California rock act Night Ranger, featuring drummer Kelly Keagy (pictured), will perform Friday night (March 11, 2016) at the Golden Nugget Casino in Lake Charles, La. for ages 21 and older. Tickets are $15-$30 at all Ticketmaster outlets. Photo by Tommy Mann Jr.

By Tommy Mann Jr. – For The Record

A band known for its years of relentess touring numerous hit songs is headed back to Southwest Louisiana this weekend.

California rock band Night Ranger will perform at 8:30 p.m., Friday, March 11, inside the Grand Event Center of the Golden Nugget Casino in Lake Charles, La. for ages 21 and older. Tickets are $15-$30 at all Ticketmaster outlets, including online www.ticketmaster.com or charge by phone at 800-745-3000.

Night Ranger formed in 1982 and still features core members Kelly Keagy, drums and vocals; Jack Blades, bass and vocals; and Brad Gillis, guitar. The group, which also features Eric Levy on keyboards and new addition Kerri Kelli on guitar, is back on the road and ready to rock for its legion of fans.

Night Ranger, which has sold more than 16 million records around the world, is best known for its hit songs “Sister Christian,” “(You Can Still) Rock in America,” “Don’t Tell Me You Love Me,” “Sentimental Street,” “When You Close Your Eyes” and more.

Kelly Keagy called in to discuss what’s happening in the world of Night Ranger for 2016 and what it’s like to be in a band for over 30 years.

“I never thought we would be a band this long,” Keagy said with a laugh in a telephone interview. “Jack (Blades) and I were just talking about this the other day. When we first started, we just wanted to be able to make it to the next record. It’s been a blessing to do this for so long. It helped that MTV was exploding around the same time our records came out. We worked our butts off and played seven-days-a-week.”

Night Ranger is one of the few bands from that era which not only continue to perform regularly, but also continue to release new material on a fairly regular basis. The band released “Hole in the Sun” in 2007, “Somewhere in California” in 2011 and “High Road” in 2014 and is currently working on its next record.

“We are about eight songs into the next record,” Keagy added. “We’ve had some writing sessions in California, and I have the boys here at my studio in Nashville now. Everything is moving right along. We’ll do another session in California and try to turn album in by May to the label, so we can get it out by late summer or early fall.”

In 2015, Night Ranger experienced a change in the line-up as guitarist Joel Hokestra departed the band to join Whitesnake. However, for Keagy and the band, it was a no-brainer on who they wanted to add to the group.

Kerri Kelli may be familiar to many Night Ranger fans as he has performed with a number of music acts through the years, including the Vince Neil Band and the past several years with Alice Cooper’s touring band.

“Kerri (Kelli) came in and helped us out in a pinch one time,” Keagy explained. “We got asked to open for Journey on some dates in Canada, but Joel already had other committments for the offseason. We brought Kerri in and he nailed every song during soundcheck. We had never played with the guy before, but that’s how he is. That’s Kerri. He’s the real deal.”

As the band hits the road for a handful of spring dates, including a May performance at the House of Blues in Chicago which will be recorded and streamed online through Yahoo, Keagy said the band is excited, energized and ready to finish recording.

“We still like creating new music,” Keagy said. “It’s about trying to stay sharp and creating is what we do. It keeps everything fresh and keeps things exciting.We’re already rehearsing one of the new songs and will play it for our show in May in Chicago. We expect to play some new music before then and see what the fans think. We think 2016 is going to be pretty exciting for the fans and for Night Ranger.”

For more information on the band, visit NightRanger.com or visit www.goldennugget.com/lakecharles for upcoming shows at the venue.