Interview /Live Photos: : Robert Cavuoto
Feature Image credit: Adrian Hextall
Alter Bridge is returning with their sixth studio album, Walk The Sky scheduled for worldwide release on October 18th via Napalm Records. This CD is a creative highpoint for Myles Kennedy [vocals/guitars], Mark Tremonti [guitars/vocals], Brian Marshall [bass], and Scott Phillips [drums]. Mark and Myles have an uncanny ability to write rock songs for our generation with memorable riffs, thought-provoking lyrics, and strong melodies. Songs like “Take the Crown,” “Wouldn’t You Rather,” and “The Bitter End” showcase the band’s unbridled passion for rock and love of the guitar. Walk The Sky with its fourteen-tracks will exceed any fan’s expectation of what a follow-up to The Last Hero should sound like.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Myles Kennedy to talk about the writing process for Walk The Sky, the personal nature of some of the songs, and what fans can expect during their upcoming tour!
Robert Cavuoto: The Last Hero had a running theme that was based on the election, is there a theme on this CD?
Myles Kennedy: Not throughout the entire record, but some songs touch on the awareness of spiritual growth, how to frame your existence and the idea of enlightenment. It’s a theme that runs through a few of the songs, but it’s not a concept record.
Robert Cavuoto: I’m intrigued by writing process for this CD; I know the band went into a studio to work on it but how far along were the songs?
Myles Kennedy: On this record, Mark and I demo’ed a lot of these tracks separately so some of the songs were complete like “Wouldn’t You Rather” and “In The Deep.” There were other songs like the last track, “Dying Light,” which evolved in pre-production. This is probably the first record where we demo’ed to the degree and had completed songs. On previous records, we approached it differently where Mark and I would put parts together, but with all the touring, it was impossible. There isn’t as much of it, but there is still some.
Robert Cavuoto: Have you ever been in a situation with Mark where you are both crafting a song, and one person wants to go in one direction while the other person wants to take it in another direction. How did you resolve those situations?
Myles Kennedy: It happens as it’s just part of the creative process. The way we resolve it is to step back and not take it personally. We have been with each other long enough to know we have to let the process play out. When we don’t agree, we will bring it to the band and producer, Michael “Elvis” Baskette to determine the way we should navigate it. That always helps decide the path.
Robert Cavuoto: Has it ever gotten to the point where you recorded two versions of the same song?
Myles Kennedy: It never gets to that level. If it’s somebody’s track, we let them roll with it. Where it might change is when we get to pre-production and suggestions are made to improve a verse or bridge. That does happen.
Robert Cavuoto: “Godspeed” seems like a very personal song, was it written about a person and if so can you share who it was about?
Myles Kennedy: It was about a friend of the band, Seth Luker, who lost a long battle with cancer. I remember the first time I came down to meet the Alter Bridge camp he was there hanging out. He was always there and an amazing individual. Mark wrote that song for him. He fought a valiant fight, and this was a send-off to him.
Robert Cavuoto: That song is a fitting tribute to him! I think my favorite track on the CD is “Take the Crown” as I really love the two leads at the end. I was wondering who was playing them and if the last one with the bluesy flair was it influenced by Neal Schon of Journey?
Myles Kennedy: The first lead is Mark and the second bluesy noodling was me. Mark and I are big Journey fans, and Neal is one of my favorite guitarists, so maybe not intentionally but it is coming through. I see how that could make it into our playing.
Robert Cavuoto: Alter Bridge is playing Terminal 5 in New York on September 24th, when you played there with Slash in May 2015, it was a hot, sweaty, crowded, and rowdy venue. Do you recall the venue and what can the fans expect from the band at that show?
Myles Kennedy: I do remember the venue as it was a good rock venue and the heat is good for my voice. What people can expect is for us to try to encompass the last 15 years of our work into one show. We are getting to the point where we have so many tracks to pick from. When we first started touring for One Day Remains, we threw in covers because we didn’t have enough songs [laughing]. We are trying to pull a few tracks that we haven’t done in a while. The band met the other day regarding the setlist, which is top-secret and decided that we will include a few songs that we haven’t played in a while.
Robert Cavuoto: The tour is starting before the new CD will be out. What approach does the band take in a situation like that to help fans familiarizes themselves with new songs that will be played?
Myles Kennedy: You generally just play the songs that have been released up until that point. You don’t want to play deep-cuts from the new CD as they might not work well in a live setting and with the advent of phones, which can record very well; we don’t want a live version of the songs to come before the record has been released. We prefer that people wait for the studio version.
Robert Cavuoto: Have you ever been in a situation where a new song or a deep track isn’t going over well live? If so, how did you recognize it from the stage?
Myles Kennedy: Oh yeah, you can tell by people expressions and if their heads are bobbing to the songs. After the show, we would have a meeting and decided whether to keep it in the set. I’m also a firm believer that songs like that can actually be a good thing even though they are not going over well. I think there is something about adding songs in the set that you don’t always play and people may not get at first. I have seen where fans after a while start to get used to it and then gravitate towards it [laughing].
Robert Cavuoto: When you perform with Slash, you play several Guns & Roses songs. I often wonder if you have ever met Axl Rose, are your friends, and what he thought of you singing those songs?
Myles Kennedy: I have never met him as we have never crossed paths.
Robert Cavuoto: Did you ever get feedback from Axl through Slash?
Myles Kennedy: No, I never got a word in that respect. I have a lot of respect for what he does.
Robert Cavuoto: During your solo show for Year of the Tiger, you perform a deconstructed version of Iron Maiden’s “The Trooper.” I was wondering what made you select that song and the thinking behind your interpretation of it?
Myles Kennedy: There wasn’t a lot of thinking about it. I recall being in my bunk while on tour in Europe and thought it would be fun to take a song and change the arrangement to fit what I was doing on my solo venture. That song popped into my head because I felt like I could manipulate it to where it would fit in the set, was fun to do, and people would recognize it. It went over a lot better than I thought. I thought that people might think I was crazy [laughing], but they seemed to enjoy it.
Robert Cavuoto: Can we expect another solo tour down the round?
Myles Kennedy: We’ll see, I’m just putting one foot in front of the other and focusing on Alter Bridge. Who knows what projects I’ll step into after this?
Alter Bridge is:
Myles Kennedy on vocals/guitars
Mark Tremonti on guitars/vocals
Brian Marshall on bass
Scott Phillips on drums
For more info visit: