Like no other band formed in the `80s, Night Ranger has both epitomized and transcended the sound and style of that decade. Since original members Jack Blades, Jeff Watson, Kelly Keagy and Brad Gillis reunited in 1996, they have brought their guitar-crunching, melodic brand of hard rock into the 21st century with unparalleled talent, energy and creativity.
Night Ranger left an indelible mark with a string of best-selling albums that sold more than 16 million copies worldwide. The bans popularity was 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 rockers, 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," and became the standard-bearer of a new sound.
Following a seven-year absence, Night Ranger reunited in 1996 for a tour of Japan and a summer U.S. tour with Ted Nugent. The overwhelming turnout and response proved that the world still loved the music and the band. That year also garnered the Ron Nevison produced album "Neverland" on the CBS/Sony `Legacy' label and featured the radio friendly single "Forever All Over Again." In 1997, the three-time Oscar-nominated film Boogie Nights spotlighted "Sister Christian" as one of the songs that defined the previous decade. Also that year, the band released Seven, a studio album that helped set the standard for the `80s rock revival. Nearly every summer since, Night Ranger has toured across the country and overseas, sharing stages with such acts as REO Speedwagon, Styx, Journey, Bad Company, Pat Benatar, Loverboy, Poison, Cinderella, Boston, Heart, Sammy Hagar, Cheap Trick, and Kansas.
In 2000, responding to the astonishing success of their continual touring, MCA Records released The Best Of Night Ranger, a digitally remastered compilation of their greatest hits. In 2004, acknowledging the bans enormous popularity and impact as one of the original "MTV" bands, MCA issued The Best Of Night Ranger/The DVD Collection, featuring five of the bans best-known videos.
It all started when bassist/lead singer Blades, guitarist/singer Watson, guitarist/singer Gillis, and drummer/lead singer Keagy joined forces in San Francisco in the early `80s with keyboardist Alan Fitzgerald (Sammy Hagar, Montrose) to launch Night Ranger. The group drew the attention of legendary promoter Bill Graham and was soon appearing in concert with major artists such as the Doobie Brothers, Santana, Rick Springfield, and Judas Priest. In 1982, Neil Bogart signed the band to Boardwalk Records and the group debuted with the Top 40 album Dawn Patrol, whose single "Don't Tell Me You Love Me" also went Top 40.
Later that year, the band found a new home with Camel/MCA. In 1983, Night Ranger earned widespread acclaim with the multi-platinum Top 20 album Midnight Madness, which yielded the top #5 single "Sister Christian," the Top 40 "When You Close Your Eyes" and the anthemic "(You Can Still) Rock In America," its raucous crowd pleasing concert closer. The bans flamboyant visual appeal also made Night Ranger a staple of the world-changing phenomenon called MTV.
In 1985, their 7 Wishes album also went Top 10 and platinum, and included the Top 10 single "Sentimental Street" and the Top 40 single "Goodbye." In 1987, their Big Life album featured the David Foster produced title track to the film The Secret Of My Success (the band was also heard in the films Pretty In Pink, 16 Candles and Teachers). 1988's Man In Motion album, with legendary producer Keith Olsen at the helm, (Foreigner, Pat Benatar, Whitesnake) boasted worthy cuts such as "Restless Kind" and "Halfway to the Sun." The band broke up in 1989, the same year its Greatest Hits was certified gold, but the individual members were among the few of that decade's major artists to carry their successes through the `90s and beyond.
Blades founded the supergroup Damn Yankees with Ted Nugent and Tommy Shaw (Styx) and enjoyed two multiplatinum-selling albums, Damn Yankees and Don't Tread, with chart-topping singles and videos. In 1995 he released the now classic Hallucination CD with Tommy Shaw under the name Shaw/Blades. He has also co-written songs with artists such as Aerosmith, Cher, Alice Cooper and Ozzy Osbourne, to name a few. He even joined in on the filming and recording of Ringo Starr's "VH1 Storytellers." In 2004, Blades released his first solo album, Jack Blades, featuring Shaw, his Night Ranger bandmates and others, and co-wrote and recorded a #1-charting multiplatinum Japanese album, TMG featuring that country's favorite son, Tak Matsumoto of the mega-group B'z. At his studio in Northern California, Blades has also produced Great White and Ted Nugent among others. (For more, see JackBlades.net.)
Watson created two star-studded solo albums, Lone Ranger (featuring Sammy Hagar, Carmine Appice, Steve Smith of Journey and Steve Morse of Deep Purple) and Around The Sun (featuring Steve Walsh of Kansas), and played guitar on two Chris Isaak albums. Along with writing songs for and appearing in several episodes of the hit CBS series "Nash Bridges" starring Don Johnson, Watson has reveled in three albums of overseas success with his heavy metal supergroup, Mothers Army, featuring Joe Lynn Turner, Bob Daisley and Aynsley Dunbar. A studio owner, producer and engineer, Watson entered the world of film scoring with 2002's Vertical Frontier, the critically-acclaimed Tom Brokaw-narrated feature-length documentary about the first rock climbers to ascend the granite walls of Yosemite. (For more, see JeffWatson.com)
Gillis, (who toured for a year with Ozzy Osbourne and recorded the live 1982 platinum-selling Speak Of The Devil) recorded his first solo album in 1992; Gilrock Ranch featured Carmine Appice and Keagy on drums, and Gregg Allman on vocals. Gilrock Ranch garnered national airplay and a Top 20 AOR hit. Released in 2001 in Europe and Japan was his most recent solo effort, Alligator. His production house, Liquid Hot Music Production (liquidhot.net), has recorded 100+ tracks for sporting events on ESPN, FOX Sports, and The Tennis Channel and has had music featured in popular video games such as Electronic Arts Tiger Woods Playstation I & II Golf Games, along with several major movie soundtracks. (For more, see BradGillis.com)
Keagy recently finished, and released, his long-awaited debut solo album CD, Time Passes, featuring many name guests, including most of his Night Ranger bandmates. As composer as well as singer of Night Ranger's biggest hit, "Sister Christian," Keagy has been a much-in-demand songwriter, collaborating with many of the country's top tunesmiths. He has also performed shows nationwide with the classic rock supergroup Jim Peterik's World Stage, featuring Alan Parsons, Kip Winger, Tom Keifer (Cinderella), Don Barnes (38 Special), Kevin Cronin (REO Speedwagon) and others. (For more, see KellyKeagy.com)
Michael Lardie rounded out the touring lineup in 2004, after his successful membership in the multiplatinum-selling band Great White, in which he was one of the primary songwriters while also playing guitar, keyboards, producing and engineering their most successful records. His career as a producer/engineer has been highlighted by sales of more than 7,000,000 records worldwide.
The near future for Night Ranger promises a live DVD, new electric and acoustic albums, and, of course, continued worldwide touring. The bright lights and rock `n' roll nights never end for Night Ranger.