In advance of Night Ranger’s forthcoming jaunt to the UK (playing a very special show in London on the 12th of March, prior to headlining HRH Uniteds AOR stage in Wales on the 14th), founder member and guitar legend, Brad Gillis very kindly spared some time to talk with Rock-Zone UK about past, present and future.
Rock-Zone: Hi Brad, many thanks for taking time out of your schedule to talk to Rock-Zone. The upcoming shows represent a bit of a rarity for Night Ranger coming over to the UK . When were you guys last over here and are you looking forward to the shows?
Brad Gillis: Hi David, you’re welcome. You know, it’s about two years since we played London and we are really looking forward to the trip. It gives us a chance to show our UK fans what we’ve got and that we are still excited to be playing for you folks 35 years after forming the band! Sure we’re looking forward to the shows, we get time to play a couple of shows and spend some time visiting and seeing the UK.
R-Z: The talk amongst the AOR/Melodic rock fraternity seem very excited about the shows (tickets have been sellling well) and I know a number of people are planing to see both performances. Given the critical and popular success of last year’s “High Road” record (it was my album of the year), what can the fans expect in terms of the sets that you will play?
BG: Thanks, David – “High Road” was a fun record to make and really represents where we areas a band right now. The past few years, working with Frontiers Records, has been great. They have enabled Bight Ranger to develop and stay in close contact with fans in Europe. With the history we have as a band, it would be wrong to ignore the past and so the set will be made up of the hits, some fan favourites, songs from “Somewhere in California” and , of course, some from the “High Eoad” record.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9vRty6qwGzI]
R-Z: As you said earlier, Night Ranger have been together for 35 years. How did the band get together? Were you friends in high school, for example?
BG: Well, I’d played in a couple of bands in the San Francisco area but was seen by two guys who were looking for a guitar player. Jerry Martini and bass player Jack Blades asked me to join their band and so Rubicon was formed. We got a record deal and recorded two albums – ‘’Rubicon’’, and ‘’American Dreams’’. We also had one single titled “I’m Gonna take care of Everything” which became something of a radio hit. This led to us playing Cal Jam 2in front of 250,000 people! Rubicon broke up in 1979 and I formed the short lived club band Stereo with Jack Blades and Kelly Keagy, who had joined as touring drummer for Rubicon.
The next thing I knew was that someone had mentioned my name to Sharon Osbourne because Ozzy needed a new guitar player after the tragic death of Randy Rhoads … and the next thing was I was touring with Ozzy. Rudy Sarzo told me that he was leaving the band to so some other work and it made sense for me to pursue the stuff with Night Ranger.
R-Z: And the rest, as they say, is history. So, looking back can you remember what made you first want to pick up a guitar?
BG: Oh, of course. I’d heard some music but when The Beatles hit the States I knew I needed to make music like that. I asked my parents for a guitar and when I was 8 years old my dad bought me a Kay electric guitar and amp and that was it for me. I started to learn to play, developing the skill of playing by ear. I learned all sorts of stuff – particularly as I got a bit older and progressed to playing along with my brother’s records by the likes of Santana and Led Zeppelin.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-QuwO05QABM]
R-Z: I know that Night Ranger are busy around the United States every year but what do you do to relax when you get time?
BG: Oh that’s easy. For me music is everything so when I relax I make more music. This could be stuff for Night Ranger or the music I write for TV and movies. Plus I have a solo album that I’ve been working on – so, for that, I’m now looking for a singer to do the vocals justice. As I said, Frontiers have been great for us and we still have another album to record for them on the current contract. So that is the next thing for us once we get the touring schedule done.
R-Z: Thank you so much for talking to usm I’m really looking forward to the shows and hope to cathc up with you, probably in Wales
BG: You’re welcome. It’ll be great to get the chance to meet with people and I am really looking forward to being in the UK
Tickets for the London show are selling fast, but if you are quick you could still get the chance to see Night Ranger.
LONDON, O2 ISLINGTON ACADEMY
THURSDAY 12th MARCH 2015
Tickets: £20.00 / 24 Hour Box Office: 0844 249 1000
Book Online: Ticket Web, Eventim, Gigantic or See Tickets
Doors: 7.00pm / Stage Time: 8.30pm
16 Parkfield Street, London, N1 0PS