The Myles Kennedy Interview – Solo Tour Kicks Off in St. Pete
Myles Kennedy pulls vocal duty with a couple of rock bands, his main gig in Alter Bridge and working with rock guitar great Slash & the Conspirators. Kennedy has a four-octave range and is one of the best rock singers around today. Currently Myles has a solo album out called “The Ides of March” and is touring both the U.S. and the U.K. in support of the record. Starting his tour in the U.S. right here at The Floridian Social Club (formerly State Theatre) on September 7th. We got a chance to talk to him from his home in Spokane, WA before he hits the road. He talked about a variety of subjects regarding his career and experiences in music business. He was chill, unassuming and interesting to talk to.
SP: Is there a particular reason you are starting the tour in Florida?
MK: Umm, cause it’s sunny! (laughing) Where I am up here in Spokane it is smoky since we have been having forest fires all summer, so I am looking forward to breathing some clean air.
SP: I was reading you drove cross country to Orlando to record this album. Was curious about what that trip was like for you?
MK: Well, it was actually fun in a weird, strange way. When we embarked on the journey, that was back in August of last year then after being cooped-up with the lockdowns and whatnot, we got a rental vehicle and Zia, who plays drums with me is in Seattle and we drove a couple thousand miles. We met Tim, our bass player in Nashville. We made it in like 3 days, it was fun. We didn’t turn the radio on the entire trip, just guys joking around and having a good time. It was a good way to start the recording process I felt like it set the mood for the actual recording so that was good.
SP: You have been recording with Michael Baskette for a long time, right?
MK: A long time! I recorded my first record with him when he was a young engineer. I believe in 2000, up in New York at Bearsville. There was a band I was in called The Mayfield Four, little did I know 21 years later we would still be making records together. He has really blossomed into a great producer and is just a great human being to be in the trenches with to make records with.
SP: Myles, it’s been 17 years since the Alter Bridge album “One Day Remains” was released.
MK: It’s nuts right? (laughs) Where did the time go? It’s funny, it came up on my Instagram feed fan post about the anniversary, which is really a head scratcher, I don’t know where the time went. It’s almost like it was just yesterday that I flew down there for the first time to make music together. With that said, it’s amazing we are still a band. We made that record and I totally thought that it would be just that one record. I always had such an awareness of how difficult it is to be a musician and to have the luxury of making multiple records and developing a fan base. They came from one of the biggest bands at the time (Creed) and I was just waiting for the other shoe to drop and them saying thanks for your time. I am pleasantly surprised with how it’s turned out.
SP: I photo’d you in San Fran at The Fillmore with The Kings of Chaos in 2015.
MK: Oh, for the Dolphin Project. That was fun. It was the first time I had met Sammy Hagar. Van Halen was the first rock concert I ever saw – the VOA tour 1985. He was so gracious.
SP: Love Sammy. I got a Montrose album when I was 15. One of the greatest rock records.
MK: I totally agree, it’s funny you should bring that up because I was just thinking about that record the other day. It actually crossed my mind that one day I would like to cover “Space Station #5” Love that track! “Rock Candy” was one of the very first songs I sang to an audience.
SP: The Kings of Chaos shows have such a great mix of musicians like Glenn Hughes and Slash.
MK: Those KOC shows, it’s funny for me because when you name those guys, these icons, it’s always a real treat for me to be able to be involved. I am looking at it from a fan’s perspective, like why am I here? (laughs) I am standing next to Glenn Hughes or Duff, there’s one we did a few years ago and Billy Gibbons was on the bill. For me, I just get the fan boy out and jam with these guys who I essentially learned from growing up. Those are the best shows.
SP: Another time I saw you was when you were opening with Slash for Aerosmith. What was that like touring with Aero?
MK: That was a fun tour. Look, they are one of those bands who drew up the blueprint for the rest of us. Watching someone like Steven Tyler every night who I consider to be one of the greatest front men ever, it was really awesome and fun to watch him work every night. Watching soundchecks and getting a vibe for how somebody at that level operates. It was like what we were just talking about, I’m a musician and a recording artist but I’m a probably fan first. It’s the reason you get in the music business. When you get to tour with a band at that level you just pinch yourself every night.
SP: I see you have an album coming out with Slash on the Gibson label. That’s kind of a big deal.
MK: Yea, exciting stuff. It makes sense because as far as Gibson guitars go, Slash Is really one of the most recognizable ambassadors for the brand. It made sense to put the record out with them.
SP: Will you tour with Slash and the Conspirators anytime in the future?
MK: That’s a good question. I think everything in the touring world right now is so up in the air. Hopefully we will see what happens next year.
SP: Are you using a band for this tour?
MK: Yes, I am. Zia on drums and Tim on bass, making it a three piece. Doing the best we can to recreate what we did in the studio. Probably rock some of the arrangements a little harder. Just because it’s live and see if the amps will go up to 11. (laughing)
SP: I see it was announced that you are doing a UK tour in December.
MK: Yes, and I am excited about that. UK is the second home for me in a lot of ways and the success over the years really started there. Even when Alter Bridge played for the first time in the UK it was a totally different environment for us. The audiences have really been there since the beginning for us.
SP: I’m sure you’ve been asked this many times but I still must ask how it came to be that you played with the Zeppelin band?
MK: Ultimately because of Jason Bonham. Jason and I met during the “Rockstar” filming. We were both in that film. We sat down & started talking about the band and he is so proud of his father’s legacy. he appreciated hearing how much I like the band. About six years later he reached out and he asked me if I would be interested in coming with him to rehearse with Page, Jones and him. I had every single emotion you can imagine playing with them because they were the band that influenced me to play music because I heard “Whole Lotta Love” on the radio, so to be in a room playing some of those songs that I grew up listening to was like – WOW. It is something I will never experience again. I don’t think any other opportunity as a musician will be on par with that. It’s something I’m very grateful for & I try to hold on to the memories of those rehearsals and not let them fade away. You know it’s something I try to take out about every few weeks just to kind of keep fresh & make sure that time doesn’t chip away at it ’cause it was really just amazing experience, so much fun and something I am super grateful for.
SP: Tell us about your video on YouTube performing “Hallelujah” with Jeff Buckley’s Fender Telecaster guitar.
MK: Really, really big influence as big of an influence as Zeppelin was in a lot of ways. When Jeff came out in the mid-90’s, it was an interesting time grunge was such a massive thing and it triggered a whole movement, and a lot of that movement didn’t necessarily incorporate guys who can sing a certain range & timbre to their voice. Jeff came out & showed me that you could do that and make it work and still be contemporary, so it gave me a lot of inspiration. It was one of those moments when I heard “Grace” where it was like, it was essentially just an important guidepost. He directed me in my musical endeavors. I am standing there on stage at the L’Olympia where he recorded one of my favorite live records when he was still alive in Paris, when we played a show there. We had a friend who had Jeff’s Fender guitar in his collection and had the idea of me performing “Hallelujah” on the same stage as Jeff. I was really flattered that he offered but I felt like that was pretty I don’t know there was a lot of gravity to that and so I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do it because it is his most well-known track, he didn’t write it, but he made it his own. At the last minute I decided to do it and it’s a tribute to him, it was a special moment for me and I remember just looking up and staring at the venue and thinking Jeff stood on this stage, he’s looked at the room from this perspective and it was a pretty heavy moment, it was the real deal for sure.
SP: Thank you for your time. Looking forward to hearing the new material live on September 7th. I think you will love the venue, it is a music lover’s kinda place.
MK: Great, I am excited! Thank you, great questions and I always enjoy talking to another music fan.
Tour photo courtesy of Myles Kennedy Facebook. Photos by Vicky Sullivan