Jeff Pilson of Foreigner and The End Machine – Interview


The End Machine featuring George Lynch, Jeff Pilson, Robert Mason and Steve Brown.

The End Machine – Story by Anne Erickson, courtesy photo

Jeff Pilson of Foreigner and The End Machine joins Anne Erickson to talk about the new End Machine album, “Phase2,” and more in this in-depth interview

Rock supergroup The End Machine return with their sophomore album, “Phase2,” on April 9, and the set serves up meaty, catchy rock ‘n’ roll with a Dokken-esque sensibility. The band features a collection of high-caliber players, including classic Dokken members George Lynch and Jeff Pilson, as well as Robert Mason of Warrant and Lynch Mob and Steve Brown.

Pilson, who is also a member of Foreigner, sat down with Anne Erickson of Audio Ink Radio to talk about the new release from The End Machine, what’s new with Foreigner and why the strength of Foreigner’s songs is so crucial. Watch and read the full interview with Pilson below, and subscribe to Audio Ink Radio on YouTube here.

Anne Erickson: Congratulations on your new release with The End Machine, “Phase2.” This band has such a cool collection of players, including yourself, George Lynch, Robert Mason and Steve Brown. How would you describe your musical chemistry?

Jeff Pilson: First of all, it starts with George and my chemistry, which has been 35, or closer to- getting awfully close to 40 years of really close connection chemistry wise. I mean, the day I first got together with George, we were supposed to go do something somewhere, and he walked into my house and saw a guitar and picked it up and started playing, and we wrote a song. That’s how much our chemistry is. So, my chemistry with George has been there from day one. I’ve known Robert for close to 30 years, but we only really worked together (recently)– I mean, he’d done a couple things. George and I did a record in 2012, and he sang on that. That was kind of a cool little intro. But, then he and I did a Warrant record together I believe back in 2015, and that’s when I really got to work close with Robert. I got to watch his writing. I knew he was going to be an amazing singer in the studio, but to watch his whole work ethic, and he’s a hard worker. He’s not only a great singer, but he is a great writer and really decided. So, I knew that our chemistry was gong to be phenomenal from minute one. But, then now you throw in Steve Brown, who on the first record we had wild Mick Brown playing drums, and obviously the chemistry with Mick and George and I go back so far and is so natural and feels so good. But, there was a question, what’s it going to be like on this record? Well, by getting Steve, I think it was a brilliant move, because Steve, his playing feels so much like Mick. He even talks like Mick! It’s kind of strange. But, he’s just the perfect fit, and he’s so excited to be there, that it kind of rubs off on us a little bit. So, I’m so happy with the chemistry of the band. It’s as strong as I could possibly imagine.

This album sounds like a heavier Dokken influence to me. Would you agree?

Oh, yeah! More so than on the last record, especially. Part of that is conscious. The record company was like, “Can you make it a little closer to that?” (Laughs) And, so we basically just said, you know what? Let’s not do any of that, “We don’t want to sound like what we already did” thing that a lot of bands do. So, we just kind of let it be more natural, and that’s how we got it. We just wrote stuff we liked, and it stared turning into that. George and I did write an awful lot of the music in Dokken, so it makes sense that there’s going to be that, but we kind of- like I said, it was more unbridled this time, and it was really fun.

You also play in a little band called Foreigner, and I’ve heard you guys are working on new music. What motivates Foreigner to keep putting out new music instead of just falling back on the hits?

Like anybody, you want to be relevant. Mick Jones has a very open-eyed attitude about everything. He understands where the market is at. So, for him, it’s all about, these songs just have to be great. That’s all. I don’t think he’s thinking in terms of are they going to be a hit or whatever, because who knows about that anymore. But, making it great. It’s really fun watching Mick and then the rest of the band kind of react to that, because it really ups your game. You have to really bring it to make something really special. It’s good for you as a writer. It’s good for you as a musician and as a producer. Any time I can be with Mick, I value, because he’s just a brilliant, wonderful dude and such an amazing songwriter. So, what excites us is the music itself, and that’s how it should be.

Foreigner has such a strong fan base throughout the years. Why do you think the band has been able to experience such longevity?

It’s the songs, for sure. Foreigner was never really much of an image band, so I would say it’s definitely the music. I mean, you could talk to people on the street, and you may find a lot of people that don’t really know the name Foreigner, but you won’t find anybody that hasn’t heard of “Cold As Ice” or “Hot Blooded” or songs like that, so the songs and the music are more famous than the band, which is amazing, because it gives us the ability to do this long-term touring and bringing it out there. It’s just an amazing collection of songs that Foreigner has. It’s amazing- it really is. I mean, 16 top 30 songs. How many bands can say that? It’s really special. So, it’s the music that’s connecting with people, and, sure, people have fallen in love with personalities and all that kind of stuff over the years, but I really think it’s the music, and I love that, because I really love the music, too.

Anne Erickson
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Posted by Anne Erickson | Features, Interviews, Music, Rock

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