[et_pb_section bb_built=”1″ admin_label=”Section” fullwidth=”on” specialty=”off” _builder_version=”3.0.51″ background_color=”#c6b381″ global_module=”34325″][et_pb_fullwidth_menu admin_label=”Menu #19″ global_parent=”34325″ _builder_version=”3.0.51″ menu_id=”8″ background_color=”#e0c488″ submenu_direction=”downwards” fullwidth_menu=”off” background_layout=”dark” text_orientation=”center” dropdown_menu_animation=”fade” /][/et_pb_section][et_pb_section bb_built=”1″ admin_label=”section” background_image=”https://digi.heavymag.com.au/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2016/11/bridge.jpg” parallax=”on” custom_padding=”1px|0px|1px|0px” custom_padding_phone=”44px|0px|0px|0px” padding_mobile=”off”][et_pb_row admin_label=”row” custom_padding=”40px|0px|0px|0px” padding_mobile=”off” column_padding_mobile=”on” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” background_size=”initial”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_image admin_label=”Image” src=”https://digi.heavymag.com.au/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2016/11/logo-5.png” animation=”top” align=”center” /][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row admin_label=”row” custom_padding=”24px|0px|39px|0px” padding_mobile=”off” column_padding_mobile=”on” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” background_size=”initial”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text” text_orientation=”center” inline_fonts=”Changa One” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” background_size=”initial”]

INTERVIEW WITH MYLES KENNEDY

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Rising from the ashes of Creed in 2004 with former vocalist for The Mayfield Four, Myles Kennedy taking up the singing duties, Alter Bridge made a less than flattering start to their career, with debut album One Day Remains receiving little in the way of critical or commercial acclaim.

It was hard to imagine the band would become one of the biggest names in rock just over a decade later, with Kennedy also playing alongside Slash in Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators.

“To be honest I learned during the Mayfield era not to read press,” Kennedy laughed of their uneventful entrance to music. “I’ve always just kind of lived in a bubble and I knew people were going to say what they wanted in the end and for me – given the fact we’d only been a band really for about four months when that record was made – I wasn’t going to take anything too personally because I knew the next record would be more like the actual first record. I look at Blackbird in a lot of ways as being the first Alter Bridge record because that’s when we were a band and the dynamic intent I think reflected that. I think when we first got together and started making music I certainly saw a lot of potential just because there was strength in that band that I didn’t possess myself and I thought that I brought a certain skill set to the band. I knew once we had time to become a cohesive unit it was going to be exciting but it was going to take time. Now we have that and twelve years later here we are which is crazy.”

Having recently released The Last Hero – which was met with both critical and commercial success – Kennedy enthuses that Alter Bridge is finally repaying the faith he felt all those years ago and are in a better place now than at any time throughout their tenure.

“We’re having a great time playing the songs live and for us I think that’s always the true test,” he said, “because you never really know when you are in the studio. You don’t have the benefit of playing the songs to see how they connect and how fans react to them immediately so that’s been really cool.”

Kennedy believes setting out with minimalistic goals for the album and a light hearted approach to the recording enabled the band to separate themselves from the music and allowed for a more natural production which in turn benefitted the final result.

“Really our process has refined itself over the years,” he explained of the album process, “and by the time we got to (last album) Fortress we really felt like we’d fallen into the groove as a band. I think the goal was to continue down that road but at the same time we didn’t want to make the same record over again so we tried to take a look at a few arrangement concepts or just simple things like alternative tunings that we hadn’t used before just to push ourselves a little further. A lot of times with records I seem to second guess things but I think with this one, probably because we didn’t allow ourselves to overthink it, it seemed to flow well. I think that shooting for something that is spontaneous and not overthought has the benefit of that once it is done it’s done and you just kind of move on, whereas if you spend a tonne of time overthinking something and reworking it over and over and document it and record it then it’s always in the back of your mind – at least for me as a writer. I would keep thinking ‘what if we’d done it this way instead? There’s five different ways we had thought about recording it’ but with this record I think we got it right.”

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During their twelve years as a band, Alter Bridge have had several periods where the band has become inactive while members pursue other interests. Mark Tremonti, Brian Marshall and Scott Phillips have returned periodically for tours with Creed and Kennedy has recorded and toured two albums with Slash. While not being an ideal situation for a band to be in having interruptions like this, Kennedy believes it has been more of a help than a hindrance.

“I think in some ways having these other projects has strengthened the band,” he mused. “At least, speaking for myself I feel that because I have had so many great opportunities it has forced me to continue to create and continue to write in different… not genres… but with different feels and with really accomplished artists, obviously Slash being one of them. It has helped me as an artist to evolve so I think it’s been a huge help in that respect. I think what has been a hindrance probably is just the amount of time we have. We’ve managed to put out a record every three years which is good but as far as the amount of time we’ve had to tour it’s been somewhat finite for these records. It could be considered a hindrance but at the same time there’s something to be said about not over – saturating a touring market and if you keep going back and back and back pretty soon people go ‘oh, Alter Bridge is back again’ and it’s not special any more. There is something to be said about the phrase distance makes the heart grow fonder. It’s human nature.”

Perhaps because of this constant time spent playing in different bands, Kennedy’s voice seems to get stronger every outing, with a man once seen as Slash’s sidekick now becoming an integral part of that band. Each Alter Bridge album has seen him improve, to the point that he feels there is an equal amount of confidence and experience in his vocal delivery.

“I think it’s a combination of both,” he agreed. “Just doing it over and over for the last six years particularly I’ve really learnt a lot about my voice and how to tap into the strengths and make sure I’m doing everything… not to go super shop talk (laughs), but from a technical standpoint doing it night after night really teaches you a lot so that’s been extremely beneficial to me as a singer. There was a book a few years ago called Outliers that I read and it had this very interesting concept in that once people put 10,000 hours into doing anything it tends to up their game considerably, so I think at this point with years of touring and grinding it out and putting in my 10,000 hours it’s really helped.”

One of the more astonishing facts of Alter Bridge is they have managed to retain the same line up since they started, a point not lost on Kennedy when it comes to the overall success they have endured.

“I think that fact is vitally important,” he stressed. “I feel like with Alter Bridge to replace anybody would be a pretty seismic shift. Mark is obviously an incredible guitar player and Brian and Scott in the rhythm section are maybe, in my opinion, one of the most underrated rhythm sections in rock just because people I don’t think are aware of just how much they bring to the band with their feel in particular. ”

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“It’s something very unique and very powerful. They have this thick groove and I remember noticing that nearly twenty years ago when Mayfield was opening for Creed back in the U.S. I remember going out and watching a sound check one day and it was just the three of them playing and I remember thinking wow, this is something very special that happens when those two play together. I would be devastated if anything happened to those guys because I think they bring an incredible amount to the band.”

With Alter Bridge enjoying unprecedented worldwide success, Kennedy isn’t prepared to let the band rest on their laurels. While many are content to bask in adulation and glory at this stage of their career, he believes that the hard work actually begins now.

“Oh man, that’s the hard part,” he laughed about remaining relevant in the music industry. “It’s a lot of work. You have to really love it and there really is no… if you get in the music business once you get to a point where you feel content and comfortable that’s when the problems start. You want to stay hungry, that’s my motto. Stay hungry, keep writing, keep trying to evolve because there’s always somebody coming up behind you that would love to take your spot so you have to be aware of that.”

When it’s all said and done the one underlying and imperative component of job satisfaction is you have to enjoy what you do. No amount of fame or money can mask unhappiness and Kennedy is firmly of the notion that there is one thing and one thing only that to this day drives his passion.

“Just music,” he purred. “It’s that love. When I first discovered music as a kid I knew that there was a connection there. I knew that there was something special that I loved. I would sit in school and think about it and it helped me find my identity as a youngster and it became a passion that would not leave; it was just always there. As time has gone on it still feels the same. I still look at a guitar and I can see all of this potential and all this… to me it represents freedom. That’s the only way I can express it. The ability to express yourself and I don’t take that for granted.”

Written By Kris Peters

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ALTER BRIDGE
TOUR DATES

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SAT
APR 1
2017

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Auckland
Powerstation

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SAT
APR 8
2017

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Perth
Metropolis

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MON
APR 3
2017

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Brisbane
Eatons Hill Hotel

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TUE
APR 4
2017

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Sydney
Enmore Theatre

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THU
APR 6
2017

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Melbourne
Festival Hall

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Listen to Alter Bridge

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