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MYLES KENNEDY On Juggling Three Successful Projects: 'I Don't Take Any Of This For Granted'
Vocalist Myles Kennedy (ALTER BRIDGE, SLASH FEATURING MYLES KENNEDY & THE CONSPIRATORS) recently spoke with the "Nothing Shocking" podcast. The full conversation can be streamed below (interview starts at the 15:32 mark). A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET). On his goals as a performer: Myles: "It's nice to know that people enjoy what you do. I guess the word that comes is grateful — you're grateful that through years of hard work and time put into doing something, that hopefully it's resonating with other humans. The most important thing for me is that it's hopefully making other people happy. I think that when I go out on stage every night, I always think, 'Maybe there's somebody in the audience who's bumming, who's had something bad happen. Maybe this is a means of escape for them. Maybe there's just a need for music to heal that night,' and I'm kind of the conduit for that. I try to look at it as you're serving as a purpose in the world, in your community, whatever, and push the ego side out, because I think there's a tendency to be satiated by positive words of affirmation, and that can go to your head. I feel like that will detract from the whole thing. It's important to do it for the right reasons." On juggling his schedules with ALTER BRIDGE, THE CONSPIRATORS and his solo career: Myles: "Because of the nature of this business, and because I had enough ups and downs early on to where I don't take any of this for granted. Things have been going really well for the last few years, so you're always kind of afraid that it's going to end tomorrow, so you just work as hard as you can while you can. With that said, it's getting to the point where I'm gone so much, and what's most important to me in my life is my marriage. I love my wife, and I love what we've established over the last 15-16 years, so I want to make sure I don't take away from that with the amount that I'm gone. It's really just trying to find that balance. She's incredibly supportive. You couldn't ask for a better partner through this whole experience, especially considering how much I'm on the road, but we'll see how it plays out in the next few years. I will say that there's still that drive, that need to play music, and I think that's a big part of it." On the importance of finding your voice: Myles: "I think that when you're trying to find out who you are as an artist, especially as a singer, because it's such an important part of the equation — how you use your voice and the inflections and the timbre of it... My voice is an interesting entity in that it's pretty elastic, to the point where it can almost be a problem if you're trying to establish who you are in the musical landscape. There were periods in my career where I was listening to specific artists a lot, and vocally I would start to kind of mimic that, and I'd catch myself and be, like, 'You've got to pull the reins in here. This isn't what you're trying to do.' What you want to do is find your voice, find out who you are, establish your identity, because that's all you can do to kind of leave something behind. It took me a really long time to get that figured out, and it was just through trial and error, essentially — just experimenting." On the fact that ALTER BRIDGE, THE CONSPIRATORS and his debut solo album, "Year Of The Tiger", sound different from each other: Myles: "I think that because I play in bands with guitar players who are very different and my playing style is also very different from theirs, so when I stepped out to do my solo record, I had that to help differentiate the sounds. Also, somebody that I really admired and always respected the way he approached his career — his kind of chameleon approach — was David Bowie. He had this ability to kind of transform himself and be appropriate in whatever style he chose to step into, and that was something that was important to me if I was going to try this — to experiment with my inflections and experiment with the range that I would use in a given project, and kind of have a sonic characteristic so that it was varied enough... but at the same time, retaining the sonic hallmarks of my voice to where it wasn't like, 'Oh, who's that?' I wanted it to be like, 'Well, that's Myles, but he's doing something a little different here.'" On wanting to avoid repeating himself on "Year Of The Tiger": Myles: "I knew what I didn't want to do, stylistically, was make another hard rock record, because I already have the luxury of playing in these two bands that have established a legacy and have put out multiple records, so to put out another album that just sounded the same, to me, I wasn't taking advantage of the opportunity of making a solo record in that case. I felt like it would dilute what I'm doing with the other projects. This was a really great opportunity for me to do something different, to challenge myself and make music that hopefully will really just kind of push me." On not wanting to burn himself out: Myles: "It's something that I think about frequently. I had no idea how all this was going to work out years ago — the fact that I play in these bands that have a certain following and have a certain trajectory that seems to be going in the desired direction — and touring as much as we do, it has crossed my mind that, 'Am I oversaturating the market,' for lack of a better word, 'and do I pull the reins back in a little bit, just not to overdo it?' I think that's something I'm going to really have to give some thought to in the future... If you're constantly coming back around, it's no longer special." Kennedy kicked off an 18-date U.S. tour in support of "Year Of The Tiger" — released on March 9 via Napalm Records — on November 13. From there, he will spend much of 2019 touring with THE CONSPIRATORS.
MARTY FRIEDMAN On Classic Live Albums That Inspired His 'One Bad M.F. Live!!'
Guitarist Marty Friedman (MEGADETH, CACOPHONY) recently spoke with Metal Wani about his new live album, "One Bad M.F. Live!!". The full conversation can be streamed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET and Metal Wani). On the classic live albums that inspired him: Marty: "I would definitely prefer live albums when I was in my young teens. Even though I would get the studio albums and I enjoyed those too, but live albums were just the shit, man. I loved KISS 'Alive!', the RAMONES' 'It's Alive', 'Frampton Comes Alive!', BLUE ÖYSTER CULT, UFO, FOGHAT, Robin Trower. Live albums were an awesome thing back then. I guess they might have fallen out of fashion after that, but at the time, especially the Frampton and the KISS ones, they were the biggest sellers of anything back then. I think it's because they make you feel like you're at the concert without seeing it. I guess because video got really popular after that, people wanted to watch the videos of the concerts. But before then, you really to present it in just an audio format. And boy, it got me, man — [it] made me want to go to concerts so bad." On being a band leader: Marty: "I think the preparation for me is to make sure that what they're doing is going to make it easy for me to do my job, which is to basically be a singer on guitar. The bass and drums, the way that they lock... it's because we've been playing together for a long time, but I think even more, it's because of the way that they play naturally. They're both very super-aggressive players, but firmly into not overplaying, and always playing to each other... We played pretty much the same thing every night, but the band is really tight in such a fashion that if we were to ad-lib something, even that would be locked up the same way." On his song "Dragon Mistress": Marty: "That comes from my first solo album, which was like a billion years ago. At the time, believe it or not, I was trying to make the poppiest song on the record. It was a really simple type of groove, and I dropped the guitar to a drop-D tuning for it, which back then, wasn't really done at all, hardly. There were probably some guys doing it, but it didn't really become fashionable until much later. It kind of gives you that heavy sound... Playing it now, it kind of makes me really appreciative that people still care about that record now. It's just kind of flattering that people care about it and they like that song from that album. It also gives us a chance to do something different every night. We ad-lib it. Oftentimes, we bring a fan from the audience to play. There's a breakdown where it gets kind of slow and quiet, and it's just me playing on the record, but nine times out ten, we'll just drag somebody completely random out of the audience and do it. It's hit and miss. Nine times out of ten, the guys are really good and we have a lot of fun, but every once in a while... somebody wants to come up and they don't even know how to play guitar. [Laughs] That's always funny." On whether he misses living in America: Marty: "Up until I recorded [2014's] 'Inferno', I was really away from the U.S. a lot. I definitely missed it. Obviously, family and friends, but I really missed playing for American audiences. Then when I came back to play for 'Inferno' and did that tour, I was just so thankful that people supported me despite me being away so long and came out to the shows and had a great time and started to get into what I'm doing now, rather than what they knew me from before." Friedman's 14th solo record, "One Bad M.F. Live!!", was released on October 19. The album was recorded in Mexico City on April 14 during the final concert of Friedman's world tour in support of his 2017 album "Wall Of Sound", which debuted on Billboard's Heatseekers chart at No. 12. Joining Friedman on "One Bad M.F. Live!!" are his bandmates Kiyoshi on bass, Jordan Ziff (RATT) on guitar and Chargeeee on drums. Friedman will kick off an American tour in support of the album in San Diego, California on January 23. The Texas-based "super metal" group IMMORTAL GUARDIAN will open.
DEEN CASTRONOVO On Getting Fired From JOURNEY: 'They Did What They Had To Do'
Former JOURNEY and current THE DEAD DAISIES drummer Deen Castronovo recently spoke with Andy Rawll of MetalTalk.net. The full conversation can be seen below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET). On how he bounced back from his 2015 indictments for rape, assault, sexual abuse, unlawful use of a dangerous weapon and contempt of court: Deen: "For me, what I had to do was really focus on recovery. That was most important — that was job one — and gaining the trust and respect back from my family, my kids, my wife, my grandbabies, my father, my mother, everybody. I wasn't thinking about music at that time. I didn't even touch my drum kit. I'd walk by and go, 'Yeah, it's not time.' I just knew. There was a point when [the Italian record label] Frontiers asked me to do REVOLUTION SAINTS, and I went, 'Well, let me think about it.' I waited another year until it was time. It was like, 'Okay, I'm ready to do this. Let's go ahead and do this.' For me, it was really important just to really stay focused, because this disease beat me up for quite a while, and it's nice to be away from that. Being the person that I am today, it's a good thing." On drawing musical inspiration from that period in his life: Deen: "REVOLUTION SAINTS was really almost autobiographical. It was a lot of stuff about what was going on in my life, and I had to spill it. It was something that really needed to be taken out of me, so that was a huge thing. Now, THE DEAD DAISIES have fulfilled the recording/touring side, which is what I've been aching to do, but I knew I couldn't at that point... I'm working again, I'm playing, I'm loving it." On writing the REVOLUTION SAINTS song "Freedom": Deen: "That was the first song I've ever written. I came up with a guitar riff and I sent it to Doug [Aldrich], and I said, 'Can you do something with this?' He goes, 'Yeah. Let me mess with it for a little while'... Lyrically, it was funny. When I was in treatment, every day, we would have to journal. At the end of every one of my journals, I would say, 'Freedom, coming my way.' It was like, every day is a day towards freedom — freedom from drugs, alcohol, all the stuff that kind of has weighed me down in my life. Being able to purge on that record was huge for me. I needed it — I really did — and that [song] really kind of spills it." On not rushing his recovery: Deen: "You can't, especially in this industry. I spent 22 years on and off of drugs. For me to finally hit bottom, come back up and go, 'You know what? If I'm going to do this, I'm going to do this right this time. It's not going to be half-measures anymore.' I had to throw everything aside and put that first. It's still first — God and sobriety, family, job, in that order. That's my mantra now; that's what matters to me." On his performance on the latest DEAD DAISIES album, "Burn It Down": Deen: "Usually, I'm a very chops-oriented person. I'm a very busy drummer. I remember John Corabi coming up and he goes, 'Deen, put on your Bill Ward cap.' Once he said that, I saw the vision — it was like, 'I know what they need. I know what they want.' I did my best to deliver for them... Being in JOURNEY as long as I was, you learned how to play for the song, number one. There was a certain swing that Steve Smith has. I did my best to duplicate his stuff, but I noticed on this record, it just felt really, really swingy. It's still straight, but... you can feel what's going on. It's kind of a cool thing. I think I brought a little bit of that to the table – a little bit more of a swing, a little bit more of a bounce." On reconnecting with JOURNEY guitarist Neal Schon for a February 2018 benefit show: Deen: "Honestly, it's an honor. To work with JOURNEY at all was a blessing and a privilege and an honor. They did what they had to do, and I never fought them for that. That was the smart thing to do; that's the business thing to do. But Neal and I have always been really close. Neal found me; he discovered me in a little rehearsal place in San Rafael. I've always been tight with him. Even when all this went down, he always checked on me... We've always kept in contact, so I'm very loyal to him. Even though he had to do the tough love thing, he never gave up [on me]. I respect Neal for that. He's my big brother, and I'd do anything for him... I always wanted to be in JOURNEY. I had two bands I wanted to be in when I was young — KISS or JOURNEY. KISS, I look like crap in spandex, so we know that wasn't going to happen. JOURNEY was my [other dream], because I love Steve Perry, and I love what Smith brought to the table. To be able to fill that seat for 17 years was an honor. Now he's back where he belongs. He needs to be there. That is his band. I warmed the seat, but that's his gig. He deserves it. He's original — he's the best." On Steve Perry: Deen: "There's stuff that Mr. Perry's done that nobody can touch. To me, he is the greatest singer of my generation — he and Ronnie James Dio." On what's left on his musical bucket list: Deen: "I would love to play drums on a STONE SOUR record, but I love Roy [Mayorga]. I love Corey Taylor — I think he's a genius. The man is just brilliant, in my opinion. Great songwriter, awesome poet. I love SLIPKNOT to death, and I've always loved STONE SOUR. I'm a huge fan, so I would love to work with him if I could." THE DEAD DAISIES continue to tour in support of their fourth album, "Burn It Down", which was released on April 6 via Spitfire. In addition to Castronovo, the band features Doug Aldrich (WHITESNAKE, DIO), John Corabi (MÖTLEY CRÜE, THE SCREAM), Marco Mendoza (WHITESNAKE, THIN LIZZY) and Australian businessman-turned-rocker David Lowy (RED PHOENIX, MINK).
ACE FREHLEY Says He 'Never' Practices Playing Guitar: 'I Don't Really Need To Anymore'
Prior to an in-store appearance in New York City on October 19, former KISS guitarist Ace Frehley spoke with Dave Stutts of Sam Ash. The full conversation can be viewed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET). On the current artists that inspire him: Ace: "There's nothing new. I heard about that new group GRETA VAN something. Supposedly they kind of sound like LED ZEPPELIN, but I haven't really had the time to check them out. But I still listen to THE [ROLLING] STONES and THE WHO and CREAM, [JIMI] HENDRIX, LED ZEPPELIN... those are staples for me. There's not a group like THE WHO out anymore. There's not a group like CREAM out anymore. I don't know why. There's no LED ZEPPELIN anymore. There's no Jeff Beck. There's no BEATLES and STONES — well, THE STONES are still doing it, God bless 'em." On whether he still practices playing guitar: Ace: "Never. I've been playing guitar since I was 13. I'm 67, so what's that — 54 years? I don't really need to practice anymore. I just pick up the guitar when I'm inspired." On his home studio: Ace: "I have a home studio with Pro Tools set up, so all I do is hit a button and throw out an idea. I do a lot of the engineering on my albums myself, like 'Fire And Water', the track that Paul Stanley sang on 'Origins, Vol. 1'. I was the one that engineered that guitar solo, and the one on the record from beginning to end, there's no edit on that. I don't like recording with plug-ins. I use old mics, old pre-amps, old amplifiers, vintage guitars. I got really angry because I was working with an engineer who was... the sound I was hearing was a plug-in, and somehow, he had installed the plug-in into my system, but after he left my house, it crapped out. I'm trying to listen to the guitar track I did, which sounded great with the plug-in, and it was all clean. I'm completely against recording that way. I want to record and print what I'm hearing, not rely on a plug-in. The less plug-ins I use, to me, the more vintage it sounds." On watching and learning: Ace: "I've learned so many miking techniques from guys like [former KISS collaborators] Eddie Kramer and Bob Ezrin. I use a lot of that stuff whenever I record... I'm still experimenting to this day. Every time I do a record, I try something different and come up with some different combination of miking. Sometimes, I'll put a mic in the hallway and get natural ambiance, which always sounds better to me than digital reverb." On a particularly bad show he remembers: Ace: "I did gig with a band when I was, like, 20, in Patterson, New Jersey. It was a mob joint, and I kind of drank too much, so by the end of the night, I was playing too loud, and the owner kept complaining, and I pretty much ignored him. At the end of the night, he didn't want to pay us the full amount that he promised us, so the leader of the band who hired me because his guitar player was sick, he said, 'Well, if you want that extra money, you're going to have to go ask him yourself.' I went over and said, 'Where's the extra sixty bucks?' The next thing you know, he gives me a shot across the bar. I didn't know he was a professional boxer at one point in time. He fractured my cheekbone. That wasn't my favorite gig." Frehley — whose new solo album, "Spaceman", was released on October 19 via eOne — played first left KISS in 1982. He rejoined in 1996 and parted ways with the band once again in 2002, soon after the conclusion of their first "farewell tour."
GRAHAM BONNET Says He Will Soon Get Together With 50-Year-Old Son He Has Never Met
Prior to his performance with MICHAEL SCHENKER FEST at the British festival Hard Rock Hell on November 8, vocalist Graham Bonnet (ALCATRAZZ, RAINBOW, GRAHAM BONNET BAND) spoke with Heavy TV. The full conversation can be seen below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET). On his ongoing touring with his solo band: Graham: "It's going very well. We're playing every shed you can imagine, every club, every festival we can do with the GRAHAM BONNET BAND, which may have a name change coming up very soon, which I won't tell you about just now... but it's doing good. We have our second album that's out, and it's doing really well. It's called 'Meanwhile, Back In The Garage', and I hope that a few folks will have a listen to it, because if they liked anything I've done in the past with ALCATRAZZ [or] with RAINBOW, they'll definitely like this. I'm proud of it. Hopefully it's more up-to-date and isn't too 1980s, but it's very hard to bring this kind of music into 2018 because it is what it is. If you go too far away from that direction, people will go, 'What the fuck is that?' You can't do rap or something. [But] I think the band I have right now is really good, and I'm really proud of them." On striving for a more modern sound: Graham: "It's basically within the instrumentation, if the band sounds kind of modern. That's really all I'm going for. I've always been a sucker for harmony. I always put harmony in everything... I really like unusual harmonies, sort of discordant jazz harmonies and things, to put along with hard rock stuff, because it works really well. As far as lyrics and melody goes, I think I've taken the melody lines a little bit further. The lyrics [are] always about real stuff, real life. If something happens on TV, I like to be like a reporter... always reporting, I think, is the way to go, instead of fantasy." On bassist Beth-Ami Heavenstone's role in encouraging him to start the GRAHAM BONNET BAND: Graham: "She and I are kind of, like, together. We've been together for four years. We started the band together because she suggested that I get back on the road again not playing with pick-up bands from different countries — if I'm playing in Finland, play with a Finnish band, et cetera. To have a band that's actually there every day and knows exactly what I'm going to do — when I'm going to fart, when I'm going to throw up, whatever. It's nice to have sort of a family. We're doing good. We have a great drummer; she's a great bass player; and we have a great guitar player right now; and we have Jimmy Waldo, who's the keyboard player from ALCATRAZZ [and] who is now a member too... We almost started out doing an acoustic thing, and then someone said, 'I don't think you're going to get away with that somehow' — bass, two acoustic guitars, but still singing heavy rock stuff, but without a drummer and keyboard player. It didn't work, so we re-thunk. I had to, really. I'm proud of what's going on now. It's really good." On who he'd love to work with: Graham: "Jeff Lynne. I was asked to join ELO when ELO first started back in 1970-something. I went to meet up with Roy Wood and Jeff Lynne. I turned the job down. They played me all these tracks, and I went, 'What the hell is that?' It was all these cellos going on. There were no songs, but I heard all the tracks. They said to me, 'Do you want the job?' I said, 'I don't know. I'm not sure.' I went back home to my girlfriend at that time. She said, 'You're going on the road? You'll meet all these girls,' blah blah blah... I didn't do it. I turned it down because of my girlfriend. Whether that was a good move at the time, I don't know. I don't know what would have happened." On his upcoming plans: Graham: "We're going back to Spain to do about five gigs, and then we go home to start recording another album. I have some things to do personally. I'm going to be going home and meeting a boy that is my son I've never met. He's 50. His brothers and sisters, my other kids, don't know him yet. He lives in in Canada. That's what I'll be doing when we'll have this time off. It's going to be very strange, but at the same time, very emotional. I'm really excited about it. The funny thing is, this man was a fan of RAINBOW and of ALCATRAZZ, and he didn't know I was his dad. That's the interesting part." The GRAHAM BONNET BAND released its new album, "Meanwhile, Back In The Garage", on July 13 via Frontiers Music Srl. The disc offers 13 new songs where Bonnet lays down his inimitable vocals over a selection of tunes full of great hooks and melodies. It includes a bonus live DVD captured at a "Live From Daryl's House" performance in early 2018.