Billboard talks 'Soundtrack of Summer' Tour with Styx, Foreigner, Don Felder
All three co-headliners have recorded a new version of the Eagles' "Hotel California" (which Felder co-wrote) and will release a compilation album to accompany the tour
Styx, Foreigner and former Eagles guitarist Don Felder are joining forces to provide The Soundtrack of Summer this year, a three-month tour that kicks off May 16 in Oklahoma City and runs through July 27 in Santa Barbara, Calif.
"I look at it like we're a bunch of old heavyweight fighters getting together," Styx guitarist James "J.Y." Young tells Billboard of a lineup that, combined, has sold more than 250 albums worldwide and logged 36 No. 1 hits. "It's very exciting to be out there together, 30 years after we all had No. 1 albums and everything. And having (Felder), who was an obvious contributor to the writing side of the Eagles and does lots of Eagles songs in his show, that will make a nice complement. It has the potential to be the most successful of anything we've ever done with us in a co-headline position like this."
Styx and Foreigner toured together on the 2010 Union Tour, and the latter's Mick Jones says he's looking forward to renewing the association.
"They're a great band and really professional and great people, so we thought, 'Well, this might be worth picking up again,' " Jones notes. "And the two bands, although different, seem to complement each other. The audience enjoys both, I think, and with the addition of Don Felder, that's kind of an interesting evening's worth of music."
The tour -- which currently has 35 dates locked in and will be adding more soon -- is also the most extensive road trek that Felder, who parted ways with the Eagles in 2000 and released his second solo album, "Road to Forever," in 2012, has lined up as a solo artist.
"I enjoy balancing my personal and professional lives," explains Felder, who's marking the 40th anniversary this year of his joining the Eagles. "If I do one or the other too much, I wind up feeling out of balance. So I try to keep myself happy in the middle of that pendulum swinging back and forth. This summer's going to be a little more extensive than I have done in the past, but I think it's going to be fun. I'm all on board. I love to play, and that's what it's all about."
Felder will open each show, while Styx and Foreigner will interchange closing slots. All three musicians speak positively about collaborating on stage during the tour, and they have, in fact, already convened to record a new version of the Eagles' "Hotel California," which Felder co-wrote. The groups will debut their version on the Fox Network's "Fox & Friends" on Tuesday, and it will be part of a compilation album being put together to accompany the tour.
"It's a different take on the song," Felder says, "with different people (including Styx's Tommy Shaw and Foreigner's Kelly Hansen) singing different verses and guitar solos by me and then Tommy and Mick. So who knows, we may wind up doing that (song) in the show at the end of the night."
Jones, meanwhile, says taking on the iconic track was "great. It was an awesome lineup, and it sounded great. It's a brilliant song; it really paints a picture, you know? So it was a lot of fun playing it."
All three acts are eyeballing future projects in addition to the tour. Young says Styx is "noodling on new music" the group hopes to record, although no time frame has been set for that yet. Foreigner plans to start working on a new album after The Soundtrack of Summer tour ends, according to Jones, and is lining up another tour later this year to play its landmark "4" album in its entirety. Felder is also writing new material.