5 Questions With Alter Bridge’s Myles Kennedy + Sevendust’s Clint Lowery
The friendship between Alter Bridge and Sevendust has grown over the years, and during the recent ShipRocked Cruise, we managed to catch up with Alter Bridge frontman Myles Kennedy and Sevendust guitarist Clint Lowery, who were hanging out together. They both talked about their admiration for each other and future projects they’re working on. Check out our interview with Myles Kennedy of Alter Bridge and Clint Lowery of Sevendust:
As far as ShipRocked goes, Sevendust are the veterans. Even though Mark Tremonti has been on the cruise before, it’s a first for Alter Bridge. How would each of you describe the ShipRocked experience?
Myles Kennedy: It’s like a traveling, floating festival. You have all these bands and as a fan you can go and discover new bands as ones that you’re familiar with and love. I think one of the most important parts of it is that you’re with very like-minded people. It’s a very tribal thing. It’s a boat full of not passive listeners but active listeners and there’s a big difference. It’s exciting for all of us to be a part of that.
Clint Lowery: I completely agree. What’s funny is that all the years of doing it there’s this culture of people and you see them off the boat and it’s this thing where you survived this experience together. You physically run into everyone, I was thinking about the amount of people on here and I run into everybody. It’s a unique situation. Like Myles said the fans are active, they’re into it, they’re supporting, they spent a lot of money to be on here and they do it year after year. It’s a good connection, it’s an expanded experience with the listeners and fans.
The friendship between Alter Bridge and Sevendust is apparent. When did each of you realize the camaraderie was there? When you first saw each other’s bands live what did you think?
MK: That’s an easy question for me. The first time I saw them was in 1998 and there was a festival in Virginia. I was in a band at the time called The Mayfield Four. Their first single was on the radio so I was familiar with the music but I had no idea what to expect sitting at the side of the stage. It was a mind-blowing. You guys destroyed that day, they just crushed everybody, there was a band on after and I felt bad for them. They just have great grooves, great melodies and I’ve been a fan for almost 20 years.
CL: This guy. There’s no secret, we grew up with Creed and did a lot of touring with those guys, who are such good guys, and when that kind of started falling apart, I was a gigantic Mayfield Four fan. There was a movement of singers and there were a few guys who were doing things that I loved and he was one of them. When they were gunning to find a new singer and I heard Myles was in the mix – because I really wanted them to have the opportunity to have a singer that represents their drive. I just wanted to hear anything he was going to do, I was just a super fan. To meet him, the type of person he is – he’s just one of my favorite people to sit down with and pick his brain creatively. He’s given me little bits of inspiration on the along the way via text. I just adore and respect him, I’m getting super mushy in front of him right now.
MK: Yeah you’re making me blush. I have never told you this but the reason I decided to make a solo record which is sitting somewhere is because of the Hello Demons Meet Skeletons because you had all of these different elements. He’s such a great writer and what he does with Sevendust is brilliant but he also has his own distinct sound. So when I heard the Demons Meets Skeletons record I thought it was a great record and wanted to do something like that.
CL: I’ve texted him so many times “When is the Myles thing coming out?” There’s filters you have to go through in collaborations and you have to play well with others. Sometimes that vision can be enhanced and sometimes that vision can be quiet. So I always want to know what he would do if it was just him and he controlled every aspect of it.
How is the progression on the solo stuff going? Are there any side projects for you Clint or more Call Me No One material with Morgan Rose?
MK: It’s good, that record has been done for a while now, I’m writing a new one, I just need to write. That’s what I love more than anything, just creating.
CL: I don’t know if it’s going to be Morgan and I. I’m going to do a five song EP and I’m just going to try to find a direction and try to get that out. Sevendust is going to be on hiatus for about a year. Like Myles said, just to work and see what happens, if I don’t do it I just feel empty, it’s like this lonesome oppression I go in if I’m not creating something.
Both bands have major album anniversaries for Alter Bridge it’s the 10-year anniversary of Blackbird and for Sevendust self-titled debut came out 20 years ago in 1997 and Alpha came out 10 years ago in 2007. What were some memories from each of these albums in either the creative or recording process that you’d like to share?
MK: That’s easy, the song “Blackbird” we chased that down for months. We knew that it could be something special but we just needed to make sure that all the parts were there. As you record, you go back and listen to it and I was at Mark’s [Tremonti] house and we were listening back and I felt like it was the defining moment for this band. I just feel like that’s what we had been search for, for so long. That was a big moment for us, maybe the most important moment that I can remember for this band and for the evolution of this band.
CL: We always joke around – I though the shelf life for our band was going to be very short. I knew how business was at the time. If we have two records that would be great, three would be fantastic and we kept doing it – then there were challenges of trying to evolve and have a different sound but not lose the core of what you are and just to get through all those obstacles have been an incredible experience. The victory in itself is just surviving this long. When I split off to do Dark New Day with my brother I needed it at the time. I was in a terrible mental state, alcohol addiction and handling things weird. Sevendust did three records without me, one every year for three years Next, Alpha and then they pulled Myles in on Chapter VII and I was pissed because I wanted to work with him. [Laughs]
I was rooting for Sevendust. I love those records they did without me, I was curious – it was like seeing you ex with someone else but in a healthy way. I wanted them to be happy, I love them and I needed to be away from them for that amount of time. It made me appreciate the connection I have with them, the humility that I found in that they provided a lot of success for me so egos and all that stuff were squashed. To rejoin them and stay sober, it’s been quite the journey. I always ask them to play more of those songs from those three records. They’re tired of it but I love those songs.
Certain songs on Sevendust’s latest album Kill the Flaw and tracks on Alter Bridge’s new record The Last Hero, do you think they have taken on a new life in the current political and societal climate and if so how?
CL: It’s loud indeed. I think the closest we go to that was the song “Death Dance” which is about social media and that everyone is so worried about what everyone else thinks and the pop culture of it. I’ll watch all these reality shows with my wife and I get connected to it and I hate these shows but I watch them and it pulls me in. There’s something about watching people fall apart and it isn’t necessarily a good thing. It shows who we are, our character and our lack of character. That’s the closest world issue we tap into, we don’t usually get too political but now it’s different and it’s really loud now. Lajon [Witherspoon] has strong opinions about it, I try to keep away from it because I don’t think I’m knowledgeable enough on it to get on a stage and pull that factor into our live show.
MK: Yeah, I think with The Last Hero – I was somewhat concerned about writing a record inspired by what was going on with the election last year. It was just so loud I couldn’t turn it down, it was just there and so it came out. I thought once November came and went that would be it and now it seems to have amplified, it’s a very polarized time in our country and some of those songs are obviously reflecting that.
Myles Kennedy Plays 'Wikipedia: Fact or Fiction?'
Sevendust Play 'Wikipedia: Fact or Fiction?'