Monday, July 15, 2024

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Myles Kennedy Talks About Upcoming Tour in Support of “Pawns & Kings” Written By:   Sharon Sipple


Alter Bridge is set to kick off the final leg of their tour in support of their 7th album “Pawns & Kings” on August 1st in Buffalo, NY.    Joining them on the road for select dates will be Sevendust, Mammoth WVH, and MJT.      I had the privilege to chat with Myles Kennedy about the tour and album.     I must say that Myles was so engaging and fun to talk to.    He is very thoughtful and insightful.  

The band wrapped the first leg of the tour which started in November 2022 and ended June 29 in Madrid, Spain.    After a much deserved break, they will hit the road again next week here in the United States to finish up the tour.   Myles is anxious to get back on the road and see the boys again as well as the fans.   He wants to enjoy the “fellowship of music”.    We talked about how music brings people together and how it truly touches peoples’ lives.   Myles shared that the ability to touch people and their lives is why they do what they do.  “As a writer, there is a gravity and responsibility you have.  You can’t just phone it in.   Someone will take the time to absorb and listen to what you created and that is pretty heavy.   Some people will find a lot of meaning in those songs and they become part of their life and you can’t take that lightly.   The fan base has made it clear from the beginning.   You hear their stories, see the tattoos and song lyrics they put on their body.   It isn’t something they just play in the background in their car.”

When asked about the European vs US audiences, Myles stated “it seems like the band landed in Europe quicker for whatever reason.   One of the last shows was in Portugal and the reaction was incredible and Spain as well.   It refills the tank.   In the last few years, the number of people and response has improved in the US.  It is like the movie ‘Field of Dreams”, which is one of my all-time favorite movies ……Build it and they will come.    We have built it over the last 20 years, and now they are showing up and it is great!.”  

We talked about “Pawns & Kings”.    Many reviews state that the new album is much heavier than previous albums.    I asked him if he thought that was a fair assessment.    He agreed that it was fair.    He said that he and Mark have talked about this a lot.    While doing a day of press, one person will say that it is their heaviest album to date and another will say it is the most optimistic and seem like the most happy album.    

Myles stated that going into this album, the band wanted it to be more stripped down and less produced.   This probably lent itself to the album coming across as a heavier.  They focused more on the riffs.   Each part must stand on it’s own.   You can’t say it is good enough and know that you can take it into the studio and put other parts on top to build it up.   Because they were so focused on keeping it stripped down,   every part had to be really strong.    This probably gave it a certain aggressive element.    

When asked about the fans reaction to the album, he stated that they seem to like it.   He goes by the reaction from fans when they play live.   He feels like overall, there is a connection.  “Occasionally, heads will stop moving, and you wonder if this part isn’t good enough.   But, it is part of the dynamics.   Songs need to breath and they need to take you on a journey.  If the whole thing is just rock out and you turn it up to 11 and you go, go, go, and there is no time to power down, that isn’t good.   It is for the sake of dynamics.  It can’t be a free for all all the time.”

Fable of the Silent Son is Myles’ favorite track from the album.   The band hasn’t performed it live yet, but are hoping to do so on this leg of the tour.   It really depends on whether he is able to navigate the playing and singing.    When this song was put together, the vocal melodies were laid down at the end.   Some of the riffs are really hard to play and then to try and sing on top of that would be difficult.   It is just a matter of practicing over and over.    

The discussion turned to what fans can expect on this leg of the tour.    The band is very aware that certain songs must be played.   Blackbird is the most important song of the band’s career and must be kept in the set.    Every effort is made to represent most of their records as fairly as they can.    The album that gets short changed most of the time is The Last Hero.   It is important to get all the fan favorites in your set.   Depending on the night, Alter Bridge will probably play 3-5 tracks off Pawns & Kings.    Myles is very hopeful that they will be able to pull of Fable of the Silent Son.    I for one am hoping to hear this when I attend their show on August 5th at The Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course in Grantville, PA.

I asked Myles how he would describe an Alter Bridge show to someone who had never seen them before.

He stated that is about the songs and a certain musicality.  It is not about a big production.   The band plays live, with no backing tracks.     The beauty of this is that every night you are getting something specific to that night.  There may be mistakes.  On a given night, his voice may be tired, or he could be on his “A” game.    On the original album, Burn it Down was sung by Myles.   However, when playing live, sometimes Mark will sing.   Instead of  Mark playing guitar solo at the end, Myles may play it.  When playing lead, Myles likes to improvise.    He will never play the same solo twice.   You will get something specific to that moment and it will never be repeated again.   If you go see a band that utilizes tracks, you will see virtually the same thing every night.    Alter Bridge is very proud of the fact that they do not use tracks.   The forces every member of the band to be on their “A” game, but there is a lot that can go wrong.    If you go see something on tracks, you will see the same thing every night.   There are certain specific songs that will always be in the set.    You must be aware that these are the songs that people come to hear and it is a delicate balance.

The band is approaching their 20th anniversary.    When asked what the key is to their longevity, Myles responded “Respect for each other, listening to each other and communicating.  Not letting things fester and just being transparent.   That is how any relationship works.   And being honest with each other. “

As mentioned earlier, the supporting acts for this leg of the tour are Sevendust, Mammoth WVH, and MJT.  Over the last year, Alter Bridge has toured with Mammoth WVH quite a bit.    Myles mentioned what an insane talent they are.     He has a great deal of respect for Sevendust and said they are one of the best bands out there.    Myles actually discovered MJT when he was out with Slash about a year and a half ago.   He became friends with them and heard their music.   He then played it for the guys in Alter Bridge and decided to bring them on the road with them.      

As far as what comes next… is time for the guys to power down, take a break and then start writing again.  

Don’t miss your opportunity to catch Alter Bridge live.   Check the link below to see when they will be in a city near you and to purchase your tickets!    I can’t wait to see them live on August 5th!

Alter Bridge Tour Dates and Tickets