Pictured at Camp Watson Studios (l-r) are Jeff Watson, Brad Gillis, Jack Blades, engineer/keyboardist Michael Lardie, engineer/producer Joey P., and Kelly Keagy.Gardena, CA (June 6, 2008)–A rigorous touring schedule in Europe and Asia, as well as the U.S., has kept Night Ranger busy for years, with only a handful of live and compilation albums appearing during that time. Now, the band is releasing its first studio album in a decade, Hole in the Sun (Frontiers), on July 1.
Hole in the Sun contains a dozen new songs and features the guitar of Jeff Watson, a founding member of Night Ranger and noted session veteran. In addition to playing and writing on the album, Watson also shared production and engineering duties at his Marin County, CA studio, Camp Studios. Night Ranger also enlisted Michael Lardie, (Great White, Dokken) engineer/producer Joey P. (Ludacris, Sevendust, Jay-Z) and Matt Cohen (Talking Heads, Kenny Wayne Shepherd) to handle production responsibilities.
The album has a long genesis, going back to the initial recording sessions in May 2005, when the band took a break from touring, and following a linkup between Watson and Joey P. (which since has evolved into a friendship and numerous joint projects involving Camp Studios.)
“Prior to tracking, Jeff and I worked to set up the ultimate input chain at Camp Studios,” says Joey P. “I came out [from the Atlanta area] with two Toft mono EC-1’s and a stereo ATC-2, and Jeff bought a couple of EC-1’s as well. We used a variety of mics and wired everything with Mogami cable.” Some sessions also occurred in other area studios such as group member Jack Blades’ Sonoma studio. The album was mixed at Trident Studios in Pacheco, CA by Juan Urteaga and mastered by Dave Donnelly. Pro Tools was the sole recording and mixing medium.
“I’ve always worked toward making the best recordings possible,” says Watson, “but I decided to take it up a few notches for this project. Joey P. and I started with a plan to upgrade Camp Studios to the bleeding edge, and proceeded from there. We got great support from a number of manufacturers, as well as Guitar Center’s Relations Manager, Dave Weiderman, and we even rebuilt the vocal booth from scratch.
“Joey brought me into the Toft family and with their EC-1 preamps,” Watson adds, “along with some of my old classics, we got amazing tones on everything. I knew we’d accomplished our goal when Juan called me to rave about the drums, noting that they sounded so much better than the stuff he gets from other studios. We do so much music, TV, and film work here, it’s very inspiring when I hear all the great feedback.”
“The pres are great,” says Joey P. “They hold their own against much more expensive gear. What I love about the compression is that it attenuates the gain with a real smooth transition, not this hard crash-in and suck out you hear on a lot of records where lesser gear or bad plug-ins are used.”
Hole in the Sun is Night Ranger’s eighth studio album in a career that began with Dawn Patrol in 1982. Founding members Watson, keyboardist Alan Fitzgerald, lead vocalist/drummer Kelly Keagy, guitarist Brad Gillis, and bassist/singer Blades amassed 16 million album sales worldwide.