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Legend's son stays 'controlled' for Foreigner


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Friday, 03/14/08

Legend's son stays 'controlled' for Foreigner


Staff Writer

It's hard to imagine a tougher gig than the one Jason Bonham had in December, as the new guy behind the kit for Led Zeppelin's one-night reunion concert in London. The drummer was charged with playing brutal, technically demanding beats in front of thousands of die-hard fans and a backstage teeming with rock legends.

But according to Bonham, he actually has a harder time filling in for classic rock hit-makers Foreigner, who'll play the Wildhorse Saloon tonight.

"I have to be a little more controlled and held back," he says, "because it's about the melody and the song, not so much the performance. It's really concentrating on how great the song is. With the Zeppelin stuff, I get to go crazy a bit more. It comes more naturally to me."

That's no surprise, given the fact that Bonham is the son of original Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham, whose death in 1980 effectively ended the band's career.

Foreigner starts anew

His gig with Foreigner came about in 2004, when common management hooked Bonham up with founding Foreigner member and principal songwriter Mick Jones to perform for a charity event. Foreigner had been defunct since original vocalist Lou Gramm departed in 2003, but the charity performance went so well that Bonham, a lifelong fan of the band, was able to convince Jones to re-form the group.

"I said, 'Why don't you get the band back together?' And he said, 'Oh, I'm not too sure,' " Bonham says. "The next thing I know, we planned on looking for a singer, found (new vocalist) Kelly (Hansen), and we've been on the road ever since."

Of all the artists he's worked with, Bonham finds his time in Foreigner unique because of the sheer number of recognizable songs the band has in their catalog, "Feels Like the First Time," "Hot Blooded," "Double Vision" and "I Want to Know What Love Is" among them. And while he's going on his third year playing those hits with the band, the legendarily forceful playing style he inherited from his dad can't help but rear its head occasionally.

"A couple of times, Mick's turned to me and given me the look of, 'OK, calm down . . .' That was when I had just come back from Zeppelin rehearsals," he says. "Our keyboard player turned to me and said, 'Everything sounds like Zeppelin now!' "

Some wishful thinkers might suggest that Bonham keep that ferocity up, as rumors persist that Zeppelin will once again reunite at this year's Bonnaroo (fueled by vocalist Robert Plant's inclusion on this year's bill and bassist John Paul Jones' well-known admiration of the festival).

Bonham chalks fans' hopes up to "coincidence."

"People come up to me and say, 'I hear it's going to happen,' and I'm like, 'What? Well, I haven't been told,' " he says. "I think it's a lot of speculation . . . You know what? If they ask me, I'm there, but as of now, there's been no talk of it."


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Thanks for this MrZoso...Jason is indeed a longtime fan of Foreigner. He and his wife had Waiting For A Girl Like You as their wedding song in 1990.

My pleasure. I did not know that. What a nice touch.

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