Kelly Keagy


Kelly Keagy (2007)


Night Ranger Part 2: Kelly Keagy.

Night Ranger drummer Kelly Keagy talks about the new Night Ranger album and also his new solo album I'm Alive, plus working with Jim Peterik and his new project Scrap Metal.

Hey Kelly, good to talk to you again.
Hey Andrew.

What did I catch you in the middle of?
I'm working on the Scrap Metal band because we've got our first gig up Connecticut in a casino and we're gonna film it so we've got all these details we've got to take care of. Just, you know, learning everybody's songs and it's quite an undertaking. Then I'm doing interviews for this album of course and trying to get ready for touring and stuff like that. Both for myself and Night Ranger included.

I can't believe it's only your first Scrap Metal gig. You seem to have been doing that for a while now.
Well we started out like a year ago last March. We thought we were gonna have more gigs than that buy we were all so busy. We couldn't really pull it together. Plus we didn't have anything to promote; no records or anything like that. We still don't, but at least now, after we get this gig done and the film shot we can edit the DVD and get into proper form to send out to agents and stuff like that.

Gotcha, Ok, so it's a promo thing for you. Will you sell it?
No, I don't think we're gonna sell it, but who knows? It may end up being a pitch for TV, you know, so we're just gonna have two different spins on it. We'll have one for promos and maybe one to sell for a possible TV show or something.

Oh, I like it. Interesting. Is this the show with Eric Martin coming up to quest as well?
Exactly, it's Eric Martin and Mark Slaughter, Gunnar Nelson, me and also Matthew Nelson is gonna be part of this because he knew the songs. He's playing bass so he's kind of filling in for our normal bass player.

Ok, that's a pretty cool line up you've got there.
Its fun man, but right now we have about six songs going but we haven't finished the recording of it and we haven't finished anything yet. We've kind of got it in the process but we've got it on hold because we've been working on the live thing.

Will you do a record this year?
You know, I think we're trying to do a record, but we don't have any labels interested. Basically it's demos. Just demos to maybe pitch to a record company.

Well it's a great lineup that's for sure. I love the Nelson brothers.
Oh it's fun man and it's such a rockin' lineup too. I'm telling you it just really smokes. We did a free show for the Tin Pan South series here in Nashville last year in March. That's like a four or five day symposium and we played at this rock club. It was just great. It was kind of like everybody playing each other's songs and playing their rendition of how they thought it should be played. It was cool man. Everybody stepped up to the plate and learned the stuff. That was fun doing that and we had Chad Sanford, I don't know if you know him.

Yes I do.
He's a songwriter here. He wrote Missing You and some for John Waite back in the day. We had a lot of guests so it was really fun.

Wow, that's very cool. You are a busy, busy man. I've got so much to ask you, but before I jump into it Kelly, I just want to ask you about something. I don't know if you've been on line today Kelly, but I reviewed the album yesterday and put it up there.
You know what, I've been gone most of the day and I haven't checked it. I'll check it though; I'd love to see what you think. What do you think?

I love it.
You like the record?

I love the record. I absolutely adored the first album and I really think this is a very nice companion piece to it.
I kind of wanted to take a stop forward growth wise, you know. That was the thing I wanted to do. I kind of feel like I'm not the same person as I was, not only when I made my first solo album but also with Night Ranger back in '82 through '88. Then when we got into the '90s we tried to show as much growth as possible too so I'm kind of continuing that vibe. I just want to see if I can have a nice blend of a little bit more modern sounding guitars but also still melodic melodies and great lyrics.

There are some absolutely great songs on there and you've definitely got the modern vibe on a few which is cool but like you said it's kept melodic. I've given it a really good review and I hope people read that.
I really appreciate that. Thank you. Thank you so much.

That's alright mate.
You know, I always make records for people that I think might appreciate it but I try not to think of terms of “I'm gonna write a hit song”. I just write songs, and you know some of them get thrown out. There were three or four that didn't make it; they just weren't there. I just think there's nothing like a good melody and a good story line to make it great.



I'm gonna ask you about a couple of the songs. There just a couple of my favorites. I love I'm Alive, and Jack Blades said to me 'I wish I had written that song.'
That's so nice of him. You know, I brought it in for Night Ranger. You know the whole idea Andrew, is that Jim had this idea. He had written Eye of the Tiger for Rocky back in the '80s. He had run into Sylvester Stallone when he went to a TV show in Chicago said Sylvester said 'I'm doing another Rocky movie'. Jim came back after that interview and picked me up at the airport when I was going up there to write with him for I'm Alive. He said, look I just ran into Sylvester, he's doing another Rocky movie, and I have this idea so let's set down and write it. First of all Jim said “I have this idea for a song for you”. It wasn't written so we had to write it. It was this whole thing of like, 'I'm still here after 25 years'. I thought wow, I sort of like that idea but then when we got into the middle of the writing session we though this was gonna be perfect for the new Rocky movie. It can be sort of like the Kelly Keagy coming of age song as well but it could be for the movie too. So we actually wrote it thinking in terms of a movie soundtrack. So I think we captured it pretty well.

Oh, it's got a big sound.
It's got a huge sound and Jim tuned his guitar down and we were like that's it, you know. Then there was like a one string little riff in the front and I thought man, that is it. The whole idea of like rising through the ashes and trying to make sense of you life after trouble, hey, it sounds like me. (laughs)

Sounds like me too mate.
Anybody can relate to it I think.

Absolutely, very much so. I like the thumping drum beat.
I really had a good time recording those tracks.

Huge drum sound. Jumping straight to World Before and After. That's another absolute smoking track.
That song, you know, was kind of difficult to cut because we don't normally play certain beats like that. So it was kind of tough but at the same time we were thinking in terms of that song as just broken relationship stuff.

What about the end there? Was that live in the studio? Was that Jim on guitar because he's smoking?
Yeah, man that was Jim and I. We cut everything with just guitar and drums to get the basic track. Then we built the tracks from there. So that was just Jim in his studio, you've been to his house haven't you?

No, I've never been to Chicago…yet!
Well he has a control room where he's got the gear and then he's got where he cuts the drums and stuff. Then he's got this window and he just stands in front of that window and plays guitar with headphones on and watches the drummer play while you're cutting. So there's that whole live like on stage vibe that we have when we play these tracks.

It sounds live, it really does.
Yeah, it's exciting because you've got the guy standing there in front of you like when you're on stage you really get that vibe. You're looking at each other and you're just like cranking away at these tracks. You know what Andrew that was my idea on this album. I wanted to get a live feel. I didn't want it to be too 'studioized'. I wanted to go in there and play that track and get it in one take or two takes and keep it. If you make a mistake just continue on. Keep it going instead of doing so many overdubs and it starts to sound really studioized. There are some tracks on the album where we did want to produce like Everything I Need in a Woman, the big ballad. We wanted that to be like a symphony you know.

I love the live feel of the album. It really does come through.
You're getting me all worked up talking about it. (laughs)

It's an exciting record to listen to. You get to the end of it and you feel like you need a rest.
Yeah man, that's what I want to hear.

My favorite records are the one where you can't play again. Some things you just go, well I'll play that again, but when you get to the end of this one you think, I need a rest.
You need a rest from it. (laughs) One thing that's happened with me is that I keep rediscovering the songs that I'd kind let go for a while. You always listen to the first four or five tracks you know, but then you find that there are different kinds of textures and moods when you get to the end of the album.

I like that you've got thirteen tracks. It's a nice long record without fillers there.
That's nice. I love hearing that.

I must talk about When Nobody's Looking. I think that's one of the more commercial songs I've heard you sing.
I think you're right. Jim and I wrote that way before we actually started to finish this album. It was on one of the first tracks we ever wrote and we were performing it with the World Stage band, one of Jimmy's gigs like a year before we cut the album. We just had it in the World Stage set before we even had a concept for this album. It was just such a rockin' track man and what we were trying to think was like 'what would Keith Moon do' on the verses with all the riffing with the drum fills. Of course you know no one can even touch Keith Moon but it was like looking in terms of playing more drumwise on the riffs in between the verses. That was fun, really fun. I didn't really get the chance to open up as a drummer and that's why this album's really fun for me because I did get to play a lot more.

I thought your first album was like that but I think this is even more so. I think there's even more drums on here.
I thinks there's more drums, exactly, it's like, 'what, you think this guy's a drummer?'. Nah. (laughs)

You know, not too many drummers make solo records.
I know, I know. Tommy Lee made a pretty good one didn't he?

Yeah, he's a pretty diverse musician himself.
Exactly, and he plays guitar like I do. Man I wish I played guitar like that guy in the Foo Fighters though.

Oh yeah, he's good isn't he?
Yeah, I like him. Have you seen them? Have they played down there?

They have actually played down here. I haven't seen them but they have played in this country.
Man I'd sure like to play down there.





Talking about influences and things like that, Stolen and Blink of an Eye are sort of like a one two hit of modern rock.
You know I did want to take a little stab at my idea of modern. One thing I like about what's modern today is the guitar sounds. The tuning's different, you know, and there's such an edge to it; such urgency to it. The urgency is in the guitar and in the vocal and I've always liked the kind of angst sound in the vocals. Early '90s had a lot of that and I was really attracted to that. You know, I can't write music like that, but I can be influenced by it. That's what I was trying to do.

I think that makes a nice mix because I think some of those bands can forget what the melody is, but in Stolen there's a lot of melody and emotion in there.
Yeah, that's really cool man.

Any other favorites from the album Kelly?
You know, I liked the little tip of the hat to John Lennon on Reimagine. We wrote that song from an idea that Michael Lardie gave me. He played me this idea when we were first writing for Night Ranger and I immediately started singing the melody that Michael had in the keyboard in the verse. I showed it to Jim and said this is a really cool thing and I played it to him and Jim immediately just jumped on it. So we sat down with just an acoustic guitar and wrote the song. Basically all the songs are written that way. Then we started to embellish it with electrics and keyboards. Yeah that little tip of the hat with Reimagine was one of my favorites and then that last song called One or Half a World Away.

Half a World Away, I like that a lot.
It was when all these bad things were happening like the tsunami, tornados in the south and hurricanes, earthquakes in Afghanistan and Iran, and we were just like what is going on with the world? You know when the earthquakes happened in San Francisco I went there and tried to help as much as I could. It was in the late '80s, I think 1989 and I just remember how people that had a lot of money, had made a lot of money in their lives, they were out on the street. They were sleeping on the floors of the elementary schools there in San Francisco. And I thought to myself, God man, this could happen to anybody. So that's what that whole idea was. Even though we live 5,000 miles away we still should be able to relate in some way to help each other make it through hard times. That's what we were thinking with that song.

Great sentiment. Great sentiment. Are you going to get to play any of these songs live Kelly? Obviously you might do a couple in Scrap Metal.
Yeah, I really hope so but I think that I'm gonna have to do some solo appearances. I did do one on Dec. 28 here in Nashville. I did a show at what is called the 12th Importer. It's a showcase club here. I played a show and I did I'm Alive and Blink of an Eye. Those two songs totally rocked live. We had a great crowd and they were just so responsive to those two songs. Lynn Hoffman, from VH1, I gave her a copy of the record and she immediately snapped back and said Blink of an Eye, I love that song, it rocks. I love it because you're talking about a girl who's growing up and needs guidance by her parents but at the same time he parents aren't trying to tell her what to do but just tell like in that song Wild World. (sings 'Oooh baby baby it's a wild world)
We were trying to say kind of the same thing, like things change quickly. Just be ready to make that right turn and adjust, swerve and get out of the way, you know what I mean. That's what happens in life. Things come at you and you just have to be ready for them and you can make it.

I hope you do some solo shows.
I would love to. I have a booking agent looking into me do some dates in Europe right now.

Good, Ok.
So I'm really hoping I can get over there. I'm not sure if they'll be electric or acoustic though Andrew because I'll just have to see what the offers are and if they'll be good enough for me to have a band. Here's my idea. Tommy Denander could help me put a band together there. He says he has a bunch of smokin' players that would love to play. Then of course I'd love to do some of Tommy's songs. He's got some really good songs. He's gonna be here pretty soon, this month actually.

Yeah, that's right.
I'm gonna hook up with him and we're going to have some conversations about this. Then I might fly over there, rehearse with his band for like maybe three or four days and work up a set.

Great idea.
You know we'll do some old Night Ranger songs too. And maybe some songs from Time Passes and I'm Alive, you know two or three songs from each. We'll have us a rockin' set man. That's my plan and Tommy says 'I'm up for it' so that was what I was thinking I might do to promote the record. You know, hell, I've got two records out over there and people are wanting to see what it would be like live. Of course I love to go with Jim. He's got a new record coming out. So maybe we'll do a combo show with Tommy and Me and Jimmy and Jimmy's new record.

You could do the Kelly Keagy all stars!
Oh man, wouldn't that be great. Like the last one we did.

That's still one of the best gigs I've ever seen.
Oh man, that would be great. I remember Kevin [Chalfant] was sick though so we couldn't rehearse with him. Who was on that? We had Brian Bart, Gary Moon, the guitar player from the Storm.

Yeah, Josh.
Yeah, Josh Ramos, Jim Peterik…oh my gosh, what a show.

Yeah that was just killer. I've got a video bootleg of it. Somebody filmed it from the crowd.
Well put it up on YouTube. (laughs)

The quality's ok, but wow that was just such a…
Sounds like hell though, right?

It's ok, it's bootleg, you know.
I'd love to see that.

What a great show that was. You should think about trying to do something like that.
Well, you know what, maybe that's the way to go. Then we could all do each other's songs and just have a blast with it.

That was just so great. And the band that came in, like you were second to last and the band that came in to headline just had no hope in hell. (laughs)
(laughs) Well, you know what, I'm sure they were really good. I think it was Ten wasn't it?

Yeah, it was Ten.
Well, you can't compete with 20 years of hit songs, I mean come on. If I was those guys I would have said listen, can we play tomorrow. I'm not feeling too well and I've got to go back to the hotel.

Half the crowd left, you know. I was talking to people afterwards back at the hotel. They were like, nothing could top that.
I mean Ten was great. They're an amazing band.

Yeah, of course they were. That was just such an electric set you guys had.
There were so many hit songs in there. It was like and hour and a half of every song that you remember from the '80s and early '90s.

It was great, it was amazing.
We need to hang out again. That trip to Liverpool was too much.

Wasn't it great? We had a ball didn't we? We should do that again man. We should go up there. There's a possibility I might be going over there to do the Fantasy Camp in May.

Oh, you're doing one in the UK this time.
They're doing one in England. Then they're gonna fly up to Liverpool and have the last leg Battle of The Bands at the Cavern club.

Oh no, great stuff.
Isn't that amazing? So they're gonna do everything at Apple Studios. They have like 12 bands together with amateur musicians. You rehearse them and they learn two or three songs pretty well, there just cover tunes. Well some of them are original too. Then they have a battle of the bands after about four or five days.

Great stuff. I hope they do that.
Wouldn't that be fun? I'd love to be at the Apple Studios. I want to sit back there in the corner where they had Ringo's drums and feel the vibe.





I reckon you could too. (laughs) Listen, I'd like to talk Night Ranger too if I can.

Jack sent me the record. Well, Frontiers actually sent me the record yesterday so I Hell, I don't know what to say. This wasn't the Night Ranger album I was expecting.
The Japanese love it.

They're a little more open minded. I really like most of it. There's a couple of things I don't but most of it's amazing.
What are some of the things you don't like?

Well, the first five or six tracks just knock my socks off. At the moment I'm just struggling with the last four. White Knuckle, Revelation, Being… Revelation's still pretty good and so is White Knuckle Ride, even Wrap It Up.
Some of the stuff, Whatever Happened is amazing, but I never would have imagined Night Ranger singing it.

Exactly, we wanted to kind of push some boundaries with the pop stuff. That song really feels like it could be on the radio.

Well, it's an Avril Lavigne, Kelly Clarkson kind of thing.
Exactly. That was exactly what we were trying to achieve with that Andrew.

Well you did it and I can imagine it on the radio.
We wanted to see if we could get anybody to actually turn their heads and go yeah, that sounds like now.

Yeah, absolutely it does. Even Drama Queen as well.
Dream Queen, yeah, no kidding. Brad brought that tune in and he actually sent it to me and I worked on some of the drum parts here at home. And I thought wow man this sounds like Alice in Chains or something. He's like really into the kind of harder stuff. We let him rum with it man because we really loved where it was going.

There are guitars everywhere on that song.
It's amazing man, those guys played great on the record. They play their asses off.

It's a big guitar record, isn't it?
It sure is. We had a lot of time to live with it too. We took our time. We used to do that when we would go to do records. We would cut the first basic tracks then those two guys would be wood shedding for a month on the guitar parts. Well we gave them many more months than that. We gave them like six months to work on the stuff and hone those parts and keep coming up with stuff. It was great. It was nice to have that much time.

Rock Star a great tune as well. That's another modern rocker.
Isn't that great.

Good attitude. I think I like the bridge better than the chorus even.
Oh, no kidding. I love that. You know what, that bridge does have a really good melody in it.

It's a knockout melody. I love it. Tell Your Vision is obviously a rocker from hell.
The first one right off the top, yeah,

Yeah, that's heavy.
The first one, yeah. You know we were thinking in terms of like Audio Slave and stuff like that.

(laughs) I'll bet you the label wasn't though.
The way I was singing was kind of like the way Chris Cornell would sing. You know, his throat popping out and his veins on is head, just delivering that message man.
I can't help it man. I have to grow or die.

Absolutely, what a thumping drum beat in Gonna Hear From Me.
Oh man, Gonna Hear From Me, wasn't that great? You know what I did? I went in there and I put in extra toms on there for that intro. Just to make it like a marching band. I wanted it to be like when I was in high school and march with a hundred people and the drum section alone would be like 25. We would all be playing the same cadence together and I wanted it to be like that.

And it sounds like it.
It's like kong-ka-ka-kong, kong-ka-ka-kong, like a big marching band coming down the street.

A lot of vocals on that track. It may be the heaviest song Night Ranger's ever recorded.
Rock Star or Tell Your Vision?

Actually those three, even Gonna Hear From Me. Very heavy.
Yeah, Gonna Hear From Me. We always try to put a shuffle kind of tune on there. Our roots are really, when you think about it, in the '60s and '70s and like that. So we always try to put a feel like that on the record.

Frontiers wanted me to kind of do a track by track commentary to sort of introduce the record to people. I think they want me to soften the blow a bit. I think people are really gonna dig this.
They're gonna hate it. No, I'm just kidding.





No it's, like there are people that define Night Ranger by only your first three records. Yet, this is your eighth and the last four haven't been anything like the first three. What do you think of that?
I think the reason why we like to change like that is just because we're just not the same people as we were in 1982. There's just no way that any of us is going to stay the same. So when we come together musically we reflect all that growth and maturity. And it's the things we hear on the radio, in the records stores and on line. We take in all that stuff. We're like sponges. We like to soak it up and then we regurgitate it back out as some form of music that we love. And relating to each other like that.

Jack said he didn't think you could make a Seven Wishes again if you wanted to.
Exactly, that's the thing. Some of those records, I listen to them, and I can't listen to them anymore. I listen to them with appreciation, but some of the songs on there, other than the hits, I can't even go there. I mean, on the second record there's a song called Why Does Love Have to Change and I love that record. That was a total kick-ass record. Now I think Why Does Love Have to Change is like Tell Your Vision now, only 20 years later. It's just the instrumentation sounds a little bit different.

Well it's very contemporary. The first listen to the Night Ranger album I went 'hell, that's not Night Ranger'. Then the second or third time it was like, hang on, there's a little bit of Night Ranger there. Then a little bit more and a little bit more.
You know, one of my favorite songs that I really enjoyed was Fool In Me, that kind of acoustic and we added bongos and it's got that kind of tribal thing to it. We just sort of built that track out of an acoustic guitar and that was it.

You're singing a lot on this record.
That's what we wanted to do. We wanted to split the vocals up and stuff. We started out doing that early on, but the record company always wanted to have a focal point, which was like Jack or me singing that song, but never the two of us. We thought, you know what, we both sing so well, let's really try and see if we can interpret each song and have a different point of view vocally.

You swap back and forth a lot of the time don't you?
Yeah, we wanted to do that and see if we could pull it off and still make the message be clear.

Oh yeah, it's great and big harmonies in the chorus.
And then big harmonies with Jeff and Brad coming in and singing with us.

Not a lot of keyboards on the record though.
Not a whole lot, no. Michael, you know, he engineered everything and as we built the tracks we kind of put the keyboard in where needed and he was fine with that. There were certain songs where there were keyboards, like a couple of intros that definitely had keyboards. But if you listen into the choruses, the choruses get really big and it hard to find room for both, but there all in there playing. It's just that the sound gets so big in the choruses that you can't really hear the keyboards, but they're in there.

Well they add to the texture don't they? If you took them out you might miss them but they're not obvious, of course, except on There is Life, which is a great ballad.
There is Life was such a great song to write because we were just thinking we kind of wanted to write another piano ballad like Sister Christian or like Sentimental Street. Then still reflect a relationship song, but then just open the chorus up and have it he like look, this is how things go in life.

Yeah, wonderful song. What else about the album? I don't know. What do you think? You say the Japanese love it. They're a little more open to change.
They said they really liked it because it was a great hard rock record.

It is a hard rock record.
They're pretty happy with it so far. I haven't done any interviews with them. I know Jack might have already. And I haven't talked to anybody from the record company yet, but I think that was the consensus, that they were really happy with it. I'm looking forward to going over there and playing. That would be a pretty easy trip for you wouldn't it Andrew? You could come over there and tour with us.

Hey, I'd be there tomorrow mate.
Wouldn't it be fun?

I would love to go on tour and see a few shows. I've never seen Night Ranger live. How sad!
Well, you know, we're gonna have to do something about that.

I know. But you know what? It's only about 8 hours north of here, but the air fares are ridiculous.
Wow, unbelievable. Why is it so expensive?

I don't know. Leaving Australia anywhere is expensive. Because we're like 8 hours to the first stop, you know.
I heard you were having some terrible wild fires down there.

Yeah, in Tasmania here also, but it's mainly in Victoria. A million hectares, which a hectare's obviously a couple of square miles, but a million of them of them have burnt out so far. But we had 50 millimeters of rain two days back so we're looking pretty good now.
Well good, great.

So, back to seeing Night Ranger live. I would love to see that.
Well hopefully we'll be able to run into you that way Andrew. It really a fun show, we still have a great time playing. We have a ton of energy just like we did back in the '80s. We're not aging, you know, we seem to still keep our youth when we get on stage. We get so excited. That would be really fun if we could somehow arrange that. We've never played Australia.

I know.
I wish that was something we could have done in the past.

Yeah, nobody's will to put their money where there mouth is, and of course I haven't got any money, so….(laughs)
Ah man, too bad that some of the promoters wouldn't bring us over but you have to make a lot of money over there for it to make sense because it takes so much to get there.

Exactly. It's so far to come and that's why I have to sort of rely on being in the right place elsewhere to see other shows.
Yeah, have you gone to Europe to see any shows?

I normally go for the Firefest show once a year but that's about it at the moment.
I'm gonna be in Europe with Jim in August.

Oh yeah, Ok.
I'm doing that Belgium festival.

I was just talking to Jim just before Christmas and he said you were going to be doing the World Stage show there.
Yeah, I'm gonna do that with them and we're gonna do some songs from the new album we think. I'm not sure we haven't talked about it. He's due to come down here in a couple weeks. We're gonna have to start talking about that because we both have albums out over there and I'd love to be able to do a couple songs from each record.

Well we'll try and run into each other somehow, somewhere.
I hope so Andrew. Keep in touch and if you need anything from me, you know I appreciate your support by the way.

Oh absolutely. Anytime, you know, it's only too easy when you love the music so much. When you're not into it it's a little bit harder. But I've been a Night Ranger fan since Seven Wishes, so it's a great pleasure to be able to help out.
Well, you know we always appreciate it and if there's anything we can do for you just give one of us a call and we'll be happy to oblige.

Thank you mate, I appreciate that, but hanging out in Tokyo would be nice, but….(laughs)
(laughs) Yeah man, do want me to send you over some chicken wings or something from here in Nashville?

Either that or a very sturdy canoe.
Oh there ya go. Oh man, well take care and wear your life jacket.

Yeah, will do.
Good talking to you buddy.

Yeah, you too Kelly.
Ok, we'll see you, bye.



c. 2007 / Interview By Andrew McNeice





Kelly Keagy (2001)


T h e Time Passes I n t e r v i e w





Hey Kelly, thanks for your time again. The album's out in Europe, are Frontiers are going to do the US release for you?
If I can get something better, they'll go for that. So I'm going to see if I can use some of my contacts around that I know. But any of the companies that I know are majors and they're not really keen on signing an act like me.

What, good music you mean?
Yeah. They want all that..., anyway.

Maybe if you dye your hair blond and wear shorts or something and a baggy top.
And pierce everything and brand my face. And play music with no melody in it at all.

Absolutely. And scream a bit more.
It's not a sign of age is it?

Definitely not.
I think we just like good music.

Yeah, we do. And you know what? I've got some kids on the site that e-mail me and say, hey, I'm nineteen and I haven't been corrupted by the crap on MTV. Some of those kids do like good music.
That's cool. That's great.

That's encouragement. They're not all thirty and forty year olds e-mailing me!!
You know I met this one kid from Holland or someplace like that. And he came over to a Chicago show that Night Ranger did. Here's this young kid, about twenty years old. And he was over visiting or doing something and traveling. Came to our show and you know, loved Night Ranger ever since he was a little kid. It was really amazing.

Now where would a twenty year old have heard of Night Ranger?
You know, I don't know. He just found music over there somehow in the record stores, so got into it.

Awesome. I'll tell you, I've also had an e-mail from a fifty-six year-old Night Ranger fan.

Well I guess we should talk about this album, eh?

All right, well let's go. The opening track, "Anything Goes".
A great rocker. One of the early tracks wasn't it?

It's one of the earlier ones that Jack and I and this guy Aaron Zigman, he's a songwriter…we wrote that song for a specific movie that was supposed to being done. It's called Rock Star.

And so there was at least a thousand writers trying to write for that. And so they had to sift through. It was a couple of summers ago now. So we wrote that song just for that, and it was just a little, funky demo. I sent it to Frontiers because I wanted this to be a rock album. So that song really turned out good for me.
You know, you need songs like that. I was really glad that I could use it.

It's a good, honest, hard rocker. And probably one of the closer tracks to a Night Ranger tune on the album.
Yeah, I think there is a lot of material on here that sounds like Night Ranger.

The funny thing is, it's just how everybody brings their personality into a band. You know, it's kind of like when Don Henley goes off and does his own stuff, you hear that voice and you know it's the Eagles. Kind of what some of this stuff does for me when I listen to it.

Exactly right. I was actually going to bring this up later on but I'll bring it up now for the sake of it. Night Ranger always is a blend of personalities. You've got five very prominent songwriters and singers in the band, which is a rare task, isn't it? But this does sound like a Kelly Keagy album. This does sound like an individual.
I was hoping that it was going to be like that. You know, that's why I'm glad I had a lot of time to make the record, so I can think about this stuff. Because I'm the type of person that needs to absorb, you know.
When I'm working on material, writing it, or after I've written it and I'm considering it for an album, I like to listen to it and just kind of like let it soak in. And it was nice that I had that much time to figure it out, so I could make it like an individual album. Not so much just sound like the band that I play with.

You debuted "Anything Goes" at the Gods last year. Did you get any feedback off that track? Any response from the people you talked to that night?
You know what, I've gotten e-mails from a lot of people recently saying that they love the track and they couldn't wait for the album. It's really great. Specifically, they like that song but they were kind of bunching it in with the other songs too. They weren't like confronting that song so much as they were saying that they like the whole style and sound of the record.

Sure. One of the tracks that I hadn't heard before, because as you know I've had a quite a bit of time with a lot of the songs off this album, and I thank you for that. But one of the new ones which I've only just heard is "Acid Rain" and that really caught me as a great sort of more modern rocker.
The original demo was recorded over at Jimmy's house with Jack and I and Jimmy cutting the track. And that's another song that was written for that Rock Star movie. Or was being written specifically for like the soundtrack for that.
And I don't think anybody ever heard that song. I really don't know the background on if Jimmy ever sent that or if it ever got sent out to the record company. I'm pretty sure it did, because when we were traveling I know that Jimmy and him got together and wrote two songs. And then I offered my services because they didn't have a drummer. And they were just writing together on guitars. So I offered my services and I cut the drums. And then Jimmy sent me the track just like about three months ago and I put it together. I put Brian on there, playing, Brian does a trade off guitars with Mike Aquino.
He's the guy that plays on Jimmy's stuff.

That's cool.
But that was one of those tracks that was kind of cool and I got a chance to play on. Not really thinking it was going to go anywhere, you know, as far as me.
I didn't get a chance to add to the writing, it was already written, so that was cool. I didn't mind, I just wanted to come in and play. It was cool how it turned out because I got a chance to actually put my stamp on it. Produce it, sing it. It was really pretty fun.

A very cool vocal you've got there.
Yeah, there was another guy singing on the track originally. So I just decided to use the song. Sarafino liked the song and you know, there you go! I just kind of went in there and cut away at it. It happened. It was really fun. Especially with Brian. Got a chance to do a little trading guitars with Mike Aquino.

Oh, sure, sure, yeah.
Yeah, he played on Jimmy's stuff and he's doing the Mecca thing.
Joe Banner. So he's like a local guy in Chicago. It was nice to have him come in and play on that. He also played on "The Journey" and he played on some of the tracks that didn't make the album. I don't know if you got any of those demos I sent you. I don't know if you got any of those songs like "Ear for Thunder."

I've got "Ear for Thunder", I think I've tracked down about three I don't have.
Yeah, so "Ear for Thunder", there was another song called "Faith", "Torch of Faith".

Yeah, that's the other one I've got I think.
So Mike and Brian Bart both played on that. Brian and I put them together in the studio.

Now that you mention it they are both similar to "Acid Rain" so that's why. OK, yeah, I've heard those two tracks, they were great, again.
Now, "Time Passes" has to be one of my favorite tracks off the album.
I love what you've done with the track from the original demo. You've kind of hollowed out the first verse there, haven't you?

I just stripped it down. I played the intro guitar on it, and played the... the whole intro was basically just me by myself in the studio. As it starts to build, I added Brian. When the track kicks in with the drums and stuff, that's when Brain enters with me. So I basically played. It was fun.
When I was putting this stuff together, I never thought, ever, that my stuff that I was recording was ever going to be used. It had a feel about it, intros, you know, this and that. Like on 'Time Passes" especially, it just had a feel about it that I didn't think that I wanted to replace. It just felt so good.
Then once the track gets into it, then Brian's there and you know, he's a really good guitar player so he could fill in what I wouldn't really be able to play. I'm a very simple guy. Just play simple chords. I can manage. As long as I'm not out there by myself too long (laughs). But it was really fun actually being able to use some of these tracks. I thought I was going to end up replacing them all. That's what you do when you're a songwriter. You just put the basic thing down and you go, here's the song. And you bring in guys and you have good players fix it up. You know some of the stuff really worked. So that was kind of like my decision.
I was hoping I was making the right one. It did turn out good.

Absolutely. I tell you something that is throughout the whole album, but an example of it, is when you do the pass through the first verse and go into the chorus you've got a spanking drum sound.
That was really fun to record because we got a chance to record over at the school of music here in Minneapolis where Brian is a part-time teacher there. And so we had a chance to go into this like unbelievable studio to record drum, and using all this great equipment and stuff. It was really, really a great experience. That was really fun. We kept wondering if we were over-processing the drums a little bit but they sounded so good in that room that we just wanted to keep it like it was. Big and giant.

Is there a particular sentiment behind the song, the lyrics?
You know what's fun is that originally I was writing it kind of like somebody's search for spiritualism or looking for... I'm not terribly religious but at the time I was trying to be a little bit more spiritual. I think this song came out of that. Because the lyrics kind of seem like you're talking about a woman. But at the same time, when I was originally writing it, I wasn't feeling like I was writing about a woman. I was actually kind of talking about a Supreme Being, or God. So that's what I was thinking about. Then I put in a couple of funny lines in there about the car. In the second verse, I just kind of wanted to have some sense of humor in there because it's kind of a dark song.

It is, it is. In fact, the first thing I heard from you, when you first made contact, you sent me a five-track demo which "Time Passes", "Bottled Up" and "The Moon" were part of. And I just remember finishing the fifth song going, Wow, that was one dark, segment of music. The whole all five songs.
I know, I know. There's definitely that side of me. And I'm glad I got to explore it a little bit but not make the whole record that way. Because I mean that was the original five songs, was really the first inspiration for the album.

It was intense.
Pretty weird. Yeah. I mean you know, like when I listen to it even now, I try and space it out so I don't listen to it too often. I'm not absorbed with my own music but I listen to it just to kind of go back and kind of reflect. That song is definitely pretty dark. I know Bottled Up is kind of an angry song (laughs). I just hope people don't get depressed and like jump out the window when they hear it.

Let's jump to that song now. If you don't mind me getting personal, maybe it's not even personal, I don't know, but where did the inspiration for that song come from? Who were you angry at in the song?
On "Bottled Up"? Actually, I wrote it with Bruce Gaitsch who's a really good friend of mine who's written with Richard Marx and people like that. Yeah he was in that band that I was in.

King of Hearts...
Yeah, Timothy Schmidt was kind of a part of that band in the beginning. He never actually stayed in the project because everything about the Eagles and all that, going to get back together. Bruce was going through a divorce and I was kind of having some problems in my personal life.
He was going through a divorce, well that was kind of the whole thing, it was like, man, I don't care about the money. I don't care. Just like, you can have everything. I just want to go. Kind of like, there's a new song out, kind of the same thing, it says that same kind of thing. You know, just like, go away.
I mean, you know when you get hurt in a relationship, you just want to move on. That's kind of what it is. It's just like a moving on song. It's kind of angry but, that's the way it goes.

I can remember listening to it going, Ah man, Kelly's in a really bad place.
I hope he's OK!

(laughing). You know, sometimes writing songs like that is a really good thing because it's cleansing. You're releasing it. So it's a good thing. I just hope that people just don't go, "Ah shit!" (laughs). But that's how I felt at the time. And there's a lot of other positive stuff on the album.

Oh there is. It's very well balanced, I must say.
That's what I was trying to do. You know, I'm really glad, again, that's another reason why I had a lot of time to get into it. You know, a lot of times bands don't have enough time to think out their material and sometimes it doesn't turn out good. That's why I probably won't make another record for ten years.
Just kidding!

I hope it's not that long! OK, what about, "Before Anybody Else Knows"? I love this, it's another great rocker isn't it?
Yeah, you know what, this one was written totally over, through mail.
I had met Jim Peterik and I was talking with him about this song and I said, I'm going to send this thing to you. It was the first thing we ever wrote together.
And I sent it to him on a cassette. I had all the melodies and a lot of the music done. And I just hummed this melody to him. Because you know, for a while I was just kind of like, didn't have anything to say. So it was nice that Jimmy came along because he's always got great things to say. And he's always really positive about it, coming up with great titles and stuff. So that was like, Jimmy wrote all the lyrics to this song. And came up with a title and everything. And he was just like, within a week, he sent it back to me. He goes, thanks man for making me a part of this song because it just came out. It was amazing to me that he came up with this idea about Icarus, the melting wax and the wings thing. It was such a great touch. Just a really great story. So I really got behind it. And the tape he sent back was just like him playing it on piano. Which was so unlike what the song was. But that was the way that he wanted to..., so I could hear the lyrics. So he sent it back to me that way. That was a really great track. I was like the first thing that we got going on, and then I knew I wanted to write the rest of the album with him.

I'll sort of digress a little bit, but you and he have great respect for each other don't you?
It was so amazing. I remember when Jimmy first sent me the stuff to do a World Stage show with about three years ago and the first track was that song "Vehicle". I know this is kind of his stamp, him individually.
But he's written so many other great songs since then, of course everybody knows. But when I heard that first track, It reminded me of...the first time I heard it was like in high school. And he was just barely out of high school.
Which is so incredible. And I just thought to myself, God man, this guy has got so much soul. I want to work with this guy. I really want to get serious with this. So that's when I sent him "Before Anybody Knows".
And then we started writing "Too Close to the Sun" and a lot of good things came out. You know what? I think I kind of overlapped didn't I, a little bit. I was talking about one song, I was talking about "Icarus". That wasn't in "Before Anybody Knows". Sorry, I'm getting mixed up on my own music.

That was "Too Close to the Sun" wasn't it?
Yeah. That whole thing about Icarus was "Too Close to the Sun". But "Before Anybody Knows I'm Gone" was like a song written about riding a motorcycle. That's one of my passions, is riding a bike. And Jim, I don't know if he ever has ridden a motorcycle but I think that I was telling him about it. That's where he came up with the idea for the lyrics for that song. You know, we were talking about riding and stuff like that, riding motorcycles, that was that one. I'm sorry I kind of got mixed up.

No, that's all..., we'll edit this, don't worry [Sorry Kelly....I decided not to edit it!!]
Are you recording this?

So you can sift through it...[Maybe :0]

Tell me about the last ninety seconds of this song "Before Anybody Knows".
Oh yeah, you mean all that train wreck stuff? That's what it is, it's like a train wreck isn't it? Well basically all that stuff got kept in there from the demo.
When I brought the track to Brian I had played guitar and some bass and had all this stuff on there. So I was going to cut all that out. That was just like an out-take thing, I was going to fade the song out. But it was so exciting; it was so weird.
I had never done anything like that in a band. Have a big fan at the end and have it just go on and on. And I remember the days of Grand Funk Railroad, where they used to do shit like that for five minutes (laughs). So I cut it down to about one and a half or two minutes. I just remember, that's one of the things I really like about Grand Funk Railroad, is get to the end of a song and they'd just go (guitar sound) and they'd hold it for like five minutes. And just annoy the shit out of everybody. So when I said that to Serafino like that, I knew he was just going to go 'Well we definitely have to cut the end off'. But he didn't. So I said, you know what? I like it too or something and just leave it in there because it sounds like we're in there jamming, which was what we were doing.

It's good fun. I love the ending. You just start spanking the drums and there's this little mini solo in there, there's like this noise.
Yeah, and all this like everybody's like doing like you know (whirring noise). You know like, doing the eighties, you know pull the bar up and....That was one reason I wanted to keep it in too, is because the drumming aspect of it.
I thought well this kind of features me, you know, getting to flail away a little bit. And so I said you know, let's just keep that in there.

Yeah. Good stuff. I mean it's a drummer's record. You're a drummer; it's your record. You should be able to play on it.
You know, I didn't want to do a solo or anything like that, but I just figured well this is the closest thing, the closest I can get to the solo.

The first ballad on the album is track five, "Too Much to Ask".
Right. What a great track that is. That was written during the original sessions that I got together with Kevin Chalfant and Jimmy.
I went over for about three days, over to Chicago in the summertime when Night Ranger had a break from touring and got together with those two. And when you get those two guys in the room together, I'm telling you, boy, stuff starts flying out. Images and great, you know, insight on life and stuff like that. That's where that song came from, is we wanted to write something about..., not so much a love song. We wanted it to be a humanitarian song. You know, and asking that question about... Is it too much to ask? Did I want a better life for my fellow man and my kids, friends? That's where that came from.

Great sentiment.
Yeah, that was fun too. We recorded that at Jimmy's house too, which was really fun to record at Jimmy's house and the Pro Tool system.

I think I've heard that mentioned in the last three interviews I've done.
Pro Tools? Yeah, everybody's getting on that. I didn't want to do that on this record too much though, you know? I was kind of skeptical when we did that at his house. I was like, well, you know, I don't know if I can really get the sound I want and everything like that. But it turned out to be great. Especially when we got to the latter tracks which is like, "The Journey" and some of those other tracks where I got to mess around with the drum sound a bit more and stuff.
So it was fun.

Cool. Now I saw you guys all in action, you and Kevin, of all the places, in the back of a taxi-bus on the way to Liverpool that day. [The day after last year's Gods Festival].
On the back of the bus you guys just started writing a song, and Jimmy's got his recorder in his pocket, then suddenly he's out recording everything....

You know, that was the beginnings of a song that didn't make the record. We didn't actually get to finish it. Actually "The Journey" was one of those songs we wrote over there. Jim had this idea, he was fiddling around with it in church across the street from the hotel we were staying in London.
He brought his tapes with him of course down from Liverpool and brought it out. I thing you're probably going to find some songs on the next Kevin Chalfant record on there too. They were doing a lot of that too. I think "The Journey" was one of those songs, and there was another song. What was it? A song called "You're Everything I Need in a Woman". But that didn't make it on the record. We wrote about three different ideas that turned out to be..., they're going to be songs on future records.

Just to see you guys at work was a privilege. It was just fantastic to see you guys, you know, take any opportunity. Again while we were waiting for a taxi at the Liverpool Docks building in the rain...
People must think like we were like stoned or something!!
Because we were like oblivious to anybody around us. We didn't give a shit, it was like, I've got this idea! Hey it goes (sings some notes).
We were getting goofy with this recorder out in the middle of...I mean sometimes I'd just laugh. I would just laugh because I'd look over at somebody and they'd be like going 'Huh'? Like, what's wrong with these guys? Ah, these bloody Americans. So it was really funny. But at the same time it was energizing.

I was sitting back there in awe, I was just going, I'm in another world.
Wasn't that fun to go to Liverpool, man?

It was a blast. It was really fun, yeah, one of the best days out I have ever had.
Jim's a funny man, isn't he?

Isn't he great?

OK, so "Too Close to the Sun", we're done with "Bottled Up". "Too Close to the Sun", you were referring to the lyrics there before.
Yeah, I was talking about the lyrics. About, Jimmy wrote some really fantastic story ideas on Icarus. I always thought that was such a great story about him flying too high. And it's just kind of, it's so true, you know, how that works in life. We're all trying to get somewhere and sometimes we might take the wrong path. Who knows. Or it might be the right path. But society thinks it's the wrong path. So, I always thought that that was such a great lyric, and that was a song I wrote...another one I was writing in my studio on guitar and ended up keeping the bass tracks and guitar tracks that I originally had done. And it worked out great. And the song didn't change a whole lot from what I had done in the studio. And the melody, the melody was pretty much sound when I sent it to Jim and he tweaked it with lyric and stuff like that. That was another one that Jim wrote all the lyrics to that one and "Before Anyone Knows I'm Gone". He just had such a handle on it there wasn't a thing that I could change. It was so perfect.

Oh, that's cool. I think that musically it sounds a bit like Man in Motion.
Really!? The song "Man in Motion"?

The album, the album.
Oh that's great. I always liked that album. I thought that was a great record. And it never got it's just, fair play. That's when things were changing; at the end of the '80s everybody was like 'well we don't want to play you guys anymore'.
Or whatever was going on. I don't know if it was that. It was just, you know, hey, music changes. That's what I like about pop music, it's always changing and it's very positive. You know, hey, that's what happens.

Now another big rocker. One that keeps turning out to be one of my favorite tracks because it's one of the new ones I'm sort of living with now and that's "Wrong Again".
"Wrong Again"?

That one originally was written by Brad and myself and Gary Moon, when we were writing for the 'Mojo' album. And for some reason when we went to cut the track for the 'Mojo' album, the song just didn't work. Or something, or the producer didn't think it was working because a lot of the new material that we had written, it was kind of, I don't know, it was getting passed up. And I always loved this song.

It's a great song.
And I kept it. I kept it close to me because I just think it's a great song. There's a lot of inspiration in there. And even though it's just a simple little pop lyric in there, there's something in it. There was a great fiery performance in it, with Gary and Brad. So I took the original tracks that we did at Brad's studio in like 1993. Something ridiculously far away like that. See, that's one thing I like doing. I like taking something that was originally good, and building on it. And I think I did that on some of the songs on this record.

So that one, I kept the original vocals. I kept Brad's performance. And I put new drums on there and I mixed it. I'm kind of weird about that. If I like..., if something sounds good. I don't want to re-record it just because it's like five or six years old. The performances were good. I analyzed it. I sat there for hours and just went 'Is this any good'? And then Brian and I, we had to really work to make the drums work with the old tracks. Because we had cut the track live in Brad's studio so there was no metronome to follow. Nowadays the drummer will cut tracks to a metronome track so that everything will be smooth throughout. Well there was no metronome track on this. So this is where the computer really came into play. Really made that song happen. Because the timing was all over the place. And so when I cut my drums, I had to speed up and slow down and speed up to what was going on like a live performance.
When I got back into the studio it didn't sound good like that. So I made it, we basically..., Brian pulled his genius and made that thing. We sat there and said, OK, this verse is rushing, OK, stop. What can we do. We had to take every single track, individually into the computer and splice it together and made that track groove.

I mean it was like..., it was something that took about twelve hours to do. It was like, when we got done with that, we were like looking at each other going (growling noise). Just growling because it was so frustrating. That song would have been done a long time ago. I was kind of, one of those things, like it would have been done in an hour. But just for the fact that we didn't have a metronome, trying to cut to it, just made it really hard. I loved the song so much I really wanted to work and make it happen.

And Gary's vocal sounds great in there.
Doesn't he kick ass!?

Oh, he's awesome.
Gary's always impressed me with his range, his vocal range. Because on some other things that we had written together a long time ago, he can sing down low too. So he's not always singing up in his higher register. So that's something about Gary. He's just a tremendous singer.

In fact he showed us just how low he can sing on the bus on the way back to Liverpool didn't he (laughs)? Do you remember that?
(laughing). I know. Him and Josh singing together, doing that low stuff. Oh my God. I thought they were going to break the windows.

Did you get that on tape?
You know, I think he got some of that. Because throughout Josh was doing that. So I think that they probably recorded it.

Great stuff! All right, "When There is a Woman".
Now that's a song that Jimmy wrote totally by himself. And I had a demo tape of all these songs that Jimmy had written. Like twenty songs. And that one just jumped out at me. I thought, God, if there's any song that I would like to put on my record that I haven't written or that I didn't have any part of in writing, that would be one song I would love to do. And so I just felt an emotional bond with the song. So it was great, going back over there and re-cutting all the tracks with everybody. Using Mike again on guitar and of course Jimmy played keyboards and basses on some of these songs. I'm not sure which one's he played on, I'll have to look at the credits here to see what he played on. But of course working with Jimmy as a producer is really fun. Because he's got so many ideas it's just unbelievable. That was great. That was really fun.

The big anthem of the album, "The Journey".
Yeah, "The Journey". Now getting to that one, that's the one that we wrote in the church over there in London. That was a great little inspiration to have Jim say come on let's go to this church. And he saw this piano back there, well he kind of felt like he was being driven by you know, like I've got to get to a piano and we've got to work on this thing. So we asked the church manager there if we could go and sit down at the piano. And we apologized up and down. Can we do this? He kind of like was looking at us funny because you know, here we are, Americans all dressed in leather or whatever we were wearing. Jim was wearing a leather jacket, I was wearing some jeans or whatever. And he was like OK, but just five minutes. So we went over there and he brought his little recorder and we got the very inspiration, beginning of inspiration for that song down. So we started to get the melodies and all of the chord changes down. Jimmy had a lot of it going already before I came in. So that was really a great, great little thing, was being able to go into that church. Then we actually went back the next day and said, after we had worked on it in the hotel, and said back in there, and the same guy again, 'Oh you guys again!' Are you back again? But he was really nice enough to let us go back in there and do that. Got it down. That was cool.

Some great vocals on that album, but also on that song.
Oh, thank you, thank you. Yeah that was with Jimmy at the helm.
It's really nice to have Jimmy out there listening to you sing because he's such a great singer himself.
Very smooth. Your voice is very smooth on that track.
Yeah, Joe Vana joined us on backgrounds on that.

OK, awesome. That will make a good live track. I hope.
Yeah, we were thinking about doing it for this show, this upcoming show for World's Stage coming up. You know, it's kind of like we're going to have people returning from that last show, which know Jimmy's material off the World's Stage record. So I think it would be better to keep it just to that. So we decided not to do it here. But we are going to do that song "Long Road Home".

Yeah, now that's a great track, isn't it?
I wish you could come to that.

Don't tease me.
Last year was so fun. It was so fun you know, meeting Kevin again. You know I've know Kevin for a long time. But seeing Kevin again and having him come out and do a song. And the audience was so into it and Jimmy's got so many great songs.

Yeah. Hasn't he!?
You know, it was just amazing.

I'll make it my ambition to see the show one day.
I think he's going to be doing this for a while because he's kind of like an icon there in Chicago.

It's just so hard to get anywhere from down here.
I understand. I'd sure love to come down there.

Look, the last track is one I particularly..., now you wrote this all on your own and I'm really envious of the lyrics. I think they're awesome. I think it's a very personal and very sentimental, touching song. I love it.
Which song are we talking?

“The Moon”.
The moon song. Now that song. That was just like one of those kind of songs where I'm just sitting around with my acoustic guitar and strumming and I just started to hum this melody and pretty soon the lyric came and I just..., it's kind of an endearing song. It's a nice song, you know? It's got a beautiful melody to it. And then having that kind of heartbreak lyric in it. But it still has hope to it. It's not totally like loss. That's what I like about the song. It's got both.

It's like a positive song in the face of something, like event that's incredibly negative or whatever.
And then one of my favorite parts to that song is that bass. The bass that plays the melody. The bass guitar, I went to Brian's house and we were trying to make something different out of the song other than just like an acoustic song. I wanted it to be something special. So by having that bass play the melody, which is kind of unusual, I thought that that was a really a nice touch. So we messed around with it in the studio and then I just said, and Brian was going to play, and it was a frett-less bass. And I just said, why don't you just play the melody. What about playing the (hums the melody). So he started messing around with it and so he incorporated his idea in also the melody of the song. So that's how that part came about. Really a great song, and when we put that together with the break in the bridge where the strings come in. A little string quartet comes in and plays. Isn't that great?

I hadn't heard that over the demo and I was like, hang on! What's this!?
I know. Definitely it's nice to be able to take time. I'm going to come back to that. You know because then something special comes out of it. And I'm going to make sure that I do that on any other records that I do in the future. Because you really need to put more of yourself into it, and I think that's what I've done on this record. And I just wanted to really give my all and I'm thankful that I got a chance to do that.

Definitely. It comes through, believe me.
The labels hate me doing stuff like this but I'm going to anyway.
Tell me about the couple of tracks that didn't make it. Particularly the Japan bonus track, "I'm Still Here".
I was disappointed. I had an argument with them about this for not putting it on the album.

No kidding. You know what? You don't know how much I argued about songs.
I tried to get "Here for Thunder", I mean every other day I was like driving them nuts sending an e-mail saying, I really think you should take a look at....
And after a while it was like, don't ask about that song again. Fuck that.
You guys are missing the point here, you know. Get it together. I would get mad at them. You know, we had some arguments. So that was "Here for Thunder", but "I'm Still Here", I don't know why they decided to leave it off.

Yeah, it's off the European. It's a bonus track for Japan.
You know what, they might use it somewhere else. I'm not sure what they have planned. The album they put out last year, they had "Goes" as a demo. They might release it that way or something. I haven't heard them say that but I'm just thinking that they might.

It deserves to be heard by a wide audience.
That's a song that I've had around for a long time. And it just never worked with Night Ranger. I brought it in, you know it just never really worked until I actually got a chance to tear it apart and really make it sound better, and make the parts fit together better. You know I think when I brought it to Night Ranger it really wasn't finished.

Right, OK. It does sound like a Night Ranger tune, that's what I first thought when I heard it.
Yeah, I think it does. I really think it sounds like an earlier Night Ranger song. But at the time when we were writing like Neverland and some of those other songs we were trying to be a little more newer and more current. It's too bad, there's some really good songs on those albums. It's just too bad that we felt like we had to be a ..., to maybe change our style a little bit. I think I'm trying to say, be too hip. I mean even though the albums are great, I think that we should have just did what we did and not worried about it. But, you know, I don't think it would do any good anyway the way radio is. They wouldn't have played anything that we did.

I thought Neverland was extraordinary.
I thought Neverland was a great record. And I thought Seven was great because it had great rock songs. That song "Kong".
I means it's such a tongue-in-cheek song but it's such a fun song. If I ever get the chance to play...

Yeah, I've never heard you sing like that before!
I know. I know, that's kind of what I like. It's cause I got a chance to be, you know..., Paul McCartney used to do that all the time. he used to put on another personality to do what was right for the song. And that song just needed this like, guy that looks like his throat was going to explode out of his chest (laughs).

Tell me. How long did it take you to recover after singing that?
Oh yeah, I definitely couldn't talk very well. But you know who sang with me on there right? You knew that it was Jack Russell.
That was singing with me on that track. That wasn't all me. Jack Russell sang with me on the choruses.

Yeah, that's right.
So that's what gave it that sound. Both of us were like going 'Don't want no...' Pretty fun. But I want to do that song live. If I go over to the Gods festival, I'm going to do some of these songs I've been wanting to do off know, I'm going to take one song off of Neverland, one song off of Seven, and some old Night Ranger songs and then do some Kelly Keagy songs.

Very cool.
It would kill. You better make us headline baby. Because we'll kill. You know what I'm saying!? And then I'll bring Jimmy Peterik along just to like smile, looking at me and go, yeah you think that was good, huh? Check this out. Jimmy's got a few songs in his back pocket he'd like to play for you. It's like shit, man. Stack the deck here.

That was pretty funny wasn't it?
Oh, wasn't it great? I mean they love Jimmy over there.

They loved all of him. The crowd. The Two Fires set brought the night down. It was just awesome.
It was really fun. It was fun seeing Serafino dancing (laughs). I was like looking over and Serafino was dancing and I was like 'Holy Shit'! We must be good (laughs). I don't think that was the best performance that that band had ever done but I think it was a fun performance.

It was a lot of fun.
Plus in the situation, Kevin was just like so sick. His back was so out of it. That's too bad. Hopefully he'll get to come back this year and do it again.

Fantastic. Look I could pretty much go on talking to you all day about Night Ranger and stuff but this is actually a Kelly Keagy interview so we should stick that.
I know. Keep breaking off to that band.

I mean I've been a fan of Night Ranger since, I think the first track I ever heard was "Interstate Love Affair".
Oh yeah. No kidding! A movie soundtrack right?

It was. It was on the Teachers wasn't it? Or something like that?
I think it was on Teachers, yeah.

It's the first time I ever heard you, that's what got me into you guys.
That's funny you mention that song because we had just been toying with adding about five new songs in the set for the summer tour and that was one of them on the list.

Absolutely. You know, like I said, I'm side tracking again but my favorite Night Ranger album is Big Life.
Big Life, yeah. I like that record.

That had a unique sound.
I really liked that record. I liked working with David Foster, was really fun. Such a great producer. He got to get in there and play with us a little bit too on keyboards and stuff. That was really fun.

This is a funny thing. I've never heard any song from Big Life live.
When we toured on that album we played "Rain Comes Crashing Down", we played, I think it was on there. We played "Big Life". The song "Big Life" live. What else did we play? Oh we definitely played "The Secret of My Success".

I'd love to hear that live. It's one of my favorites.
That song, we're going to rework that song for live this summer.

Awesome. And the other one I love is "Color of Your Smile".
Oh, yeah. You know we did a video on that song.

Did you?
Yeah, it never got released. When Night Ranger..., when I was just out two weeks ago doing a show in California, this old friend of ours came up and had all of our videos on a VHS. And he goes, here. I looked at it and I was like 'Oh my God!' There's this song, "Color of Your Smile". I was like flipped out. I was like 'Holy Shit', I can't believe that I remember that.

You guys have never done a VHS of clips. Never did a video of clips did you? Just a couple of live ones.
Yeah. We did that, what is the name of it, it was like Seven Wishes Live.

Yeah. That's right.
Is that what you're talking about?

And there was another. There was some other live performance that we did in Japan. And then somebody filmed a show we did in our hometown in San Francisco on New Years Eve on the Seven Wishes tour. It was like the last show on New Years Eve.

I'd love to see some video clips one day. I'll have to see if anyone's got them over there.
Do you know how to convert over to...

Yeah a buddy of mine's got a player that plays both.
No kidding. Because I want to put some of those things on my site.

Oh yeah, he's doing that for me. Because I'm doing video clips online.
Yeah, really? Well maybe if you can convert some of those things over we'll coordinate it and put it on both of our sites.

Any thing else you want to add Kelly?
Nah, I think that we pretty much covered it. I think this was a real fun interview to do.

Yeah, me too! Thank you!
No, I think that I spewed my mouth off enough. I think I'm done (laughs).

Fantastic. On that note I'll leave it.
It was good to talk to you man.









c. 2001 & Andrew J McNeice.

Thanks again to Ron Higgins for transcribing the Interview.







Night Ranger - Kelly Keagy (1996)


Okay, so we all know who Night Ranger are, if not, check out my Jack Blades interview. This however was a slight variation on the form of the band, with original members Kelly Keagy and Brad Gillis joined by ex-Jeff Paris bass man Gary Moon. They went onto record the very fine album 'Feeding Off The Mojo'. Here's the story.

So Kelly, how is the band and what are you up to currently?
The band is preparing to tour the south behind the newly released single ‘Precious Time’.

All the reviews I have read for 'Feeding Off The Mojo' have been excellent, are you happy with the reception for the album?
Radio is still focused on playing alternative music, so getting airplay has been frustrating.
However, we have been gratified by the reviews. It seems the consensus is it’s a great record and will be a shame if it doesn’t get the proper attention.

Many bands have comprimised their sound for the trends. 'Mojo' is a very contemporary sound, while still retaining everything a classic Night Ranger album should. How did you go about the song writing?
Writing the songs came naturally, we can’t do it any other way.
The songs were written out of personal experience or with a personal connection. As for the sound, we tried to keep the recording process simple. We didn’t want to over-process so we tried to keep the first takes in order to maintain the raw feel.

Kelly, your voice is obvious with the songs you sing on the album, but it sounds like there are two other singers with the diversity on this record. Who's responsible for the other leads?
Mojo, Last Chance, Try For Good Reason, Music Box and Longest Days were all sung by Gary Moon. I sang Precious Time, Night Has A Way, Do You Feel Like I Do/Tomorrow Never Knows.
Vocals were split between the two of us on Tell Me I’m Wrong and So Far Gone. Brad and David Pratter joined us for background vocals.

It is nice to hear some lyrics with hope and a positive message, like 'Try (For Good Reason)'. What was that song about?
Basically, the song reflects a particularly difficult time for us both as a band and individually.

In the absense of a better word, the album seems quite moody. Was that a feeling you tried to create, or again, was it just the way the band felt?
It came naturally. It is moody, we were moody. The moodiness probably comes through as a reflection of our own personal growth. Rather than just fast cars, girls, and how we can rock, we were motivated by a more spiritual side.

How long has this line-up been togehter?
We three have been playing together since 1992. We heard about Gary from Jeff Paris, a well known singer/songwriter from L.A.

I have read a lot of comments praising your recent live shows. All raved about the energy you guys created on stage. Is it just the three of you?
We are really enjoying playing with this line-up. The band is incredibly strong vocally, especially with the addition of David Zajicek for touring. David also does fine keyboards and amazing guitar work. In fact, he did some work on the record. All in all, it has been a great experience.

How did the band team up with David Pratter for the recording of 'Mojo'?
We met David Pratter through Don Grierson, the Executive Producer at the record company. Don Grierson had worked with David on Firehouse and we knew of his work with Dream Theatre.
Working with David Pratter was a learning experience for all participants.

And you assisted the production?
Yeah, I’ve been involved with engineering and producing for the past ten years, whether it has been with my own demos, other bands or previous Night Ranger records.

In previous years, there was talk of dissatisfaction regarding record label handling of Night Ranger. Was that frustrating?
All’s I can say is yes.

How much did that lead to the split of the band?

Wow! How is your current label working out?
It has been a great pleasure working with Don Grierson at Drive. We had a great respect for his accomplishments with so many artists, such as Heart and Cheap Trick. As our Executive Producer, he shared our vision and restored our faith in record company decision making.

There are a few guest writers involved with the writing of 'Mojo'. How did they get involved?
The guest writers were longtime friends who we felt added special flavours to our writing. We made an exception with ‘The Night Has A Way’. In that case, Don Grierson asked us to listen to the song because it had affected him so much and we couldn’t deny it did the same to us.

Any other plans for singles off the album?
As a matter of fact, ‘Precious Time’ was just released as a single to AC and CHR formats. We decided on ‘Mojo’ as the first single just to do something different. We have also released ‘Do You Feel’ to AOR.

Any favourite tunes?
Trying to pick favourites would be like choosing which child is your favourite. Each has their own special character. While it’s fun to play ‘Rock In America’ and ‘Don’t Tell Me You Love Me’ live, what excites me these days is playing ‘Longest Days’, ‘Last Chance’ & ‘Mojo’.

What was it like having a US number one with 'Sister Christian'?
I don’t know, I was on a bus riding 16 hours from one gig to the next! Did that place any unwanted pressure in coming up with more number one tunes?
I think everybody always feels that pressure, but you have to be who you are and try and write the best you can write.

Night Ranger have always seemed to have fun live, something a lot of bands have forgotten to do these days.
I’m glad you noticed, both that we have fun and others may have forgotten. We love to kick ass every night and enjoy playing with each other. The audience picks up on that.

Are you still incorporating your famous acoustic set into your shows? You were on of the first bands doing that.
Yes, I think the acoustic set is one of the highlights of the show. Of course, it’s a mix of the old and new.

What are you listening to right now?
I’m currently listening to Live, Weather Report and the Beatles Anthology.

Ever been to Australia?
No, but we’d love to, thanks.

What are your plans now/
Well, after your last question, it will depend on how quick you can get us those tickets on Qantas.

Well, if I could afford that, I would not be on the phone to you from Tasmania! Thanks Kelly for the time!


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