NM: I notice you’re launching a tour in support of ‘Year of the Tiger,’ coming right up running from the middle of November until the middle of December. How do you feel about embarking on that solo tour? It’s obviously been building inside of you for a long time – and what do you look forward to most in terms of giving those performances?
MK: Well, it’s been great. We’ve done three tours this year already on the solo front, so this will be the one that kind of wraps it up for the year and for the album cycle. And it’s something that – kind of hard to articulate but it feels very natural.
It feels like that particular environment for me as a songwriter and as an artist, I feel like I don’t have to overthink it. I really just try to stay present, stay in the moment, and keep it loose. Keep a certain rapport going with the audience, and it’s all about the unique experience in that respect.
Like I said earlier, in terms of people knowing me for being this hard rock singer – we come to town and it’s loud, it’s riff-based, there’s a certain amount of production, lights and what not. With this, it’s about stripping it down, and letting the songs speak for themselves, and keeping a certain vibe intact.
NM: And in terms of where it is such a different setup for you, it’s pretty well known in general that you’re very much into gear. What sort of guitars are you planning to bring along with you on tour – it’s obviously going to take on a different sonic soundscape to produce your solo work from what you would bring with you to tour with, say, Alter Bridge.
MK: Yeah, a lot of the same guitars I used in the studio. So there’s a Gretsch Duane Eddy that I’ve played a lot for the electric side of it, which really suits this music perfectly. Then I’ve got a few National Resonators that I’ll be using, which are really important for the sound of this record. I’m using an older PRS 245 Single Cut that I’ll probably playing some slide stuff on, like for ‘Love Can Only Heal.’
What else am I taking? I’ve got a few Gibson acoustics, I’ve got a Bob Dylan – the SJ-200 Gibson – my Southern Jumbo Gibson, a Hummingbird Gibson for the acoustic side. I’ve got an Eric Clapton Martin, so yeah.
People are like ‘Why are you taking all of these guitars out?’ A lot of it is because of the altered tunings, you know, a lot of these songs have very different tunings. From the open G to some crazy ones that I’ve made up, to straight up D5, open B – and then a few dropped down a half-step. And not to get over the top technical, but when you have that many tunings it’s good to have a bunch of different guitars so that they stay in tune.
NM: Yeah and besides that, when you’re presenting your stage show live you don’t want to be taking your time in between songs to sit there and tune it precisely, right? You want that ready to go, ready to grab, ready to play.