Alter Bridge Frontman Shares Honest Opinion on James Hetfield’s Riffs, Explains How to Properly Sing Over Difficult Guitar Parts

Myles Kennedy, Alter Bridge frontman, as well as the singer for Slash’s band The Conspirators, has recently praised Metallica’s James Hetfield for his impeccable riff writing and performing skills. Talking to Music Radar, Kennedy touched upon the topic when he was asked about handling tricky guitar parts along with singing at the same time. He replied:

“As I was alluding to earlier, the chorus is very important. And generally, the nice thing with choruses is a lot of times it’s just a sequence of chords. And so that’s all you have to worry about.”

“Occasionally you have a song where your chorus will be sung over a riff. And when that is happening, I might try it a few times to see if I can sing and play at the same time and once in a while surprise myself.

“But often what I’ll do then is I will try it in the rehearsal context and come up with a part that will complement what’s going to happen within the realm of the other guys that are holding down the fort with the riff. I’ll add some kind of fairy dust part to make to ensure that I can still sing it and play at the same time.

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“So it really depends on the track and it depends on the rhythm. A big part of it is rhythm; if the rhythms are close enough, and the melody is accenting rhythmically, it will usually be fine. But if they’re in a totally different place, then it’s like rubbing your belly and patting your head.”

He then recalled James Hetfield as a great example of a singer who handles tricky guitar playing at the same time. Myles offered:

“That’s the thing that amazes me; I watch a guy like like James Hetfield and it’s amazing how he can come up with those very rhythmic riffs and then sing over the top the way he does. I find that very inspiring.”

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“I find that occasionally, there will be something that will stump me, but with enough time, if I just put in the time and keep practicing and doing it over and over and over, I’ll generally be able to land on my feet.”

At the moment, Alter Bridge are promoting their brand-new album “Pawns & Kings.” Launched on October 14, it comes with a total of 10 new songs. As far as live shows go, the band will have a busy schedule this November, and more shows are scheduled all the way up to early April 2023. You can get more info here.

Photos: Markus Felix (2017 Myles Kennedy Alter Bridge (cropped) 2), Ralph Arvesen (James Hetfield 2017)

  • David Slavkovic

    David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor and brands like Sam Ash.