Im Juni 2010 war die Combo von Slash und Myles zu Gast in Berlin, um ihr einziges Solo Konzert neben den Festivals zu geben. Myles stand vor dem Soundcheck metalingus.de knapp 40 Minuten Rede und Antwort zu einer ereignisreichen Zeit seit der letzten Tour von Alter Bridge in Deutschland im November 2008. Er erzählte, wie die Zusammenarbeit mit Slash zustande kam und wie es sich anfühlte mit 3/4 von Led Zeppelin zu jammen. Ein Man der seine Gitarren-Soli selbst als "rumdudeln" bezeichnet gewährt einen Einblick hinter die Kulissen des Frontmanns Myles Kennedy und beschreibt was ihm Musik bedeutet. Er bezieht exklusiv Stellung zu den Trennungsgerüchten von Alter Bridge, die aufkamen als sich Creed wieder vereinten. Außerdem gewährt er einen Einblick in das bevorstehende dritte Album von Alter Bridge, aber auch in sein erstes Solo-Album, welches nächstes Jahr erscheinen wird. Viel Spaß beim lesen!
Metalingus.de: Myles, thank you for taking your time and for having me. I am going to start out this interview by telling a short story. I flew over to the US to see a Creed show. And when I saw Mark, I told him its good to see him again, but the last time I saw him in Amsterdam I didn't expect to see him in this occasion again. Because at that time we didn’t know that Creed was happening. Now I am here in Berlin, having a Déjà-Vu! Because I am about to tell you that it's good to see you again, but the last time I saw you in Amsterdam I didn't expect to see you in this occasion again with Slash now... It's bee crazy 1 1/2 last years, right?
Myles: It's been nuts! It's been like musical chairs! *laughing*
Metalingus.de: Yeah, I mean I would start out this interview by asking you what you have been up to since Amsterdam. But then I figured this question would be pretty much useless, because all of it must have been making, writing and recording music, right?
Myles: Yeah, absolutely! We finished up the tour after Amsterdam and basically for me personally I just went home and told my wife that I have to get my Solo Record done. So I started handling that through most of 2009. Then I got the call from Slash to be part of his record. So, it was basically just a lot of writing and creating and on top of that continuing writing for Alter Bridge. It was a lot of work, but good work! It has all worked out really, really well! It means more music. You know, we are on this planet for a fair amount of time. And to have this privilege to put out songs that you do with a number of different artists and solo songs is something that I don't take for granted. The whole process is something I really enjoy! It was a really cool year!
Metalingus.de: I am coming back to those steps you mentioned in just a bit. But lets just go back in time. Like I said, the last time I saw you when you recorded the DVD in Amsterdam. Are you happy with how the DVD turned out?
Myles: Yeah, it turned out great! Did you like some of your shots in there?
Metalingus.de: Yeah, I saw Stijn, Michael and all my concert buddies in there. Half of the first row I know personally. That was real fun! But unfortunately there is a bad side to the DVD as well. I guess we can talk about since you posted a blog on alterbridge.com. You got some legal issues with your record label. It is involved in holding back the release.
Myles: Well, I won't go into a bunch of details there. I can’t remember what was said in blogs. But basically, my understanding is, that it did have something to do with business things. And that tends to be an issue a lot more than people realize in the music business. I don't want to sit there and place blame on whomever. That would be just not a real cool thing to do. It also wasn't cool for us to say... Well, we hoped it wouldn't go down this way. We were told it's gonna be released X-Day and that you can tell your fans, which we did. Than it got changed and basically made us look not real great. People were upset and we felt really bad. It was really unfortunately. But it was stuff that was completely out of control. The hardest thing was that people got upset with us, like it was something we were doing intentionally. But that is far from the truth.
Metalingus.de: So do you know the actual status of the negotiations or whatever needs to be done to get the DVD out?
Myles: I wish knew... I really, really wish I knew. But I haven’t heard anything from our management... Good old music business...
Metalingus.de: Don't you get frustrated sometimes?
Myles: Are you kidding me? Absolutely!! Music business is... I love playing music. It's the greatest thing. But music business I cannot understand a lot of times. It's a very complex machine...
Metalingus.de: Well, let's move on to happier topics: You mentioned it already; you are working on your solo record. As I understood the work is pretty much done right now. What's the current status? You are still trying to record vocals?
Myles: Yeah! Brian Sperber and I went in the studio back in September/October of 2009. And we spend about 5 weeks total of recording. We had an amazing time. But it was a different kind of record than I ever made. We didn't really have a lot enough time for it. Essentially, we got so wrapped up in overdubs and on the production side of things, because we wanted to incorporate elements that hadn't been used in previous records. There are a lot of different sounds and textures. With that said, it takes a lot more time and experimenting. By the time we sat two weeks into we looked at the schedule and we realized there is no way we were going to get to the vocal track in time by the end of the month. We set it all aside to November of last year. Then with the Slash thing and with Alter Bridge, there just hasn't been any window to finish this last part of the record. Which is good in a way that I am staying busy. But it's bad because I got this record sitting there that I am dying to finish.
Metalingus.de: You already talked about it a little: What was the productional side of the CD. Can you tell us what kind of equipment you used or if you can reveal that yet, some of the musicians that are playing on the Record.
Myles: Somebody asked me that before and I am holding of on the musicians thing because there were so many different cats that I brought in and I can't remember everybody and I hate to leave anybody out. Well, Slash actually played a solo on one of the track and he just nailed it, amazing. And a bunch of friends I brought in, who played on records in the past with me back in the days of Spokane. It was a nice reunion. As far as the instrumentation goes and what not: It's much more of an acoustic based record. And Brian is a great keyboard player so I wanted to utilize some of his abilities on the piano. Then I actually sequenced a lot of things when I was doing the demos in Logic. So would fly a lot of that in. I am not great in real time so I have to fix some of my mistakes via midi. Just a lot of textures and vibes I always wanted to experiment with on a record.
Metalingus.de: I talked to ERock (Eric Friedman) about it when I saw him with Creed and he said it's going into the direction of The Mayfield Four?!
Myles: Yeah, it got elements of that in there. People who hear some track can definitely hear some of that Mayfield sound because it's from the same Song Writer essentially.
Metalingus.de: And can you go into details on any of the songs yet?
Myles: Yeah! There's a track that I am really fond of, called "The Light of Day" which seems to be a favorite when people hear the demos. It's not like a hit single or anything in fact I don't if anything like that exists on the record. I didn't want to think about Singles and radio, cause as an artists, it changes the way you approach things. You are set to a formula you have to fall into and I really didn't want to have to do that for this record. I just wanted to go down some different avenues.
There's a song called "Complicated man", which has been around before I actually hooked up with Alter Bridge. There is another song called ... gosh, I can't remember... *laughing*
Metalingus.de: Hopefully we will see the results soon, but you probably don't know yourself?
Myles: Hopefully next year, that's the goal. But my schedule already keeps filling up.
Metalingus.de: And the plan is to support that with an acoustic tour?
Myles: Yeah, that's what I would like to do. That was the original intention. Actually the original goal was basically to be to be out right now with my acoustic guitar. I just want to tour Europe and the UK and whoever else would take me.
Metalinugs.de: And then Slash stepped in. But I want to get the Slash thing straight because I just read an interview yesterday where Slash said that he contacted you for the first time for the collaboration on his Solo record. But I read in an interview on (I think) myles-kennedy.com where you said that he contacted you pre Alter Bridge for what was going to be Velvet Revolver and you had to turn that down because of your Tinnitus at that time.
Myles: We actually talked about that. I don't know if he remembers that phone call. I think it was probably because he called so many different people at that point. But yeah, he called back in the summer of I think 2002 and we spoke briefly on the phone. What happened back then wasn't just the Tinnitus. It was the catalyst to back out Rock for a while. I was freaked out to be honest with you. It can really play games with yourself. There were a number of things. I just needed to step out of the music business. We talked about it earlier... I got turned into "oh Myles got offered the gig” but it was a simple call like "Hey man would you be interested in maybe trying out for this thing?" He sent me some demos and that was it.
So fast-forward to late last year. Then I got the call and the plan was just to do Starlight. That was it.
Metalingus.de: How did exactly happen? Did he just call you out of nowhere?
Myles: Yeah, I was actually in my studio and I was getting ready to make my record. I was down there working on some more Demos and I got a call from my manager: "Hey, just spoke with some of Slashs' people and would you be interested in being part of his record"? I was like "Absolutely!" So he called, but we haven't met at that point in person. We had a conversation and he send me the music starlight and I put the Lyrics and the melody to it and shot it back to him in about three days. He seemed to like. And when I was down tracking the vocals he drove me back to the hotel when we were finished. And he asked me if I would be interested in touring the record with him. I said absolutely if we could make this work logistically! And so far it has been an amazing experience.
Metalingus.de: In the same interview I read Slash also said that he was trying to get you for his band for real and to pull you out of Alter Bridge.
Myles: Yeah! Well, I heard from a few people that they were interested in doing something last year. I think what happened was, they didn’t realize that Alter Bridge was still going. I think once the Creed reunion was announced, people just assumed that Alter Bridge was done and I was a free agent. Actually, I was getting a fair amount of calls. It was kind of surprising me. My phone rang, and Emails and everything. There were a handful of Artists...
Metalingus.de: There were other musicians as well?
Myles: Yeah, it was pretty wacky, but I wont bore you with the details. But it surprised me. It was nice to know that you could still have a gig somewhere. But I was keeping in contact with all the guys in Alter Bridge and it sounded like they definitely wanted to continue on, so I felt like Alter Bridge was still gonna happen and I didn't see how everything else would work.
Metalingus.de: Other names that you worked with before and which were around the press in the summer of 2008... You know what I am talking about... You were actually jamming with Jimmy Page, Jason Bonham and John Paul Jones for what was going to be not Led Zeppelin, but for some other "new band"... Do you wanna talk about it? How did it come along in the first place?
Myles: It was actually in the summer of 2008. It was actually a Déjà-Vu the other night. Because it came about when Alter Bridge just played Rock Am Ring and it was a great night. I was in the bus and I got a text from Jason Bonham and I called him up. He basically layed out that there is a possibility that we get to jam. It was a real surreal experience. I was in London and played together with one of the most important and greatest artist of our time in my opinion.
Metalingus.de: But why didn't it work out?
Myles: That's the million-dollar question! I really don't know! I really dont know the specifics! I am just grateful I had this experience.
Metalingus.de: The funny thing is, that you played in a movie called Rock Star. And that movie is about a fan who is becoming an actual member of the band. And than you are in the audience and that former fan pulls you up on stage. And now it happened to you two times already. How does that feel?
Myles: It's life-imitating art as opposed to art, imitating life. If someone had told me at that time what the next ten years held in story for me, I would have never believed it. I worked with some amazing cats!
Metalingus.de: How does touring with Slash defer from touring with Alter Bridge?
Myles: They definitely have different hair cuts! It's a totally different thing! Alter Bridge has more of a machine like, metal undercurrent. And Slash is much more blues based and straight up Rock 'N Roll. It allows me to tap into a different part of my music. And as a vocalist it allows me to go back to my roots more or less. That's how I learned to sing, through R&B and Blues. And that is really what I cut me teeth on. As a guitar player, early on, I was certainly into metal. With the British new wave of Metal, with Priest and Maiden and all that back in the 80s I spend a lot of time learning that. By the time I started singing I was really into Marvin Gay and Stevie Wonder and all that. That whole concept can be brought into more of a straight up Rock vibe like with Slash and his band. It's been a lot of fun.
Metalingus.de: The festivals did go well so far? I heard that you had a little accident on stage. What happened?
Myles: I am on a cable right now with my guitar. Basically it got wrapped around the monitor and I couldn't see it. When Slash started is solo I went back towards the drum, all of the sudden BOOM I fell on my ass.
Metalingus.de: But you are in good company with Mark there. The YouTube is still around. First notes of Come To Life and there he goes.
Myles: One of my favorite on stage moments!
Metalingus.de: I was amazed that you could start singing after that!
Myles: We were all laughing so hard, including Mark. It was one of those really funny moments that comes along once a while. And if you take yourself to seriously it can mess with your head. It's gonna happen! So, when you fall or you go with your Zipper down, you just laugh and people know that you are human.
Metalingus.de: Last night I read on your Twitter account, that you forgot to bring a guitar into your hotel room. After you posted your second tweet that you are amazed by so many funny suggestions what you should do I went on your Twitter account to see what people were writing to you and one quote really struck me! Someone said to you "You are not lost without music, music is lost without you!"
Myles: That was pretty amazing! That was a really, really nice thing to say.
Metalingus.de: So, what does music mean to you? If you can sum that up somehow?!
Myles: Music for me is my life! It's what I breathe with! Last night (where I forgot my guitar) was one of those moments where I realized I'd be completely, completely lost without direction, if I didn't have the ability to make music. You know, if I do anything without music, if it doesn't involve music, it just doesn’t hold my attention. So I sat in the hotel room and tried to watch TV, but ehhhh it didn't work for me. I like reading once a while, I just don't have a good book with me right now. So I walked around and saw some things and that was fun for a little while. I have always been that way. Days off for me are writing days.
I didn't have an instrument and I had to figure out what to do with myself. That was more of a challenge than I had expected.
Metalingus.de: What I was wondering since you have been so crazy crazy busy since Amsterdam basically, don't you see some kind of danger where it's just too much work? And with some business obstructing, don't you get frustrated or overworked some times?
Myles: Oh sure! I get overworked. But that's fine! Music is such a great thing to be able to do. I would still rather playing guitar that doing dishes.
Metalingus.de: Well, that is what we hope for.... Let's get back to Alter Bridge! You got a whole new record coming out.
Myles: The goal is to have it out before we come over here this fall.
Metalingus.de: Hopefully nothing is going to happen to the CD than like to the DVD...
Myles: Yeah! Oh geeze, I hope not. If that happens *sigh* that would be heart breaking.
Metalingus.de: Can you tell us something about the recording? Mark said in an interview that you are playing like six or seven solos as well?
Myles: Yeah, I play some different kinds of solos on this record. There are actually no "Blackbird moments" where it's more of a very slow and lyrical approach. I kinda go back to some of my roots as a more technical player back in the day. Because that just fits the moments that I had to solo on. I try to do whatever works for the song and that part of the arrangement. There are just a handful of moments where I get to "hudli hudli" for a little bit. My role as a guitar player is still very much textures and colors and that's what I really try to focus on more than anything. That's my thing.
Metalingus.de: I don't if this is possible by now, but can you go into details on some of the songs? And when I read interviews before, you said that this record is going to be "dark". What meaning has dark in that sense?
Myles: Well, alot of the dark element comes from the lyrical content. It doesn't reek of the optimism that some of our previous records had.
Metalingus.de: So no "Rise Today" of "Before tomorrow comes"?
Myles: There is one song, if it ends up making the cut, it kind of punctuates the record and comes back to that. I personally fell like it's important. Definitely we took a journey musically on this record, that I've felt like from telling a story that would be congruent with that music and kind of the pictures that it puts into my heart and head, a different approach lyrically was needed. And it was certainly not meant to a Concept record, but I think there is such a theme through a lot of the songs, maybe more of a theme than we ever had on any of the previous records, as far as from song to song it continues to pop up, just this questioning. It's more in the sense that the same question is asked and frustrations are expressed. I am really curious how it's perceived. I am excited, but I am curious how people are going to take it. It's not like "Everything is gonna work out great!" and think that's important, but certainly as artists our job is to touch on different parts of being a human being and not every day is an optimistic day. It's a dark, dark world we live in these times and occasionally those clouds role into your heart and there is no way you can pull ‘em out and tell an optimistic story if you are not feeling optimistic.
Metalingus.de: Musical wise, are there still hard bone crushing riffs that we know from Come to Life and Buried Alive?
Myles: Very much! That's all very much there. The riffs are still there. There's actually one song with a working title "Riffariffic" and it's definitely a bunch of very agressiv riffs put into under 4 minutes. I like the term "bone crushing" that you just used. The bone crusher! The riff element is very much still intact with this band. That's very important part of it.
Metalingus.de: While talking about Alter Bridge, when the whole Creed thing was going to happen, there was a lot of "bad blood" I must say on the press and even on the fan boards. I read a lot of statements of people that were saying you are cheating on yourselfs. What were your feelings, when you learned of all that?
Myles: Well, I learned about second hand. I talked to Michael (Mark's Bruder). I generally don't read anything. I can't! It's just not healthy. Whether it's the press or whatever. If you do that it messes with your game to much. I heard that there was quiet a drama going on the Internet with the whole thing. It kinda bumped me out. It was one of those things where I was pretty blown away that there was that much tension going on. That just didn't feel like it was needed.
Metalingus.de: There is no gap?
Myles: ABSOLUTELY ZERO! For me, one of the really frustrating things is when people talk like they are in the know. And they are like "Wow, Myles is this. Mark is this. Brian and Scott are this."
We were all sitting there and were going "We did?!" Like "Are you kidding me?!" I just talked to Mark last night and we talked for half an hour and it was great. That sort of thing... it's one of the big problems with the Internet. You know, anybody can get on there and say "Well, I have heard this..." And people are making stuff up. That's really the big thing. There are a lot of people who make things up. There are people who say their association with the band is deeper than it actually is and that they are in the know, cause they feel like that somehow... I don’t know why they do it. It beats me! The reality and I can say this in all honesty is that you threw that entire time they got back together and were touring and everything, I would talk not with each one of those guys but with one of those guys on a very regular basis and everything is fine. And we are continuing planning out who we are going to continue on with AB III and I think if that wasn't true there would be no AB III.
Metalingus.de: I read that you said yourself that the recording process was the fastest you had ever done. So what would say to people who are afraid of AB III being rushed?
Myles: Well, it certainly, from an arrangement standpoint it most defiantly was much faster than Blackbird. The recording process was the same. I could be wrong here but we might have spent even more time including the mixing than we did on Blackbird. But as far as the amount of time we had to arrange we had to work a lot quicker. But Mark and I had been stockpiling musical ideas. There are actually musical ideas on there that I had from back in 2005. As a writer if you are rushing the writing process I think that can be dangerous. If you have like a month to put together a record, the way I write, the way Marks writes, that's dangerous to do. We are always continuing to put these ideas together. When you bring ‘em into arrange, if the parts are good, the choruses are good and if the melodies are good, then generally the arranging will just go quicker. I think AB III reflect that we are definitely are doing our homework.
Metalingus.de: The last question, well it's not actually a question, but sum all of this up. You got the once in a lifetime chance to tell everybody in the Alter Bridge world what they can expect from the fall tour and from the record and what they can hope for.
Myles: I think they can just expect to see us back out doing our thing. We are just picking up where we left off. It's very much that we are firing from all cylinders so hopefully the tour will reflect that. I am really excited to get back out there and see a lot of familiar faces. I've already seen a few people showing up to Slash shows, which has been great. It means a lot to me. It really does mean a lot to me seeing people showing up supporting that as well. It just shows what an incredibly devoted people we have behind us. It's gonna sound cliché and kinda cheesy but without that you aren't anything as a band. If you don't have those people who care that much, people like yourself, you are really that much closer to not getting to do what you love to do. Thank you and know that we are grateful and look forward on seeing each and everyone of you very soon.
Metalingus.de: All right, thank you very much Myles!