Todd Kerns - Borrowing Trouble
Over the past couple of years, the rise of Pledge Music has given us many great albums. More and more artists are turning on to this idea of getting the fans involved to help fund their records, thus creating their own little record labels. This makes the bond between artists and fans a special one, and nothing conveys this more than the new record from Todd Kerns. He went down the Pledge Music route, probably due to the influence of his good pal Ginger Wildheart, and decided to make a new solo album. The response was brilliant, Kerns reached 100% of his target in less than 24 hours and Borrowing Trouble was born, an acoustic album, something a little different to what you may expect.
Nothing Personal, the records opener, is a really catchy one to start with, but it’s juxtaposed with a dark tale of life’s choices and the outcomes you are faced with. It has a great piece of electric slide guitar in there which gives the track a gritty edge, much like its lyrical nature and the repeated line “Ain’t nothing personal, it’s just business” can be such a harsh statement, it really resonates with you. The Devil in Me is one of my personal highlights. There is something about the melody and the use of the electric sitar that along with Todd’s vocals has this really haunting feel about it. It would make a great big, full bodied, ferocious rock song, but stripped down like this it makes just as much impact. The same can be said for This Changes Everything. The song has so much packed into it and a lot going on, it is really not your standard acoustic track, but it is by no means too much. So many layers, with a collaboration of voices and harmonies and the use of different instruments, it makes for a very interesting listen.
Some of the best songs on Borrowing Trouble are the ones that are simply just Todd and his guitar. Tracks like The Maker and Its Always Been You showcase his voice perfectly, and they are so intimate and intricate that they feel personal to listen to, like he is singing directly to you, which can be a very hard thing to achieve, but it is done with such ease. So Scandalous is sweet and bouncy, performed just with a ukulele, and Hideous is a real interesting one, it has this big stomper of a beat running through it, and the guitars give me a kind of Sneaker Pimps vibe. You Can Always Go Home is particularly beautiful. Simple and delicate with such a strong sense of emotion in the lyrics, it’s a perfect closing track. It’s really difficult not to go into detail about each song to be honest, the album is so much more than just another acoustic album, each song has a different flavour about it, but put together they fit so well.
Borrowing Trouble is one of those records where every song is your favourite, there is nothing to criticise about it, and it’s pretty perfect to be honest. The themes that run throughout, preoccupations and worrying about things that may not even happen, and overcoming these feelings, realising that there is more to life than worrying is what makes it feel all the more personal to those listening. It’s stripped back, bare bones, guitar and voice and the storytelling in the lyrics is vivid, as you listen you can see each story playing out in your head. It is a special record for so many reasons; I sincerely hope there is more where this came from.
Slash feat Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators - Olympia Theatre, Dublin 04.03.2013
It has been 3 years since Slash has visited Dublin, and upon announcement of his return, tickets to his 2 shows at the Olympia Theatre were snapped up in minutes. He makes his return of course with Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators to play the last shows on the current European tour promoting the album Apocalyptic Love.
Kicking things off this evening are The Treatment. Since touring with KISS and Motley Crue in the States last year, these boys have certainly grown as a band and now deliver a performance full of confidence and swagger. A set made up of mainly new material with a few older tracks thrown in, they continue to show great promise and give us a taster of what is to come.
As always, Slash's hugely energetic show spans material right across his career. Both solo albums, Velvet Revolver, Snakepit and of course Guns N’ Roses all feature in heavy doses, something for everyone. The opening trio of Halo, Been There Lately and Nightrain start things off perfectly and set the bar high, there is no holding back tonight. An evening of pure rock n roll faces the Olympia, as Slash launches himself into the air from the drum riser, you know he means business.
Fan favourite Back From Cali brings immense enthusiasm from the crowd as they sing every word incredibly loud, and Shots Fired taken from the recent release sounds fantastic live. Todd Kerns steps up to deliver his rendition of Doctor Alibi and Guns classic You’re Crazy, both with such force and energy the crowd are worked into a frenzy. Kerns is hard rock personified and his vocals on You’re Crazy are out of this world.
The double necked guitar makes an appearance for Civil War, which again gets the crowd singing, along with the masterpiece that is Anastasia, it proves the newer material fits alongside the old as pure classics. Myles Kennedy shows once again this evening why he is one of the most accomplished singers in modern rock. He gives a stunning performance of Starlight and the sublime Not For Me follows.
An astounding 15 minute solo from Slash in the middle of Rocket Queen cements the fact he is a genius on the guitar, so skilled and in tune, the passion in his playing is mesmerising. Sweet Child of Mine of course blows the roof off the place, and Slither close the show with the guitar hero adding that they couldn’t have asked for a better place to finish.
The band are welcomed back to the stage to mighty roars for a crazy encore of Welcome To The Jungle and Paradise City. As the confetti rains down on the intimate theatre it is clear tonight has been special. Slash, Myles, Todd, Brent and Frank are solid. The chemistry they display as a band is remarkable and their performance is truly alive and kicking. For two hours they lure you in to a rock n roll euphoria and leave you begging for more. A fantastic ending to a hugely successful tour, let’s hope its not too long before they return!
(top photo courtesy of Hels Bels Photograhy)
Todd Kerns launches Pledge Music campaign
We all know the success story that was the incredible Ginger Wildhearts Pledge Music campaign last year and what became the phenomenon of 555%. Since this amazing achievement more and more bands and artists have turned to Pledge in order to raise funds to keep producing music. The key to this is it keeps music independent, cutting out the middle man and getting the product of everyone’s hard work direct from artist to fan. Amazing right?
Well, Todd Kerns, of Slash feat. Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators, Sin City Sinners, and formally of Age of Electric and Static in Stereo has gone and released his very own pledge music campaign!
He will be releasing a brand new acoustic solo album titled Hello Cruel World, and as a little bonus there will be an exclusive EP available to pledgers only, Near Life Experience which will be a covers EP of some of Kerns pre released songs in acoustic form. There is also a whole host of other goodies on offer for those who pledge, well worth a look! Check out the video below for all you need to know…
"I couldn’t be more excited about the prospects of such a venture together. This feels like an adventure the musician and the audience go on as a singular unit. I’m super excited about the possibilities of what a system like this could bring to us music lovers in the future. ”
We are super excited about this one, and you should be too! Nearly at 100% within the first 24 hours of going live, this campaign looks set to grow and grow! So do yourselves a favour and hit the link. Keep music exciting and alive and pledge pledge pledge!
Todd Kerns to launch new Pledgemusic campaign (and a free download too!)
The countdown is on to the launch of another fantastic Pledgemusic campaign to come our way this year!
Todd Kerns, current bassist for Slash and frontman for Vegas rockers Sin City Sinners has revealed he will be working on his very own Pledgemusic campaign, to be launched on 13th December. The project will involve the recording of a new full length acoustic album Hello Cruel World, aswell as an extra EP of some of his personal favourites, also done acoustically.
Posting on his official blog, he explains it was actually the inspiration of Ginger Wildheart and the amazing success he had with 555%, as well as his current projects, that led him down the path of Pledgemusic.
"The entire project was elevated by my time with Ginger Wildheart and his amazing manager, Gav McCaughey. Through them, I was turned on to a whole other way to make records. All I wanna do is make music and get it to the people who want it. People say the record industry is dead and I say that’s partly true. I still believe there are a great many music lovers that find great joy in discovering new music. I just think that marketplace has become much more selective."
The campaign will go live on 13th December, but right now you can grab yourself the free track Little Grace from Kerns as a special bonus! Head here to download the track!
Sign up and get involved in making history and keeping music independent! And make sure you check back here for full news on the launch and all that will be available!
Slash announces two UK dates
That’s right! The man in the hat is making a return to our shores to play shows at Nottingham Arena and Blackpool’s Empress Ballroom on 28th February and 1st March respectively. Slash Featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators released their first album Apocalyptic Love earlier this year and have since been on a worldwide tour. In addition, a special 3 disc edition of the album will be released in Europe on 3rd December with a handful of bonus features including a DVD of the album launch in New York.
Tickets are onsale from tomorrow for O2 customers and general sale on Friday.
Slash feat. Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators - O2 Academy, Newcastle - 15.10.12
Interview: Todd Kerns
It’s a little on the early side to tell just yet but I truly hope that is the case. The chemistry of this band has been undeniable. Apocalyptic Love was so successful it would be a shame not to capitalize on it by following up with the bigger and the better!
Slash had initially wanted to call the band The Collaborators. I countered with The Conspirators and that was that. Both were taken from watching History channel shows about WWII.
My passions have always been the same. Music, movies, some TV, comics and comic related stuff, sci fi, some horror. But mostly music. My house looks like a cross between a guitar store and a novelty/records/books/movie store.
I’m pretty good with the nunchakus (we know them as nunchucks) believe it or not. I love Bruce Lee films and taught myself to use them watching his movies.
I’d probably go back and tell myself to stick with it! I don’t really have regrets but there are things I would have done differently had I known I’d still have such a passion for this.
Slash with Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators- Hammersmith Apollo, 06.06.2012
Fresh from the release of Apocalyptic Love, Slash was back in London with Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators in tow for a special show at the Hammersmith Apollo. Such a legendary venue, it was the perfect place for the guitar legend to debut some of his new material.
Opening the evening with new track One Last Thrill, the guys get the evening off to a flying start. It is pretty clear the crowd know most of the words, and when Myles asks who has the new album the cheers are deafening. The band treat us to six songs from Apocalyptic Love tonight, all of which receive a roaring reception. After delivering such a brilliant record, it is great to finally hear some of the material live. Particularly brilliant is Halo, a song which Myles admits can be a struggle live, but he does a perfect job this evening. However, the surprise of the evening is the performance of Anastasia, its first live outing ever. Cited as many fans favourite from the album, it is truly a masterpiece. Epic sounding, and highlighting just what a legend Slash is on guitar.
There is something for everyone tonight. As well as the new stuff, the band cover all bases. We hear some tracks from Slash's previous album, including Back From Cali and Starlight, the songs which started his relationship with Kennedy, and Dr. Alibi, originally sung by Lemmy but tonight conquered by bassist Todd Kerns who steps up and nails it. Also included tonight are a couple of Snakepit tracks and of course the Guns N’ Roses staples, Rocket Queen, Nightrain etc.
The band are on top form, and sound tighter than ever, and rather than Slash being singled out whilst the others fade into the background, they are presented more as a band, the way it should be. What started out as just a live project quickly grew into a full time band, and it is great to see. In Kennedy, Slash has the perfect frontman. The voice, the look and the ability to work the crowd. And in The Conspirators he has a fantastic set of musicians all doing a killer job.
The night rounds off with a cracking version of Velvet Revolver classic Slither, always a crowd pleaser, before the band return for an encore of Zeppelin's Communication Breakdown which sees Myles in fine voice, and of course they close with Paradise city, a real anthem, and looking round at the thousands of beaming faces, i’d say the people of Hammersmith just witnessed one of the best gigs they’ll see all year.
Slash feat. Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators - Apocalyptic Love
Slash’s first solo album was a work of variety. Full of guest vocalists, chop and change, a real party of songs. After the fantastic job Myles Kennedy did on said album, and the amazing work touring the album with Slash around the world, a brand new project was born. Apocalyptic Love features Kennedy as the sole vocalist, and also includes Todd Kerns and Brent Fitz on bass and drums duties.
The first single You’re A Lie was a perfect introduction to the album. Enough fire to keep you wanting more, and it left me personally anticipating the release of the album a lot more aswell. And let me say, it does not disappoint. Even on the first listen you find yourself humming along and dancing around. Big guitars, dirty riffs, catchy lyrics, it just begs for you to listen again and again.
Of course the main pairing on this record is Slash and Myles. Slash’s incredible guitar playing and Myles astonishing vocal ability are a dream to listen to. There is just a great mix of songs throughout. Anastasia is pretty much a masterpiece. Fron its elegant flamenco guitar opening, it pulls you in before unleashing its full power on the listener. Not For Me is slower, showing a more delicate side to Kennedy’s vocals, but the song opens up to be quite epic, one of my favourites. The sheer energy of One Last Thrill and Hard and Fast is infectious. Straight up rock and roll at its very best. Truth is, there isn’t one dud track on here.
Slash has got himself a great band here. Drummer Brent Fitz keeps the whole thing going with his melodic approach to drumming and bassist Todd Kerns delivers some amazing vocals backing up Myles. Their voices compliment each other so well and their harmonies are perfection.
Of course, Apocalyptic Love brings in elements of Slash’s previous bands, moments reminiscent of Guns N’ Roses and Velvet Revolver are inevitable, but there is something much more new and exciting throughout. This album excites me, and as much as I anticipate or look forward to album releases, rarely do I get this much feeling about a record. I guess the next step from here is to see how Apocalyptic Love goes down live, and i really really cannot wait to find out.