10.09.2014

Alter Bridge singer says 'the heaviness has found us,' discusses working with Slash



Myles Kennedy says he knew what he was getting into when he was asked to join Alter Bridge in 2004.

Guitarist Mark Tremonti and drummer Scott Phillips at the time were figuring out their next step after the disbandment of Creed that same year. Bassist Brian Marshall, one of Creed's co-founding members who had left the group in 2000, was brought back into the fold.

They turned to Kennedy, whose group The Mayfield Four had toured with Creed years earlier.

Kennedy acknowledges the trepidation that came with forming a something new out of the ashes of a well-established band who had garnered international fame and recorded platinum-selling albums.

"It took us a while to find our fans. There was a certain amount of fans who were going, 'I'm not so sure about this'," Kennedy recalls. "We kind of had to start over."


New beginnings

Alter Bridge released their debut album, "One Day Remains," in 2004. "One Day Remains" achieved gold status in the U.S. on the strength of the singles "Find the Real," "Open Your Eyes" and "Broken Wings."

They have since released three studio albums, their most recent being 2013's "Fortress." Alter Bridge's third album, "AB III," landed them their most successful single to date, "Isolation." The band continues to live up to their reputation as one of hard rock's most dynamic live acts.

Alter Bridge is scheduled to perform Tuesday at the Sands Bethlehem Event Center. Their previous stop in the Lehigh Valley was a 2011 headlining concert at the Great Allentown Fair.

"Alter Bridge isn't about production or pyro. We're a band really focused on the songs and maintaining a certain level of musicianship," Kennedy says.

Kennedy says Alter Bridge's early tours in support of "One Day Remains" came with its challenges. "We had only like 12 songs to play and we had to try to figure out what we were going to do with the rest of the time," he says, laughing. "Now the challenge is playing songs (fans) know and the keep the majority of the people leaving happy.

"We've been lucky to find our place in the musical landscape."

Kennedy remembers watching Tremonti, Phillips and Marshall gel on stage while fronting with The Mayfield Four and being impressed by their chemistry. "I thought, 'These guys have a certain feel, there is something that happens when these three guys play together'," he says. "Brian and (Phillips) are very underrated as a rhythm section.

"The real beauty of Alter Bridge is Mark and I take very different approaches to the way we play. We're kind of like the Reese's peanut butter cups of rock," he says, laughing. "We'll both look at each other and go, 'Oh, that's cool' and extract each other's strengths."

Kennedy says the band does not plot out in advance how an album is going to sound. They instead choose to let the music, and tone, comes naturally.

"As time has gone on, the heaviness has found us ... There are things I listen to now that are very different, as far as hard rock goes, compared to what I was listening to 10 years ago. Touring has opened my ears to different things happening in hard rock and metal.

"Very rarely do we go, 'We're going to make a jazz-influenced metal record,' or whatever. You accumulate (ideas) and I kind of find that fascinating in a way."


Slash and burn

Kennedy has also spent the last five years working with former Guns N' Roses guitarist Slash. He co-wrote and lent vocals to the songs "Back from Cali" and "Starlight" for Slash's 2010 self-titled solo album.

Kennedy has since been the touring singer and front-man for Slash's backing band, The Conspirators, and recorded lead vocals on Slash's follow-up albums "Apocalyptic Love" and "World on Fire." 

"They are very different. I think that's part of why it works for me," he says of toggling between bands. "With Slash, it's very, it's from the hip. A lot of it is blues-based. With Alter Bridge, there's definitely more of a metal vibe. There are different emotions I'm evoking a lot of the time."

"It's going to take a little bit of time for me to switch over," Kennedy says. "But I think that's what I enjoy about it. It keeps me on my toes."





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