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Monday, July 16, 2018

Daily Boom Disco Throwback: A Taste Of Honey - 'Boogie Oogie Oogie'

Image result for a taste of honey

"If you're thinkin' you're too cool to boogie
Boy oh boy have I got news for you
Everybody here tonight must boogie
Let me tell ya, you are no exception to the rule
Get on up, on the floor
'Cause were gonna boogie oogie oogie
'Till you just can't boogie no more
Ah boogie, boogie no more
You can't boogie no more
Ah boogie, boogie no more
Listen to the music..."
It's finally Friday and I have to tell ya', this has been a really rough week. I think by late Tuesday it felt like it had to be at least Thursday. So, I'm thrilled to see this one end and there is no better way to shut it down than with a disco classic. A Taste of Honey broke out during the summer of 1978 with "Boogie Oogie Oogie" and it was life changing. My Friday nights were spent at a local skating rink at the tale end of the disco era and this was one of those songs that got everyone up and out on the rink.

It's funny thinking back to how we would all gather on the "mushrooms" to sit and talk but there was a handful of songs like this (and anything by Chic, Patrice Rushen, Gloria Gaynor...) that made all of those conversations stop instantly. I'm not sure where this video was filmed but I'm kind of thinking that it might have been at The Soap Factory, an old Jersey club that filmed a weekly dance show. The Soap Factory used to be exactly that and I think I see a few bubbles floating around in this clip. Check it out!

Currently Booming: Running Up That Hill: The Kate Bush Story (Full BBC Music Documentary)

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Daily Boom 90's Nostalgia: DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince - 'Summertime'

"It's cool to dance
But what about the groove that soothes
That moves romance, give me a soft, subtle mix
And if ain't broke then don't try to fix it

And think of the summers of the past
Adjust the base and let the alpine blast
Pop in my CD and let me run a rhyme and put your car
On cruise and lay back 'cause this is summertime"

Here's a song that needs little introduction and it seems pretty perfect for the first official full weekend of summer. DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince's "Summertime" became an instant dance hit when it was released in May of 1991. Just like the lyrics say, it really was a break from the norm. "Summertime" came at a time when house music had truly invaded the clubs and if it wasn't your cup of tea then you were probably riding the Latin freestyle wave. Either way, this smooth groove was a welcome departure.

As a Philly kid, I loved that the video really did give a shout out to the places where we all hung out. It was a realistic ode to summer, complete with lawn chairs and Capri Sun. The industry appreciated "Summertime" just as much as the kids that grooved to it. In 1992, DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince won a Grammy for this song!

25 years later this song feels pretty timeless. You just feel like it really is summer time while listening to it, don't you?

Currently Booming: Billy Idol Live at Danceteria in NYC (1982)

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Daily Boom 80's Throwback: Fleetwood Mac - 'Big Love'

"Looking out for love
In the night so still
Oh I'll build you a kingdom
In that house on the hill
Looking out for love
Big, big love
You said that you love me
And that you always will
Oh you begged me to keep you
In that house on the hill
Looking out for love
Big, big love
I wake up alone
With it all
I wake up
But only to fall"

I was raised by parents that loved Fleetwood Mac. I vaguely remember parties thrown by them back in the 70's, a bunch of people crammed into our small living room with Stevie Nicks singing in the backdrop. Then when Tusk first came out my dad was absolutely obsessed. He played the title cut CONSTANTLY, on loop for what seemed like days. I totally got it though. I really was different from everything else that he played and I loved it. Still, I wouldn't exactly peg myself as a Fleetwood Mac "fan". I'm more of a cherry picker, with them and lots of other artists that I'm "supposed to" love.

That pickiness has still led me to a bunch of songs by the band (and by the individual artists' as well) that I do love, like "Big Love". It comes from their 1987 release Tango in the Night, which I generally do like from start to finish. "Big Love", especially acoustic versions later on, really made me appreciate Lindsay Buckingham's voice and guitar skills. He and Christine McVie released an album of duets that havedone really well and is considered to be a follow up to songs from 30 years ago, like "Big Love". Check out the video below!

Currently Booming: MTV Headbangers Ball (10/31/1989- Watch)

Friday, July 13, 2018

Currently Booming: New Music- Tom Bailey- 'Science Fiction' (Listen)

Currently Booming: Live Aid Happened 33 Years Ago Today (Watch)

I know exactly where I was on the second weekend in July back in 1985 and it was not in JFK Stadium in Philadelphia for Live Aid. I mean, a lot of other 14-year-olds weren’t in attendance either, right? But I actually WAS in the freaking parking lot of JFK on July 13th, 1985 and that’s what makes this all pretty ironic for me. 

My mom was super religious and her church would have these huge meetups a few times a year and for reasons that never made sense to me, having thousands of people gather in Veteran’s Stadium in the July Philly heat seemed like a good idea to there we were at Live Aid. Almost. 

I was just as music-obsessed as a kid as I am now and so the buildup for Live Aid made it a larger than life event for me. Every tidbit in the newspaper I’d cut out. I can remember having my dad bring home Philly newspapers leading up to it so that I could save all of the promo and interviews that they were doing to ensure that 100,000 fans would show up. We were actually in the city from Thursday-Sunday with Live Aid, of course, happening that Saturday. Our hotel near the airport was filled with concert goers and I remember finding excuses to stay in the lobby so that I could eavesdrop on any conversation pertaining to Madonna, Duran Duran and whoever else these complete strangers were excited about seeing. 

Right before Live Aid I can remember Madonna’s naked photos being sold to Hustler and then of course published. That meant more coverage for her so I smuggled every newspaper article about her scandalous behavior back home with me too. 
The morning of the event itself I can remember being stuck in traffic literally for hours, which was fine with me. I didn’t want to die for hours in the heat even if it was “God’s will” (or something), I wanted to die in that same heat while wearing a bow in my teased-out hair, lace gloves and a few crop tops layered for coolness. Sitting in traffic was a comfort because I was surrounded by my people, at least until we turned towards the Vet. I sat in my seat hoping that by the time we got out I’d be able to hear something, anything from the parking lot. Philly venues have always been close enough for that to be a reality.  

Leaving the parking lot probably will forever remain my very favorite traffic jam because dad’s big old Buick Skylark didn’t have a/c and off in the not-to-far distance I could hear Ashford & Simpson’s “Solid” which eventually turned into a set by Kool & the Gang. Who followed them? The material girl herself with extended versions of “Holiday” and “Into the Groove”. Honestly, I don’t think I heard all of that second song by Madonna but I did hear enough to feel like I was part of some sort of musical magic. 

Live Aid was originally the brainchild of Bob Geldof, the singer of an Irish rock group called The Boomtown Rats. In 1984, Geldof traveled to Ethiopia after hearing reports of a horrific famine that had killed hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians and threatened to kill millions more. Seeing the devastation prompted Geldof to take immediate action.

Organized in just 10 weeks, Live Aid was staged on Saturday, July 13, 1985. More than 75 acts performed, including Elton John, Madonna, Santana, Run DMC, Sade, Sting, Bryan Adams, The Beach Boys, Mick Jagger, David Bowie, Queen, Duran Duran, U2, the Who, Tom Petty, Neil Young, and Eric Clapton. The majority of these artists performed at either Wembley Stadium in London, where a crowd of 70,000 turned out, or at Philadelphia’s JFK Stadium, where 100,000 watched. Thirteen satellites beamed a live television broadcast of the event to more than one billion viewers in 110 countries. More than 40 of these nations held telethons for African famine relief during the broadcast. The 16-hour “superconcert” was globally a triumph of technology and goodwill, as the event raised more than $125 million in famine relief for Africa. 

memorable moment of the concert was Phil Collins’ performance in Philadelphia after flying by Concorde from London, where he performed at Wembley earlier in the day. He later played drums in a reunion of the surviving members of Led Zeppelin. The U.S. concert ended with “We Are the World.” 

Live Aid eventually raised $127 million in famine relief for African nations, and the publicity it generated encouraged Western nations to make available enough surplus grain to end the immediate hunger crisis in Africa. 

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Exclusive Interview: Queensrÿche's Founder Michael Wilton on Performing and That Much-Anticipated New Album

( Queensrÿche Official Promo Shot)

The name Queensrÿche is instantly familiar to any true heavy metal fan out there. The band has been around since 1982 and it has worked hard to cultivate a progressive sound like no other. They've sold more than 20 million albums worldwide and have spent a good chunk of this year hard at work on their 16th full studio release. Summer also means a full roster of tour dates and on any given weekend you'll be able to catch Queensrÿche performing beside other rock heavyweights like Scorpions, Foreigner, Skid Row, Great White, Lynch Mob and more.

If you haven't caught a live gig in awhile then you need to check out an upcoming show because Queensrÿche seems to be playing tighter than they have in years (at least based on their M3 Rock Festival appearance last May). I was lucky enough to steal a few minutes of founder/guitarist Michael Wilton's time yesterday and he happy to discuss the current batch of live shows and how the recording process has completely changed since the early days of the Ryche.

(Photo Credit: Christopher Carroll)

Cate Meighan: How is your summer on the road so far?

Michael Wilton: I'm enjoying the summer. Some of the shows that we've done in the midwest have been blazing hot so it's nice to be back in Seattle for a little break. We have a lot of fun performing and so we're always chasing opportunities. Each one of us has made the choice to keep the band going successfully, and the fans are along for the ride with us. This is my choice as a career and so I've honed in on it. I look inside myself to find the hidden talent and just go with it. Playing is something that I do because I love and cherish it. It's like a candle, you have to keep the flame burning and so I do that because I believe that this is what I'm meant to be doing with my life.

CM:  Is that love the thing that still keeps you out there?

MW:  I just keep going like a freight train (laughing). It's truly just a burning desire, I have a love for music and a love for performing.  I've been doing this for so long that it's ingrained in my DNA that I'm a road dog, so I don't mind all of the travel. Although it does wear you down after awhile, I'm up for the challenge. As long as the fans want to keep supporting  Queensrÿche, I'll keep doing it.

CM: You guys have gone through some changes in your lineup over the years, do you feel like the fans have really been along for the ride?

MW: This incantation of Queensrÿche, with Todd LaTorre on lead vocals, has really gelled as a band in the last six years. It's a natural progression and everyone is learning the elements of creativity that fuel the band Queensrÿche. If anything we're getting more polished as far as our sound because we have figured out exactly what everybody needs musically in each song. 

I think that there was obviously a period of confusion because our fans are so passionate about our music. I think that once they came to a live show and soaked up the performance, then they knew we were back. We're still playing tight and playing the songs that they want to hear. It has been a rebuilding process, but we've been touring solidly all over the world and we're still having fun. We also have lots of new fans that only know of us from the last two albums. People are still curious about  Queensrÿche and they want to come and see us and our style of music, which is great. We've stuck to our guns about who we are and the alchemy hasn't been lost.

CM: I know that you guys have a new album in the works. How has the process of creating new music changed for you over the years?

MW: This is really a great band effort and a great album and I'm head over heels on this one. I just can't wait for everyone to hear this. When you're creating something there's so much unknown, you really don't know how it's going to turn out. Musicians are all kind of junkies for the unknown and the tasty surprises that come from everyone putting their creativity into the music. That's one of the things that's great about being in a band.

The way that bands record now is totally different than the way that it used to be. It's not like the old days where you would block out six months to record an album. We're playing on weekends now. We're playing three shows in a row here and then four in a row somewhere else, so the producer working on the album has to be flexible. They are normally producing three acts at the same time and those acts are all playing shows all over the place, so you've got to be flexible. You do gigs and then come back and record, do a few more gigs and come back and record again. That's how albums get made these days and that's why it takes so long to put it all together. You've got to keep the machine going and food on the table in between recording.

(Photo Credit: Savoia Concert & Event Photography)

The key to making new music now is in the pre-production for us. Everyone throws their ideas out there and we see what we have to work with and build from. When it comes to recording everyone is involved but it has become more efficient to record our parts individually or with another person. That's how we do it, we might do the guitar parts one week, go and do some shows and then come back and record some bass. The set way of doing things has changed so much but at this point, this album, it's about 99% done.

Above and beyond that, the record company likes to put out a set of singles that are accompanied by videos, so I anticipate we'll have all of those things out before the actual release of the album. It really is all still to be determined. We don't have singles picked out or a treatment ready, it's all still a few months down the road for us and we anticipate that the album will then be released next year.

CM: Do you miss any of the old school ways of doing things?

MW: I definitely miss the old school way! We have had to rethink and find different ways of doing everything. It's just a different situation for music out there now. Multimedia is amazing because as soon as a video is made it can be uploaded and your fans can see it within 24 hours. That's crazy for us. In the old days, you had to wait three months before it was even edited so the invention of social media is one of the positive ways that things have changed for sure. You can get an instantaneous response and immediate gratification which is nice. Plus, all of these sites are data counters basically and it's almost like they keep things organized for us with their efficiency.

The times have really changed and so we have to figure out how people will want to buy their cd's or if they'd rather buy albums, and then how do we get them into their hands. So many of the brick and mortar shops have closed and it's harder to find physical copies of things now. That is just one reason why so many people prefer subscription services from streaming sites. It provides instant gratification for the fans but as artists, we make virtually nothing from those outlets. Back in the early 90's, the bands were important, the music was important and selling albums was the main thing for everyone. Now the music itself is kind of in the background and that makes it a bit challenging. You have to figure out your way of making it into the marketplace in order to survive.

We're a band that still puts out vinyl and so for this new album, we'll press some vinyl for sure. I'm a total vinyl head- I have a record player, I have a cassette machine and I even have a laser disk player (laughing). The musical connoisseurs really love the sound of the vinyl and record sales are making a comeback, but it's still not the kind of difference we can feel. I'm just going to have to deal with the streaming reality and take my royalty check to Starbucks so I can buy a coffee with it (laughing).

The vinyl is nostalgic for the fans because playing it is a process of putting it on the turntable, putting the needle on it and everything else. It's not a piece of plastic you shove into a computer, it's all purposeful. I remember back in the 70's buying albums for the cool artwork that was on them. Not knowing exactly what the album was going to be like and buying it anyway was such a cool feeling for me.

(Todd La Torre & Michael Wilton- Photo Credit: Savoia Concert & Event Photography)

CM: Looking beyond the new album, does Queensrÿche have any other plans in the works?

MW: We want to keep creating new music for people to hear and we've talked about putting out some live performances. That's on the bucket list, to get some live stuff properly produced for our fans. Being in a band is really a time-consuming job because there is so much that you have to do behind the scenes that most people don't realize. It has to be your passion if you're going to play in any band longterm and for us, it's a dream gig. So we're respecting it and taking care of this privilege for as long as we can. You have to keep yourself in check because it's easy to get lost in the details of being in a band. Through experience, we've learned the rules of the road and how to do things in the best way possible for all of us.

CM: What would you like all of the Queensrÿche fans out there to know?

MW: We're so grateful to the hardcore fans that support and believe in  Queensrÿche. The love is mutual and the fans are very dear to us. I can get lost in the art and sometimes I forget how old I really am. I love what I do and I still go for it. I may not be jumping off of drum stages anymore (laughing), but I'm still giving it my 100% and playing the songs as they were meant to be played. That's something that the fans can always count on.

Check out  Queensrÿche's official site for tour dates, updates on their new album and of course, grab some merch!

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Currently Booming: New Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers - 'Keep A Little Soul' (Official Music Video)

Currently Booming: NEW Enuff Z'Nuff - 'Where Did You Go' (Official Audio)

Enuff Z'Nuff's new album Diamond Boy drops on Aug. 10th. They'll also be a part of the SiriusXM Hair Nation tour this fall. I recently chatted with Chip Z'Nuff about all of the cool things that he has going on and you can read that interview right here.

Daily Boom 80's Throwback: Samantha Fox 'Naughty Girls (Need Love Too)'

"I've been told time and time again
That you can't treat love like a game
But I play rough with hearts that never mend
'cause some guys like you do the same
Love was just a four-letter word
Never heard, how absurd, how could it be
But now I can't believe this is real
How I feel, now you steal my heart away from me"

"Naughty Girls (Need Love Too)" was one of the best guilty pleasure songs of the late-80's. Samantha Fox first burst onto the music scene with "Touch Me" back in 1986, raising many eyebrows. Lyrically she was the first chick to sing entire songs about sex in the bluntest way possible and there was something really ballsy about her doing that.

"Naughty Girls" quickly became an anthem of sorts in the summer of 1988 with the message being that everyone needs love, even when they think that they don't. Fox's videos were really slick and this one cut between a sexy bedroom scene and then her and her crew dancing in front of a graffiti wall. The video walked the line without ever going too far and the result kept Fox's music in heavy rotation both on the radio and MTV.

In between listening to a bunch of hair bands, I was definitely a big Samantha Fox fan. Even now, when one of her videos comes on I inevitably stop what I'm doing to watch in spite of already having seen it a million times. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Daily Boom 80's Throwback: Cinderella- 'Nobody's Fool'

"You take your road, I'll take mine
The paths have both been beaten
Searchin' for a change of pace
Love needs to be sweetened
I scream my heart out, just to make a dime
And with that dime I bought your love
But now I've changed my mind
I'm not your fool
Nobody's fool
Nobody's fool
I'm no fool"

Here's a nugget for all of you glam rock fans out there. Cinderella's debut album, Night Songs is more than 30 years old. THIRTY! Does that make you feel as old as it makes me feel? I'd say that Cinderella spent a few their early year's lost in a sea of fellow headbangers but when I looked back, they actually did chart pretty well. They were also innovative in that all of their first videos had a continuing storyline.

In their first video, "Shake Me" a Cinderella-type girl was transformed into a bad girl that hung with the band. Her wicked sisters (AKA the polka dot twins) were always nearby. "Nobody's Fool" picks up the story with Cinderella heading to practice with the guys but then leaving in order to make it home by midnight.

"Nobody's Fool" ended up being a really popular power ballad, with tons of radio play. MTV also had the video for it on an every four-hour loop for months. In an era where power ballads by glam rockers were everywhere, this song probably lands in my top five or six.

Currently Booming: Top 10 Saxophone Solos in Pop and Rock

Monday, July 9, 2018

Daily Boom 80's Throwback: Glenn Frey - 'You Belong To The City'

"You're out of your room
And down on the street
Moving through the crowd
In the midnight heat
The traffic roars
And the sirens scream
You look at the faces
It's just like a dream"

Miami Vice was never my thing. In fact, I'm not sure that I've ever watched an entire episode of the 80's classic show (maybe I should), but the soundtrack? Well, that was fantastic. There was a time in the middle of the decade when every artist either wanted a cameo on the show or at the very least to have one of their songs featured. I think my very favorite song used was Glenn Frey's "You Belong to the City".

Sure it worked great with the Miami vibe on the show, but it also worked great for the rest of America. It went to number 2 on Billboard's Hot 100 in 1985 and the video was in heavy rotation on MTV. I know because I actually remember doing the math so that I could anticipate when it would show next so that I could watch it. 

It's another great 80's song with a fantastic sax solo- which can totally make a song, in case you haven't already noticed. "You Belong to the City" has just enough wail in there to make it fantastic. Check it out below!

Currently Booming: Foreigner with the 21st Century Symphony Orchestra & Choir (Watch)

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Daily Boom 90's Nostalgia: Alice In Chains - 'Would?'

"Into the flood again
Same old trip it was back then
So I made a big mistake
Try to see it once my way
Drifting body it's sole desertion
Flying not yet quite the notion"

The early 90's were truly one of the most depressing eras in music history. Grunge replaced hair metal and suddenly everyone was not just introspective, but fairly depressive and that's probably why the sound didn't last for very long. The great thing about grunge was that artists had found their way back to writing real songs again. Between glam rock songs about partying and hot chicks, and dance songs about partying and having a good time, the end of the 80's songwriting lacked depth. It was kind of refreshing to hear artists saying things that mattered again.

I think one of the best examples to come out of the 90's is Alice in Chains' "Would". Sure it embodied the heavy sound that everyone was creating but it also touched on death, addiction and not passing judgment. Jerry Cantrell had been thinking of Andrew Wood (who had died of a heroin overdose a few years earlier) and all of the issues that his untimely death had caused, so he put it to music and people got it. 

The song itself holds up better than most other early 90's tracks. Grunge has a way of sounding dated now and only a handful of tracks seem to have held up as well as "Would?". Check out the video below.

Currently Booming: Behind The Music: Styx

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Daily Boom 80's Throwback: Taylor Dayne - 'Prove Your Love'

"You're telling me to trust 
What should I believe 
You promised so much 
But talk is cheap 
You tell me that you're serious 
But I gotta know for sure 
You say how much you want me 
But I've heard it all before" 

I love looking at old promo shots. I mean, how many artists do you think cringe when they revisit their decade's old photos? I'd bet a lot of them and Taylor Dayne has to be on that list. By the time her second album was released she had already overhauled and streamlined her look. Blonde sleek hair and lines that showed off her body, but before that, her look was anything goes. Her hair was huge and crimped in spots, her makeup was from the Rainbow Brite pallet and she perfected the tutu and bustier combo. 

That's how we wanted our ladies of the 80's to look though, wasn't it? Fun, whimsical with a bit of sultriness mixed in. Dayne fit the bill and her debut album was straight fire. In fact, if you're looking to revisit a great old school dance album, her self-titled record is one to check out.

"Prove Your Love" was the second single off of it and it found its' way onto Billboard's Top ten list. It also was Dayne's first song to top the dance charts, something that was no easy task when you consider that synth and latin freestyle were both rhythmic forces to reckon with at the time. It proved that she wasn't just going to be a one-hit-wonder, but a viable artist with some great stuff to come.

Check out the video below.

Currently Booming: Prince & The Revolution 'Purple Rain' Live Full Show (Watch)

Friday, July 6, 2018

Currently Booming: RARE Madonna 'Vogue' B-Roll Footage

Daily Boom 80's Throwback: Culture Club - 'Time (Clock Of The Heart)'

"Don't put your head on my shoulder
Sink me in a river of tears
This could be the best place yet
But you must overcome your fears
In time we could've been so much more
But time is precious I know
In time we could've been so much more
The time has nothing to show
Time won't give me time
And time makes lovers feel
Like they've got something real
But you and me we know
We got nothing
but time"

When Culture Club's "Time (Clock Of The Heart)" was first released back in 1982 it was basically a stand-alone single that just so happened to really take off. It eventually hit number two on Billboard's Hot 100 and that paved the way for the London new wave group to break through in the U.S. Culture Club went to have numerous hits such as "Miss Me Blind" and "Karma Chameleon" but I think that "Time" might be the one that has held up the best. As for the group itself, Culture Club does still perform with lead singer Boy George and they are spending this summer touring the states.

Currently Booming: Behind the Music- Cyndi Lauper

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Exclusive Interview: Night Ranger's Kelly Keagy on the Band's 'Rebirth', Touring and New Music to Come

(Photo: Ash Newell)


One of the coolest things about music is the way that it provides each and every one of us with the ability to travel through time. You know what I mean, a twenty-second song intro and for just a flash of a moment, you really do feel like it's 1980-something all over again. Night Ranger always takes me back to the tail end of middle school, when laying in the sun while trying to win albums off of a local radio station was an actual hobby. My first boyfriend was a bit obsessed with the band and so I became a fan as well. That was 35 years ago and while I have no idea where he is today, the Night Ranger on vinyl is still with me.

If you haven't had an opportunity to check this band out live then you really owe it to yourself to grab some tickets and just go. The videos that were so popular way back when really didn't do Night Ranger justice in terms of showing just how capable they are of playing a great rock set. I caught the guys recent gig at M3 Rockfest and was keenly aware of just how much the audience seemed to appreciate their talent.

I also had an opportunity to speak with one of the driving forces behind the band's continued success, drummer/vocalist Kelly Keagy. He considers his return to the stage last year after a health crisis not only a rebirth but also a joyful opportunity to be even better than before.

(Photo: Ash Newell)

Cate Meighan: How was the M3 Rock Festival for you and the rest of the band? 

Kelly Keagy:  It was cool. M3 is more of a metal-ish kind of festival and I know that everyone worries about throwing a straight rock band into that kind of lineup. In Europe a metal band show is totally different and filled with bands people in the states may never have even heard of. I remember when Night Ranger was put on a Sweden Rocks show about five years ago and it was mixed up musically. They had Pearl Jam, they had us and they had 10cc from 70's yacht rock play right before us (laughing). 30,000 people came out to see them because they still sounded just like the record and it was phenomenal. I was standing at the edge of the stage singing along, "I'm not in love...thinking how much I loved these guys too.  It's nice to be thrown in with a bunch of different kinds of acts and to be able to hold your own.  

I like being in front of people that know our songs but aren't actually fans because then when we go up and not just play, but also interact with them, we can really wow them.  

CM: I've noticed that people almost seem surprised by just how great you guys are live. Why is that? 

KK:  When you first start out it's all about playing live and it's all about being really good in front of an audience. That's how we started out and then we went in to start making records we had to start thinking in terms of promotion. Since a lot of our radio hits were ballads, the videos that went along with them were often a lot lighter than our live shows would be.

When you are playing live then it's about how you relate to an audience and bring them in. For the last fifteen years or so we've been added on to shows with Journey or Foreigner or some of those bands that were around for maybe ten years before we actually had success. Some of those audiences wouldn't have necessarily been our fans so it's a real challenge for us to go into that situation and have the confidence to know that we can win people over. We always end up walking away with the feeling that maybe those who hadn't seen us before might come and check us out again in the future, so that's cool.  

(Photo: Ash Newell)

CM: Rising to meet the challenges that the music industry presents really isn't a new concept to you though, is it? 

KK: It has always been a whirlwind for us, especially in the early days. Our first record was on Boardwalk, which went bankrupt in the middle of our tour. We came back after doing two sold-out shows with Sammy Hagar and the record company told us that the IRS had locked the doors so we weren't going to have any records in the stores! We had to go back in to make another record as soon as possible and thankfully we already had an offer from MCA, so we went in just as soon as we could. We started writing and we already had some songs leftover. "Sister Christian" hadn't been put on our first record because we already had a lot of ballads, so we were able to use it on our second record. We ended up writing the majority of the other songs in about a month and then we went back in and recorded it. We were very lucky because we just happened to be in the right place at the right time. Anybody else would have just folded because there it was, that one shot to make it and that first record company collapsed. We were lucky to have another shot and so we really ran with it. 

CM: Some of the singles put out were a bit of an issue for you too, weren't they? 

KK:  Oh yeah, the singles that they chose often times weren't really what we would have picked for ourselves and I think it's part of the reason why people don't realize that we're so good live. We did an album called Man in Motion back in 1988 and we were kind of defiant about it. Since all that wanted to do was release ballads, we turned the record in without one (laughing)! They thought we were kidding, a Night Ranger record without a ballad.
The record company would just push those tracks that radio was expecting and so we went back and wrote a really great ballad, but they never used it. Instead, they wanted to use a Russ Ballard song and we were stunned because we write our own material and do well with it! Why would we do a song that doesn't even sound like us? That's when people started to write us off a tiny bit and wonder what happened to Night Ranger. We had to wholeheartedly try and promote that song because the rest of the album was good and we were proud of it, so we had to promote this ballad in the hopes that people would hear the rest of the record 

(Photo: Ash Newell)

CM: So many people end up being involved that it almost seems like a small miracle when any record does get made. How has the process changed for you over the years? 

KK: It has flourished a lot especially in the last three records. On the last one the three of us, myself, Jack (Blades) and Brad (Gillis) decided to just write all of the songs together. In the past I'd bring 2 songs, Jack would bring 2 and we would have almost half the record already so we would then start piecing it together with the rest of the band. With this album, we wanted to be creative together from the very start. Kerri and Eric have had great ideas right off the bat too so it has really been a joyous situation.  

We have the benefit of having a great record company that has been putting out our stuff for a while now. Frontiers Music Srl, owned by Serafino Perugino, is very passionate about all of the bands from the 80's era. They give us some space because they ultimately know that we're going to give them what they want. It's a big business because these companies put a lot of money on the line, and so they have to be sure that they get what they need. Every time they drop a single it's a quarter or a half of a million bucksIt was insane back in the day to do those videos and it's not that much cheaper to do these things now.  

We really care about what the fans think and we'll always make those records that the fans like. But it's nice not to have to worry about the record company breathing down our necks reminding us that we don't have a single to send to radio. We're confident in what we're doing and Frontiers is on board with us.

CM: Is the process of writing and recording different for you now than it was even ten years ago? 

KK: Absolutely because we get to produce our records. Back in the day, we had some pretty heavyweight producers come in and they made all of the crucial and sometimes unpopular decisions. They picked the songs and just did everything. Now, we get to produce the records and decide what songs will be on there and we're having a much better time developing our albums. We needed someone to make all of those decisions back then because when you're young, you don't know how to produce a record (laughing). You need that second ear to tell you when a song isn't worth spending time on and so then, that was good for us. Producers get a lot of money too and we wanted to be able to take our budget and make the best sounding album with it for the fans.  

On Don't Let Up, the last record that we did, we wrote all of the songs together and we recorded it in our home studios. Honestly, for a bunch of old school guys that was a tough decision. What we did do is make sure that the writing and work were really solidly done as demos. We were confident in them and then all we had to do was to re-record our parts. We weren't too far off the mark that way, but if you were doing it without real structure then it wouldn't work.  We were doing sessions 3 or 4 days in a row and then coming back and listening to them, before doing a few more days in a row. That worked pretty well. We had time to live with the demos and then have discussions about them and so we ended up pretty excited about the project. Ultimately, I really do think that it's a good idea to go in there and have everyone present. The emotions really come out when you're all together playing and singing, so there's a kind of magic in the music then. 

(Photo: Ash Newell)

CM: I know that you went through a health crisis about a year ago and ended up having heart surgery. How did that experience change you? 

KK: Oh, wow it really has changed me. I didn't realize it until after I had the heart surgery and I was at home recovering. The doctor had warned me that there was going to be some depression that might set in while I was just sitting there and the band was still out playing. They would send me videos of the audience singing "Sister Christian" and just saying hello to me. At that point, it was just impossible for me to not learn to appreciate those days on stage because they're not going to last forever. I started thinking that this was now a challenge to get back in there with the band. I knew that people were going to be looking at me to see if I would still be as good as before. I looked at it as a new lease on life and so now I had to be even better. It might take a while but I was determined to be strong and singing even better than before. Once you plant that positive seed in your mind then it truly grows 

We are such a close band, even with newer members like Kerri Kelly and Eric Levy, we're really tight and so any crisis brings us closer. My recovery really did do that because I heard from everyone daily and then the fan support was intense. It is truly a miracle to see that kind of energy come into your inner circle and flourish. Such a difficult thing eventually was just such a blessing. It was like a rebirth that brought us all closer. Then we made another record, which was great in my mind. We just keep coming up with good stuff to write about and it's all of these different pieces that ultimately make us still viable. We're still passionate and music is still very important to us and that's how it'll stay for as long as we're making music. 

CM: I know that the band keeps you busy, but is there anything else that's close to your heart now? 

KK: I'm an ambassador for the Musician's Hall of Fame & Museum in Nashville, which is just an amazing place. People can actually come and visit the museum to see pieces of the history that they've been listening to. It's all about the unsung heroes of music from the 50's up until now and there's just this rich music history that unfolds right in front of you. The owner of the museum just seeks out these amazing items and their goal is to preserve music history, whenever and wherever they can. It's such a great place for music buffs to visit and so they really should come and check it out. 

(Photo: Ash Newell)

CM: Night Ranger's summer is already loaded with tour dates so your fans will have plenty of opportunities to catch you live. What comes after that? 

We figure every three years we'll put out an album. Heading into next January after things slow down, we might start kicking ideas around. We've been having such good success at just getting together in a room and jamming out with good, solid musical ideas. I could see that easily happening and then the record would come out a year later- or maybe the fall of 2019. We kind of put it on the calendar, even though it might not happen exactly that way. We're still working with our last record Don't Let UpWe've got another single coming out from it called "Truth" and we're just finalizing the video for that. We like the material so much that we're going to add another song or two in for when we have 90 minutes or a two-hour set. 

CM: How do you feel about those fans that appreciate you as a great live band? 

KK: Every time that I walk on stage it's just such a positive thing to know that these people have come from all over to hear us play. I feel like it's important for us to say something positive to get us all in sync and in the same circle. Bringing everybody together is what it's all about and to still be able to do that is a big deal. We think about it even after 35 years. Not only are we still doing it but we like doing it. We even still like being with each other which is a blessing in itself (laughing). We have to cherish these times because this could be it, we're all getting older and things happen. We're not going to worry about the future because it's all about right now. Stuff goes by really fast and it doesn't come back so we're going to keep going until we literally can't anymore. 

Check out Night Ranger's official site for music, tour dates, and merch! You can also plan a trip to the Musicians Hall of Fame & Museum here.