Lou Gramm: The onetime lead singer of Foreigner speaks about his faith

Wednesday 20th March 2013

Tony Cummings and Mike Rimmer quizzed "the voice of Foreigner", LOU GRAMM

Continued from page 3

Mike: Now you continued being involved in rock and roll though, didn't you, even as you grew as a Christian?

Lou: I did. When I came back from rehab I let everyone know that I had given my heart to the Lord and I was clean and sober and intended to stay that way. We weren't on the road at this point, it was during down time and they said that they were very supportive of me and proud of me and that I had done the right thing. But the next year when we started our bus tour I ended up being a prisoner of the back lounge because although they said they respected and appreciated what I did for myself, it was business as usual for everybody else.

Mike: Obviously you have more control over that when you go solo, so you decided to do that and you forged a successful solo career. In recent years you've gone out and formed a band with your brothers which must make things more easily manageable.

Lou: They had helped me on both of my solo albums. I'd played with my brother Ben and with my brother Richard before but the three of us had never played together. My parents both passed away in 2003; my Mom passed first and before my Dad passed later in the year, only a couple of days before he passed, he had the three brothers in the room and he said, "Boys, it had always been your Mom's and my wish that you guys would do something together." We had never actually been on stage and performed and created and worked together and we promised him that we would.

Mike: I understand that you've had health issues. You had a brain operation a while back. That must have changed things for you as well.

Lou: Again, I gave my heart tot he Lord in 1991 and in 1997 my faith was tested - unbelievably so. I began suffering long and short-term memory loss; my eyes would cross involuntarily and then uncross and I began waking up in the morning with headaches that made any drug or alcohol-induced headache feel like nothing. I had no idea what in the world was causing that and I went to my family doctor and he suggested I have an MRI. In the centre frontal lobe of my brain they found a tumour that was shaped like a large egg. They determined it had been growing in me since birth and it also had tentacle like appendages that were wrapped around my optic nerve and my pituitary gland.

Mike: So you survived the surgery. I would imagine they didn't manage to get all of it out but got some of it out. Was that what happened?

Lou: Initially I went to an excellent doctor in Rochester, at Strong Memorial Hospital and he said he could operate but he didn't hold out a lot of hope for success and sent me to a top brain surgeon in New York who also did MRIs and he said that it was inoperable and that I should just wait until I died, basically.

Tony: Goodness me.

Lou: And I went home thinking that I was going to die.

Mike: So you got a third opinion I would imagine?

Lou: Well, I happened to be watching 20/20 - it's a news programme in the States - it has segments of different bits of news and they had an 11-minute article on Doctor Peter Black in Boston in Brigham & Women's Hospital who was the purveyor of laser surgery to operate on brain tumours. At the end of the segment it stated that his laser surgery was able to operate on brain tumours that had been considered inoperable. It gave his office number and at 7 o'clock the next morning I was on the phone with his personal secretary. That was Tuesday morning and she said there was an opening on Thursday and could I come in to Boston Tuesday, which was the day that I was talking to her. So I packed a small bag, flew to Boston, had another MRI and about 4.30 in the morning on Thursday they were wheeling me into the operating room and as they were putting me under I was very, very deep in prayer.

Mike: I bet. Because all kinds of things can happen with that. You can wake up with all kinds of problems. How has it affected you?

Lou: Well, to be honest, the next five to six years of my life were a living Hell. I was on heavy steroid prescriptions and for my whole adult life I had weighed approximately 140 pounds. Within three to four months I was up to 260 pounds. My face was round from the steroids; my skull was enlarged; I developed sleep apnoea. And for almost a year I had no idea what it was and in the middle of the night I would stop breathing. I would fall asleep while I was driving and I got into three head on accidents. Although I came away okay I hurt some people really bad. I voluntarily turned in my license for a year. It cost me my marriage and I ended up living alone for seven years.

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Reader Comments

Posted by Cara Bradley in Alabama @ 21:10 on Jan 6 2019

But all things can be accomplished with god. You still have your wife and family. I know this. I am a single mother who raised my daughter by myself. There were tough times. I lost my entire family to cancer and i had to battle it 3 times myself. I turned myself over to god and he has allowed me to see my daughter grown and in college. So if through all this you and your wife made it through then treasure it because it is for keeps. God bless and keep you well.

Posted by Karen orzo in Alliance Ohio @ 01:30 on Mar 7 2018

I love lou Gramms voice especially singing i want to know what love Is i have my little Great Grandaughters singing too as we watch lou in farm side concert 1985. I love Lou even more reading how He turned his life over to the lord got off drugs survived a brain tumor hes had a amazing life yes been thru hell and back but came out on top bc ofhis faith to the Lord. Hes the Greatest.

Posted by Joann Hesseltine in Charleston @ 04:04 on Aug 22 2017

Lou Gramm has the most outstanding vocal that I have ever heard his songs have more meaning and I wouldn't mind the walk to the Lord with him courageous gentle and made it through a lot none of us a perfect but he sure has tried thanks for giving me the opportunity to listen to your words and to hear your voice Foreigner will never be the same without you.

Posted by Carolyn S. Church in Toledo, OH @ 11:09 on Dec 17 2016

I have been lucky to have seen Foreigner several times with Lou. I met him once with my daughter after a concert in Toledo,OH.. After Lou had the successful brain surgery my daughter & I went to see him (with Foreigner) in Clarkson,MI. We were both very grateful that he was alive & able to sing again. We both cried because Lou's voice didn't seem as strong & his rhythm was slightly off. Not sure how much time passed but, I went to see Foreigner with Lou again. I was lucky to be in the 1st row & after the concert I told Lou that his voice & rhythm was better. He smiled & mouthed thanks. I haven't been able to see Lou again since he has been performing with his brothers. Hopefully someday - soon. I will never go to another Foreigner concert because without Lou there is no Foreigner. Thanks to the Neuro-Surgeon & God Lou is alive & performing!

Reply by Randy in Mentucky @ 05:29 on Aug 24 2017

Yeah I saw foreigner with Lou in Germany and montrose opened for them in 1982 he sounded just like the album foreigner 4 was hot . He was a small guy with muscles and a huge voice. The Lee will be many close but just not as good as Lou he was great to us veterans best concert I ever saw

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Posted by Carole Scala in Saint Cloud, FL @ 02:24 on Mar 21 2013

Years ago, I had the experience of seeing Pavarotti perform in Tampa. At that performance, I recognized that Pavrotti was just a vehicle that the Lord was using to inspire a deeper sense of spirituality. I have been a long-time fan of Lou Gramm. When I hear his voice I recognize that the Lord has also given him the same gift. Through Lou Gramm and his faith, however, we also witness the love of the Lord. Thank you for your journey to faith; we have all learned through your continued committment to the Lord that, "If we seek, we shall find."

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