Jack Blades


Jack Blades (2007)


Night Ranger Part 1: Jack Blades.

Jack Blades talks about Hole In The Sun - the new Night Ranger record, plus the new Shaw Blades record, Damn Yankees as always....anything else that comes to mind!

So Jack, why is there a buzz for the new Shaw Blades record, besides the fact that it's bloody good?
Well, I think that it's just one of those records that everybody likes. Everybody enjoys that music. Everyone's just excited about good songs and good music and hearing them from Tommy and I, and having Tommy and I work together again.

Is it nice to feel missed?
You know, it's very wonderful and very reassuring. We put the shows on tour, on sale and I think one or two of them are already sold out. And VH1 Classic hasn't even started the full court press on the promotion of the album.

Yes, I just got the press release today actually.
Yeah that's right and there's already such a great buzz out there. I think it's just the fact that the songs are the stars and that's what makes this such a fun record to have.

Covers albums are very hit and miss and I'd put more miss in my column. Why does this one work?
I think this one works because Tommy and I really approached each song in a reverent way. We grabbed acoustic guitars and we played it, then if it felt like we should go somewhere else with the song we went somewhere else. If it felt like it needed to be true to the way the song originally was like then we kind of went with that and just sang it with our vocals. Like for instance The Sound of Silence. But then you have I Am A Rock that we took a serious left turn on that sounds so great. Then other songs, we sat down with our acoustic guitars on Summer Breeze and we started playing. I started singing the verses and Tommy sang the chorus and then all of a sudden on the second verse he came in with one of those classic Tommy Shaw harmonies that are so different. So we went where the spirit lead us on the songs and I think people can feel that. I think the audience, the fans and people in general can really feel that and that what makes this a really good covers record. That and the fact that I think the songs we picked are just outstanding.

You did pick some really nice songs. A few classics, as few left of center that just came together very nicely.
Yeah, it just did, I mean that's the thing. When it's not so hard, I mean that's what we're finding right now, with the whole tour, everything that we're doing, setting everything up. It's happening so easy that you know it's the right thing. You know its right when everything just falls in line like ducks in a row.

So why did you wait so long?
That's a good question you know. It's just all in the right timing. It wasn't right when we originally started doing these songs. We were doing it with another label then that didn't turn out. Then this guy fell out, then that person. Originally with Sanctuary and then it was with a new label that Irving Azoff was going to start, then that didn't happen. It was just all these things. So we just waited and waited. It's just the right time now.

Absolutely, and the buzz is huge, the dates are going well.
Oh yeah, and we're just excited about it. We added a young man by the name of Will Evancovich. He's playing guitar with us. He's out of a band called American Drag which is out of San Francisco. They're sort of like a really cool indie rock band. He's a great acoustic player, a great guitar player and singer. So we're taking him out with us as a third guy to sort of like fill up the vocals and play some guitar with us.

And how did he come to light?
I found him through his band. It's very popular in this part of northern California so I sort of like sought him out and went and talked to him and grabbed him. Actually I brought him up here and started just playing songs with him and I started throwing songs at him. He didn't realize he was auditioning. We just had two acoustic guitars in my studio and I just said play Summer Breeze, sing this part, play Your Move, sing this part. Here, play this song, play that, try High Enough and just started doing it. I said OK, cool.

Very nice. The record sounds pretty 'live to air' almost. Were you and Tommy both up at the studio at the same time?
Oh yeah, we did all the record at the same time. We played all of the instruments except for the fact that Michael Lardie played some keyboards and of course engineered the whole thing. I think Michael also mixed four or five of the songs. Then we had the drummer. Brian Tichy played drums. Kelly Keagy played drums on Dirty Work.

I saw that.
So anyway, we were there, we were definitely in the room with each other all the time on this one.




There is a habit these days to record everything in your own individual studios and not even interact isn't there?
Yeah, yeah but I think that leaves a bit of something to be desired.

I couldn't agree more. I think it kills the spirit of the record which probably why this one sounds so electric.
I think so, you know what I mean, you can just tell Tommy and I were having such a great time singing these songs. I think you can hear us smiling on the vocal tracks (laughing).

(laughing) You can. I think it's a really nice mix too.
Dude, how can I not be excited about doing an Emerson, Lake and Palmer tune, Lucky Man. I mean then you put a couple of prog bands on there like Yes and ELP. I mean, that's what I loved about it.

It's not something you can normally put alongside California Dreamin' by the Mamas and the Papas!
Yeah, and The Sound of Silence, no you wouldn't put Keith Emerson right next to Paul Simon. No, you're right.

But again, the record works, it's great.
We're very excited about it.

I love Dirty Work.
Dirty Work is one of my favorites. It's the only song of Steely Dan that Donald Fagan didn't sing. They had another singer in there and I think once they heard that guy sing they fired him. (laughs) Not that he did a bad job, probably that he did too good of a job. (laughs) I just love that song.
That's one of my favorites about forbidden love and all that kinda stuff. It's just a killer song and I think it's overlooked a bit, so on this record now people are hearing it and going 'oh I love that song' so it's pretty fun.

You know, there are three or four tracks in particular that sound as if they could have come off the first Shaw/Blades album.
You know what, you're right about that and on tour we're playing three or four of the Shaw/Blades album, the Hallucination album. That's the fun thing about this tour. We're not only going to be doing songs off the Influence CD, were going to be doing some off the Hallucination record. We'll be doing some Damn Yankees songs, some Styx songs, Night Ranger songs. I mean we're going to be doing all these things and people are going to be hearing song after song after song. It's almost going to be like hearing the soundtrack to their lives when they come see us.

I can imagine it now, which begs the question, are going to be recording any of these shows? It sounds like you should be.
I think that's in the works. Yeah, that baby's in the works.

I hope so because there are going to be a lot of people who can't see the shows. Between the two of you, Tommy and yourself, did you ever set back and say 'man we've had a lot of hit songs between us'?
No, we don't want to jinx it. (laughs) We do feel that way though. When we get up there and start singing. Like today I was up here rehearsing with Will, the guitarist, and it was like song after song after song. He gets excited because he's getting to play songs like Blue Collar Man, High Enough, and Too Much Time on My Hands. Then at the same time he's playing like California Dreamin' and Your Move. He was pretty blown away. I was looking at the list, and I guess I don't even think about it, but it's like we grouped them in groups. Here's three of four songs from Damn Yankees, four or five songs from Styx, four of five songs from Night Ranger, then four or five from Shaw/Blades. Then here are some of our other favorites that aren't even on any of those records that we just like to play. It turns out that there's about a 40 song list that we have to figure out carve down to about 15 or 20 songs for the show. That's gonna be the hard part, figuring out which ones not to play.

I'm looking forward to hearing that. I love to hear it live. I have to ask you this. Why the two different album covers for the US and Europe.
That's a good question. We had the American album cover and Serafino at Frontiers wanted to do the European one I guess. Maybe he wanted to sell more records.

I like the American cover.
The road…

I do too. I've got enough covers with my face on it. (laughs) I don't care it's the music in between that counts.


Of course it is. Absolutely. Well, with that taken care of, let's talk Night Ranger. That's a hell of a record you've got there.
Thank you Andrew, we're very proud of it.

As well you should be. Again, you took a fair while to record it. Are you at liberty to discuss the difficulties behind it?
There was definitely a lot of crap going on when this record was being made. It started and stopped and you know it was very difficult. We're just happy that it's finally seen the light of day.

It's a great product in the end. Regardless of challenges you spent a long time working on this record didn't you? Was the reason that you just wanted to make the best thing possible?
If you listen to it you can tell that we just didn't make a record just because we had an obligation to do so. I mean everything was very though out and we were very excited about the songs. It's just that there were so many interpersonal band problems going on. It just maddening for Kelly and I.
I mean this record was three quarters cut, and all the songs were done back in the end of 2005. That was the frustrating part of it. We just had to put our heads down and just plow through everything and just make it happen. The lion's share of this thing was all etched out in 2005.

I hope fans consider it worth the wait. I think you'll get a good response.
I think we're gonna get a great response.

I think you're gonna turn some heads with the direction of a few songs, and perhaps the overall style. What are your thoughts in regards to that?
My thoughts are that it's one of the hardest rocking albums Night Ranger has ever put out. I think it rivals Dawn Patrol for just sheer hard rocking. I'm not talking about bad '80s reverb production rock. I'm talking about just straight ahead rock and roll. American rockin', you know what I mean, and that's what it sounds like to me. And I think it's the hardest rocking album that we've had out in years.

I agree completely, in fact the first four tracks and I was knocked almost off my feet, you know.
And I think that's the exciting part of it.

It's like a sonic onslaught.
It's like move over baby, Night Ranger's playing tonight. (laughs)

Now these songs, they're heavy, they're in you face, but they have a modern twist that I've talked to you about when it was just you and me chatting.
You don't want to revisit the past right?

Well yeah, I think really Night Ranger is basically duel lead guitars, dual singers, anthemic choruses, big ballads and hooky choruses. I think that's what this record is. I'm not sure I could turn around and write another record that sounded like a record I wrote 25 years ago.
Along the same lines that I'm sure people were saying to the Beatles. Where's She Loves You? What's this Happiness is a Warm Gun? What's this Come Together, where's She Loves You? It's like asking Lennon and McCartney why aren't you writing another I Want to Hold Your Hand? No this is our new album Sergeant Pepper.
No were want to hear Please Please Me. In that same respect I once saw a picture and it showed every stage of John Lennon. It showed the Beatles in 1960, 1963, 1964, then '65 and '66 during Revolver and Rubber Soul. '67 with Sergeant Pepper, '68 with the White Album. And it showed him with the different looks that he looked like. He changed, the times changed. You can't ask someone to stand still.
I'm telling you, if I stood still and played the same stuff I would die. I can't do that. What I can do though is write a song with a chorus, I can write a song with a melody and with every bit of my heart and soul and with every bit of integrity that I have. As long as I'm real to myself and write it with soulfulness and integrity I think the fans are gonna hear that soulfulness, integrity and spirit inside that song. I don't think you can ask anyone to do anything else.

And I think those attributes you talked about, you nailed because there is melody, there are hooks, there are choruses…
There are twin lead guitars, blazing solos, twin vocals. This is Night Ranger. That was Night Ranger in 1984; this is Night Ranger in 2007. We've got twin lead guitars, dual vocals, anthemic choruses, and big ballads. We've got our hooky verses and hooky choruses. Describe Night Ranger and then describe this album.

It's just updated. In fact there are a couple tunes that I've spoken to you one on one about that to me are commercial top 40 hits.
Yeah but, you know, all we can do is just write songs that we feel are right. If it becomes a commercial hit then so be it. We're not trying to kid ourselves and think that Night Ranger's going to have a 10 million selling record in the United States or Europe or Japan or anywhere like that, but who knows? All I've got to say is, once you release a record you're in the game, you know what I mean. Wherever it goes is where it goes, but you're not in the game until you release that record. When you release that record you're in the game and then it's up to the Universe man. If the Universe green lights it then the Universe green lights it. And that's how it works.

What a great outlook. Does it frustrate you that there are a small portion of people who don't want any band to move forward?
No, no it doesn't.

You just go with it?
Everyone loves the music they love. I think a true fan would never want someone to stay in one position. I think true love is, I'll tell you, a great Zen quote is “the way to control you cow or sheep is to give it a large spacious meadow”. That's what I mean and I think any true fan that loves it is going to feel that this who we are, this is how we do it, this is how we play and I hope the absolutely love it. If someone thinks it's a bit too modern for them I don't know what to say. I'll just keep making music as long as I live man. I'll keep being true to my spirit. I don't think anyone would ever fault us for being who we are.

I love who you are and what you've brought here. I mean there are guitars everywhere on this record.
I know man, isn't that great? I love that.

I mean Drama Queen, it's like there are riffs everywhere.
(laughs) I know isn't it awesome?

It is, I even like the verse.
It's unnatural. (laughing)

What else do you like on this record? Tell me about Whatever Happened. That sounds like a really modern, radio friendly track.
I'll tell you. Whatever Happened was inspired because I was on Portobello Goat road in London a couple of years ago going to the big antique market on Portobello Rd. I'm walking along the street before you get to the antique market and there's a great shop that has all stuff from India. I bought several postcards one of which is this blue Hindu God. I came home that fall and put it right on the console in my studio and it's been there ever since. I stare at it and whenever I get really crazy I just focus into that blue Hindu God. I focus into that spirit within and it somehow really calms me. So I was just working on this song and I had this idea and came up with this lyric 'I can hardly wait for another day' because you know me I'm excited about life. That's my theory on life; I can hardly wait for another day. So I turned it into that so I can tell you how I'm really feeling. It's OK if you think I have my head in the clouds. So then it's like, whatever happened to the girl, whatever happened to that little girl, whatever happened to that blue Hindu God that was you? Because here's the blue Hindu God postcard that I'm staring at. (laughs)
Then I thought wouldn't it be great if we were all just like this pure spiritual being? And you're having this big fight with this girl and you thinking whatever happened to this pure spiritual little think that you used to be or whatever that's inside of you. And its kind came out of 'whatever happened to that blue Hindu God that was you'? That's kinda what inspired that whole song Whatever Happened.

I love it. And There is Life, that's probably the most classic Night Ranger tune on the record.
Oh I love that. I sat down to my piano in my living room and I'm like man, we need a song like this. And I start playing it on piano. Then I showed the chorus to Michael and Kelly and then Kelly's like 'everything happens for a reason'.
We were like in our spiritual, whatever will be, will be vibe you know. We thought, you know what, it can get crazy and it can get crazy, be at long as there's love man, there's life. That's kind of where we fell. As nuts as it can be, as long as there's love, there's life. Love is like life, it's like the air you breathe. Everyone needs love. When you don't have love you perish. You shrivel up. You become something that's a soulful human being. That just sort of came out and we came up with that idea that as long as there's love there's life. We just pounded that song out 'we don't always know, will the searching never end'. You know you're always searching for something and that song just came out and it sounded so great and we felt so good about it.

Yeah, you should. I love Rock Star too obviously and we've talked about that.
Oh I love Rock Star.

Big attitude filled rocker.
Oh I love Rock Star man. I love it because it was like when I was with TNT and we went to that club Rock Rock all the time and there were these little Polaroid pictures of all the rock stars all over the walls drunk on their asses. Of course we were in there some night just getting plowed and Yoko, the girl that was the manager of the place was always dragging us out of there getting us back to our cars and to our apartments. Always helping and it was like that and I just love that song Rock Star.

It sounds like you guys all over. The opening track is obviously one of the heaviest things I've ever heard from the band. Tell Your Vision
Yeah man, I was in a different space when I wrote that song. I was just gone man. One time I was just sitting down and I was just playing this riff on my guitar and I'm just like, oh man I dig this. Then I thought about my wife Molly, she's always got such a positive outlook, she's got such a good vision of how things should be and I'm like 'tell your vision to change my mind'. (laughs) Of course it's one of those songs that she always jokes about. I always like write these wonderful little songs on acoustic guitar and they sound like such nice little love songs but they come out as the Night Ranger songs like Don't Tell Me You Love Me, Rockin' America, Call Your Name, or this that and the other and she's like what happened to that little song you had? So that's where that came about, it was like, tell your vision. In other words, like come and give me an attitude adjustment. I always try to think of different ways to say things. So much has already been said, so I was like, tell your vision because everyone's got a vision. You've got a vision of that wife and daughter or wife and son of yours. Isn't it fun?

Yeah, I've got two sons.
And you've got a vision of what your life should be like and how you want them to be. Everybody's got a vision, you know what I mean? So it was like, tell your vision to come change my mind, that's what I was talking about.






It's funny you should say you always look at an alternative way of saying things because I get that from your lyrics. It's never quite straight forward, especially the Neverland record. There are some songs on there…
Yeah, sometimes I get a little quirky. (laughs) But I like that about me. I just saw in Rolling Stone there's this new band called Fall Out Boy, have you ever heard of them?

Yeah, yeah.
If you look up the Rolling Stones review they mention that the lead singer sounds like Night Ranger's Jack Blades.

I think I'd better get that record and have a listen.
It said his kinda vocals sound like; I forgot how he said it, something like, “the strip mall soul of '80s car radio rockers John Waite and Night Ranger's Jack Blades. I thought well damn, that's some good company to be in because I think John Waite's one of the best damned singers of all times.

Oh he is, absolutely.
And I was like, I love this fact, here you have this quirky like, punky band, which is what it is. It's very popular, it's a big band around here, and they reference me in the Rolling Stone review. I think it's only like the second time that Rolling Stone has ever mentioned my name. I think the only other time is when the slagged Aerosmith on the Get a Grip album for writing songs with Tommy Shaw and Me. Of course that album sold like 15 million records.

Exactly and that's like my favorite Aerosmith album.
Yeah, it's mine too because I had two songs on it. (laughs)

In fact, Hole in the Sun's got that same kind of vibe.
Yeah, that's a great record.

Yeah, just a great rockin' record. So are you gonna get out on tour and play some of these songs live?
I think we have to don't you?

I think it would be a crime if we didn't.

It would be a crime.
There ya go.

So, so you think you'll do some solo or like some Night Ranger dates or team up with a package or something?
I'd like to do both. I'd like to do solo Night Ranger dates and I like to team up with somebody. Maybe we should team up with the reformed Ratt.

Ratt's good but Night Ranger's at another level.
I don't know man, I think yeah maybe you're right, but you know what, I'd like to team up with somebody. I think it'd be great to go out with like Nugent and Styx. Night Ranger, Nugent and Styx. Then do a little Damn Yankees in the middle of Ted's set.

That is what you need to do.
Give old Teddy a rest. Tommy and I'll sing for a while.

That's what you need to do. I reckon every time we've done an interview that's sort of come up. Can it ever happen? Can you ever do it?
I think so. In fact I'm gonna go to LA this week and try to make it happen. I don't care what those managers say. (laughs)

It's a popular discussion and the board. What would you like to see as a package and it's always Styx, Night Ranger, and Damn Yankees.
I mean, why not?

Yeah, why not?
That's what I say man.

Do it.
And then we'll have this acoustic act, Shaw/Blades open.

Absolutely, there ya go, and then you could play four hours in one night.
Yeah, I was talking to my friend Mickey Hart, you know, with the Grateful Dead.

He said when they go out on tour they rent valleys, rent complete like mountains and stuff. Then they go out and throw like a three day show and the individual band members have their own bands. He said those are the openers then the Grateful Dead plays at the end. It's like Bob Weir's band Rap Dog opens, then Mickey does Planet Drum….then the Dead plays at the end.

That's great. Why not, that's what you need to do. Anymore stage shows coming up in the near future?
You know, I had so much fun doing that Rock of Ages thing.

You got some good publicity from that.
I had so much fun doing it. That was so great, I'd love to do that again. I think they're taking it to New York but I haven't heard anything this month so I'll have to find out what's going on with that. I'm a little busy these days though.

Yeah, you've got a few things on.
I've got a few irons in the fire if you know what I mean Andrew.

(laughs) That's great. Do you still have a desire to have Damn Yankees continue on where they left off?
I think it would be great. Every time Ted and I talk it's like really a great thing, and I'm supposed to be producing his second record but so far that keeps getting postponed. I don't know what the deal is with that. That'll probably sound like a Damn Yankees record.

Exactly, get Tommy and you on backing vocals. (laughs) Well anything else that we haven't mentioned interview wise Jack with Shaw/Blades, with Night Ranger?
You know we've got that Night Ranger live from Japan in 2003 coming out on Sony BMG that I think is coming out soon.

So much good stuff how can you not play three hours a night live with all these songs?
I know, it's kinda crazy isn't it? That's the funny part about it. Like I said before, which songs don't we play? I'm excited about this new record and I want to play all these songs.

At this point Jack and I break off into a non-interview related chat, which draws things to a close.
I hope you enjoyed the always vivacious and charismatic Jack Blades in conversation – my fifth formal feature interview with him and always a pleasure.



c. 2007 MelodicRock.com / Interview By Andrew McNeice





Jack Blades (2004)

Jack Blades: 20+ years later – a solo album!
Jack Blades is always a good interview - interesting conversationalist and of course there is always a dozen projects to talk about at any given time. This is my forth official interview with Jack and he remains as entertaining as ever - talking about his current passion, a new solo album.
Thanks as always go to Ron Higgins for transcribing the interview for me.

How are you Jack?
I'm great, Andrew. How are you

I'm good, thanks.
Wait a minute. My wife is really upset with me right now.

Oh, is she?
No, it's okay. She's not upset with me anymore.

What have you done?
It's okay. I haven't done anything. How are ya?

Working hard, mate. Working hard. And you? I've just got off the phone with Eric [Martin].
He told me you were going to call him today.

He said you were swapping stories.
Yep. We're swapping stories as it were.

He tells me you guys are working on something. That's very good to hear.
Did he tell you what it was?

Not really. He said he couldn't really yet, but he just said you two were working on something for a Japanese…
Yeah, it's a pretty big thing in Japan so it's going to be pretty fun.

I'm pretty impressed to hear that. I think you two should've worked together long ago.
Oh, yeah. He and I, we're friends and it's like, we're going to have some fun here.

It's going to be a fun time, man.

Good on you.
So I've got this new solo album out.

Yeah, let's talk about it.
Well, it's actually not coming out until next month.

It'll take me that long to get the interview done, so I thought I'd talk to you as early as I can then I can take my time getting it ready.
Beautiful. Beautiful.

It's not what I… let me be polite; it's not what I expected.
What did you expect?

I don't know what I expected, maybe something like the first Damn Yankees.
With like what?

…or a little bit more Night Ranger like…..I'm not sure.

Yeah. Some of the stuff on there is like the Shaw/Blades, I can see that, you know, straightaway, and that's great, but there's a couple of… you experimented a little bit there too, didn't you?
Like on which songs?

“We Are The Ones” and “On Top of the World”, that was a far out track.
Oh, I fuckin' love that track.

Do you really?
I love the lick.

It's a big heavy track….
It's pretty beastie, yeah. I love the fact that it's so… it's all the guys in Night Ranger, but it doesn't sound anything like Night Ranger.

Are you serious?
It's all the guys in Night Ranger. That's Jeff and Brad, and me and Kelly.

No way.

That does not sound like Night Ranger.
Well, that's what I'm saying. That's why I love it.

Wow. Okay.
I wanted us to be on this heavy, heavy track that doesn't sound anything like Night Ranger.

Yeah. It doesn't. I'm surprised.
Yeah. I really like that.

Yeah. And “Who You Wanna Be”, I thought was another different kind of track for you.
Yeah, you know what? I wanted just to… I'm such a Zeppelin fan, that I wanted to do like trippy, far out, weird, different things, and when you have a solo album, why not do something like that.

I mean I though the melody and the verses were very Jack Blades <starts singing>, you know what I mean? And then the great sort of Zeppeliny <sings guitar riff>, you know what I mean? I just love it. It was really, really fun. And then that's Brad playing the solo, that really outrageous part. That's Brad Gillis playing on that.

Is that right?
Yeah, yeah. We just had a ball doing it. You know when you have a solo album you get to stretch and do things so you're not confined to this little box or world that everybody has put you in. And I think a song like “Shine On” is so Damn Yankees like. I mean “We Are The Ones” really was written with Damn Yankees in mind and that was one of the songs that was going to be on the Damn Yankees record.

I just love that. I think it's great. It's just kick ass stuff. Then “Sea of Emotions” with Neal and me doing it.

That's a great song.
That's a blistering solo on that.

I think what really…
I'm sorry you don't like my record.

No, I didn't say I didn't like it, Jack. What I'm saying is a couple of the songs… There's some classic stuff on there, don't get me wrong. I think I was really surprised to hear such a varied record.
Well you know what, I've been writing so many songs and I have so many things, and if you're not, if you can't do what you want to do on your own solo record, then what good are you.

Yes. Okay.
Because a song like “Someday” <sings>, is so Jack Blades as well as “Shine On” is so me, and of course like “Don't Want to Be Alone Tonight” is like a big ballady Jack Blades song.

That is possibly my favorite song.
Yeah, Neal and I just love that. Neal and I wrote that together.

Did you? That's a killer song. I'll tell my other favorite…
And then there's a song like “Sometimes You Gotta Have Faith”

That is another favorite.
That is so my attitude in life. That is so me. Sometimes you've got to believe in something greater than self, sometimes you've got to believe in something bigger than yourself, you know what I mean.

Now that song I could hear on radio.
Well that's what I mean. Did you hear “Nature's Way”?

That's always, when I was growing up that was always one of my favorite songs by this group called Spirit, which was a '70s LA rock band, right.

That song was always one of my favorite songs and I think it's even more timely now because it's Nature's way of telling you something is wrong, and with Tommy and I doing it as a duet, I think we just kicked ass on it.

Yeah. I think probably my favorite song on the whole album is “To Touch the Sky”.
Oh, I love “To Touch the Sky”.

Man, that has got melodies going everywhere.
I know, isn't that great?

That is a great song, and your vocals on that are just fantastic.
Well thank you very much. I was really proud of the fact that Neal and I wrote that. I told Neal, I said “Damn Neal we should've been in a band together. I told you that.”

Yeah, let's quit fucking around. Look, I'll show you <laughs>.

There still needs to be a Schon/Blades album, you know that?
Yeah, forget Shaw/Blades it's Schon/Blades. <laughs>. But I love Shaw/Blades too, man.

Oh, I do too. I still play that record all the time.
Yeah, that's a good one.

Your album - I like some parts and there's some of it that I still need to live with because it is just so different.
Which ones do you have to… which ones do you think are so different? Like “On Top of The World”?

Oh “On Top of the World” is really… I really haven't gotten into that one yet, but hearing you talk about it helps me go back and…
And then Jeff Watson played this blistering, blistering lead in it he just fucking went for it. It was insane. That's the lead that's on there. That was the first take and it was like, fuck, that's it Jeff. That is it. We looked at each other and went, “Wow!”

I can't believe that's all the guys from Night Ranger.
That's Kelly, that's Brad, that's me.

I loved “Sea of Emotion”. I love Kelly's line in there. It's good to hear him singing.
Yeah, I wanted to put Kelly in the bridge there.

Yeah, he's a great bridge singer isn't he?
Oh, he's just wonderful at that. And then how about Warren… that's Warren DeMartini playing the solos on “Shine On” and “We Are the Ones”.

Is that right?
Yeah, that's Warren DeMartini playing those. In fact, it's Warren, he wanted to play acoustic guitar on “Who You Wanna Be” because he was always a big Zeppelin… he's a huge Jimmy Page fan and he's playing all the acoustic guitar playing along all of the verses of “Who You Wanna Be.”

And that's Warren playing all of that, and then that's Warren playing a bit of the solos on “Don't Want To Be Alone Tonight”.

Yep. I love that ballad. It's such a great ballad.
Yeah, that's a killer one. On “Who You Wanna Be”, I said, let's just do an outside sounding song that'll just be this spacey… you know, let's just stretch, let's do things we would never do like backwards drums like that break in the third verse. In fact, in “Who You Wanna Be”, you know what I did, I played a different bass melody in each verse.

Is that right?
I have never done that before. I've never had the freedom of being able to do that, and I was so excited about that. It's like when McCartney did “With a Little Help From My Friends”, each verse he plays a different bass line, you know what I mean?

The first one was <sings example>, then the next one was <sings> and then the next one was <sings>, you know what I mean? Each verse in “Who You Wanna Be”, I play a different bass line in the verse. I had so much fun with that song. And then Warren playing the acoustic guitar and then that Zeppeliny like chorus riff <sings>. I love riffs, man. I'm a riff kid from way back. I grew up listening to English riffs like Cream and Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin. That's the music I grew up on.

Yeah, I can see some of that in the record for sure.
Yeah, yeah. That's the stuff I grew up on, man. And I wanted to have in “On Top of the World” the most heavy, obnoxious most raunchiest fucking straight in your face heavy, heavy track with all the guys from Night Ranger playing. Just to show… just to be able to do that so it doesn't sound like a cute little pop song.

That's not cute, that's for sure <laughs>!
You know what I mean?

Yeah. I do.
And the bridge on “On Top of the World” <starts singing>

Well you're helping me understand it a bit better which is good. That's what the interview is all about.
That's what interviews are all about.

That's what it's all about. “Someday” is another great ballad. That could be on radio, couldn't it?
Exactly. “Someday” is a great track, kind of a mid-tempo…

And Tommy Shaw is on that as well I presume?
Yeah, he sings the backup chorus there with me. Absolutely.

How about “Shine On”? Do you like “Shine On”?

“Shine On” you know, it's really funny, I didn't enjoy it at first, and then I finished the record and I was walking out of the house singing “Shine On” and I'm thinking, “that's a sign of a really good song.”
“Shine On” is… I really just love that track.

Yeah, it's infectious isn't it?
Yeah, totally infectious and it's Michael Cartellone and Tommy and me. It's just great.

Now you recorded that for Damn Yankees. Did you totally re-cut it for this?
Completely re-cut it. In fact, some of that stuff on there is from the demo that Tommy and I originally did of the song.

Is that right?
Yeah. It was so good. The demo that we did was so good that we put some of it on there.

Some of the choruses and stuff.

Okay. How many tracks did you record for this album, Jack? Did you put everything on there that you recorded or is there some stuff that didn't make it?
No, I put pretty much everything on there that I recorded.

Yeah? Okay.
Plus that bonus track for Japan. Which one did I put for a bonus track?

Yeah, I saw that the other day.
Oh, <starts singing> “I will catch you when you fall…”

I haven't heard that track. What sort of style is it?
Oh, you haven't heard that one?

Oh, that's a very bizarre track too.

Is it? <laughs>
A great chorus and the verses are really different – really strange and different. Kelly played the drums on it and we did this break in the middle of it, it was really fun. You know what, man? I had fun with this record.

It does sound like this is your record. It sounds like you've just gone, “Screw everything, this is what I want to do, and I'm doing it.”
And you know what? I think you'll find fans loving it.

I hope so, Jack. I really do because we want another one. And then we want another one after that.

So you've got to keep at it.
Keep it rolling baby.

Yeah. What about Night Ranger? Let's jump to them.
What about them?

Are we going to have a new record this year, please?
I don't know. We just came back from a nice tour of Japan.

Yeah, first time in a while.
We had a great time.

I heard good things.
We had great, great shows.

I don't know why you didn't come down to Australia afterwards with Nevermind.
Too bad. But you know, we're actually talking to record companies that want us to do an album for them in Japan.

We'll have to see what happens.

Yes, please.
Would “On Top of the World” be an example of what's to come, or just traditional Night Ranger? Ha, ha, I don't know. I think the guys might think that's too heavy.

Yeah, probably <laughs>. But it's good to do it and have some fun with it, right?
It's good to do it and have some fun. I mean it's like an Audioslave track or something.

It sounds like a Rage Against the Machine lick, I love that stuff.

It sounds like it. I just remember listening to it and… I'm going to have to listen to it as soon as I hang up because…
Now you'll understand it more.

Well I hope so, yeah. I do. I do. Night Ranger. That's good. I heard you filmed some dates. Is that right?
Yes, we filmed three dates in Tokyo so there might be a DVD coming out.

Yes, please.
My friend John Kalodner wants to release the DVD.

Oh, great.
He's with Sanctuary Records now.

Yeah, I heard that. I was just talking with him not too long ago. I did a nice interview with him. I like John.
He's a great guy. He loves this record. He wants to release it.

Good. I was going to ask if there's a U.S. release planned.
Yeah, there probably will be a U.S. release. [Update: Yes, there is…it's due in April]

And he has Tommy Shaw and I doing a record.

Yeah, a record of our favorite tunes from the '70s.

Are you serious?
Yeah, I'm dead serious.

Tommy and I are going to start doing it January and February and just knock it out.

Under the name Shaw/Blades?
Yeah, I don't know… or just Jack Blades and Tommy Shaw or whatever. It's going to be our favorite, like Seals and Crofts' “Summer Breeze”, maybe “California Dreamin'”, maybe “For What It's Worth” by Buffalo Springfield, maybe “Bus Stop” by the Hollies, maybe, you know, things like that.

Okay. In the acoustic vain?
No. In the regular just rock and roll vain.

Like “Shine On” or like Shaw/Blades kind of style?
I don't know. Whatever the song needs to have.

Really? Okay.

Shaw/Blades was a pretty unplugged album, so not necessarily like that?
No. Not necessarily like that at all. We were even thinking about doing Three Dog Night's “One” <starts singing>.

Ah, that's a great song.
I know. Think of all our favorite songs. Like Rod Stewart did all of those like '30s or '40s, or whatever it is…

We're thinking about doing all the songs that we grew up with, that all the people our age will absolutely just remember and love.

Yeah, we're really excited.

Good. So we've got Shaw/Blades coming up, we've got possibly a Night Ranger DVD and hopefully an album.
Right, and we've got a Jack Blades solo CD.

We've got Jack Blades coming up…
Very good. And then we've got this special thing that's very secret. The big Japanese group.

Yeah, you've got that going on.
That Eric and I are going to be involved with and doing.

Wow. Holy cow. What a year coming up.
And we're putting together possibly a tour right now for May through June of Night Ranger, Ted Nugent and Styx in the United States.

That needs to be done.
And in the middle of Ted's show, Tommy and I will come out and maybe play 5 or 6 Damn Yankees tunes.

Hello. I'd love to see that show.
Wouldn't that be great?

Maybe we can get that down to Australia or something.
Wouldn't that be great? That's the kind of stuff that I'm talking about.

That'll be a good show.
Yeah, so we're really excited about that.

A lot going on, man.

Fantastic. What else? Geez.
Oh, and I wrote that song that I co-wrote with my son on my CD. I love that.

Oh, absolutely.
“Breakin It Down”.

Yeah! I love Colin's album.
Colin's got a good album doesn't he?

Did you see the review I did for it?

Yeah, I gave it 92%.
No way!

Absolutely. I'll email it to you.
You've got to email it to me directly.

I will, and I'll send you the link as well. I gave it 92%. It's a killer album.
Oh, I'd love to see… please, email that to me.

I will. Connoisseur sent it to me. No, you sent me the promo a long time ago.
I think so, yeah.

But I bought a copy myself directly from Connoisseur's web site.
Beautiful. Beautiful.

It's just a great album.
He just got back… he was touring all this past week in… what's today, Monday? He was touring all last week, he came home for 3 days from Japan and then went right to the East coast and played some shows and did radio shows and did a whole bunch of stuff. He just got back Saturday night.

He's having fun?
Oh, yeah. He's loving it. He's going to have a good year next year too.

It'll be a good year for the Blades boys. <laughs>

Yeah. It sounds like it.
A lot of work for the Blades boys.
I've got one son who works for Doc McGhee – McGhee Entertainment.
Yeah, he's an assistant at the management company there.
So he's down there in Hollywood in the middle of all that stuff all the time. With Slipknot and KISS and Hootie and the Blowfish and everything else.

And you've written a couple of other things for Frontiers too haven't you?

Mickey Thomas… I'm looking forward to hearing those. In fact, I've heard one track that you and Neal wrote.
Which one?

“One World”.
Oh, you did?

Yeah. Frontiers sent me an MP3. Great song. A very Shaw/Blades kind of style. Very Journey, actually.
Very sort of John Waite, actually. It's a very cool song. I liked it.

Will Colin do another record next year?
I hope so.

Fantastic. And you produced that, didn't you?
Yeah, I co-produced it with Noel Golden.

Yeah, who's Noel worked with before?
Matchbox Twenty, Edwin McCain…

That's right.
Those kind of people.

Damn Yankees? I supposed you've got so much going on you probably don't have time for Damn Yankees.
We're kind of just doing… we're going to put this… if this tour comes down I think that'll generate a lot of interest in the Yanks.

Yeah, definitely.
It'll make it… I just want to… I just talked to Ted three days ago in fact and he's telling me how amazing… that he's written some great songs, some great licks. He's got some great shit going on.

I loved his Craveman album.
I know. Craveman is great. I think I wrote a song with him on that.

Yeah, you did. It's a great rockin' album.
“Crave”. We wrote “Crave”.

He's an insane human being. <laughs>
He's a great guy.
He'll be the Governor of Michigan before you know it.

That's something I'd like to see.
I'm not sure I would.

Gun issue laws for everyone.
Yeah, guns for everyone!

Fantastic. So what else? Anything? You shot the video for “Shine On” haven't you?
We shot the video with Tommy and I in the video and I think it's going to be actually on the CD. You put it in your computer and play it.

Yeah, I think that's a cool thing. I think more people need to make videos these days.
I think so, so they can get that and there's a reason to buy the CD and not just burn it.

Exactly. I think it's a great thing and you've done a little interview for it as well I hear?
Yeah, I did a little EPK interview on it too. So it's very cool.

Yeah, that's a good thing. What do you think about the whole industry?
I think it's an exciting time right now. I think it's changing. As soon as they figure out what's going on, and we figure out how to keep people from stealing music and all that stuff, I think it's going to be good. I think music will always be around, man. I think you'll always want to hear music. And we've just got to figure out different ways to do it. We've just got to figure it out. Once it gets figured out, it'll get figured out. Then once it gets figured out, it'll get changed again.

That's the way it is. We just have to figure out this whole thing to keep people from stealing. That's the problem.

Yeah. It's too easy for them isn't it?
Yeah, it's just too easy and people don't think anything of it. They think their music should be free. They think, you know, you spend half a million dollars making a record and they should get it for free. It's very difficult because nobody wants to… in the beginning when that became popular, it's like, they should've stopped that in the very beginning, but the record industry was so stupid that they decided to do nothing about it and now they're reaping the rewards.

But it's the same thing with movie guys. You think Spielberg is going to spend $200 million making a movie and let people just download it for nothing?

Well they're next aren't they? They're the people on the chopping block next, aren't they?
Right, right.

The internet can be a good thing and it can be a bad thing as well.
That's right.

It's a shame that some of the record labels think that anyone on the internet is a pirate. That's a shame.
Yeah, yeah. They just don't get it.

It could be like what I do. I positively promote music. I thought that would be a good thing.
You're a pirate?

I'm not a pirate!
I know!!

I'm going to upload your CD to my site and give it away.
<singing: Give it away, all, give it away, all>
There you go. All right, mate. You got it?

I absolutely got it. Thank you, sir.
Okay. And if you need anything else, call me, email me, let me know…

All right. I'll do that.
Thank you, mate. .

Thanks, Jack.

Jack Blades - Interview 3 (1998)

Hey Jack, what's happening?

I'm just sitting here waiting for you to call!

I appreciate you taking the call Jack.

I just want to touch on Neverland for a minute. Last time we talked I had it on the way, but it hadn't arrived yet.
It is a bloody fantastic album!

Why thank you.

It is a very mature Night Ranger wasn't it?
Yeah it was. I think this new Night Ranger is more immature Night Ranger. Ha ha!

Yeah, this one is a lot more fun. I think you are really going to enjoy this one.

Neverland was a pretty serious album.
Yeah, this one is pretty not serious. This is a pretty fun record. The Japanese called me last night. They are flipping out over it.
They are really excited.

I am really pleased, and even surprised to see another album so quickly.
Well, so am I.
Actually we just got off the road, and I started writing a bunch of songs, and we thought well, lets go in and cut them.
And Zero said they would like another record. So we said okay, let's do it right now.

So the band must really be smoking right now.
Actually, if you think about it, we are releasing about one year from the last one. Which is really amazing!

I just wish more bloody bands would do the same these days.
Yeah, it normally takes two, three or four years. It's a joke.

Absolutley. Trends come and go between records.
It's like the old days, where The Beatles put out records every six or so months. Know what I mean?

Even you guys - in the early days '82-'84.
Right, right.

Yeah, a tour an album, a tour, and another album.

I guess you can burn out on that after half a dozen years or so.
I think so. This time around it was a lot of fun doing it this way.
We got an engineer by the name of Noel Golden, who mixed Sammy Hagar's last album 'Marching To Mars'. That's who we brought in as an engineer, but he did such a good job, we decided to have it a co-production thing.

There is a Rolling Stone interview you did. Brief, but you said press in 'American doesn't give a shit', but you are glad to be doing it anyway.
Yeah, so true.

I didn't recognize the producers name.
Yeah, he is more an engineer. He is from Canada.

And you guys know what you are doing anyway, eh?
Yeah, we've done a few of these before!
It's pretty easy for us to make a record. And we did it up here in my studio.

I was going to ask if you recorded on the Ranch.
Yeah, it turned out pretty nice.

I have a few of the tracks here. The track 'Let Him Run' pops up.
Yeah, yeah. We did 'Let Him Run' with Fitz playing the keyboards.
Instead of Jeff playing the guitars, we had Fitz play the keyboards.
You know, the Japanese love that shit.

They sure do!
They love remaking stuff. It is kind of neat. It turned out really nice. Kelly sang it. It seamed much more like the way we perform it live, which I personally enjoy.
Makes it sound fresh again.

The other thing this Rolling Stone blurb said, was that you wanted to ship 'Panic In Jane' to radio without the band's name on it - to eliminate any pre-conceptions.
Yeah, that would be something interesting.

Cool song?
Very cool song.

Different for Night Ranger?
Different, yet definitely us.

Can you describe the overall sound of the '7' record?
Well the sound of the album is much more rocking than the Neverland CD. It is much more like in your face rock n roll.
The songs like 'Panic In Jane', 'Kong' and 'Mother Mayhem' - those three are probably my favorites.
'The Sign of The Times' is a real, like furious straight ahead rocker, like 'You Can Still Rock In America' type song.
And um, 'Sea Of Love' is a great rockin' tune, straight ahead, a real pounder.
But the album rocks a lot harder. It rocks more than say the 'Neverland' CD, because we simply wanted to make a raw straight ahead, in your face record.
The last album was very precise and perfect, and I enjoyed it, but I also enjoyed making this record.
It was different also having another person at the helm. Like I said, with Noel throwing all this stuff in the works, making this record the way we wanted it to sound.
It kind of wound up really nice.

Ron Nevison is a very technical producer isn't he.
Yes he is, where as this way, you would admire our adherence to low tech! There is no high tech on this record!

Night Ranger has always had the signature vocals, and 'Neverland' in particular had many layers of vocals.
Have you still retained those features
Oh yes, it is differently Kelly and I singing big choruses.
And you know, we brought up a friend of mine Jack Russell. He sings with Great White.

I am glad you brought that up. I was going to ask you about him.
Yeah, Jack came up for a couple of days and sang backgrounds on the whole album.
You will hear his voice in there a lot.
'Panic In Jane' and 'Kong' especially. He is a good friend, and said 'Yeah. I'll help out'.
Originally it was going to be Tommy Shaw, but then he started doing a solo album - which I have ended up last week in LA playing on six tracks.

Tell me how that came about.
Well, he was making this record, and wanted me to play on it. It was like song after songs and I ended up playing on over half of it.
Playing bass. Unfortunately I didn't get to sing on it, I was too busy and then I had to leave.
He is doing vocals now.

Almost a Shaw/Blades thing!
Almost, yeah! Which is nice, as I love the Shaw/Blades thing.

Who else plays on the record?
We brought in Michael Carabello, the conga player for Santana. He played some conga's and percussion on some of the songs.
That's very cool.
My friend Pat McDonald played some acoustic guitar on 'Mother Mayhem', we co-wrote that song.
He used to be in a band called Timbuk 3.
And Tommy, Mark Hudson and I did the background vocals on 'Kong'.
So it is pretty neat.

And it is out through Zero at the end of March.
Yeah, the album's called '7'.

The name was in question there for a while?
Well in Japan, it is our Seventh studio album, so we thought we would call it '7', and then we were thinking 'Panic In Jane', but he label wanted '7', so that is fine with me.
Maybe people will go in thinking they are buying the Garth Brooks album, and end up with the Night Ranger album. Ha ha.

They will get a culture shock when they get home!
Oh boy will they!

What about a US release?
Probably in the summer time. Early summer.

Looking pretty good to have Legacy get it out?
Well yeah, we are signed to Legacy, that's out Label.

Will they change it around like they did the last one?
It all depends. I gave them a song order.

I got the US version of 'Neverland', and found the running order much better.
It's much better. Much, much better.

I only found it a little strange to have 'Forever All Over Again' kicking off the album.
Well, Legacy wanted to focus on that ballad to take it to radio.

I think it was great adding 'Walk In The Future' to the record.
Yeah, that was on the Japanese EP.

You know 'Neverland' only got released officially in Australia in October of '97.
Oh, my God, really?

Isn't that funny! Here we are getting ready to do another album!

I ran into a mate I hadn't seen for about a year, and was filling him in on Night Ranger, saying you know, you had a record out, and he's going nuts, saying play it to me.
I just said sure, and they have another one out next month!

Ha ha. That's funny! Really!
This album is fun. I don't give a fuck what anyone thinks about this kind of music or that, as long as it's fun, that's what counts.
A good song is a good song, and there are plenty of them on the new album.

Cool Jack, thanks!
Well all right mate! You think you got enough?

Hey - before you go, there are still rumors of Damn Yankees doing a record. What do you think of that?
Right now, there is a lot of talk between the people. Betwee the band members. We would like to do another.
I would think there is going to be another. I think it will be this year.
We could start work on it as soon as a month or two.
So anyway, I think that could happen!

That would be great.
Yeah, THAT would be FUN!

All right! Bye mate.




Jack Blades - Interview 2 (1998)


Well, by now a lot of you have heard Neverland and given it you're verdict. But for the rest of you who haven't.....the good news is that it is coming your way in July. But for now, here is some more insights into the reunion record.
It was also time to get the lowdown on the Night Ranger rumour mill. So I called up Jack Blades to get a fill in, and while I was at it, quizzed him on each track from the album.

How's It Going?
Real good, the single comes out here June 9th and then the album comes out July 15th.

Great Stuff. What is the label you've got?

Is that right? Is John Kalodner in there somewhere?
John Kalodner is in the middle of it all. The new single was mixed by Bob Clearmountain. And we put a fifteen piece string section on the song 'Forever All Over Again', and had Clearmountain mix it, and it got mastered last Friday. Now we're getting everything ready, getting ready to do some radio promotion and all that kind of stuff.

Well I hope that will be big, it's a killer song.
Yeah, we're very happy. That's gonna go real good. Anyway Clearmountain mixed it, it sounds unbelievable.

Well, I thought you had a sharp sound with the Ron Nevison production!
Well, Ron did a great job, and the only song we re-mixed was 'Forever All Over Again'.

So you guys are counting on that being the big summer release over there, eh?
The new order for the album is Forever, Neverland, As Always I Remain, Someday I Will, My Elusive Mind, New York Time, A Walk In The Future, Slap Like Being Born, Sunday Morning, Anything For You, I Don't Call This Love.

And how about touring?
We are going to do a couple of weeks worth of shows in the middle of June, and then start touring hard and heavy in August.

How's the band doing now?
Everybody's very happy.

Okay Jack, a comment on each of the songs on the Neverland record.

New York Time.
Good rocking track, basically has a vibe of New York, stuck in traffic all the time, chaos and congestion.

As Always I Remain - A classic Night Ranger acoustic driven tracks.
Right, right. As Always is really one of the more Night Ranger type songs, you know, signature Night Ranger.

Yeah, a great driving song, a real killer song. It's a love story, you know, I wrote it over at the castle when I was there, it has that castle vibe to it. It is a modern day love song, set in a kinda dream.

Slap Like being Born
Is a real kick ass rocker.

You have a southern tinge to it.
Yeah it's like a real good time American rock n roll thing happening with it. Man, sometimes you need a slap like being born , like when a baby's born, you need somebody to slap you on your butt, to breathe some air into your lungs, get a life, that's kinda what that songs about.

I Don't Call This Love
Sorta darker, it's what you want from a person but it's sure not what you are getting. What she's doing to you sure don't call love. You may think I'm strange but I don't call this love.

Sunday Morning - one of the killer tunes on Neverland.
It's really a kick ass song, it's about being with someone and waking up in the morning, and seeing what's been going on.

Anything For You
Kelly and I wrote that while we were watching the presidential election races, how those guys are liars and will say anything to get elected. That song is like 'promises promises step inside my head'

My Elusive Mind.
Just a good time fun song. A straight ahead good time. It's just about being crazy in the head, there is this woman who is going to help you out. It's just the whole idea that you're mind can wander, like when you party all night and you wake up in the morning with a hang over and the phone's ringing -it sounds like the devil singing. It's like 'oh God!!'

Forever All Over Again
A great sorta love song, about rediscovering somebody. Sometimes you let a person go, and you swear if you get her back you will never let it happen again, you just want to get that person back.

Walk In The Future
Is a bit of a dark song, about a girl that is kinda in her own head, you know, living in her own world. She needs to take a walk in the future, need to live her life.

Don't Tell Me You Love Me '97 and (You Can Still) Rock In America '97
We didn't do those on the American record, it was for Japanese only.
Yeah, over the years you play those songs so many times and you add little parts over the years as you're playing it, you think to yourself, gee I wish we would have done that when we originally recorded it, so we thought we would put all those little things in and put them on the Japanese record.

They sound heavier and tougher and rawer.
Right, right.
Okay Jack, what about the live album coming out?
Right, yeah, it will be out in July, we just finished mixing and mastering that.

What about the rumored Seven Wishes Live album, for the States?
Haven't heard of that one, that's a new one on me.

And I keep hearing that Ted Nugent has absolutely convinced himself to do a Damn Yankees album.
Yeah, that's the word out, that they want us to do another Damn Yankees record. Right now there are no plans to do it.

But you will be on board if there is one?
Well of course!! How could it be Damn Yankees with out me? Ha ha.

I totally agree!!
Okay Jack - thanks once again for your time. See ya.


Jack Blades - Interview 1 (1997)


In my opinion Night Ranger is THE American rock band. There are no other bands which typify the hard edged guitar, the anthem rockers, and the soaring ballads like these guys do. Their amazing harmonies stem from the advantage of having two lead vocalists, in bassist Jack Blades and drummer Kelly Keagy. The infamous guitar work is supplied by Brad Gillis and the eight finger tapper himself, Jeff Watson. The ‘man who put it all together’ for them, is keyboard player Alan ‘Fitz’ Fitzgerald. Together they have made some of the best American rock ever. Their classic albums ‘Dawn Patrol’, ‘Midnight Madness’, ‘Seven Wishes’, ‘Big Life’(especially Big Life!), and ‘Man In Motion’ have never been far from my CD player.
I talked to Kelly Keagy earlier in the year, about the ‘Feeding Off The Mojo’ project, and now have the pleasure of talking to Jack Blades, who outside of Night Ranger, has recorded

So what's going on Jack?
Yeah, they’re putting on a guitar part, so I won’t have to worry about it for a couple of minutes. We are in the studio now, I have a studio in my barn, here on my ranch, and we are recording the new Night Ranger record, and were doing overdubs, and so they are putting a guitar part on, so they won’t need me for a few minutes.

The first thing I was going to ask you, is what were you doing up a 7am?
You are obviously a busy guy!

Oh well, yeah, there is no rest for the wicked, Andrew.
I always get up early, I’m an early riser, you know, I just have so much on my mind, and actually, to tell you the truth, it’s very peaceful at seven o’clock. No phones ring, nobody bothers you....

Most of the time no phones ring....
Right, most of the time!!

And you are on a ranch are you?
Yeah, yeah, it’s Northern California, I live up in Sanoma County, up in the wine country of California.

I’ve been as far north as Marin County.
Yeah, I’m the next county up from that.
I’m about, like, 40 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

That’s nice...
Yeah, it’s where they grow all the Californian wines, all the vineyards are all over....

So Night Ranger are recording then?
Yeah, we’re actually recording!

I heard the rumours! Who’s the album for? I heard it was a one off Japanese deal.
Well what happened, was that nobody was doing anything in the summer, and the guys called, you know, everybody started calling everybody up, some of the guys called me and said what are you doing, and I wasn’t doing anything, so we decided to get together and play some Japanese shows.

I saw the reviews, they were really great!
Yeah, yeah we did really, I mean Night Ranger was always a very big band in Japan, and um, it was so fun, and then all these Japanese record companies came and they started bidding for us, and one of them came up, you know, kinda outshined everyone else, they were a good company and all, so we went with Zero.

Know them well.
Yeah, we went with Zero Corporation, and so we actually started recording, last week we cut the basic tracks, we did that in a studio in Salsolido, and then um, on Monday of this week, we moved up to my studio, and we’re doing all the overdubs, and we have my producer, that did all the Damn Yankees records, Ron Nevison.

Great producer!
Yeah, he’s wonderful, so we hired him to produce this record.

He’s also done a few records for Zero
Yeah, the Schenker stuff..

And the UFO.
And um, I did two Damn Yankees albums with him, so I’ve known him since 1989 very well, and so um, I was real excited about the fact he wanted to do it and so we got him involved, so now we are all up here slagging it away.

When would you like to get the album out?
Well we are going to have it finished by the middle of January, and um, it will probably come out sometime in March or April, and we are going to go ahead and get distribution for the rest of the world.

I was going to ask about that.
The thing is I wasn’t sure where this was going to go when we first started it Andrew, and we have all become very excited about it because it’s a real, um, there are some amazing songs, and there is some great playing, and it’s gotten to a different level that none of us expected it to be, and so consequently it has changed the game plan for everyone. We are very excited about it.

There are a lot of people out there who want a new Night Ranger record.
Well I think that’s true, or manager is Miles Copeland, he manages me, so Miles is going to handle the thing, and get everything squared away so we can release it in the States, and throughout the rest of the world.

That will go down well.
I think so too, I think everybody will be very surprised when they hear the music.

Night Ranger is responsible for some classic tunes, there are a lot who have tried to copy your sound.
Well I think that they are going to be pleasantly surprised when they put this CD on, because of the way the songs are and everybody is playing, you know, nobody’s stoned or drunk anymore! You know, I’m not saying that was bad, but you know, everything has it’s place, and now it’s sort of like, everyone has, God, got a lot better! And with the original guys all together it’s kind of really fun.

Did you record any of the Japanese shows? You know they love their live albums!
No we didn’t record any of the shows. Hey here’s Ron Nevison now....Hey Ron, what do you want to say to your Australian fans? I’m doing an interview to Australia right now.
Hello mate!
You can quote Ron Nevison on that!
Ron says that we are carving out some new frontiers right now!

That’s great! I am putting together a web site, which this interview will be on also.
Oh really! Great. Very cool.

Were you aware that you actually have a Jack Blades page on the net?

There is a fan of yours, a lady who has put together her own page with a bunch of photos of you.
You’re joking!!?

I’m not joking! I did a search and that’s what I found! You have a fan out there! There is a photo of her when she met you back in ‘83 or ‘84!
You’re joking! How did you, what did you search? Jack Blades?

Yep, into one of the search engines.
Ha Ha Ha, that’s very funny.

You will have to check it out!
So what’s happening with Damn Yankees? I heard something was going on there also, but I guess that’s on hold now?
Yeah, there’s nothing happening there at all.

Do you still see Tommy at all?

So he’s back with Styx then?
Yes he is.

You guys wrote a lot of songs over the last couple of years for different people?
Yes, we have.

Do you enjoy doing that?
Yeah, from Aerosmith and Alice Cooper to Ozzy and Vince Neil, we’ve written some great songs. Actually the last few months I have written some songs with friends of mine who live in Nashville, that are being covered now by several country stars.

Well the Shaw/Blades songs would lend itself to that format.
Yeah, it kinda would, wouldn’t it! That was kind of like leaning towards that type of format. But it’s fun, you know, I write songs, you know what I’m saying. My manager Miles Copeland has a castle in the south of France, and we go over there like once a year he invites like twenty or twenty-one very well known, like famous song writers from America and Europe and we all converge on the castle, and for ten days we just sit and write songs together, and record them there. We’ve written some amazing things.

Wow! That’d be really hard then!!?
Oh its very cool. I was with Paul Carrack last, um, two months ago, and Carol King and Mark Hudson, some really good songwriters. In fact Mark and I wrote a great song called Neverland that’s on this record.

Any other titles for the album?
Walk In The Future, As Always I Remain, Slap Like Being Born....
That’s a killer song.
Mon Dye Nye, which is Japanese for No Problem, that’s a real killer rockin’ tune.
Sunday Morning, Someday I Will, there’s some great material.

What did you think of the Mojo album?
You know what, can I be real honest with you?

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I would have thought from your point of view it would have been strange to see them doing it without you.
Well, let me be very honest with you, and I swear to God, this is the truth, and I’m telling you this because I don’t bullshit my life anymore.

I never heard it. I’ve never listened to it!

Oh no, ha ha ha (laughs allround!)
And I think that’s probably terrible and probably Kelly and Brad would hate me for it, but I have not heard one thing from it! And to tell you the truth, I don’t really want to. Because it’s not really....,you know, this is Night Ranger. And they did their thing, and that was kind of a Night Ranger thing, however it’s kinda neat with all five of us together.

And ‘Fitz’ is back also?
Yeah, sure.

I ask because he kind of disappeared off the scene for a while.
Well he was playing keyboards for Van Halen, behind the curtain, you know. He was the keyboard guy for Van Halen over the last five or six years. You know, so when you hear all that Jump stuff, you know duh duh dah dah, that’s Fitz behind the curtain!

So when I saw them live a couple of years back, in Toronto, I really heard Fitz?
Yeah, Yeah!

My fiancee and I saw you in Toronto in ‘93.
Oh, with the Yankees?

Yeah, great show.
Was it that outdoors place?

No the small theatre.
Oh my gosh, that was a fun show! Was that with Jackyl?

It was, yeah, they go off live, eh?
Yeah, Jesse DuPre is a very good friend of mine. Yeah, he and I have become very good friends.

He’s a good laugh.
Oh yeah, he’s a great guy, he’s great to be with, we have a ball together. I just talked to him yesterday infact. Talking of very good friends, my son was over this summer with Ozzy’s, Ozzy Osbourne’s family because my son, Colin, has become very good friends with Ozzy’s son Jack. They invited him to England, he was in England for two weeks.

Cool! How old is your son now?
He’s 14, he had a ball!
Hang on a minute Andrew.....Yeah I’ll be up in a flash.....Yeah I promise! Don’t get me in trouble now Andrew! Ha Ha, I still got a few minutes.

What about Night Ranger albums? Have you got any favourites, looking back, now that it has been a few years?
I think the favourite for me would be, ah....the ah....the first one, you know, cause it was real raw. The first and the second album were my favourite. Although the third album......I like Seven Wishes! Shit I don’t know man!! Oh, hey! I know what I like, I know what my favourite Night Ranger album of all time, my favourite Night Ranger is Night Ranger’s Greatest Hits! hahaha

Oh right, yeah, very diplomatic there!

My favourite from the band is Big Life.
Big life is a very good record.

The Shaw/Blades was a departure for you. Any plans to something like that again?
Yes, it was. It was a fun thing to do. Ted was getting ready to do a solo record, and the label wanted Tommy and I to do something. So they let us do whatever we wanted to, and it was really a fun thing. It was sad in hindsight, as Warner Bros made a big change in their upper personnel, and it caused that CD to kinda get lost.

I thought it did vanish quickly.
Yeah, my friends over there were Mo Austin and Michael Austin, Mo’s son, and when they left, and went over to Dreamworks, the new regime that was in there were a bunch of alternative assholes that didn’t want anything to do with us, and they didn’t want anything to do with Damn Yankees, so they bought us off. They owed us a lot of money, they owed us two albums, so they bought us off of the label.

That’s just typical!
Yeah, I don’t care, I’ve been through all that stuff before, I’d rather not be somewhere where I’m not wanted. There are so many songs in my heart.

Is there anything in the future that you have always wanted to do, that you may get the chance to do?
No, I probably would like to go to the pyramids, though! I’ve never done that! No I’m just enjoying it as it goes, I’m enjoying making this CD with all the guys, I’m really enjoying these songs, I kinda like, wherever I am at the time is where I love to be. I’m very happy.

So Night Ranger could be a permanent re-union then?
Um it’s hard to say. If everyone gets on everybody’s nerves, no! Hahahaha! You know what I mean!?

Yeah, sure!
Right now, we are having a fun time! And as you know, fun is the most important thing to have.

If it’s not fun, then there is no reason doing it. That’s the way we look at it.

Yeah, definitely. Do you see a Damn Yankees album in the future?
Possibly, sure. I mean, yeah, everybody’s still semi-talking to everybody. You know, I talk to Ted all the time.

He’s a wild man, eh?!
He’s always threatening to want to do another one, and if everybody’s schedules collide at the right time, and if the stars are right, we’ll do something. Who knows.

What about what you are listening to at the moment?
I listen to all kinds of music, you know. I like the Van Halen, the new Greatest Hits, I love the Smashing Pumpkins, you know, Mellon Collie, I love that CD. I think that CD from President Of The United States is pretty cool, that new one.
Ah, the new Alice In Chains out and the new Ozzy record, and I can’t wait for the new Aerosmith CD to come out.

Me neither.
I think I wrote a couple of songs, I don’t know, but I wrote some songs with Steven and Joe for the new album. I’m hoping they’ll be on it.

Thank you Jack for your time.

Well Andrew once again I absolutely apologise for not, you know, it’s really not, I’m sorry about that, but I’m glad we were able to hook up now, I’m so glad you called me now. I was sitting right by the phone, I was just down here getting a cassette of a song, for Jeff that we gotta figure out a part on or something.
I was just walking by the phone when it rang, so that worked out really well. I am looking forward to reading this interview.

Yeah, I'll get it to you.
I’m in Tasmania, have you heard fo it at all?

I’ve heard of the cartoon!

Yeah, it’s the little island off the south east coast of mainland Australia.
Oh, really?

Yeah, there is 500,000 people here, so it’s not too small or anything.
Yeah, but you’re on Tasmania! That’s very cool!

The home of the Devil.
The home of the Tasmanian Devil. I like it already! I knew I liked you!


Okay, maybe we will get the chance to talk again sometime.
Well I’m excited about you getting to hear this new project, it’s awesome stuff.

Can’t wait! Hopefully I’ll be able to see you guys live.
If you need anything else, don’t hesitate to give me a jingle.

Thank you very much.
Allright mate! See you later! Bye.(hangs up)

Right on Jack, yeah I may give you a call when I'm in the area sometime!!!

C. 1997 Andrew J McNeice Back To The AOR HARD ROCK HOT SPOT


JACK BLADES Joins Badlands Entertainment For Radio/TV Roles

Release Year: 
News Feed
SIOUX FALLS, S.D., July 28, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Jack Blades, lead singer, frontman and songwriter for the rock band Night Ranger, has joined Badlands Entertainment in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The popular musician and personal friend of Badlands CEO Chuck Brennan will be the celebrity host of Pawn For Gold, a television game show being produced by Badlands TV Network. He will also host a weekly radio show entitled The Monday Night Ranger via the Guns, Gold & Rock N Roll Radio Network.
Filming for Pawn for Gold is scheduled to begin in January.  The show will feature cutting-edge LED technology, a stage where world renowned artists will perform, and a unique open-audience setting. Visitors of Badlands Pawn are welcome to attend the shooting of the show free of charge. Contestant applications will be available in the Fall.
"In addition to my duties recording, touring, rocking America and the rest of the world with Night Ranger, I'm excited and honored to be the host of Pawn for Gold," said Blades. "When my good friend Chuck Brennan asked me to get onboard, how could I say no? Everything Chuck touches turns to gold."
Throughout his remarkable career, Blades and Night Ranger have sold more than 25 million albums, with smash hits including "Sister Christian," "(You Can Still) Rock in America" and "Don't Tell Me You Love Me." Blades also founded the multi-platinum rock group Damn Yankees.
"Jack is the perfect guest to host this show, as he possesses the same rock star mentality as we do at Badlands," said Chuck Brennan, CEO of Badlands Entertainment. The founder and CEO of such entities as Dollar Loan Center and the Brennan Rock & Roll Academy is a Sioux Falls native and said he is bringing his best ideas for entertainment to his hometown. "We are creating an unprecedented entertainment district right here in Sioux Falls that people will travel from around the world to experience."
Blades' radio show, The Monday Night Ranger, will air live from Badlands every Monday night from 7-10 p.m. beginning in January. "During the show, Jack will be playing music, interviewing bands and telling road stories," said Brennan. "He will also be interviewing the nationally known bands that will be performing at Badlands every Thursday night and talking about upcoming events at Badlands Motor Speedway."
Badlands Pawn, Gold & Jewelry opens Thanksgiving Day and will become one of South Dakota's top entertainment destinations in the new Sioux Falls Sports & Entertainment District. The complex spans 60,000 square feet of entertainment, shopping and sports opportunities including:
  • The largest pawn shop in the Midwest with jewelry, electronics and treasures up and down every aisle and around every corner
  • 24/7 live FM rock radio station, the 'Guns, Gold & Rock N Roll Radio Network'
  • An in-house mint that makes Badlands-branded gold and silver coins and bars
  • Gun shop with state-of-the-art shooting range and 14 lanes
  • Tattoo parlor offering free Badlands logo tattoos
  • Badlands House Band, performing on-site and on-tour
  • Concert stage for guests to try out their gear, complete with 300 flying guitars
  • Entertainment agency, Badlands Entertainment Group
  • Ticket Broker
  • $1 million in gold on display, melted and imprinted at Badlands
  • Filming of several Badlands-based television shows
  • State of the art, 1,700 capacity, 2 level concert showroom with VIP Suites and Club Level
Badlands Pawn, Gold & Jewelry opens Thanksgiving Day, 2015 and will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day of the year. For more information, visit www.badlandspawn.com.

BLADES, CASTRONOVO & ALDRICH Form New Supergroup Project

Wednesday, August 13, 2014
News Feed
Just what is Deen Castronovo (Journey, Ozzy Osbourne, Bad English, Hardline), Jack Blades (Night Ranger, Damn Yankees, Shaw/Blades) and Doug Aldrich (Whitesnake/David Coverdale, Ronnie James Dio, Burning Rain) doing pictured together?
More than just striking a pose – the trio is in the studio right now recording an album under a new band name with producer Alessandro Del Vecchio at the helm!
Thanks for this project can go to Frontiers Records CEO Serafino, who is passionately describing this as “his baby!”
There is a band name (that will be announced soon) and the album will be released in 2015.
Deen Catronovo will handle lead vocals, drums; Jack Blades bass and vocals and Doug Aldrich all guitars.
Frontiers posted one picture this week on Facebook (seen at top), but below that are a couple of exclusive extras – the first from Jack and the second from Alessandro.
Stay tuned!
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