Arts & Entertainment

Night Ranger's core still wants to rock

There are few radio isteners unfamiliar with Night Ranger's ballad Sister Christian.

In 1984, the song made it to No. 5 on the U.S. Hot 100 music charts and No. 2 on U.S. Mainstream Rock charts.

"That song has definitely been our milestone," Brad Gillis, one of the original members of Night Ranger, said. "Kelly put together a memorable sound and melody for that song as a tribute to his sister. He also provided the lead vocals for it."

Kelly Keagy is the band's drummer, backup vocalist and percussionist.

Gillis, Keagy and Jack Blades are Night Ranger's only members of the original five still performing together.

They are set to rock Aug. 28 at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free after you pay to get in the fair. Reserved tickets also are available for $8.

The band found some mild success in the late '70s to mid-'80s releasing two platinum-selling albums, Midnight Madness, Seven Wishes and a gold-selling album, Big Life, in 1987 before the band broke up in 1991.

Later, Gillis and Keagy regrouped with new members and continue to tour.

"We're having a lot fun on this tour," Gillis said. "We're with Journey much of this summer tour, but not at the Benton Franklin Fair."

The last time Night Ranger shared a stage with Journey was on the infamous Sept. 11, 2001.

"We almost canceled that concert (scheduled to happen in New York City) but decided to show up anyway," Gillis said. "It was a somber event but fans didn't stay away. They seemed to need the distraction, so I think playing that concert helped that day go by easier."

These days, Gillis and Keagy have a crop of young musicians helping them keep the energy high. They even have a new album out, Hole in the Sun. One track is an acoustic version of their big hit Sister Christian.

"We've been kickin' some butt, and we're excited about this tour," Gillis said. "Despite what's happening in our tough economy, people still wanna rock."

*Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; doneal@tricityherald.com

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