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Ten Questions with...


Here we go with one of my favourite bands - Night Ranger! Massive in the 80's with no.1 singles ('Sister Christian', '(You Can Still) Rock In America') and classic albums such as 'Big Life' and 'Midnight Madness'. Their last album was 1999's 'Seven' and they are currently touring the US.

Jeff Watson is also a solo guitarist having released two albums (both available on Now&Then/Frontiers) and he has also played in Mother's Army, which featured Joe Lynn Turner on vocals.

1. What are you currently up to?

I'm touring with Night Ranger here in the states, and when I'm home, I'm in the studio finishing the soundtrack for a movie. You can see all about everything at

2. Who were your influences?

I've had so many that it would be unfair to single one out. Guitar wise, I guess Ritchie Blackmore, Jeff Beck, Johnnie Winter, Ronnie Montrose, Shuggie Otis, and Michael Shenker were my big influences.

3. Which band would you like to see reform?

Deep Purple with Blackmore, David Coverdale, and Glenn Hughes.

4. Would you ever consider any UK solo dates at all? Your solo CD's have been released in the UK and there is a sizeable fan base over here, with festivals of melodic rock artists/bands like the Gods & Z Rock.

I'd love to come back to England. With Night Ranger or not, I'll look at any offers you may hear about for shows in your country.

5. Are Night Ranger planning a new studio album this year? I loved the last album, 'Seven' and the band have to be one of my all time favourite bands.

Thank you very much. We have no immediate plans for an album, but are always entertaining new ideas.

Jeff Watson


6. I see you are actively involved in campaigning on various environmental issues. Do you think people in authority take more notice of what you have to say as you are a known musician or not?

I sometimes think that being a "rock musician" actually dilutes the impact. I believe this is due to the long held negative stereotypes attributed to some old rock stars outdated lifestyles and outlooks. I'm sure I've been thought of as just another dumb blond guitarist in the past. Most people have more than just one interest and one dimension.

7. Who would you like to work with in the future (or would have liked to in regards to dead rock stars)?

It changes daily as I hear or am reminded of some of the great artists among us.

8. What do you think about the state of rock music at the moment? It seems classic rock/ 'hair' band music is big news again but only as a touring vehicle (e.g., all the classic rock bands touring the US - Styx, REO, Scorpions, Poison - but no new albums in many band's cases)?

Radio is the problem. Without guaranteed airplay, no label is going to put up money to do an album. Radio now plays what they're told by some tone deaf pinstripe CEO running 150 stations, being paid payola by the label, instead of the human program directors that used to play what they thought people would actually like to hear. Also, now that our audience has gotten older, they are less likely to go out and buy new music. They come to the shows to relive their past, and to hear the songs that touched them at their most memorable youthful moments. It's a tough situation to remedy. I guess Internet CD sales are one way of reaching ones audience, but there is still the absence of radio play.

9. What was the last thing you read?

I subscribe to and read, The Washington Spectator, Foreign Affairs Magazine, The Wilson Quarterly, The San Francisco Chronicle, and The Marin Independent Journal. I do two crosswords a day, (the Premier and the New York Times) and the last fiction I read was Pattersons "The First To Die."

10. Message for your fans...

Thanks for all the years of loyalty, patience and appreciation. It's important for everyone out there to know how important they all are to those of us writing songs for them. Music is nothing without someone to hear it. All the best.


Interview © 2002 Jason Ritchie/
Format and edit: The Music Index.

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