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Interviews : “A lot of the stuff on this album is very politically charged” – An Interview with Myles Kennedy (Alter Bridge)

By on March 5, 2017

Alter-Bridge

Alter Bridge – Myles Kennedy

It is a very politically charged time we live in right now, in America especially but also across the globe. Turn on the news or open up your Facebook feed at any given time, and you can’t help but be bombarded by it. One good thing to come out of it all, as is so often the case with political, social or military turmoil or outrage around the world, is great music and art. Myles Kennedy, frontman of high-profile American heavy rockers Alter Bridge, tells us that his own band and writing process has not remained untouched by what is going on in his country and across the planet.

“A lot of the stuff on this album is very politically charged,” he states, referring to the band’s latest album, 2016’s The Last Hero, “so it’s potentially very controversial, and you never quite know how people are going to react to that. But I think that they’re emotions that people are relating to, so it’s so far, so good.”

Kennedy is happy to offer a somewhat guarded interpretation and insight into what he feels is going on in The States right now. “It’s just a very strange time, I’ve never really seen anything like it in my lifetime,” he admits, “I know it’s happened in the past, I think the last time it happened, the dynamic has been to this degree, was probably in the 60s when we had the Vietnam war.

“I think social media, in conjunction with what’s happened with our election, it’s added fuel to the fire. So it’s been a very interesting time.”

The will get a brief reprieve, of sorts, from the upheaval when they journey to Australia and New Zealand for a tour in a few weeks. Aside from the long-haul flight the tour entails, Kennedy is very much looking forward to visiting our shores once again.

“We’re very excited to get back there,” he enthuses, “Once we’re done with the long plane ride, once we touch down, it’s gonna be awesome. We just gotta get through that long flight.

“Movies are generally my way of getting through those long flights, I don’t sleep very well, because I’m a light sleeper anyway, but I always think about, any time I start whining about it I think there was a time when we couldn’t watch movies, and we didn’t have things to listen to music on, all you had was a book, so we should stop complaining because we’ve got it pretty easy.”

Alter Bridge have been around for well over a decade now and have five full-length records behind, and Kennedy assures hard core fans Down Under that there will something from every era of the band so far, and that they are also going to shake things up just a touch, in their setlist this tour.

“We’re going to touch on the last thirteen years of what we’ve done as a band,” he reveals, “and we’ve been fine-tuning it on the last few tours that we’ve embarked on. One of the things we were hearing from fans is that we’d kind of fallen into a rut, where we were essentially playing the same set night after night. We have such an incredible fanbase where some fans will come out for maybe the entire run. They’re like ‘Deadheads’ (the fanatical fans of the band The Grateful Dead).

“So we try to mix it up a little more these days. But with that said, I still feel we can be better! So we’ll see what else we can get integrated into the set once we get down your way.”

Across the course of that 13 year career, the band have hit on an almost clockwork-like level of consistency with their releases, putting out an album every three years virtually on the dot. This has also given them a nice balance between not overexposing themselves by releasing too often, whilst not falling off the radar by not releasing enough. That said, it apparently isn’t something they actually planned.

“It just kinda worked out that way,” he states, “I think from the first record, to (second album) Blackbird, it was three years because we were trying to get out of our deal at the time, with the record label we were on. In a lot of ways it worked to our advantage because it gave us so much time to write material. And since then we all had other entities that we were working with that meant it got to that three year cycle, and that became the MO of releasing records.

“With the three-year rule, it seems to be just long enough so that people haven’t forgotten about us and they still get their musical appetite satiated. So yeah, it’s working to our advantage.”

And although the members have myriad other musical projects on the go, including Kennedy’s ongoing work with Slash, for the moment it’s all about Alter Bridge. “It’s all guns blazing with Alter Bridge,” he says, “that’s our focus for the year. Just tour and promote, tour and promote, and play to as many people as we can.”

alter bridge aus tour 2017

Alter Bridge 2017 Australian Tour
Supported by Like A Storm

Saturday, 1st April
Powerstation, Auckland
Tickets: MJR Presents

Monday, 3rd April 2017
Eatons Hill, Brisbane
Tickets: MJR Presents

Tuesday, 4th April 2017
Enmore Theatre, Sydney
Tickets: MJR Presents

Thursday, 6th April 2017
Festival Hall, Melbourne
Tickets: MJR Presents

Saturday, 8th April 2017
Metropolis, Perth
Tickets: MJR Presents

About

Rod Whitfield is a Melbourne-based writer and retired musician who has been writing about music since 1995. He has worked for Team Rock, Beat Magazine, themusic.com.au, Heavy Mag, Mixdown, The Metal Forge, Metal Obsession and many others. He has written and published his memoirs of his life and times in the music biz, and also writes books, screenplays, short stories, blogs and more.