December 11 2013
Los Angeles, California
Isn’t he clever? He mashed Canada and California together. A delicious ‘word sandwich’. It seemed fitting as I have been bouncing back and forth between these two destinations as of late. A little Las Vegas now and again when I can but mostly Canafornia.
We have just completed several days of preproduction here in LA with producer Michael ‘Elvis’ Baskette and I have to say that I am beyond excited for the new album. Apparently I was a bit premature in announcing to the world that Elvis was gonna be producing what I affectionately refer to as Apocalyptic Love 2. I suppose that should have been saved for some official type press release but I blabbed and it’s out there now. I didn’t know what to expect but I’ve already geeked out with Elvis over some deep KISS cuts that only the true fan can appreciate. As it turns out-he’s my kinda guy.
We have an arsenal of giant, monolithic powerhouses with working titles like ‘It Puts The Lotion On It’s Skynrd’ that Myles has turned into truly great songs. It’s no secret that he happens to be very good at that. He never ceases to impress. He’s also one of my favorite humans (that should be read ‘Hu-Mons).
We have expedited the entire schedule. It looks like we will be tracking as early as January which puts us about a month ahead of when we thought we were going to be able to do so. As you can imagine we are working around the busy schedule of the mega successful Alter Bridge which is no simple task. Basically Myles has zero rest whatsoever. He bounces from one world to the next seemingly seamlessly (seem…seam…).
So I suddenly find myself at home in the great City Of Angels on loan from a City Of Sin. LA starts to get more and more familiar and more and more comfortable. I’ve not made that leap to have California license plates or an 818 prefix on my phone # but…ya never know.
For now Vegas has my heart. I have good people there and I miss them dearly.
I am only just returned from the country of my birth, Canada which was one of the most enjoyable experiences for me in a great, long time. My co-Conspirator, Brent Fitz, and I found ourselves bouncing from one city to another in a fun little project called Coverboy. Joining us was a familiar cast from our ‘Justice Beaver’ ‘Canadian cover band’ that we do to raise money every year for charity. Cory Churko from Shania Twain and Kelly Clarkson on guitar and the amazing Spider from Loverboy and Streetheart on bass were with us again as well as our new pal, Chris Jericho who is very well known via his years crushing skulls in the WWE. Chris has his own band, Fozzy, who are on tour with Steel Panther in Australia as I write this.
We found ourselves in Regina, Saskatchewan which was ground zero for the Grey Cup which is pretty much the Canadian Super Bowl. We played a benefit show which was extremely enjoyable. It had been 9 years since I was last in Regina. I lived there for a couple of years wayyyy back pre Age Of Electric days.
There is no reminder as effective as that of a Saskatchewan winter! Eeep! Man, that is a whole other level of cold. It’s really mind blowing to think that I went from growing up in that to living in the desert. Seems almost TOO unlikely but it BE.
We had a blast playing music that only a person from Canada could truly appreciate. All of it great music that is a complete crime to be basically unknown south of the border (the Canada/US border, that is).
I got to catch up, albeit it all too briefly, with people I hadn’t seen in a looooong time. An amazing time.
From there we went to another city I lived in wayyyy back directly after leaving Regina which was Calgary. I’ve spent a lot of years playing in the great city of Calgary. I’ve made many, many friends over the years. It very much has a ‘HOME’ vibe to it, too. I love returning there time and again.
Cory Churko couldn’t do the Calgary show as he had prior engagements so my dear friend, Reed Shimozawa, trooper that he is, slid seamlessly into the guitar slot and was amazing. Reed, in many ways, is one of my favorite guitar players of all time. He can play anything. He is wayyy knowledgeable but can ‘garage’ it with the best of us.
That last sentence seems like gibberish but if you follow my vernacular you know what I mean.
He’s also one of my favorite humans on this planet. I’ve known him since 1989. You do the math. He is basically family at this point. In 2014 we will be release the new album, TKO, which Reed and I spent the past 10 years working on. I’m thrilled to see it released. More on that later though..
In writing this it must seem bizarre that I have called so many of these places home but it be true.
I was born in Estevan, Saskatchewan, Canada which only claim to fame I can refer to is the footage on youtube of Mick Mars being knocked down by some dufus on stage there. I’ve only ever returned there briefly a couple of times to play gigs. I’d love to have gotten to know it better but my family moved before my first birthday wayyyyy north to Lynn Lake, Manitoba which is about as far north as you can go before the towns become just ‘settlements’.
I have known me some winters, my friends.
It was a tiny town built in frontier land around a nickel mine where my father found work.
I was there for 12 or 13 years. Learned to play guitar there. Formed bands with friends with names like The Wraiths (which I suppose, in full nerd disclosure, would have been named after the ring wraiths from the Lord Of The Rings) with song titles like 95 Foot Suicide, Death Rider and the ever so adorable, Slut. Oh, the lyrical subject matter of pre pubescent boys. You know, only slightly more intelligent than say…Crazy Bitch From there I spent my junior high and high school years back in Saskatchewan in the town of Lanigan, 70 miles east of Saskatoon.
I have known me some winters, brothers and sisters.
We were moving up though. From 2000 people in Lynn Lake to 2500 people in Lanigan. Lanigan was only an hour and a bit from ‘the big city’ of Saskatoon where Lynn Lake was like a 2 day drive to Winnipeg.
So back in the province of my birth for those crazy, formative, teenage years. I formed bands like Buzz (replete with marijuana leaf logo which is mostly amusing because I don’t think we even knew what weed was yet) and The Infants (which despite us looking like girls was originally titled the much more threatening, The Wicked Infants. Not threatening at all, really) The Infants actually went on the road and lead me to such friendships as Cory and Kevin Churko from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan who would go on to be world famous musicians and producers and whom I’ve maintained friendships with ever since.
Through that band I landed in the capital of our province, Regina, where I lived for a couple of years where I met, Kurt and Ryan Dahle and would one day form a little band called Electric. A couple years later we put The Age Of in front of that.
Through my years of constant touring I landed in Calgary for about three years. As you can see I’m progressively moving west and to exponentially bigger cities. In Calgary I made lasting friendships with people like Reed Shimozawa and that continues today and forever.
When AOE formed we eventually made our way almost all the way west to Vancouver, which in many ways truly was home for a long time. 15 years or so. Those were the big years of really becoming the quintessential Age Of Electric. A big city with a music scene. A repressed one but a a music scene none the less.
Then in a random act of insanity I found myself in the US in the most mad center imaginable, Las Vegas, Nevada, where I would form the wonderful Sin City Sinners and reconnect with an old acquaintance named Brent Fitz who would wield a very powerful key to my future.
And that, so far, is that.
All of that said I have spent so much time in so many cities that I can’t help but think of them as home as well. Places like Edmonton, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, of course Toronto, New York City even and, as we can see now, Los Angeles, California. Places like London, England and Paris, France are become scarily familiar enough to fall under that category soon to I have said it before and I’ll say it again-Planet Earth is my home. I only wish more people saw it that way. You’d realize how much you have in common with people if you thought of them as your neighbors because they really truly are. This planet is vast and expansive but it’s also very small. The fact that these very words will be read on every continent on the globe proves that.
So it would seem fitting that after the two Coverboy shows I would hang back in Calgary with my good friend, Reed and do a Borrowing Trouble acoustic show on Grey Cup Sunday. The Saskatchewan Roughriders won, by the way which is a big deal for the people of Saskatchewan. It’s our only national team. There are no better fans in the CFL than the Riders fans. That is a fact known across the country.
The acoustic show was pretty magical actually. What started as a fun afterthought ended up being a massive success. My pal, Chris Jericho, came down, on zero sleep from our gig the night before, mind you. He had been celebrating ever since. It was a trip to see Chris wearing his TK Borrowing Trouble tee shirt and taking home a copy of the vinyl. What a blast. He got up and sang some Canadian classics with Reed and I which really capped off a magical night. People came down from Edmonton too and that was extremely rewarding to me. Thank you to all my brothers and sisters that were there that night.
Coincidentally Miss Janette from Todd Kerns USA on Facebook made the long trip north in a Canadian November to help sell merch. Thank you, Miss Janette. You are the best.
From there I was off to Winnipeg where I had the not so great fortune to play on the night of a snow storm but it ended up being an amazing night anyway. Brent Fitz came up and played some piano as he was back home visiting the folks. We played a Streetheart song for Kenny Shields who was the singer of that band and a great hero to both of us. That was very surreal for me. For some reason we sold a ton of merch in Winnipeg. That was a pleasant surprise. What a good time.
Next up I went back ‘home’ to Vancouver to raise some money for the hungry and the homeless. It was a last minute surprise show and I really didn’t know what to expect with such little lead up but it ended up being one of the most successful nights of my trip to Canada. One of those great nights where everyone is singing along and having a great time. I even did the Band Aid Xmas song ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas’. That’s how celebratory it was. It was a very special night and I never wanted it to end.
It was my dream to make Borrowing Trouble then grab a guitar and a car and stop in every city from Victoria to St John’s and sing for the people of Canada. That still might happen one of these days!
I’d love to do it elsewhere…Australia, Europe, UK, South America…USA….we’ll see.
And then BANG I was back in Los Angeles making racket with my besties but this time with the delightful, Myles Kennedy in tow. My ‘Heaverly Brother’. Then the newest addition to our family, Elvis, came along and we are full steam ahead. By April we will be doing the rounds of promo. Maybe a little Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon? Late Night with Seth Meyers? How crazy is that? So much awesome change ahead.
Then we’ll be going around the world a few thousand more times.
By the time the new album comes out this band will have been together in one form or another for 4 years. Mind blowing when I never expected the tour for the first solo album to be more than a few months. By the time we come off the road from touring the album the band will have been together for 5 years. That is a significant chunk of my life. Half a decade. Crazy.
On December 4th we went to hang with Slash at a charity party put on by Adam Sandler which was completely insane. I found myself backstage amongst the most insane collection of people imaginable. Perry Farrell from Jane’s Addiction, Jerry Cantrell from Alice In Chains, Ann Wilson from Heart, Joe MFING Walsh from The Eagles, Marilyn Manson, Jack Black…it was crazy weird. No Matter where you sat it was mental. Manson came over and drunkenly got some laughs. He’s the new school Dean Martin now. I never got to meet Adam Sandler cuz he was on stage the whole time. He sang everything and nailed it. He did Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door and did it verbatim like Axl. It was awesome. It was a pretty magical night.
The next day was my birthday which we spent together as a small affair. I wasn’t about to cancel rehearsal just cuz it was my birthday! Frank Sidoris surprised me by appearing for my birthday. Man, I love that guy. He’s the best. Thank you to all who were so good to me on my birthday. Really more than I deserve. Thank you thank you thank you.
I will be making my way to Vancouver for Xmas to be with my amazing family to eat way too much and enjoy myself far too much to be fair. I will hopefully take in The Hobbit 2 and of course ANCHORMAN 2! It is here. I cannot believe it.
After that I’ll be back with the Sin City Sinners doing New Year’s Eve at The Lounge in the Palms Hotel in Vegas. Come down. It’s going to be a blast. We have ourselves some fun. They are my Vegas family.
This is a hard time of year as we lost one of my best friends, Greg Verdusco, to cancer one year ago on December 15th. Four days before his birthday. It was an incredibly hard pill to swallow and to be honest I think I’m still swallowing it and probably ever shall be. He is missed every day and so much has happened that I wish I could have shared with him. He would have loved that the new Anchorman is coming out. That was one of his dreams to see that. It’s a real crime that he couldn’t fulfill that. The new Star Wars was another big dream of his. No one would have enjoyed all this as much as he would have.
The Replacements reuniting was a massive deal too. He would have never believed that happened in his absence.
Life is a complete mystery, my friends. We are here for a while and then we are gone. You never know when its comin’ either so make the best of every single day that you can. I mean it doesn’t have to be grandiose. If you really enjoy having a cup of coffee with good friends then do that as often as you can. If you like going to movies see as many as you can. If you want to climb a mountain do it!
The one thing we all have in common is that this all ends and there is nothing pessimistic about that to me. I have accepted that I’m not going to be here forever but I’m going to do everything I can to make what I have left as good as it can be. I recommend you do the same.
Todd Kerns-Bootleg Confessional Volume I : Live in Vegas (Live album recorded June 2nd at Vamp’d in Las Vegas) Todd Kerns-TKO : 10 Years In The Making. Epic. Amazing. Some of my proudest work.
Slash Featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators – Title to be determined. Summer 2014
Listening to – Dregen’s solo album. I loved the Backyard Babies and this album does not disappoint.
Reading – Rod Stewart’s autobiography. I love me some Rod the mod. Can you believe the Faces are doing a reunion tour? I’m busting! Busting!
Watching – Well, Man Of Steel, of course I’ll soon be watching Anchorman 2. I foresee that being a multiple theater going experience. CAN’T WAIT!
Live, brothers and sisters!
Life is meant to be lived!
Eat, drink. be merry and smoke ‘em if you got ‘em cuz life is meant to be enjoyed not squandered!
Your brother from another Mother