Once in a blue moon you find a true talent that can transcend on multiple platforms for generations to come. It’s a rare thing in this world; talents so extraordinary that you cannot even contemplate starting a disagreement over the subject. This time around, I am referring to Myles Kennedy, one of my favorite musicians of all time. I recently had the pleasure of talking to Myles about this past year and all of his accomplishments, the return of Alter Bridge, side-projects, and so much more. To say he is full of life and energy is an understatement, for every interview I have ever read with him is in-depth and enjoyable. Now I get to say that my conversation with him was the same. Check it out below:
Thanks for taking the time to chat! It’s been quite a year for you, with Alter Bridge on tour and so much more. What are some of the highlights of 2014 for you personally?
My pleasure! As far as highlights go, I would have to say the most recent arena tour of Europe with Slash and The Conspirators was outstanding. On the Alter Bridge front, we really felt the love from our U.S. peeps touring America on this album cycle. It’s been very rewarding to finally see more people in the United States embracing the band.
I was in house for the Starland Ballroom date on Alter Bridge’s tour, and it was amazing. I think some people were concerned at one point that with all of your success with Slash that the band might be done. I think it’s safe to say the fans would never let that happen!
That was a fun gig. Great crowd! Yeah, folks mentioned early on that they were concerned I would leave AB once it became apparent that the [Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators] situation was going well. I always felt like both bands could continue as long as the powers that be could plan the schedules accordingly. Plenty of artists have various groups that are able to coexist—it seemed like a reasonable undertaking to me. Nearly five years in and it seems to be working well.
I am such a huge fan of Fortress, and I would have to say it’s still one of my favorite albums to date. I think because there were so many shifts in arrangements, chord progressions, and it was just overall different. What’s the plan on new music, and can you give us any hints on the style and sound?
Thank you very much. We were very happy with how Fortress turned out. We definitely tried to pull away from formulas we used in the past. We didn’t let ourselves overthink and beat the arrangements into the ground.
As far as new music goes, it’s too soon to tell. I’ve been working on a few ideas and I am sure Mark [Tremonti, Alter Bridge guitarist] has as well. Hopefully we can pull ourselves into new sonic territory on the next record.
I also thoroughly enjoyed the documentary you and Mark Tremonti made. I feel as if it took fans to a place where many of us had never been before with you guys. What made you guys decide to do that?
FRET12 has been making guitar instructional DVDs for a few years. The company is run by Mark’s brother, Dan. He approached us about doing a DVD where we would show folks how to play Fortress and it seemed like a no-brainer. The feedback from fans has been great thus far. I think the idea of learning guitar parts from the guys who wrote them is a very logical approach. This way you know that you are learning how to play the parts correctly.
I have to talk about the New Year’s Eve show with Gov’t Mule. This is like a rock and roll dream come true! It’s all going down at the Beacon Theatre, an amazing venue. How did this show come about, and how did Gov’t Mule get so lucky to ring in 2015 with you?
More like how did I get so lucky to play with Gov’t Mule? Yeah, I am really excited about this New Year’s Eve gig. The first time I had the opportunity to jam with them was back in 2006; it was an incredible experience to say the least. [Gov’t Mule vocalist/guitarist] Warren Haynes is one of my favorite guitar players. His feel and phrasing is crazy good. I don’t know if I’ve ever heard him hit a bad note, not to mention his vocals are as powerful as his playing. Don’t even get me started on how good the band is. Standing in front of them on stage and hearing what they do is pretty intense.
Warren contacted me a few months back about doing a tribute set to AC/DC on New Year’s Eve. Playing a tribute to one of my favorite bands while jamming with of my favorite bands sounded like a perfect New Year’s for me.
I’ve almost lost count of how many records you have been a part of at this point in your career. Would you say there is one project in particular you are most proud of, or do you take away something different from each?
I definitely take something away from each record I’m involved with. I will say that Second Skin by The Mayfield Four will always hold a special place in my heart for me. We put everything into making that album. From a songwriter’s perspective, I was brutally honest. Second Skin is definitely a sonic snapshot of a rather tumultuous time in my life. It helped me work through a lot—very proud of that one.
Other than the massive amounts of experience and recognition, what would you say has changed the most with you personally since you first started out in the music industry?
I think I have learned to believe in myself, but that took a long, long time. I always had very realistic expectations for my life; I didn’t dare to dream as much as I probably should have. I kept my goals modest until one goal led to another…then another. One day I realized my career had ended up a million miles beyond where I originally set the bar. That in turn shifted my psychology on a personal level as well.
On the contrary, what about the professional side? If you started out as a musician today, do you think it would be just as easy to accomplish all that you have?
Starting out today would definitely be more of a challenge than starting 25 years ago. The industry has changed drastically. Record companies don’t have the resources to discover and cultivate as many young artists as they used to. Young musicians have their work cut out for them now, but there will always be an audience for talent. It’s just a matter of cutting through the noise and finding a way to get your music heard.
If I left by telling you that I feel you are truly one of the most genuine, talented artists of my generation, how would you feel?
I might think you had me mixed up with someone else. Seriously, those are very kind words. Thank you.
You can catch Myles Kennedy with Gov’t Mule at the Beacon Theatre in New York City on Dec. 31. For more information on Myles and all of his projects, you can check out his Facebook and Twitter pages, and for more details on the show, go to beacontheatre.com.