Alter Bridge, Monster Truck, The Dead Deads
Saturday, Jan. 21, with doors at 7 p.m.
Saenger Theatre, 6 S. Joachim St., www.mobilesaenger.com
Tickets: $21.50-$36.50, available at Saenger box office and through Ticketmaster
Bands like Alter Bridge are a rare commodity. For more than a decade, this rock outfit from Central Florida has maintained a dedicated, ever-growing fan base.
With the release of the band’s new album “The Last Hero,” Alter Bridge’s fans are pulling in a new generation of listeners. According to lead vocalist Myles Kennedy, the band’s following is what keeps its momentum strong. After touring with Slash, Kennedy is back on the road with Alter Bridge for its first tour since the album dropped.
When he spoke with Lagniappe, Kennedy was excited about not only the new album but also the chance to play new material for the band’s loyal crowd.
Stephen Centanni: How does it feel to be back out on the road with Alter Bridge?
Myles Kennedy: Yeah, it’s good man! We live to play. We live to deliver it, as they say. Getting to go back out and reconnect with the fans in some of these markets is awesome. We’re stoked.
Centanni: Speaking of this market, the last time you were around here, you were with Slash. You know, over the years, you’ve been in several projects outside of Alter Bridge, but you always seem to come back. Alter Bridge is like a constant in your life. What keeps you coming back for more?
Kennedy: Well, I think there’s just something about the music that we’ve managed to create together and particularly our fan base. We’re fortunate to have them. They’re very passionate and incredibly loyal. That ultimately allows us to keep doing this after 14 years.
Oftentimes, people can be fickle. They get your hit song, and then they forget about you. That isn’t the case with our particular fan base. It seems to be something a little deeper. We don’t want to let them down. We want to keep doing it and hopefully making them happy. They’re the reason why we get up in the morning.
Centanni: Alter Bridge has the new album out. I don’t want to get too far out on a limb and call it a concept album, but there are definitely some messages in there inspired by the events of 2016. What were your overall goals for “The Last Hero”?
Kennedy: I think the first goal musically was just to create something that wouldn’t necessarily alienate our fans that know us for certain things. We knew that we wanted to continue to have that as part of the equation. We wanted songs that were riff-based but had a very melodic sense as well.
As far as a lyrical standpoint — because that comes later — I don’t think that was necessarily overthought. It just happened. It was just a real snapshot of that period of time. Because of the way we write records now and the amount of time we have, the lyrics are usually the last part of the equation. Lyrics tend to be a little time capsule. I think that was ultimately the most important aspect of the lyrics cycle. It was in the middle of last year in the election process.
Centanni: I think you do a great job with it, because it’s ambiguous enough to be universal. As far as the sound, there are tracks that have that Alter Bridge sound. Overall, I noticed this one is a little heavier than some of your previous albums. There’s like this edgy, dark grandeur, for lack of a better word. It’s such a big sound. Did this sound affect the lyrics or vice versa?
Kennedy: I think that dark quality has always been part of our musical DNA. Oftentimes, once the song comes together musically, then the melodies start to evolve. If it’s dark, then the lyrics will follow suit. Generally, I can’t even think that I’ve ever been a part of writing where the lyrics have come first. It’s always music first, then melodies second. Occasionally, you’ll have a melody, then you build the music around that, because you know it’s a good melody. The lyrics are always the last part of the puzzle.
Centanni: The album’s first single was “Show Me a Leader.” How did this song come to life?
Kennedy: The musical intro was something that I had for a little while. I think I wrote that when I was on tour with Slash. We were sitting in a hotel room coming up with that. Then, Mark [Tremonti] had the “show me the leader” chorus part. We somehow managed to marry those parts together. It definitely was a lot of trial and error. Just like with all songs, you massage it till it finally happens.
Mark always championed that as our first single. I don’t think the rest of us really thought of it as a first single. Once the record was completed, a lot of people seemed to really like that song. I think the message of that song resonated with people, which made it a great lead-off track.
Centanni: As far as the album’s title track, who is “The Last Hero?”
Kennedy: Well, that’s a really tough one. To put it on a specific person wouldn’t be fair, because everybody extracts their own meaning from a lot of songs. That’s the beauty of music. You can insert your own meaning or take on things. If you were to dive into my head while some of those songs were being put together, “Show Me a Leader,” “This Side of Fate” and “Show Me a Hero” are kind of a story. It’s a trilogy, in essence. I was building this story in my head without any real specifics.
Centanni: Ultimately, what do you want the fans to experience with “The Last Hero?”
Kennedy: Hopefully, it gets people to talk. I think because of the subject matter it’s a hot-button subject right now. Through talking and discussing, maybe people will understand one another a little better. I think instead of dividing people more and polarizing people any further, hopefully a record like this will get people to talk about what they think about the songs.
We’re not pushing an agenda down anyone’s throat. We’re reflecting what people are feeling. If you got a fan on one side of the fence and one on the other, maybe it will start a discussion. What’s it mean to them? What do they want for our country and our future? Hopefully, for lack of a better phrase, people will reach across the aisle for what’s best for our country.