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“It took us ten hours to get here from New York,” says Johnny Foreigner’s drummer Junior Laidley. “We got caught in Christmas,” he says, referring to the heavy snowfall outside the WERS window. It’s the quartet’s first trip to the city and only their second tour in America. Johnny Foreigner originally hails from Birmingham, England, where they have spent the past six years crafting their own brand of indie-rock, bringing together elements of the punk and noise pop variety.
The group stopped by the WERS studio recently to promote their newly released EP, Names. The first song Johnny Foreigner played during their three song session was one of the four tracks off their new release: “O When Will This Honeymoon End?” The co-ed vocals provided by Kelly and her male counterpart Alexi Berrow created a brilliant contrast, emphasized in this song by the pulsing guitar that permeates the room. The group jammed wildly to the quick beat, relaying the story of a down on her luck girl who vows to “stay angry.”
The second song, “Salt, Peppa, and Spinderella”, is equally raw and loud. Southern and Berrow’s voices blended together, his broken and desperate, hers melodic and lovely. Berrow’s voice cracked magnificently on the line, “I think I liked you more when you were worse,” before the song broke down into a heavy drum solo. Johnny Foreigner finished their WERS set with the tune, “New Street, You Can Take It.” This song is sadder and a bit slower, as Southern laments, “You kind of always know when it’s over.”
Johnny Foreigner has been enjoying their American tour immensely thus far. “My house isn’t very nice so I like to be on tour as much as possible,” Berrows jokes. One of the group’s most interesting tour experiences occurred a few weeks ago when they played a sports bar in Richmond, Virginia. “There was about six people sitting there eating hot wings,” Berrow says. “And two kids up in the front that knew the words to everything and were going apeshit.” Southern laughs. “We’re appealing to a new demographic of chicken wing eaters!”
Johnny Foreigner will be finishing up their North American tour with several dates in Canada before returning home to the UK in early December.