FreeGotham.com Interview with Mark Tremonti

2011-07-21

Chuck: I'm very excited to welcome the one and only Mark Tremonti to Gotham radio.  Mark, we talked to you not long ago, but a lot has happened since we talked.  ABIII has just exploded.  "Isolation" at the time wa killing it on rock radio.  Now we've got "Ghost of Days Gone By" which is just storming the charts.  How's everything going man?

Mark: It's going great.  We couldn't be happier.  We've got some good tours to look forward to through the end of the year, and we're doing good at radio, and everything's on the up & up.

C: Now you're not out on tour right now?

M: No, I'm at home until the, I think I leave there on the 11th.  We go out and do the Carnival of Madness tour.

C: With Theory of a Deadman?

M: Yeah, them and Black Stone Cherry, and a band called Adelietas Way.

C: Man that's going to be a great tour.  And that's the second year that Carnival of Madness has kind of taken off.

M: Right

C: You're co-headlining it with Theory, right?

M: Yep

C: Now, a few months ago, I had the chance of seeing you—within a 5-day period I saw you play a sold-out show at the Best Buy Theater in Times Square, which isn't a small venue, but it's smaller than the other place I saw you at, and that was Rockfest in Kansas City.  55,000 people.  What's it like going back and forth from—because you play a lot of festivals in Europe, too, which are just as big or bigger than 55k; and you play a lot of those shows too, like the sold out Best Buy show here in New York—what's it like going back and forth?

M: It keeps it interesting for us.  I think it's good to mix up the big festival, amphitheatre kind of feel, and the small clubs.  You can't beat a small club for the energy, but you can't beat the huge festivals for just gaining new fans.  It's a good mixture.

C: And there's no bigger show than what you've got coming up in November, at Wembley Arena [in London].

M: Yeah, can't wait, man.  Can't wait.  Hopefully we can video it.  I've been talking to management about trying to get a film crew to film all of the UK shows so we can do a Live in the UK DVD, hopefully early next year.

C: I'd say for the Alter Bridge fan, that's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see you play that place.

M: Yeah, I can't wait.  I've never been there.

C: Alright, so you've got a lot going on throughout the rest of the year.  ABIII is just still exploding.  You know, it came out last year, and I say it was one of the best albums of 2010.  I still got to say man, I fall back to listening to that now.  There's a lot of good music out now, but I always find myself going back to a few albums, and that is definitely one of them.

M: Great

C: Isolation killed it on the radio, Ghost of Days Gone By is killing it.  What's the next single?  Can you tell me?

M: If it was up to me, it would be Slip to the Void.

C: Man, you open your show with that, and I couldn't think of a better tune to open up a concert than that song.

M: Yeah, we’d have to edit down the intro a bit for radio, but I think it would definitely be my choice.

C: Alright, so a lot’s going on with Alter Bridge.  What’s going on with your solo project?

M: I’m tracking again starting on the 30th, for about 8 or 9 days, I should have all of my guitars—rhythm guitars finished.  Then I’ll start getting into some vocals.  Then I go back out on tour and try and organize the guitar solo ideas so I can knock those out when I get home next.

C: So you have a timeline, or is it just kind of when you get the time?

M: It’s just when I get the time.  I just have, you know, I knew I was going to be home for 5 weeks here, so I scheduled about a week and a half to get in there and take a chunk out of it.  So alls I’ll have to worry about is—I’m just finishing up writing all the lyrics which is a huge deal for me, and then the solos will be just as hard.  Hopefully I can knock out some of the vocals before I leave on tour so I feel more confident about that, because I’ve never sang [lead] on a record before.

C: Is this going to appeal to the Alter Bridge fan base?  Do you think you’ll open yourself up to a whole new listening crowd?

M: I think the Alter Bridge fan base will like it.  It’s definitely in that vein.  Myles and I couldn’t be any different as far as vocalists go.  I think it leans—most of the stuff leans a little heavier than the Alter Bridge stuff, but there’s also stuff that’s mellower.  I think 80% of the record is probably more of a hard rock, aggressive record.

C: Now, about a month ago, it came out that you heard the new Van Halen album.  But you didn’t just hear the album; it’s not like you sat down and you listened to the CD.  It actually was performed live in front of you.  Right?

M: Yeah.

C: How the hell did that happen?

M: Well, I’ve known Wolfgang for a couple years now.  We were hanging out one night and he offered to come pick me up the next day to take me to his band practice, which meant Van Halen!  I said, “of course.”  So he picked me up and took me over to his dad’s house,  and we went into the 5150 studios, which is pretty much connected to his house, or a building that’s on his property. We went in there, and it was Eddie, Alex, and Wolfgang.  I didn’t hear any vocals; Roth wasn’t there.  It was me and my buddy Eric, who’s in my solo project, in the same room as Wolfie and Eddie, and then Alex was behind the plexi-glass in the drum room.  They went through every song on the new record.  It sounded awesome.  It was amazing to see them do it right in front of me, and I’m 5 feet from Eddie.  It was amazing.

C: I think you’ve got a lot of jealous fans on that one.

M: Yeah, I was thinking, how many people in the world get to do this?  None. One or two.

C: About two people, yeah.  That’s cool, man.  Last time we talked I asked about this.  I know you get asked this probably every time you go on an interview, but I’ve got to ask.  Lots going on with Alter Bridge.  A lot is going on with your solo project.  Does Scott Stapp fit in anywhere?

M: Yeah, I spoke with Scott last week, and we’re going to start putting together new ideas for another record.  We already talked about doing a few tours next year, around the summer, mid-summer through the end of the year.  Yeah, we’re going to start getting going now, so we’re excited about getting some new music out.

C: Will you go on tour with your solo project?

M: It all depends on how it’s received.  I’d be kind of nervous to be the frontman in a band, to be honest.  If it does well at radio, and has some legs to it, maybe I’ll open up for one of my other bands.

C: Awesome.  Well Mark Tremonti, thank you so much for hanging out with us.  AB III out in stores, pick it up, Alter Bridge’s latest.  Carnival of Madness, you guys are co-headlining with Theory of a Deadman, and Black Stone Cherry will be out with you.  Kicks off August 13 in Wisconsin.  You’re coming close to the New York City area, you’re playing Atlantic City.  Very excited for that tour, man.  Good luck with everything, good luck with Wembley, and hopefully we’ll see a UK DVD out.

M: Alright, well thank you very much.