In addition to fronting one of the mid 80's most successful mainstream/arena rock bands, Night Ranger, bassist/singer Jack Blades has either recorded with, penned songs for, or produced albums for some of rock's biggest names. Originally hailing from Palm Desert, California, Jack started playing guitar at the age of 8. Blades played in local bands in the Southern California area during the early '70s, at which time he attended San Diego State University (as a pre-med student).
By the latter part of the decade, Blades had relocated to San Francisco, finding himself recording with Sly Stone at the legendary Record Plant Studios in Sausalito. He joined the funk rock group Rubicon, formed by Jerry Martini, sax player for Sly and the Family Stone and the band issued a pair of releases, 1978's self-titled debut and 1979's America Dreams, Shortly after splitting up, Blades and Rubicon guitarist Brad Gillis decided to form a new band together, one that would be more aligned to hard rock than their previous outfit.
The early '80s saw the formation of Night Ranger, along with members Alan Fitzgerald (keyboards), Jeff Watson (guitar), and Kelly Keagy (drums, vocals), who fit in perfectly with such then-thriving rockers as Journey, Def Leppard, and Van Halen. Propelled by Blades’ songwriting, driving guitars, and on the strength of such releases as 1982's Dawn Patrol, 1983's Midnight Madness, 1985's 7 Wishes, and 1987’s Big Life, the group scored several major U.S. hits (“Don’t Tell me you love me,” “Rock in America”, “Sister Christian,” “When you close your eyes”, “Sentimental Street”) selling in excess of 10 million albums, but after one more release (1988's Man in Motion), the quintet split up.
It didn't take long for Blades to re-appear in another band however, the all-star Damn Yankees, which consisted of Ted Nugent, Tommy Shaw from Styx and Michael Cartellone. The band enjoyed substantial hits with their 1990 self-titled release, selling multi platinum (Including a gold single, “High Enough”) and continuing the streak with 1992’s Don’t Tread. The band decided to take a hiatus as Nugent was committed to a solo album and Blades had been touring, writing and recording non-stop with no break since the early Night Ranger days. That didn’t last long for Jack however and Blades and Shaw opted to record together, issuing a lone album, 1995’s Hallucination under the name of Shaw/Blades. The later '90s saw Blades reunite with his old pals in Night Ranger for tours and two albums (1997's Neverland and 1998's Seven).
Converting his barn into a state of the art recording studio, Blades uses his ranch in Sonoma County, California as a writing/recording retreat. Subsequently, Blades has penned songs for country, pop as well as rock artists (Aerosmith, Cher, Kelli Bryan of “Eternal” Alice Cooper, Sons of the Desert, Roger Daltrey, Journey, John Berry, Vince Neil, Ozzy Osbourne, Styx, Kourtny Kale, to name a few), and has produced others, as well (Great White, Samantha 7, Ted Nugent). Many of Blades songs have ended up in TV and movies (Armageddon, Tommy Boy, South park’s Chef-aid) Blades was asked to play with Ringo Starr for the ex-Beatle's 1998 release, (VH1 Storytellers).
With countless songwriting and production credits to his name, Blades returned to his work as a musician. He signed with Sanctuary and prepared for the first solo album of his career. The self-titled release, which appeared in spring 2004, was classic Blades with its guitar-driven backdrop and anthemic songwriting. Also in 2004 Blades co-wrote recorded and toured Japan with TMG. The group formed by Japan’s favorite son, Tak Matsumoto, guitarist for the mega group B’z. The album scored #1 on Japan’s domestic Billboard chart, with multi platinum status and a sold out July-August tour of Japan ending at the Famous Budokan September 2004. A DVD was released December 2004 and there are plans for a new TMG in 2006. Never one to sit idly by, Blades and his Damn Yankees cohort Tommy Shaw have recorded an album of their favorite tunes from the 60’s and 70’s. The album, entitled “Influence” is slated for a 2005 release. Greg Prato, All Music Guide