Charlotte, North Carolina
May 2nd 2015
Apparently we have been on the road for one week as of today. Not including the few days of rehearsal and travel to that first date. Prior to that the 3 (Slash, Fitz and Dammit) were hunkered down in the Conspirators Cave coming up with new music for the eventual SMKC III album. I’m calling it III as it’s far too early to tell what the album will be called. We have a few songs on the go far earlier than anything we’ve done schedule-wise in the past. I’m excited. A lot of my favorite bands did great work by their third album.
KISS-Dressed To Kill
Aerosmith-Toys in The Attic
Cheap Trick-Heaven Tonight
The Ramones-Road To Ruin
Sabbath-Masters Of Reality
Metallica-Master Of Puppets
I think that’s the album that solidifies a band’s legacy. In the case of Cheap Trick and KISS their third albums led them to the live albums that defined their careers. By SMKC III we will have released two live albums already-Made In Stoke and Live At The Roxy.
It’s too early to really be talking about any of this but my exuberance should be noted. I love making new music and I’m one that tends to look forward rather than back. Stay tuned…
Before we left Chris Jericho, the WWE wrestler and lead singer of Fozzy, appeared on That Metal Show and mentioned myself and Fitz as fellow Canadians. Fozzy will be joining us soon on tour as our opening act. Chris also plays with Fitz and I in a fun Canadian cover band called Coverboy that has played several charity events in Canada. It’s going to be a blast hanging with Chris on a daily basis!
The first show of this run was in Orlando, Florida at a festival called Earthday Birthday. There were a lot of cool bands there. We got to catch up with our producer, Michael ‘Elvis’ Baskette. Always good to see him. He is family. He has such huge things cooking up in his world. I can’t wait for you to find out.
We also got to catch up with the fellas from Five Finger Death Punch who are fellow Las Vegans. Also got to see brother Mark Tremonti and his awesome band.
Playing a 50 minute set is beyond unusual for the boys in SMKC. Our version of Rocket Queen can be 30 minutes long sometimes to put that in perspective. 50 minutes would be like playing Rocket Queen and, like, four other songs. We did NOT do that though. We came out swinging and laid waste to all in our path.
The next show was also in Florida but the great city of Jacksonville this time. This time we had an hour. This festival was called Welcome To Rockville. We had many of the same bands on this bill so we got to say hi to Brother Mark Tremonti and the Punchers of the Five Fingers of Death as well as Scott from Alter Bridge. Great to catch up with him. We got to play a full hour at this festival and did terrible damage with 10 extra minutes. Imagine what we could do with a full two hours!
The next show we got to do just that-New Orleans, Louisiana. What an amazing town. Unfortunately our first day off of the tour was spent indoors as a tornado warning storm had rained down on the great city with furious anger. We actually had a blast. We hung out and watched the New York Islanders get beat by the Washington Capitals. That’s hockey for the uninitiated. I’m afraid I’m a bad Canadian. I have lost touch with my hockey roots. I’ve never been much of a sports guy but if you are a regular reader of these ramblings you already know that.
The next day I went to the great vinyl shop, Peaches, in New Orleans and spoiled myself a little then made our way to the House Of Blues.
The cool thing about this run is we’ve managed to squeeze in the most intimate of settings in between the gigantic summer festival shows. That makes for a great juxtaposition. Getting to play intimately to a room full of our closest friends is a great honor.
As I mentioned we got to bust out the full two hour extravaganza including the first ever performance of The Unholy from World On Fire. That song is the heaviest song we’ve ever played. I don’t mean heavy metal I mean heavy dark. The subject matter is especially troubling as only Myles Kennedy could create. It has a dark Alice Cooper via Abbey Road Beatles thing going on.
In listening back to it I expected it to be a tough one to pull off live but it came together very quickly and i think it stands up very powerfully live. Testament to a solid band that has been playing together for five years. Three with Frankie.
That, of course, means that in total we are performing a record 16 songs from World On Fire at the moment. That leaves only ONE left to be performed live. Extra points for those of you that can name that song.
On the Apocalyptic Love tour we added And We Roam in the 11th hour and it performed amazingly well. The last World On Fire song will see it’s moment in the sun. We still have a long way to go to finish the tour.
New Orleans is one of my favorite cities in the world. There is really nowhere else like it on the planet. Do yourself a favor and check it out. Lots of music which is always inspiring.
Next up we played the Soul Kitchen in Mobile, Alabama. The cool thing is the changing accents along the southern United States. I’ve always found accents to be a fascinating thing. In England the accents change every few miles it seems. The southern states have variances along the way and I love hearing the music within them.
This was another intimate show to offset the grandiosity of the festival summer circuit and it was a good one. We got to play another 2 hours and performed The Unholy for a second time.
Mobile was a blast. We had friends come as far away as Japan for that show. Our family keeps growing all the time.
I have been waiting my whole life to get to Memphis, Tennessee and we had finally arrived. I was so excited to get there that I paid no attention to the fact that I’d slept about only three hours on the bus that night and just got on with my day nonetheless.
After ingesting all of the coffee in Memphis Frank and I made our way to the Gibson factory in Memphis. We had been to Gibson’s acoustic factory in Bozeman, Montana and the Gibson custom shop in Nashville so now we were going to the Memphis one which largely deals with the company’s hollow body guitars. As a guitar nerd these moments are never lost on me. It’s like wandering the Willy Wonka factory. Guitars Guitars GUITARS as far as the eye can see. A dream come true for a guy like me. Frank even went home with a brand new guitar. How much better could the day get.
Well, it got even cooler cuz we were going to Graceland. I’m a massive Elvis fan. I’m a sucker for the entire mythology of the King. Graceland has been a destination I’ve had in mind since childhood and getting to walk through it’s doors was a heavy moment for me.
We hopped on a shuttle through the gates of Graceland that I’d seen in a million pictures and documentaries. We pulled up to the house and there we were. People always tell you that the house is much smaller than you expect but since I’d been hearing that my whole life the house was much bigger than I expected. Strange turn there.
Class trip to Graceland
Upon walking through the front door we took in the sites and I snapped off pictures like I was making my own coffee table book on the place. Our tour guide, who was amazing, pointed to the ceiling above the entry way and said that is where the bathroom is located. At first it didn’t register what she was referring to but then it sunk in. THE bathroom. The scene of his death. We all had a cold chill moment at that. I still get the heebie jeebies thinking about that.
Needless to say we wandered the house like any other tourists just taking it all in. Frozen in time as it had been in his life which lends it’s own chilling ambience. Seeing how those on top of the world may have lived in a not so distant past yet distant enough to seem completely alien.
Seeing his gold albums and costumes was staggering. He wore those costumes. They are not reproductions. That IS his black leather ’68 Comeback Special outfit. Mental. His crazy 70s white Elvis costumes made him look like some kind of superhero. Certainly one of a kind. And there they are just lined up in glass one after another. Not all of them but a lot of them.
Standing at his grave was heavy for me. Other than the initial chill at the mention of the place where he died the rest of the trip had been a great deal of fun. A celebration of the man’s life. Suddenly standing at his grave was very sad. You suddenly realized he was only 42 years old. He was the most famous person on the planet. He had achieved so much and yet I’m sure he had every intention to achieve so much more. But there it is. We are on this planet for the blink of an eye. Even 100 years seems so brief in the grand scheme of things. Well, not brief really. Not brief at all. I think if you can make it to 100 you’ve done something right. I never anticipated still being alive so I’m trying to make up for everything now by taking care of myself. I’ve outlived a lot of my heroes but there’s always Keith Richards. Keith made it to his 70s. No one expected that. Least of all Keith. He just might bury us all. Live, brothers and sisters. Live now. Live today. It’s all over too fast. I’m sure the King would tell you the same thing.
So after all that I bought myself the Elvis glasses as I had a million times in my life but this time I was buying them at Graceland. And with that it was all over. To be honest it was a great experience and I will do it again someday but it was a little heavy for me. I don’t think of Elvis as some bloated joke that people make him out to be. I think of the dangerous young man that could slay with his voice and his body. Enough so to change the world forever. Never to be another like him. Ever. Listen to Mystery Train or That’s Alright, Mama. That stuff is the real deal. There is a fair amount of later Elvis that is just as important to me.
I had every intention of getting to Sun Studios as well but they had a session going that night. It’s still a proper functioning studio. Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis had all recorded there. That’s nothing to sneeze at. That’s the Mount Rushmore of Rock N Roll as far as I’m concerned. The next day it didn’t work out either but that leaves me yet another reason to come back to Memphis.
We wandered Beale street and heard live music coming out of almost every building. Memphis, Nashville, Austin Texas all of these towns keep live music alive and it’s why I return to them again and again. Music will always be alive in these places.
We played right next to the Mississippi River that night for the Beale Street Music Festival. Another eerie moment came up while driving there and Myles reminded me that Jeff Buckley had drowned in that very river. So many heavy memories in such a beautiful town. Martin Luther King Jr died there as well. So many good men cut down too soon. Such a shame. A real crime.
The show that night was pretty epic. We played about 70 minutes and it was a blast. Got to see In This Moment and Breaking Benjamin before taking the stage. A great time had by all.
So now here we are in North Carolina getting ready for the Carolina Rebellion festival which will feature a bunch of bands who are friends of ours. We have a blast getting to watch bands and catch up with friends. Makes for a great day. I’m looking forward to it.
Today as I went for a coffee I saw Kerry King from Slayer walk by. It’s that kind of a day. I had to double take then give him ‘the nod’. I guess I’m gonna enjoy some Slayer tomorrow night
The Star Wars Episode VII The Force Awakens trailer has since surfaced and it is every bit as moving as I expected. Seeing Han and Chewie together in 2015 is something I never could prepare myself for. So many of us are feeling 7 years old at the moment. I welcome this. Not many things can have such universal impact. I still say JJ Abrams is the right man for the job. Remember I said that.
A new game called Stunt Wheels is being released and it includes music from your’s truly. Songs from my 2004 solo album Go Time! will be included throughout the game and I’m super psyched about that.
Check out the trailer here-
The Riviera hotel in Las Vegas is going to be destroyed after 60 years of service. We all expected it but it’s kind of a drag. Slowly all the old casinos are going away. In the time I’ve lived there the Stardust, The Frontier, the Sahara and now the Riv have all but gone away. I guess change is a good thing. I spent a lot of time at the Riv. When I first came down to Vegas my friends worked there so I seemed to be there a lot. Sad to see it go.
Well, that’s about enough for now. I’m excited to see Avengers-Age Of Ultron. They keep making movies for me. Bless ‘em. Terminator, Jurassic Park and eventually STAR WARS!!!! Big year. Bring it on!
By the time you read this I will be preparing for the Carolina Rebellion Festival. Sure to be a blast.
Big love to you and yours
Your loyal and humble servant