The Voice of Foreigner looks back on a lifetime of rock

Lou GrammIt’s all about perspective. And from where Lou Gramm is sitting, there’s a lot to be grateful for.

After riding a wave of tremendous fame throughout the 70s and 80s as lead vocalist and co-writer for the multi-platinum band Foreigner, he’s overcome both drug addiction and a life threating brain tumour.

“I’d been thinking about it (my story),” said Gramm, speaking about his recent autobiography, Juke Box Hero: Five Decades in Rock and Roll. “It’s not just your normal sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll story. There are some interesting and quirky little parts that influenced the way the band, and the way I personally survived. I tried to be as honest as I could be about everything.”

Now touring as The Voice of Foreigner, Gramm brings over 30 years of hits to his live shows. And it’s not just a few songs — Foreigner stacked up a staggering 16 top 30 hits — nine of those in the top 10 — and sold over 50 million records worldwide, right up there with The Eagles and Fleetwood Mac.

His July 4 performance in Sun Peaks falls near the beginning of a large North American tour, criss-crossing the map. But it’s not quite the packed schedule you’d expect. While Gramm still enjoys touring, his main priority is his family. Normally flying out on Thursday, he’ll play a weekend of shows and return home on Sunday, ready to start the week at home with his wife and children.

“I got to the point where I couldn’t stand being on a bus and being away for a month at a time,” said the rocker, admitting priorities change as time goes on.

For the past 10 years he’s toured with his brother, Ben, on drums.

Three years Gramm’s elder, as a kid he looked up to his brother’s musical talent and was told he would get there one day.

“It infuriated me and made me try even harder. But they don’t say that anymore,” he said, chuckling.

“Because of (touring) we’ve grown closer,” said Gramm. “We help each other when one of us is feeling depressed or we talk about the arrangement of a song or ways to make the band better in general. It’s good to have someone you know and trust as a sounding board.”

Gramm promised the Sun Peaks show will include almost all the big Foreigner hits, plus hits from his solo work.

“We keep the arrangements tight and concise, almost just like the record, but it’s also live so we cut loose a little bit too.”

Gramm said he expects the crowd to be on their feet during the show. “Midnight Blue,” “I Want to Know What Love Is,” “Juke Box Hero” and “Hot Blooded” usually draw the largest reactions from fans.

And it’s because of these hits Gramm was given one of the greatest honours in the music business — induction into the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame, along with Foreigner co-writer Mick Jones in 2013.

“I was stunned. It’s an incredible honour. There’s not a lot of my peers in that hall,” he said.

Gramm will headline on Saturday, July 4 as part of the Sun Peaks Summer Concert Series.