Mark Tremonti really needs no introduction, the multi-million selling guitarist has done it all with Creed, Alter Bridge and now again with his solo project Tremonti. After recently releasing A Dying Machine, Mark hit the road with an European Tour to dovetail the albums release and we were fortunate here at Rock ‘N’ Load to sit down face to face with the man himself to talk all things Metal, breaking through with Creed, rebirth with Alter Bridge and coming out of the shadows onto the centre stage with Tremonti to his relationship with PRS.
You can check out our review of A Dying Machine here:
Mark Tremonti – Creed / Alter Bridge / Tremonti – Interview With Rock ‘N’ Load
RNL – So when did you start performing professionally?
Mark – I was probably around 24 maybe?
RNL – Was that in the days before Creed?
Mark – No actually that would have been with Creed, Creed was my first professional band, we had done the college band things of course prior to that.
RNL – We you guys knocking out all the cheesy covers etc?
Mark – Oh Yeah!
RNL – So what kinda of music was inspiring you back then to pick up the guitar?
Mark – Always Metal, Punk Metal and some straight up Hard Rock but mostly I grew up on Speed Metal, but when you’re in a band you have to morph to what the other guys are into, I would push the heavy stuff and the other guys were like “Woah” !
RNL – So who were you listening to at that time?
Mark – Slayer, Metallica, Testament, Celtic Frost, Obituary, So Black Metal, some Death Metal everything I could get my hands on.
RNL – So just a slight variation from the Creed stuff then, lol?
Mark – Just a bit!
RNL – So the Creed days, you guys knew each other from College?
Mark – Scott, and me actually went to High School together. He was a year above me and we never knew each other. Then one day he came up to my roommate in College to say he wanted to start a band, I’d already played with all the musicians in town and I was always looking for a singer and he could sing, so that started that.
RNL – So what was that like for you guys, I’ve often wondered what it’s like the evolution of a band and the growing pains you experience going from nothing to stardom?
Mark – It never really felt like that, you know we never had an overnight “Big Hit” and we worked out way up, so that was no one day you’re a small band and next day you’re on MTV etc. For it always felt like we made small steps but thankfully it was always on the rise, and we were always grateful for that, especially as how hard it is to achieve that.
RNL – Could you imagine yourself in today’s climate doing it from scratch again?
Mark – I’m doing it! It’s my third time doing it!
RNL – What do you make of the modern music industry today compared to when you first started with Creed?
Mark – It’s completely different, better in some ways, worse in others. Right now it feels like the Wild-Wild West, people are trying to keep up with how to promote their bands and technology is taking over. Records labels have become a lot less important; radio is still important but not as much because of the Internet giving you access to everything. It’s all just a click away. That sounds like a great thing but one of the negatives now is over saturation, if you want to find something great you have to wade through millions of rubbish to find it. But if you’re a small high school band you can get on your computer and make demos better than any records that were release twenty or so years ago.
RNL – You mentioned starting over again, the Creed split was that just the band running its course at that time?
Mark – No it was personal issues; Scott Phillips and myself were fighting all the time with Scott Stapp, big personality clashes.
RNL – Was it musical taste? or direction of the band?
Mark – My musical taste was always heavier than everyone else but it was really about the personality stuff.
RNL – It’s got to be one of the toughest aspects of being in a band together, getting that right mix of people who can live in each others pockets days in day out?
Mark – Yeah you’ve gotta work with people in small spaces and it you’re working with someone who day after day is bringing you down, we just had to move on. Me and Scott are fine now, I think we needed to distance ourselves and we still work every now and than but it just wasn’t working back then.
RNL – So how did Alter Bridge come to life?
Mark – When Creed was on its way out I bought a small studio, I started making demo’s after demos and when I had those in place I started looking for a singer. I auditioned a few guys from around town and a talent agency sent us a few people, funny enough one of the people the talent agency sent me was my cousin’s husband’s brother. He was awesome too sounded like Bon Scott but for this band I wanted something with more falsetto and a crazy range so Myles fitted the bill.
RNL – Such a voice!
Mark – Oh yeah, I feel like I picked a pretty good one with Myles.
RNL – With Tremonti then what was your main goal with the band in comparison to Creed and Alter Bridge?
Mark – You know write the best songs you can and put them out there! The main point was to get out all these ideas that would never see the light of day unless I did this. If you’re just in one band you put out maybe twelve songs every couple of years? There’s hundreds of others that don’t get their fair shake, I’d love to do three or four other projects and not even put my name on them, work with other people etc, I just love to write songs.
RNL – Is it just the life of the creative, guitarists with often jump from project to project, is it idol hands or just the creative juices flowing all the time?
Mark – It’s creation, once you write these songs its like your baby and you want it to see the light of day, I’ve always said I don’t want to be an old man sitting on a pile of ideas that never get out there.
RNL – I’ve often asked the question with various artists regarding songs that don’t make the album etc and I get different answers; can you let go of those tracks easily if they don’t make the cut?
Mark – I never let them go, there always there in the pool for future records, maybe if they didn’t make a particular album it may have a part that needs tweaked and I’ll pull it apart to rewrite it.
RNL – So with A Dying Machine you opted this time for a concept album and I believe there is a book to accompany it too?
Mark – Yeah the book just went on pre-order.
RNL – So what was your thought process behind the idea of a concept album?
Mark – So when I wrote the song A Dying Machine it was about a man, who had this machine that had been put on this planet with a soul purpose to love him. That’s all she knows, she’s relentless about it and won’t leave him alone. After years and years he’s like “Back Off “ and she just keeps coming and coming, years go by and she’s wearing him down and finally things go south. When I finished that song I though you know I’d like to keep that theme going throughout the record and the next song I wrote was ‘The Day When Legions Burned’ and its about a society that builds these beings, you can build them any which way you like them but they all kind of start acting up, so they recycle them. They pretty much burn them, after that I wrote ‘The Bringer Of War’ a story about one of these beings fighting back and it kind of just spiralled from there.
A big thanks to Mark for taking the time to chat with us:
Check out our Live Review here: