Known as one of the best technical guitarist in modern rock, Alter Bridge/Creed creator Mark Tremonti released his first solo project earlier this year. We caught up with him Newcastle during his first trip to the UK with Tremonti.
Did you originally intend to start a solo project or just decide the material you had written didn’t fit with Alter Bridge or Creed?
Mark: Most of the ideas for the record were tried with both Alter Bridge and Creed and they just didn’t fit, and this idea of making this record came about. I just wanted to get ideas out that were never going to see the light of day put on CD. Most of those were the heavier stuff that didn’t fit.
How did you approach becoming a vocalist/frontman? Did you ever think about bringing a singer in or always planned to do it yourself?
Mark: No, I just wanted to do it myself because my favourite thing is writing vocal melodies and being able to sing those melodies exactly how you hear them in your head is liberating.
How much creative input did the rest of the group have?
Mark: Well I would break out my laptop and play ideas and these guys would kind of ‘I like that one, I like that one’ and then we’d just sit and arrange them together and it kind of went really quick. It took us 3 or 4 weeks or something.
Garrett: Yeah we’d average about 2 songs a night so it was pretty simple.
How did you all come together as a band?
Mark: I’ve known Eric for probably 13 or 14 years. I’ve played so many ideas for Eric over the years it was just natural for us to work together. Then Garrett and Eric were in a band called Submersed years ago that I co-produced and that’s how I got to know Garrett, and he lived in Orlando as well and we definitely needed a drummer who could do all the more progressive metal drumming and have a good pocket which is hard to find. Wolfgang came in very last minute when Brian couldn’t do it the night before our tour and Wolfgang was in town and came to save the day!
How’s that been for you Wolfgang, coming in late and having to learn everything?
Wolfgang: Well yeah, having a night to learn the entire record was a little rough but yeah, we pulled it off and it’s been really smooth, fun month of touring.
How are you finding the UK shows?
What’s the difference in the crowd like between support and headline shows?
Mark: When it’s your crowd it’s definitely more energetic for you but I think the Slash crowds have been great as well because I think there’s a lot of Alter Bridge fans out there.
How did you end up landing the support slot with Slash?
Mark: I was…I forget what I was doing but I think I was on tour with Creed and my manager came up and said we just got the offer to do some Slash shows over here and I said yeah grab them up, definitely want to do them. Initially we were thinking about doing the whole tour but it just didn’t work out so we just did three.
Has Myles given you any tips about being a frontman?
Mark: No, no…
Wolfgang: Be anti-social and drink lots of tea!
Mark: He’s been taking vocal lessons from Ron Anderson for years and I took one lesson with Ron Anderson and just the other day before our first gig he kind of gave me tips on how to do his warm ups.
How do you keep yourself motivated for a solo project?
Mark: I’m always motivated; I just love doing it regardless of what band it is. Playing music is what I love to do.
Have you started work on the new Alter Bridge & Creed records?
Mark: Yeah, always writing.
If your career were to end tomorrow, what would you feel would be your greatest achievement?
Eric: That’s a good question!
Mark: I would say the song Blackbird is probably my greatest achievement.
Eric: For me it wouldn’t be any particular song or moment, it would just be the fact of making it to this point and getting out there and getting to be in a travelling band. Not having to pay to travel the world! It’s been incredible; it’s something you can’t really take for granted.
Wolfgang: Yeah same, just to be able to say that I do this and can look back on my life saying that, that’s what I did.
Garrett: Without sounding too corny, I would say this record. From a drumming stand point, since day one they’ve always been like ‘just swing for the fences, go for broke!’ And any other projects I’ve been in it’s always kind of been, you can only do so much so for this record, to do what ever I wanted was liberating.
Do you think you’ll all do another record together?
How do you feel about the reception the album has received?
Mark: It’s been over the top! People have just loved it since day one and we see it live. People are still getting familiar with the record and when we play usually half the people have the record and half don’t so we hope they buy the record after and next time we come through there’s just bigger and better crowds everytime.
Will you be playing more dates when you return in February?
Mark: Yes, we’re just opening door with this tour and February will do a more extensive tour and maybe come back again in August.
Eric: Seeing the reception the way that it is, is just makes us want to go out there and play in front of as many people as possible.
Garrett: Then next time round everybody will know about us.
Eric: It kind of feels like we’re not doing the right thing if we’re not touring.
Wolfgang: The more people we play for now the more exponentially better it will be the next time.
Thank you for your time!
Mark: Thank you for coming down!
Check out our review of All I Was here.