Night Ranger drummer/vocalist Kelly Keagy loves the heat and the desert. The new Gilbert resident is also enamored with the city’s restaurant row and the Valley’s music scene.
“I have a lot of friends there now, whom I met through my fiancée,” he says.
“I remember the first time I was ever in Tempe with Sammy Hagar back in the day. We played this complex on a university on a baseball field.”
Singer/bassist Jack Blades grew up in Scottsdale, and that tie keeps their relationship tight.
“I’ve been around the area for a long, long time,” Keagy says. “We’d go out there, visit them and write songs. He showed me around Scottsdale for the first time.”
The rockers are celebrating the 35th anniversary of their first two albums, “Dawn Patrol” and “Midnight Madness.”
“We can’t believe it’s been 35 years,” Keagy says. “But we’ve been having fun playing those double-album shows. We’re taking it to Japan in October for the first time.
With 17 million units sold under its belt, Night Ranger will bring classic tracks like “Sister Christian,” “When You Close Your Eyes” and “Sentimental Street” to Wild Horse Pass Hotel and Casino on Saturday, September 28. Keagy takes lead vocals on “Sister Christian” and “Sentimental Street.”
“The double-album shows have been really successful,” says Keagy, 66. “We’re having a good time. But this will feel like old-home week for us. We’ve played Wild Horse Pass before and it’s great. It’s small and intimate, but it’s still rock ‘n’ roll.”
Night Ranger, who recently finished a run of shows with Sammy Hagar, recently released the song and corresponding video for “Truth.” The act remains relevant—and revered—with music heard on TV shows like “The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” “Gray’s Anatomy,” “American Dad” and “Parks and Recreation,” and video games such as Rock Band and Grand Theft Auto.
On this tour, Keagy says Night Ranger is throwing in a few deep tracks that feature musicians Keri Kelli (guitarist) and Eric Levy (keyboards). The band also includes guitarist Brad Gillis, formerly of Ozzy Osbourne’s band.
“We’re all about doing what feels right, spur-of-the-moment stuff,” Keagy says. “We’ll throw in covers. You never know. I wish we could do The Beatles, stuff we grew up with. Covers do endear you to your audiences, especially when they don’t expect it. It makes it fun and different every time.
“Regardless, it’s a hometown gig. We have a lot of friends there. It’s going to be chaos. That’s what rock ‘n’ roll is.”
Wild Horse Pass Hotel and Casino, 5040 Wild Horse Pass Boulevard, Chandler, playatgila.com, 8 p.m. Saturday, September 28, tickets start at $39.