The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world






Night Ranger is the ultimate mid-eighties US Rock band, and Jack Baldes is so much more than their vocalist/guitarist. When the opportunity to speak to him about their upcoming UK date arose its was something that The Rockpit couldn't pass up.... So many questons though were of course left unasked so don't think for a minute that this is the last time we'll speak to him!

Tickets: £20.00 / 24 Hour Box Office: 0844 249 1000
Book Online: Ticket Web,, Gigantic.comSee Tickets
Doors: 7.00pm / Stage Time: 8.30pm
16 Parkfield Street, London, N1 0PS

Jack: Hello Mark!


Mark: Hi Jack how are you doing?


Jack: I’m doing great Mark, how are you?


Mark: Wonderful thank you Sir! Many thanks for talking to us today Jack, it’s a real honour when I think of how much I’ve listened to over the years, not only Night Ranger but other music you have been part of.


Jack: Well thank you for that. I’m just a guy who likes to keep busy, you know, writing a lot of songs, playing in a lot of bands, it’s who I am.


Mark: On to the big news straight away: you’re playing London with Night Ranger on Thursday 12th March at The Islington O2 as a warm up for the Hard Rock Hell date the following Saturday. It’s a pretty rare treat for us to see Night Ranger in the UK – how excited are you?


Jack: Well the whole band, we’re pretty pumped up! It’s interesting that back in the eighties our manager only booked us in Europe the one time back in 1985, and that kind of really disappointed us, I don’t know if it was that we had so much going on back in the States and in japan, but he kept us really busy over here. But once we got this thing going again with the news records and the new anything, we decided “you know what we want to do more shows in the UK and in Europe” and that’s what we’re doing. In 2011 we toured all over there with Journey and what we’re trying to do is each year, get a few more UK shows, so in maybe three or four years we’d love to be able to do a maybe seven or eight date tour. So we’re slowly easing it in with the two shows this next month with the show in Wales and the O2 – that is such a wild place – it’s always nuts there man! The fans are crazy, it’s a great fun Rock and Roll venue – when we play a place like that we’re just able to stretch out and play some deep tracks that I think the fans will really appreciate.

Mark: That’s great and one of the questions I was going to ask you. I’ve seen you over the years a few times. The first time was at Rocklahoma but festival dates are of course limited. At the O2 you have the chance to really go for it, I love that you mentioned ‘deep tracks’ but I’d hope that the wonderful new material gets a good look in too?


Jack: Yeah, I think it’s a combination of both those things and it’s also the thirtieth anniversary of the ‘Seven Wishes’ album, so there’s a lot of cool songs that I think the fans in Islington are really going to enjoy. You know at a show like that we try to figure out from so much material that we have to play it’s really more about what don’t we play! It’s difficult for us to figure it out so while we’re on stage there might be a bit of “Let’s play this, let’s play that” which we do a lot.  That night is turning into the ‘Bruce Springsteen night’ for classic rock, as we’re playing for like 2 hours, which I think will keep it really fresh for the band and really exciting and fresh for the audience too. You know when we play at a festival setting like we will at the Hard Rock Hell Festival in Wales we want to stretch a bit there too, but as there are so many other bands on the bill you just can’t, you know – go on for three hours! (laughs). So we’ll just figure out what to do for those people too, but believe me they will not be disappointed!   


Mark: I know what you mean, but as newer albums like ‘Somewhere in California’ and ‘High Road’ are so damn good you must be aware that you are also opening up a whole new world for the legion of new younger fans too?

Jack: Well that’s what it is – with the ‘High Road’ we haven’t played any of those songs for UK audiences yet so we are excited about playing three maybe even four songs off that record for the UK fans and that’s really exciting for us too!

Mark: I spoke to Kelly (Night Ranger Drummer/Vocalist) mid-way through last year and he was really excited about the recording of ‘High Road’ and the fact that you had all got that together and sat together to do that. You have also just released a great new record by ‘Revolution Saints’ too, which is on heavy rotation here for us. It’s interesting that you have Doug (Aldrich – ex-Whitesnake) on there playing with you and Joel (Hoekstra – ex Night Ranger) has moved the other way to Whitesnake. Is there a back-story to that? Any tension? Or just how things happened?


Jack: (Pause) You know when the Universe lines up things just happen which are sometimes are bizarre, and all you can do is put it down to fate and put it down to ‘the natural order of things’ in Rock and Roll. Here Doug splits from that band and he we get Keri Kelli who has played with Alice Coper for years, and he and Brad! The way those guys play together is just – well let’s just say – you guys are going to get blown away man! Keri is just so much fun on stage, there’s so much excitement, so much stage antics – he’s just running around – he’s so much like us. And when it comes to the twin-harmony guitars and the solos – he and Brad are just so together it’s like one guitar player and I think the fans are going to be stoked! In October we did a tour of Japan and the people were like just blown away by it! So things happen, things change and things just get better. You know back in the Seventies I was in a band called Rubicon and while I was in the band we made two albums and then the band broke up and I thought it was the worst thing that could have ever happened to me and it was like “Oh my God, it’s the end of the World”, but if that band hadn’t have broken up I wouldn’t have had the chance to form Night Ranger in 1980: and  I’m sitting there along with Kelly Keagy being the main singer and song-writer with that band. And it all just happens, and it happens for a reason and it all just flows. When you’re flowing with the Universe man you just flow along with it, and you’re referencing Revolution Saints and I mean I’ve known Deen (Castronovo – Journey drummer and vocalist) for over twenty five years and it all started out as a solo record for him and then it morphed into a band and he and I are just laughing and loving it. But I’ve never worked with Doug before, I’ve met him one or two times before this and he’s just one of those great guitarist, and over the years I’ve worked with some great guitarists, my friend Neal Schon (Journey) I’ve played and written with him, Tommy Shaw, Ted Nugent, and now I’m really fortunate that I can add Doug to that list along with Tak Masumoto when we did TMG. I don’t mean to go on and on and on, but man when the Universe is clicking I learnt a long time ago to not ask and questions and just roll with it!  


Mark: It’s fantastic to hear someone just so alive and enthused by music, what is it that keep s you in that frame of mind? Is it that there is just so much music left in you? Des a love of playing live feature large? What keeps you going as a musician?


Jack: You know I think t’s just that there is just something inside of me that just loves what I do. I mean I love everything about touring; I love everything about travelling, I love everything about recording, I love everything about writing. Look man, I’m more at home on a concert stage than I am about sitting in my living room with five or six people; I’d rather be on a concert stage in front of 5000 people! It’s just, who I a man, and it’s the way I’ve always been and I just feel right now that I’m doing things that I want to do. You know when you want to do something but you don’t have to do it, I think that makes you think “Alright man let’s just do it”! And it gives you that feeling that you just want to keep writing and crating. And I’m sure it’s the same in Night Ranger for Brad Gillis and Kelly Keagy and Keri Kelli and Eric Levy, we’re just musician first and this is what we do. And then you’ll get an offer to do an opportunity to do something with Deen like Revolution Saints – and Deen’s the same way I am – he’s been in Journey for a very long time and before that Bad English – and he’s playing in that because he wants to not because he has to; and Doug is the same, all the guitar playing o this Revolution Saints album is just spectacular. I had a conversation with him and said “this is the first thing out of that ‘other band’ and so you just need to do what you want to do – go as wild as you want, take it as far as you want and that’s what he did o this record too!   

Mark: So taking it all the way back and thinking back to your earliest memories of music, where does all of this wonderful passion come from? Can you remember that first moment that made you decide to pick up that guitar and you needed to be in a Rock and Roll band? When you decided that this had to be your life?

Jack: I don’t know man, that’s I think about that a lot, and it’s a wonderful question. I think that maybe that the fact I had a brother who dies at a drug overdose at a very young age in the year I was married 1977, and he was my only brother and I saw that pain it caused my parents and I said “You know I’m going to make you the proudest parents you will ever be”. And I think that gave me that little extra push to keep going and since then that’s all I have ever known what to do (laughs). That has become who I am, and, maybe the fact that I just love life, I don’t know…     


Mark: It’s a sad loss, incomparable, but wonderful that it drove something so positive in you, and great for all of us out there that love the music you’ve created over the years especially in Night Ranger. I guess that leads to the big question: ‘What is the meaning of life to you’? 


Jack: I think the meaning of life is to create and make other people happy.  I think that I was put on this Earth to put a smile on people’s faces and hopefully to help people through some really desperate times, I’ve received stuff from people like the guy who wanted to commit suicide and the he read some lyrics that stopped him from doing the stupidest thing he could ever have done in his life – it’s things like that: I mean is that the whole reason to be? That I wrote this one song to save this one guy? I mean its things like that. I think you can tell with me that I’m not someone to question the master plan I just roll with it and I feel like that is what I have been put on this Earth to do. And I’ll try to put smiles on people’s faces and do that till the day I die. 


Mark: Well you’ve certainly put a smile on my face tonight. It’s wonderful to speak to someone as passionate as you, so thank you for taking the time to speak to you tonight, there are just so many questions that went unasked I hope we get the chance to talk again. 


Jack: Well you know what; there will be so many records to talk about in the future! (laughs) You can call me up about a Revolution Saints record down the line, who knows! (laughs again)   


Mark: I think I have that very e-mail now! So maybe it won’t be too long!


Jack: Well cheers to you!  And we can’t wait to get to the UK man – we’re gonna Rock it up!



Jack spoke to Mark Rockpit - February 2015





Interested in an interview for your band? e-mail prefers to interview live or via skype or phone but will consider e-mail interviews