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Mark Tremonti of Tremonti, Alter Bridge, and Creed discusses All I Was and all things Tremonti

| 4 October 2012 | Reply

ToddStar: Hey Mark, how are you?

Mark: Good, how about yourself?

ToddStar: Good, thank you. So we really want to thank you and we can’t thank you enough for taking time out of your busy schedule for us today. We’re really glad to have you here.

Mark: Thanks for having me.

ToddStar: You’re talking to a homeboy from Detroit, Michigan so…kudos on the new album, man. I’d love to jump right into it, if you don’t mind.

Mark: Absolutely, man.

ToddStar: Awesome. Well ever since Kevin was gracious enough to send me over a copy to listen to and review, I can’t get this disc out of my normal rotation of albums that I’m listening to. What can you briefly tell us about the disc that other people might not know on the surface?

Mark: Nothing much, just that we’re doing this all in house. We started out with it being a fun project we were going to do on the side, and it started turning into a finalized record we got really excited about it and we’ve been building our own sort of record label to release it.

ToddStar: And that would be Fret 12?

Mark: Yeah.

ToddStar: Okay. So is that something that you’re going to continue with or is this, you know, you’re going to use it to promote other projects by others, including yourself or is this like a one off in your mind right now?

Mark: The business is set up for any bands to be a part, we’re just trying to get it off the ground with this record and then if it works we’ll see if there are any other acts that would like to join the ranks.

ToddStar: Cool. All I Was has a lot of the basic components of other releases you’ve been involved with, other than this is a lot heavier and you have a new vocalist, yourself. And you carry this so well, your vocals, no one would ever guess that you were the lead guitarist for any other band. In your own mind, what way does this vary other than it being your own project, sound-wise, from other projects you’ve been involved with?

Mark: Well first up the rhythm sections is different on the record, which is always going to make a band sound different. You know, given that it’s got lots of really different drum riffs and my playing on this album is full of … one of the biggest reasons for doing this album is to get down to my roots, and my roots are kind of heavier, speed metal type of stuff and it fit that perfectly and I think that’s really what makes it different from what I’ve done in the past.

ToddStar: I get what you mean from the roots. When I saw you here in Detroit last year, you were sporting a Merciful Fate t-shirt.

Mark: Haha, yeah man. I was working that last night.

ToddStar: Okay. Are there any elements you find yourself carrying over from previous efforts to this disc, things that you’ve done in the past that you thought this would pull really well on my own disc?

Mark: No, I mean a lot of the ideas that made the record had already been tried out onAlterBridgeor Creed and just never fit. They’re probably too metal sounding or just ideas that I really dug that just never made it on to the records. There are tons of examples from this album that I tried before and it was like another reason I really wanted to do this album was to make sure those ideas saw the light of day.

ToddStar: Okay. Now from the other side of the spectrum, of production side, it’s a very fluid album, you’ve tracked it right, and you’ve put everything in the right order. Were those things that you’ve learned previously or are were these things that you kind of just put everything together and you said lets listen to this, and lets tweak it and make it fluid and good for the listener?

Mark: I would make an album order list and I would listen to it one night and then a couple of days later I would make another list and I kind of see how things flowed and how it flowed best and I’m glad it came out the way it did.

ToddStar: So am I. Some of the songs on this release are very strong and I found myself going back to certain tracks over and over. I love “So You’re Afraid,” “Wish Her Well,” “You Waste Your Time,” but one of my favorites actually is the closing track, “Decay” because it left me really wanting more.

Mark: Right.

ToddStar: When I was growing up, the last couple of songs on a tape or an album are usually the ones that the band said ah, no one will make it that far, but this one really just made me look for the next disc.

Mark: Nice, well yea. A lot of times we will end an album with kind of a spookier track, or something that is the long jam track, but I thought “Decay” was a nice strong way to, just like you said, leave folks wanting it, hear part two, you know, get the next record.

ToddStar: Now I know they are all your favorites because they’re yours, but are there any that you find yourself going back to and saying to yourself; I did good?

Mark: No, I just think the thing is we are very proud of the record overall and it was a labor of love. We enjoyed every moment of it and I think we’ll be proud of this record for many years.

ToddStar: Very cool. Regarding All I Was, were any of the songs on this disc easier to write than others? Did any just write themselves?

Mark: Yeah, I mean some of them were definitely harder than others. Especially lyric-wise. You know, like, “New Way Out” was one of the hardest to write lyrics to, and one of the easiest was probably “All I Was,” the song, just because… some songs just are easy. As soon as you start singing melodies, words just kind of start jumping out of your brain and “All I Was” came together really quickly.  “The Things I’ve Seen” was a little tough to write lyrics to. I think it’s the songs with a lot of space, where you can really hear those vocals; those are the ones you really want to make count. Some of the harder, faster ones are sometimes easier to write. It all depends on the person.

ToddStar: Okay. You mentioned “New Way Out,” and it’s funny because I mean the analogy, that really could have been recorded by yourself or either of your other bands, Creed or Alter Bridge, but I was really glad you saved this one because I thought it really stressed your guitar sound and your vocals and personally I think this has single stamped all over it.

Mark: Yeah, you know I wanted it to be a heavier record and get stuff out that I wasn’t able to before but New Way Out, I just wanted to show folks that melody is the biggest, most important thing for me and I’m into all kinds of different types of music and I didn’t want to just limit the record to just a purely heavy album. I thought that would be a good source to kind of show the dynamics of where I’m coming from.

ToddStar: You’re getting great reviews. We love the disc. Is there anything the critics are throwing out there saying, or the reviewers or more specifically the fans? Are there any tracks they are saying ‘this is the best thing’ ‘this is the greatest song’ ‘this spoke to me’?

Mark: It’s kind of been all over the board. Of course the people that like the softer stuff love “New Way Out” and “The Things I’ve Seen” has been a real stand out; live and you know, just seeing the review counts online, people are really digging “The Things I’ve Seen” a lot. But it’s kind of all over the place from there. We’re really getting a good sense of what people are digging live too, as well. “So You’re Afraid” is a big live tune for everybody. But overall it’s been a positive response. So far with the record we’re very pleased.

ToddStar: Well you’ve been at this for years, Mark. In listening to your playing from the earliest recordings that I’ve had my hands on, I can hear your growth as a musician and as a writer. Do you ever sit back and think man, I’ve really progressed?

Mark: I always try to improve on what I do and I think when we did these last Creed runs where we played the entire records from start to finish, you really kind of realize where you’ve come from and how different you are. You know, we’ve been at this a long time and we’ve worked very hard to get where we are and hopefully that shows on the records.

ToddStar: Cool. You plan on taking this one on the road?

Mark: Absolutely. We did our debut show last night. We’ve done two shows this week and a half. We did a practice show and then a real show last night here inOrlando, and it went great. We’re planning on getting back out in September and October. So we’ve got a couple of radio festival dates on lock down and we’re going to do the tour around that, hopefully get to theUKfor a handful of shows as well.

ToddStar: Very good. Do you plan on playing most of this album and sprinkling in some of the hits? How does the set list run?

Mark: We just play the entire record. We don’t play any of the other band’s stuff.

ToddStar: Good. Not that the other band’s stuff isn’t good, but I really dig this album.

Mark: If Myles was in town or Scott was in town or something and we wanted to get up there and do a song with one of them, then we would do it. But I’m not going to… you know, never say never, but we’re going to pretty much just keep it to this album.

ToddStar: Speaking of touring, if you had to pick a possible pairing for a tour, what other band or bands would you like to see Tremonti out with?

Mark: That’s hard to say. There’re tons of bands that are doing well right now that I’d like to go out with. I’d like to go out with Metallica. I’d like to go out with Van Halen, but who knows. I mean I’m trying to sort out which bands would be a good fit right now and I’d be happy with just about any current rock bands. I’ve toured with just about every one of them so far and pretty much know everybody out there.

ToddStar: Stepping and looking at you and your influences, do you find that the other arts affect your music? Do you find what you read, or if you’re into any other art forms, do you find that they influence what you do with a guitar?

Mark: Well I’m a big reader, so maybe lyrically or thematically some things might kind of spill over. But not too much. We had a song on our lastAlterBridgerecord called “Words Darker Than Their Wings, “and that was a quote right out of a book I was reading.

ToddStar: Is there any bands currently releasing music or touring that influence you personally or professionally?

Mark: You know, when it comes to writing and whatnot I try and stay in my own bubble and not get too influenced, but as far as lead guitar playing, definitely. I’m really into all kinds of guitar players. Derek Trucks right now is a big hero of mine, I think Joe Bonnamossa is amazing, I think Audley Frees is incredible, Warren Haynes, I’ve kind of gone from the metal guitar player stuff more over to the jam band, bluesy, jazzy kind of guys and… just trying to expand my horizons.

ToddStar: Other than All I Was, what was the last CD or MP3 you listened to?

Mark: Jeez, what was it? Probably the new Black Country Communion record.

ToddStar: Great disc.

Mark: Absolutely.

ToddStar: I know you’re short on time so I don’t want to take much of it, but I’ve got one more for you, Mark. What’s the meaning of life?

Mark: The meaning of life? To find happiness and to be satisfied, and to treat others kindly.

ToddStar: Very cool. Other than making sure everyone sees your website and your Facebook, are there any other sites or anywhere else you would like us to point people to make sure they get their hands on the new disc?

Mark: No the disc is getting sold through Best Buy, Walmart, Amazon,, and but that’s, I think that’s it. Around the world I’m sure there are different outlets and I couldn’t list them all.

ToddStar: Very cool. Well again, Mark, I love the disc. I personally can’t wait until you put out another one. Well thanks again for taking the time and good luck with the rest of the press surrounded this and the upcoming tour.

Mark: Great, thanks so much.  Take care.

Check out ToddStar’s photos of Tremonti from The Machine Shop in Flint, MI on September 20, 2012:!i=2108388514&k=t8wNd5K

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Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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