Origin: Spokane, Washington
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Myles Kennedy, a young man on a mission to learn the basics of music and musicianship, grew fast. After graduation in 1988 from Mead High School, he enrolled in the Commercial Music/Jazz Studies program at Spokane Falls Community College. Two years later he began playing in a successive series of bands.
Myles joined the Cosmic Dust jazz group in 1990, where his guitar work was very advanced. He used his knowledge of jazz theory in conjunction with his advanced technical abilities, interweaving difficult techniques such as chord changes on impulse and precise shredding with rock music. As Kennedy spent more time gaining experience, he garnered respect as a guitarist among local musicians.
The next two bands he joined were Citizen Swing and later in 1996, The Mayfield Four. Just a year earlier, Myles had taken a job teaching guitar at the local music store, Rock City Music. That time out didn’t last long, as the MF4 signed a contract with Epic Records and issued an EP entitled “Motion” in 1997.
After two albums, the Mayfield Four and Kennedy realized they were not likely to break into the mainstream. In 2002, he was offered the vocalist position in a new band Slash was forming, but Kennedy turned it down. He instead took up the invite from former Creed guitarist Mark Tremonti, who was interested in having Kennedy lay down vocal tracks for some songs he had recently written.
One thing led to another and in 2003 the subsequent band named itself after a landmark in Tremonti’s home town of Detroit: Alter Bridge.
Myles performed as lead vocalist and songwriter when the band announced itself in 2004 and quickly dropped their debut album, One Day Remains, in 2004 from Wind-Up Records. It was followed by Blackbird in 2007 from Universal Republic. A third album, AB III, appeared in 2010 from Roadrunner Records.
After recording two songs on Slash’s first album, Myles moved up. On the top-hatted guitarist’s second solo, 2012’s Apocalyptic Love, it became a joint collaboration for Slash with Kennedy, the album’s sole lead vocalist. Myles was also the stand-in vocalist for Axl Rose when Guns N’ Roses performed at their 2012 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. A third album with Slash, World on Fire, appeared in 2014.
Kennedy remained a busy lad, issuing two Alter Bridge albums in 2013 and 2016. After nearly ten years of work on his first official solo album, he finally dropped his official solo debut in 2018, Year of the Tiger. Issued by the Napalm label, the acoustic blues/Americana-influenced album is based around Kennedy’s childhood and the death of his father due to appendicitis.
In an interview with Artistwaves.com, Myles explains, “my family was very involved in the Christian Science church. So when he became ill, he chose not to seek medical attention and passed away a few months later. By all accounts, my father was a good, honest man, but I still struggle with the choices he made which ultimately led to his death.
“This was something I had wanted to dive into throughout my career. It just took decades to muster up the courage. Beneath the surface, the wounds were pretty raw, but it just had to be done. On this sonic canvas, I didn’t want to distract the listener from the depth of the song, what was paramount was how the lyric was conveyed emotionally.”
As for the record’s title, Kennedy reflects, “I couldn’t seem to complete the concept until it dawned on me that 1974 was the Year Of The Tiger according to the Chinese Zodiac. Once I realized that was the same year we lost my father, I knew where I needed to take the record lyrically.”
Kennedy currently resides in Spokane, Washington with his wife, Selena, whom he married on June 14, 2003. In 2014, he identified himself as an agnostic. Myles has served on the board of directors for the Mead Food Bank since 2003.
In addition, he co-founded with his wife in 2015, the Future Song Foundation, a charity organization “that provides funding to ensure that kids have access to musical instruction and instruments which are fundamental parts of a complete education.”
Cure Me with the Groove (1993)
Deep Down (1995)
The Mayfield Four
Second Skin (2001)
One Day Remains (2004)
AB III (2010)
The Last Hero (2016)
Slash featuring Myles Kennedy & the Conspirators
Apocalyptic Love (2012)
World on Fire (2014)
Year of the Tiger (2018)