This morning, my roommate set the soundtrack of the day to be Alter Bridge. After he left for work, I ended up going down the YouTube rabbit hole which lead to some great interviews with Mark and Myles, then proceeded into a gem of Myles performing a pretty incredible (and unsuspecting) cover of AC/DC’s “Highway To Hell” with Steel Panther. I continued listening to Alter Bridge throughout the day while editing some photos from their set at Carolina Rebellion (which I’m going to share throughout this post).
I’m really not sure how I haven’t posted anything about them yet. My Alter Bridge history runs pretty deep, so I’m just going to start at the beginning. Rewind to 2004, back when AIM and AOL chat rooms were a thing (yep, that far back). A few friends from school introduced me to public chat rooms, and while I was talking to people I knew, every now and then a “random” would pop in. Very few of those randoms were worth remembering, but to this day, I can’t forget the screenname: xKazulx (aka Kaz). I have no idea how the conversation started initially, but I do remember that we connected over music. We’d talk about everything mainstream, then toss each other some lesser known recommendations. Well, one day he sends over this song with some incredibly poor file attributes (labeled: “0. ……….. – ……….”). Kaz told me, “This is a friend of a friend’s band, they’re awesome,” but failed to provide a name (and I failed to ask).
I fell in love with this song that I knew literally nothing about. Remember, this was back in the day before AZLyrics.com was the wonderful thing it is now. I tried to Google the song’s lyrics but came up with nothing, so I just gave the track my own assumed title: “Are You Ready For Me.” Old school Alter Bridge fans probably now see where this is going. Well, I lived contently for a few years without ever figuring out the band or actual name of the song. It was an amazing song that I connected with and I was fine listening to it on repeat and appreciating it regardless of band.
Although I don’t recall how I found out about it, I ended up with a copy of the album Blackbird in 2007. I enjoyed the album, but I’d never heard of Alter Bridge prior and for whatever naïve reason, I didn’t think to look backward in their discography. Fast forward a few more years to 2010 and I was morphing into the music geek I am today. I knew AB III was coming out, and snagged it on release day. This is the album that converted me into a real Alter Bridge fan, when the combination of curiosity and technology finally collided and I thought to research them further. You can imagine my surprise when I finally listened to One Day Remains for the first time and landed on the track “Shed My Skin”. All the dots connected and I finally had the actual name of a song I’d been listening to for six years.
On May 7th, 2011, I saw Alter Bridge live for the first time as part of the very first Carolina Rebellion music festival. A few months later, I saw them again on a 2011 Carnival of Madness tour date in NC. By that time, I had started photographing shows for Examiner.com (now merged with AXS), so that was also the first time I ever photographed Alter Bridge. It’s funny, because there are still a few photos I took way back then that resurface every now and then. I swear, Alter Bridge has some of the most dedicated and supportive fans – huge shout out to all the Alter Bridge fan pages. I have connected with some very wonderful people through those pages, and even had a few people recognize and introduce themselves thanks to those groups.
Flash forward a few years, a few albums, and a few shows… I photographed them at Chicago Open Air last year for the tenth or so time and forgot how to speak when I had the opportunity to meet Myles. After that, I moved to FL and my roommate introduced me to our now mutual friend (and very talented artist) Samy. Samy was friends with Alter Bridge’s tour manager, and ended up introducing us. Little did we know we’d be attending their wedding a year later, but endless “thank you”s to the both of them for granting the opportunity to photograph Alter Bridge live from stage multiple times this year.
There is something entirely different and absolutely awe-inspiring about shooting from stage, especially for a band that I have a deep appreciation for, and I’d like to think my Alter Bridge story has somehow come back full circle. Thankfully, a circle is never ending, and I look forward to seeing what new Alter Bridge memories get added to the loop!