Kennedy, Alter Bridge gear up for fall tourWritten by Mike Bauman | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Over the last decade, Myles Kennedy has helped Alter Bridge climb to the forefront of the rock world, recorded and toured with Slash and rehearsed with Led Zeppelin. Not bad for a guy whose musical path started with playing air guitar on a tennis racquet as a kid in Spokane, Washington.
“When I first started playing, I had absolutely no idea any of this was going to happen to this degree, to this level,” Kennedy said. “And in some ways it was something I didn’t aspire to early on because it seemed so unrealistic and so hard to achieve, but I think that just through years of not only working really hard, but also knowing that I had nothing else to fall back on [it worked out].”
Far removed those early days in Spokane with a tennis racquet, Kennedy has spent the last 10 years displaying his unique vocal range, songwriting ability and guitar chops as the front man in Alter Bridge. Featuring Kennedy (vocals, guitar), Mark Tremonti (guitar, vocals), Brian Marshall (bass) and Scott Phillips (drums), Alter Bridge will perform at The Fillmore Detroit on Oct. 5 as part of a fall U.S. tour in support of its latest album “Fortress.”
“I think initially it was that I knew that the songs were the paramount to them like it was myself,” Kennedy said of his interest in joining Tremonti, Marshall and Phillips in early 2004 to form what eventually became Alter Bridge. “I mean, when we first started making music together, I think the quest for making something that was very melodic and compelling, we were definitely on the same page there.”
That quest for making the melodic and compelling has resonated with a worldwide audience over the years, as each of Alter Bridge’s four albums have reached the top 20 on the Billboard 200 chart. And while Alter Bridge has solidified its sound, the band has not made the same record twice.
From the hard rock statement delivered on “One Day Remains” (2004), to the diversity of “Blackbird” (2007), the darker themed “AB III” (2010) and the more experimental and progressive nature of “Fortress” (2013), Alter Bridge has explored new territory on each record, something Kennedy said took a long time to develop.
“It’s been nice because especially once we finished ‘Fortress,’ we felt like we still were able to make some sort of a statement artistically that wasn’t just regurgitated with something we’d done in the past,” Kennedy said. “I think as long as we take those chances and land on our feet, I think we’ll feel satiated in that respect.”
The one common thread throughout Alter Bridge’s recordings has been the band’s ability to create heavier songs that are still uplifting.
“Even on our darkest records – you know, ‘AB III,’ which a lot of fans would probably agree is one of the darker overall bodies of work – you have songs in there that still are uplifting,” Kennedy said. “And I think that’s important in this day and age because it’s not exactly an easy world to live in, so it’s nice to have those nuggets of hope here and there.”
On “Fortress,” Alter Bridge again listed producer Michael “Elvis” Baskette, who also took the helm on “Blackbird” and “AB III.” While the album came together faster compared to previous recordings due to time constraints, the result was Alter Bridge’s most ambitious and expansive effort to date. The songs range from epics like the title track and “Cry of Achilles” to heavy hitters like “Bleed It Dry” and “Farther Than The Sun.”
“I think everybody at the end of the day is trying to do what’s best for the song and for the record, and everybody just has to check their ego at the door,” Kennedy said of working with Baskette. “We’ve worked through all that, and there’s kind of a quiet understanding that our goal is just to make the best music possible.”
With a North American Alter Bridge tour and his new work with Slash on the way, Kennedy said he still feels lucky and grateful to be where he is after 20-plus years in the music industry. Not to mention that he never had to worry about his grandma’s suggestion.
“My grandmother always used to tell me, ‘Well, you know, you should go back to school in case this doesn’t work out,’” Kennedy said with a laugh. “And I was like, ‘Yeah grandma. You’re right,’ but there was always something deep down inside that didn’t – just wouldn’t – let me do that.
“And I think part of it was because I wasn’t making music because I wanted to, I was making music because I had to. I had to do it. It was just this need.”
On Sunday, Oct. 5, Alter Bridge will headline a show that features California Breed and Like a Storm at The Fillmore Detroit, located at 2115 Woodward Ave. in Detroit. The show starts at 7 p.m. For tickets, visit http://www.livenation.com/.