Intervju med Mark Tremonti i Alter Bridge/Creed.
Mark Tremonti spelar ju bl a i Creed, ett band som ofta anses vara något av det sämsta som fått möjlighet att spela in skivor. Ett påstående jag är villig att skriva under på.
Solo låter Tremonti betydligt intressantare och han passar betydligt bättre i rollen som framträdande gitarrist med tunga riff, än som en bakgrundsfigur i det Scott Stapp-ledda Creed.
Jag ringde, efter en del strul, upp Mark i Kansas City och han berättade, något kortfattat, bl a om att spela med Wolfgang Van Halen, om en kommande tv-show och att fånga Ace Frehleys plektrum.
So, you were in Nashville yesterday. Where are you today?
Mark Tremonti: I´m in Kansas City today.
Ok. How´s Kansas City?
MT: It´s the first sun we´ve had all week, so I´m happy. First sunny day.
Right to it then. What´s it like playing with Wolfgang?
MT: It´s great, man. He´s a very positive person and good to be around and an incredibly talented musician. Things have been going well.
How did all this come about? Was Wolfgang your first choice?
MT: We had talked about having him being a part of the band early on, but Van Halen got back together and did a nine month tour together and it was right in the window when we needed to do this so we moved on without him. Eric Friedman tracked the bass on the record and then we started touring and we had Brian Marshall playing bass with us and then something came up at the last minute with Brian and it just so happened that Wolfgang was in town. I gave him a shout and he came right over and jumped on board.
Cool! Is it that you´re friends with Wolfgang or Eddie? How did the connection come about?
MT: Wolfgang was a fan of Alter Bridge and came to an Alter Bridge soundcheck and invited us over to a Van Halen soundcheck. I had actually done some shows with Van Halen back in the earlier days. I saw Wolfgang when he was just a kid when we were opening up for Van Halen and all these years later I ran back into him and it´s just crazy how things turned out.
I remember reading that you´d heard the new Van Halen album before it was released and you said there was a lot of classic Van Halen on it. Usually when you read stuff like that it turns out to not sound like that at all, but in this case it was true. It´s a kickass album!
MT: Yeah absolutely! I mean, I had just heard the music without any vocals and I was very impressed.
Your album then? It´s been out for a couple of months now. Did it turn out the way you wanted it to?
MT: Yeah, we´re very happy with it and now that we know what works for us and what we can do, we´re excited to do it again and make it that much better. We can´t wait to get going angain.
Well, I have to say it sounds pretty awesome.
MT: Thank you so much.
Now that you´re on tour, do you come up with new riffs and stuff at soundchecks and so on? New ideas for new songs?
MT: A little bit here and there. We haven´t had anything solid come up yet. We´ve just been kinda focusing on getting this show down. We´ve only done about ten shows and we´re still trying to develop that. We added the B-sides from this record into our live set and we´ve been working on that. We´re thinking of a cover or two to learn and get on with some new music.
Could you see Wolfgang recording with you later on?
MT: Yeah, we´ve already talked about that and we look forward to it. I think it´ll add a whole other element to this band.
For how long are you gonna be touring now?
MT: We´re touring until October 23rd and right now my agent overseas is putting together a European tour in February.
Anything in Sweden?
MT: Yeah, absolutely!
Nice. You´re heading out with Creed again, right? You´re doing South America and Asia.
MT: Yeah, we´re heading out right before Halloween.
What´s the deal there? Are you guys working on anything?
We´re just touring. We worked on some new music, but we couldn´t figure out the logistics on when to record it. We just didn´t have enough material to do a full length album. We had enough to maybe do an EP, but we didn´t agree on producers and it just got to be a last minute thing and we didn´t wanna rush it, so we´re kinda in a bind to when we can record that so it may have to wait.
Is it a big difference writing for Creed, Alter Bridge or the solo stuff? Does it come as easy for either one?
MT: This record felt really easy to get out. There´s a lot of material sitting around and especially the heavier stuff, that was just sitting there waiting to be used. I had tried it before with Alter Bridge and Creed and it just never quite fit, but the guys in the band love all the heavier stuff and jumped all over it and we turned it into a record pretty quick. Writing for the next album might take a little longer trying to come up with new, better, heavier stuff.
I´ve read that you read a lot. True?
MT: Yeah absolutely!
What are you currently reading?
MT: I just finished the Greg Allman autobiography and I thought that was very interesting.
Ok. Are you the kinda guy that got like five books going at the same time?
MT: Sometimes I have two, but I never take it more than two at the time. Sometimes I´ll read something for pure fun and then I´ll read something for an educational kind of thing.
There´s a new book that came out last year called Area 51. Dee Snider actually told me about it. Have you read it?
MT: No I haven´t.
It´s a really cool book by a woman called Annie Jacobsen. The whole true story and no aliens.
MT: What´s the title?
It´s called “Area 51: An uncensored history of America´s top secret military base”.
MT: Cool! I´ll check it out. Nice!
Is it true that you have plans for a children´s TV-show?
MT: Yeah, we actually have a trailer that we have that´s gotten a lot of interest. It´s not really a children´s show, it´s more of an adult swim kinda thing. It´s really funny. It´s a glam rock puppet band and me and Myles (Kennedy) write the music for it and we´ve got the best puppeteers in the world in there. We´ve got Miss Piggy´s puppeteer and a bunch of others and it´s just really funny.
Is this something that will turn into a show or are you just showing the idea to different networks?
MT: Yeah, we´re trying to shop it. We put this together ourselves and everybody said we needed a decent writer with a big history, so we teamed up with this writer who´s always busy doing other things, just like us. We always have so many other things going on, it´s kinda on the backburner just waiting for the right moment. In between his other projects he´ll get into it so it might take a few years to get it launched, but we´re hoping.
Alright. I also read that the first show you ever went to was Iron Maiden. Which tour was it?
MT: It was the “Seventh son of the seventh son tour” with Frehley´s Comet opening up.
Oh, you´re kidding me? What was Frehley´s Comet like?
MT: Gosh, I was in sixth or seventh grade so I thought it was awesome. (laughs) I think I actually caught one of Ace Frehley´s picks.
Was that a show that made you decide that that´s what you wanted to do?
MT: It was before that. I was really drawn to the guitar and when I´d hear the big guitar break down in any kinda Boston song or whatever it was with the big guitar break down, that´s really what got me going. I picked up stuff from movies. I remember seeing “Back to the future” when Michael J Fox was playing guitar, I thought that was so cool when I was a kid and then seeing that movie “Crossroads” really inspired me to wanna learn. I was just really drawn to it at a young age.
I remember when I saw “Back to the future” and in a scene with Fox he plays a tape that says Van Halen. It didn´t sound like any Van Halen stuff, but just recently I saw someone asking Eddie Van Halen about it and he confirmed it was him.
MT: Oh, that´s cool!
The project Downshifter with Jasta and Jordison, is that something that will ever happen?
MT: Those were all rumors. I don´t even know where they stated from. I´ve never even officially met Joey Jordison, but Jamey I know fairly well. We talked about working on a song here and there, but we´re always on tour and at this point it´s all just talk between the two of us. I never really know where those rumors came from.
Fascinating how things spread these days, especially on the internet. Usually when you write for an album, do you come up with a ton of stuff or do you basically sit down and think that you´ll just have 12 songs and that´s it?
MT: We had about 16 songs put together and we recorded 14 of those and 12 made the record. We kinda kept on going and going. We needed to get it done in a certain amount of time. I´ve always got tons of ideas just kinda waiting to be put together.
The stuff you wrote for this album, was any of it stuff that you had initially written for Creed or Alter Bridge?
MT: Oh, there´s tons of it that I had initially tried with both other bands, but… I had the same rhythm section for those bands and those ideas with Brian and Scott never quite gelled. I was more of a metal guy and they were more classic rock or hard rock, so when it came to galloping and tremolo picking, it just didn´t excite the guys so when it came time to do this band, that´s what we really wanted to get out there. It´s what I haven´t been able to do in the past and it´s what these guys love to do so it was perfect.
Any chance of you guys doing a Van Halen cover now when you´re on tour?
MT: Eeeeehh, I don´t know. I don´t think I can sing any Roth stuff or Hagar stuff. (laughs) Eddie´s actually coming to the show tonight. It´s top secret and we´re gonna have to hide him.
How´s he doing?
MT: He´s doing fine. He´s doing great. Everybody asks Wolfgang all the time and he says he´s doing great.
Do you think you could get him up on stage?
MT: No, no. We´re not even gonna let anybody know his here. I´m only telling you because by the time this is up, this will have passed.
True. Finally. When you started out playing, was Eddie Van Halen an influence or were there others?
MT: No, I was more into the darker stuff. I liked Van Halen, but that was more of my older brother´s band. I was more into Slayer and Testament. The darker stuff.
How come you didn´t end up playing more of that darker and heavier stuff?
MT: My very first band was kinda a punk band. Black Flag, Minor Threat kinda thing and then my second band was more of a glam rock, Mötley Crüe vibe and then when I finally got to college and got together with the Creed guys, I was pushed into metal stuff but Scott Stapp was more like a Bono guy and just kinda had to compromise and work with the band and everybody pushed in their influences so it couldn´t be a speed metal band, you know.
Ok. Thank you so much Mark! Have a killer show in Kansas City and say hi to Eddie from me!
MT: Absolutely man!