by Ross CAT

by Ross CAT

The Tralf Music Hall: Saturday March 24th

    JACK OF ALL TRADES…..Over the past month on your favorite authentic Rock radio station you may have heard classic cuts like “Your Move” from YES, Lucky Man by ELP, or “Dirty Work” from STEELY DAN and thought wow that song just gets better with age.  Well the reason for that might just well be that you’re hearing a cover of those timeless tracks from two of Rocks consummate collaborators, TOMMY SHAW (STYX, DAMN YANKEES) and JACK BLADES (NIGHT RANGER, DAMN YANKEES).The dynamic duo has put a “Shine On” a collection of already polished Rock gems with the release of “Influence” which hit stores on March 6th.
    *While the revered classic rockers have been an “Influence” to many in their own right with their respective groups for decades, they have taken a trip back to re-visit the songs that inspired them as fledgling musicians.
    *The multi-talented pair fearlessly tackles this collection of throwback tracks rarely touched by any other artist. Both SHAW & BLADES ( blend their extraordinary vocals and harmonies to these already beautifully crafted classics:

1. Summer Breeze 7. California Dreamin’ 
2. Time of the Season 8. On a Carousel
3. Your Move 9. Dirty Work
4. I’Am a Rock 10. For What it’s Worth
5. Lucky Man 11. Dance with Me
6. Sound of Silence .
    *The Rock and Roll “Renegades” have developed a deep bond both as musicians and friends dating back to the “Uprising” of super group DAMN YANKEES. Along with the Motor City Madman TED NUGENT and drummer MICHEAL CARTELLONE they would enjoy “Runaway” success with two stalwart albums in the early 1990’s.  After returning to their respective bands they would once again hook up in 1995 for the well received record titled “Hallucination”. In 2004, Rock and Rolling bass master JACK BLADES ( would release his self-titled solo disc featuring stellar string work from TOMMY SHAW and NEAL SCHON, for “What its worth” the aforementioned records are a must for any melodic rock fan.
    *While the vigorous music vets remain a “Cornerstone” to both STYX and NIGHTRANGER it’s just the right “Time of the Season” to take “Influence” out to the “Sentimental Streets” for a little spring fling, which kicked off this past weekend in Dewey Beach, Delaware.
    *The duo will be in town this Saturday evening at The Tralf Music Hall ( The NIGHTLIFE Rock Report once again had the great privilege to speak with JACK BLADES as he and TOMMY SHAW where putting the finishing touches on their tour preparations.

  Ross CAT- What is up JACK, nice to talk to you again? Thanks for your time, spring fever has finally hit the area and music fans are ready for this show. Congratulations on the new disc “Influence”, it’s really getting rave reviews, especially from the original artist of the songs like GREG LAKE (ELP) and JON ANDERSON (YES) to name just a few.
  JB- Thank so much I really appreciate that. TOMMY and I are really excited about the tour as a matter of fact we are at my studio here in Northern California rehearsing as we speak. This has been a real labor of love for both of us, its fun when you get to do something that just feels so good artistically, we are extremely proud of it.
  Ross CAT- Both you and TOMMY really challenged yourselves with the choice of songs to cover. While most artist are successful covering material on tour playing live you and TOMMY managed to nail these songs in the studio. The disc almost comes across as a live recording.
  JB- That’s kind of what we were going for; we sat down with our acoustic guitars and just started bangin’ the songs out with the lyrics in front of us. We wanted to see what would or wouldn’t work, just kinda looking for what might feel good. The process was to let the songs dictate where we were going to go, it was a very organic approach. The strength of the music was and has always been in each of the songs we just followed them to where they might take us.
  Ross CAT- When it comes to working outside of NIGHT RANGER you’ve surrounded yourself with some amazing talent on guitar including TOMMY SHAW. Tell us about that relationship and how you maintain a strong working rapport when you can only play together periodically?
  JB-Actually it’s pretty easy in the sense that we have become such good friends over the years. When we first started working together in DAMN YANKEES playing and writing songs together was so effortless and easy, that’s really hard to come by in this business. We both feel very fortunate in that we are able to create this relationship outside our other working bands without compromising ourselves or any of the music. To be able to sit around on an acoustic guitar playing the songs that “Influenced” us when we where growing up has really been exhilarating.
  Ross CAT- Along with the choice cuts from the new disc will fans at The Tralf get a dose of material from DY, NIGHT RANGER, and STYX?
  JB- For sure.  What’s great about the show is that it’s an acoustic set, more or less unplugged. TOMMY and I will be bringing along another guitar player named WILL EVANKOVICH, he’s a great player from the Indie Rock band American Drag from the Bay area.
    *Really what we are doing is setting up the stage like a living room, sort of like the couch potato tour. During the show fans will be able to come up and sit on the couches with us and sing along, just a really laid back atmosphere.
    *As for the set list we will be doing songs from the new album as well as our first record “Hallucination”. We will most definitely be having a little fun with the songs from our other bands putting an acoustic twist on many of the fan favorites. We’ve even pulled out some DAMN YANKEES songs that haven’t been touched in ten years. TOMMY and I feel we’ve put together a really enjoyable evening of music for fans, kind of a storytellers, unplugged, open mike all wrapped up in one; the stage setup is a really great opportunity to interact with fans.
  Ross CAT- This year is really shaping up to be quite a busy one for you. Following this tour you will be releasing a brand new NIGHTRANGER record and hitting the road with them this summer. I can’t let you get away without asking about the DAMN YANKEES, any chance you can get TED out of the woods long enough for a reunion?
  JB- Yeah I know, I just saw the “Uprising” concert that just came out on DVD this past week and I just had to laugh thinking of all the fun we where having on that tour.
    *That band is just a special band a really strong straight forward American Rock and Roll outfit.  It’s just great fun acting like a bunch of hambones while making people happy, that’s just so cool to be able to do.
    *I certainly think that at some point we may be able to get the DAMN YANKEES rockin’ America again.  TOMMY and I are always in contact working on something; and I’m set to produce TED’s next record so I’m sure it will be brought up in conversation. I would love to package all three of our bands together someday and take that out on-tour, what a great day of music that would be for everyone involved.
    *The NIGHTLIFE Rock Report would like to thank one of the nicest guys in Rock and Roll JACK BLADES for the preview of the show this Saturday night at the TRALF MUSIC HALL. Also thanks to Amanda Cagan of ABC Public Relations for making it happen.

ROCK REPORT Concert Preview: By Ross CAT
Seneca Niagara Events Center
Saturday March 17th (St. Patrick’s Day)

    LADYFIRE…..While women have been belting out the blues for centuries it was Janis Joplin who stormed the music front breaking down the boys club barrier mixing it up with the heavyweights of Rock like Jim Morrison and Jerry Garcia. It was women like Carole King, Patti Smith, Stevie Nicks and the Wilson sisters of HEART who forged ahead on that Rock and Roll Battlefield. Their determination and drive allowed them to hand the music flag of freedom to songstress PAT BENATAR who would carry it to the top of the music charts.
    *The Lady Rocker fired away instantly with her 1979 debut album “In the Heat of the Night”; the lead single “Heartbreaker” would be her first venture onto the Billboard charts. Over the next decade she would be “Invincible” as the MTV generation would watch her walk away with four Grammy’s, fifteen top 40 singles and eight top 40 albums.
    *Like her peers BENATAR used her platform to fashion a new generation of music and style. While beauty was and still is part of her arsenal the impassioned enchantress proved immediately she didn’t have to use “Sex as a Weapon”. The Brooklyn native stepped out of the shadows, delving into matters of the heart, penning songs of relevance like “Hell is for Children”, which was co-written with multi-faceted guitarist NEIL “Spyder” GIRALDO.
    *While BENATAR and her beautiful voice are the centerpiece to the songs; it is the brawn of GIRALDO’s consummate guitar work that is all too often overlooked in the duo’s classic catalog of hits. The accomplished guitarist from Cleveland has also produced, and co-written several of the songs; he is a key element to their enormous success.
    *Their achievements don’t end in the studio as the Rock and Roll goddess managed to find someone who could treat her right in “Spyder”. The couple has recently celebrated their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, and what does a musical married couple do for their anniversary? What else, getting ready for tour season with a little spring fling that will find it’s way to the Seneca Events Center this Saturday night.
    *The NIGHTLIFE Rock Report had the privilege to share some “Precious Time” with PAT BENATAR as she and NEIL are “All Fired Up” for their St. Patrick’s Day visit to Buffalo.
  Ross CAT- Thanks for taking some time for us PAT, Congratulations to yourself and NEIL on your wedding anniversary.  How have you managed to preserve a successful marriage, career, and parenthood while conquering the rigors of a Rock and Roll lifestyle?
  PAT BENATAR- Well thanks from both of us for the kind words. SPYDER and I where just talking and laughing about that earlier today. I guess when you hit a milestone like our anniversary you take a little time to reflect on things. Really it’s as simple as loving what we do especially the fact that we get to do it together.
  Our lives our based around our family, and when you’re able to keep that in focus it’s really not all that hard.  We’ve have been together both personally and professionally for thirty years so it’s the only way that we know how do to things.
  Ross CAT- On one of your last visits to the area you broke an attendance record for largest outdoor crowd when you packed the Lafayette Square with well over 30,000 people. This time around you’ll be celebrating St. Patty’s Day at the Seneca Niagara Casino, are you and NEIL prepared for the St. Patty’s festivities that our fine city is famous for?
  PAT BENATAR- Yeah, that was quite a day for all of us, we love playing BUFFALO, and it’s always a fabulous time when we’re there. I think our daughter also shared the stage that day opening up the show with her band Glow, which has since disbanded.
  I’m especially excited about the show in the Seneca Events Center this weekend. I’m half Irish so I’m sure I won’t have any trouble joining in on all the fun. While the outdoor show we did was amazing we are looking forward to sharing a more intimate setting this time around.
  Ross CAT- As I mentioned in the introduction your colossal contributions to the music world has been well documented. Did you ever imagine that a quarter of a century later it would influence such artists like Tori Amos, Sarah McLachlan and Martina McBride to name just a few?
  PAT BENATAR- I don’t think anyone ever really thinks about those types of things when making music, but part of being creative is tapping into your dreams. I think maybe a small part of you hopes that what you do will have some kind of positive influence on someone or something.
    I truthfully don’t think that anybody is concerned with that until later in your career. In retrospect you see what you have done as it falls into place in a world that is constantly changing around you. For me the stars aligned just right, the table had been set for me by my musical mentors, women were ready for that sort of thing and I just happened to be in the right place at the right time.
    *It was wonderful when it was happening; I was really oblivious to what was going on, we just took things day by day making strides but not really knowing what the end result would be.
    *Of course now when I look back on it it’s very gratifying to have been a part of the whole women’s movement in music.
  Ross CAT- Since the Rock Report has hit the World Wide Web (, readers submit questions for each artist. This question is from Brittany Catalino who is 16, she would like know, “How have you managed to stay so fit, and maintained such a high performance level for so long”?
  PAT BENATAR- The truth is I have to work really hard just like everybody else, I will say that I have great genetics so that helps out too. I’m terrible when it comes to ice cream, I would love to eat that everyday but I can’t.
  *It really requires hard work, the dividends of that is looking and feeling good. I guess I have a selfish motive too, NEIL and I had our children later in life and we want to be around to share the joys of our family.
  Ross CAT- I noticed the guy whose been swinging the ax next to you on stage all these years is in pretty good shape himself, NEIL has started a Nutritional Supplement Company called “On the Rock Nutrition” (, is that also part of your regiment?
  PAT BENATAR- The product is really wonderful. I’ve never been one to take vitamins or supplements. The only reason I started taking the OTRN is it’s so clean and pure, it really does make you feel great.
    *Like most people I’ve torched myself by the afternoon and these products really help you avoid that horrible mid-day slump.
    *The company is in its early stages but the feed back has been amazing, we are really excited about it.
    The NIGHTLIFE Rock Report would like to thank PAT BENATAR for this insightful conversation as well as John Malta of Bel Chiasso Entertainment for putting it together.
    *Get your Green on and get some Green out, head over to the SENECA NIAGARA CASINO for what promises to be a magical evening of music.
    *The SNFC ( keeps on stacking the deck with these Rock and Roll ringers, check out their website for information on these upcoming shows:

HOWIE MANDEL- Friday April 13th
B.B. KING –Saturday May12th
STEELY DAN- Saturday June 2nd
LYNYRD SKYNYRD- Saturday June 30th
Town Ballroom---March 9th, 10th SOLD OUT

    SOUND HIP CHECK….. While many listeners here in Western New York have had “The Luxury” of hearing the new TRAGICALLY HIP record “World Container” since last October, it will make its official U.S. release this week Tuesday, March 6th.
    *The Canadian Rock icons are once again “Ahead by a Century” both in the studio and on the road. Location has given Buffalo fans a permanent “Membership” with the band from Kingston, Ontario since their self-titled debut album in 1987.
    *“World Container” is not unlike most of “Das Hip” catalog, the past decade. Listening to a new HIP album isn’t like chugging “Yer Favourite” Canadian beer, this record is to be savored; it takes a few listens through to appreciate the texture of the songs and where they are taking you. What separates this record from past works is the addition of renowned record producer Bob Rock (Bon Jovi, Metallica, Motley Crue); he brings an unparalleled perspective into a room already brimming with songwriting savvy.
    *This truly is a “Family Band” in every sense; all five musicians; Rob Baker(guitar), Paul Langlois (guitar), Gord Sinclair(bass), Johnny Fay(drums), and eccentric front man Gordon Downie(vocals, guitars) are masterful musicians each contributing key elements to the complex arrangements. It is the bond within the group that has “Lionized” the HIP and their infectious live performances.
    *With the shows both in Buffalo and in Rochester selling out in mere minutes, those left “Yawning or Snarling” without a ticket can still get a HIP fix in between shows. If your “Looking for a Place to Happen” this Saturday March 10th @ 2pm the TRAGICALLY HIP will be making an in store appearance at the FYE, located next to the McKinley Mall. Stop in and help the band celebrate the release of “World Container”.
    *While your there be sure to fill out your HIP collection “Fully Completely” with the concert DVD “That Night in Toronto”. The dynamic performance, recorded in November 2004 at the Air Canada Centre, grants you front row access to Downie’s emotional intensity as he takes the HIP tales off on tangents that only he can transcend. Guitarists Baker, and Langlois use subtle yet penetrating licks that seep into the powerful poetry, while the robust rhythm section of Sinclair and Fay add a polished punch to the show.
    *The HIP is coming off their sold out Canadian tour and has the U.S. and the U.K. “In View”, touring well into 2007. Not surprisingly the TRAGICALLY HIP has garnered several Juno nominations with the release of “World Container , four to be exact. The band is up for Group of the Year, Rock Album of the Year, Producer of the year, and CD Artwork.
    * The NIGHTLIFE Rock Report had the privilege to speak with HIP guitar great ROB BAKER, as the band is “On the Verge” of their biggest North American trek to date. The “Fireworks” began last week in Phoenix, AZ, as the HIP shared the bill with legendary rockers the WHO for the first five shows. They’ve also been invited to perform at this year’s prestigious South by Southwest Music Festival (SXSW) in Austin, TX on March 17th.
  Ross CAT- Thanks for the time, congrats on the new disc and tour.  Last time we spoke you had just begun laying down the first four tracks with Bob Rock, what was it like sharing the studio with such a celebrated producer?
  ROB BAKER- Thanks so much; it’s been a great process right from the beginning working with Bob. It was especially a treat for me, he certainly knows the guitar not just as a producer, more importantly as a player.  He knows how to create a sound from the guitar.
  *Even more then that watching Bob work with Gord Downie on the vocal tracks was exciting, seeing talented people forge ahead in the creative process made all of us better musicians.
  *I also think far and away nothing even comes close, this is Johnny Fay’s best album on the drums. Bob really freed him up, he wanted all of us to bring the live performance aura into the studio, I think we accomplished that.
  Ross CAT- Also kudos on the Juno nods. We know this is old hat for TTH is this a first for Bob Rock?
  ROB BAKER- Thanks we are really proud. The people of Canada have been imperative to the success of this band from the start. As for Bob believe it or not I think he may have won a Juno Award as a player with the PAYOLAS or ROCK & HYDE.
  Ross CAT- When you began putting together this record was Bob involved from the infancy of the songs or did you present him with ideas and take it from there?
  ROB BAKER- When we decided to move forward with Bob we sent over about 20 or 25 songs that we had already written, everyone in the band is a writer so we had plenty of material from the onset. He worked with that and came to the initial sessions with a pared down list and we proceeded from there.
  *The first week is a feeling out process for everyone to make sure that the collaboration is a good fit. What looks good on paper doesn’t always translate in the studio. Needless to say things went real well we had four songs completed in one week, that’s pretty productive studio time. We basically finished the record with three separate one week sessions so things went smoothly.
  Ross CAT- How familiar was Bob with the bands previous catalog of music, and how important was that in deciding which direction to take these new songs?
  ROB BAKER- Funny you mention that; it is Bob’s claim (chuckle) that he went out bought everyone of our records on his own dime. He told us he has always been a fan of the band but never felt that we made a great record. He said that on two or three occasions we came really close and he thought he could be the person to help us get there. That was the attitude that we wanted to bring to the studio with us this time out.
  Ross CAT- He really laid the challenge out there to you guys how did that go over in the room?
  ROB BAKER- We kind of gave it right back to him, we said if you think you can do it your welcome to give it your best shot. As for our other work I think you make the best record you can for the time you’re making it.  It’s always easy to look back on songs and wonder what could have been done different. I’m proud of every record we’ve ever made, each record helped define us as a band and as people. We’ve never had a throw away song or record.
  What Bob did for “World Container” was help bring focus to it. The fact is the band consists of five contributing songwriters so that really leaves us with a wide variety of ideas, Bob helped us find a focal point.
  Ross CAT- Will the relationship you’ve developed with Bob and the unquestionable success of the record bring this group back together again in the future?
  ROB BAKER-  I think we’d love to record with Bob again and I’m pretty sure he feels the same. I think we all would like to take this experience to another level. He’s not an easy guy to track down he’s in high demand these days.
    The NIGHTLIFE Rock Report would like to thank ROB BAKER for his valuable time as well as Jenn Pressey of Bernie Breen Management for making it happen.
    One last liner note ROB did mention that there is a distinct possibility the Western New York area will be on the tour map later this summer.

**************PEACE and HARMONIES***********

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