Jon Liebman of For Bass Players Only conducted an interview with current FOREIGNER and former DOKKEN bassist Jeff Pilson prior to FOREIGNER's August 11 concert at DTE Energy Music Theatre in Clarkston, Michigan. You can watch the entire chat below. A few excerpts follow below (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On his experiences playing with Ronnie James Dio in the singer's namesake band:
Jeff: "All positive. Ronnie was amazing. Yes, he has one of the most amazing voices ever, but he was an amazing musician, he was an amazing bandleader. He would always know everything that was going on when we toured, which was a big education. It even helps in things like this when we're headlining, I recognize things he was able to see. You learn from things like that. Like if the lights are a little bit off. He knew everything. He knew where everything was supposed to be. He knew where every rigging point was. It was incredible, his knowledge. There were some bad things, too, but he was great and to top it off, he was a wonderful human being. Just a great friend, human being. There's not a day goes by that I don't miss him."
On what he would like people to know about Dio that they may not know before:
Jeff: "He and Vinny [Appice, drums], we had a light guy who sort of had an attitude. [Laughs] One time when he was in his room, they taped all his furniture to the celling. [Laughs] Kind of the classic old trick, but they actually did it. He just had a wonderful sense of humor and his laugh. I love his laugh. I wish I could imitate his laugh because it was a really heartfelt laugh. I mean, he was just a wonderful guy, a really great guy, a down-to-earth guy."
On the kind of crowds FOREIGNER brings in:
Jeff: "It's a little bit of all the above. There's definitely the fans that have been there for a long time. There's their kids and there are some new people who are familiar with us through things like 'Glee' and 'American Idol' and some of the movies we've been in and that kind of thing. I think it's mostly the older people, but there is definitely a younger crowd that have found us on their own, which is pretty cool. Like you said, the children of the old guys like us. [Laughs]"
On how he got into producing bands:
Jeff: "It's something I've always been interested in. It's just a passion of mine. I love the recording studio. I have a wonderful studio attached to my house that really has enabled me to produce a lot of projects and come up with a lot of records. It's just something I love to do. I had been doing a lot of the FOREIGNER live work over the last several years, so that's a great opportunity, a great opportunity to work with some great people and I've gotten to do a couple of studio recordings as well, which is really great. And I've gotten to work with a lot of great bands, which is wonderful. DOKKEN did reform recently for a tour of Japan and we did do a new song ['It's Another Day'] for the live record ['Return To The East Live'] and we did it in the studio and I got to work with that which was wonderful and produce that. Then, I have projects coming up with George Lynch and Mick Brown and I from DOKKEN, along with Robert Mason from WARRANT, we have a project [provisionally titled THE END]. It won't be coming until sometime in 2019, but that's looking amazing and that record is done and is great. Getting to produce things like that has been really fun for me, a great amount of creative satisfaction and that desire to be in the studio that you get as much because we tour year-round. It's not like the old days where you take a few months off, record a record and go on the road. Now, we tour all the time and I try to sandwich records in as much as I can because I love to make them. I'm doing one with LAST IN LINE which is the old DIO band with a different singer, Andrew Freeman, which is amazing. Getting to do things like that kind of help my creative itch, but it's different than it used to be. It really is. It's a different business."
On what his post-touring plans would be:
Jeff: "Any kind of writing, any kind of producing is something I would like to continue doing when my touring days are done. I can't see me ever not doing music. I just can't. So, you're stuck with me in music for a while. We'll see. Hopefully the touring thing can last for a few more years and then yeah, go into serious producing."
FOREIGNER recently completed a summer tour with WHITESNAKE and JASON BONHAM'S LED ZEPPELIN EVENING.
Pilson's new band with Mason, Lynch and Brown will tentatively release its debut album in April 2019 via Frontiers Music Srl.