Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Exclusive interview: Myles Kennedy thrilled to have written with Zeppelin members


Photo credit: Albe Serra, Barcelona, Spain, June 2008


Singer Myles Kennedy has opened up to LedZeppelinNews.com in an exclusive interview about his experiences writing music a year ago with Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones and Jason Bonham. The interview, recorded for the producers of Carol Miller's "Get the Led Out" Led Zeppelin spotlight radio series, was conducted on Dec. 16 by LedZeppelinNews.com.

Kennedy, who sings and plays guitar with the band Alter Bridge, first confirmed in January 2009 reports that he had spent part of 2008 rehearsing for a new, unnamed band to be formed with three-fourths of the trio that had recently performed as Led Zeppelin for one night in London. By the time Kennedy spoke up, the project had only recently been called off. All he was comfortable saying about it at the time is that he was "very grateful" for having had the experience.

Now that a year has passed since the project fell by the wayside, Kennedy has thoroughly answered a set of specific questions provided exclusively by LedZeppelinNews.com, seeking details about that collaboration.

The occasion for this interview was the release of the first live DVD from Alter Bridge. While unfinished business has prevented a deluxe edition of the Live from Amsterdam set from being released in stores so far, Kennedy says the fan reaction to a version being sold online has so far been positive, as was the fan reaction during the concert.




Filmed during a concert in Amsterdam on Dec. 7, 2008, the DVD shows the audience enthusiastically singing along to Alter Bridge's tunes. In the interview with LedZeppelinNews.com, Kennedy attempts to put into words the kind of rush he gets from hearing an entire audience singing back to him lyrics and melodies that he helped to create. He also discusses the onstage experience of singing cover songs like Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir" in a live setting.




As one can tell from viewing the DVD, Alter Bridge concerts provide a wide range of dynamics, from hard rock to solo acoustic material. Asked to name some of the musical influences on having such a diverse set, Kennedy signaled he and his bandmates are all influenced by Led Zeppelin, "the greatest of all time." A former session player who worked on heavy metal and hard rock in his earlier years, Kennedy said bands like Metallica, Slayer, Tesla and Journey have all impacted Alter Bridge songwriting.



A slightly earlier Alter Bridge concert date other than the Amsterdam show was originally planned to be the time and location for the DVD shoot, and that was on Nov. 8, 2008 in London. Kennedy says he recalls that show, held at the O2 Brixton Academy, as being a particularly thrilling night and one he wishes could have been documented on video. It was only after that concert that he learned Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones were in attendance, obviously checking him out as their group with him was still under consideration at the time.





By the time Alter Bridge went on the tour that saw them play in England and mainland Europe last November and December, Kennedy had already been rehearsing for months with Page, Jones and plus Jason Bonham. He says he is grateful to the drummer, who was an acquaintance of his from years earlier, for calling him to England to take part in the rehearsals.



In helping to craft some new material with the trio, Kennedy contributed both lyrics and melody but not any guitar. It was his voice they wanted, and he says he wasn't even sure if they even knew at that point he could play guitar. Kennedy spoke about being in his comfort zone singing and not playing guitar while also being recognized as a guitarist, such as when his Alter Bridge bandmate Mark Tremonti asked him to contribute a guitar lesson to a DVD project of his.





Since plans for the prospective band joining Page, Jones and Bonham with him fell through by the end of 2008, Kennedy has remained positive about his experience and continued writing new material. He says he has finished work on a solo album and is considering releasing it independently next year.




Solo work is not all that's in his future. Now that the Creed reunion tour is complete and his Alter Bridge bandmates are once again freed up, they have been in Florida writing material they intend to begin recording in February. He says he was surprised whenever he hears it reported that his group had broken up, although he does believe hardcore Alter Bridge fans are aware the band has always intended to continue making new music following the Creed tour.




Early this year, Jones was secretly rehearsing and recording with a new band of his own, Them Crooked Vultures. Kennedy says he was already a fan of Dave Grohl's work with the Foo Fighters and Josh Homme's work with Queens of the Stone Age, so it made sense to him that their collaboration with Jones was going to be a good one. He says he received an e-mail from Jones inviting him to come see Them Crooked Vultures live, so he attended their Oct. 24 concert in Portland and enjoyed it immensely. Asked if Jones recycled any of the material from his rehearsal sessions with Page and Bonham, Kennedy says he doesn't recognize any of the material.



He is also highly complimentary of Page, adding that while he was at first nervous about being in the presence of such "genius," both Page and Jones were able to make him feel comfortable in their working environment.



When LedZeppelinNews.com informed Kennedy during the interview that Page had just announced his intention to release some new music and play it live next year, he said he couldn't be more pleased that both Page and Jones would be giving fans the opportunity to "continue to feed off the masters." He says he looks forward to hearing Page's new work.



At the conclusion of the LedZeppelinNews.com interview, Kennedy had kind parting words for the interviewer, Steve Sauer.


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