Alter Bridge lead singer and longtime Spokane resident Myles Kennedy has had a whirlwind of a year, touring internationally with the band, collaborating on the road and in the studio with Slash, and brewing his own solo project.
In a phone interview, Kennedy talked about musical multitasking, spending downtime in Spokane and “ABIII,” the latest and darkest Alter Bridge album to date.
Q: The new album seems darker, almost like a quasi-concept album.
A: It’s the darkest of the three records. It’s a moody record and lyrically it deals with the loss of innocence in a sense where everything you believe in as an absolute truth comes into question.
This documents that time in life. I was a little nervous about the response it might get at first. But I was surprised. I think a lot more people than I realized were able to relate to that concept.
Q: Has Alter Bridge been effected at all by the Creed reunion? (The other three band members previously were in Creed.)
A: We knew about the reunion a year prior to it happening. I had an idea it was going to happen. When lightning strikes like that, as big as they were back in the day, you can’t completely turn your back on your fans.
It was interesting, when the news came out people were calling me up saying, “Sorry,” like I had been left behind. But it’s been good; with all of these projects, it kind of helps out creatively when we all come back together.
Q: How do you know when you’re writing a song for Alter Bridge, versus Slash, versus your solo stuff?
A: I try to do what’s appropriate for each project. That’s the wonderful thing, that they are all pretty different.
Alter Bridge is a different vibe from Slash. Slash is more blues-based and straight up rock and roll and Alter Bridge is more of a melodic hard-rock band.
And my solo stuff is more singer-songwriter based. Most of the songs are born out of my house on the South Hill while I’m playing acoustic guitar.
Q: Where are things at with your solo project?
A: I don’t know when I’m going to be able to get it out. I spent most of the last year getting it finished in Coeur d’Alene. Then things started to happen with Slash and Alter Bridge. So it’s been sitting on a hard drive waiting to be finished and promoted. I’m hoping I can find a window in the next 18 months to make that happen.
Q: What’s it like working with Slash?
A: So much of the material is from his previous bands, with Guns N Roses and Velvet Revolver. The challenge is to keep it close to the original without becoming a complete karaoke thing and putting myself into it as well. It’s all about keeping the balance and keeping a little bit of Myles in it.
Q: There’s a song on the new (Alter Bridge) album that’s a duet with you and (lead guitarist) Mark (Tremonti). How did that happen?
A: Always felt like Mark had a great voice. Since the idea of the lyric was inspired by a conversation with a friend I thought it would be cool if we almost had a dialogue between Mark and I.
It’s easy to separate our voices. Mark is definitely a baritone with full-sounding lower register. You can tell it’s him.
We’d like to pull it off live but I’m doing some vocal gymnastics at the end of the song and trying to sing it every night would burn my voice out.
Q: What do you miss most about Spokane and what are you really looking forward to doing when you come home?
A: I’ll have a full week at home in a few days. I’m looking forward to spending some time with my wife and my dog and absorb as much as of that as I can. That’s what’s precious to me.
I miss Spokane. I’ve been gone quite a bit this year and I’m going to be gone even more next year. While I’m home I’ll probably have to shovel the driveway and see the dentist.