April 8th 2014
I find myself back at Chateau Dammit on MY couch with MY TV after living for a stretch in Orlando, Florida where we finished the new SMK&C album. And WHAT an album.
I only wish I could tell you in depth how exciting this new collection of songs is but I’m sworn to secrecy. I would have my tongue cut out and be forever hobbled.
Suffice it to say that it is a powerhouse. I was quoted and requoted (and probably misquoted) in every magazine and website reporting on our in studio activities. I had called the album ‘raw’ and ‘dangerous’ and a little bit ‘sleazy’. Now in its finished state I can tell you that I nailed it right on the head. Am I the Nostradamus of Rock and Roll? Hardly. I just think I only verbalized what we set out to create without anyone actually trying to verbalize it at all. For a starter Slash is renowned for create music of this type and it all trickles down from there. Myles Kennedy, who is one of the kindest and gentlest souls I’ve come across in this cesspool (and I say that with all the love of a Sinner and a Conspirator) of a business, manages to spit actual venom in a couple of instances. The boy can summon a demon or two when the red light goes on. He is a skilled melodist and can weave a rhyme scheme with the best of them.
I mentioned in the past that I was as concerned as anyone that we would have a tough time crawling over the wall we built called Apocalyptic Love but with that wall so far behind us now I can confidently say we have surpassed it tenfold.
I will admit to some false modesty on my part. A lot of ‘golly gee I hope we can do as good as last time’ knowing full well that we would decimate anything we had done in the past leaving it all in our wake.
I went into this new chapter with the utmost confidence that we would achieve that very thing and then some. I knew that we are still hungry and still have things to prove whether to ourselves or otherwise. I believe there is always motivation to outdo what you’ve always done. Otherwise what’s the point of doing it? I knew this going into the new record. If we couldn’t top it what was the point? Challenge met. Dragon slayed.
***I just took a moment to listen to the first mix that was JUST sent to me as I was writing and I can tell you it is huge! Now I’m even more excited.
We spent a couple of months in Los Angeles rehearsing at our rehearsal space in North Hollywood before relocating to NRG Studios about 5 minutes away where we began principal recording. Drums and bass were all captured there. Everything is such a whirlwind now to look back on. It seems like it was over a couple of weeks or a couple of years at the same time.
There was a brief break where I appeared with the Sinners a couple of times, including a jam with Tracii Guns, then it was off to Orlando to knock this mutha out!
Orlando is fascinating as it is home to both Disneyworld and Universal Studios creating a bizarro alternative to California which houses DisneyLAND and Universal Studios. On top of that we stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel which, of course, is bizarro reminiscent of Las Vegas’ namesake except there is no casino downstairs at all.
Adding to the sense of surrealism was the fact that we had landed in Florida – the heart of spring break-Florida style! Your imaginations may have had us wading through hordes of drunken, scantily clad college girls but quite the contrary. Orlando is the home of family fun so we tended to be wading through just that-families. Lots of Bermuda shorts and Hawaiian shirt families having the times of their lives.
So there’s me floating around the hotel like an anime ghost all in black sticking out like a sore thumb amongst all the garishly vibrant. Then I would wander off to City Walk, Universal’s area of restaurants and retail, 100% failing at blending in. That’s ok. Let me pass on that you should never fit in. Never ever. Be you. You are you. You are not everyone else. Let them be them and you be you! I highly encourage this.
My days were spent drinking obscene amounts of coffee (what else is new?) and singing along with my brother, Myles. He would sing a song at night and I’d sing the harmonies the next day for that song before Myles came in to sing the next one. And so it went.
Many people have been asking about the Slash-Real to Reel videos we’ve been shooting from the studio. In Part 2 you can see me and Slash fucking around and Slash nearly spits up his coffee from my shenanigans.
Well, prepare for the epic tale to be spun here, ladies and gentlemen. Don’t expect anything too ‘epic’ but I shall solve that mystery for you all.
If you watch that video you can see brother Slash taking a sip of his coffee as I say ‘I’m sorry i was soloing in my head’ and then Slash stands as he is convulsing on his Folgers. Then I cackle like the Wicked Witch of the West!
And here is what you missed-
They edited out a part of what was said. We had just listened to a recording of a song and then Elvis, our producer, was explaining this and that about the arrangement to which Slash replied, “I didn’t really notice I was soloing in my head” meaning he was thinking about the solo he was going to play in the solo section of the song.
That’s when I said “Well, that explains a lot. I’m sorry I was soloing in my head”
Slash laughed because he is often accused of not listening or being distracted by friends and family. I think this explains it all. He’s always soloing in his head.
See not that epic a tale. Well, we thought it was funny.
A lot of people, bless them, have asked if I would be singing a song on this upcoming album. I have to be honest that I never even thought of that. Myles Kennedy is the lead singer for the Conspirators and that’s as much thought as I’ve given it. Myles is the best singer in modern rock if you ask me. He has feel, soul, chops, originality and is unimaginably consistent. Keep in mind he jumps from Alter Bridge to the Conspirators and back again without a hitch. That is very impressive.
It truly warms my heart that anyone would even ask if I were to sing a song but you can hear me screaming all over this thing. Myles and I have a great chemistry that way. I hope you dig it.
So just like every other amazing experience this one had to come to an end. Myles went home April 4th and I hung back to sing harmonies on the last song. It is a very special honor to be the last person to perform on the record. It was not lost on me. i savored every moment of it.
There is a great deal of depth on this recording. A very twisted journey. Many of the songs straight up rock like never before and then there are songs that have a real vastness to them. Slash is playing better than he ever has. It is an inspiring thing to see a man with nothing left to prove still pushing himself every time he picks up the guitar to find new terrain to conquer. And succeed! I think people are going to be blown away.
So with that I took my leave from the land of fun in the sun and made my way to…the land of fun in the sun…wait! What?
I’ve been a very fortunate man to have avoided one of the gnarliest winters all over north America. I bounced between Nevada, California and Florida. Not too shabby! I’m not bragging. I grew up in that shit. I feel your pain.
I spent a few days in Los Angeles dealing with taxes-yuck! Is there anything less fun? I mean probably but yuck right? Good to get that out of the way nonetheless!
Now I’m back in the great city of Las Vegas getting ready to reunite the Exile On Fremont lineup of the Sin City Sinners this Thursday night at the Palms Casino on West Flamingo. Gonna be a blast! Hope to see you there.
I would like to take this time to announce a special anniversary show at Vamp’d May 26th-Memorial Day. It will be almost a year since the release of Borrowing Trouble and we’d like to celebrate one last time in Vegas before I get whisked off to do the Aerosmith tour with Slash (more about that in a minute).
To commemorate the anniversary of Borrowing Trouble’s release we will be releasing the live album Bootleg Confessional:Live In Vegas as a downloadable album via Pledge Music for a limited time for a steal before it moves on to iTunes etc.
The album was recorded live September 2nd 2013 at Vamp’d in Vegas and features 17 songs plus guests like Brent Fitz and Frank Sidoris from the Conspirators, Doc and Zach from the Sinners and Cian Coey from Meat Loaf. I’m really proud of it and I hope you enjoy it!
This May 26th will be a huge blow out of a show as it will be one of the last Vegas acoustic shows for me at least until 2015. I’m hoping to get some friends up on stage again. I’ve been picking my brain to come up with some fun songs to play and for some fun friends to play with!
So come on out to Count’s Vamp’d in Las Vegas May 26th to celebrate the 1 year anniversary of Borrowing Trouble and the birth of Bootleg Confessional:Live In Vegas. It’s going to be an amazing night.
The whole ‘Bootleg’ concept to me was a play on the cassette tapes of live shows my friends and I would pass around as kids. KISS bootlegs etc that you knew as well as any of their albums. That was wayyyyyy before the days of downloading so piracy was truly piracy back then. It includes a crazy rendition of Zep’s Stairway To Heaven by me and my co-Conspirators. Check it out.
So the other big news in our life is the Let Rock Rule tour featuring Aerosmith and Slash Featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators (or as we are affectionately abbreviating these days-SMK&C). I can’t tell you how excited we are to be doing this tour. I mean to springboard out of the recording of this album onto any stage would be exciting enough but to do it in the company of our heroes, Steven, Joe, Brad, Tom and Joey? That is mind boggling. If you would have told me that would be a reality when I was 15 I would never have believed you.
Earlier today Slash joined Aerosmith at the Whiskey A Go Go on the Sunset Strip to announce the Let Rock Rule tour and it has created a crazy buzz.
We are all busting. It’s still 2 months away but we are all GOOD TO GO! We’ve been off the road for a while and it’s time to get back out there. My sword is ever sharp and my thirst for battle never satiated. Let’s do this!
Well, there you have it. Recording finished. Mixing commencing. Sinners on Thursday. Acoustic show May 26th. Live album May 26th. Let Rock Rule tour will be here before you know it!
Exciting times, brothers and sisters! Exciting times indeed!
Expect the new single this summer but you didn’t hear that from me 😉
Big Big LOVE to all o’ y’all
Your loyal and humble servant