Night Ranger wants Brainerd fans to know “(You Can Still) Rock in America” with this American rock ‘n’ roll band that has been rocking the music scene for more than 30 years and has sold more than 17 million albums worldwide.
Night Ranger, known for its popular hits “Sister Christian,” “Don’t Tell Me You Love Me” and “When You Close Your Eyes,” will perform at 8 p.m. Saturday, June 29, in the Lakes Jam at Brainerd International Raceway.
And what should Brainerd fans expect from Night Ranger?
“Whenever Night Ranger plays you will get an American ... rock ‘n’ roll show,” Jack Blades, Night Ranger lead singer and bass player, said in a telephone interview. “That is exactly what people will get. Night Ranger is an interactive show, who knows what songs we’ll play ... We do whatever we want.”
Blades was at his home in northern California and the other band members — Kelly Keagy, drums and lead vocals; Brad Gillis, guitar and vocals; Joel Hoekstra, guitar and vocals; and Eric Levy, keyboard — were waiting for him to finish the newspaper interview as they were in the middle of recording their new album. Blades, Keagy and Gillis are the original band members.
“We are about 12 songs into it,” Blades said. “We took the weekend off so we can work on our album. We’re going to record all weekend long. We won’t sing any of our new songs (at Lakes Jam) ... (The new album) will be all good, classic Night Ranger songs.”
Blades said the band has been busy, as it released a DVD with a companion CD entitled “24 Strings and a Drummer,” last October. He said the all-acoustical package is a “Night Ranger Unplugged” story teller show where the band tells a story about how they wrote the songs. The music was recorded in the studio of Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead in California.
Blades said it’s wonderful to see the younger generation singing Night Ranger songs. He said having their songs played in the video games like Guitar Hero brings a whole new younger fan base.
Of all the songs Night Ranger has done, Blades said he would have to say the song “When You Close Your Eyes” is his favorite.
“That song was always one of my favorites,” said Blades, who wrote the song when he was 29. “It was one of those songs that meant so much to me. I love that song.”
Blades said his father gave him a guitar when he was 8 and he started playing it right away.
“It was one of those things, I loved it,” he said. “When I heard the Beatles play in ‘64 I thought that was the best thing in the world and I was like, ‘Oh, my gosh,’ and my dad said in six months you won’t hear from these guys. Boy, was he wrong.”
Seeing Night Ranger continue to be successful for a band that formed in the early 1980s, Blades said, “I feel pretty blessed. I feel like the luckiest guy around and I think the rest of the guys feel the same. To be able to choose a field, like music, and still be out there doing tours and still having people singing your songs, I feel blessed to still be rocking.”
Blades said Night Ranger is playing better now than ever.
“This band is on fire and the people in Brainerd will see that,” he said.