Guitarist of the week – Sal Coz Costa

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Sal Costa

Sal Costa in support for Reth?nk Breast Cancer
Sorce: http://www.michaelhurcomb.com/music/index.html

Today I’m delighted to feature the enigmatic and talented guitarist for the band My Darkest Days. Its hard to miss Sal with his signature mohawk and trademark fashion sense, he is truly someone that captures your imagination.

Sal was born on the 7th of July 1986 as Salvatore Costa. Sal is the youngest of three children and he has two older sisters namely Monique and Cathy. At the age of 4 he started playing piano after being mesmerized by his eldest sister Cathy’s abilities while playing the instrument. Around about the same age Sal started to paint more elaborate pictures and his parents decided to enroll him in art lessons with a family friend. Sal has been able to recall a lot of his memories from a young age and he is really grateful for the fact that he can still cherish all the memories he had as a youngster.

After a few years of playing the piano Sal really became infatuated by rock ‘n roll largely influenced by his middle sister Monique. Monique bought Sal his first guitar when he was 8 years old, Monique also liked to dress Sal in clothes that were popular during the grunge rock era and gave him strange haircuts. One summer day Sal decided to organise a local neighbourhood street hockey game which served as a distraction while Sal snuck away to the local hair salon and convinced them to give him his first piercing. Needless to say Sal’s parents weren’t very charmed with the fact that he had an earring in his ear at the tender age of 8. Sal’s parents’ tolerance and patience has been tested at numerous times with Sal’s antics, but they have always supported his dreams. Sal stopped taking art lessons around this time, but he still likes to doodle to this day.

At the age of 10 Sal started taking guitar lessons from Frank Cosentino and they have remained friends through the years. Frank fueled Sal’s love for rock and grunge music and cites him as the main contributor regarding his knowledge of the guitar. Frank taught him how to play the guitar and how to write with his heart. Sal started to play in bands almost immediately after he started taking lessons and begged his parents to buy him another guitar and a drum set, so that he can invite friends over in order to teach them how to play. Sal became so passionate about music that he would hide away his toys when his friends came to visit so that they wouldn’t be distracted and that forced them to stay and play music up until it was time to go home.

Sal started to fall in love with Kurt Cobain and he wanted to be just like him, Sal even tried to learn to play the guitar left-handed just like Kurt. He decided to grow his hair and he dyed his hair blonde at the age of 12, he was only missing the goatee due to his age of course. Sal was listening to Kurt Cobain while most of his peers were listening to the most popular music for tweens at the time, like Hanson and Spice Girls. Sal studied Kurt’s lyrics and his fearless persona while he continued getting piercings and wrote songs which when looking back Sal can’t help but smile. Although he admits that the content of his songs was pretty serious for a 12-year old.

At the age of 16 Sal snuck out of his hotel room in New York City while he was on a school trip at 3am in the morning in order to get tattooed in one of the city’s ghettos. Since that first tattoo it triggered Sal’s tattoo addiction which he doubts will ever stop. As high school progressed he continued to write music, lyrics and tried to perfect his art. Sal even started singing which he swore he would never to do. Sal always wanted to be the silent guitar player in the band for example a “Slash” persona which came to mind when Sal envisioned a role for himself within a band.

As time passed Sal decided to enroll himself in University, Sal studied Jazz and Flamenco guitar as well as business which he rarely attended. Sal fell in love with Flamenco guitar and his love for it consumed him up until the point where all he wanted to listen to was Flamenco music, because it touched his soul. Close to the end of his first year of University Sal received an unexpected call from his Flamenco professor asking if he could talk to Sal and his parents at his family home. His professor told his parents that he had to leave University, because it wasn’t going to help him become the type of musician he wants to be. He told them that if Sal wanted to be a rock star he had to act like one and rock stars don’t hang around at Universities. So Sal left school to become a rock star.

A few of his band’s demos landed in the hands of Darren Grahn who has worked with Motley Crue, Bon Jovi and Metallica. After a few phone conversations they left on a plane to Vancouver to record an album with Darren. Wile Sal was in Vancouver and he was living out of his hotel room for about two months he started battling depression and anxiety which he never experienced before. He speculates that the fear of the unknown was the cause of all this anxiety he was experiencing. This resulted in extreme weightloss, before he arrived in Vancouver he weighed about 165lbs and he dropped to 116lbs keeping in mind that he is 5’10”. He was dating a model at the time and he weighed about the same as she did. Sal used to faint a lot and he was in and out of hospitals as he began to fear the idea of death. He struggled with panic attacks and anxiety for about a year up until a day when he started chatting to a friend of a friend. This friend told Sal a few things during the conversation that cured Sal instantly. You can read what he said on Sal’s Facebook page here: http://www.facebook.com/#!/SalCozCosta/info

Sal decided to turn his life around and start focusing more on his mental, physical and emotional health. Sal’s ultimate goal in life is to infect people with his words and melodies.

I learned most of the facts mentioned here on Sal’s MySpace page: http://www.myspace.com/salcozcosta

My Darkest Days was discovered by Chad Kroeger and they are currently signed to his record label 604 Records. The band was founded in 2005 by Matt Walst brother of Three Days Grace’s bassist guitarist Brad Walst. Sal joined the band in 2009. When Sal joined the band, the band members said that it felt like Sal had been there the whole time and they just clicked.

I became aware of the band after they released their debut single Porn Star Dancing and after that I bought their album and I really like the band. Sal is a sensitive, energetic and caring individual. I joined his page about 2 years ago and he even used one of the drawings I made of him as his profile picture on the 12th of December 2010. Needless to say I was incredibly flattered and although I think my skills have improved slightly since then I spent about 8 hours on that drawing. I mention this just to indicate the amount of dedication and love Sal has for his fans. He is really wise and shares some of his thoughts on Facebook from time to time. He supports a number of campaigns like anti-bully initiatives, he is against animal cruelty and he supports breast cancer awareness. Seeing as he is about the same age as I am he is definitely someone I look up to, he has a bright future ahead of him.

You can view the video for Move Your Body below:

You can follow Sal on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/SalCozCosta

And you can follow My Darkest Days here: https://twitter.com/MyDarkestDays

Rock Regards,

Lauren K

My Darkest Days (album)

My Darkest Days (album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Chris Daughtry’s cover of Pink’s Try

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I heard a lot of buzz on Twitter concerning Daughtry‘s cover of Pink’s song Try which just seemed to come out of the blue. I just listened to it and of course its a powerful interpretation of the song and proof just again of how talented Chris Daughtry really is. So without further ado here is the video.

I know Pink isn’t in the genre that this blog is dedicated to, but I have to give credit where credit is due. The video of Pink’s new single “Try” is astounding to say the least and she never ceases to impress with her physical acrobatics, voice and absolute fearlessness. How many artists in the pop/rock genre do you know who can swear in their songs and still come out on top of the charts. Here is the official music video for “Try”.

Enjoy!

Rock Regards,

Lauren K

Bassist of the week – Todd “Dammit” Kerns

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Todd Kerns was born on the 5th of December 1969 in Smallville, Canada. Todd is a Canadian musician who has worked with several successful Canadian bands most notably Age of Electric where Todd contributed to the band as a guitarist and a vocalist. Todd’s brother bassist John Kerns was part of the band including another pair of brothers namely Kurt and Ryan Dahle. Age of Electric was one of the most commercially successful Canadian rock bands in the mid-90s. Their commercial breakthrough came with the release of their debut album titled Ugly which was released in 1993, after that they released their second album called The Age of Electric in 1995. The band regrouped in 1997 to release their third album titled Make A Pest A Pet, the album spawned the radio rock hit “Remote Control” which peaked at Number 9 on Canada’s Singles Chart. Although the album was a hit, tensions within the band led to a breakup after a 1998 tour as the opening act for Our Lady Peace.

Todd, his brother John along with their youngest sibling Ryan Kerns and Scott McCargar formed Static in Stereo in 1999. Static in Stereo released a self-titled album in 2002 which documented the challenges that the band members experienced after the breakup of Age of Electric. Each song on the album is written in quasi-diary form and each song chronicles the obstacles the band faced after Age of Electric. The album pays homage to the bands that inspired Static in Stereo such as The Rolling Stones, The Clash and Kiss. The different musical style of each band member is present throughout the entire album. Heavy guitar driven tracks and heavy bass dominate on the album.

In 2004 Todd released a solo album called GO TIME which is a collection of original songs influenced by artists that is close to Todd’s heart for example T-Rex, Bowie, MC5 and The Stooges. In the past up until now Todd has delved into another passion of his which is production and songwriting with other musicians. Todd has appeared on albums by artists like The Matthew Good Band, Bif Naked and The Neverending White Lights.

In 2007 production projects brought Todd to Las Vegas where he formed Sin City Sinners with former Faster Pussycat guitarist Brent Muscat which would eventually become Vegas’ favourite rock band. Sin City Sinners perform self-penned originals and rock ‘n roll covers throughout Las Vegas, Nevada. The band is composed of Brent Muscat, Todd Kerns, Zachary Throne and Rob Cournoyer. Sin City Sinners regularly feature appearances by many notable musicians, actors. comedians and other entertainers. In 2009 Sin City Sinners finally decided to put some of their self-penned originals and covers on their debut album. The album “Exile on Fremont Street” was produced by Todd Kerns and released in early 2010. The album was met with rave reviews.

In mid 2010 Todd was offered the opportunity of a lifetime, to go on tour with the one and only Slash. Todd joined Slash on his solo album promotion tour and still fronted Sin City Sinners when he was in Las Vegas. On the 17th of December 2010 the Sin City Sinners released an acoustic album titled “Broken Record” and on November 25th the band released a holiday album called “A Sinners Christmas”.

Todd is currently on tour with Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators as the bassist and backing vocalist. Todd joined Slash in 2010 and after his solo tour Slash decided that he wanted to make the band more permanent, because they had such great chemistry together. So the band recorded Apocalyptic Love which they are currently supporting out on tour. Todd’s addittion to Slash’s band brought him to my attention for the first time. Todd has his own blog where he chats about his experiences while he is on tour. You can read his blog here: http://toddkerns.com/blog/

You will probably be forgiven for being transfixed by Slash and Myles during their live performances, but Todd can hold his own among these talented musicians. He even sang a 1/4 of their set when Myles Kennedy was ill with bronchitis. His current bandmates tease him, because he is so handsome. My impression of Todd when I see him perform is that he was born to be a musician and that he is extremely passionate about his career in music. He is a fun-loving guy and he enjoys music as a listener as well. He has found some really unique ways of connecting with his audience, by answering their questions on his website and through his blog he shares interesting stories that his fans can appreciate. I love the way he mimics the words of a song while Myles is singing. To me it just shows how humble he is and that he enjoys the music just as much as the audience does. I love his version of Doctor Alibi he sings during their live shows. Todd has proven himself time and again, I hope we can look forward to many more years of music with this talented musician.

You can follow Todd Kerns on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/todddammitkerns

Todd Kerns

Todd Kerns
Source and Photographer: http://www.suzannesagmeister.com/

Todd Kerns

Todd Kerns
Source and Photographer: http://www.suzannesagmeister.com/

English: The Sin City Sinners arriving at the ...

Todd discusses every song on Apocalyptic Love on his website here: http://www.toddkerns.com/index.html

Rock Regards,

Lauren Kruger

Frontman of the Week – Adam Gontier

Adam Gontier

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Adam Gontier

Adam Gontier in concert [Three Days Grace @ Molson Amphitheatre (Toronto, ON); 7/14/11]
Source: http://burningstars.smugmug.com/Music/2011/Three-Days-Grace-Molson/19064152_kxGsTt#!i=1482860670&k=kZmF7Xg
Burning Stars.net Photo by MJ Murphy

Adam Wade Gontier was born on May 25th 1978 and he is a Canadian songwriter and musician. He is the lead singer, rhythm guitarist and main songwriter for the band Three Days Grace. He is known for having a voice range which ranges from high tenor to medium low bass. When I listen to Adam’s voice I noted a few interesting techniques that he uses. He can make his voice sound real gritty and coarse (which is prevalent in rock music) whereas other times his voice sounds more distant and surreal. He conveys a lot of aggression and angst in his songwriting as well as in his voice. In addition to his work with Three Days Grace he has been involved in  collaborations with other bands like Art of Dying and Apocalyptica.

Adam was born in Peterborough, Ontario. In 1995 he moved to Norwood and he attended Norwood District High School where he met fellow bandmates Neil Sanderson and Brad Walst. They formed a band under the name Groundswell, which later evolved into Three Days Grace. Groundswell gained popularity in the local area and a few years later the band decided to move to Toronto to pursue their music career. Adam stated in an interview with George Stroumboulopoulos on October 7th, 2012 that they used to practice in the garage as a 5-piece before they decided to move to Toronto.

Adam named his greatest influences as Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains, Sunny Day Real Estate, The Beatles and Jeff Buckley. When he was between 8 and 12 years old his mom, a jazz piano player, would take him along to her concerts. Adam Gontier has a large selection of tattoos. On his right forearm he has a solid black band and lyrics to his band’s song ‘Never Too Late’ from the album ‘One-X‘ and on his left arm he has a tattoo with special words made out to his grandmother. He has two tattoos on his chest and he has a tattoo of the word ‘grace’ on his knuckles of his right hand in the same font that was used on Jeff Buckley’s album Grace. He has ‘hope’ tattooed on his knuckles of his left hand. In 2007 he added a tribal tattoo to his upper right arm. On his left upper arm he has a tattoo of a picture of his wife. He has a tattoo of a butterfly on his right wrist. Adam received Jeff Buckley’s Grace album from his cousin after which he took it home, he turned off the lights and just laid down on his couch closed his eyes and listened to the record from start to finish. He was blown away by the album and Jeff’s talent, he got up off the couch and just thought that he should quit music, because he can’t top Jeff.

“Gontier, Walst and Sanderson regrouped in 1997 under the name Three Days Grace. In 2003 the band recruited lead guitarist Barry Stock. Since signing to Jive Records, the band has released four albums, Three Days Grace, One-X, Life Starts Now and Transit of Venus” – Quote obtained from Wikipedia, 16th October 2012.

Adam Gontier will be joining singer/songwriter Martin Sexton on his 2012 “Fall Like Rain” tour run providing opening support as a solo artist. In 2011 Adam composed a song ‘Try To Catch Up With The World” for his fans and “I Will Stay”. In 2012 Adam Gontier composed a song called ‘Lost Your Shot’. Outside of Three Days Grace Adam has contributed to vocals on “I Don’t Care” from Apocalyptica’s album Worlds Collide in 2007. He was featured on the track “Raining” by fellow Canadian band Art of Dying on their album Vices and Virtues. Adam’s cousin Cale Gontier is the bassist for Art of Dying. In 2006 Adam was a band member of rock supergroup Big Dirty Band along with Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, Jeff Burrows, Ian Thornley and Care Failure. In 2011 Adam Gontier founded Sludge Factory Records and he has signed one local band called Before The Curtain.

In 2005 Adam went in for rehabilitation for his addiction to OxyContin at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto where he wrote many of the songs for One-X including Pain, Animal I Have Become, Over and Over and Gone Forever. He is still sober and a docu-drama about his addiction was released in 2007.

Adam turned to music partly to escape the suffocating confines of a small town, but then his band’s big-time success led the singer into a different psychological trap. After 2 years of touring in support of their debut album Gontier’s drug dependence was so alarming to friends and family that he decided to check himself into a rehab facility. Adam didn’t start taking pain killers because he had any pain, he was introduced to them. After using them a few times Adam started to become dependent on them. Gontier spent about 10 days at (CAMH). This was followed by another 20 days of outpatient visits and 3 months of daily visits to Narcotics Anonymous Meetings. Most of Three Days Grace’s debut album including ‘I Hate Everything About You’ was a response to the limitations of a small-town life, whereas One-X serves as a document for Adam’s battle with addiction.

As a songwriter Adam has always been inclined to write dark content for his songs with underlying themes like despair, hopelessness, anger and aggression. This might stem from the fact that when Adam first picked up a guitar he was influenced by bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam. He uses music as an  outlet for his emotions and although he has written the odd upbeat song, he normally feels the need to write when he is feeling down.

With the release of their latest album Transit of Venus on October 2nd 2012 Adam has been speaking to the media about evolving as band and introducing some electronics to their music which they haven’t done before. This includes synth sounds, piano parts and keyboard parts. Adam says that they approached the recording process for the album differently than they had before. They used to complete the songs and then just get in the studio and start recording whereas now about a quarter of a song was done and they completed it in the studio. Some songs didn’t have any structure/formula before they went into the studio for example the song ‘Give Me A Season’. Their producer Don Gilmore told them to just get out on the floor and see what happens. Adam really wants to use the same method of recording for an album in the future. Three Days Grace actually hired a guy to play all the keyboard and synth parts during the live show which means there will be 5 guys on stage now. They made this decision because they are against using tracks during live shows.

Despite their success Three Days Grace has remained fairly anonymous in public. They really appreciate the fact that they can walk down the street and not be recognized.

All in all I think Adam Gontier is a guy with loads of talent, he has a sensitive soul and all the feelings he kept pent up inside over the years is being released through his music. I look forward to hearing more great music from him and his band.

If you are interested in some Three Days Grace facts go here: http://threedaysgrace.com/3dg-facts

One of my favourite songs from Adam Gontier: Apocalyptica – I Don’t Care ft Adam Gontier

You can follow Three Days Grace on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/threedaysgrace

Thanks for reading!

Rock Regards,

Lauren K

Band of the Month: Nickelback – In defense of the Dark Horse

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Nickelback

Nickelback in concert
Source:http://www.nickelback.com/media/photos/21721/650491
Photo credit: Barry Brecheisen Photography

I’m not exaggerating when I say that this blog post has been years in the making. I’ve been a Nickelback fan since about 2006 and I have always had a strong opinion about their position in the rock/ music industry. Over the past few years I have read countless reviews and articles concerning Nickelback which are almost always negative or are written from a positive point of view, but still cops out towards the end of the article by saying something nasty or negative about the band. Just in case that writer gets some heat from so-called haters. I’m here to comment on what I have witnessed on social media and to give my opinion on the band.

Nickelback has proven time and time again that they don’t take themselves too seriously for example in the video they made in response to the Detroit petition that was started as an attempt to have Nickelback replaced as the halftime act for the Thanksgiving game. Many interviews of the band support this statement, because they are always joking around.

You can view Nickelback’s response to the petition here: http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/5166240802/nickelback-responds-to-NFL-petition

I will be honest, musically I can’t really comment on the structure of their songs, because I don’t have the necessary knowledge (music-related qualification) to form an objective opinion.

Being labelled mainstream in the rock music industry is like admitting that you have swine flu at a party. Everyone tries to stay away from you and you will eventually be teased/taunted about it. I support Nickelback as a mainstream rock band, because they are the only rock band that have managed to top the charts on a regular basis. Do rock fans rather want pop/tween acts topping the charts? Through their efforts they are almost single-handedly waving the flag for rock music. Even David Draiman from Disturbed admits to this fact:

Nickelback and David Draiman on Twitter

Nickelback and David Draiman on Twitter
Source: http://celebjuicer.com/DAVIDMDRAIMAN/and/Nickelback

As for those who have said that “How You Remind Me” and “Leader of Men” was pretty decent, but they haven’t made good music since then. I beg to differ, obviously these people forgot to listen to The Long Road Nickelback’s fourth album released September 23, 2003. Its one of my all-time favourite albums, because it covers a wide variety of topics and included on the album is their awesome cover of Elton John’s Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting featuring Kid Rock and Dimebag Darrell. My favourites off of that album are “Should’ve Listened” which is a pleasant surprise when you listen to the album for the first time and “Yanking Out My Heart” is another fave with its angry lyrics and fantastic chorus. Listen to “Should’ve Listened” here:

I just want to make clear that I’m not a Nickelback fan who only like the tracks that they release as singles. I love their whole discography and I especially like the tracks that aren’t released as singles. I believe there are two types of Nickelback fans those who like them for the ballads/popular singles and then there are the rock music fans that love all of their songs.

There are some rare jewels to be discovered when you listen to their entire music catalogue, for example “Worthy To Say“, “Woke Up This Morning”, “Midnight Queen”, “Just To Get High”, “Fly”, “Follow You Home” and “Next Contestant” to name just a few. Then there are some hard rock tracks which I always look forward to with every album they release like “Side of a Bullet” dedicated to the late Dimebag Darrell from Pantera which just proves what Nickelback are capable of.The song includes a guitar solo by Dimebag from his Pantera days, and was used with the blessing and cooperation of Dimebag’s brother and Pantera/Damageplan drummer, Vinnie Paul. “This Means War” is another crowd pleaser and its best played extremely loud, the same goes for “Burn It To The Ground”. “Figure You Out” is another solid rocker with slightly different subject matter and I think its just one of those songs that will never get old. In my opinion their most meaningful ballads on one album was from All The Right Reasons. Those songs might have entered the U.S. Hot 100 top 20 singles, but they still carried so much meaning especially “If Everyone Cared” and “Savin’ Me” which was rumoured to be about a childhood friend of Chad’s who was incarcerated and died in prison. I heard about this rumour a few years ago, but I’m not sure if its true.

Nickelback have never been subtle in their choices for supporting acts such as Seether (from South Africa!), Bush, Three Days Grace, Buckcherry, Daughtry and Shinedown. You have to be pretty famous and confident to take these massively successful bands on tour with you. Nickelback have always managed to cultivate friendships with the bands they tour with, so as people they are pretty likeable if you ask me. On numerous occasions I have witnessed (on the internet) their tour mates only having nice things to say about them. It takes a lot of confidence in your own abilities as a band to keep such famous company.

Aside from all the success that Nickelback has had, Chad Kroeger started his own record label 604 Records in 2002 and holds the position of Executive Producer. Here are the list of artists signed to the label: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/604_Records

Official website of 604 Records: http://www.604records.com/604/home/

Nickelback was discovered by Roadrunner’s Artists and repertoire (A&R) Ron Burman who travelled to Vancouver to see the band perform live, the then unknown venue was packed. It took Ron Burman three months to convince his label bosses’ to approve the signing that would mark Roadrunner’s first move into mainstream rock. They have never looked back since, even though Roadrunner fans are constantly complaining about the fact that Nickelback are included in their list of signed artists.

Many a rock band has covered Metallica at some point in their career, but no one has done it quite like Nickelback. I just wish I could hear the song in its entirety. Nickelback started out as a Led Zeppelin and Metallica cover band called “Village Idiots”.

Watch it here:

At the start of their career Nickelback’s sound was a little ruff around the edges and gritty, but I suppose that is what made them so appealing back in 1995 and since then their sound has become more polished and controlled. I believe this change occured due to years of experience and adapting to what the fans wanted. The earlier Nickelback albums are more acceptable to rock music lovers, because it wasn’t as polished and that was the appeal. In my opinion The Long Road was the best combination of both worlds and after that album was when Nickelback departed from the minds of hard rock lovers and entered the mainstream music industry. I listen to and support both sides of the coin(/nickel) and I will always remain grateful to Nickelback for introducing me to rock music. If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t know who most of the modern rock bands are, my love for rock music started with Nickelback and branched out to the bands that supported them on tour. I looked up bands like Shinedown on the internet just because they started touring with Nickelback.

The band has sometimes been critiscised over their use of themes such as strippers, sex, prostitutes, drugs and drinking. People will drink, regardless of the fact that Nickelback is singing about it and the same goes for the rest of the content for their songs. Most rock bands cover these subjects at one point or another in their career, I also believe that its Nickelback’s way of being risque and not remaining safe in their subject matter.

Here are some great photos of each band member:

Source: http://www.nickelback.com

Daniel Adair

Daniel Adair
Source:Marcus Chacona Photography

Mike Kroeger

Mike Kroeger

Ryan Peake

Ryan Peake

Chad Kroeger

Chad Kroeger

Nickelback in concert

Nickelback in concert
Source:http://www.guardian.co.uk/music

Follow Nickelback on Twitter here:https://twitter.com/Nickelback

If you would like to connect with fellow Nickelback fans you can follow Nickelbackers here: https://twitter.com/Nickelbackers

Nickelback just finished the European leg of their Here & Now tour with Daughtry. You can check out the rest of their tour dates here: http://www.nickelback.com/events

Thank you for reading!

Rock Regards,

Lauren K

Man of the Moment/Frontman of the week – Myles Kennedy

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Myles Kennedy

Myles Kennedy
Credits go to Katie McPansy and McPansy Photography
Source:http://www.flickr.com/photos/kmcpansy/8037541700/in/photostream/

Today I feature my most recent obsession, Mr Myles Kennedy himself! I can’t wait to tell you more about this talented vocalist and guitar player.

Myles’s story started on the 27th of November 1969 when he was born Myles Richard Bass in Boston, Massachusetts and as a child he moved to a farm in Spokane, Washington. His father Richard Bass died when he was at the tender age of 4. Myles’s mother later remarried to a minister and they took the surname Kennedy. Myles was inspired by musicians Led Zeppelin, Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder and he started playing trumpet at the age of 10 and guitar at the age of 15. He attended Mead High School while he played guitar in the school’s jazz band and trumpet in the school’s marching band. His extracurricular activities included playing in a local heavy metal band called Bittersweet with some of his fellow classmates. Myles found his singing voice by listening to his parents’ Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder records, Myles also states that Robert Plant was a huge influence on him. After graduating in 1988, Myles enrolled in Spokane Falls Community College where he decided to study music.

Upon graduating Myles enrolled in a Commercial Music/Jazz Studies Program at the Community College. Using the skills he learned from this program in 1990 he joined jazz band  Cosmic Dust (Fusion Band) as a guitar player. Myles’s work with Cosmic Dust was very advanced, using his knowledge of jazz theory combined with his advanced technical abilities and interweaving cord changes it wasn’t long before he became a well-respected guitarist among local musicians. Cosmic Dust’s first album, Journey, was released in 1991. The album was well-received by critics.

After the release of Cosmic Dust’s first album, Myles left the band in order to start working on a new band that would become known as Citizen Swing. Myles provided the lead vocals as well as the lead guitar for the band. The band’s sound was a combination of funk, R&B, blues and alternative all rolled into one. They released their first album in 1993 which was called Cure Me With The Groove, Myles helped produce the album. The band consisted of Myles, Craig Johnson on rhythm guitar, bassist Dave Turner, drummer/percussionist Mike Tschirgi and trumpeter Geoff Miller. Citizen Swing’s second album Deep Down was released in 1995. The band disbanded in the same year as their second release. All the music and lyrics on Deep Down was written by Myles Kennedy. Journey, Cure Me With The Groove and Deep Down is obviously highly sought after by fans, but these albums are extremely rare. I wouldn’t mind hearing it either, it should be interesting to hear a young Myles sing a different genre of music.

In 1995, Myles started teaching guitar lessons at a store called Rock City Music (if we only knew then what we know now!). By August 1996 Myles was in a band called The Mayfield Four where he took the role as lead vocalist and lead guitarist of the band. His childhood friends Craig Johnson, Marty Meisner and Zia Uddin completed the lineup for The Mayfield Four. They signed a contract with Epic Records thanks to a critically acclaimed demo the band recorded in 1996 followed by a live extended play called Motion in 1997. The band’s debut album Fallout was supported with a 15-month tour with bands like Creed, Big Wreck and Stabbing Westward. This is where Myles’s voice was introduced to future bandmates Mark Tremonti, Brian Marshall and Scott Philips. Fallout was praised by critics but failed to chart, Craig Johnson was subsequently fired from the band for unknown reasons.

Following the Fallout tour Myles made an appearance in the 2001 drama film Rockstar starring Mark Wahlberg and Jennifer Aniston. Myles was contacted by his manager and told that the filmmakers needed someone that could sing high and that his name was mentioned. Myles met Zakk Wylde and Jason Bonham on set. Myles was the only actor in the movie whose real voice was used.

The Mayfield Four’s second and last album Second Skin was released in June 2001. Myles stated in an interview conducted on the 26th of October 2010 with Entertainment-Focus that Second Skin was one of his most personal albums lyrically up until the release of AB III. Although The Mayfield Four was popular they never garnered enough attention to break into the mainstream. In 2002 the future of the band began to look uncertain and Myles began recording new music. The band went on hiatus that year and ultimately disbanded. It was during this time that Myles damaged his ears by listening to music on his headphones that was played at volumes that were too high. This resulted in tinnitus which is defined as the perception of sound within the human ear in the absence of corresponding external sound. Myles fell into a depression in 2002, because of this condition and claimed that he had grown disillusioned with music and the music business. He consequently went on a musical hiatus. Former Guns ‘n Roses guitarist (the one and only) Slash contacted Myles and asked if he was interested to be a vocalist for a new band he was forming now known as Velvet Revolver. Myles declined the offer. Myles continued to work on his music, but took a more acoustic approach.

Myles Kennedy is best known as the lead vocalist and guitarist for hard rock band Alter Bridge. In late 2003 Myles was contacted by then-former Creed bandmember Mark Tremonti who wanted Myles do do some vocals on a few tracks he had recently written. Mark, Brian and Scott left Creed in 2000 and wanted to start a new band. Alter Bridge took its name from an actual bridge located near Mark Tremonti’s home in Detroit. Alter Bridge was officially formed in January 2004, their debut album, One Day Remains was released in 2004 by Wind-up Records and it was certified Gold by the RIAA. One Day Remains is the only album released by a band which Myles is officially part of that does not feature Myles playing guitar.

Their second album Blackbird was released in 2007 on Universal Republic to mostly positive reviews. Blackbird featured Myles on guitar as well as some of his songwriting. Mark Tremonti recalls passing Myle’s bedroom one night on his way up to his own room. He heard jazz music coming from Myles’s bedroom, at first he thought it was a CD, but when he entered the room he saw Myles jamming on his guitar. Mark says that Myles hid his guitar skills, because he didn’t want to step on Mark’s toes. Myles knew his current bandmates contacted him for his voice and not his guitar skills. Myles’s guitar skills turned out to be quite an asset to the band and it brought a new dimension to their music. Alter Bridge toured in support of Blackbird from 2007 through to 2008. They released a concert film Live in Amsterdam an it was sold through Amazon.com in 2009 and in stores in 2011 after several delays.

Alter Bridge took a break in 2009, while the bandmembers were busy with various projects, but they continued to write music throughout the year. In early 2009 Myles confirmed that he was working on a solo project and described it as being “dreamy” the opposite of Alter Bridge’s more aggressive sound. Myles described the material as being more singer/songwirter based. A firm release date has not been announced and in 2010 the album was put on hold. Myles has previously confirmed that Slash will appear on the record. In late 2009 it was reported that Myles will be working with Slash on his solo debut album. Myles has co-written Starlight and Back from Cali and provided the vocals on the tracks. On February 3rd, 2010 Slash announced that Myles would provide the vocals on his tour supporting his self-titled solo album. The self-titled solo album from Slash was released in April 2010. Alter Bridge regrouped later that year (2009) and began working on AB III and it was released in 2010 through Roadrunner Records worldwide, except in North America where the album was self-released on Alter Bridge Recordings via EMI.

Myles wrote about his personal experience concerning faith, belief and spirituality. According to Mark Tremonti Myles is an atheist, but Myles has stated in an interview with Kerrang! Magazine that he is somewhere between being an atheist and being a Christian. Myles has said that despite being raised in a Christian household he does not believe in any organised religion. Myles considers himself to be part of a growing segment of the community who questions authority and scrutinize concepts that no longer seem as logical as they once did. I can sympathise with his views on this subject. Myles has said that this is his most personal album since Second Skin from The Mayfield Four. A second concert film Live at Wembley was released on the 26th March 2012. I need to get my hands on these dvds ASAP!

Slash’s second album Apocalyptic Love features Myles Kennedy as the sole vocalist and along with Bobby Schneck, Todd Kerns, Brent Fitz and Slash they complete the lineup for the album. Apocalyptic Love was released on May 22nd, 2012. Myles reportedly mentioned that some of the lyrics on the album dealt with his earlier experiences with drugs. You can read my review for Apocalyptic Love here: https://therockriff.wordpress.com/2012/07/16/apocalyptic-love-album-review-2/

“April 14, 2012, Kennedy performed three Guns N’ Roses songs with five former members of Guns N’ Roses during their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction in Axl Rose‘s absence.” – Source – Jordan Zakarin (April 16, 2012). “Guns N’ Roses Perform at Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction with Myles Kennedy in Axl Rose’s Absence”. Hollywood Reporter. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/guns-n-roses-perform-rock-and-roll-hall-of-fame-myles-kennedy-axl-rose-312396.

Myles has collaborated with numerous musicians over the years including a collaboration in 2005 with Chris Jericho from Fozzy where Myles sang the chorus of “Nameless Faceless” from their album All That Remains.

Myles is influenced by a wide range of artists from different genres ranging from jazz, blues, rhythm and blues, soul to name a few.

Myles has stated at various times that Jeff Buckley is a major influence on him as a singer. Myles says that Jeff Buckley’s emotional intensity was one of the most inspirational things for him as a singer and made him come to terms with the fact that he is a tenor. A tenor is a type of male singing voice and is the highest male voice within the modal register( a vocal register most frequently used in speech and singing in most languages).

In February of 2012 I decided on impulse to purchase AB III from a local online store, I wanted to see what all the hype surrounding Myles and Alter Bridge was about since I’ve heard quite a lot about them on Twitter. I follow the Creed bandmembers and I became aware of Myles and Alter Bridge in that manner. I became irritated with the fact that I was in the dark and that I had no knowledge of this band. I had to grow accustomed to Myles’s voice on my first few listens, since it isn’t common to hear a tenor singing rock music. After a few days I was hooked and my love for Alter Bridge consumes me everytime I listen to their albums. I now have all three albums and I listen to them on a daily basis.

Personally I love the soft, mysterious tone of Myles’s voice on Slip To The Void and his amazing vocal acrobatics on All Hope Is Gone. I love his emotional delivery of the song In Loving Memory and his aggressive tone in Ties That Bind. I love his uplifting high notes on Rise Today. His performance on Apocalyptic Love showcases the variety in his voice and his lighter side. He starts off softly on Not For Me and then the song escalates up to where he makes his stand against drugs and the lifestyle that goes with it. I’m so glad that I bought that album and I look forward to many more years of listening to his beautiful voice.

Listen to Myles Kennedy’s rendition of Hallelujah:

Myles is suffering from Bronchitis and I hope he makes a speedy recovery.

Myles is currently on tour with Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators.

See tour dates here: http://slashonline.com/tour/

Myles Kennedy

Source:http://www.flickr.com/photos/pitschspics/7449808058/
Copyright: Claude Piscitelli

You can follow Myles Kennedy on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/MylesKennedy

Myles Kennedy

Myles Kennedy
Copyright: Wolfgang Schultes

Rock Regards,

Lauren K