“Speed metal and guitar instruction videos” – an exclusive interview with Mark Tremonti
Mark Tremonti is a very established name in the realms of hard rock. With both Creed and Alter Bridge under his band-based belt, more recently he went on an adventure which would result in the creation of his debut solo album, “All I Was” unleashing a fresh, new side behind his talents.
Mark caught up with Jon Seymour ahead of his UK tour this February to talk about his debut solo effort, showcasing his love of all things heavy and speed metal and the progress with the new Alter Bridge album.
J: How has the response been so far for your upcoming UK tour?
MT: Great so far. Especially in the UK and the rest of Europe – it’s stronger there than it has been in the States. It’s been like that since day one with Alter Bridge so used to it by now. Rock is alive and well there in Europe for sure.
J: You’re releasing your new single “Wish You Well”. The album “All I Was” seems to have gone down really well?
MT: It’s been quite surprising. We’ve put a lot of work in to it and the fans are responding well to it. We’re just going to keep on touring it and see where we can take it!
J: You’ve been in the music business for quite some time, what made you start going solo? Any specific reason behind the timing of the solo album?
MT: I had a lot of ideas that I saw sitting around and I wanted to get them recorded. When Myles (Kennedy) was on tour with Slash for three months, I was at home so I decided to get some buddies together and start this band and get some songs recorded. Now it’s just a case of getting out there and spreading the word. The UK has been very good to us, as Alter Bridge and individuals as well.
J: I’m pretty sure a new AB album is coming out as well, right?
MT: Right now, Myles just came down to Orlando to get going on the writing process after this tour. He left to go on this tour a few days ago. The way we’ve scheduled it is that when one is on tour, the other is on tour too so that when it’s time to do Alter Bridge, we’re both off and ready to do it.
J: Will you guys be back over here as Alter Bridge by the end of the year?
MT: It’s looking to be our second tour of the year. We’re going to go to South America before coming to the UK first but it will be right around September that we’ll be making it to the UK.
J: It’s probably early days, but are you going to be doing of the festival circuit?
MT: We were going to try and make the festivals but we all got together on the phone and decided to leave it for this year and put all of the attention on the new album without putting any time restrictions on our writing. We tour ourselves a lot so we figured we’d have a bit of a break. In reality, we have to have it recorded and done by September for our tour!
J: Going back to your own album “All I Was”, what are your personal favourite songs?
MT: There is a handful, depends what kind of mood I’m in. “Wish You Well” is one of my favourites to perform and it’s one of the oldest songs on the album. We actually just put a clip up online of when I recorded it in high school – that was kind of a fun thing to be able to do! “So You’re Afraid” is another one. “Leave It Alone” has my favourite guitar solo on it. Different songs speak to me in different moments.
J: A lot of the tracks on “All I Was” is quite far removed from the stuff you’ve done before with the bands (Creed / Alter Bridge). Is it that you were allowed to run free with the sound or is it that you just had ideas and this just let you put it out there?
MT: I’ve always been a real big fan of heavy metal and speed metal. Growing up, I’d had a lot of musical parts that just didn’t fly with Alter Bridge or Creed. I figured that this would be a good time to get that side out of me on CD. That was the first thing I got recorded, the heavier stuff.
J: When you were growing up, who were the biggest influences?
MT: Metallica, Megadeth, Testament, Forbidden – all of the real speed metal stuff was my thing. I started renting guitar instruction videos by folks like Vinnie Moore and Paul Gilbert – anything I could get my hands on.
J: Any last words before we see you in the UK?
MT: It’s my favourite place to tour in the world and the best fanbase we’ve got in the world. We put everything we can into those shows because the crowds are always top notch.
Tremonti’s tour takes in the following UK dates from this Thursday: 14th Feb Wolverhampton, Wulfrun Hall / 16th Feb Edinburgh, HMV Picture House / 17th Feb Manchester, HMV Ritz / 18th Feb London, Electric Ballroom
For more info and to order “All I Was”, hit up www.marktremonti.net.
Foreword by Nix Crichton, interview by Jon Seymour.