"It’s the kind of record I’ve always wanted to make but never had the opportunity to..." hmv.com talks to Myles Kennedy about going solo on Year Of The Tiger
We've been hearing from Myles Kennedy in many different guises over the last 10 years. Mostly we know him as the singer of Alter Bridge, the hard rockers that sprung out of the ashes of Creed, but also as the octave straddling frontman in Slash's band, adding his own take on many of the frizzy-haired axeman's best-known hits and Guns N' Roses classics.
Now, he goes it alone, with The Year Of The Tiger, a solo album that finds him in a much more reflective mood, we spoke to him to find out all about it...
When did you start collecting the songs for this album?
"For the most part, I started the writing process in December of 2016. I spent about 7 months putting together the songs before going into the studio in the late summer of 2017. There were a handful of ideas including the title track, 'Year Of The Tiger' and 'Love Can Only Heal’ that I had sitting on the back burner for a few years prior."
When did you decide that your next project would be a solo record?
"I had been contemplating putting together a solo record for some time. In fact, I recorded an entire record and then decided not to release it a few years ago. I guess the decision to start over and proceed down this route for my next effort came about in late 2016."
Did you have a lot of songs to choose from for this record? How did you decide what sound you wanted to go for?
"I had about 20 completed songs to choose from. With that said, I had around 30 ideas in one form or the other that I felt were in the running. Regarding the sound and vibe of the record, I knew I wanted to go this route many years ago. It’s the kind of record I’ve always wanted to make but never had the opportunity to up until this point."
You worked with Michael Baskette on this album, as you have done on a lot of your previous work, what is it about him that keeps you coming back?
"Michael is a rare breed these days. He doesn’t just understand the sonic aspect of a recording but he has an amazing handle on the song side as well. Most important, he understands the psychology of making records and how to get the best out of an artist in every way. He is the perfect producer."
What kind of album is this lyrically? Do you think there’s a theme running through it?
"The story of the record revolves around my father’s death and the aftermath when I was a child. People have mentioned that it is a very dark record lyrically since it deals with such a heavy subject. With that said, it also pays tribute to my mother for her ability to stay strong through a difficult period in my family’s journey."
Which song on the album took the longest to get right?
"Probably 'Devil On The Wall'. That song went through a bunch of different phases before finally settling on that arrangement. Settling on the appropriate chorus took some time from what I can remember."
And which came together most quickly?
"Musically, 'The Ghost Of Shangri La' came together very quickly. I remember writing it in around an hour after breakfast one Sunday morning. Lyrically, it took a little time but lyrics are always a bit of an arduous process."
When did you settle on Year Of The Tiger for the title? Were any other titles in contention?
"I knew very early on that was going to be the title since the entire record tells the story of that particular year, which is 1974."
How’s your live set coming together? Will you just be playing from this new album? Or are you looking at songs from right across your career?
"At this point, I am playing an acoustic set that touches on the last 20 years of my career. It’s been a lot of fun having the opportunity to play songs from Mayfield Four, Alter Bridge, SMK&C (Slash featuring Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators) as well as my solo stuff. Definitely has made me aware of how incredibly lucky I am to have all these songs to pull from. It’s been a great journey."