He equates it to downing a million shots of espresso.
Vegas’ Todd Kerns is talking about what it’s like touring the world as bassist for Slash and The Conspirators, the band helmed by the former Guns N’ Roses guitarist with the most famous top hat in rock ’n’ roll.
“There’s times where I will be standing there and he’ll be playing the lick from ‘Sweet Child o’ Mine,’ and I’ll be like, ‘This is not lost on me,’ ” Kerns says from a tour stop in Michigan as he procrastinates on a trip to the gym. “Guns N’ Roses was a massive deal for me in the early days when I was getting into music. That ‘Appetite (for Destruction)’ album really lit a fire under the whole world really, but for me, I know every nuance of that record.”
Kerns sings such G n’ R classics as “Welcome to the Jungle,” “Out Ta Get Me” and “You’re Crazy” with The Conspirators, having gigged constantly for the past 3½ years, from small cities in Illinois to Melbourne, Australia. In 2012 alone, the band played for nine months straight with but a few days off here and there.
For Kerns, it’s all been a blur for the 43-year-old rock lifer. Originally from Canada where he had a successful musical career in a variety of bands, Kerns moved to Vegas in 2006 and became best known as a singer-guitarist in the Sin City Sinners. Then he got the call to join Slash’s band without knowing how long it would last.
“It’s one of those bizarre things where when we started, we weren’t sure if it was going to be a three-month run of shows and then kind of like, ‘OK, good game, thanks a lot guys,’ and that would be it,” he recalls. “But the train keeps a rollin’ here. It’s been a hell of an experience, that’s for sure.”
During rare moments of downtime with The Conspirators, Kerns managed to record his new, largely acoustic solo disc, “Borrowing Trouble,” which was inspired partly by Johnny Cash’s spare, spectral American Recordings albums.
“It’s like you’re in the room with him while he’s playing,” Kerns says of Cash’s final series of records. “A lot of that was where I was going. Taking a guitar and a vocal, and that’s it, can be a bit scary.”
Kerns hopes to do some shows in support of the album later in the year, but for now, he’s finishing up the touring cycle for the Slash and The Conspirators’ most recent album, “Apocalyptic Love,” which culminates Thursday night with a final show at the House of Blues.
After so much time away from home, it’s fitting that home is where it all ends.
“It’s sort of like as if the last three years has just been one giant experience and it comes back and lands right there on a stage I’ve played many times,” Kerns says.
Contact reporter Jason Bracelin at email@example.com or 702-383-0476.