T-Shirt of the Week: WEEK 29

Some people believe you can tell a lot about a person by the shoes they wear. I believe you can tell more about a person by the t-shirts they have worn. This is the story of my life, as told by the t-shirts I have worn.

WEEK 29: My apologies for the delay in getting this most recent installment up and running. Life has been a bit complicated, and while I knew exactly what shirt I wanted to write about, it took me some time to find it.

After my last TSOTW post, I got some emails from people that were a bit surprised by the fact I was a KISS fan. Based on that response, I decided to to really drop a bomb on people, and reveal my love for Night Ranger. That’s right—the Bay Area rockers best known for that sappy power ballad, “Sister Christian.”

As a bit of background, I should let you all know that I went to Madison High School in Portland, Oregon, which at the time was located across the street from a landfill that smelled bad on regular days, but really stunk when it rained (and it rains a lot in Portland). Anyway, Madison was a fairly diverse school, racially speaking, but the overwhelming number of the white students were working class rockers that banged their heads to Judas Priest, AC/DC, Yngwie Malmstein, Krokus, Van Halen and just about every other heavy metal act you could imagine from the 1980s. Madison High School is where I got my real introduction to Hard Rock 101, and I am not ashamed to admit for one moment that among my collection of old school hip-hop that includes UTFO, Run DMC, the Fat Boys, and The Rake (bet you never even heard of them), I also have a solid collection rock that includes the likes of Judas Priest and AC/DC.

It was during my formative years at Madison that I first heard Night Ranger. I won’t lie, the first song I heard was “Sister Christian,” which did not impress me. But then one night I caught their concert on MTV, and that was all it took. I borrowed a tape a friend had made of the album Midnight Madness, and soon I was a fan. Someone gave me a free ticket to thier show in Portland, and that was the first time I saw Night Ranger in concert (that’s right, I saw them a total of three times). This video clip is from the 1983 concert in Japan that was broadcast on MTV. The song is “Rock in America,” which I personally think should be re-recorded as “Barack in America.”

That first show was the best, because they were playing songs off Midnight Madness, the second album, and Dawn Patrol, their first album. Their albums got progressively crappier after that, which meant their shows featured more of that pop metal shit. But I still had a good time at the other concerts. The last time I saw them, I was with my friend JR, and we had to endure the most terrible opening act you could imagine—Richard Marx. After the show we saw some butt-rocker wearing spandex, with a bad Loverboy hairstyle, actually beat up a female security guard.

I don’t know if I would ever go see Night Ranger in concert again (I don’t even know if they still tour), and I don’t have either Dawn Patrol or Midnight Madness on CD, but I still have the shirt and soft spot for them in my heart. And once in a while, I listen to this song, just to keep my head on straight.

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