Alter Bridge (Mark Tremonti)

On the occasion of the new "AB III" we had a little talk with Mark Tremonti, voice and guitarist of Alter Bridge.

 

Questions by Erik Molteni and Federico Botti; interview by Federico Botti; a special thanks goes to Alessandra and Rachele Leoni for their translation and transcription.

Article by Federico Botti - Publish on: 18/10/10
Hi Mark, welcome to SpazioRock.it!

Oh hello, how are you?

I’m fine, what about you?

Good.

Where are you now? Are you touring somewhere?

I’m at home in Florida,  we’re getting ready to fly out tomorrow night.

Great. Mark, we have only twenty minutes, so I'll try to be quick.
Let's start talking about your new release: “AB III" is your third album, probably it will be your definitive explosion as a band. What do you think about this incredible escalation of success and hits?

Hey boy, we’re just trying to do our best. We just try every record and hope for the best.

This work impressed me since the very first time I listened to it: it is perfect from any point of view. There are clear influences both from the grunge sound (a sound that made famous lots of historical bands) and from the hard rock scene. Can you tell us about this record?

Thank you very much. Me and Myles (Kennedy, n.b.A.), we just got together with our ideas in a week. We write individual ideas, all by ourselves, and then we get together and just play our favourite parts. Then, we just mix everything together, like a puzzle… We all just came with our individual ideas and it took us a little bit more than a month to put everything together. Then recording took us about two months.

Where did you record it?

We recorded the drums in Miami and we made much of the record in Paint It Black Studios in Orlando.alter_bridge1_01

What about the artwork you chose: who is the designer?

It’s my brother, Dan. He’s a graphic designer, he’s great in what he does... He gave us about eight options as a concept and we thought that cover has an original and we all loved it.

The cover reminds me a lot of Pearl Jam's "Vitalogy" (mainly for the colours you chose and the style you used for the title). Is this just a coincidence?

To be honest, I don’t know how “Vitalogy” cover looks like. But, yeah, hopefully it has cool colours! (laughs, n.b.A.)

Pearl Jam cover is a kind of grey, like yours and the style of the title is really similar to that one. It has gold letters… It just reminded me that cover.

I’m sorry, I’m just not familiar with that cover. I do hope that was a cool one.

I was really astonished not only by your inspired songwriting but also by some melodies and riffs of really high technical value: how does your composing and writing project get shape?

Usually, I’m focused on melodies for the most part; I concentrate on the melodic side of the song or just the musical composition. When you have the best idea in the world, you need to think if it’s interesting vocally and musically and that’s what we are trying to push forward. It’s very important to find a song that gets you on an emotional level and melodically, but it’s has to be interesting musically. You have to feel good while you play them.

Is there a song you prefer among the others?

My favourite song in the album is called “Show Me A Sign”.

Your lyrics seem to be really introspective and private... Sometimes they make me think of Dark Tranquillity and Arch Enemy: do you agree?

Definitely the mood is the darkest we have ever had; I think the music… The lyrics are the last thing we work on. The music is everything and the lyrical part just followed it. It turned out nicely and spooky.

Is "AB III" a concept album?

No, I think it just... We didn’t want to make it a concept album, but I think it just came out throughout the record. It just turned out to have a common lyrical thread throughout.

In Italy lots of critics define your music as a mix between Soundgarden and Megadeth: what do you think?

You know, I grew up with both bands. I think they are there in my subconscious… And Myles is a Soundgarden fan I believe, I don’t know about Megadeth. It’s just a mixture with I grew up: the heavy metal guy and Myles grew up with more classical stuff. You know soul music, Marving Gayve, Stevie Wonder kind of music and you mix them all together… And that’s the sound that comes out.

You grow up listening to them, but what are your others main musical influences?

You know, when I was younger I was into Slayer, Metallica, Celtic Frost, Exodus, Anthrax, Megadeth, Pestilence… You know that stuff. As I grew up I got into classic rock and nowadays I’m more into blues, into jazz and all of that. I also listen to the guitar instrumentalists nowadays.

Is there a guitar player you like the most?

mark_tremonti_01I think Stevie Ray Vaughn is my all time favourite to listen to. I think he’s just great. But, I got through periods and I’m deep into a guitar player for some months. I find great things in many guitar players.

Are you going to start a tour to promote your new album?

Yeah, we will start tomorrow in Europe. Starting the 16th October, until 5th December in Europe, then we’ll head back to the U.S where we’ll do a quick tour until 8th January.

Are you going to stop in Italy, too?

We will be in Italy, for the end of the tour. We’ll do four shows in Italy.

Have you ever been there?

Oh yeah. We love it!

Where have you been?

In Milan.

Yeah, most of rock shows here in Italy are based in Milan or Rome, they are like the Italian capitals of music.

We just stopped there for one show, but we pushed to do some other shows in Italy, because we enjoyed it so much… And now, we are doing four shows, the most we have ever done there.

What do you think about the Italian audience?

I love them. Love them. It could be the most passionate crowd we’ve ever played in front of.

I read somewhere that you have a really huge fan base here! Anyway, what do you thing about nowadays metal scene? Is there a band you like best or you would like to suggest us?

When I grew up, I listened to a lot of guitar based stuff. But as far as I know current bands… You know I like to listen to old past records or cool unique bands… Like Porcupine Tree; I think Muse is a great band. I listen to a lot of records for the guitar inspiration.

Is there a band you would like to go in tour with?

With Metallica, I grew up with them, I’m such a big fan of Metallica. We enjoyed our headline shows. We got so many opportunities to open for so many bands... But once you are over the novelty of opening for people you look up to… You always want to play for the people who came to see you, than playing for somebody who’s waiting for the band next to you.
 

 

intervista_alterbridge_02

 

 

Going back to your new release, would you like to describe us some of the tracks? Maybe those that you think are the most important to understand it.

Among our favourite songs there is “Ghost Of Days Gone By” for sure… I think the single “Isolation” is a very fun song to play, just a straightforward rock tune, and it has a lot of energy for us. Then, “Show Me A Sign” is another important one for us all. “Wonderful Life” in my opinion turned out great in the record. That’s probably the most important one for Myles, it’s about his mother as well… But I think each song is special to us in their own way.

Do you think there are many differences between this record and the other ones?

Yeah, in this record we didn’t want to have any boundaries: we wanted to make it as dynamic as possible and different; we wanted to experiment more and push ourselves more. We want it to sound … You know, I only take records that are not really typical.

Mark, I think the chat is almost over. Would you like to say something to our readers and your fans?

Absolutely. Italy is quickly becoming one of the most enjoyable places for us to visit and play and we’re honoured to be welcome there. We can’t wait to get back there in December.

I hope to be there to see the show.

Absolutely. We'll hopefully come to say hello.

Thank you for the nice chat and good luck for the new album.

Thank you very much. Bye. take care.



Intervista
Jakko Jakszyk: Jakko Jakszyk

Recensione
Bruce Springsteen - Letter To You

Recensione
Fever 333 - Wrong Generation

Intervista
Cindy Blackman Santana: Cindy Blackman Santana

Speciale
L'angolo oscuro #11

Speciale
Stardust - Highway To Heartbreak