Last year, Night Ranger celebrated the 35th anniversary of their debut album, Dawn Patrol by releasing an all new record, Don’t Let Up! The album’s title is fairly appropriate, once you consider that the band, whose beginnings go back to the early days of MTV, is still going strong in the 21st century.
Proving that they have no intention of slowing down, Night Ranger—which consists of Jack Blades, Brad Gillis, Kelly Keagy, Eric Levy and Keri Kelli—will celebrate the 35th anniversary of the band’s monster 1983 album, Midnight Madness and songs like “(You Can Still) Rock in America,” “When You Close Your Eyes” and “Touch of Madness,” with a tour.
Guitar World recently spoke with guitarist Brad Gillis about all things Night Ranger, his current rig, and his memories of touring with Ozzy Osbourne.
This year is marks the 35th anniversary of Midnight Madness. What do you remember most about that whole era?
In the mid-Eighties, we were we were probably on the road nine months out of the year. Then for the remainder of the year, we’d be in the studio recording another record. It was a yearlong job but we had a blast. I’ll never forget pulling into the Coliseum in La Crosse, Wisconsin in late ’83 or ’84 and seeing the marquee that read, ‘Night Ranger—Sold Out.’ That was very pivotal moment in our career.
People may not know this, but back in 1982, you had two albums come out in the same week, Night Ranger’s Dawn Patrol and Ozzy Osbourne’s double-live album, Speak of the Devil. What made you decide to leave Ozzy and go full-time with Night Ranger?
Although we’d done a lot of shows and recorded Speak of the Devil, toward the end of 1982 Rudy [Sarzo] had already decided to leave Ozzy to go join Quiet Riot. I decided to roll the dice and go with Night Ranger because we also had a deal pending. Radio was changing back then and playing heavier stuff, but I remember, even after “Don’t Tell Me You Love Me” had been released, we weren’t sure if it would do well. Fortunately, MTV had just come out and needed content. They ended up playing our video about 25 times a day.
Our record company really did us a favor back then by holding off on the release of “Sister Christian” on the Dawn Patrol album. They knew that it would become a hit and wanted us to come out heavy with our “sophomore” release [Midnight Madness]. That ended up being our biggest record and took us to headliner status.
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