 4 day break here and it’s tough but it gets the job done, everybody gets to go home & recharge their batteries a little bit then we go again. We are really blessed because we have this collection of guys who get along & really like each other. Going out there and not creating any kind of bad-vibes at all. We love our crew & our management team, everyone just right down the line. I think that it just stems from Mick Jones & and the way he runs his organization, he wants quality people that gets along & know how to work together. Cause’ you’re going to be together for months and when you’re on the road, you know the value of that. Not having any trouble makers, not having anyone that’s overly difficult. (Laughter ensues). It’s incredible, especially on the bus, stumbling in & out of airplanes and all the mixtures of all those scenarios. I feel we’re like one of the luckiest bands out there because we have such a great group of guys.

Jared Wingate: What performance stands out as your most memorable, stand out moment?

Tom Gimbel: Hmm, you mean throughout my life? (Laughter ensues)

Jared Wingate: Yes.

Tom Gimbel: Ok, well… I can remember tons of them but, I’m trying to pick some highlights… Woodstock 2, with Aerosmith, I think there were 200,000 people there. And the sound of the audience, it was like… A Jumbo Jett taking off, it was just a roar, I’ve never heard a roar quite like that. We did huge festivals in Europe with about 100,000 people or more, those were just kind of spine tingling events. But to hear that roar coming from the crowed at Woodstock 2, that’s a memory that stands out in my mind. It was just incredible Steven Tyler and I did a lot of two-part harmonies, and the next day he looked at the tape and he came back and said: “You Sang Your Ass Off” (Hardy laughter ensues) I was really glad to hear that, cause I was kind of hung over. (More laughter)

1374671_10200932986621990_805275399_nJared Wingate: What does the future hold for Foreigner, Any new albums, solo projects or side projects on the horizon for you or the other members of Foreigner?

Tom Gimbel: Not yet, you know… We’re working on stuff now for next year. It hasn’t been confirmed… We’re going to announce it once it gets confirmed, but you know we’re still placing up this years’ worth of shows & were going to go clear up until November, and then we’re going to have the Holiday break so that’s always nice. But, I forgot to play you my highlights from the Foreigner years… There are a lot of those, it’s like every night is a new one, but uh, there was one show we played one night at Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado. I remember… I don’t know, you’ve probably been there a couple times yourself. But every time you play there, it rains. (Hardy laughter ensues) And everybody knows it’s going to rain, the band is covered, and the people bring ponchos & umbrellas. So sure enough later into the set we play “Jukebox Hero” and we’re just playing in the rain and everybody just lit up and went crazy, like the lightning strikes, thunder roars & the rain starts coming down. We were completely ready for it. That’s magic #1 of the night, Then when “Urgent” came on, I just felt like “I got to get out there” these people are here for us, with us in the rain, so I went out with my sax & wireless mic, and went out there playing through-out the crowed, and it was just so cool. I was getting a little rained on, my sax got damp (Hardy laughter) but it worked great, my wireless didn’t short out, but I just basically went out there played the sax with the crowed, in the rain.

Jared Wingate: You know that is just phenomenal, that’s a true performance artist, you know a person that just gets out there and does it for the fans… That’s just amazing.

Tom Gimbel: I just couldn’t resist it, I couldn’t resist it. The same thing happened just recently in the last two months in Alaska, and the same exact thing just happened we just sort of went out there and ran around with the people in the rain. It was just too much fun not to be a part of. They were just ready for it and we was like “What rain?”… You’ll find that kind of spirit in more traditional Rock concerts you know. I don’t want to say Classic Rock, I don’t know what that is, it sounds like a car, a Classic Car. You know, but uh Traditional Rock is the way I’d describe outr band.1396423_10200932986701992_1422070774_n


Jared Wingate: Alright well I have just one more question as we have seem to of ran out of time…

Tom Gimbel: Oh, Hey… it’s no problem Jared, what-so-ever.

Jared Wingate: Thank you so much Tom.

Jared Wingate: Things are done pretty big here in Texas, & Corpus Christi is ready for Foreigner, as the show is almost sold out according to Ticketmaster, are you ready for Corpus Christi?

Tom Gimbel: Yeah, absolutely… We actually always enjoy Texas, and you know you get out there of course Corpus Christi people are a little bit wilder, and that just fits us like a glove. You know we’re that type of rowdy Rock-n-Roll bunch. (Hardy laughter)

Jared Wingate: Well good, good… I’m actually going to be photographing your all’s first three songs from the set on the 27th. So just be looking out for me, I’ll be a short guy with a big red beard & suspenders.

Tom Gimbel: Ha ha ha cool! If you’re going to be there… Speak to John Lappen if you want, since you’re going to be there, stop by the meet & greet & say Hello to us.

Jared Wingate: Yes, I definitely will! Thank you again so much for your time Tom, it was a pleasure!

Tom Gimbel: Awesome, thank you Jared, this was an absolute pleasure.