He’d been jamming on the tune since he was a teenager — it’s a hard rock staple, right up there with denim, groupies and trips to the free clinic. But recently, it took on a surreal bent.
“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve played ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’ from the time I was 16 years old in some cover band ’til, like, last Saturday at Green Valley Ranch,” says Todd Kerns, singer/guitarist for Vegas rockers the Sin City Sinners, recalling a recent rehearsal session with some different bandmates. “I’m playing it, and I’m just kind of in the zone because I play that song so often. And then I look over and go, ‘Hey, that’s Slash playing.’ “
The famed, former Guns N’ Roses six-stinger just issued his first solo album, “Slash,” and has put a band together to get out and promote the disc. Recently, Kerns was asked to join the group on bass, a big opportunity, both personally and professionally, for the lifelong G N’ R fan.
Of late, Kerns has been in L.A., rehearsing six hours a day with the band, getting ready for appearances on “The Tonight Show,” “Lopez Tonight” and the “Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson,” to name a few.
“This whole thing was just very sort of unexpected,” he says. “They had a guy and it didn’t work out. They wanted a bit more of a punk rock (feel). So for me, it was just kind of like, ‘Yeah, I’ll come down and jam.’ “
Kerns is used to learning a lot of material in a short amount of time. With the Sinners, who regularly perform with an incredible array of guest musicians ranging from No Doubt bassist Tony Kanal to former Judas Priest frontman Tim “Ripper” Owens to Tiffany, Kerns has to learn new songs weekly as the Sinners have ascended from a Tuesday night residency at the Divbebar to a substantial draw at the Rio’s Voodoo Lounge on Tuesdays and Ovation at Green Valley Ranch on Friday nights.
The group recently released its debut CD, “Exile on Fremont Street,” a radio-ready collection of hooky, pop savvy rock ‘n’ roll, and Kerns is committed to the band, even though he may have to miss some gigs while working with Slash.
“The Sinners are near and dear to my heart. It’s like, the Sinners is my wife, and I’m out running around with this girlfriend for a minute,” Kerns laughs. “In a lot of ways, this has helped me reach a whole new world of promoting the CD.”
And so Kerns is a busy dude, these days. But while his head may be spinning, he insists it isn’t getting any bigger.
“It’s mildly overwhelming,” he admits with a chuckle, “but my feet are still stuck to the ground — with the stuff from the Divebar floor.”
Contact reporter Jason Bracelin at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0476.