Alter Bridge front man talks Year of the Tiger
THANKS TO social media, Myles Kennedy — or any artist, for that matter — need never again suffer the rigors of being interviewed. With a camera and Internet connection, it’s now possible to communicate directly with fans and tell them everything they need to know. Still, Kennedy does it the old-fashioned way: hour after hour of answering media questions — often the same ones — and sharing his message over and over. It’s worth it, he says, in order to reach beyond social platforms and across to publications that can bring his music to new audiences.
His recent flurry of outreach surrounds his debut solo album, Year of the Tiger, an intensely personal work that focuses on the loss of his father — a needless tragedy, he says, brought about by religious beliefs that meant refusing medical attention during illness. Kennedy was four years old at the time, and years later, the gutting sense of loss remains. For decades, as a songwriter, he wanted to address the subject, but it took him until now to gather the courage.
In turn, he finds himself sometimes figuratively picking off the healing scab from his wounded heart as he is asked to relive the pain that drove the project. “Most haven’t gone quite that deep,” he says, “But a handful of interviews have gotten pretty heavy.”
GEARPHORIA: I watched one of the Facebook interviews during which you answered questions from fans. What they asked was often so in-depth, things that the media might never think to ask about. They’re so personally connected to you and your music. It brought to mind something Joe Satriani said in one of our interviews: “The fans gift you your career.”
MYLES: Joe’s statement is very true, and it does make you aware of just how in tune with you they are, the little details they know and understand. It makes me feel very grateful, obviously, but it does remind me that you can never phone it in, because they will call you out on it. Not that I would ever want to phone anything in, I don’t know if it’s in my DNA, but it certainly serves as a tremendous amount of inspiration to not let them down. When you get interviews like that, you see that they really are paying attention, they read every line of these lyrics, and this isn’t something where, as a songwriter, you can just go, “Well, what rhymes with time? Mime! It doesn’t mean anything, but it sounds good!” No, because they expect more from you. I have a friend in the U.K., Ginger Wildheart, who’s a great songwriter, who told me that he considers his fan base as his bosses. When he walks out there, he works for them. I thought that was a real good way of looking at it.