ryan miller here, for my semi-weekly road update.
one word, and that word is foreigner. no, i am no xenophobe, i am speaking of the hit-machines of the 1980’s, of lou graham and co., of the band that taught me, your fearless servant, exactly what love is.
perhaps is should give a little background….. as the spring tour winds down and summer approaches, headlining dates turn into festival and support slots. this past weekend, we played two large festivals, music midtown in atlanta, and the beale street festival in memphis, tennessee. music midtown was a rock fest, as we played right before canadian alterna-kings our lady peace, and 90’s airplay monsters collective soul. but for me, sunday was the big day. the line-up: guster, randy neuman (i love la. we love it!), rickie lee jones, collective soul, and then, the real kicker, my elementary school favorites, foreigner. (ed note: i got my first-ever boner couple skating to foreigner’s “i wanna know what love is” at the hot wheels roller rink, dallas, texas, 1981)
our set in memphis was early and brief, but the kids seemed to like us, and we had the rest of the afternoon to ready ourselves for the event del dia: foreigner, live and in person, appearing on the budweiser/auto zone/bellsouth mobility stage. with dusk, came anticipation. would they open with “cold as ice” or “double vision”? how would the crowd respond? would lead singer lou graham still be able to fit into his leather pants?
our questions were soon answered. they opened with “double vision”, the crowd was wild with reckless nostalgia, and no, lou graham cannot still fit into his leather pants. (or hit those high notes anymore, by the way).
perhaps the set can be summed up as follows: two songs in, lou screamed to the crowd, “we still got it! we haven’t even broken a sweat yet!” and ran directly behind the drum kit where a roadie was waiting with hot tea, a wet towel, and a nice soft chair. i swear, he even made a sign offstage for some oxygen.
the only thing going through my head was: if we ever become famous and have 8 top ten hits, will i want to be 43 years old and playing “window”? i don’t even want to play “window” now. i refuse to be an aged rockstar. i will not get fat and grow my grey hair long in back and on the side so i can cover my receding hairline. i will never utter the phrase, “we haven’t even broken a sweat yet!”
perhaps, some songs are better left unsung. some memories should be just that.
lou graham, you are no willie nelson.