Mark Tremonti Dishes on Creed, Alter Bridge, Solo Album + More
The first time most of us heard about Mark Tremonti, he was heading up post-grunge behemoths Creed, touring the country and playing bread-and-butter rock hits such as ‘My Own Prison,’ ‘Torn’ and ‘What’s This Life For?’ That was in the late-‘90s and early-‘00s, and Creed have since gone on to become multiplatinum rock sensations.
Tremonti, singer Scott Stapp, bass player Brian Marshall and drummer Scott Phillips will celebrate the 15th anniversary of their seminal debut album, ‘My Own Prison,’ with a cross-country tour this spring -- in which they’ll play their entire ‘My Own Prison’ and ‘Human Clay’ albums in their entirety on different nights of the tour. The trek sets off April 13 in Chicago, Ill.
Loudwire recently chatted with Tremonti, the guitarist behind Creed and, more recently Alter Bridge. He shared his thoughts about the Creed reunion, chatted about possible new music from Creed, plus weighed in on what’s ahead for Alter Bridge and his upcoming solo album.
Is it hard for you to believe it’s been 15 years since ‘My Own Prison’ came out?
Yeah! Going back and re-learning these songs, I feel like I was just a kid, and a lot has happened since then, so it’s definitely been quite a ride.
When you were recording ‘My Own Prison’ back in the ‘90s, did you have any idea it would blow up so big?
No! We were actually working in kitchens and knife shops or wherever and saving up for $30 an hour recording sessions and working at a local producer’s house -- and we never though in a million years it would be as successful as it was. I mean, we believed in the songs and the band, but I figured we’d have to go and re-record the stuff, but we used all the original records, and they did well for us.
Why do you think the album was so well-received at that moment in music?
Well, the only thing I can think of is that at the time, the music scene was very poppy and very summer music-ish and happy stuff, and when our song came out, it was the only somber, serious sounding song on the radio, and I think that’s what caught people’s attention at first.
What’s it like practicing to play these two albums again, ‘My Own Prison’ and ‘Human Clay,’ after all years?
It’s fun! It feels like we were really kids when we put it together, and when we go back and play it, it feels like we’re going back in a time machine.
What songs have been the most challenging to pull out, dust off and play again?
There are a lot of songs that we haven’t played in a lot of years, and we're realizing that we really enjoy these songs. Like, ‘Wash Away Those Years’ is a song off 'Human Clay,' and it’s a song we really didn’t perform much on tour, and 'Say I' we performed a lot, but that’s one of my all-time favorite Creed songs. You know, it doesn’t matter how old a song is, if it’s melodic and has a good, strong melody, then it holds it holds up over the years.
Let’s talk about Creed’s upcoming album. Is it coming along?
Yeah, we did the first batch of songs. We have five of them arranged musically, and we have some scattered melody ideas, and now Scott is working on the lyrics before we keep on moving along.
Do you envision releasing the new album this year and possibly doing another big tour to support it?
It all depends. We just made a pact that we wouldn’t release another record until it was completely ready and we were complete satisfied with it, so it all depends on how quickly we get it done and how much we believe in it.
You’re also releasing a solo album this spring, ‘All I Was.’ Are you excited for that?
Yeah! I’m trying to get that out as soon as possible. I’m working with EMI right now, and once I get that done, we’ll decide on the first single and hopefully release that this month.
What was it like stepping into the lead singer role on your solo album?
It was fun! I’ve been songwriter since a kid, so I’ve always sung to myself and sung to my closes friends and people I work with when I’m writing. When I was younger, I hated my voice, and I think over the years of doing it, you get more control over it. I reached a point when I had three months off tour, and Myles was out with Slash, and Scott was doing his solo tour, and I decided to put together and album and use the ideas I played for the guys 100 times but never made it into a song, and that I’ve always enjoyed.
You also have plans to get back together with the guys of Alter Bridge next year, right?
Yeah! As soon as Myles [Kennedy] is done with the Slash tour, we’ll get together and start working on our fourth album.
So, how do you juggle it all? Creed, Alter Bridge, your solo work? It’s a lot to handle!
It’s fun. I’ve just been working really hard on rehearsing for both Creed and the solo project stuff right now, and I’ll be filming the solo record live in a couple weeks in Chicago. And with Creed, we have to get all these songs, so it’s just about working. I keep busy working.
Creed will begin their tour on April 13 in Chicago, Ill.