June 12, 2008
Damn Right, You Can Still Rock In America!
Jack Blades of Night Ranger Talk to All Access Magazine
By The Atomic Chaser and The Rocker
The band changed its name to Night Ranger after a country band, The Rangers, claimed a trademark infringement. By this point, they had recorded their classic debut, 'Dawn Patrol' for Boardwalk Records, opening for ZZ Top and Ozzy Osbourne; the latter performer employed Brad Gillis as an alternate guitarist for the recently deceased Randy Rhoads.
When Boardwalk folded under, producer Bruce Bird secured Night Ranger a deal with MCA Camel in 1983. Their first three albums struck a balance between hard rockers laden with sexual innuendo and accessible pop ballads to guarantee airplay. 'Dawn Patrol', 'Midnight Madness', and 'Seven Wishes', all reached RIAA platinum status and garnered the band international fame. That was then and this now...
There are a lot of reasons music fans should celebrate the release of Night Ranger’s latest release, 'Hole in the Sun,' notably that it marks the band’s first studio album in a decade and commemorates the pioneering hard rock outfit’s 25th anniversary as a band. While working on 'Hole In The Sun', Jeff Watson was fired from the band. His replacement for the remainder of the tour was Winger/Whitesnake guitarist Reb Beach. Lardie and Beach have currently left the band to focus on projects from Great White and Winger/Whitesnake. Joel Hoekstra replaced Beach and Christian Matthew Cullen replaced Lardie.
Now that all the pieces are put together The Rocker and I spoke with Night Ranger's Jack Blades, the band's singer and bassist about their latest release and this is what he shared with us.
AAM: Let's talk about the band's eighth studio release, 'Hole In The Sun'... listening to this album was like welcoming an old friend back home.
JACK BLADES: I know guys, it feels so good! Night Ranger is back! We're mad as hell and we're not going to take it no more (laughs).
AAM: The one thing that really stands out for us on, 'Hole In The Sun' is it’s really heavy, big guitars, big harmonies.
JB: That is exactly what we wanted. We want to hit people right in the jaw! We took like a '65 Chevy and supped it up and put flames on it. That is what this new record is to us, a suped up version of Night Ranger.
AAM: How long were you guys in the studio? And how many songs did you actually write for the album?
JB: We were on and off a good part of a year. Because of the scheduling differences is why it took longer to finish. I just recently produced Ted Nugent's new record and it took me two weeks to produce.
AAM: Did you approach the new album any different that what you guys have done with your previous releases?
JB: The first song we came up with was, "Tell Your Vision". Every time we've done a record there has always been a key song. Once you have that, it kind of sets the bar on where you want to take the rest of the album. With, "Tell Your Vision", we really set that bar really high and I believe we cleared it. All the songs that we wrote were for this new record. No one had any songs in their pockets from other projects.
AAM: Are you guys satisfied with the response you are getting from your fans?
JB: Really happy with the response. I believe this record was, that it was from our hearts. It's a good old fashion American rock and roll record. We're getting great response. We are actually getting a better response here in the States that we got from Europe. Which makes perfect sense, because we are an American band, case closed. Oh, they also love the hell out us in Japan.
AAM: That is a surprise that you have better response here in America versus Europe.
JB: When we released it in Europe to the classic rock crowd, they wanted us to release another, 'Dawn Patrol' or 'Midnight Madness' record. You just can't do that, maybe somebody can, but not me. What keeps me going is new music, listening to new songs. Like the poster I saw once of John Lennon. It showed him circa 1960 with the collarless coat. Then it went through the 'Revolver', 'Rubber Soul' era when they were going through their hippie phase. Then it showed him with a shaved head with round glasses. I said to myself, that is what it's all about. It's all about changing and creating new things.
AAM: How is it different touring with Night Ranger today than back in the 80s?
JB: It is more fun as there is no pressure. We are just out there to give the fans a great time.
AAM: You included two bonus tracks. Acoustic versions of, "Don't Tell Me You Love Me" and "Sister Christian".
JB: We included those songs as a gentle reminder to people. I think the acoustic versions of those two songs are fun for our fans.
AAM: Are there talks of a companion DVD in the works?
JB: There are plans on doing that. We are going to be looking at venues and checking out which ones we should do it at. That is certainly part of the plan, to film some of these shows and get it on to DVD and out to our fans.
AAM: New members to Night Ranger, Joel Hoekstra (guitars), Christian Cullen (keyboards), Michael Lardie. What happened to Jeff and Alan?
JB: Yes, we have new two new members in Night Ranger. Jeff and Fitz are no longer in the band. Michael was part of the band for a little bit, then he got called back to re-join Great White for their reunion tour. Joel Hoekstra is an amazing guitar player. Brad is so happy he can't stand it. Joel and Christian are amazing!
AAM: We think that Night Ranger success is, having to be able to evolve through the many changes of the music industry. What is the secret to your success?
JB: You guys hit the nail on the head, exactly! That is our goal.
AAM: Touring plans for this summer? I have to ask about your recent show at Guantanemo Bay and the tour they gave you. What was that like?
JB: Yeah, we're doing the Rocklahoma thing and other shows as well this summer. As far as our show at Guantanemo Bay, talk about going into the belly of the beast. It was an amazing experience. We played for our troops there. God bless them for doing what they are doing. Not only did we play for the troops. They took us on a tour of the detention center. We were eye to eye with those Al Quieda pricks.
AAM: How is Colin's career going? He played on 'Influences' right?
JB: Yeah, Colin sang on Influences. He sang on "Your Move". He is writing songs with songwriters and talking to producers about his next album. He has got some great stuff.
AAM: And your other son, James, is in the music industry as well?
JB: Yeah, James Blades works for McGee Entertainment. He is a manager at McGee Entertainment. He is about as busy as a human can possibly be.
AAM: Well Jack thanks so much for you time brother. We are sure Night Ranger fans around the world are hyped and ready to rock with you guys!
JB: You got it guys! Thank you for your support and see you soon. Remember this, Night Ranger is back and you better watch out baby!
Night Ranger for last 25 years have rocked and rolled millions around world. There is no let down in sight for this true American rock and roll band. They are going to keep rocking the world night in and night out. The message is perfectly clear, like the boys said, YOU CAN STILL ROCK IN AMERICA, ALL DAY AND ALL NIGHT! The Rocker and I along with All Access Magazine would like to thank Jack Blades for doing this interview. Thank again Jack!
For More Info On Night Ranger: www.nightranger.com