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The Band: Interviews: Interview with Ron Wikso04.09.01

This interview was made via e-mail by Foreigner fans to the FOREIGNER Rock Band Page (4eigner.net since 2000) in May 1997.

Index
(1) What is the thing you like best about being a member of Foreigner?
(2) What is the funniest thing that has happened during your tenure with Foreigner?
(3) What is your favorite song to perform -past or present, Foreigner or not-?
(4) You had a fair amount of input into The Storm, do you have, or anticipate having, much input into Foreigner's next album?
(5) What is your relationship with the other members of Foreigner?
(6) How has being in a band with such legendary status changed your life?
(7) How much of a thrill is it to get to work with truly talented men such as Lou Gramm and Mick Jones?
(8) If you had to give up music tomorrow, what would you do for a career?
(9) Who has been your biggest influence, as far as drummers go?
(10) Do you know Ian Paice from Deep Purple?   If so, what is he like as a person? Has he, at all, been an influence on your career?
(11) If you had to choose between The Storm or Foreigner,   which would it be?
(12) How would you describe the upcoming Foreigner album?
(13) Did you co-write any of the songs on the album?
(14) What do you think it is the most important thing in a person's life? Do you think you have got it?
(15) What did it take you to be a drummer?
(16) You have played with Cher, David Lee Roth, The Storm, and now with Foreigner, but, what has been your greatest success in the musical area?

(1) David V. Deming: What is the thing you like best about being a member of Foreigner?

Ron Wikso: That's difficult to answer because there are a lot of things about being with the band that are very cool. With that in mind though, I would have to say that being able to play all of those great songs with one of the best singers in the world ranks right up there. Having the opportunity to be involved in the creative process on new songs with Mick, Lou and all of the guys has been a very cool experience as well. I am also grateful for the friendships and associations I have made since I've been in the band.

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(2) David V. Deming: What is the funniest thing that has happened during your tenure with Foreigner?

Ron Wikso: One of the funniest would have to be when we played at the Nudestock Festival in Michigan in 1995. Very strange !!

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(3) Robert Fossella: What is your favorite song to perform -past or present, Foreigner or not-?

Ron Wikso: That's almost impossible to answer because there are so many great songs that I have had the opportunity to play over the years and they are all so different. Most of the stuff that we do with Foreigner is a lot of fun to play but, I also love playing Beatles songs, I loved playing with The Storm, I loved playing with Mike Finnigan, Bill Champlin and so many other people over the years. There were some songs in the David Lee Roth show (particularly some of the Van Halen stuff that we did) that were a lot of fun and I enjoyed a lot of what I did with Cher. Basically, I just love to play and it's just that much better when it's a good song with a good band !!

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(4) Robert Fossella: You had a fair amount of input into The Storm, do you have, or anticipate having, much input into Foreigner's next album?

Ron Wikso: The Storm and Foreigner are two very different situations. The Storm was a band that did not have the kind of history that Foreigner has and, therefore, was a bit more of an amalgamation of all of the personalities that were involved. Foreigner is very much Mick and Lou's band and, although they are very open to everyone else's input, most of what winds up taking place with Foreigner is really up to them.

As far as I'm concerned, that's the way it should be and that's really the only way I would expect it to be because they were the ones who, above all else, were responsible for creating Foreigner and it's sound. It was their brainchild and they are the only ones who can really know when things are falling in line with their vision of the band.   Having said that, I do expect to have some input on the album but, I am realistic enough to know what the situation is and deal with it accordingly. I'm happy to have the opportunity to work with the caliber of people that are in Foreigner so,   whatever winds up happening will be fine with me.

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(5) Robert Fossella: What is your relationship with the other members of Foreigner?

Ron Wikso: Well, we all live in different parts of the country but, I would say that we are all friends. Obviously, some guys go back a long way with each other (Lou and Bruce, Lou and Mick etc.), so they have more of a long standing relationship but, everyone in the band is really very cool and I consider them my friends.

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(6) Jim Schwartz: How has being in a band with such legendary status changed your life?

Ron Wikso: It hasn't really changed it much at all except that some people are curious about it and ask me questions and some are impressed by it so I guess they think I'm cooler than if I wasn't in the band!! But, seriously it has not affected my every day life or my relationships with the people that I am closest to at all.

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(7) Jim Schwartz: How much of a thrill is it to get to work with truly talented men such as Lou Gramm and Mick Jones?

Ron Wikso: It's fantastic ! I was a fan before I got in the band so, I am very grateful for the chance to play such great music with such great guys.

I have been very fortunate like that in the past though too. I was lucky enough to play "Black Magic Woman" (Santana) and "Just The Same Way", "Anytime" and "Feelin' That Way" (Journey) with Gregg Rolie (who was Santana's and Journey's original lead singer and keyboardist) and Ross Valory (Journey's bass player) when I was in The Storm. I also got to play "Jump", "Panama", "Dance The Night Away", "Beautiful Girls", and a lot of other great Van Halen songs when I was with David Lee Roth.

The point is that I have had the opportunity to play some legendary music with some of the people (particularly the singer's) who created it and it's been quite a thrill. I am also very flattered and honored that they think enough of me and my playing to work with me.

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(8) Jim Schwartz: If you had to give up music tomorrow, what would you do for a career?

Ron Wikso: That's a great question but, I'm not really sure. I probably should give it some thought though, given the state of the music business. It can be very disheartening at times.

To answer the question though, I would love to be involved in the game of Golf in some way. I took it up a couple of years ago and I really enjoy it.

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(9) Jim Schwartz: Who has been your biggest influence, as far as drummers go?

Ron Wikso: There are too many to name all of them but, some of them are Ringo Starr, John Bonham, Steve Gadd, Jeff Porcaro, Steve Smith and Vinny Colaiuta.

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(10) Jim Schwarts: Do you know Ian Paice from Deep Purple? If so, what is he like as a person? Has he, at all, been an influence on your career?

Ron Wikso: I have never met Ian but, I have of course heard his work on records over the years.

He, like everyone I hear, has been an influence on my career (I'm sure I've played "Smoke On The Water" more times than I could ever remember !!) from the standpoint that you can always learn something from anyone that you hear.

Sometimes it's what you don't want to do or what you don't like but, you can always learn.

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(11) Jim Schwartz: If you had to choose between The Storm or Foreigner, which would it be?

Ron Wikso: Fortunately for me, I don't have to !!

If I did have to, it would depend on what was happening with each band on a business level. I was in The Storm before I was in Foreigner and Foreigner is really Mick and Lou's band ultimately. I have also been involved as a writer with The Storm and I have a different kind of interest in that band.

Both have been very good experiences and everyone involved in each band has been very good to me. Maybe I could just make it so that both bands went on the same tour and I could play with both of them !!! It would be very difficult to make a choice like that and, no matter what I say in an interview here I really can't win.

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(12) Lynda Kosco: How would you describe the upcoming Foreigner album?

Ron Wikso: I can't describe it at all yet because it has not been done !! The only things that have been put together at this point are a few demos of some of the songs and they may or may not wind up on the album. Even if they do make it, they may be changed and not really recognizable from their current form. Sorry I don't have any more information than that.

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(13) Lynda Kosco: Did you co-write any of the songs on the album?

Ron Wikso: No, but, you never know what will transpire between now and when the album is done.

You have to remember though, that it is Mick and Lou's band and they are the primary songwriters. I'd say they have a pretty good track record though !!

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(14) Phoenix: What do you think it is the most important thing in a person's life? Do you think you have got it?

Ron Wikso: I think the most important thing in a person's life is their health and some good friends that they can count on. At the moment, knock on wood, I feel very fortunate to have both of those things.

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(15) Phoenix: What did it take you to be a drummer?

Ron Wikso: It took some God given ability and a lot of hard work, practice, patience and perserverance from the time I was 7 years old. I have paid a lot of dues in the music business !!

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(16) Phoenix: You have played with Cher, David Lee Roth, The Storm, and now with Foreigner, but, what has been your greatest success in the musical area?

Ron Wikso: That depends on how you define success. Some people would define it by how much money they have made. Some would define it by the work they have created. Some would define it by the opportunities (such as travel, etc.) music has afforded them and/or the friendships they have been able to develop. I would be hard pressed to choose one thing as my greatest success.

In many ways I have been successful just to have been able to make a decent living in the music business doing what I love to do but, I am still striving to achieve more and more and I hope that my greatest success still awaits me. If I thought that I had already achieved it, I wouldn't have much to strive for !!

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Interview Credits
Special thanks to David V. Deming, Robert Fossella from Foreigner: Rockin' to 103, Jim Schwarts and Lynda Kosco, who ellaborated the questions, and of course, to Ron Wikso who friendly asked them.

The Band: Interviews: Interview with Ron Wikso04.09.01
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