Jack Blades talks Revolution Saints

Revolution Saints (L-R): Jack Blades (bass, vocals), Deen Castronovo (lead vocals, drums), Doug Aldrich (guitar). Photo Credit: © Jeff Allen at Orion's Eye Photography

On Monday the 8th of December Rockgig scribe Mark Evans had the great honour to speak to legendary bass player Jack Blades of Night Ranger and Damn Yankees.

After exchanging pleasantries with Jack saying "he was so happy I could be twins"  and to the fact he was in Seattle Washington trying to get to the bottom of this grunge thing! He then said "not really".

I asked had he seen the recent Sonic Highways tv series that Dave Grohl had done as I had seen the Seattle one that previous weekend. He said he had loved the way Dave had used the historical context of each city in the series and he had done a great job. He added that too many bands head to the sun of Los Angeles when they tour and miss Seattle off and it is a great place even on a winter's rainy day which is very much like the UK!!

We then moved onto the reason for the phone call Revolution Saints.

Rockgig So how did Revolution Saints come together?

Jack It was the brainchild of Serafino Perugino who has wanted to get a band with Deen singing for a while. I have known Deen for 25 years and know what a great singer he is so when Serafino  asked me  I said hey man lets do this lets get Deen singing and then I got a call to say that Doug Aldrich was now in the band and I'm like Rock n roll baby.

R Where did the name of the band come from?

J It is so difficult to come up with a name these days but I was talking with Serafino and he said revolution and evolution and I said Revolution Saints and we all agreed that was it.

R Who came up with the material?

J Alessandro Del Vecchio came up with it all. He had it all ready but I co-wrote the single "Turn Back Time" and also the chorus to "Dream On". (In fact Mend A Broken Heart is written Erik Martennson and was on the Eclipse cd Are You Ready To Rock)

R Did you hear any of the material before you went into the studio?

J I heard the demo's.

Revolution Saints (L-R): Doug Aldrich (guitar), Deen Castronovo (lead vocals, drums), Jack Blades (bass, vocals). Photo Credit: © Jeff Allen at Orion's Eye Photography

R Did you record it in the studio together?

J With our schedules being so busy with Deen in Journey, me in Nightranger and Doug just leaving Whitesnake it was difficulty to get the time together. So Deeno went into the studio first with the demos and did all his drums and then I went in and flayed some bass really rocking it up before Doug went into do his guitars. We said to Doug it is your first band since leaving Whitesnake  so away you go really go for it.There were no boundaries we trusted him to do what he wanted to do.

We have all been doing this a long time and we trust one another and our instinct is so right.We had no problems leaving it to Doug who took the reins to how much guitar he wanted to put on it and also to Alessandro to produce it.

After that we got together in August in Portland Oregon to do the vocals and I think Doug added some more guitars.

R Alessandro produced the album and has done a superb job how was he to work with?

J He was very easy to work with he would defer to us but also would say let's go with this, let's change this. It was all about trust and instinct.

R Your role in the band is similar to when you were in TMG with Eric Martin and Tak Matsumato how do you adapt yourself compared to your day job in Nightranger?

J I don't have to be all things to all people. I can have fun, take a back-seat and play some bass do a backing vocal or a lead and I am loving it.

R Deen is an amazing vocalist but it has taken many years for him to fully showcase his talents. Why do you think it has taken so long for it to happen?

J For many years he sat at the back and did his backing vocals but it was all a confidence thing. We would say to him go man go. Deen would say that do you think and I would say I think you could do better. He truly values my opinion and had no issue with what I said.

R Do you think he realises how good he is?

J No I don't think he does. I co-wrote some songs on Neal Schon's So U  cd and Deen sang on 2 songs and really got his feet wet. He mainly did the vocals in one take. On a second take not too much was added he just listened to the parts and did it. Alessandro and I said just let go, there are no boundaries. We have a Genesis in the making a Phil Collins.  When I toured with Ringo Starr we had Simon Kirke on drums and sometimes Ringo would just sing and on other songs we had 2 drummers. We could get another drummer and we could have double drums or I could sing.

R Do you have a favourite song on the cd? The one song that sums up Revolution Saints?

J Mend a Broken Heart or the first single Turn Back Time (we then laughed as I had written down the same 2 songs) epitomise us. Big vocals with huge guitars and drums and as Deen said on the EPK it is 80's vibe rock with nuts.

R Are there any more songs left for another cd?

J I would love to do another record, Just go into a room with Deen and Doug for 4 or 5 days and throw ideas at each other I would love it.

R With you all being so busy what chance is there of any live dates?

J We are looking at it at the moment we have the pencil and paper out. We need to do it and I would love to do it.

R Do you  see Revolution Saints as a one off project or more long term?

J I would like to think so I really hope so, it is something that no one expected and is out of the ordinary and fun to do.

Revolution Saints (L-R): Doug Aldrich (guitar), Deen Castronovo (lead vocals, drums), Jack Blades (bass, vocals). Photo Credit: © Jeff Allen at Orion's Eye Photography

R You have had a long and successful career what do you see as success now? Sales figures, critical acclaim or more on a personal level.

J Now I see success as being able to play with people I enjoy, being able to play with friends and to be able to do what you want to do.This weekend I am due to fly to Phoenix Arizona for a benefit show with Alice Cooper. There is Jonny Lang, Nils Lofgren and Joe Lynn Turner and the Nightranger boys.

I enjoy being able to do it Nightranger, Revolution Saints.

R You are now able to create a buzz on the internet these days. When I spoke to Steve Lukather he said with people downloading for free off the internet it is like giving away 20000 promo copies in 1 day.  How do you turn that into sales and what are thoughts on the current state of the music selling business?

J it is an amazing time to be able to record something and put it out there and on the same day  it can be seen across the world. It is astounding. We don't sell records like we did before but you can fight it or jump on the bandwagon.

R I read an interview with you and you said you have to keep creating. Is that still how you feel?

J I have to keep on. A shark keep's on swimming or it dies. I like to create songs, playing songs. I still have the drive to keep on creating. I can't sit back.I still get excited by it.
I have a TV pilot in production at the moment about my military antiques. I am excited to be touring with Nightranger, I am excited about Revolution Saints and I am excited after 32 years we have put out High Road and play Islington to our friends.

R I have to mention Nightranger I have been a fan since day 1 and was lucky enough to catch the 2 Islington shows and the Wembley Arena show with Foreigner in 1985. Keri Kelli is now in the band full time how is that going?

J I love it we have known Kerri a long time. He was with Alice Cooper for 8 to 10 years. He plays a great blues swaying blues like Slash. He has worked on things with Brad Gillis and they are very tight. It is a gift from god he is a great soloist and gets it going.

R You are back in the UK in March how many songs from High Road are we likely to hear?

J I would like to play 4 or 5 in fact I would like to play it half and half with the Somewhere In California cd. If we play half the show though we may upset some by playing too much newer material. With Islington in mind we may play some early songs that we have never played before or not for many years.We want to have fun.

R Any thoughts of celebrating a 30 year anniversary of one of the first trio of albums by playing it in it's entirety?

J I wouldn't mind playing it all. There are songs we could play that we have not played in years and it would surprise a few. We are so lucky to still be able to play these songs after so many years.

With that we bade our farewells and look forward  to the whole world hearing  the debut cd Revolution Saints that is out on February 20th in Europe and the February 24th in the US.

I would like to thank Jack for his time and Asher Alexander and Peter Noble of Peter Noble PR for setting this up for us. Another bucket list one for me.


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