K e l l y K e a g y
T h e Time Passes I n t e r v i e w

Hey Kelly, thanks for your time again. The album's out in Europe, are Frontiers are going to do the US release for you?
If I can get something better, they'll go for that. So I'm going to see if I can use some of my contacts around that I know. But any of the companies that I know are majors and they're not really keen on signing an act like me.

What, good music you mean?
Yeah. They want all that..., anyway.

Maybe if you dye your hair blond and wear shorts or something and a baggy top.
And pierce everything and brand my face. And play music with no melody in it at all.

Absolutely. And scream a bit more.
It's not a sign of age is it?

Definitely not.
I think we just like good music.

Yeah, we do. And you know what? I've got some kids on the site that e-mail me and say, hey, I'm nineteen and I haven't been corrupted by the crap on MTV. Some of those kids do like good music.
That's cool. That's great.

That's encouragement. They're not all thirty and forty year olds e-mailing me!!

You know I met this one kid from Holland or someplace like that. And he came over to a Chicago show that Night Ranger did. Here's this young kid, about twenty years old. And he was over visiting or doing something and traveling. Came to our show and you know, loved Night Ranger ever since he was a little kid. It was really amazing.

Now where would a twenty year old have heard of Night Ranger?
You know, I don't know. He just found music over there somehow in the record stores, so got into it.

Awesome. I'll tell you, I've also had an e-mail from a fifty-six year-old Night Ranger fan.

Well I guess we should talk about this album, eh?

All right, well let's go. The opening track, "Anything Goes".
A great rocker. One of the early tracks wasn't it?
It's one of the earlier ones that Jack and I and this guy Aaron Zigman, he's a songwriter…we wrote that song for a specific movie that was supposed to being done. It's called Rock Star.

And so there was at least a thousand writers trying to write for that. And so they had to sift through. It was a couple of summers ago now. So we wrote that song just for that, and it was just a little, funky demo. I sent it to Frontiers because I wanted this to be a rock album. So that song really turned out good for me.
You know, you need songs like that. I was really glad that I could use it.

It's a good, honest, hard rocker. And probably one of the closer tracks to a Night Ranger tune on the album.
Yeah, I think there is a lot of material on here that sounds like Night Ranger.

The funny thing is, it's just how everybody brings their personality into a band. You know, it's kind of like when Don Henley goes off and does his own stuff, you hear that voice and you know it's the Eagles. Kind of what some of this stuff does for me when I listen to it.

Exactly right. I was actually going to bring this up later on but I'll bring it up now for the sake of it. Night Ranger always is a blend of personalities. You've got five very prominent songwriters and singers in the band, which is a rare task, isn't it? But this does sound like a Kelly Keagy album. This does sound like an individual.
I was hoping that it was going to be like that. You know, that's why I'm glad I had a lot of time to make the record, so I can think about this stuff. Because I'm the type of person that needs to absorb, you know.
When I'm working on material, writing it, or after I've written it and I'm considering it for an album, I like to listen to it and just kind of like let it soak in. And it was nice that I had that much time to figure it out, so I could make it like an individual album. Not so much just sound like the band that I play with.

You debuted "Anything Goes" at the Gods last year. Did you get any feedback off that track? Any response from the people you talked to that night?
You know what, I've gotten e-mails from a lot of people recently saying that they love the track and they couldn't wait for the album. It's really great. Specifically, they like that song but they were kind of bunching it in with the other songs too. They weren't like confronting that song so much as they were saying that they like the whole style and sound of the record.

Sure. One of the tracks that I hadn't heard before, because as you know I've had a quite a bit of time with a lot of the songs off this album, and I thank you for that. But one of the new ones which I've only just heard is "Acid Rain" and that really caught me as a great sort of more modern rocker.
The original demo was recorded over at Jimmy's house with Jack and I and Jimmy cutting the track. And that's another song that was written for that Rock Star movie. Or was being written specifically for like the soundtrack for that.
And I don't think anybody ever heard that song. I really don't know the background on if Jimmy ever sent that or if it ever got sent out to the record company. I'm pretty sure it did, because when we were traveling I know that Jimmy and him got together and wrote two songs. And then I offered my services because they didn't have a drummer. And they were just writing together on guitars. So I offered my services and I cut the drums. And then Jimmy sent me the track just like about three months ago and I put it together. I put Brian on there, playing, Brian does a trade off guitars with Mike Aquino.
He's the guy that plays on Jimmy's stuff.

That's cool.
But that was one of those tracks that was kind of cool and I got a chance to play on. Not really thinking it was going to go anywhere, you know, as far as me.
I didn't get a chance to add to the writing, it was already written, so that was cool. I didn't mind, I just wanted to come in and play. It was cool how it turned out because I got a chance to actually put my stamp on it. Produce it, sing it. It was really pretty fun.

A very cool vocal you've got there.
Yeah, there was another guy singing on the track originally. So I just decided to use the song. Sarafino liked the song and you know, there you go! I just kind of went in there and cut away at it. It happened. It was really fun. Especially with Brian. Got a chance to do a little trading guitars with Mike Aquino.

Oh, sure, sure, yeah.
Yeah, he played on Jimmy's stuff and he's doing the Mecca thing.
Joe Banner. So he's like a local guy in Chicago. It was nice to have him come in and play on that. He also played on "The Journey" and he played on some of the tracks that didn't make the album. I don't know if you got any of those demos I sent you. I don't know if you got any of those songs like "Ear for Thunder."

I've got "Ear for Thunder", I think I've tracked down about three I don't have.
Yeah, so "Ear for Thunder", there was another song called "Faith", "Torch of Faith".

Yeah, that's the other one I've got I think.
So Mike and Brian Bart both played on that. Brian and I put them together in the studio.

Now that you mention it they are both similar to "Acid Rain" so that's why. OK, yeah, I've heard those two tracks, they were great, again.
Now, "Time Passes" has to be one of my favorite tracks off the album.
I love what you've done with the track from the original demo. You've kind of hollowed out the first verse there, haven't you?

I just stripped it down. I played the intro guitar on it, and played the... the whole intro was basically just me by myself in the studio. As it starts to build, I added Brian. When the track kicks in with the drums and stuff, that's when Brain enters with me. So I basically played. It was fun.
When I was putting this stuff together, I never thought, ever, that my stuff that I was recording was ever going to be used. It had a feel about it, intros, you know, this and that. Like on 'Time Passes" especially, it just had a feel about it that I didn't think that I wanted to replace. It just felt so good.
Then once the track gets into it, then Brian's there and you know, he's a really good guitar player so he could fill in what I wouldn't really be able to play. I'm a very simple guy. Just play simple chords. I can manage. As long as I'm not out there by myself too long (laughs). But it was really fun actually being able to use some of these tracks. I thought I was going to end up replacing them all. That's what you do when you're a songwriter. You just put the basic thing down and you go, here's the song. And you bring in guys and you have good players fix it up. You know some of the stuff really worked. So that was kind of like my decision.
I was hoping I was making the right one. It did turn out good.

Absolutely. I tell you something that is throughout the whole album, but an example of it, is when you do the pass through the first verse and go into the chorus you've got a spanking drum sound.

That was really fun to record because we got a chance to record over at the school of music here in Minneapolis where Brian is a part-time teacher there. And so we had a chance to go into this like unbelievable studio to record drum, and using all this great equipment and stuff. It was really, really a great experience. That was really fun. We kept wondering if we were over-processing the drums a little bit but they sounded so good in that room that we just wanted to keep it like it was. Big and giant.

Is there a particular sentiment behind the song, the lyrics?
You know what's fun is that originally I was writing it kind of like somebody's search for spiritualism or looking for... I'm not terribly religious but at the time I was trying to be a little bit more spiritual. I think this song came out of that. Because the lyrics kind of seem like you're talking about a woman. But at the same time, when I was originally writing it, I wasn't feeling like I was writing about a woman. I was actually kind of talking about a Supreme Being, or God. So that's what I was thinking about. Then I put in a couple of funny lines in there about the car. In the second verse, I just kind of wanted to have some sense of humor in there because it's kind of a dark song.

It is, it is. In fact, the first thing I heard from you, when you first made contact, you sent me a five-track demo which "Time Passes", "Bottled Up" and "The Moon" were part of. And I just remember finishing the fifth song going, Wow, that was one dark, segment of music. The whole all five songs.
I know, I know. There's definitely that side of me. And I'm glad I got to explore it a little bit but not make the whole record that way. Because I mean that was the original five songs, was really the first inspiration for the album.

It was intense.
Pretty weird. Yeah. I mean you know, like when I listen to it even now, I try and space it out so I don't listen to it too often. I'm not absorbed with my own music but I listen to it just to kind of go back and kind of reflect. That song is definitely pretty dark. I know Bottled Up is kind of an angry song (laughs). I just hope people don't get depressed and like jump out the window when they hear it.

Let's jump to that song now. If you don't mind me getting personal, maybe it's not even personal, I don't know, but where did the inspiration for that song come from? Who were you angry at in the song?
On "Bottled Up"? Actually, I wrote it with Bruce Gaitsch who's a really good friend of mine who's written with Richard Marx and people like that. Yeah he was in that band that I was in.

King of Hearts...
Yeah, Timothy Schmidt was kind of a part of that band in the beginning. He never actually stayed in the project because everything about the Eagles and all that, going to get back together. Bruce was going through a divorce and I was kind of having some problems in my personal life.
He was going through a divorce, well that was kind of the whole thing, it was like, man, I don't care about the money. I don't care. Just like, you can have everything. I just want to go. Kind of like, there's a new song out, kind of the same thing, it says that same kind of thing. You know, just like, go away.
I mean, you know when you get hurt in a relationship, you just want to move on. That's kind of what it is. It's just like a moving on song. It's kind of angry but, that's the way it goes.

I can remember listening to it going, Ah man, Kelly's in a really bad place.
I hope he's OK!
(laughing). You know, sometimes writing songs like that is a really good thing because it's cleansing. You're releasing it. So it's a good thing. I just hope that people just don't go, "Ah shit!" (laughs). But that's how I felt at the time. And there's a lot of other positive stuff on the album.

Oh there is. It's very well balanced, I must say.
That's what I was trying to do. You know, I'm really glad, again, that's another reason why I had a lot of time to get into it. You know, a lot of times bands don't have enough time to think out their material and sometimes it doesn't turn out good. That's why I probably won't make another record for ten years.
Just kidding!

I hope it's not that long! OK, what about, "Before Anybody Else Knows"? I love this, it's another great rocker isn't it?
Yeah, you know what, this one was written totally over, through mail.
I had met Jim Peterik and I was talking with him about this song and I said, I'm going to send this thing to you. It was the first thing we ever wrote together.
And I sent it to him on a cassette. I had all the melodies and a lot of the music done. And I just hummed this melody to him. Because you know, for a while I was just kind of like, didn't have anything to say. So it was nice that Jimmy came along because he's always got great things to say. And he's always really positive about it, coming up with great titles and stuff. So that was like, Jimmy wrote all the lyrics to this song. And came up with a title and everything. And he was just like, within a week, he sent it back to me. He goes, thanks man for making me a part of this song because it just came out. It was amazing to me that he came up with this idea about Icarus, the melting wax and the wings thing. It was such a great touch. Just a really great story. So I really got behind it. And the tape he sent back was just like him playing it on piano. Which was so unlike what the song was. But that was the way that he wanted to..., so I could hear the lyrics. So he sent it back to me that way. That was a really great track. I was like the first thing that we got going on, and then I knew I wanted to write the rest of the album with him.

I'll sort of digress a little bit, but you and he have great respect for each other don't you?

It was so amazing. I remember when Jimmy first sent me the stuff to do a World Stage show with about three years ago and the first track was that song "Vehicle". I know this is kind of his stamp, him individually.
But he's written so many other great songs since then, of course everybody knows. But when I heard that first track, It reminded me of...the first time I heard it was like in high school. And he was just barely out of high school.
Which is so incredible. And I just thought to myself, God man, this guy has got so much soul. I want to work with this guy. I really want to get serious with this. So that's when I sent him "Before Anybody Knows".
And then we started writing "Too Close to the Sun" and a lot of good things came out. You know what? I think I kind of overlapped didn't I, a little bit. I was talking about one song, I was talking about "Icarus". That wasn't in "Before Anybody Knows". Sorry, I'm getting mixed up on my own music.

That was "Too Close to the Sun" wasn't it?
Yeah. That whole thing about Icarus was "Too Close to the Sun". But "Before Anybody Knows I'm Gone" was like a song written about riding a motorcycle. That's one of my passions, is riding a bike. And Jim, I don't know if he ever has ridden a motorcycle but I think that I was telling him about it. That's where he came up with the idea for the lyrics for that song. You know, we were talking about riding and stuff like that, riding motorcycles, that was that one. I'm sorry I kind of got mixed up.

No, that's all..., we'll edit this, don't worry [Sorry Kelly....I decided not to edit it!!]

Are you recording this?

So you can sift through it...[Maybe :0]

Tell me about the last ninety seconds of this song "Before Anybody Knows".
Oh yeah, you mean all that train wreck stuff? That's what it is, it's like a train wreck isn't it? Well basically all that stuff got kept in there from the demo.
When I brought the track to Brian I had played guitar and some bass and had all this stuff on there. So I was going to cut all that out. That was just like an out-take thing, I was going to fade the song out. But it was so exciting; it was so weird.
I had never done anything like that in a band. Have a big fan at the end and have it just go on and on. And I remember the days of Grand Funk Railroad, where they used to do shit like that for five minutes (laughs). So I cut it down to about one and a half or two minutes. I just remember, that's one of the things I really like about Grand Funk Railroad, is get to the end of a song and they'd just go (guitar sound) and they'd hold it for like five minutes. And just annoy the shit out of everybody. So when I said that to Serafino like that, I knew he was just going to go 'Well we definitely have to cut the end off'. But he didn't. So I said, you know what? I like it too or something and just leave it in there because it sounds like we're in there jamming, which was what we were doing.

It's good fun. I love the ending. You just start spanking the drums and there's this little mini solo in there, there's like this noise.
Yeah, and all this like everybody's like doing like you know (whirring noise). You know like, doing the eighties, you know pull the bar up and....That was one reason I wanted to keep it in too, is because the drumming aspect of it.
I thought well this kind of features me, you know, getting to flail away a little bit. And so I said you know, let's just keep that in there.

Yeah. Good stuff. I mean it's a drummer's record. You're a drummer; it's your record. You should be able to play on it.
You know, I didn't want to do a solo or anything like that, but I just figured well this is the closest thing, the closest I can get to the solo.

The first ballad on the album is track five, "Too Much to Ask".
Right. What a great track that is. That was written during the original sessions that I got together with Kevin Chalfant and Jimmy.
I went over for about three days, over to Chicago in the summertime when Night Ranger had a break from touring and got together with those two. And when you get those two guys in the room together, I'm telling you, boy, stuff starts flying out. Images and great, you know, insight on life and stuff like that. That's where that song came from, is we wanted to write something about..., not so much a love song. We wanted it to be a humanitarian song. You know, and asking that question about... Is it too much to ask? Did I want a better life for my fellow man and my kids, friends? That's where that came from.

Great sentiment.
Yeah, that was fun too. We recorded that at Jimmy's house too, which was really fun to record at Jimmy's house and the Pro Tool system.

I think I've heard that mentioned in the last three interviews I've done.
Pro Tools? Yeah, everybody's getting on that. I didn't want to do that on this record too much though, you know? I was kind of skeptical when we did that at his house. I was like, well, you know, I don't know if I can really get the sound I want and everything like that. But it turned out to be great. Especially when we got to the latter tracks which is like, "The Journey" and some of those other tracks where I got to mess around with the drum sound a bit more and stuff.
So it was fun.

Cool. Now I saw you guys all in action, you and Kevin, of all the places, in the back of a taxi-bus on the way to Liverpool that day. [The day after last year's Gods Festival].
On the back of the bus you guys just started writing a song, and Jimmy's got his recorder in his pocket, then suddenly he's out recording everything....

You know, that was the beginnings of a song that didn't make the record. We didn't actually get to finish it. Actually "The Journey" was one of those songs we wrote over there. Jim had this idea, he was fiddling around with it in church across the street from the hotel we were staying in London.
He brought his tapes with him of course down from Liverpool and brought it out. I thing you're probably going to find some songs on the next Kevin Chalfant record on there too. They were doing a lot of that too. I think "The Journey" was one of those songs, and there was another song. What was it? A song called "You're Everything I Need in a Woman". But that didn't make it on the record. We wrote about three different ideas that turned out to be..., they're going to be songs on future records.

Just to see you guys at work was a privilege. It was just fantastic to see you guys, you know, take any opportunity. Again while we were waiting for a taxi at the Liverpool Docks building in the rain...
People must think like we were like stoned or something!!
Because we were like oblivious to anybody around us. We didn't give a shit, it was like, I've got this idea! Hey it goes (sings some notes).
We were getting goofy with this recorder out in the middle of...I mean sometimes I'd just laugh. I would just laugh because I'd look over at somebody and they'd be like going 'Huh'? Like, what's wrong with these guys? Ah, these bloody Americans. So it was really funny. But at the same time it was energizing.

I was sitting back there in awe, I was just going, I'm in another world.
Wasn't that fun to go to Liverpool, man?

It was a blast. It was really fun, yeah, one of the best days out I have ever had.
Jim's a funny man, isn't he?

Isn't he great?

OK, so "Too Close to the Sun", we're done with "Bottled Up". "Too Close to the Sun", you were referring to the lyrics there before.
Yeah, I was talking about the lyrics. About, Jimmy wrote some really fantastic story ideas on Icarus. I always thought that was such a great story about him flying too high. And it's just kind of, it's so true, you know, how that works in life. We're all trying to get somewhere and sometimes we might take the wrong path. Who knows. Or it might be the right path. But society thinks it's the wrong path. So, I always thought that that was such a great lyric, and that was a song I wrote...another one I was writing in my studio on guitar and ended up keeping the bass tracks and guitar tracks that I originally had done. And it worked out great. And the song didn't change a whole lot from what I had done in the studio. And the melody, the melody was pretty much sound when I sent it to Jim and he tweaked it with lyric and stuff like that. That was another one that Jim wrote all the lyrics to that one and "Before Anyone Knows I'm Gone". He just had such a handle on it there wasn't a thing that I could change. It was so perfect.

Oh, that's cool. I think that musically it sounds a bit like Man in Motion.
Really!? The song "Man in Motion"?

The album, the album.
Oh that's great. I always liked that album. I thought that was a great record. And it never got it's just, fair play. That's when things were changing; at the end of the '80s everybody was like 'well we don't want to play you guys anymore'.
Or whatever was going on. I don't know if it was that. It was just, you know, hey, music changes. That's what I like about pop music, it's always changing and it's very positive. You know, hey, that's what happens.

Now another big rocker. One that keeps turning out to be one of my favorite tracks because it's one of the new ones I'm sort of living with now and that's "Wrong Again".
"Wrong Again"?

That one originally was written by Brad and myself and Gary Moon, when we were writing for the 'Mojo' album. And for some reason when we went to cut the track for the 'Mojo' album, the song just didn't work. Or something, or the producer didn't think it was working because a lot of the new material that we had written, it was kind of, I don't know, it was getting passed up. And I always loved this song.

It's a great song.

And I kept it. I kept it close to me because I just think it's a great song. There's a lot of inspiration in there. And even though it's just a simple little pop lyric in there, there's something in it. There was a great fiery performance in it, with Gary and Brad. So I took the original tracks that we did at Brad's studio in like 1993. Something ridiculously far away like that. See, that's one thing I like doing. I like taking something that was originally good, and building on it. And I think I did that on some of the songs on this record.

So that one, I kept the original vocals. I kept Brad's performance. And I put new drums on there and I mixed it. I'm kind of weird about that. If I like..., if something sounds good. I don't want to re-record it just because it's like five or six years old. The performances were good. I analyzed it. I sat there for hours and just went 'Is this any good'? And then Brian and I, we had to really work to make the drums work with the old tracks. Because we had cut the track live in Brad's studio so there was no metronome to follow. Nowadays the drummer will cut tracks to a metronome track so that everything will be smooth throughout. Well there was no metronome track on this. So this is where the computer really came into play. Really made that song happen. Because the timing was all over the place. And so when I cut my drums, I had to speed up and slow down and speed up to what was going on like a live performance.
When I got back into the studio it didn't sound good like that. So I made it, we basically..., Brian pulled his genius and made that thing. We sat there and said, OK, this verse is rushing, OK, stop. What can we do. We had to take every single track, individually into the computer and splice it together and made that track groove.


I mean it was like..., it was something that took about twelve hours to do. It was like, when we got done with that, we were like looking at each other going (growling noise). Just growling because it was so frustrating. That song would have been done a long time ago. I was kind of, one of those things, like it would have been done in an hour. But just for the fact that we didn't have a metronome, trying to cut to it, just made it really hard. I loved the song so much I really wanted to work and make it happen.

And Gary's vocal sounds great in there.
Doesn't he kick ass!?

Oh, he's awesome.
Gary's always impressed me with his range, his vocal range. Because on some other things that we had written together a long time ago, he can sing down low too. So he's not always singing up in his higher register. So that's something about Gary. He's just a tremendous singer.

In fact he showed us just how low he can sing on the bus on the way back to Liverpool didn't he (laughs)? Do you remember that?

(laughing). I know. Him and Josh singing together, doing that low stuff. Oh my God. I thought they were going to break the windows.

Did you get that on tape?
You know, I think he got some of that. Because throughout Josh was doing that. So I think that they probably recorded it.

Great stuff! All right, "When There is a Woman".

Now that's a song that Jimmy wrote totally by himself. And I had a demo tape of all these songs that Jimmy had written. Like twenty songs. And that one just jumped out at me. I thought, God, if there's any song that I would like to put on my record that I haven't written or that I didn't have any part of in writing, that would be one song I would love to do. And so I just felt an emotional bond with the song. So it was great, going back over there and re-cutting all the tracks with everybody. Using Mike again on guitar and of course Jimmy played keyboards and basses on some of these songs. I'm not sure which one's he played on, I'll have to look at the credits here to see what he played on. But of course working with Jimmy as a producer is really fun. Because he's got so many ideas it's just unbelievable. That was great. That was really fun.

The big anthem of the album, "The Journey".
Yeah, "The Journey". Now getting to that one, that's the one that we wrote in the church over there in London. That was a great little inspiration to have Jim say come on let's go to this church. And he saw this piano back there, well he kind of felt like he was being driven by you know, like I've got to get to a piano and we've got to work on this thing. So we asked the church manager there if we could go and sit down at the piano. And we apologized up and down. Can we do this? He kind of like was looking at us funny because you know, here we are, Americans all dressed in leather or whatever we were wearing. Jim was wearing a leather jacket, I was wearing some jeans or whatever. And he was like OK, but just five minutes. So we went over there and he brought his little recorder and we got the very inspiration, beginning of inspiration for that song down. So we started to get the melodies and all of the chord changes down. Jimmy had a lot of it going already before I came in. So that was really a great, great little thing, was being able to go into that church. Then we actually went back the next day and said, after we had worked on it in the hotel, and said back in there, and the same guy again, 'Oh you guys again!' Are you back again? But he was really nice enough to let us go back in there and do that. Got it down. That was cool.

Some great vocals on that album, but also on that song.
Oh, thank you, thank you. Yeah that was with Jimmy at the helm.
It's really nice to have Jimmy out there listening to you sing because he's such a great singer himself.
Very smooth. Your voice is very smooth on that track.
Yeah, Joe Vana joined us on backgrounds on that.

OK, awesome. That will make a good live track. I hope.
Yeah, we were thinking about doing it for this show, this upcoming show for World's Stage coming up. You know, it's kind of like we're going to have people returning from that last show, which know Jimmy's material off the World's Stage record. So I think it would be better to keep it just to that. So we decided not to do it here. But we are going to do that song "Long Road Home".

Yeah, now that's a great track, isn't it?
I wish you could come to that.

Don't tease me.
Last year was so fun. It was so fun you know, meeting Kevin again. You know I've know Kevin for a long time. But seeing Kevin again and having him come out and do a song. And the audience was so into it and Jimmy's got so many great songs.

Yeah. Hasn't he!?
You know, it was just amazing.

I'll make it my ambition to see the show one day.
I think he's going to be doing this for a while because he's kind of like an icon there in Chicago.

It's just so hard to get anywhere from down here.
I understand. I'd sure love to come down there.

Look, the last track is one I particularly..., now you wrote this all on your own and I'm really envious of the lyrics. I think they're awesome. I think it's a very personal and very sentimental, touching song. I love it.
Which song are we talking?

“The Moon”.
The moon song. Now that song. That was just like one of those kind of songs where I'm just sitting around with my acoustic guitar and strumming and I just started to hum this melody and pretty soon the lyric came and I just..., it's kind of an endearing song. It's a nice song, you know? It's got a beautiful melody to it. And then having that kind of heartbreak lyric in it. But it still has hope to it. It's not totally like loss. That's what I like about the song. It's got both.

It's like a positive song in the face of something, like event that's incredibly negative or whatever.
And then one of my favorite parts to that song is that bass. The bass that plays the melody. The bass guitar, I went to Brian's house and we were trying to make something different out of the song other than just like an acoustic song. I wanted it to be something special. So by having that bass play the melody, which is kind of unusual, I thought that that was a really a nice touch. So we messed around with it in the studio and then I just said, and Brian was going to play, and it was a frett-less bass. And I just said, why don't you just play the melody. What about playing the (hums the melody). So he started messing around with it and so he incorporated his idea in also the melody of the song. So that's how that part came about. Really a great song, and when we put that together with the break in the bridge where the strings come in. A little string quartet comes in and plays. Isn't that great?

I hadn't heard that over the demo and I was like, hang on! What's this!?
I know. Definitely it's nice to be able to take time. I'm going to come back to that. You know because then something special comes out of it. And I'm going to make sure that I do that on any other records that I do in the future. Because you really need to put more of yourself into it, and I think that's what I've done on this record. And I just wanted to really give my all and I'm thankful that I got a chance to do that.

Definitely. It comes through, believe me.
The labels hate me doing stuff like this but I'm going to anyway.
Tell me about the couple of tracks that didn't make it. Particularly the Japan bonus track, "I'm Still Here".
I was disappointed. I had an argument with them about this for not putting it on the album.
No kidding. You know what? You don't know how much I argued about songs.
I tried to get "Here for Thunder", I mean every other day I was like driving them nuts sending an e-mail saying, I really think you should take a look at....
And after a while it was like, don't ask about that song again. Fuck that.
You guys are missing the point here, you know. Get it together. I would get mad at them. You know, we had some arguments. So that was "Here for Thunder", but "I'm Still Here", I don't know why they decided to leave it off.

Yeah, it's off the European. It's a bonus track for Japan
You know what, they might use it somewhere else. I'm not sure what they have planned. The album they put out last year, they had "Goes" as a demo. They might release it that way or something. I haven't heard them say that but I'm just thinking that they might.

It deserves to be heard by a wide audience.

That's a song that I've had around for a long time. And it just never worked with Night Ranger. I brought it in, you know it just never really worked until I actually got a chance to tear it apart and really make it sound better, and make the parts fit together better. You know I think when I brought it to Night Ranger it really wasn't finished.

Right, OK. It does sound like a Night Ranger tune, that's what I first thought when I heard it.
Yeah, I think it does. I really think it sounds like an earlier Night Ranger song. But at the time when we were writing like Neverland and some of those other songs we were trying to be a little more newer and more current. It's too bad, there's some really good songs on those albums. It's just too bad that we felt like we had to be a ..., to maybe change our style a little bit. I think I'm trying to say, be too hip. I mean even though the albums are great, I think that we should have just did what we did and not worried about it. But, you know, I don't think it would do any good anyway the way radio is. They wouldn't have played anything that we did.

I thought Neverland was extraordinary.
I thought Neverland was a great record. And I thought Seven was great because it had great rock songs. That song "Kong".
I means it's such a tongue-in-cheek song but it's such a fun song. If I ever get the chance to play...

Yeah, I've never heard you sing like that before!
I know. I know, that's kind of what I like. It's cause I got a chance to be, you know..., Paul McCartney used to do that all the time. he used to put on another personality to do what was right for the song. And that song just needed this like, guy that looks like his throat was going to explode out of his chest (laughs).

Tell me. How long did it take you to recover after singing that?
Oh yeah, I definitely couldn't talk very well. But you know who sang with me on there right? You knew that it was Jack Russell.
That was singing with me on that track. That wasn't all me. Jack Russell sang with me on the choruses.

Yeah, that's right.
So that's what gave it that sound. Both of us were like going 'Don't want no...' Pretty fun. But I want to do that song live. If I go over to the Gods festival, I'm going to do some of these songs I've been wanting to do off of...you know, I'm going to take one song off of Neverland, one song off of Seven, and some old Night Ranger songs and then do some Kelly Keagy songs.

Very cool.

It would kill. You better make us headline baby. Because we'll kill. You know what I'm saying!? And then I'll bring Jimmy Peterik along just to like smile, looking at me and go, yeah you think that was good, huh? Check this out. Jimmy's got a few songs in his back pocket he'd like to play for you. It's like shit, man. Stack the deck here.

That was pretty funny wasn't it?
Oh, wasn't it great? I mean they love Jimmy over there.

They loved all of him. The crowd. The Two Fires set brought the night down. It was just awesome.
It was really fun. It was fun seeing Serafino dancing (laughs). I was like looking over and Serafino was dancing and I was like 'Holy Shit'! We must be good (laughs). I don't think that was the best performance that that band had ever done but I think it was a fun performance.

It was a lot of fun.
Plus in the situation, Kevin was just like so sick. His back was so out of it. That's too bad. Hopefully he'll get to come back this year and do it again.

Fantastic. Look I could pretty much go on talking to you all day about Night Ranger and stuff but this is actually a Kelly Keagy interview so we should stick that.
I know. Keep breaking off to that band.

I mean I've been a fan of Night Ranger since, I think the first track I ever heard was "Interstate Love Affair".
Oh yeah. No kidding! A movie soundtrack right?

It was. It was on the Teachers wasn't it? Or something like that?
I think it was on Teachers, yeah.

It's the first time I ever heard you, that's what got me into you guys.
That's funny you mention that song because we had just been toying with adding about five new songs in the set for the summer tour and that was one of them on the list.

Absolutely. You know, like I said, I'm side tracking again but my favorite Night Ranger album is Big Life.
Big Life, yeah. I like that record.

That had a unique sound.

I really liked that record. I liked working with David Foster, was really fun. Such a great producer. He got to get in there and play with us a little bit too on keyboards and stuff. That was really fun.

This is a funny thing. I've never heard any song from Big Life live.
When we toured on that album we played "Rain Comes Crashing Down", we played, I think it was on there. We played "Big Life". The song "Big Life" live. What else did we play? Oh we definitely played "The Secret of My Success".

I'd love to hear that live. It's one of my favorites.

That song, we're going to rework that song for live this summer.

Awesome. And the other one I love is "Color of Your Smile".

Oh, yeah. You know we did a video on that song.

Did you?
Yeah, it never got released. When Night Ranger..., when I was just out two weeks ago doing a show in California, this old friend of ours came up and had all of our videos on a VHS. And he goes, here. I looked at it and I was like 'Oh my God!' There's this song, "Color of Your Smile". I was like flipped out. I was like 'Holy Shit', I can't believe that I remember that.

You guys have never done a VHS of clips. Never did a video of clips did you? Just a couple of live ones.
Yeah. We did that, what is the name of it, it was like Seven Wishes Live.

Yeah. That's right.
Is that what you're talking about?

And there was another. There was some other live performance that we did in Japan. And then somebody filmed a show we did in our hometown in San Francisco on New Years Eve on the Seven Wishes tour. It was like the last show on New Years Eve.

I'd love to see some video clips one day. I'll have to see if anyone's got them over there.
Do you know how to convert over to...

Yeah a buddy of mine's got a player that plays both.
No kidding. Because I want to put some of those things on my site.

Oh yeah, he's doing that for me. Because I'm doing video clips online.

Yeah, really? Well maybe if you can convert some of those things over we'll coordinate it and put it on both of our sites.


Any thing else you want to add Kelly?
Nah, I think that we pretty much covered it. I think this was a real fun interview to do.

Yeah, me too! Thank you!
No, I think that I spewed my mouth off enough. I think I'm done (laughs).

Fantastic. On that note I'll leave it.
It was good to talk to you man.

c. 2001 MelodicRock.com & Andrew J McNeice.

Thanks again to Ron Higgins for transcribing the Interview.