When I settled into the family Mazda 626 to take my driving test for my first driver’s license, I turned the ignition key and the song, “Juke Box Hero” blared from the car stereo. I sat still for a moment, listening to one of the hits from the Foreigner 4 album, with Lou Gramm belting, “This one guitar! Slung way, down low! Was the one-way ticket! Only one way to go!”
Seated in the passenger’s seat was a California Department of Motor Vehicles official tersely gripping a clipboard, who was assigned to take my case. He jerked backward a bit and instructed, “Turn that off.” Seemed unfair, as my usual state of driving in those days was to have Foreigner cranked up on the stereo – if you’re looking for an honest environment for a 16-year-old guy driving up Main Street in Chico, Calif., in 1982, that was it.
But I did pass the audition. I mean, test.
Cut to the present: Last week, bearing my legal driver’s license, I drove to Planet Hollywood, where Prive nightclub is located.
You might be asking, “Point?”
While these two episodes might seem entirely unrelated, they do share a link: Mick Jones is the guitarist/songwriting founder of Foreigner. The guy with one guitar, slung way-down low, is actually Jones. And Roman Jones is a managing partner of Opium Group, which owns Prive. Roman is also the son of (drum roll to set up the “reveal”) Mick Jones (cymbal crash)!
Mick is on tour, as Foreigner plays various wineries and American Indian resorts en route to its gig Saturday night at Star of the Desert Arena In Primm. Roman lives in Miami and isn’t around this week. So I’m not able to ask either of them pertinent questions, such as, “What advice might Mick have given Roman as Mick toured the globe during Foreigner’s heyday?” Was it, “Roman, there are women who hang around rock bands, and even nightclubs, who we in the rock industry call, ‘groupies.’ The nature of these women will change, sometimes dramatically, as you get older.”
Both are rock stars in their respective industries. Mick Jones has built an admirable music legacy with Foreigner, whose hits include “Feels Like the First Time,” “Cold As Ice,” “Double Vision,” “Head Games,” “Dirty White Boy,” “Urgent,” “Waiting for a Girl Like You” the juke boxer and “I Want to Know What Love Is” (reminder to update the iPod with more Foreigner). He also played on George Harrison’s Dark Horse album, and produced Van Halen’s 5150 and Billy Joel’s Storm Front. Mick’s company’s holdings are among the flashiest clubs in Miami -- Club Mansion, Opium Garden and Prive – and the Vegas Prive is a hotspot frequented by the likes of UFC champs and reality-show stars.
One day I do hope for a father-son-Kats meeting. But until then – what’s the line? – we’ve got staaaars in our eeeeyes.