Ron Keel felt that Black ‘N Blue were the ‘American’ Def Leppard and next band that could really break out
Keel, Steeler and Ron Keel Band frontman Ron Keel was recently interviewed by Denis Gray for the Australian Rock Show Podcast, in advance of the singer playing the MelodicRock Fest, which will take place in Melbourne, Australia from March 6 to 8, 2020. You can listen to the entire interview with Ron Keel via the Australian Rock Show Podcast‘s YouTube channel.
When asked which band from the 1980s L.A. metal scene he thought should have gone on to bigger and better things but didn’t, Ron Keel opined (as transcribed by the Australian Rock Show Podcast with slight edits): “You can look at certain bands and try and figure out why it did or didn’t happen, whether it was the record label or the choice of single, those are usually the two culprits ’cause everybody got a record deal man. Everybody was signed. Some are still alive and kicking today and some did not achieve the level of success we thought they would. Certainly Black ‘N Blue comes to mind because I felt that Black ‘N Blue was the ‘American’ Def Leppard. I felt like they were the one band that could really break out and break huge.
Now they did alright and they’re still out there today. I saw them last week on the [Monsters of Rock] Cruise. Jaime [St. James] and Patrick [Young] and the guys in Black ‘N Blue are good friends of mine but back then in 1982/1983, that was the band you would’ve pegged as being the next Pyromania or Hysteria. That was our Def Leppard and for whatever reason — I have my own thoughts on that — but that is a great band whose music was great then and still stands the test of time today. Great songs, great production and just a great show as well, so that’s the one that maybe didn’t get as far as we thought they would.”
Wikipedia states the following about Black ‘N Blue‘s early years (with slight edits):
“Black ‘N Blue was formed in November, 1981 by high school friends Jamie St. James and Tommy Thayer in Portland, Oregon. Originally calling themselves Movie Star, the band later chose the name Black ‘N Blue based on their ‘in-your-face’ sound and denim and leather look. The band got their first break in 1982 when heavy metal fanzine editor Brian Slagel heard their song demo of “Chains Around Heaven” and subsequently added the track to his first edition of Metal Massacre — an independent compilation album that also introduced newcomers Metallica, Ratt, and Malice.
Black ‘N Blue moved to Los Angeles in 1982 making an immediate name for themselves in the Hollywood club scene. Within six months the band signed a worldwide recording contract with Geffen Records, releasing their self-titled debut album, Black ‘N Blue, in August 1984. The Dieter Dierks produced album included “Hold On To 18,” which was released to radio and MTV and became a moderate success, boosting album sales.”
Black ‘N Blue‘s “Hold On To 18” video: