Altering Dayton’s X-Fest

Altering Dayton’s X-Fest

Alter Bridge comes to X-Fest at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds

By Alan Sculley

Alter Bridge

Alter Bridge

When Creed broke up in 2003, three of its members — guitarist Mark Tremonti, bassist Brian Marshall and drummer Scott Phillips — formed the group Alter Bridge, wasting little time in moving forward after losing the band that had made three hit albums and taken them to arena-touring heights.

So, when word came in 2009 that Tremonti, Phillips and Marshall were reuniting Creed with singer Scott Stapp, it was only natural to assume this would spell the end of Alter Bridge.

Such a scenario, of course, would have major repercussions for Myles Kennedy, the singer and fourth member of Alter Bridge.

“It was funny because I was getting a lot of like sympathy. People were like, ‘Oh, I’m really sorry to hear what happened,’” said Kennedy, recalling events that followed the news of Creed’s reunion.

Kennedy could laugh at the outpouring because he knew his days in Alter Bridge were not as numbered as outsiders thought.

“I’m like, ‘It’s going to be fine. Trust me,’” said Kennedy in a recent interview. “I knew about the whole reunion a year before it happened. So I think that a lot of my friends and certain fans and whatnot were more concerned than I was.”

Things indeed seem to have turned out fine for all concerned. Creed’s reunion has so far resulted in a CD, Full Circle, and a pair of arena tours. Kennedy, meanwhile, got a nice surprise when, during the time Creed was working, he was recruited by former Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash to sing on his solo album and then go on tour as Slash’s lead vocalist.
And now Alter Bridge is back in action with a CD, ABIII, that was released in late 2010 and a tour that resumes with a run of shows this summer.

In fact, Kennedy and Tremonti – the primary songwriters in Alter Bridge – began to get Alter Bridge back up and running in December 2009 when they got together to hash through song ideas they had built up since finishing the second Alter Bridge CD, Blackbird, which was released in 2007.

By early January, the group was ready to record, setting up shop with producer Michael “Elvis” Baskette in studios in Orlando and Miami. By April, ABIII was essentially finished.
For the most part, ABIII follows in the straight ahead, hard rocking path of the first two Alter Bridge CDs, with crisply paced songs like “Isolation,” “Still Remains” and “I Know It Hurts” striking the same kind of balance between crunch and melody that has typified much of the band’s earlier material.

But there are also a few contrasts. ABIII overall is a bit darker, thanks to moody tracks like “Slip to the Void” and “Show Me A Sign.” The lyrics on the CD also contribute to the tone of ABIII.

For this album, Kennedy decided to get especially personal at times by examining core beliefs he had come to question as he grew into adulthood.

“I was born into a Christian Science household,” he said, providing some context for some of ABIII’s subject matter. “My father did believe in the idea of God, so much so that he believed that … I guess in Christian Science they don’t necessarily see doctors for medicine. So because of that, he died. He died when I was four from something that could have been prevented. So I think that was always something kind of at the root of it all. As the years went on I just continued to question the whole thing.

“In certain respects … I guess I respect the fact that he believed so much that he kind of put his life on the line,” Kennedy said. “That’s a testament to the level that his faith was (at). But at the same time, there’s a part of me that really resents that. I needed a dad.”

If Kennedy sounds serious and reflective on ABIII, his mood is considerably brighter when it comes to where his career stands today.

He’s been pleased with the live shows Alter Bridge has been playing, and feels the group has improved considerably as a live band since the Blackbird tour.

“I think as a band, we’ve certainly been able to learn from that (Blackbird) tour,” Kennedy said. “I think the guys continued to learn when they reunited and went out with Creed. I certainly learned a lot being out with Slash. I feel like we’re all pretty solid in our game at the moment. That’s been nice. This whole process of getting to tour as much as we do in all of our respective bands, it’s like going to school every night. You learn what to do and what not to do, both with your instrument, with your voice, performance wise. So it’s good, because I think you just kind of fine tune your game.”

Alter Bridge will perform at X-Fest 2011, with other performances by Staind, Theory of a Deadman, Five Finger Death Punch, Skillet, Black Stone Cherry and many more. Tickets are $35 and up, with VIP tickets at $150. Gates open at 11 a.m, September 18, at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds. Bands start at noon. For more information, visit www.xfestdayton.com.

Reach DCP freelance writer Alan Sculley at ContactUs@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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