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The Ultimate Jam Night Interviews with Keith St John of Burning Rain and Ronnie Montrose Remembered

The Ultimate Jam Night Interviews with Keith St John of Burning Rain and Ronnie Montrose Remembered

Another rocking chapter of Ultimate Jam Night was about to commence at the world famous Whisky a Go-Go on the notorious Sunset Strip. This would be the big 86th edition honoring the iconic Malcolm Young of the legendary AC/DC – with all proceeds benefiting the Alzheimer’s Association.  On tap to perform one of the band’s many iconic songs was Keith St John of Burning Rain, who would unleash an explosive rendition of the almighty TNT.

We caught up with Keith St John before the set to find out more about his participation with Ultimate Jam Night, the current happenings of Burning Rain, news on the upcoming Ronnie Montrose Remembered show at the Yost Theater on January 21st and a whole lot more!  Read on as we chat backstage with the one and only Keith St John

How did you become involved with Ultimate Jam Night, and how many times have you done this?
I got involved with Ultimate Jam Night when they were doing it at The Lucky Strike at Hollywood and Highland right in the early days. First off, Matt Starr at the time had just got done doing some touring with me in Burning Rain, which is my band with Doug Aldridge of Whitesnake. Matt is the last drummer that played with us on tour. I’ve known Chuck Wright for years. He came and played with me in the beginning of the a later Montrose band, which I got together with Ronnie Montrose. Chuck was actually the first guy I called who wound up joining that touring band. That goes back to about 1999. Gilby I know too, so pretty early on when they started doing that Lucky Strike jam, I was involved. In the beginning of that jam, it was nowhere near as planned out as it is now. You basically just showed up and then they figured out when you were gonna go on. “Hey man, you wanna go on in like, 15 minutes with so and so?” You’d just do it. Now, it’s such a huge thing and everybody around the world knows it, that pretty much a week or two before each one you gotta get in the roster or have them call you.

To those who will miss it, what can we expect from your performance tonight for the Malcolm Young / AC?DC tribute?
Well I don’t really normally sing this kind of music too much. I do hard rock and bluesy stuff. And actually the Bon Scott stuff is pretty bluesy in it’s own way. But I never really was in a band that wanted to do AC/DC covers. So it’s kind of my first dab at it, except for when I was subbing in for Robin McCauley in Raiding the Rock Vault. I had to do Highway to Hell but I’m not doing that song tonight. So I learned a new one tonight.

Which song?
It’s “TNT,” which is pretty fun with attitude. Should be a good time.

Have you ever had an encounter with Malcolm Young or AC/DC?
KS: No, but I know Simon Wright who is here tonight.  I’ve played with Chris Slade on drums, I’ve done some jams with him. I don’t know why I play with drummers more than anyone else, but no. Neither of the Young’s. Briefly met Brian Johnson, but that’s about it.

What was it like working with Ronnie Montrose and why do you think you were one of the longest running people with him?
I think he was much more mellow when I met him than he was back in the 70s. We may have had minor ups and downs, which if he had been 30 years younger would have been major blowouts. But, people change with age and our musical chemistry was so good that it just always brought us back together, even if we split apart for a while. Even when I thought we weren’t going to work together again, by and large push came to shove – I got a call from Ronnie going – hey man, let’s work this out and get back to work and we did. I don’t know why that was, it just was.

Will you be at the Ronnie Montrose Remembered show this year?
Yes. Saturday January 21st at the Yost Theater in Santa Ana and it’ll be even bigger and even better.

Has any members of Led Zeppelin heard or comments of your cover of Kashmir?
I have no idea. My head is so in the sand. I’m like the rock and roll ostridge. People say, have you seen this movie or this TV show? Or this band? I’m like, sorry man. If it’s something after the Rolling Stones, probably not. Maybe.

What made you decide to cover that song for the Epic Obsession album?
I really dig that song, man. It’s really bitchin and it’s just – talking about it with Aldridge and just agreeing on what would be coo