Alter Bridge singer Myles Kennedy has spoken about his 2008 audition for Led Zeppelin in a new interview — and he said he performed an unreleased song called “Embryo No. 1” with the band.
Kennedy was interviewed by radio host Eddie Trunk earlier this month, and LedZepNews downloaded the show from The Eddie Trunk Archive.
Kennedy spoke at length about his 2008 audition with Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones, and Jason Bonham in England. Trunk said Led Zeppelin auditioned three singers (Kennedy, Steven Tyler, and Sammy Hagar) in 2008 after Robert Plant decided not to perform any more shows with the band.
You can read the full transcript of the relevant section of Trunk’s show below.
“That first day the song that really stuck out which was just a special moment was ‘No Quarter,'” Kennedy said. “And that was, it’s always been one of my favourite songs. And I remember after we got done, or maybe during the song, I looked up at Jimmy and Jimmy was really into it, he really enjoyed what was happening.”
“Later on we did ‘Kashmir.’ Yeah, it was crazy, honestly.”
Trunk asked Kennedy whether the audition was filmed or recorded in any way. Kennedy said it wasn’t. “There’s kind of a false rumour that we were in the studio making recordings, like recording new music,” Kennedy said. “I don’t know where that came from because it was just mainly, we were just jamming.”
According to Kennedy, the songs they performed were all Led Zeppelin songs, apart from two songs that were unreleased tracks that the band was working on.
“There were two songs,” Kennedy said. “And this was the thing that first day that tripped me out more than anything, was they were like ‘we have a little time to kill before you go back and you have to get on the train. We’ve got some things we’ve been working on, do you want to just kind of sing over the top of it?'”
“Yes, and that was what was crazy was hearing something that no-one had heard and getting to sing over the top of it. So I just kind of scatted and made something up and it was crazy. It was just crazy.”
Kennedy asked Trunk if he had seen the 2009 film “It Might Get Loud,” which featured Page performing two unreleased songs.
“The riff that we jammed on I think was called ‘Embryo No. 1.’ Jimmy was playing something and I think that was what we were jamming on, I remember that riff in my head. Really cool riff.
Here’s an audio clip of Page performing “Embryo No. 1” from “It Might Get Loud”:
There are two different “Embryo” songs featured on “It Might Get Loud”: There’s “Embryo No. 1,” which is featured on the opening sequence of the film and which Kennedy says he played with the band and also another track “Embryo No. 2.”
“Embryo No. 2” first surfaced as a Jimmy Page solo track named “Domino” which he played live at the NetAid charity show at Giants Stadium in New Jersey on October 9, 1999.
That track was then reworked and played by Page during “It Might Get Loud” as “Embryo No. 2.”
Page spoke to Billboard about the two “Embryo” tracks in a 2009 interview. “They just go to show I didn’t go in there thinking, ‘Let’s see what we can get away with from the past?'” Page said. “It was quite important, I felt, to actually have something that shows I’m still working on the guitar relative to just doing ‘Whole Lotta Love’ or something like that. It was more ‘Let’s show a complete picture,’ so you’ve got that kid playing at 14 and you’ve got me playing on some things which are really pretty current for me.”
Page said that he “played them with other musicians relatively recently, in the last year or so,” presumably referring to the auditions for a new Led Zeppelin singer.
Read the full transcript of the relevant section of Eddie Trunk’s radio show below:
Eddie Trunk: Many people know, but some don’t, that Myles Kennedy was one of three people that had a chance to audition for Led Zeppelin when they were considering performing without Robert Plant when Plant decided he didn’t want to be in the band anymore. Interesting timing to discuss this because there are rampant rumours once again about a possible Zeppelin reunion. We’ll see what happens with that.
But the three guys that went in to potentially audition were Sammy Hagar, Steven Tyler and the one semi-unknown guy was Myles Kennedy. Now, Myles by his own admission is kind of a neurotic guy. He’s kind of an insecure guy which is amazing when you consider how well he can play and sing. So that’s where the conversation picks up with Myles Kennedy on this interview because I start out by asking him what his mental state was and what he was like the night before he had his audition with Led Zeppelin.
Myles Kennedy: No, no, in fact we played, we played a festival in Sweden and then we drove, they dropped me off at, I can’t remember which airport it was, somewhere in Europe. Yeah, I’d pretty much been up most of the night. And you know, it was crazy. Crazy!
ET: So were you up the night before like singing the songs out loud?
ET: Or making sure you had every lyric and nuance down. Were you in that mood or?
MK: Well I’d spent a few days when Jason called me and kind of gave me a heads up so I was certainly spending a lot of time thinking about the catalogue and, err, yeah.
ET: You knew what songs you were gonna do? They told you or no?
MK: I don’t … I think he mentioned some that they had been jamming just to kind of have those prepared so…
ET: Because that’s brutal if you don’t, if you’re going in to jam with Jason Bonham, John Paul Jones, and Jimmy Page, and you don’t know what you’re jamming.
MK: Oh yeah.
ET: And what if, I mean, I imagine you’re a pretty big Zeppelin fan.
MK: Massive, massive.
ET: To the point that if they called out anything, you were cool with singing it?
MK: I’m not really good in that respect because I have a really bad memory. Melodically I’d be fine, but it’s lyrics that’s the killer for me.
ET: That’s what I’m saying.
MK: Even with Alter Bridge, like songs that I took part in writing I’m, yeah, I have a hard time remembering lyrics.
ET: What songs did you sing in that rehearsal? What Zeppelin songs did you do?
MK: That first day the song that really stuck out which was just a special moment was ‘No Quarter’ and that was, it’s always been one of my favourite songs. And I remember after we got done, or maybe during the song, I looked up at Jimmy and Jimmy was really into it, he really enjoyed what was happening.
ET: Were you playing guitar too?
MK: Nope, just singing, just singing.
MK: But later on we did ‘Kashmir.’ Yeah, it was crazy, honestly.
ET: Anders is shaking his head. Did you know about this?
Anders Fridén: I heard some rumour about it somewhere.
ET: This is a rumour that’s actually true.
AF: And honestly, I haven’t told you this, but it would be a great pick too. Because you would have delivered.
ET: It would have been amazing.
AF: It’s hard to say something after this. Now how do I top this story?
ET: Anders did you ever sing for Sabbath or anything?
AF: No, I wish, but it’s funny that you’re talking about Zeppelin because sometimes you get questions like ‘oh, which bands would you like to have seen in the heyday’ and I always mention Zeppelin because I miss them.
ET: I could have went to that O2 show and I didn’t because I was offered a ticket and I didn’t, it was around Thanksgiving I remember and beyond the family stuff, I was completely convinced, like most people, that if I would have flown to England and done that and blown off a holiday here with my family, that I would land in England and as I’m walking in to get the ticket ripped, they would have made the announcement of ‘Zeppelin will be playing Madison Square Garden’ next month and I’m like ‘You!’ You think I was mad going to Vegas when they were playing Starland? But I was completely convinced they were going to do more shows. So I was like there’s no way they’re only going to do one show, I’ll just wait and it turned out they only did one show.
You didn’t go to the O2, obviously, did you Anders?
AF: No, no.
ET: You didn’t, Myles?
AF: I was sitting here thinking while you were talking about it the question ‘how did you feel the day before?’ I would be blown away. How do you even … how do you deal with yourself?
ET: Just when Myles said ‘when I looked up during No Quarter at Jimmy, he seemed pleased.’ I mean, come on!
MK: Yeah, it was pretty surreal. And I found out the day before we played, we were actually driving on the bus, that it was gonna happen, that I was gonna get to fly there. And I think it was Rock In Park, it was one. There’s that track and I remember pacing that entire morning before our set just like could barely put one foot in the front of the other, like ‘is this for real? Am I dreaming all this that this weekend I’m flying to London?’ Yeah, it was crazy.
ET: Did you, is there a recording of it?
MK: No, no, I don’t.
ET: Was it shot? Were there cameras in the room?
MK: No, no, in fact there’s kind of a false rumour that we were in the studio making recordings, like recording new music. I don’t know where that came from because it was just mainly, we were just jamming.
ET: Were there cover songs done or just a couple of Zeppelin songs?
MK: Majority Zeppelin, I think all Zeppelin and then there were two songs, and this was the thing that first day that tripped me out more than anything, was they were like ‘we have a little time to kill before you go back and you have to get on the train. We’ve got some things we’ve been working on, do you want to just kind of sing over the top of it?’ Yes, and that was what was crazy was hearing something that no-one had heard and getting to sing over the top of it. So I just kind of scatted and made something up and it was crazy. It was just crazy.
MK: In fact the riff that I remember was, did you see ‘It Might Get Loud’?
MK: The riff that we jammed on I think was called ‘Embryo Number One.’ Jimmy was playing something and I think that was what we were jamming on, I remember that riff in my head. Really cool riff.
ET: Amazing, you don’t, we’re going to take a quick break here and we’re going to come back here and again, Myles Kennedy is here, Alter Bridge and In Flames go out on tour, the tour starts tonight New Jersey, Starland Ballroom. Anders from In Flames is here with Myles. Go to the Alter Bridge website, the In Flames website, find out all the dates wherever you’re listening in the country because you guys will be out for a little while, I’m sure.
I read, there’s this story, being a big Kiss man, and Eric Carr was a dear friend of mine and I used to talk to him about this. When he went in to audition for Kiss and he, it’s very well known at the end of his audition, he asked for their autographs because he was just like ‘I know this may be unprofessional but I’m probably never going to see these guys again and I need some documentation that this happened.’ So was there any point for you that you, maybe not necessarily did that, but ‘hey guys can we do a selfie?’ Did you want to play it totally pro? ‘Can I document this in ANY way possible in case we never talk again?’
MK: Yeah, things like that crossed my mind but I didn’t want to be that guy, so. And I honestly thought that first day it was just going to be that first day and I’d go on my merry way. No, but I did have a bit of a Chris Farley moment where, you know where Chris Farley is interviewing Paul McCartney, that kind of awkward thing? I’d said, it was before we even jammed, I’d said something to the effect of you know, I just want to thank you guys, you guys pretty much drew up the blueprint for everything guys like us do. Jimmy just looked at me like ‘really, you’re gonna tell that to me again?’ Like, ‘do you know how many times I’ve heard that, bro?’ So that’s when internally I was pulling a total Chris Farley like hitting my head like ‘how can you be so stupid? They’re not gonna think you’re cool at all.’