When I was a much younger man, I remember seeing the Mark Wahlberg vehicle Rock Star and thinking how awesome it would be to live that kind of life. Touring around the country, performing in front of enthusiastic crowds in bombastic fashion — seeming like a dream that so many young boys and girls have at one point or another during their childhood and adolescence. I remember identifying strongly with the talented fan in the film, a character by the name of Thor, who would be pulled up on stage by his hero in hard-rock band Steel Dragon to perform the rest of the set.
For Myles Kennedy, the man who portrayed Thor — busy touring in real life with his band The Mayfield Four — that dream would become a reality. An accomplished guitarist, vocalist, and all-round performer, Myles Kennedy would go on to achieve great success with The Mayfield Four, and even greater commercial success with the band he has fronted since 2003 — Alter Bridge.
Teaming up with Mark Tremonti, Brian Marshall, and Scott Phillips — all formerly of Creed — the newly minted quartet would go on to make a name for themselves as one of the world’s premiere rock and roll acts. Touring the globe and enjoying great commercial success, Alter Bridge would engrave their name into the annals of hard rock history as one of the greats, continuing to expound upon that legacy today and into the future.
Also taking to the stage in another project titled Slash ft. Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators, and most recently launching his solo career with debut album Year of the Tiger, the proliferate veteran of the rock scene managed to take a little time from his busy schedule to speak to me for a few moments.
I was greatly honored by the opportunity to speak with Myles, and to dig a little deeper into his body of work — past, present, and future.
NM: I guess we’ll kick things off. First question is sort of related to your solo album. It’s been a banner year for you musically what with the release of your debut solo album ‘Year of the Tiger.’ Sourced from the memory of the loss of your father as a child, can you dig a little deeper into the emotional impetus of you producing that at this point in your career?
MK: Well…It just felt like the right time, and something that… I wanted to go down that road, make a record. For a long time, hoping to kind of tap into some of that, but for whatever reason it just never came to be. So, I think that the universe made it known that this is the time – and it just felt comfortable, and it felt right, and it didn’t feel forced. That was my biggest concern. I wanted it to come from an appropriate place in my heart.
NM: Fantastic. Can you describe the overall reaction that you’ve gotten from the press and from your fans so far, Myles?
MK: It really exceeded my expectations, I think, because I’m known as a hard rock singer.
I sing in bands that are primarily riff-based, I wasn’t sure how a stripped down acoustic record that has tinges of blues, country, Americana – I wasn’t sure how that was going to be received by the fans. But they’ve been really cool. It made me realize, more than anything, that I have a very open-minded fanbase. Not every artist has that luxury, and I’m certainly grateful for it.
NM: I think I would agree with that, just as an aside. I think like with Alter Bridge, especially, there’s a lot of musical dynamics in play there – it’s hard to really categorize it as simple hard rock. There’s so many elements, from metal to jazz and beyond. So I think you’re correct in saying that.
MK: Yeah, that’s something we feel very lucky to have, for sure.