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.
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.
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.
I recently caught up with bassist Jack Blade to talk about Revolution Saints, Night Ranger and more.
GUITAR WORLD: How did the Revolution Saints project come together?
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!
The new album has elements from all of your other bands, yet has its own unique freshness. How would describe the new album?
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.
Let’s talk about a few tracks from the album. What can you tell me about “Turn Back Time”?
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.
"Way to the Sun"
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!
What was the recording process like for this album?
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.
Do the three of you have plans to tour as Revolution Saints?
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.
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?
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.
You mentioned touring. What are Night Ranger’s tour plans for this year?
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, High Road. 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 Midnight Madness or Seven Wishes?” And I’d say, “No, that was from our new album, High Road!” That’s about the best compliment we could ever get!
This year marks the 30th anniversary of Seven Wishes. What comes to mind when you think about that album?
It was great album to make. We had such huge success with Midnight Madness 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.
A lot of rockers have written books about their lives and careers. Have you ever given thought to writing one at some point?
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].
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James Wood is a writer, musician and self-proclaimed metalhead who maintains his own website, GoJimmyGo.net. His articles and interviews are written on a variety of topics with passion and humor. You can follow him on Twitter @JimEWood.