Heavy rock revivalists, Legacy Of Supremacy, have released their long-awaited second album, The Morning After. ATS pinned down singer/guitarist Jacob Kenny and found a strong family connection running through his music.
The son of local guitar legend, Ian Kenny – who played every pub in and around town for many years with his outfit True Colours – Jacob Kenny doesn’t hesitate to sing his Dad’s praises and influence.
“He'll always say that he never pushed me to play the guitar,” Kenny enthuses, “but I lived in a house that had musicians coming in and out, and it was full of guitars, and full of gear. I really didn't have a choice, to be honest. And I've loved it since I was a child: I started playing at five years old and I'm 28 now. He's definitely been an inspiring force to have around. And it wasn't until I was in my teens that I even discovered the True Colours stuff from back in the day - I remember listening to that, and a handful of other really great albums, and just going, ‘holy crap, I love the tone’.
“And I was lucky enough to go and visit the same studio that he recorded that album in, and the same Rockman amps were in there - and I own them now. So the same stuff that was recorded, on that True Colours album, I recorded (Legacy of Supremacy’s debut album from 2011) Midnight Till Dawn with!”
Ian Kenny passed on some very good advice to his son about being a musician.
“My dad always said, ‘If you're gonna do it, do it really, really well. Just pick a path, and do it that way. Don't try to do it to please the masses - if you're doing it well, as long as you really love it, they're gonna love it. Don't come off half-arsed - if you want to play glam metal, play the best damn glam metal you possibly can’.”
Those Rockman amps – designed and made by Tom Scholtz of Boston - are the key to the Legacy Of Supremacy sound – just as they were for Boston and some other mega-selling acts.
“The best way I can describe it to a non-muso,” Kenny generously offers, “is… Def Leppard's Hysteria, Love Bites and the really big orchestral, high and mid-range, sizzly guitar sound... a bit of Journey. Anything that's got that really big wide, chorusy sound. Anything that sounds like you're standing in front of an arena, and listening to this huge, wide image. That was Tom Scholtz's brainchild.
“I remember listening to Boston’s album, Third Stage, and the song called The Launch on it, and it sounded like a spaceship taking off - and that was all him, just with a guitar and this Rockman gear that he'd designed in his basement. He was a graduate from MIT and a scientist, and I'm a biological scientist by day, and that really resonated with me, because he heard a sound in his head and wanted it, so he just made it happen. And I just locked in with him a bit. I was like, ‘yeah, I get what you're trying to do’.”
Whilst we’re talking gear, we should mention bassist Tristan Hodges, who makes his own instruments from scratch.
“Yeah Tristan's an engineer, and he's got his little man shed that he loves at home, and with four kids he loves to run and hide in there,” Kenny says with a brotherly laugh. “He's a bit of a gear nerd and he's been modifying guitars since I met him when we played together in Beyond Never. He just decided he was gonna build something, and we're all like, ‘oh yeah, we'll see how this goes’’ and it was just nicer than any other instrument that he owned.”
Legacy Of Supremacy were named as homage to “the legacy of rock’n’roll supremacy” of the glam rock and metal era, and have been together in one form or another since 2006. The mainstays during that time have always been Kenny and fellow guitarist, Curtis Sucksmith.
“This would be year number 10 since we actually started and did our first show,” says Kenny. “As a group, with the current line-up (completed by drummer, Frank Lupino), it's been about two. Myself and Curtis have been the old guard since day one, and we're still doing it.
“We've experimented in a lot of other bands as well, but the two of us really dig what we're doing. And sometimes people laugh at it or people hate it - but we just don't want it to die, because we've got too much faith in it. And when we hang out, we just want to listen to Def Leppard and Motley Crue, so why not play it?”
Kenny and Sucksmith have been working on The Morning After for five years, on and off, with families (Hodges and Lupino have 10 children between them), careers, study (Kenny is months away from submitting a PhD in biological engineering), line-up changes and life in general often getting in the way. The album was also recorded, mixed and mastered in Kenny’s home studio.
“I did it all myself, which was a big deal,” he admits. “The first album we knocked out in quite a short period of time because we took it straight to a guy, and he had a setup, and we just walked in, we were on the clock and we recorded it. But when you've got the luxury of doing it in your own space, you tend to get very particular - you'll play a guitar piece over and over again, do 50 takes, and hate all of them.
“I like the first album but it wasn't what we really envisioned we sounded like, and everyone said, ‘It's cool, but you don’t sound like this live’. And I didn't have the vocabulary to explain that to a producer, but I could do it myself, and the first album made enough money that we could buy the equipment, so it's completely self-contained.”
Legacy Of Supremacy’s The Morning After is launched on Saturday, September 23, at Amplifier with support from Jackson Koke and Switchblade Sister. LOS Studios is available to hire. Full details at www.facebook.com/events/124282158222730/
Legacy Of Supremacy - What's That Sound?
“I don't run any pedals, so the recorded tone that you hear is just a Rockman Amp. It’s a modular amp, made up of a couple of components, but it's pretty much the amp stage. It's got a couple of graphic EQs in there to shape your tone, and it's got a delay and a widener, which is basically a big stereo chorus on it, not your conventional chorus. And that's it.
“It doesn't come into my speaker cab when recording. It goes straight into the computer. I used to use it live all the time, but being that they were made in the early to mid-80s, they don't fare well on the road.
“Live now, I use a Soldano amp and it's just the raw tone, and I've got a graphic EQ to shape it. I use an Axe FX, but it's just for little bits. I don't use a lot of pedals on the floor, there's just two cables and me, and that's it.”