Alter Bridge on Screamer Magazine

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Alter Bridge – A Passage to the Fortress

Trying to figure out what makes Alter Bridge tick can be tricky; could it be that they are the perfect mix of talent and understanding; or is it just a ‘knowing’ of who they are as a band in this world? Since their formation, they’ve put out one great album after the other, the songwriting and arranging is always impeccable, there have been no line-up changes, and they all have other projects to work on when Alter Bridge is on hiatus. Okay, so do a lot of other bands—and from the outside, it looks like they all have it together; but on the inside, it’s a whole different world and on a warm and breezy day in late September, when the sun was high in the sky, lead vocalist/guitarist Myles Kennedy is in good spirits as he explained life with Alter Bridge.

“I was just talking about this the other day,” laughs Kennedy, “that Spinal Tap has become the story of our lives! A lot of bands say this and I have friends who can’t even watch Spinal Tap; they don’t even think it’s funny because it hits so close to home. I mean, I’ve certainly been lost and not been able to find the stage so yeah, so much of that rings true. And as far as nightmares go I think the hardest thing for me when you’re touring and you meet a lot of people and you’re exposed to a lot of what’s going around especially as a singer, touring in the winter when you get a cold or a flu—it’s such a drag to stand before a bunch of people and not be at your best or be able to deliver, that’s definitely a nightmare. I mean, being a perfectionist the last thing I want to do is let any fans down and so you just have to push through it and do your best because it’s going to happen–you’re human.”

And human they are; all the members of Alter Bridge have experienced the all too familiar ups and downs of being a collective group with no unity in the past. Guitarist Mark Tremonti, bassist Brian Marshall and drummer Scott Phillips had just come off the heels of internal strife with Creed when they formed Alter Bridge in 2004 in Orlando, Florida, with vocal powerhouse and guitarist Myles Kennedy. And according to Kennedy, it’s the best move they could have all made. Everything about the band just worked and he felt the name suited the band very well. As the story goes, Alter Bridge is a bridge in Detroit and when Tremonti was a kid, it was the bridge that basically separated what he knew [his part of town] from the other being the unknown [the other side of town]. So it became a very fitting way to look at Alter Bridge when the three members came off the success of Creed and brought on a new vocalist. The band now had to step out into uncharted territory with a new and different singer, and that’s always a risky thing, but fortunately everything has turned out alright; Alter Bridge definitely fit well.

“We’re friends and that’s important, I think. We are definitely a band that hangs on the road,” says Kennedy, “and everyone gets along. You’ve got our rhythm section; they love sports so you’ll find them on the bus watching a game and then there’s Mark and I—we’re not really sports guys; so we’re definitely off geekin’ out somewhere on music; either playing or listening but we definitely have a good time together and we’ve realized that it’s a very positive thing overall to have these other things and projects to get to be a part of. I think it’s just helped us grow and evolve a lot as players; I know the amount of touring I’ve had the opportunity to do with Slash has taught me a lot about me as a singer and Mark’s the same way. The more you do something, hopefully the more you will evolve so we’ve all been very supportive because I think it would be a drag to have it the other way around and have it be an issue.” One does wonder though, do the lines ever cross? “They’re such different entities as far as the feel goes; with Slash and the Conspirators it’s definitely a blues-based scene and with Alter Bridge there’s definitely a metal under current so I never really find the lines being blurred. It’s been easy for me to separate the two as an artist.”

Growing as a band, Alter Bridge have risen to the upper echelons of the rock world thanks to a mixture of supreme songwriting talent and musicianship coupled with an absolute collective belief in the power of music. The band’s first three albums – One Day Remains, Blackbird and 2011’s ABIII – have helped Alter Bridge to accrue a huge international fan base as they’ve put out one remarkable release after the other and their latest venture, Fortress, is no exception. Fortresshits the streets on October 08, 2013. It’s a bold, ambitious and powerful collection of songs that refines and redefines their trademark sound while simultaneously raising the bar. “We really became aware during the arranging process,” explains Kennedy, “that we wanted to push ourselves and not kind of go down the ‘old stand-by’ approaches that we had used in the past so when you do that, it’s a little risky and you never know what’s going to happen; you leave the rehearsal space kind of frustrated because you may not get there—you’re in kind of uncharted territory as a band so we were very cognizant of time to push ourselves musically and not use formulas that we tried with different records and in the end it came together,” Kennedy lets out a huge sigh followed by a little laugh, “but it was a little scary at first.”

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