Fireworks Magazine Online 60 - Interview with Myles

Fireworks Magazine Online 60 - Interview with Alter Bridge

Via: rocktopia.co.uk

That was the year 2013! Why? Well, that was the year that Alter Bridge finally got recognition for being one of the premier rock bands in the world (well the rest of the world except the U.S that is) and the year that their fourth album ‘Fortress’ not only propelled the band to greater popularity but also proved to be their piece de resistance . At least that’s my view. We’ll look back in ten years’ time and remember ‘Fortress’ as perhaps one of the classic albums of this era; Alter Bridge’s ‘Back In Black’ moment. The band has evolved steadily if unspectacularly, picking up fans through their own brand of hard rock and hard work rather than any quick fix radio airplay and throwaway pop nonsense. Now Alter Bridge seems to be at the peak of their powers and a million miles away from the band originally labeled Creed with a different singer. Mike Newdeck caught up with vocalist Myles Kennedy to talk about the new album and the development of the band.

Kennedy is in a relaxed mood despite the seemingly endless interviews that he has undertaken this past week with the release of Alter Bridge’s fourth album ‘Fortress’. Perhaps the comforts of his home take the edge off what could otherwise be treated as a tread-mill, one that Kennedy would do well to get off if not for the fact that he understands how the relationship works. We sit back for what proves to be an informative and relaxed chat about the new album and the band’s steady progress towards acceptance and dare I say fame.

“I feel reasonably fresh to go today.” He intimates perhaps in some way referring to the aforementioned interviews. “I couldn’t really sleep that well but it’s a new day so I’m okay, I feel good.”

The new album ‘Fortress’ is imminent and Kennedy feels that it’s the band’s best effort to date.

“I think this time around we’ve pushed ourselves more musically.” The singer concludes. “We’ve tried to get away from previous go to methods as far as the song arrangements went and tried to take some chances, that was the primary goal.”

Kennedy is of course wary of moving too far away from the Alter Bridge sound.

“You’ve got to strike a balance.” He surmises. “You don’t want to alienate the fans who’ve been there from the beginning, so what we’d tried and do is have moments where we’d push the envelope and then we’d have to try and reel it back in with the melodic aspect of our sound, that’s perhaps our signature. The way that the choruses are put together perhaps makes us familiar. You still want them to be singable.”

Clearly there’s a contrast between ‘Fortress’ and its predecessor, Kennedy agrees.

“Three was a moodier darker record.” He remembers. “Although Fortress has those elements, it’s bit more upbeat and more up-tempo. I was actually listening to my iPod the other day, it was on shuffle and a song from three came on and it was slower and much more predictable than the material on this latest album. It’s interesting to hear songs from different eras as it gives you a snapshot of what you were doing at particular times.”

Lead off single ‘Addicted To Pain’ from ‘Fortress’ typifies the latest approach.

“That song came out pretty early in the arrangement process” Kennedy remembers “We thought that it would be a pretty good single to start off and it was good that we had it in the bag early on because it allowed us to take more chances with the rest of the material. Often when you’re writing the album a single can be pretty difficult to come by and you can end up chasing the single; writing specifically for a single which makes thing forced and un-natural. The pressure was off and there was relief that allowed us freedom.”

That may be the first single sorted but what about when the label asks for a follow up?

“That’s a good question.” He laughs. “I really haven’t got a clue, everyone will have their opinion but I don’t know. We all agreed on the first one don’t know about the second.”

So it’s a case of Alter Bridge being a bit like U2 now in the fact that the fan base will lap anything up that’s on offer?

“Well our fans are pretty accepting.” He agrees “But on the other hand they’ve got pretty strong opinions so if they don’t like something then they’ll let us know so I guess we’re not quite up there with U2.”

A fourth album can traditionally be a difficult one with many bands striving to keep it fresh, conscious perhaps of simply going through the motions.

“We didn’t want to do that with Fortress.” Kennedy notes. “We had many discussions during the arranging process regarding something that we’d already done and then we’d change it or remove it altogether. We really didn’t want it to become stale and on occasions it did get that way. If we feel that then you can bet that the fans would notice it to and we did have what I call Jesus moments when you’d have to be honest with your band mates and tell them straight and try something new.”

So was the addition of Mark’s on Fortress vocals part of the process in Kennedy’s opinion?

“Well yes it was.” He continues. “Mark’s shown that with his solo record he’s a very competent vocalist and it made sense. It’s the same reason that I’ll play lead guitar on some of the songs and if I play lead then it’s logical for mark to add his vocals too. I suppose it’s a bit like Deep Purple where using different vocals adds another dimension and texture to the music and I was very open to that idea.”

So no battle of egos then?

“No way.” Kennedy snaps. “Right from when Mark discovered that I played lead guitar he wanted me to play more lead and I could hardly then stop him singing; that wouldn’t be right. It would be selfish.”

With Kennedy’s vocal duties with Slash, Tremoti’s recent reunion with Creed (along with Phillips and Marshall) and Phillip’s involvement with two members of Sevendust in Projected it must be extremely difficult logistically and with respect to writing to function as a band.

“Thank god for Airplanes.” Kennedy rejoices. “You really have to be able to and want to travel a lot. If you don’t want to travel then forget it, this isn’t for you. I live three thousand miles away from the guys, Slash is thousands of miles away and so it goes on. You have to be away from home for long periods and so you really have to commit to rock.”

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