Night Ranger en Revolution Saints: Jack Blades Talks New Album with Doug Aldrich and Deen Castronova <!--paging_filter--><p>Considering their resumes, which read like a who’s who of hard rock and metal, calling Revolution Saints a supergroup is something of an understatement. </p> <p>The creative trifecta of Deen Castronovo (Journey, Bad English), Jack Blades (Night Ranger, Damn Yankees) and Doug Aldrich (Whitesnake, Burning Rain) has put together an inspired collection of songs packed with monster vocals, driving rhythms and (of course) a blistering guitar attack. </p> <p>Their debut self-titled album, which will be released February 24, also features appearances by Castronovo’s fellow Journey bandmates, Neal Schon and Arnel Pineda.</p> <p>I recently caught up with bassist Jack Blade to talk about Revolution Saints, Night Ranger and more.</p> <p><strong>GUITAR WORLD: How did the Revolution Saints project come together?</strong></p> <p>It was actually the brainchild of the head of Frontiers Records. He really wanted to give Deen a platform where he could be the lead singer. He talked to Deen about it, and then Deen called me up and asked me if I wanted to be a part of it. I was immediately on board. Then someone mentioned Doug Aldrich. I’ve always been a big fan of Doug’s. He’s such a great guitar player. Boom! There it was!</p> <p><strong>The new album has elements from all of your other bands, yet has its own unique freshness. How would describe the new album?</strong></p> <p>It’s pretty hard rocking. Good, classic hard rock with balls is basically what the whole thing is about. I think when you have individuals like us, you can’t help but be who you are. It is who we are in all of those bands we’ve been a part of. But Deen’s voice is so pure and clean on this album. It’s just wonderful. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>Let’s talk about a few tracks from the album. What can you tell me about “Turn Back Time”?</strong></p> <p>Alessandro Del Vecchio had written the music for the song and I contributed the lyrics. Deen and I decided it would be a great song for us to do a co-lead vocal on it.</p> <p><strong>"Way to the Sun"</strong></p> <p>That’s a made for Neal Schon-type of song. The way Neal seamlessly blends his guitar into the track is just amazing. It’s classic Neal Schon!</p> <p><strong>What was the recording process like for this album?</strong></p> <p>It was really a combination of two things. First, Deen would lay down drum tracks and send them to me, and then I would put down the bass and send it off to Doug. Then the three of us all went into a studio in Portland and pulled it all together.</p> <p><strong>Do the three of you have plans to tour as Revolution Saints?</strong></p> <p>We’re having meetings right now to figure that out. We’ve been getting offers to play from all parts of the globe. I know Journey has a very busy schedule and Night Ranger also has a lot of shows this year. Doug’s also busy with all of the projects he’s involved with. We’ll see. It would definitely be fun band to play in and for people to see. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>Let’s talk a little Night Ranger. Joel Hoekstra departed recently to join Whitesnake and was replaced by Keri Kelli. Does Keri’s arrival change the dynamic of the band?</strong></p> <p>Keri was a seamless transition. There wasn’t even a moment of getting used to. Keri was with Alice Cooper and Slash for years and brings a real good swagger into the band. He’s played with us before and did a whole tour of Canada with us some years ago. Keri and Brad get along so well, and the way he swings on his rhythms is really refreshing. It’s been great.</p> <p><strong>You mentioned touring. What are Night Ranger’s tour plans for this year?</strong></p> <p>There are a lot of shows coming in. We’ll be doing our own thing as well as playing with some other bands. Needless to say, it’s going to be another busy year for Night Ranger. We’re still working behind our new album, <em>High Road.</em> What’s so refreshing is when people hear songs from the record in our set and come up to us and say, “That third song from the set. Was that a huge hit from <em>Midnight Madness</em> or <em>Seven Wishes</em>?” And I’d say, “No, that was from our new album, <em>High Road</em>!” That’s about the best compliment we could ever get! </p> <p><strong>This year marks the 30th anniversary of <em>Seven Wishes.</em> What comes to mind when you think about that album?</strong></p> <p>It was great album to make. We had such huge success with <em>Midnight Madness</em> and after touring behind it non-stop went right into the studio. It was a real growth record for us with songs like “Seven Wishes," “Four in the Morning," “Sentimental Street” and “Goodbye." There’s a lot of great stuff on that record.</p> <p><strong>A lot of rockers have written books about their lives and careers. Have you ever given thought to writing one at some point?</strong></p> <p>Right now, I just love to work, create, play and travel. I’m also excited about Revolution Saints. There’s a lot of buzz about the record. But I think that a book might be a pretty cool thing to do at some point. Maybe put it in a perspective of life’s lessons. You know, “What have you learned from '(You Can Still) Rock in America?' That’s kind of what it would be about. That will be another project I’ll have to wrap my head around! [laughs]. </p> <p><em>For more about Revolution Saints, follow them on <a href="">Facebook.</a></em></p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><em>James Wood is a writer, musician and self-proclaimed metalhead who maintains his own website, <a href=""></a>. His articles and interviews are written on a variety of topics with passion and humor. You can follow him on <a href="">Twitter @JimEWood.</a></em></p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/night-ranger">Night Ranger</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> Doug Aldrich Jack Blades James Wood Night Ranger Revolution Saints Interviews News Features Fri, 06 Feb 2015 18:40:22 +0000 James Wood 23453 at Ten Easy Acoustic Guitar Power Ballads <!--paging_filter--><p>Who doesn’t like a power ballad, that soft underbelly of a hard rocker, rarely seen in the light of day?</p> <p>You’ve probably heard the story…the power ballad is often the biggest hit for heavier bands, opening their music up to the love-song loving masses.</p> <p>What makes a song a “power ballad?” They are typically characterized by intense emotional lyrics, a quiet verse with a heavy hitting, sing along chorus. And massive amounts of drama.</p> <p>They’re metal’s version of love songs, and you should add one or two to your acoustic set, don’t you think? </p> <p>The beauty of these selections are their simplicity. Yes, will they bring a tear to your eye? Maybe. Will you be able to figure out how to play them? Most likely.</p> <p>Not every one of these songs originated with an acoustic guitar in the mix, but feel free to dig in and make 'em your own!</p> <p><strong>Poison - “Every Rose Has Its Thorn”</strong></p> <p>This song is the very definition of power ballad. Drama to the max. </p> <p>“Every Rose Has Its Thorn” was released in October 1988 as the third single from Poison's second album <em>Open Up and Say... Ahh!.</em></p> <p>It is the band's only number-one hit in the U.S., reaching the top spot on Christmas Eve in 1988 for three weeks (carrying over into 1989) and it also charted at #11 on the Mainstream Rock chart</p> <p>The verse basically starts in G and moves to Cadd9for each phrase, ending with D to C.</p> <p>The chorus echoes this chord pattern with G to C for two lines, then G D C with the final line G to C.</p> <p>Easy and rocking!</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="465" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>Whitesnake — “Is This Love”</strong></p> <p>Another power ballad about love that rocks it. </p> <p>“Is This Love” is taken from Whitesnake’s self-titled album, which was released in 1987.</p> <p>It was long rumoured that the song had originally been written for singer Tina Turner. David Coverdale confirmed these rumours in the booklet of Whitesnake's 20th anniversary edition, by saying:</p> <p>"Before I'd left [for the south of France] a friend at EMI had asked me for any ideas that would work for Tina Turner. So that was where the original idea for 'Is This Love' came from."</p> <p>"Is This Love" became one of the most popular Whitesnake songs. </p> <p>The verse chords are Em7, Bm7, Cadd9<br /> The verse uses C9, D/C, Bm7, C, Bm7, Am7, G7</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="465" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>Skid Row - “I Remember You”</strong></p> <p>"I Remember You" is the third and final single from Skid Row's 1989 eponymous debut album. </p> <p>This power ballad was released in November 1989 and written by bandmates Rachel Bolan and Dave "the Snake" Sabo.</p> <p>In a 2007 interview, vocalist Sebastian Bach commented, "'I Remember You' was the #1 prom song in the United States of America in the year 1990....You talk about making memories! Literally the whole country of America did their prom dance to 'I Remember You' one year, and that's a real heavy memory to beat."</p> <p>This song is literally the easiest one to play of all the songs listed here. </p> <p>The verse uses G to C. The chorus is G, D, Em, C, D, G.</p> <p>Go ahead and try it!</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="465" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>Warrant - “Heaven”</strong></p> <p>This song was released in 1989 as the second single from Warrant's debut album <em>Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich. </em></p> <p>The song was Warrant's most commercially successful single, reaching number one in <em>Rolling Stone</em>, number two on the <em>Billboard</em> Hot 100 and number three on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart.</p> <p>"Heaven" took Warrant's record company by surprise. Once the widespread appeal of the song became apparent, the band were instructed to re-record the track to lend it a "bigger radio sound." The first 250,000 copies of the record featured the original version while later pressings featured a new version.</p> <p>This song uses the chords G, D, Dsus2, Cadd9 throughout.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="465" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>Cinderella - “Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone)”</strong></p> <p>This song is from Cinderella’s second album <em>Long Cold Winter</em>. </p> <p>Released in August 1988, it was their most successful single, peaking at number 12 on US Billboard Hot 100 in November 1988.</p> <p>A 254-show tour to support the album lasted over 14 months and included dates on the Moscow Music Peace Festival alongside other metal acts, such as Ozzy Osbourne, The Scorpions, Mötley Crüe, Bon Jovi, and Skid Row. </p> <p>The tour's stage show included Tom Keifer being lowered to the stage while playing a white piano during the performance of "Don't Know What You Got (Till It's Gone)".</p> <p>This song uses these chords: E, F#m, E, D, A<br /> Chorus Bm, F#m, Bm, F#m, E, D, A</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="349" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>Night Ranger - “Sister Christian”</strong></p> <p>“You’re Motoring!” What a great lyric!</p> <p>This is no doubt one of my personal favorite power ballads.</p> <p>It was released in June 1984 as the second single from Night Ranger’s album <em>Midnight Madness.</em></p> <p>It was written and sung by the band's drummer, Kelly Keagy, for his sister, when he was surprised by how fast she was growing up. </p> <p>It was the band's biggest hit, peaking at number five on the Billboard Hot 100, and staying on the charts for 24 weeks. It also reached number-one in Canada. </p> <p>The song has also been featured in <em>Friday the 13th, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, Saints Row 2, Boogie Nights</em> and <em>Superstar.</em></p> <p>Another super easy one, it uses these chords: C, F, G, E-D-C<br /> Chorus: C, F, C, F, Bb, F, Bb, Bb-A-G</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="465" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>Foreigner - “I Want To Know What Love Is”</strong></p> <p>This song hit #1 in both the United Kingdom and the United States and is the group's biggest hit to date.</p> <p>"I Want to Know What Love Is" was the first single released from Foreigner's 1984 album, <em>Agent Provocateur</em>. The song features backing vocals from the New Jersey Mass Choir.</p> <p>The song was written and composed by Mick Jones, with an uncredited portion (somewhere between 5% according to Jones and 40% according to Gramm) by Lou Gramm.</p> <p>Verse chords: C, F, Bb, Dm<br /> Prechorus: Gm, C, Bb, F, Gm, Bb, C<br /> Chorus: F, Dm, C, G, C, F</p> <p>Here's an acoustic version!<br /> <iframe width="620" height="349" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>Aerosmith - “I Don’t Want To Miss a Thing”</strong></p> <p>This Aerosmith hit was written by a true songwriting master, Dianne Warren.</p> <p>This song was recorded for the 1998 film <em>Armageddon</em>, which coincidentally featured Steven Tyler’s daughter, Liv Tyler.</p> <p>The song debuted at number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 - the first #1 for the band after 28 years together!</p> <p>Take the time to learn this crowd pleaser. Who doesn’t like an Aerosmith ballad?</p> <p>Verse chords: D, A, Bm, G, D, Em, A<br /> Chorus: D, A, Em, Bm, G, D</p> <p> <iframe width="620" height="349" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>Heart - “What About Love”</strong></p> <p>"What About Love" is a song originally recorded by Canadian rock group Toronto, but is best known for the 1985 release by Heart. </p> <p>The song was Heart's "comeback" single. It was the first Heart track to reach the top 40 in three years, and their first top 10 hit in five. </p> <p>It was released as the first single from the band's self-titled 1985 album, <em>Heart</em>, as well as their first hit single on their new record label, Capitol Records.</p> <p>Grace Slick and Mickey Thomas, co-lead vocalists of Starship at the time, provide additional background vocals on the song.</p> <p>Check out these chords and then give it a try! Super easy.</p> <p>Verse chords:Em, C, G, D<br /> Chorus: G, C, D</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="465" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Mötley Crüe - "Home Sweet Home" </strong> <p>"Home Sweet Home" is a power ballad by Mötley Crüe. </p> <p>It was originally released in 1985 on the album <em>Theatre of Pain</em>, and again in 1991 for the <em>Decade of Decadence</em> compilation album. </p> <p>It has been recorded as a cover version by several artists, and was released as a single by Carrie Underwood in 2009.</p> <p>Along with "Wild Side,” "Home Sweet Home" is one of the rare Mötley Crüe hits to have Vince Neil credited with the songwriting, though he did play a part in writing many of their non-hit songs.</p> <p>Chords: Em, G, C, D<br /> Chorus: G, C, D</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="465" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> Acoustic Nation Aerosmith Cinderella Foreigner Heart Motley Crue Night Ranger Poison Skid Row Warrant Whitesnake Blogs Videos Fri, 26 Sep 2014 03:16:20 +0000 Laura B. Whitmore 22440 at Very High Frequency: Joel Hoekstra Discusses VHF and New Night Ranger Album, 'High Road' <!--paging_filter--><p>It's no secret that Joel Hoekstra is one the hardest-working musicians you're ever likely to meet. The Night Ranger guitarist, who just celebrated the release of the band's new album, <em>High Road</em>, also performs regularly as part of Broadway's <em>Rock of Ages</em> and tours every fall with Trans-Siberian Orchestra.</p> <p>Hoekstra also has unveiled a brand new project, VHF, which stands for the initials of band mates Todd "Vinny" Vinciguerra (drums), Joel Hoekstra (guitars) and bassist Tony Franklin (the Firm, Kenny Wayne Shepherd). </p> <p>Co-produced by Joe Floyd and Tommy Kessler (Blondie, Rock of Ages), VHF's debut release, <em>Very High Frequency</em>, which was released June 20, isn't a shred record by any means. It's full of trippy, groove-inspired rock that's been built from the ground up. </p> <p>I recently caught up with Hoekstra and got an update on Night Ranger, VHF and the secret to mastering his two-handed technique.</p> <p><strong>GUITAR WORLD: <em>High Road</em> reminds me a lot of the classic Night Ranger sound. Was the intent going into this album to pay homage to those early records?</strong></p> <p>We just wanted to be ourselves and were able to find a nice balance of sounding like the classic Night Ranger while giving ourselves the leeway to express some our influences. We’re still a rock and roll band who likes to create new music and give our fans something they’ll appreciate. It’s an honor for me to be a part of it.</p> <p><strong>What else can you tell me about the new album?</strong></p> <p>There’s really something for everyone on this record, and a lot of it starts with Jack [Blades], Brad [Gillis] and Kelly [Keagy] together. "Knock Knock Never Stop" is really a good example of that. It's got that signature Brad Gillis riff in it. "Rollin On" is another song that started out with a bluesy-sounding riff. I think you can hear a little bit of Brad’s Hendrix influence on that one. Eric Levy and I are involved as well. Eric came in with the ballad “Only For You Only” and I came up with the riffs for “I’m Coming Home." </p> <p><strong>What's your live setup going to be like for this summer’s Night Ranger tour?</strong></p> <p>I’ve been using EVH III amps for quite some time. I also have a built in AKG Wireless system into my guitars that were installed by Atomic Guitar Works. They did a phenomenal job. They literally build the transmitters right into my guitars. All I need to do is press it on or off. It goes directly into the receiver and straight into the amp. From there, I just use a Line 6 DL4 for delay on the loop when I go to solo.</p> <p><strong>How did the VHF project come about?</strong></p> <p>I've known Todd since the two of us were roommates in Hollywood back in the Nineties. He recently hit me up and told me he had some drum tracks Tony Franklin had played on and wanted to know if I’d be interested in playing on it as well. He sent them over to me and basically said to do whatever I wanted on it. The cool thing about it was that we built the song from the drums up, which is a pretty backwards songwriting concept. But the results that came from it were really unique. We ended up with a hybrid mix of cool playing along with some really trippy stuff. For instrumental music, it focuses more on the vibe of the song instead of just the chops. </p> <p>That first song went so well that I asked Todd about doing an EP. We ended up doing five more songs like that. Then Todd and Tony did a bass and drum song called "All Is Within” and I did a conceptual guitar piece ("Conception to Death") where I improvised on a track and then wrote seven more to it. It’s basically all of the stages of life condensed within a minute and a half. Everyone can check out the video for the song “Whispers of the Soul” online right now. It’s a very cool, unique project and we're happy to have it out there. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>Do the three of you have plans to do any live shows?</strong></p> <p>Right now there's a lot going on with our other projects, so we’re not sure what’s going to happen next. But you never know. When you enjoy what you do and work hard at it, sometimes things can surprise you. I never thought I would be in Night Ranger or in a Broadway show that features Eighties hard rock. There are all kinds of things that can happen over the course of your career. You just have to ride the wave.</p> <p><strong>Can you tell me how you developed your two-handed technique?</strong></p> <p>I was really lucky that another one of my first guitar teachers taught theory and soloing and was really into the eight-fingered technique. His name is T.J. Helmerich. He’s an amazing player who has a lot of rock/fusion albums out with that style of playing. I remember I was 14 when he first taught me the eight-finger part for "Rock in America." I used to sit up in my bedroom practicing it over and over and even tried to do it with my eyes closed. So it’s kind of an ironic thing for me to now be in the band. Some of the things that I was working on at that time just seemed to have come full circle.</p> <p><strong>Do you have a piece of advice for someone who wants to learn it?</strong></p> <p>It’s a unique solo technique and I always liked having that as something I could spend time on. But it’s just like anything else - it’s about finding where your passion lies and then putting in the time. My advice is to find what you dig and then go after it as hard as possible. You'll always get back what you put in. It’s all about hard work.</p> <p><em>James Wood is a writer, musician and self-proclaimed metalhead who maintains his own website, <a href=""></a>. His articles and interviews are written on a variety of topics with passion and humor. You can follow him on <a href="">Twitter @JimEWood.</a></em></p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/night-ranger">Night Ranger</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> James Wood Joel Hoekstra Night Ranger VHF Interviews News Features Wed, 25 Jun 2014 17:19:45 +0000 James Wood 21554 at Guitarist Brad Gillis Talks New Night Ranger Album, 'High Road' <!--paging_filter--><p>While several Eighties rock bands have gone the "human jukebox" route — touring behind their catalog of hits without releasing new material — Night Ranger continue to buck the trend. </p> <p>For the band’s new album, <em>High Road</em>, which will be released June 10, Night Ranger take us back to their roots — a time when inspired songwriting, huge guitar riffs and harmony solos and vocals ruled the airwaves. It's a formula that never gets old.</p> <p><em>High Road</em> will be available in two formats — standard CD and a deluxe version, which includes a bonus instrumental track and a DVD featuring a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the album, plus video clips.</p> <p>Night Ranger is Jack Blades (bass guitar, vocals), Kelly Keagy (drums, vocals), Brad Gillis (lead and rhythm guitars), Joel Hoekstra (lead and rhythm guitars) and Eric Levy (keyboards).</p> <p>I recently spoke with Gillis about <em>High Road</em>, his early years and his biggest career highlight. I also got an update on his upcoming solo project.</p> <p><strong>GUITAR WORLD: How does a Night Ranger album project begin?</strong></p> <p>There are three factors we look for whenever we make a new record: big vocals, the sound/song structure and the harmony guitars and vocals. I think it's great for a band to stick to their roots and what made them famous instead of always trying to delve off into too many new territories and confusing their core audience. </p> <p><strong>What can you tell me about the writing process for this album?</strong></p> <p>It's pretty much the same structure we've used throughout our entire career. I'll bring in some riffs, or maybe Jack will have a song idea or Kelly will have a lyric/vocal idea for a chorus. The three of us will usually get together to hammer down some basic ideas. Then we'll bring in Joel and Eric to throw in their input and build it up from there. It was a bit of a process, but we really wanted to make sure the record sounded huge. </p> <p><strong>Let's discuss a few tracks from the new album, starting with "High Road."</strong></p> <p>That song actually came last in the songwriting process. Jack's son, Colin Blades, had written the original verse lines for it and was playing it one day in front of Jack and Kelly. They both thought it sounded great so they took the core idea and brought it into the band and we finished it off. It ended up sounding so fresh and new that we decided to release it as our first single. It's the perfect "driving around in your car/summer" song. It has a good feeling to it.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>"Knock Knock Never Stop"</strong></p> <p>"Knock Knock" was something we threw together as a band. We wanted something that was hard rock but had a little more of an edge to it. It really brings back the heaviness of Night Ranger.</p> <p><strong>"L.A. No Name," which is a bonus track ...</strong></p> <p>We took a bit of a break to write songs a few years back. Kelly flew in to town to work with Jack and Joel came over to my house. One night, the two of us started fiddling around and decided to write an acoustic instrumental. We started writing down ideas, honed it the next day and finished it off. </p> <p><strong>What's your method for choosing and recording dual guitars?</strong></p> <p>We use the same guitars that we usually play live. Joel plays his Goldtop Les Paul, and I have my old '62 Strat that I played with Ozzy and Night Ranger and do a lot of stuff on. We use different amplifiers to get the best sound we can that will fit the particular song.</p> <p><strong>Can you tell me a little about your musical upbringing?</strong></p> <p>It was right around my 8th birthday that I really wanted to start learning how to play. My dad told me that it cost a lot of money for a guitar and amp, but he said he'd buy it for me if I promised to take lessons. So I took lessons, but my real advantage back then was having an older brother who was getting hip on music and buying a lot of records from bands from the British Invasion, Led Zeppelin, the Doors and Santana. I remember I'd always sit in his room listening to the records and learning how to play the songs by ear.</p> <p><strong>Do you have an update on your solo album project?</strong></p> <p>I’ve been busy working on the new Night Ranger record, and I also write a lot of music for ESPN and Fox Sports. Now that the album's finished, I've got a few singers lined up and a record deal locked in, so I'm excited to get back to work on it. I've been taking a lot of extra time on the production end with guitar tones and drum sounds to make it sound huge. It's going to be a good one and will be out sometime early next year.</p> <p><strong>What would you say has been the biggest highlight of your musical career?</strong> </p> <p>I was with the band Rubicon back in 1978 (along with Jack Blades) and we played Cal Jam 2. It was in Ontario, California, in front of 250,000 people playing along with Aerosmith, Ted Nugent, Heart, Dave Mason and all of these other big bands. It was flying in a helicopter and taking limos around. I remember every band on the bill had a brand-new van that had their album cover painted on the side. </p> <p>There have been some shows with Night Ranger and my first few shows with Ozzy that were just as memorable, but March 18, 1978 — It's still the biggest day of my life!</p> <p><em>James Wood is a writer, musician and self-proclaimed metalhead who maintains his own website, <a href=""></a>. His articles and interviews are written on a variety of topics with passion and humor. You can follow him on <a href="">Twitter @JimEWood.</a></em></p> Brad Gills James Wood Night Ranger Interviews News Features Thu, 15 May 2014 17:23:03 +0000 James Wood 21227 at Guitarist Joel Hoekstra on Upcoming Night Ranger Album: "We're Going Back to More of a Vintage Sound" <!--paging_filter--><p>Whether he's performing as part of the hit Broadway musical <em>Rock of Ages</em> or jetting around the country for Night Ranger recording sessions and shows, Joel Hoekstra is easily one the hardest-working guitarists you're likely to meet.</p> <p>In addition to his aforementioned commitments, Hoekstra finds time to tour every fall with Trans Siberian Orchestra.</p> <p>This year marks the 30th anniversary of Night Ranger's monster 1983 album, <em>Midnight Madness</em>, and Hoekstra and the rest of the band — Jack Blades, Brad Gillis, Kelly Keagy and Eric Levy — are excited to celebrate it by recording a new album and performing more headlining shows.</p> <p>I recently caught up with Hoekstra, who told me how Night Ranger's new album is coming along and his other musical projects. To keep up with Night Ranger, check out their <a href="">official website</a> and <a href="">Facebook page.</a></p> <p><strong>GUITAR WORLD: Can you give us an update on the new Night Ranger album?</strong></p> <p>We have around 10 songs going right now, and we're all psyched about it. We're in a place where we can do the album we want to do, which is a classic "Night Ranger sounding" album. All of the music is really rocking. There's a lot of variety on this one. This one will still have all the signature sounds with harmony solos and melodic pop-rock songs. </p> <p><strong>Are you doing anything different this time around?</strong></p> <p>Normally we'd do most of the recording at Jack's studio, but we're doing the guitars at Brad's this time. We're also handling things a little bit differently. We layered a lot of the rhythms on our last studio album, <em>Somewhere In California</em>. For this one, we're going back to more of a vintage Night Ranger sound where instead of having multiple rhythm tracks, there's one rhythm guitar on each side. It's not only a nice throw back having one on each side, but it also makes the sound nice and clear, the way you'd hear it if you saw the band live.</p> <p><strong>What's the songwriting process like?</strong></p> <p>The bulk of it starts with Jack, Brad and Kelly. Sometimes Brad will come in with a riff, or Jack will come in with chords and a melody or Kelly will have a song idea. Their ideas often come from a progression/melody standpoint. Brad writes a good amount of the riffs, and there's a few on this one that Brad and I wrote together. One of them we're really excited about. Eric Levy [keyboards] also has been working on a ballad idea that might make the album as well. </p> <p><strong>What other projects are you involved in?</strong></p> <p>I'm still doing <em>Rock of Ages</em> and hopefully the TSO (Trans Siberian Orchestra) tour in the winter. I'm also doing quite a bit of session work and co-writing these days. I think it's important to have many musical expansions. It makes you a better player. Every time you do something, you're learning and getting better, so it's important to keep those experiences flowing.</p> <p><span style="font-size:18px;font-weight:bold;">Joel Hoekstra's Guitar World "Lick of the Day" Lesson Videos</span></p> <p><strong>"Growing Up In California"</strong> </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>"Lay It On Me"</strong></p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>"Rock of Ages"</strong></p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><em>James Wood is a writer, musician and self-proclaimed metalhead who maintains his own website, <a href=""></a>. His articles and interviews are written on a variety of topics with passion and humor. You can follow him on <a href="">Twitter @JimEWood.</a></em></p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/night-ranger">Night Ranger</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> James Wood Joel Hoekstra Night Ranger Interviews News Features Mon, 15 Jul 2013 19:44:06 +0000 James Wood 18794 at Brad Gillis Talks Night Ranger, 'Midnight Madness' and His Time with Ozzy Osbourne <!--paging_filter--><p>Thirty years ago, Night Ranger were transformed from an opening act to a headliner with the release of their album <em>Midnight Madness</em>. The 1983 record became a smash hit within months of its October release, thanks to tracks like “Sister Christian,” “(You Can Still) Rock in America” and “When You Close Your Eyes.”</p> <p>For Night Ranger guitarist and founding member Brad Gillis, the time between then and now seems like a lifetime. Over the years, in addition to recording and touring with Night Ranger, Gillis has released solo albums and written hundreds of songs for the ESPN network. </p> <p>Although his greatest fame came with Night Ranger, Gillis is also remembered for replacing Randy Rhoads in Ozzy Osbourne’s band immediately after Rhoads’ death while on tour with Ozzy in 1982. At the time, Night Ranger were still unknowns, whereas Osbourne was a star. Eventually, Gillis would be forced to choose between staying with Ozzy or continuing with Night Ranger. </p> <p><em>Guitar World</em> recently caught up with Gillis to talk with him about <em>Midnight Madness</em>, his tenure with Ozzy and his and Night Ranger’s forthcoming albums.</p> <p><strong>GUITAR WORLD: What do you remember most about the <em>Midnight Madness</em> period?</strong></p> <p>I remember being out on tour opening for bands like ZZ Top, 38 Special and Cheap Trick and then suddenly finding ourselves headlining. What was really exciting about that period for me was when we headlined in La Crosse, Wisconsin, in late ’83, ’84. I remember pulling into their coliseum and the marquee said “Night Ranger / Sold Out.” It was our first sold-out coliseum. The best thing of all is that I’m still with the same band and we’re still writing music and touring.</p> <p><strong>The band is also working on a new album. What can you tell us about it? </strong></p> <p>I brought in a lot of heavier guitar riffs for this album. It will be a much heavier album than our last one [<em>2011’s</em> Somewhere in California]. We’re getting back to the basic groove from our first album [<em>1982’s</em> Dawn Patrol] and songs like “Can’t Find Me a Thrill,” which was more straight-ahead rock. </p> <p><strong>It’s also been 30 years since you took over guitar duties with Ozzy Osbourne after Randy Rhoads died in a small-airplane crash. Do you remember where you were when you heard the news of his death? </strong></p> <p>I had just seen Ozzy at Day on the Green a few months before Randy died. People were touting Randy as the next Eddie Van Halen, so I went to see the show, and he just blew me away. I was driving down the road when I heard the news that there was a plane crash and Randy was killed. I remember pulling over in my truck and just thinking how easily things could be lost.</p> <p><strong>How did you get the gig with Ozzy? </strong></p> <p>When Night Ranger got together in 1980, we didn’t want to go out and play much until we had a major release and could come out with a bang. So in the interim, I started a band called the Alameda All Stars. We would play local clubs in the area and always included a few Ozzy tunes in our set.</p> <p>Shortly after Randy died, someone came to the club and saw me play and told me that he would try to get me an audition with Ozzy. I remember thinking “Yeah, right!” but the man turned out to be Preston Thrall, who was Pat Thrall’s brother. [<em>Pat Thrall had played with drummer Tommy Aldridge in the Pat Travers band, and Aldridge was on tour with Osbourne when Rhoads died, hence the connection.</em>] Preston told Pat, Pat told Tommy, and Tommy told Sharon [<em>Osbourne,</em> n&eacute;e <em>Arden</em>]. Sure enough, a few days later, I got a phone call at eight in the morning, and the woman on the other end said, “Hello, Bradley? This is Sharon Arden. I’m Ozzy Osbourne’s manager, and we’d like to fly you to New York for an audition.”</p> <p>At first, I thought it was a joke, but then she put Ozzy on the phone and he asked me to write down 18 songs that he wanted me to learn. They wanted to fly me out on Tuesday, so I basically had two days to learn all of those songs. I told him that I’d need some time, but I really wanted to do it. Ozzy was working with Bernie Torm&eacute; as an interim player and he told me to come out and he’d take me on the road with them. So I watched a few of their shows and then spent four 12-hour days learning all that I could.</p> <p>I remember we were in Binghamton, New York, when I told Sharon that I was ready. I was nervous, because I had never played with the band before. In fact, all I did was play seven songs during the soundcheck that night, and Ozzy never even showed up for it! [<em>laughs</em>] But I went out there and played that night and did well, except for when we got to “Revelation (Mother Earth).” I came into the fast part a little too early and Ozzy shot me the look of death. I was able to regain my composure and spot in the song and was fine for the rest of the set. But the one thing I’ll never forget happened the next night: Sharon took me aside and said, “Bradley, you’re doing a great job. But tonight…don’t fuck up!” [<em>laughs</em>] </p> <p><strong>What influenced your decision to stay with Night Ranger instead of going with Ozzy? </strong></p> <p>Although we had done a lot of shows and recorded <em>Speak of the Devil</em> [<em>Osbourne’s double-live album from the tour, featuring Gillis on guitar</em>], I didn’t feel like it was the best fit for me. [<em>Osbourne bassist</em>] Rudy Sarzo’s band, Quiet Riot, had recently gotten a record deal, and he left at around that same time. Night Ranger landed a record deal too. So I rolled the dice and decided to go with Night Ranger. What’s interesting, though, is that we released <em>Dawn Patrol</em> in ’82 and during that same week Ozzy released <em>Speak of the Devil</em>.</p> <p><strong>What can you tell us about your upcoming solo record? </strong></p> <p>I’m 14 songs deep right now. I’ve been taking my time on it, but I’m to the point now where I’m going to have some guest singers come in and hopefully have it finished sometime later this year or early next. It seems that I release a solo record every 10 to 12 years, so I think it’s about time.</p> <p><em>Follow Night Ranger on <a href="">Facebook</a>. </em></p> <p><em>James Wood is a writer, musician and self-proclaimed metalhead who maintains his own website, <a href=""></a>. His articles and interviews are written on a variety of topics with passion and humor. You can follow him on <a href="">Twitter @JimEWood.</a></em></p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/brad-gillis">Brad Gillis</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/night-ranger">Night Ranger</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/ozzy-osbourne">Ozzy Osbourne</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> Brad Gillis James Wood Night Ranger Ozzy Osbourne Interviews News Features Wed, 26 Jun 2013 20:57:05 +0000 James Wood 18650 at Interview: Joel Hoekstra Discusses Night Ranger’s New Live Acoustic CD/DVD, '24 Strings & A Drummer' <!--paging_filter--><p>It’s not often that a guitarist grows up listening to one of his favorite bands, and then has the opportunity to become part of that band’s legacy. </p> <p>But Joel Hoekstra is no ordinary guitarist. His guitar wizardry has allowed him to live out his dream and become a driving force with Night Ranger.</p> <p>It’s the same dedication to his craft that makes Hoekstra one of the hardest-working rock guitarists today. But don’t take my word for it. Just take a look at his resume. Not only does he share guitar duties with Brad Gillis in the band whose songs (“Don’t Tell Me You Love Me," “(You Can Still) Rock in America” and “Sister Christian”) have become staples of classic rock radio, but he continues to perform as part of the hit Broadway musical <em>Rock of Ages</em>. </p> <p>Did I mention that Hoekstra finds time to tour with Trans-Siberian Orchestra? And then there was the time he pulled double duty and filled in for Mick Jones of Foreigner. Which begs the question: When does the man ever find time to sleep?</p> <p>Next month, Night Ranger will unleash a new package of music to celebrate the band’s 30th anniversary. The album, <em>24 Strings &amp; A Drummer</em> is a live CD/DVD featuring acoustic arrangements of the band’s hits.</p> <p>I had the opportunity to speak with Hoekstra about the new CD as well as his own musical journey. He also gives good advice for up-and-coming guitarists and tells a great rock and roll story.</p> <p><strong>GUITAR WORLD: It’s been a busy few years for Night Ranger. Tell me about what the band has been up to.</strong></p> <p>We really have been busy. Last summer, we released a new studio album called <em>Somewhere in California</em> and toured the world to support it. This October, to help celebrate the 30th anniversary of the band, we’re releasing a greatest hits, acoustic, CD/DVD package called <em>24 Strings &amp; A Drummer</em>. It’s a live album we recorded at Bob Weir’s studio in northern California. It was an intimate, invitation-only performance.</p> <p><strong>Why a live album?</strong></p> <p>We really wanted to do something different for the die-hard fans, the ones who’ve been following Night Ranger since the very beginning. In addition to it being a live recording, we’ve also updated many of the songs we do vocally and added new sections to them. </p> <p><strong>You're one the hardest-working guitarists in the business. How do you do it all?</strong></p> <p>I love what I do and just having the opportunity is amazing. I perform eight shows of <em>Rock of Ages</em> each week, so whenever I’m not with Night Ranger or touring with TSO, I’m at home in New York. The blessing of doing <em>Rock of Ages</em> is that it keeps you sharp. I love all of the songs that we do and I get to be on stage the entire time. </p> <p><strong>You’ve also released a few solo albums as well, right?</strong></p> <p>Yes. I’ve released three solo records. The first two are a combination of rock and fusion. Virgil Donati from Planet X is on drums. He’s also worked with Steve Vai. The bass player is Ricc Fierrabracci, who’s played with artists like Andy Summers, Frank Gambale and Chick Corea. The third album is an acoustic album filled with chord/melody songs.</p> <p><strong>Do you have any advice for up-and-coming players?</strong></p> <p>The one common thread all guitar players who’ve gotten good on the instrument share is that they’ve spent a lot of time working on their craft. It’s not about how you hold your pick or what kind of amp you have. The truth is, there are many different ways to approach the instrument, but if you want to become good, you just have to spend a lot of time with it.</p> <p><strong>Are there any plans in the works to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the <em>Midnight Madness</em> album next year?</strong></p> <p>There’s been some talk about it, but nothing concrete yet. I do know that at the top of next year we plan on heading back into the studio to start writing and recording a new album.</p> <p><strong>How did you get your start with Night Ranger?</strong></p> <p>That’s an interesting story. I had originally met Kelly (Keagy) through Jim Peterik’s World Stage. I was in the house band at the time, and Kelly was one of the many guests who would come out to play the hits. I saw him once every year for a number of years before he came in one day and mentioned that Jeff [Watson] wasn’t with the band anymore. I remember speaking with him about it. </p> <p>About a week or so later, Kelly called me up and told me that Reb Beach (who was filling in while Whitesnake were on hiatus) was going to have to miss a show and said they were either going to have cancel the gig or they could give me a shot. The only thing was, I had about eight days to learn all of the songs, and we wouldn’t be able to rehearse together before hand. It was a situation where I would just have to go in and do the gig. The show itself was going to be my audition. No pressure, though. [laughs.]</p> <p><strong>You had never met Jack [Blades] or Brad [Gillis] prior to that show?</strong></p> <p>No, the only person I knew was Kelly. I actually met Brad and Jack for the first time while we were grabbing our luggage in baggage claim at the Detroit airport the night before the show. By the time we all got to the hotel, it was pretty much lights-out and straight to bed. The show was great and I wound up being offered the gig. It was definitely one of the highlights of my career. </p> <p>Growing up, I used to have a whole wall in my room decorated with pictures torn out of guitar magazines of players I admired, and Brad and Jeff were both up there. For me to now have the opportunity to be a part of Night Ranger is surreal. </p> <p><strong>When you’re up there on stage, is there ever a time when you look over at Kelly’s drum riser, see the Night Ranger logo and just go, “WOW!”?</strong></p> <p>I’ve been with the band for five years now, so I look at it more like we’re all just really good friends. But every once in a while it will just hit me, and I’ll still think: “Wow! This is pretty freaking cool!” </p> <p><em>Keep up with Hoekstra at his <a href="">official website</a> and <a href="">Facebook page.</a> And be sure to check out <a href="">Night Ranger's official website</a>. </em></p> <p><em>James Wood is a writer, musician and self-proclaimed metalhead who maintains his own website, <a href=""></a>. His articles and interviews are written on a variety of topics with passion and humor. You can follow him on Twitter @JimEWood.</em></p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/night-ranger">Night Ranger</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> James Wood Joel Hoekstra Night Ranger Trans-Siberian Orchestra Interviews Features Thu, 13 Sep 2012 18:20:52 +0000 James Wood 16732 at Interview: Night Ranger's Jack Blades on Working with Ringo, Learning from Paul and Being More Than “Just a Bass Player” <!--paging_filter--><p>If you’re new to the game and just discovering Jack Blades, you’re likely to think of him as a founding member/lead vocalist/bassist for the rock band Night Ranger. </p> <p>In fact, Blades is a multi-faceted artist who can easily transition from the volume of arena rock — with Night Ranger or Damn Yankees — to the stripped-down acoustic sounds of Shaw/Blades, his project with Styx vocalist/songwriter/guitarist Tommy Shaw. </p> <p>Blades' latest project is his new solo album, <em>Rock ’N Roll Ride</em>, which sounds an awful lot like Jack Blades -- because that’s what he does. He doesn’t venture far from his roots, and that’s a good thing, because his roots are in the traditional craft of songwriting. </p> <p>In a recent interview, Blades discussed writing, recording and why classic rock is just that.</p> <p><strong>GUITAR WORLD: You’re known primarily as a vocalist, but you’re also a prolific songwriter, a producer and a multi-instrumentalist. Is it ever frustrating that the other skills sometimes take second place to public perception of you as a frontman?</strong></p> <p>No, I don’t mind. I like the fact that I’m not “just a bass player,” because Kelly [Keagy, Night Ranger] and I joke that the drummer and bass player are the first two guys to get fired, so let’s make sure we write most of the songs and sing and that’ll give us a little job security! I’ve been fortunate enough to be in bands and always tried to play with people who are better than me. I play with the great Brad Gillis on guitar and Kelly on drums and vocals, Tommy Shaw is amazing, Ted Nugent is a gonzo guitar player and Neal Schon is a good buddy of mine. I’m real happy. I wouldn’t be satisfied just doing one thing, and that’s evident in my life because I’m not satisfied putting one record out or just being in Night Ranger, as evidenced by Shaw/Blades and Damn Yankees, and producing and writing. </p> <p><strong>Your musical education goes all the way back to starting out playing funk. Do you think that part of your longevity is because you have that background in different genres of music? Do some musicians limit themselves by not branching out?</strong></p> <p>I think maybe that happens when certain guys are one-trick ponies. They do their thing and that’s all they can do. I love the Beatles; they were everything to me when I was growing up. When I got into my early teens, it was Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Cream, all those rockin’ bands. Then I got into funk. In 1975, when I moved to northern California, the first thing I ended up in was a session with Sly Stone at the Sausalito Record Plant, playing very funky, slap-style music. It was a musical journey, it was a rock and roll ride even back then, and yeah, I think that had something to do with it. It’s my personality; I’m not just focused on one thing. I want to sing and write and play bass. People like Paul McCartney were my heroes, and that's what moved me on in my musical adventure.</p> <p><strong>Speaking of Paul McCartney, I hear from [songwriter/guitarist] Will Evankovich that your studio is a hotbed of Beatles paraphernalia. </strong></p> <p>Yeah! The greatest thing in the world was when I got to play with Ringo. It was like a gift from God, like God goes, “OK, Junior, I’m going to throw you a bone here. You get to play with a Beatle.” And I was like “YES!” There’s that streak in me, and it holds true when you listen to the harmonies on my record, and on Night Ranger and Damn Yankees records, and I think it’s a prevailing theme. McCartney taught us all how to play bass. My studio has a lot of things that have to do with the Beatles, a lot of pictures for inspiration, and a painting of the Beatles that’s the size of an entire wall that an artist did for me. When I’m a little low, I look at those pictures and it gives me the inspiration.</p> <p><strong>“Anything For You” [from <em>Rock ’N Roll Ride</em>] — obviously you’re not at all a fan of their music or their harmonies …</strong></p> <p>Not at all! And Robin [Zander] is the same way. He sang that thing and I think he was channeling John Lennon when he was singing [sings] “I will surrender.”</p> <p><strong>The Beatles song you wish you’d written.</strong></p> <p>Oh wow! How to blindside an artist in six words! “Help!”</p> <p><strong>The Beatles album you wish you’d produced.</strong></p> <p>Ohhh. <em>Revolver</em>, because that’s when they were changing. Everyone’s going to say <em>Sgt. Pepper</em> because it was a trip, but I say <em>Revolver</em> because they went from [sings] “She loves you, yeah yeah yeah,” to [sings] “Turn off your mind, relax and float downstream.” I like that.</p> <p><strong>What is a good song? How do you know when you’re there?</strong></p> <p>My idea of a good song is when I can sit down with an acoustic guitar and sing it and strum it and get it across to somebody who’s sitting there listening. I don’t have to explain it. How do I know when it’s ready to go to the public? It’s never ready. I think the famous line is, “You never finish a mix, you just abandon a mix.” I think Sting said that once. I’ll give him credit for it, even if he didn’t! And I totally agree. It’s so true. It’s geez, just walk away, because you can keep going with a song and going with a song and going with a song, but at some time you’ve just got to stick a fork in it and say, “OK, it’s done, it’s ready.” </p> <p>Hopefully, you know when you come to that place. I know now from working with great producers like Ron Nevison, who did the Damn Yankees record and is a dear friend of mine. I’ve seen how he works. There’s point where you just say, “That’s enough. It’s fine.” You have to make that decision as a producer. It’s so easy now with Pro Tools to say, “Let’s record 50 guitar tracks and use maybe three of them.” I don’t like to do that. Ron taught me that you make decisions along the way as you go, and when you’re done recording it, you sit back and that’s the record. You don’t have 50 million more decisions to make. This is what you recorded and this is what it is. I learned that from Ron years ago and that’s how I operate. I think that’s really important.</p> <p><strong>You mentioned earlier that McCartney taught everyone to play bass. While the Beatles’ music remains a reference point for so many artists, including young musicians, so is a lot of the music of the 1970s and 1980s. Are you aware of the contributions that you and your colleagues have made? </strong></p> <p>It makes me smile, because … you’re exactly right — we were sort of in that early stage of 1982, ’83, ’84, Van Halen, Journey, Def Leppard, and then Warrant, Winger, Slaughter and all those bands. We came in with “Sister Christian,” this big ballad, and so many bands had big rock ballads. The 1990s were sort of a derisive genre and era, which was kind of funny to me, because when we were in the middle of it, it was real, and it is still real by just the fact of “Look at us now.” Like you’re saying, so many of those ’80s bands are touring and doing well, and it’s because of the songs. </p> <p>That’s the key. As long as the songs are there, people enjoy coming to the shows and hearing them and singing them. I think it’s great that younger bands are using us as sort of the focal point and starting point of what they want to do. It’s very flattering. I’m always surprised at the music and the people that Night Ranger influenced and the people I meet who are deeply into the band.</p> <p><em>— Alison Richter</em></p> <p><em>Alison Richter interviews artists, producers, engineers and other music industry professionals for print and online publications. <a href="">Read more of her interviews right here.</a></em></p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/night-ranger">Night Ranger</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> Alison Richter Damn Yankees Jack Blades Night Ranger Ringo Starr Tommy Shaw Interviews News Features Wed, 18 Apr 2012 17:41:55 +0000 Alison Richter 15397 at Dear Guitar Hero: Night Ranger's Brad Gillis and Joel Hoekstra <!--paging_filter--><p><strong>One took over for Randy Rhoads after the guitarist’s untimely death, and the other can be seen on Broadway in <em>Rock of Ages</em>. But what <em>Guitar World </em>readers really want to know is…</strong></p> <p><strong>Brad, you manipulate feedback in the solo of “Sister Christian” so fluidly. How were you able to do that? —Adam Parness</strong></p> <p>My Mesa/Boogie was key to the creation of that solo. Those amps have always helped me get the sustain I need for my personal style. I’m not a speedster player; I work off of sustain and harmonics, so we basically just had the Boogie cranked super loud, and I had a long cord going into the console room. And I could just sit there and hit a note, and there would be this loop of endless feedback. I’d just work off that and incorporate some of my whammy bar stuff.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Joel, how did you get the Night Ranger gig? —Svetlana Baiul </strong></p> <p>Kelly [<em>Keagy, Night Ranger drummer</em>] and I had worked together in this Eighties pick-up band in the Midwest, and we played [<em>the Night Ranger hits</em>] “Don’t Tell Me You Love Me,” “Rock in America” and “Sister Christian.” He was surprised when we’d do “Rock in America” and I’d actually pull off the eight-finger tapping solo. So he kind of tucked that information away. When Jeff [<em>Watson, former Night Ranger guitarist</em>] left the band, Reb Beach took over for a while, but he had to go back with Whitesnake, and that’s when they contacted me. They were in Japan with Reb at the time, and they gave me a list of 25 tunes to learn. I was freaking out—I had maybe 10 days to get the songs together, leads and everything. The first time I played with them, I met Brad right before we went onstage, basically. But everything went really well.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Joel, you’ve made two fusion albums and an acoustic record, and your background has more to do with classical guitar than rock. Is what you’re doing now with the Broadway show <em>Rock of Ages</em> and Night Ranger kind of your way of rebelling?—Kurt Mueller</strong></p> <p>Not really. Actually, these days I’m kind of back to what got me into guitar in the first place: the energy that comes from performing great rock tunes onstage. I think most players go through a phase where they’re learning things and moving away from what initially triggered their interest, but I think everyone comes back to the original reason why they started playing in the first place, and for me it’s that energy. When I play, I find myself in the mindset of Angus Young at times—just being an over-the-top showman and bringing tons of energy to the music. That’s what’s so great about playing with Night Ranger. Thesedudes throw down like it’s still 1983.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Joel, how did you get involved in <em>Rock of Ages</em>?—Adam Parness</strong></p> <p>I moved to New York to do a show about Janis Joplin called <em>Love, Janis</em>. I had done something like 1,400 performances—I cut my teeth doing the theater thing. I had also done the Phil Collins show <em>Tarzan</em>, and the music supervisor for <em>Rock of Ages</em> was the keyboard player for that. So when this Eighties rock show came around, they thought I was the perfect choice. I mean, how many Broadway pit guys look like this [<em>points to his long hair and tattered jeans</em>]? How many of them warm up with shred guitar before playing all these show tunes? [<em>laughs</em>] So I was a natural fit for it, and when they found out I was playing with Night Ranger, it just kind of sealed the deal.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Brad, your whammy bar work is one of your trademarks. How, and at what point, did that become such a huge part of your playing?—Richard Sarafian</strong></p> <p>When Van Halen came out in the late Seventies I was very intrigued by the harmonic dive bomb, so I ended up getting myself a Floyd Rose. I wanted to be a little different, so I just took what Eddie Van Halen did and reversed it: I bring the bar down low first, hit the note, and then it bring it back up. All my guitars have floating bridges; you can do this on all Strats—just loosen the springs until you can bring the bar up and down. I use Big Bends Nut Sauce to help keep the strings in tune.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Joel, do you have any tips for getting started with eight-finger tapping? —Mickey Malnato</strong></p> <p>To develop your right hand, I’d recommend trilling every finger combination. Set down your index finger and just trill with your middle finger, then index-ring, then index-pinkie. Next, try planting your middle finger and trilling with your ring finger, then with your pinkie. After that, put down your ring finger and trill with your pinkie. It’s easier if you stand up, and you can even do it while you’re watching TV. It’s a great way to get started with this technique.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Brad, Night Ranger was unknown and just getting off the ground when you left to play with Ozzy after Randy Rhoads died. After you came back to the band, had your experience with Ozzy influenced your approach to Night Ranger?—Evan Caprizny</strong></p> <p>I got my stage presence together on the road with Ozzy. I’d been thrown to the wolves—I went from playing to five thousand people a night to 20 thousand a night with Ozzy. The main thing I learned was professionalism and showmanship, and of course I grew from playing Randy’s parts, as well. It was quite a learning experience and definitely the heaviest time of my life.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/brad-gillis">Brad Gillis</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/night-ranger">Night Ranger</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> Brad Gillis Joel Hoekstra Night Ranger Interviews Tue, 02 Mar 2010 16:12:12 +0000 Photo By Justin Hyte 2956 at Inquirer: Brad Gillis <!--paging_filter--><p><strong><em>Guitar World</em> catches up with Night Ranger's guitarist.</strong></p> <p><strong>What inspired you to pick up a guitar?</strong></p> <p>In the Sixties, my brother used to buy a lot of records. He got me into music, and for my eighth birthday, I decided I wanted a guitar. My dad bought me a Kay guitar and amplifier, and my brother set me up with a pair of headphones and a little preamp so I could play along to his records. I used to sit in his room all day and all night playing Led Zeppelin, Santana, Big Brother, the Doors... What really got me off was Jimi Hendrix. That’s when I started getting into lead guitar playing and creating my own style.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Do you recall your first gig?</strong></p> <p>There was a talent show in middle school, and I played [<em>the Sixties garage-rock hit</em>] “Gloria.” I saw all the girls screaming and decided that’s what I wanted to do.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Ever had an embarrassing onstage moment?</strong></p> <p>Yes, the very first night I played with Ozzy in 1982. I’d sat in a hotel room for four days learning all of Randy [<em>Rhoads</em>]’s parts, but I’d never actually played with the full band before. Even at the soundcheck, we only played seven or eight songs, and Ozzy wasn’t there. Our first gig was a sold-out show in New York. We were playing “Revelation (Mother Earth),” which is a slow ballad that gets faster about halfway through. I went into the fast part early, and Ozzy shot me a look. The next night, Sharon came up and said [<em>mimicking her</em>], “Bradley, I want you to have a great show tonight—but don’t fuck up!”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>What is your favorite piece of gear?</strong></p> <p>My red Strat, of course. I used it on Ozzy’s <em>Speak of the Devil</em> record and all of the Night Ranger records. But lately, I’ve been using a Soldano Decatone three-channel head, which is great. You would think that using a Stratocaster with a Floyd Rose over a wireless would give me a thin tone, but with the Decatone, I get a fat, strong sound live and in the studio.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Do you have any advice for young players?</strong></p> <p>Practice a lot and try to create your own style. That’s what I tried to do when I incorporated the whammy bar into my playing. When Eddie Van Halen came out and started doing dive bombs, I wanted to be a little different, so I started raising harmonics on my guitar. And then I started screwin’ around with the tremolo and came up with these different wacky sounds. But mainly, I tried to focus on creating my own style.</p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/brad-gillis">Brad Gillis</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/night-ranger">Night Ranger</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> Brad Gillis Night Ranger Interviews Thu, 13 Aug 2009 14:21:10 +0000 Joe Matera 2365 at