Despite being in the sort of difficult position that maybe only Sammy Hagar could relate to, Alter Bridge frontman Myles Kennedy is nothing but optimistic.
"Some guys get into the music business for chicks and fast cars," he said, "but I definitely did it 'cause I want to make people happy."
Almost three months after Alter Bridge formed from the ashes of Creed (see "Creed Break Up"), Kennedy is growing into his role as the new lead singer for former Creed members Mark Tremonti (guitar), Scott Phillips (drums) and Brian Marshall (bass). "You don't have any ego trips or people getting out of hand," he said of the ease with which he's filled the shoes of ex-Creed singer Scott Stapp.
Literally leaping into the new project with an initiation that included bungee jumping, Kennedy said he found the tight bonds between the other members of the band to be an asset.
"Mark and Scott," he says, "they know each other so well musically that it's as if they have a MIDI-cable connected to their brains. ... It's a wonderful thing."
More than just a surrogate lead singer, though, Kennedy played a significant role in the realization of Alter Bridge's debut, One Day Remains, which bowed at #5 on the latest Billboard 200 chart. Kennedy co-wrote five songs on the album, including the single, "Open Your Eyes," which shares more than just a passing wail with Creed's grandiose style.
After years fronting the Mayfield Four, Kennedy was working on a solo album when he got a call to come into the studio and lay down vocals on a few Alter Bridge tracks. He's still adjusting to the fast rise to fame after taking over for one of the most infamous frontmen of the last few years.
"Last time we were in Manhattan, I was somewhere and people were staring at me and I though there was maybe something hanging out of my nose," he said. "Then someone came up to me and asked if I was that guy in the video."
Though Kennedy lacks Stapp's now infamous introversion, he does relish his time out of the spotlight. "I'm pretty anal about making sure I can sing the next night," he says, "so I generally try to get back to the hotel and get as much shut-eye as possible or I can't sing the next day."
The singer will be seeing a lot of the inside of hotels across the country later this month when the band embarks on its first headlining tour on September 23 in Pontiac, Michigan (see "Creed Ex-Members Taking Alter Bridge On The Road").
Prior to the big tour, however, Alter Bridge have been warming fans up to the new group with a radio acoustic tour. Kennedy said he's surprised by how quickly the fans have embraced Alter Bridge. At an Indianapolis show, he said, "like three hundred folks showed up and we played about six songs and they already knew a lot of the words, and when we played the single they were singing so loud I couldn't hear myself."
Still, Kennedy knows there's more work to do and new fans to win over. After the tour, he said, the band plans to work to "establish awareness to the public so people know who we are. ... We'll be out indefinitely. We'll be out trying to preach the gospel of rock and roll."