Soon to be one of the greatest ever, guitar virtuoso Mark Tremonti of Creed and Alter Bridge has done it again. This time, the amps are cranked up to 11 as Tremonti unleashes an all-out metal assault on the senses. Building on the straight ahead hard rock sound of Creed and Alter Bridge’s melodic metal, All I Was is heavy and thrashy. Relentless from start to finish, the album eases up briefly at just the right moments. I caught up with Mark at the on the band’s current tour to discuss the album, and talk about the experience of the project. “I called it All I Was because the record is where my roots are, and it’s what I’m all about as a songwriter,” Tremonti said. Tremonti when on to state that despite being a thrash album is a nice merger between his heavy and melodic sides, despite how thrashy it is. As far as what separates Creed/Alter Bridge from Tremonti, Mark stated, “With this album, no governor on it. It’s as heavy as I wanna be.” However, Mark did say that the album is a nice merger of heavy and melodic.
Tremonti and his band have been playing to packed houses around the country. “It’s [the tour] been great, man. The crowds have been rad.” The musicianship is nothing short of spectacular, both on the record and live. Surrounding the guitar guru are drummer Garrett Whitlock and guitarist Eric Friedman (both formerly of Submersed). The trio recorded the album, with Tremonti handling most of the bass duties with help from Friedman.
For the tour, Tremonti tapped one of the fasted rising stars in rock: current Van Halen bassist Wolfgang Van Halen. Whitlock and Van Halen provide a thunderous rhythm section that sounds like a combination of shotgun blasts and sledgehammers. Friedman, who is Creed’s current touring rhythm guitarist, is the perfect compliment to Tremonti. They feed off of each other, shredding in sync. When I asked Mark what it was like bringing these guys together to make this project happen, he replied, “It’s great. I have so much confidence in these guys. They’re world-class players.”
Mark Tremonti is one of the defining guitarists and songwriters of a generation. His first band, Creed, exploded onto the mainstream in 1997 with their debut album, My Own Prison, which hit #22 on the Billboard Top 200. In 1999, their second album would prove not only to be the strongest of their career, but a true musical masterpiece. Human Clay debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top 200 and spawned four hit singles. The album’s last single, “With Arms Wide Open”, won the Grammy Award for “Best Rock Song” in 1999. Since it’s release, the album has been certified 11x platinum and 1x diamond in the U.S. alone, and sold over 20 million copies worldwide. It ranks #5 on Billboard’s 200 Albums of The Decade, and is #54 on the RIAA Top-Selling 100 Albums of All-Time (U.S.).
In 2004, along with fellow Creed members Brian Marshall and Scott Phillips, Tremonti formed Alter Bridge. The band recruited vocalist/rhythm guitarist Myles Kennedy to front the band. The band’s first album, One Day Remains, was certified gold. The bands next two albums, Blackbird and AB III, garnered massive acclaim from fans, and the heavy music community at-large. When I asked Mark what his plans were in the coming months, he responded, “After this [Tremonti] tour, I jump on a Creed tour in Indonesia, then Myles [Kennedy] and I will get together in December to write the new Alter Bridge Record.” I interviewed Creed frontman Scott Stapp recently as well, and he said that Creed has plans to write a new record in the imminent future. Tremonti confirmed this, stating that some guitars have already been tracked.
Tremonti & Co. are currently finishing up their tour over in the UK with a bit of a family reunion, supporting Slash and Alter Bridge frontman Myles Kennedy. We have plenty to look forward to from Mark Tremonti, but right now, All I Was is all you need. Much thanks to Tremonti for keeping the ‘heavy’ in heavy metal. The album is certainly one of the best hard rock records of the year, so grab a copy and CRANK IT UP! – by Matt Bishop (@The_MattBishop)(Photography by Dave Melendez)