Interviewed by Mark Dean (Journalist/Writer/Contributor) Myglobalmind Webzine
Since I last chatted to Jack in the summer there has been a flurry of activity from the man and several musical releases. A new Night Ranger album and extensive touring has recently been followed by a debut from Revolution Saints a band with Doug Aldrich and Deen Castronovo of Journey. Night Ranger also have just announced some rare UK shows..Plenty to chat about then when I talked to Jack again last week.
Hi Jack,you certainly have been busy since we last talked,are you still on tour in the Us?
Jack: “Well we just got back from Omihom Nebraska on Sunday. We are doing a few shows here and there warming up for the UK shows that are coming out next month.”
When was the last time that you played here in the UK?
Jack: “Well I think it was the year before last… we haven’t done the new album “High Road”. We are kinda pumped up on the fact that we can bust out some new songs off “The High Road” record. The UK fans havnt heard us playing any of those songs live yet. We are looking forward to hitting you guys.”
What about the set list for those UK shows? Will you be adhering to your current Us set,or will you be wheeling out some rarely played songs also?
Jack: “Well,we are going to change it up for The O2 and the show up in Wales. We are going to get into some deep tracks,some songs hat we havnt played for years and years and years. We are going to bust out some stuff that I think that the fans are going to be really excited about. You know it is the thirtieth anniversary of the release of our “Seven Wishes” record so we might go deep on that record. We might pull out stuff off the very first album I mean there is plenty of music to choose from. Then we have all the new material from the “High Road” record. There is still stuff from the “Somewhere in California” record and everything else. Its going to be a tough decision on what songs to play but yeah we are going to shake it up for you guys. Believe me everyone is going to be excited hearing the songs that we are going to be playing.”
Sounds like we are talking about a very long set then for those UK shows?
Jack (laughs): “Yeah I think that O2,may turn into a Springsteen set.”
I don’t think that I will be able to make that show but will be attending the show in Wales-save some songs for that one.
Jack (laughs again): “don’t worry we will save some songs up for that. That is a little bit different because it is a festival and there are just so many other bands on the show. There are some restrictions. Do you know what I mean? The O2 Academy is just us so we can get in there and just go and go and go… That’s the difficulty with so many songs that we can choose from. Just trying to figure out which ones to play. Believe me we are not going to disappoint anyone…”
You have nearly talked me right into considering going also to the London show now…
Jack: “I think you should…(laughing)”
This has been the first tour with guitarist Keri since Joel left. How has that been working out for Night ranger?
Jack: “Ohhh man its been like a seamless fit. We grabbed Keri and then went off on a tour of Japan back in October. The Japanese audience just went out of their minds. I mean Keri just brings to the band a new-found energy, a new found excitement on stage .From ten/twelve years of playing with Alice Cooper and then playing with Slash from Guns ‘n Roses and everything he brings a sort of like swagger. Its just a wonderful rhythm attack to the band. Not only that but when he and Brad get together and play the duel solos it is just like one person playing. I mean there are so locked into each other .Its one of those things were I cant wait for the UK audience to see us. Thats the way that I feel.”
On those dates will you have time to do the tourist thing,or will it just be fly in, play the shows and fly straight out again?
Jack: “Oh hell no,you know me I am Mr Sightseer. I am like ”Lets go and see Big Ben again..” I am actually flying over early, I may be over a week or so beforehand stay with some friends. Hang out in London and just have a great time. Then we will do those shows and then I am going to fly over to Europe and do some things with a couple of friends of mine in Kiss in Switzerland. I am there for awhile-you cant get rid of me.”
Is this another new musical project for you?
Jack: “No we are just doing a little corporate event with friends and just having some fun. I think that I am in enough bands as it is right now.”
That leads me on quite nicely to talk about Revolution Saints and the new album that is shortly due to be released.
Jack (laughing): “Yeah how about that band?”
Im really liking that album, and was wondering as you are busy with Nightranger if Revolution Saints were destined just to remain as a studio project? Or would live shows be incorporated somewhere into your very bust schedule?
Jack: “Well actually we are looking into that right now,and sort of moving around everyone’s schedule. Between Journey, Night ranger and Doug s schedule with the things that he is doing. It is a bit of a tap dance to figure out when we have time. It seems like maybe in the fall that there is some window openings that we can play some shows. I think that the UK would be a great place to play, Japan the UK..shows in the States. We want to do it, Deen Doug and I want to play live and we think that we need to do that. We are doing our best to figure out how to make it happen. If we do then it will also be happening in the UK so lets hope so and keep our fingers crossed.”
Those songs deserve to be heard live I think.
Jack: “Yes I agree, I think that they are getting some airplay in the UK also. I think a lot of those songs are just screaming to be played live. Yeah we are going to figure that out.”
Going back to the recording of that Revolution Saints album how was the creative process, and was it a different dynamic from Night ranger?
Jack: “Oh yeah a completely different dynamic from Nightranger. Basically the record started out I thought as basically a solo record for Deen Castranovo having him as the lead singer. He has never been a full lead singer before on a record. Really the songs were picked, Dean did the drums and he sent the drum tracks and everything to me. I laid down the bass tracks and sent them off to Doug. There were some scratch guitars when I laid down the bass lines, when Deen did the drums also. The three of us talked and said “Hey man lets just give each other the green light to do just what ever you wanted on these songs”. When you are playing with guys like Deen and with Doug you trust their instincts. When Doug is going to lay something down I trust that he is not going to overdo it and go right to the end. The same with Deen. I think that they trust me the same way. It was like a mutual trust thing from years of knowing each other and from knowing the careers of each other that we could go in and make it that style. If we do another record, I should say ”when” we do another record we are going to get in the same room and make it happen.”
Again schedules permitting I assume?
Jack: “Yes that is going to be the toughest thing but I think that we can make it happen.”
Returning to Night Ranger,the band have been going for quite some time – do you still enjoy it as much as when you first started out?
Jack: “I enjoy it more now,because to me it is more fun. At this stage of the game I only do stuff that I like. I only want to do things that are fun. I just enjoy every moment of being on the stage with Night Ranger. I enjoy every moment of being on the stage with Brad, Kelly, Keri and Eric. The band is just got stronger and stronger and I think right now this is the best that Night Ranger has ever been-what you are going to see next month in the UK. I think that the fans will agree with me. I think that is an amazing thing after a thirty odd year career that you can actually say that. I mean no one in this band is just up there “turning one in” because its like ”I am going to get a pay check”. Its not anything like that, it never has been and it never will be. I think that is what the audience picks up when they come to our shows. We have done three shows just at the beginning of this year and all have been sold out. It is just there is this new wave of Night Ranger coming on right now that’s really enjoyable.”
Thats the retirement plans on hold then for when you quit the music business?
Jack: “Oh no,I will never do that. There is no point in calling it quits. What I do is that I am a musician, I have chosen this life and this is what I am going to do until the day I die. I am just going to keep playing,recording, keep making new music and keep pushing it. Keep playing with other people and keep doing it all because this is what I love to do.”
What’s next up on the Night Ranger schedule then for the band?
Jack: “We are doing those shows in the UK, other shows in April and we start big time in the US in May and we finish up probably some time in October. Then maybe we can do some Revolution Saints dates. We have already done some tour rehearsals for the UK shows and are picking the songs out now. I am always “hey everybody learn this one well just in case we want to pull it out of our back pocket”. That is kind of what we have done a lot,and that is what Night Ranger are becoming known for. We spring stuff on ourself. I think that keeps it really fun. We are going to pick out different songs to play in different places and I think that the fans are going to love that. That is kind of what Night Ranger is all about.”
That London show is continuing to tempt me as well as The Hard Rock Hell United in Wales.
Jack: “Good get your ass down there.”
Well its more a case of getting my ass on a plane and flying over from N. Ireland.
Jack (laughing): “Look where I have to go, I have to fly for ten freaking hours… on a plane.”
Fair point. I’m over for the Wales show anyway so what’s difficult about coming a few days early.
Jack: “Trust me you wont be disappointed. You will enjoy it and you will have a blast.”
Hopefully will get the opportunity to meet up with you.
Jack: “sure just let us know what’s happening and we will hook up.”
Its been great chatting to you again Jack, thanks very much.
Jack: “Take care, we cant wait to get to the UK and see you guys soon.”
Night Ranger play London O2 Islington Academy
Thursday, March 12th
Hard Rock Hell United in Wales on Saturday, 15 March 2015