Interview with Tremonti touring bassist Tanner Keegan

4-9-2015

Mark Tremonti recently announced that Wolfgang Van Halen will be unable to perform bass duties on the next Tremonti tour due to his commitments with Van Halen.  Shortly thereafter, the band confirmed that Tanner Keegan will be filling in.  In conjunction with TheAlterBridgeNation.com and the Army of 12 Boston, Los Angeles, Netherlands, and Pennsylvania chapters, MarkTremonti.net got a chance to ask Tanner a few questions about himself and the upcoming Tremonti tour.

Tanner, thank you for making time to do this Q&A with us.  You achieved instant fame among Tremonti followers when the band announced that you will be filling in for Wolfgang Van Halen on their upcoming tour.  Many congratulations on being selected, and welcome to the family!

Let's start by giving you the opportunity to introduce yourself to the masses.  Who is Tanner Keegan?
I'm originally from a small town in Indiana called Madison.  I started playing music at 4 yrs old and never stopped.  First it was piano, then I picked up a guitar and bass when I was 12.  I moved to Florida when I was 18 and started playing in rock bands around the Orlando area.  When I was 21 I joined Indorphine and spent the next 7 years touring the U.S. in a dirty van.

How long have you played bass?
Been playing bass for about 22 years.  Done a lot of switching back and forth between guitar and bass, but I've always been more of a bass player!

As you mentioned before, you were part of the band Indorphine, and a little research reveals that you currently front the Tanner Keegan Band.  Tell us a bit about these groups.
Indorphine was a crazy, silly, progressive metal band that I loved being a part of.  It's the band that made me the player I am today.  We had an amazing chemistry together and wrote some music that spanned a variety of genres and influences.  We released one record, then unfortunately the road took its toll on the band and it dissolved.  We're all still friends and sometimes still write music together.  The Tanner Keegan Band is my "solo project".  I've always been a blues man at heart, I also love old traditional Honky Tonk and 50's & 60's R&B and funk, so I combine those genres and wrote a lot of blues and soul driven rock 'n' roll songs.  I'm planning on recording a record and releasing it before the end of the year.

It's not every day that you get invited to tour with Mark Tremonti, Eric Friedman, and Garrett Whitlock.  How were you approached to join this tour?   Did you have to audition?
I met Mark, Eric, and Garrett about 12 years ago in the early years of Indorphine.  Indorphine played a show with Eric and Garrett's previous band Submersed.  They introduced us to Mark and we all immediately hit it off and had respect for each other's musical talents.  We've been friends ever since.  I happened to be a bass tech for another band on the recent Shiprocked cruise and ran into the guys at the right time.  They asked me if I was available and I said "yes, of course!"  I'm very flattered and honored that they respect me as a bass player and asked me to fill in for Wolfgang, who we all know is a bad ass!

Now let's discuss Tremonti.  Have you heard the full Cauterize album yet?  If so, what are your favorite songs?
Yes, it's and amazing record!  I love every song.  I'm super stoked to throw down on the heaviness.  I really love "Radical Change" and "Flying Monkeys", they're so brutal!

What are your favorite songs off of Tremonti's first record All I Was?
Again, I think the whole record is amazing.  These guys are some of the best song writers and musicians I've ever met!  If I had to pick a couple favorites then I'd say "Wish You Well" and "Decay".

Which songs from both albums are you most excited to play live?
I'm just excited to bang my head and throw my bass around like a mad man the entire set!  The heavier the better.  "Flying Monkeys" is gonna be super fun, because of the half time tempos that allow me to slam as hard as I can!  Anything with a breakdown is super fun to hit hard and move to, then I'll probably be getting whiplash playing all the speed metal riffs!  I can't help but let the music literally move me when I'm on stage!

Has the band set any rehearsal plans yet?
We'll be rehearsing for a couple weeks before the tour begins.

Are you looking forward to any of the upcoming shows in particular?
All the shows are going to rule!  I'm really stoked about playing all the festivals, as it's always fun to see other bands and friends in the industry.  I really can't wait to get to Europe and experience the different cultures and crowds... and FOOD!!!  (laughs)

What companies do you endorse?  Do you know what rig you're using on tour?
I'm endorsed by ESP and I'll be playing ESP Stream basses.  I'm not sure what amp rig I'm taking out yet, but I promise it will be LOUD!!!

Do you have any plans for after the tour yet?
Just to keep playing music as much as possible and hopefully record a Tanner Keegan Band record this summer!

We're going to wrap this one up.  Any last words to the fans?
I can't wait to meet all of you on the road!  Please make sure to say hello if you see me out there.  I won't bite, unless you ask nicely!  (laughs)

Thanks again for making time for us.  We look forward to seeing you out on the road!

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To discuss this interview, visit this topic over at the TABN forum:
http://thealterbridgenation.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=21&t=2594