Thanks to Brad Gillis, guitarist for the band Night Ranger, for the interview. Night Ranger is celebrating their 35th anniversary this year. This band is no stranger to celebrity status with 17M albums sold, playing over 3K live shows and having 10 #1 videos on MTV.
They are most recognized for their hits Sister Christian, Don't Tell Me You Love Me and When You Close Your Eyes. They will release their 12th studio album in March through Frontier Records.
KH: Was your new record "Don't Let Up" a collaborative effort or just two or three of you?
BG: Jack, Kelly and I, we went to Nashville to Kelly's house. We had six or seven ideas. We did our guitar solos on our own. It was a collaborative effort with the whole band. It took us over a year to do this album, we started quite a while back. We thought it was a perfect time to release it for this summer.
KH: Let's talk about you for a minute. When did you begin playing guitar?
BG: I got a guitar on my eighth birthday, I loved the Beatles and the Stones. I thought, I wanna play guitar! So I started to take lessons. At 10, I started my own band called Invaders. We did a show and played Gloria....girls were screaming, that did it! Then as a sophomore I played the senior prom. Jack had a band called Rubicon, they came and watched me and signed me at 19. We did two records as Rubicon. On March 18, 1978 we played at Ontario Motor Speedway with Aerosmith (and many others) to 250,000 people!
Then we changed our name. Night Ranger was originally called Ranger. We had 3000 album jackets made with that title and found out there was a country band called The Rangers,
so we changed our name to Night Ranger....and had to throw away all 3K jackets and start over. They signed a deal with MCA Records in 1983.
KH: How does it feel to be in a band that has sold 17M records?
BG: It's wonderful! 35 years later, we're still together, heading to Japan and other places. We've been playing shows for the last couple of months, we played to 10-12K people on Fremont Street in Vegas and then played the National Anthem the next day for the NASCAR race.
KH: This might be tough, but what is your most memorable moment with Night Ranger?
BG: My most memorable fun moment was going to Japan after our first release. We got to the airport and there were a fair amount of people there waiting for us. Then the fans followed us back to the hotel, where there were several 1000 fans waiting for us! There were people every where! The hotel manager told us to go to our rooms, because there was no room for everyone!
KH: What is your tour schedule right now?
BG: We are going to Florida next week for five shows, then to the Midwest, the east coast and then to the Bay area in August. Then we go back to Vegas to play with Boston.
KH: On the new record, what is your favorite song?
BG: Well, I'm most excited about our March 24th release of the record. Then we'll wait to hear from the fans. We'll test out some songs live and pick 2-3 new songs for the set. Some people want to hear the new songs...and some people just want to hear what they know.
KH: What do you like best about being in the band Night Ranger? There are so many bands, so many in the spotlight, what makes it special about Night Ranger?
BG: We all get along really well! We get on stage, we go 110%, then we talk about the show. Humor up and drama down! We love our fans. We're happy that we're together, on tour, making our fans happy. It is great to have a career with ONE band.