It’s the biggest bromance in the business! Slash and Myles Kennedy are back with their third collaborative album, Living The Dream. Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators sees the Guns N’ Roses god and his brother in rock Myles Kennedy, better known as the frontman for hard rock heroes Alter Bridge, bring forth another amazing offering of classic rock vibes that paints a picture of gratitude.
Kindred spirits united in sound, Slash and Myles’s mutual vision and appreciation for each other shines through in this banging new release, and the vocalist had a chat with Music Feeds all about the emotive trip that was writing Living The Dream, plus what it’s like to work with someone like Slash, who’s as dedicated and in love with music as he is.
Music Feeds: I’ve been listening to Living The Dream, congratulations, you guys have done it again.
Myles Kennedy: Well thank you, that’s always nice to hear.
MF: I’ve gotta say, I’m loving the album artwork – which one of the smileys on Slash’s hat is you?
MK: [Laughs] I’m not sure but that’s a good question! I like it as well, I think it’s really cool. I liked the last three too, they’re all pretty cool.
MF: This one particularly suits the vintage vein of the album really well. When you’ve done stuff with Slash and The Conspirators you’ve always been pure rock ‘n’ roll, pure being the operative word here, but this album in particular, what were you guys aiming for when you came together to write it?
MK: I can speak for myself that as a writer you tend to go into something knowing you’re in a way, at the mercy of your muse. Whatever the vibe is, you try and pick up on that and try and spit it back out. And the interesting thing about this record is that because these songs have been in the works off and on for a few years – we started writing a lot of these back in 2015 – I think it’s the majority of the songs that were started back then and it was just a matter of completing them to get this record going.
MF: Now of course, you released your fantastic solo album, Year Of The Tiger fairly recently, and I understand that album was really personal and written for your father? How far do the collaborations you’re involved with influence your work when you do solo stuff?
MK: I like to learn from every opportunity I get and, you know, with the collaborative effort, what happens is you’re in such close proximity to your writing partner for such extended periods of time, certain things that might be part of their DNA musically might start to rub off on you, or in a lot of ways the way they might go down chasing a song you’ll start to pick up, I think over the last 15 years in particular, for me, having an opportunity to collaborate with the guys has helped me out a lot. I think it’s broadened my horizons creatively and helped me tap into things I probably wouldn’t have prior to that.
MF: And I imagine it’s a reciprocal arrangement as well because in terms of broadening creative horizons, Slash is still doing it, The Conspirators are still doing it – Living The Dream, indeed. How are you still pulling out all these great creative ideas after all this time?
MK: Oh man, it’s a good question, and I think for me the fear is always that the well will eventually dry up. It always kinda surprises me when another record’s done that there’s still something to be said there [laughs], you know? So I’m always really grateful for that because I will say that I have gone through dry spells as a writer, and that’s a scary thing. When you feel the creative juices aren’t rolling and you keep hitting a wall, you start to wonder if you’ve tapped into everything, is there nothing left to be said or sung about? I just feel very grateful at the end of each record, you know, there was something left to be, whether it was a story to be told or an emotion to convey, there was always something.
MF: Can you not refill that well when you do things like heading out on your upcoming North American tour? Does that audience reaction help you to continue creating new music, to get new ideas?
MK: Oh absolutely! I think it’s the incentive. When you see the power that music you’ve been a part of creating has on people’s lives, that’s what drives you to keep wanting to go back to the well.
But for me, in terms of the material and the context of the material, that’s a different thing. That comes from living and life experiences. One thing, especially with the amount I’m on tour and the amount I’m on the road, the thing I start getting concerned about is I don’t want to write songs just about being the road, I want to have different dynamics and concepts to pull from. So it’s an interesting dynamic with all of that and it’s really about finding a good balance.
MF: For sure, and I did see you mentioned in a recent interview the touring and how much you are on the road – I think you’ve been on and off for the last four years with Alter Bridge, Slash, your solo stuff, not to mention supporting and headline tours – ‘living the dream’, as they say. Do you still feel like you’re living the dream?
MK: Oh yeah! [Laughs]
MF: Cool. Just checking!
MK: Yeah, I’m very aware and lucky and grateful, I don’t take any of this for granted, absolutely not.
MF: You’re touring, touring, touring, but when are you going to get you guys back in Australia? I can’t even remember what year it was you were here with Slash.
MK: Hopefully soon! Too long! I wold love to get back there myself. Some of my earliest, oh geez, one of the first gigs we ever did was in Australia many years ago, so it’s definitely part of the equation.
MF: Does it ever get stale, when people like me say, ‘When are you coming back to tour’? You know it’s just because, hey, there’s new material, there’s new parties to be had, new celebrations to be made of your music… Do you know what I mean?
MK: That’s a beautiful thing. And it’s cool people enquire because it lets you know people care and want you back, that lets you know that pursuit of chasing down your songs for your next record, it’s not in vain, asking is all part of the process.
MF: Speaking of caring, the thought just occurred to me, I should ask about what I’ve seen in several areas described as “rock ‘n’ roll’s greatest bromance” – I mean, you and Slash, it’s like Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee, but cooler. I know you’ve done surprise performances when he’s had shows and vice versa – what does it takes in this cutthroat industry, to have that kind of camaraderie and respect for another musician?
MK: That’s a good question. I think for me, early on, becoming aware he [Slash] in a lot of ways is a kindred spirit and he lives to play. So when you meet people who are hardwired in the same way that you are there’s a natural pull that happens there.
A lot of times in this industry it’s interesting to find people who are in it, but sometimes you wonder what their motivations is – Slash is somebody I know who’s in it for the music. I don’t know if I know too many people who wanna play as much as he does [laughs].
It’s funny, he actually made a comment one day, we were talking about BB King who had recently passed. He made a comment about how BB had been on the road, ultimately, until his last days, he was in a tour bus. Slash made a comment saying, ‘That’s gonna be me someday,’ and I said, ‘Yeah I can see that, you’ll be out there well into your twilight years!’ He just needs to do it, and I kinda feel the same way. I can’t imagine ever retiring because music is oxygen to me.
Slash with Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators’ new album ‘Living The Dream’ is out today! Get it here.