The band just unleashed their monstrous new album ‘Pawns & Kings’

Hard rock juggernauts Alter Bridge are back in a big way with their latest effort Pawns & Kings. The all-new LP was unleashed last Friday and has already garnered high praise from fans and critics alike. On this episode of the Talk This Way Podcast, we sat down with guitarist Mark Tremonti to talk about the new record, the band’s upcoming tour, and much more.

“It’s great, man,” Tremonti stated. “You know, you put a lot of love and work into these records and to see the response its gotten has been awesome. People have really been happy with and that makes us happy; even happier.”

The 10-song outing is an absolute behemoth, clocking in at just under an hour. There are three songs on the album that clock in over six minutes each. The opus “Fable Of The Silent Son” is a staggering 8:29 and is the longest recorded song in the band’s catalog – a distinction previously held by their watershed song “Blackbird.”

“I think it’s more of a dense record,” Mark said “There’s a lot going on.”

“This record made my brain hurt when we were in pre-production,” he joked. “There’s a lot to work thought and a lot to remember. It’s definitely go some experimentation in there as well and it keeps us excited about what we’re going.”

As far as preparation for the tour, Tremonti knows that bringing these songs to life along with the rest of the band’s back catalog will be no small task.

“It’s a lot of work, man,” Mark said of rehearsals ahead of the band’s upcoming European tour. “You know, going back between coming off Tremonti tours and Sinatra shows to preparing for an Alter Bridge tour is a lot of learning. You know, the funny thing is that I’ll go back re-learn songs that I’ve played a hundred times and it still takes me a long time to re-learn these songs.”

On this tour, fans can expect to be treated to a solid chunk of the band’s new record.

“We’ve got about five new songs that we’re going to play right out of the gate from the new record,” Mark stated.

As if the album was already big enough, Tremonti confirmed that the band actually recorded two more songs for the record that didn’t make the cut. The band intends on releasing them down the line when the time is right. Whether or not either of the tracks will ever find their way into the setlist remains a mystery.

Mark Tremonti of Alter Bridge [Matt Bishop/The Rock Revival]

With the seventh album in their 18-year career hot off the presses, Tremonti thinks it’s way too soon to tell how it stacks up against the rest of the band’s discography. “It’s too new,” he stated. “I’d have to give it a decade to really look back on it. You have to see how it ages.”

Mark did elude, however, to the band’s 2010 outing AB III being his favorite.

“You know, going back and relearning all these songs, I’ve kind of looked though some of those albums going through to pick which songs for the setlist [for the tour] and AB III is really rising up there on the charts for one of my favorite records that we’ve done.”

In addition to his work with Alter Bridge and his namesake project Tremonti, Mark recently extended his talents even further with an all-new venture called Tremonti Sings Sinatra. Alongside original members of Frank Sinatra’s band, Mark recorded an album of Sinatra songs. The album hit No. 1 on the Billboard Top Jazz Albums chart and received widespread critical acclaim.

“It’s one of the most exciting things I’ve ever worked on,” Mark says of the project. “A few years back, I just became obsessed with singing like Frank Sinatra and practicing non-stop, just like I did when I was a kid playing guitar. I wanted to play like other players and learn as much as I could. The same thing happened with me with Sinatra and big band music. I didn’t know what I was going to do with it, and then my daughter was diagnose with Down Syndrome and I said, ‘You know what, there’s a reason for my obsession.’ Frank Sinatra was a very charitable man – raised over a billion dollars for charity – so I’m going to record a record and have all the proceeds go to the National Down Syndrome Society in her [daughter] honor.”

Elaborating on how it all unfolded, Mark said, “It’s been one of the craziest experiences of my life. I got to record with Frank Sinatra’s band members and got the approvals from the Sinatra family and the gentleman who runs their business, and they don’t give that away lightly.”

On November 1, Alter Bridge kick off the Pawns & Kings Tour in Europe along with special guests Halestorm and Mammoth WVH. The trek begins at Sporthalle in Hamburg, Germany and wraps up at the O2 Arena in London, England. Next year, the band will return home for the North American leg beginning on January 25 at the Seminole Hard Rock in Tampa, FL. The run will see the band perform in Orlando, Atlanta, Nashville, Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, Anaheim, and many more.

In between tour legs, Mark Tremonti will change gears and perform some of his Sinatra tunes during a special performances at Indigo at The O2 in London on December 15 and the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in Orlando on December 29. Tickets for both shows are on sale now HERE. To make a donation to the National Down Syndrome Society, please click HERE.

For much more on Alter Bridge’s new album, upcoming tour, and whether they are a “rock” band or a “metal” band, stream the entire chat above now.