Classic Rock

Myles Kennedy

He’s released a live album with Alter Bridge, a record with Slash and his first solo LP. A busy year for one of the top voices in rock, then?

- Interview: Nick Hasted

After 27 years of recording, and 14 leading Alter Bridge, Myles Kennedy released his solo debut in 2018. Year Of The Tiger was also an emotional breakthrou­gh, as its songs exorcised the death of his father when Kennedy was four, having refused medical help due to his Christian Scientist beliefs. Having also fitted in a third album backing Slash with Myles Kennedy and the Conspirato­rs, Living The Dream, and an album of Alter Bridge’s 2017 gigs with the Parallax Orchestra, Live At The Royal Albert Hall,

Kennedy looks back on a landmark 12 months.

How has performing Year Of The Tiger’s songs affected you?

What I learned is that it’s the writing process where you really go deep. Live, though there are moments where you are really connected to the lyric, a lot of the time my head’s wrapped up in the technical aspects of performing. Sometimes that’s a needed distractio­n, so you don’t turn into an emotional wreck because you’re singing about the loss of your father!

Were those profession­al requiremen­ts ever pierced?

It gets pierced by the audience. There were nights when I was performing Love Can Only Heal, and at the end there’s a singalong, and that will pierce me right through the heart in a good way. There were nights when that happened that I maybe teared up.

What did your mum think of the record?

Well surprising­ly, my mom has been very supportive. In fact she recently told me that it was her favourite record that I’ve done. That made me feel like any sort of wound that I might have chosen to reopen, which I was certainly concerned about, I got a hall-pass on. She was happy that it was honest. I think she was also aware of how therapeuti­c it was.

How has life in the Conspirato­rs been for you this year?

I’d forgotten about the unique relationsh­ip that not just Slash and I have. The whole band really has a good time, especially now the setlist is so heavily weighted to our songs together. It’s also such a shift from my solo record and Alter Bridge. That keeps everything from getting stale or redundant.

What does each of your three outlets satisfy in you as a musician?

The solo album satisfies the need to create something on my own, and tell my story as I see fit. With Alter Bridge it’s heavier, and more complex and prog at times. It keeps me on my toes as a player. And then with Slash it’s a blues-based, from the hip approach that lets me sing more akin to guys I grew up listening to, like Paul Rodgers or Robert Plant.

With Slash back in Guns N’ Roses, are the logistics of keeping all your shows on the road more intricate?

Yeah, but we’ve managed to keep it rolling. The only thing I start to wonder is am I wearing out my welcome to the fanbase? If you’re coming back every few months with a different project, how special will it be? In the next few years I may need to take a little break.

How has your life been this year?

Man, in a lot of ways it feels like one of the best years I can remember. I think some of it’s just because of all the music I’ve been able to be a part of. And I’ve made some real healthy personal gains as well. I’ve discovered mindfulnes­s, and that’s helped me a lot. Left to my own devices, my brain can go to some funny places, with my little quirks and anxieties. I’m the happiest I’ve probably ever been.

Do you credit a lot of that to writing Year Of The Tiger?

That was the start. I wrote Year Of The Tiger, and recorded it, but that opened up Pandora’s Box. I was in a strange vulnerable state psychologi­cally, that went on for months. And in fact, while I was touring with Alter Bridge towards the end of 2017, I remember thinking, ‘What is going on?’ I started doing some soul-searching, and trying to figure things out, and some reading, and discovered some stuff. That helped calm the fire.

Did that reading give you spiritual help?

Yeah. I still have my concerns about “organised” religion. But whatever gets you through the night, stick with it. And I found that extracting philosophi­es from the more Eastern side of spirituali­ty worked for me - especially being very present in this precise moment as an important, sacred thing, and savouring it, and the art of meditation. It’s done wonders for me.

How’s Christmas looking?

After a final run of solo gigs I’ll be home for the holidays, and I’m going to try and write as much as I can for the next Alter Bridge record. We’re supposed to get that rolling early to midnext year.

Alter Bridge: Live At The Royal Albert Hall featuring The Parallax Orchestra is out now via Napalm Records.

“In a lot of ways it feels like one of the best years I can remember. I’m the happiest I’ve probably ever been.”

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