Jack Blades – Man of Many Faces

music musings, beaverdamusa.comI started out to write a review/musing on the new Revolution Saints (more on that later) album that was recently released, but as usual, the ole brain took me in a different direction. I was thinking about the members of Revolution Saints and the background that I would need to put into the blog when it hit me – Jack Blades is one busy dude.

Jack’s “primary” band is Night Ranger.  Night Ranger first came onto the music scene in the early 80’s with their debut album – Dawn Patrol (1982) which gave us Don’t Tell Me You Love Me and Sing Me Away.  I saw Night Ranger on the Dawn Patrol tour in Huntsville, AL when they opened for KISS and had just heard Sing Me Away on KDF (when  KDF played rock) that day.  However, like many of the attendees, we wanted to see KISS.  I would like to publicly apologize to Night Ranger for being in the crowd that night.  People were booing because they wanted the KISS show to start.

Night Ranger’s next album, Midnight Madness, solidified their place in anthem rock history with When You Close Your Eyes and the monster hit Sister Christian.  The rest they say is history.  Good or bad, they will forever be tied to the power ballad Sister Christian.

Enough about Night Ranger and on to the topic – Jack Blades.  Jack reminds me of the energizer  bunny, not just for his onstage energy (tons!), but for his multiple avenues of getting his music fix:

  • Damn Yankees – this was one of the first “supergroups” and formed in 1988 with Ted Nugent, Tommy Shaw (Styx), Michael Cartellone, and Jack.  This band put out some great music and was great to see on tour.  Sadly, after two albums, the members’ priority turned to their individual or band’s careers.  As a side note, read a recent piece on the band at http://ultimateclassicrock.com/damn-yankees-history/ .
  • Shaw Blades – Tommy Shaw and Jack teamed up for two unforgettable albums.  Their vocal ranges complement each other superbly.  Their first album Hallucination was original songs, while their sophomore album, Influences, included covers of songs that influenced each of them growing up.   They didn’t tour a lot, but I did have the opportunity to see Shaw Blades at the Wildhorse Saloon
  • Solo albums – Jack also found time to release two solo albums – Jack Blades (2004) and Rock n’ Roll Ride (2012).  I haven’t heard the inaugural solo album, but love Rock n’ Roll Ride.
  • Revolution Saints – this is Jack’s latest project.  It include Deen Castronovo (drums) from Journey & Bad English, Doug Aldrich (guitar) from Whitesnake.   My lovely bride heard this album and said “it sounds like an 80’s band.”  Yes, it does.  With Deen Castronovo’s vocals, it sounds a lot like Journey.  I didn’t realize how close he & Steve Perry’s vocals are when you listen.  If you want a good solid rock album, get this one.

Well, it is about time to bring this thing back around and close it out.  Thanks for indulging my rambling mind, but that is how it works.  The purpose of this musing?  I guess it is to show appreciation of the versatility and musical talents of Jack.  If you get the chance, go catch a Night Ranger show. You will be glad you did.

Rod, VH and more Inside Zach’s iPod

music musings, beaverdamusa.comWell, after a week in which we had mid-60’s temperature and snow within 36 hours, it is time to escape into the recesses of my mind.  Yep – it is time for Inside Zach’s iPod (Vol 2).  My iPod currently holds 3,994 songs ranging from easy listening to country to hard rock and I love hitting random shuffle on it.  To refresh your memory of how the game is played:

  • iPod is set to shuffle.
  • I will write about the first five songs that play.
  • I am not allowed to skip a song, unless it was previously included in a previous blog or is a repeat.

So you aren’t waiting any longer than you have to, here we go:

  • I’m O.K. (Styx) – this is from the Pieces of Eight album.  Pretty much a deep cut from that classic album.  Ironic that this comes on, considering I just say Styx with the Nashville Symphony.  Sadly, the first copy I had of this song was on the trusty 8-track.
  • Pleasure Dome (Van Halen) – a classic cut from the Unlawful Carnal Knowledge album.  Love the way this songs takes off after the short guitar intro.  Alex Van Halen beats the hell out of the skins on this one.  I remember seeing this tour – Alex did a drum solo right after and I was thinking what a beast he was to do that after this rocking song.  This also falls into the classification of a good “windows down, jams up” song.
  • Big Life (Night Ranger) – title song from the Big Life album.  Typical Night Ranger song with vocal harmonies and an anthem feel.  This song takes me back several years ago when I used to travel a lot for business.  Back then, we didn’t have iPods.  We had the trusty Walkman which played cassettes and had a radio.  The only problem with it – you chose your cassette and had to stick with it for the flight unless you wanted to try and keep up with multiple cassettes as you sat like sardines.  Well, I got real acquainted with this album one day on a flight from Seattle to Atlanta.  Probably cycled through it about three or four times.
  • I Don’t Want to Talk About It (Rod Stewart) – From an album entitled “If We Fall in Love Tonight”. Basically, it is a collection of love songs sung by Rod Stewart.  This was a Valentine’s present to my wife a few years ago and I downloaded it to the iPod. A great belly-rubbin’ (redneck for slow dancing) song.
  • In God’s Shadow (John Waite) – from the obscure Temple Bar album.  I have been a John Waite fan since his days with the Babys.  Waite has had a very durable career – from his solo stuff to Bad English; he doesn’t disappoint in my book. Having seen him a couple of times live hasn’t diminished my respect for him.  A great entertainer and this song has always been catchy to me.  This also falls into the aforementioned windows down classification.

Well, I hope you have enjoyed this segment into the scary recesses of my mind.  Until next time, I will be lost in my iPod.

Zach

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