There are a lot of reasons to celebrate the July 1 release of Night Ranger’s HOLE IN THE SUN, notably that it marks the band’s first studio album in a decade and commemorates the pioneering hard rock outfit’s 25th anniversary as a band. The best reason, as has been the case throughout Night Ranger’s heralded career, is to celebrate the music itself.
“People will hear this record and recognize our dual blazing guitars and vocals, and big choruses and melodic verses, because that’s definitely how you can describe this album,” explains singer/bassist Jack Blades of the self-produced new release, the band’s eighth studio album, and first for VH1 Classic Records. “It’s new Night Ranger, but in a lot of ways it’s classic Night Ranger.”
Guitars grind and swirl through the unrelenting opener “Tell Your Vision,” delivering a progressively-fueled crush that sets the tone for the eleven new tracks that follow, from Keagy’s Jim Morrison-like soft parade of vocals atop the blinding guitars of “Drama Queen” and the blitzing melodic charge of “You’re Gonna Hear From Me,” through the enduring depths of the piano-driven power ballad “There is Life,” and back again. HOLE IN THE SUN rings with the vibrancy of vintage Night Ranger, yet echoes with a modern relevance that endures throughout the album.
“We wanted to sound new, but still keep our roots,” says Keagy of the new release. “We grew up in the ‘70s, when pop music was really starting to thrive. Sometimes it drove you crazy because the songs were so poppy that you couldn’t get them out of your head, but they were still amazing songs. We wanted to portray some of that on this album.”
While there is definitely a pop glisten to HOLE IN THE SUN, there’s also a heavy dynamic that plants the band firmly in the millennium. “Brad brought in a lot of great ideas, some more modern-sounding things, but we were still able to keep that melodic sense in the songs. We wanted a lot of songs like ‘Drama Queen,’ great, gritty songs that reestablish our roots in hard rock,” continues Keagy.
Night Ranger—original members bassist/vocalist Jack Blades, drummer/vocalist Kelly Keagy and guitarist Brad Gillis along with guitarist Joel Hoekstra and keyboardist Christian Cullen—will be on the road throughout 2008, including a stop in Pryor, OK on Friday, July 11 to perform as part of Rocklahoma. They’ll also be doing various shows with Styx & Boston, REO Speedwagon, Foreigner and Cinderella & Warrant.
The band has been touring all over the world the past few months, including a stop at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba to perform for the men and women stationed there. For Night Ranger, it was a life changing experience.
As Keagy described, “There could not have been a more proud moment in my career then when we stepped foot on Guantanamo Bay to play for the troops there. We all had mixed emotions about going and we didn’t really know what they do there. Well we certainly found out, but the world should know that the people that are being held should be there because they are (I believe) the most dangerous people on this Earth. We heard the facts in a briefing given by one of the highest ranking officers on the base. It was amazing! To the men and women that work so very hard to keep us safe from the kinds of things that happened on 911, I salute you.”
“Going to Guantanamo Bay Cuba to play for the troops is right up there as one of the wildest things Night Ranger has ever done,” Blades continues. “We’ve been all over the world, but never have we sung “You Can Still Rock In America” in a Communist country with armed Cubans watching us in guard towers just a few clicks away. Everyone was so appreciative of us being there, and seeing them rock out was the greatest. We were given a tour of the detention facilities, got the REAL story first-hand and went face-to-face with the detainees (nice stare-down moment that I shall not soon forget). Saw it all and it made us even more appreciative for what our soldiers, sailors, marines and airman are doing to keep us safe. They’re doing their part, so we’ll keep doing our part. Rock in America baby!”
Says Gillis of the band’s current tour plans: “We started with our classic backline with the American flag and the Night Ranger logo, and then we built it all up from there – bigger lights, bigger sound, bigger everything! We’ve got the ramps, the vintage t-shirts, the old-school Night Ranger antics, and it’s going to be nothing but fun.”
Night Ranger has left an indelible mark on the music world thanks to a number of best-selling albums—starting with their 1982 DAWN PATROL debut–that sold more than 16 million copies worldwide. The band’s popularity has been fueled by an impressive string of instantly recognizable hit singles and signature album tracks, including “Sister Christian,” “(You Can Still) Rock In America,” “When You Close Your Eyes,” “Sentimental Street,” “Goodbye” and “Don’t Tell Me You Love Me.” Harnessing the frenetic drive of heavy metal to hook-laden rock songs, throwing in a stunning twin lead guitar team, and melodious, radio-friendly power ballads, Night Ranger inspired new descriptive phrases such as “melodic metal” and “metal power pop.”
“Music is constantly evolving and changing, and people need to keep evolving in life, spirit, soul and everything, or you might as well pack it in,” notes Blades. “That’s why I’m so proud of Night Ranger, and that’s why we will continue to evolve. With this new album, we’re just going to roll with it, have a blast doing it, and keep playing as long as it’s fun, and as long as people want to come out and hear us play. There are still a lot of people out there that want to get up and sing, ‘motorin’…’ and ‘Don’t Tell Me You Love Me,’ ‘You Can Still Rock in America,’ the list goes on and on…”
Click here to check out the new single, You’re Gonna Hear From Me. You can see Night Ranger Live at one of the dates listed below!
DATE CITY VENUE
Sat 6/14 San Juan, PR Anfiteatro Tito Puente
Thu 6/19 Oshkosh, WI Waterfest Concert Series
Fri 6/20 Brookville, IN Bicentennial Celebration
Sat 6/21 Sioux City, IA The Awesome Biker Rally
Sun 6/22 The Woodlands, TX Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion (Styx/Boston)
Sat 6/28 Cheyenne, WY William H. Brimmer Amphitheatre
Wed 7/2 Arlington Heights, IL Frontier Days Festival
Thu 7/3 Hays, KS Frontier Park
Fri 7/4 Glenview, IL Great Lakes Naval Base
Sat 7/5 Kettering, OH Fraze Pavilion at Lincoln Park
Sun 7/6 San Jose, CA Discovery Meadow Park
Fri 7/11 Pryor, OK Rocklahoma
Sat 7/12 Grapevine, TX Glass Cactus at Gaylord Texan
Sat 7/19 Fort Smith, AR Harry E. Kelly Park
Fri 7/25 St. Clair, MI Palmer Park
Sat 7/26 Maquoketa, IA Jackson County Fair Iowa
Sun 7/27 Lake Ozark, MO Horny Toad Entertainment Complex
Sat 8/2 Rifle, CO Garfield County Fair
Sat 8/9 Windsor, ONT. Lakeshore Soccer Park
Sun 8/10 Des Moines, IA Iowa State Fair/Grandstand (Cinderella/Warrant)
Sun 8/17 St. Joseph, MO Trails West Festival
Sat 8/23 Tower, MN Fortune Bay Casino
Sat 8/30 Pittsburgh, PA Heinz Field
Sun 8/31 Sparks, NV John Ascuaga’s Nugget – Parkin
Sun 9/28 Jackpot, NV Cactus Petes Casino/Ameristar Amp (Foreigner)
Wed 10/1 Tulsa, OK Tulsa State Fair