By Thomas S. Orwat, Jr , Photos - Jim Hackett
The multi-platinum selling, Grammy award winning band Creed is once again playing to jam packed concert arenas all across North America. The band re-united last year, after a six year break, and have return to once again being one of the most dominate bands in rock music. Creed also released a CD last October entitled “Full Circle.” This released proved that Creed is not a band to rest on pass success, but still have the chemistry and ability to write great music.
Recently, we caught up with Creed songwriter/guitarist Mark Tremonti for this exclusive RockMusicStar interview. In addition to Creed, Tremonti is also in the critically acclaimed band Alter Bridge, which features both Creed band members Scott Philips on drums and Brian Marshall on bass, in addition to vocalist Myles Kennedy. (Kennedy is also currently on the road as the frontman of the touring band for ex-Guns n’ Roses guitarist Slash.) Alter Bridge plans on releasing their third CD entitled “AB III” sometime in October.
RockMusicStar: After six years of being away, Creed has made a successful comeback. When the band first reunited did you have any apprehensions about Creed still being able to be relevant?
Mark Tremonti: We took a long time off and I knew that we would have to prove ourselves again. There was a lot that went on with the guys before, so I knew that we would have an uphill battle. But, if we could put the music together and put on a good tour we would be alright. And that’s what we did and we did our best.
RMS: This summer has been rather difficult for the concert industry. Some tours are really struggling. But, Creed has been able to offer an incredible show at very affordable prices. How come you can do this, but other acts are still charging much higher prices?
MT: Well, we scaled back a bit and we have Livenation and Ticketmaster helping by reducing fees and everything else, so we can put on a show that everyone can afford.
RMS: How has the band been getting along? Is there more band camaraderie this time around?
MT: It’s great, we are older now and we all have kids. We are all excited about the tours. When we are home we do things with our families, and when we get out here on tour we do what we do. So it keeps it fresh.
RMS: You released your CD “Full Circle" shortly after your summer tour last year. Was any of the material on the CD left over from before the band broke up in 2002 or written during the six years that the band was apart? Or was it all brand new?
MT: A lot of the song ideas were around back then, but just not organized. When I write, the music falls into one of two categories. If it has a Creed sound to it, I sort it away. The biggest challenge with Alter Bridge was for it not to sound like Creed. A lot of the ideas were set aside, ready to go. So I had six years of material like that. But there are a lot of new ideas as well.
RMS: Were you able to achieve all your goals of what you wanted to accomplish on “Full Circle”?
MT: Oh Yeah, We only had three months to record it. I think that with all the excitement of making new music, it really translated well on the record. When you are playing songs for years, sometimes it gets a little stale when it's time to record it.
RMS: After this summer tour, what’s next for Creed?
MT: We are just playing it by ear. We are playing until September here in the USA. Then we go right into rehearsals for Alter Bridge. And Alter Bridge will be playing until December. Next year is kind of open. I know that we have January and February off right now. And we are going to hit the festivals in Europe next summer. So other than that we will just have to wait and see what is going to happen.
RMS: Recently it was announced that Alterbridge is releasing a new CD entitled "AB III" on Oct 12th. When was this CD written and recorded?
MT: We just mastered it a month ago. We are going through a transition now with the labels. So we had to take care of some business before we could release it. But now we just have to finalize the artwork, credits and everything else.
RMS: Can you describe the sound, style and mood on this release?
MT: We went into it with the best ideas that we had at the moment. I think that the album is a reflection of what was going on in our lives and heads at the moment. It’s a moody record. Lyrically, our singer Myles Kennedy took in it the direction of his struggles with faith and believing. Not to put words in his mouth, but his father died at a young age and Myles has difficulty believing in anything. But, there are positive songs on the record as well. But overall, it’s a darker, moodier record.
RMS: Wow, I’m really looking forward to hearing it. How does the writing process differ from writing with Myles compared to writing with Scott Stapp?
MT: Well, Myles is also a guitar player and musician. We will get together and he’ll have complete parts written. I do the same, I write music and melody and filler lyrics, sometimes we will use the lyrics, and sometimes we won’t. Myles will write most of the lyrics just like Scott will. But I’m the music and melody guy in most cases, but in Alter Bridge Myles will have ideas already worked out. He may have a bridge or melody. With Creed, I will throw all of the musical stuff out first.
RMS: Would you ever consider doing a double bill with Creed and Alter Bridge?
MT: Actually, we talked about that when we first got back together. It just didn’t work out. It would have put a lot of stress on everybody and I don’t think it would have been a very good idea.
RMS: Being in two established major bands, how do you find time to do anything for yourself?
MT: You know, I still have other things that I want to do as well. Every time I have free time, I’m doing what I love and that’s writing songs and playing the guitar. It’s good to have two outlets now to get all these songs out. I have a lot of material that will never get to see the light of day and it’s good to have the ability to get twice the amount out. If we ever have any time off, I’m going to record my own stuff. I just like to record music. It’s a good outlet for me.
RMS: So you plan on releasing a solo record too?
MT: I don’t know if it’s going to be a solo record. But I’m getting a bunch of ideas together. I've been getting together with our touring guitarist Eric Friedman and working on some stuff on the road. I'm not sure what will become of it.
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