Al­ter Bridge’s honey-throated front­man tells Ham­mer about his new solo al­bum and what else he has planned for 2018

Metal Hammer (UK) - - Contents - WORDS: JOE DALY

How the death of his fa­ther in­flu­enced new solo record Year of The Tiger.

your solo De­But is the 13th stu­dio al­bum that you’ve recorded. safe to say you’re not su­per­sti­tious?

“Wow, I didn’t re­alise that! That’s crazy! Ha ha! For­tu­nately I’m not too su­per­sti­tious, but that said, we’ll see how this plays out. It might make me su­per­sti­tious if things go hor­ri­bly wrong…”

what made now the right time to re­lease your first solo record?

“I wanted to em­bark on this project years ago and I ended up record­ing an en­tire record. But that whole process took so long be­cause I kept go­ing back and re­vis­it­ing it that I just felt like the shelf life of the ma­te­rial had es­sen­tially ex­pired. So I started again. I be­gan writ­ing in De­cem­ber 2016 for what would be­come Year Of The Tiger.”

most peo­ple as­so­ciate you with much heav­ier mu­sic. what in­spired you to take a sharp left turn into acous­tic ter­ri­tory?

“As long as I can re­mem­ber, I’ve been in­trigued by acous­tic-based mu­sic and singer-song­writ­ers that I’ve ap­pre­ci­ated through­out my evo­lu­tion as an artist. It felt like it was time to ex­plore that. Also, mak­ing a hard rock record would be a lit­tle re­dun­dant. I play in Al­ter Bridge and I’ve played with Slash and the Con­spir­a­tors, so this was a con­scious ef­fort to es­tab­lish some­thing unique.”

who were some of your ear­li­est acous­tic in­flu­ences?

“Strangely enough, it was Zep­pelin. If you lis­ten to Zep­pelin III and parts of IV, there’s a mas­sive acous­tic el­e­ment. I wanted to dis­cover what in­flu­enced them, and ob­vi­ously Robert John­son was a big one, along with a lot of those Delta blues cats. Eric Clap­ton was an­other. In the mid-90s, he came out with that Un­plugged al­bum, and again, I won­dered what he fed off of, and I found these Big Bill Broonzy songs that he cov­ered. So it was lis­ten­ing to con­tem­po­rary peo­ple and go­ing back and dis­cov­er­ing what they were raised on.”

the Dom­i­nant char­ac­ter­is­tic of truly great acous­tic mu­sic is that the songs tell a story…


Did you have a sense of that when you ap­proached your own ma­te­rial?

“Yeah, I def­i­nitely did. As the guy who’s go­ing to be singing it, it’s got to be some­thing that I be­lieve in and that res­onates with me be­cause if it’s not… if they’re just words pieced to­gether that have no mean­ing, then you’ve got noth­ing. From an emo­tional stand­point, it’s got to be com­pelling. I es­sen­tially doc­u­mented a very tough time in my evo­lu­tion as a young per­son, which was when I lost my fa­ther, and the al­bum tells that story. There was plenty of emo­tional in­spi­ra­tion.”

Does this mean that al­ter bridge is out of com­mis­sion this year?

“Yeah, Al­ter Bridge will re­con­vene in 2019, so while I’m out tour­ing Year Of The Tiger, I’ll be writ­ing in the ho­tel room for Al­ter Bridge’s up­com­ing sixth re­lease, if I’m not mis­taken.”

are you look­ing for­ward to tour­ing the al­bum?

“Yes! I start in South Africa and then we’ll be do­ing the UK. We’re try­ing to build a tour and add more dates and do some more stuff in the US later. I’ll be tour­ing a lot this year.”

is this a one-off or Do you see more of these solo out­ings in the fu­ture?

“I’d hope to have the op­por­tu­nity to do this more in the fu­ture be­cause it re­minded me why I make mu­sic. It’s that power when you feel like you’ve stum­bled onto some­thing that’s real and every­one in the stu­dio is fir­ing on all cylin­ders. There’s re­ally noth­ing quite like it.”




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