For those who have a problem with Myles read this
Ok, this rant has been boiling within me for a couple of weeks now. I've been hearing a fair amount of negativity and complaining (mostly from other sites) about Myles' voice and how it doesn't fit this sort of rock music. We kind of had a thread like this a couple of weeks ago, but it was deleted, the reason being, I would imagine, some of the language became virulently invective and hostile, so the mods probably thought it best to err on the side of caution and delete it. I will accept some blame on that, because the thread was started by someone complaining about Myles' "whiny" voice, so, naturally, I came to the defense (along with others) with a TOTALLY ironic comment about how guys like Myles, Robert Plant, Geoff Tate, Rob Halford, etc, (you know, rock singers with phenomenal range) how they all suck and cannot sing rock. I even ended it with a "PS: All of the above was BS". But, a couple of people didn't read the last part, and they were getting a bit irascible and the thread took a dive for the worse. This was unfortunate, as, I feel this subject needs to be addressed. Myles Kennedy has an incredible old school voice, and, put in the proper context, his voice might not seem such a strange companion with Mark's music.
In case I forget, I would like to applaud Mark for making a very bold and progressive choice by choosing Myles, because Mark must have known that this would be a tough transition, and he must have had a lot of confidence in their music to present something that is significantly different than what Clear Channel and the like are cranking out like soda cans. Mark must also have a lot of faith in the fans and our ability to retain an open mind. With this freshman effort, in a business that insults our collective intelligence on a daily basis, Mark and company have both challenged us and paid us the ultimate complement, and, since we're not in my favorite thread, I'll go ahead and say it: Mark rules.
Ok, *ahem* so does Myles' voice fit with rock music? Of course it does, but, since no one asked me anyway, let's examine the query more objectively and take a look from an historical perspective.
In the late '60s and early to mid 70s(ish), this is when rock music began to get "harder", as the guitarist like Jimi Hendrix , Jimmy Page, Tony Iommi, Tommy Bolin, Richie Blackmore, Pete Townshend, Joe Perry, etc...the progenitors of rock music and, by way of rock, metal. Now, the NATURAL complement to guitarists of this caliber were vocalists with ranges of equal caliber. In a time when rock music was blossoming, nay, EXPLODING, these vocalists would set the standard in rock. We would have Robert Plant, Geddy Lee, Jon Anderson, Glenn Hughes, Ian Gillan, Steve Walsh, Steve Winwood, Steven Tyler, Tommy Shaw, Freddie Mercury, Dio, and the list could go on, I'm sure, and feel free to let me know who I left out. Point is: a singer with range and rock music were FAR from mutually exclusive.
(which, it is always at this point that, when I hear someone complain of Myles' "whining voice", I think to myself, "Then this person is obviously not a Zeppelin fan, cos, when it comes to a 'whine', Plant makes Myles sound like Tom Waits." Also, by the way, Tom Waits and Robert Plant are both awesome, but I digress...)
Now, also, at this same point in time, great singers were flourishing in the R&B realm (which, really, was the great thing about radio in the 70s, a single station would go from Marvin Gaye to Yes, but, yeah, those days are gone...anyway...). Singers like Stevie Wonder, Philip Bailey, Maurice White, Marvin Gaye, the Reverand Al Green, etc...Motown was exploding as well. (Point of trivia: September of 1971, the month I was born, top of the r&b charts was "Inner City Blues" by Marvin Gaye. And which totally superlative lead singer of Alter Bridge did a cover of that song? Believe it, Myles F'n Kennedy!)
Ok, now, in the 80s is when the genres of music really splintered, as you had pop, r&b, new wave, rock, hard rock, and the beginnings of "heavy metal", I won't really go into just how many sub genres there are, because, frankly, I don't know them all, as I tend to ignore those sorts of labels these days. In any case, by 1984, hard rock had, not one, not two, but at least 3 different guys that took vocal range to the next level: Rob Halford, Bruce Dickenson, and Geoff Tate (who would be label in later years as the Three Tremors). Other vocalists in rock that had the range inspired, or encouraged, by those vocalists of the 70s would be Steve Perry, Prince, Bono , and, again, the list could go on, feel free to chime in.
Now, here's where things get tricky. Along comes the 90s...(and keep in mind that the dates are general, as I'm about to include Soundgarden in the 90s when, in point of fact, Louder Than Love was released in 1989 and that wasn't even their first album, just the first one I heard...). Now, the singers that flourished in this era (and a few of them still are) were singers that concentrated less on range, as their primary focus was the emotion conveyed and the songwriting. Now, I'm not saying that you can't have both (as all of those listed above do, and do indeed...), but, the late 80s would have a few vocalists, and I'll not name names (but, hey, you guys feel free to), who managed to score some fame, and they may have had range, but had very little emotional content and scant, if that, songwriting capability, so, part of the natural evolution of rock would necessitate the emergence of vocalists emphasizing songwriting and emotional content. And the vocalists that would lead this charge would be Eddie Vedder, Layne Staley, Scott Weiland, Kurt Cobain, Rob Zombie, and Billy Corgan. Now, the oddball of this crew I saved for last: Chris Cornell, he had it all, but, as all rules have the exception, so was Chris.
Now, from this point further, the vocalists with the range were regulated to the genre of progressive rock (Labrie of Dream Theater or Alder of Fates Warning), r&b, or remained on the fringes of rock, such as Jeff Buckley, who never enjoyed extraordinarily lucrative success, but scored a loyal fan base and critical acclaim. In any case, they would not be considered welcome in the realm of modern rock by radio. Also, you have guys like Thornley whose band Big Wreck was regulated to "neo prog" even though I just heard a lot of 70s rock in there...but, then, 70s rock like Zeppelin and Sabbath had progressive tendencies, as, back then, the radio and the public wouldn't punish guys like that when their songs ran a little long...again, I digress
Also, either causing or because of the near disappearance of the guitar solo (that's another discussion), the need for the singer with range in rock has also diminished. Solos became short or nonexistent, and the new generation of singers inspired by the Vedder/Staley/Weiland school, such as ST@pp, Scallions, Sully, to name a few, emerged and enjoyed success; whilst, the guys with range, again, would stay on the fringes.
Now, it's 2004 (I'm pretty sure, anyway...)...so, what's going on? What's going on is that the singers with range are not being heard on the radio, unless they are playing classic rock and you catch a Journey song or a Zeppelin song or a Judas Priest song.
And, what about Mark Tremonti? This is his project, and, I get the feeling that he has had to hold back a lot for the last few years (and you guys would probably know better than me, as you guys are mostly hardcore Creed fans, I followed Myles here from MF4), and Mark was wanting to really cut loose. I submit that, not only was choosing Myles a great choice, it was the necessary choice. Mark wants flexibility, to do what he wants to do without feeling stifled, and Myles provides that for him with the same versatility.
Myles Kennedy...what can I say about him that I haven't been saying for the past few months on here...well, let me sum up. Myles' vocal skills are the perfect marriage of the emotive rock singers of the 70s like Plant and Tommy Shaw, the strength of guys like Dio, the resplendent r&b stylings of Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder, breath control and sustain of vintage Geoff Tate, and the modern edge of singers that cut their teeth on similar aforementioned influences such as Cornell and Buckley. Helluva guitar player, too...
Myles Kennedy is where the past meets the future!!! I heard that somewhere...can't remember where, but, it's catchy, yeah?
Now, it goes without saying that you don't have to like Myles' voice. If it's not your particular brand of vodka, then there is PLENTY of other stuff out there on the radio and elsewhere for you to listen to. ST#pp's new album comes out pretty soon, and the Tea Party is solid, so, enjoy.
But, the fact is this: Myles Kennedy is Mark's lead singer.
Here endeth the rant...
Also, I am saying nothing remotely derogatory about any singer I have listed here, I'm merely pointing out the differences. EVERY SINGLE SINGER that I have named here, I have some of their work. It's all music, it's all good, it's why we are here.
Oh, yeah, one more thing:
Myles Kennedy rules!!!