Before Mayfield Four singer and guitarist Myles Kennedy and his bandmates — drummer Zia Uddin and bassist Marty Meisner — flew to New York last summer to begin recording their second album, Second Skin, Kennedy had a little Hollywood business to take care of: a three-day trip to Los Angeles to film his first acting role, playing a star-struck fan in the upcoming Mark Wahlberg flick, Rock Star.
Loosely based on the real story of veteran U.K. heavy metal act Judas Priest, Rock Star was originally to be titled — perhaps more appropriately — Metal God. The film is slated for a fall release.
Kennedy first gained an audition due to his fabulous vocal range. "That was actually a very strange thing," Kennedy told Wall of Sound as he and his band drove to West Virginia during a recent string of opening dates on Everclear's tour. "I got a call from my manager saying, 'We're looking for someone who can sing this really high stuff.'"
Though Mayfield Four's songs don't actually incorporate such '80s-style, hair-metal wailing, Kennedy passed the audition. "My scene is with Mark Wahlberg; I get up onstage and sing along with him for a song. Basically he passes the mic over to me and … I won't give too much away, it's towards the end and it's rather a pivotal part of the movie."
Besides gaining a great respect for actors and their craft — "I had no idea it was so time-consuming, not to mention they get up at the crack of dawn, which as a musician is a new thing for me" — Kennedy got the chance to play with two metal luminaries: Ozzy Osbourne guitarist and Black Label Society frontman Zakk Wylde and Jason Bonham, the son of the drummer of one of Kennedy's all-time favorite bands, Led Zeppelin.
"I remember sitting down and telling him, 'Your father's music pretty much inspired me to do this," says Kennedy of a between-takes conversation with Bonham. "He was really nice about it. He's very proud of his dad's legacy, and he should be."
As for the actual mechanics of playing a besotted fan at a rock concert, Kennedy says that came very easy to him. "When he gets to get up onstage and actually sing with them in front of thousands of people, it's like a dream come true for him. How many of us have gone to rock shows when we were a kid and thought those very same thoughts? All I had to do was put myself back in a place where I was when I was 15 years old," says Kennedy.
"It wasn't really like acting, it was like transferring yourself back to that period in time and remembering who you were."