Rocker Mark Tremonti is unarguably one of the most talented and well-known guitarists of the 21st century. His career has been all about taking chances. He took a chance when he first picked up the guitar and decided to pursue an extremely successful music career with Creed, Alter Bridge, and taking center stage as the frontman of his band solo Tremonti, doing his own vocals. Now, Tremonti is taking the biggest chance of all, and he is doing it in the name of charity. Screamer Magazine is joining the cause as we follow Tremonti and Take A Chance For Charity and publish a genre out of our normal realm.
Tremonti founded Take A Chance For Charity which is partnering with the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) and challenging other musicians, artists, athletes, celebrities, and anyone with a platform to get out of their comfort zone and try something completely different than they have ever done. For Tremonti, he knew what he was going to do from the get-go and he knew it had to be something entirely different and unexpected. Tremonti decided to ditch the guitar and metal sound he is known and loved for and record an album entirely of Frank Sinatra songs. Tremonti tells us that the inspiration for this project was his daughter Stella who was born with Down syndrome. “She’s made everyone around her so much better. She is such a strong force in our world and she’s the most popular girl. I know she’s surrounded by love from everybody in our circle here in Florida. They are just obsessed with her, and we can’t keep her out of people’s hands. Stella is just always up in somebody’s arms and always has a smile on her face,” Tremonti proudly says. “The project started with me really diving into Frank Sinatra. I just absolutely loved the way he approaches his vocals, and I just went far down the rabbit hole like I did when I wanted to learn how to play the guitar. I wanted to emulate what he was doing, how he sounded, and how he spoke the lyrics. So, there I was just singing along as a fan does, and then one day my wife and I took Stella for her diagnosis and learned that she had Down syndrome. That was the “ah-ha” moment and I thought to myself that maybe all of this obsession with Frank Sinatra was meant for something, and I decided I was going to record a Sinatra record to raise money and awareness for Down syndrome. Because when you’re welcomed into this world, the Down syndrome community, you realize just how much help is needed. There is no cure for it and there never will be, but there are so many things like speech therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy that can be beneficial. My daughter just had open-heart surgery a couple of months ago, which was the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through in my life. I couldn’t imagine how a family manages without the right medical insurance and programs that help make life easier. I just want folks who need help to be able to get it and I wanted to raise as much money as we could for it. Once I had made the decision, I talked to my manager about this idea, and, crazy enough, my guitar teacher growing up was Frank Sinatra’s touring guitar player. So, he hooked me up with Mike Smith, who was Frank Sinatra’s bandleader and from that point, we had to get approvals from the Sinatra family. Getting approval was a huge honor they rarely permit anyone to use Frank Sinatra’s name and likeness on any project but knowing what a big philanthropist Sinatra was in his days I think they knew it was for a good cause.”
Mark Tremonti Sings Frank Sinatra – I’ve Got You Under My Skin (Official Video)
Tremonti recalls how he first discovered Sinatra and became a superfan. “I’ve always been a big fan of Sinatra. When I was growing up, I’d hear Frank Sinatra being played throughout the house around Christmas time and always just thought he had such a classy, rich, the best of the best, and timeless voice. As I got older and I fell into my adult voice, I would sing along and feel good about it. In some ways, it feels better to me when I sing along to Frank Sinatra songs than when I started doing vocals for my solo rock n’ roll stuff. It just felt natural to me. Two or three years ago, I ran into a clip of him doing The Song Is You on YouTube and it just blew my mind. I’m most familiar with what everybody’s hearing on the radio every day like My Way and New York, New York. Then, I saw some of his earlier stuff and I wanted to dive deeper, I read every book, watched every movie, and just became obsessed with studying the way he sang. I was going hours and hours a day doing this. I’m so glad I did because I could honestly say this is probably the most exciting project I’ve ever worked on. I think that from a vocal perspective, my voice is more naturally suited for Sinatra’s genre of music. I still love playing and singing rock n’ roll and metal and that will never change, but this was just a different experience as a whole. We are already scheduling a listening party and live performance on May 14th. There is a big difference between performing with a rock band, with a guitar on and doing a high-intensity kind of show versus doing this jazz performance where you have no guitar and there are four 42nd breaks and the bridges of these tunes where I don’t know what in the world I’m going to do. I’m just going to have to feel it out and kind of learn as I go just like I did with everything else. It’s just going to take a little bit of time, I guess I will get the hang of it,” he confesses.
Before he went into this, everybody was telling him about how afraid and nervous he should be and asking him if he was terrified. Tremonti wasn’t nervous at all. As far as he was concerned, the only real difference between this project and anything else he has done with Alter Bridge or his own band Tremonti was that this was for charity. “I feel good about it because no matter what, we’re just trying to raise money for a good cause. So, if I do it poorly, and everyone hates it the worst thing that can happen is I raise a bunch of money and didn’t sing very well,” Tremonti says. “I went into it with a positive attitude. I also knew that I had practiced this more than anything I’ve ever practiced in my life. Musically, I went hard on this. I practiced nonstop and went in there feeling very prepared.” Tremonti admitted it was a lot more difficult to narrow down which songs would be on the album for the project as opposed to Alter Bridge or his solo albums. Sinatra recorded over 1,400 songs in his career, and according to Tremonti, you could be a lifelong Sinatra fan and still sometimes just find songs that you’re not familiar with. Tremonti goes on to say that every day he would just listen to everything he could get his hands on and tried not to do only the songs that everybody knows. “I did My Way and That’s Life and some of the big songs, but I also wanted to do songs such as I Fall In Love Too Easily because I wanted to show people that his catalog is something you need to dive into. There are a lot of great songs in there. I would just keep on tackling news songs and seeing what hit the best for my voice. With that said, there were a lot of songs I had to leave off the recording because we just didn’t have enough time. There are tons more I wanted to do and one of these days I will.
Tremonti is not only a remarkable guitarist and vocalist but he is a talented painter as well. In speaking with his manager, Kevin Chiaramonte, he had the idea of Tremonti doing the artwork for the album since “Frank Sinatra was a painter and you’re a painter.” Tremonti thought it was a great idea because he loves painting and it was another way he could contribute to the project. “I love the excuse to go out and get new supplies and get in the garage to do some work,” Tremonti says. “I did more research on the kind of art Sinatra did, which is abstract kind of stuff, so I put four different paintings into the artwork. It was a fun thing to do. I spent a few weeks just kind of preparing for it and doing it and it was just great!”
Currently on tour with Daughtry, Tremonti became hyper-focused on the project once his Marching In Time album was released late last year. Switching gears from heavy metal to Frank Sinatra was a feat that only Tremonti would be able to navigate his way through. He will always have a love for rock music and will always perform and put out new albums. The purpose is different here Tremonti explains, “I was so obsessed with this project. All I have been doing is rock n’ roll and I always have ideas ready to go and had most of my writing done for the next Alter Bridge album and I was done with the Tremonti record so I was thinking about Sinatra again and doing what I can to sharpen up my vocal skills.”
“I recorded with surviving members of Frank Sinatra’s touring band. We did 14 songs, all in the name of charity. It’s raising money for NDSS and if people go to www.tremontisings.sinatra.com, the CDs, tapes, shirts and stickers will be on there to purchase, and all proceeds will go to NDSS. Also, for those who just want to donate, there will be a ‘donate now’ button. Tremonti has confirmed that he has been keeping track of all the funds raised so far and it is off to a great start having raised over $100,000 on the very first day. “This is such a special and important project for me and it gets me emotional when I talk about it because it’s inspired by my daughter Stella and people like her and families like ours. When you meet these people, it’s such a supportive community and you just want to do everything in your power to help them and it’s an amazing thing. I’m so happy to be able to be a part of this. Words can’t express how I feel about it and the fact I have so much support and everyone is giving such wonderful feedback is a wonderful thing.”
“Mark’s take on Sinatra is nothing short of uncanny. I could never have expected one of my fav metal guitarists to do such faithful renditions of Sinatra classics.”
Even though Tremonti Sings Sinatra has not been released yet, he is garnering rave reviews from some of his peers. Guitarist Slash (Guns N’ Roses, Velvet Revolver, Slash ft. Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators) said “Mark’s take on Sinatra is nothing short of uncanny. I could never have expected one of my fav metal guitarists to do such faithful renditions of Sinatra classics. Not only instrumentally, but vocally! These recordings are for a cause near & dear to my heart; I was very close to an uncle who had Down syndrome when I was growing up. I fully appreciate & support Mark’s commitment to NDSS.” Kirk Hammett (Metallica) said “Holy Shit, I knew Mark was a ripping guitar player, but no way did I ever have a notion that he had golden pipes as well!!! Blown away, totally into it, let’s hear more Mark!!!”
“Holy Shit, I knew Mark was a ripping guitar player, but no way did I ever have a notion that he had golden pipes as well!!!”
Kirk Hammett, Metallica
Tremonti has always been fearless throughout his career and he has always raised the bar and continuously displays a level of growth and true, raw talent in everything he does. I think when you look at some of the metal and rock n’ roll artists today, you find that paths are crossing like Metallica recording a symphonic album with the San Francisco orchestra or Sebastian Bach (former frontman for Skid Row) playing the lead in the musical Jesus Christ Superstar. As long as artists keep taking their strengths and channeling them in new ways, music will evolve and create a juxtaposition of different sounds. Tremonti has certainly gained lifelong fans and success in everything he touches because he does it all for the love of music and now for the love of his daughter and for helping others.
While Tremonti assured us that he is not going to veer completely away from his rock and metal career, he has not ruled out the possibility of taking on another Sinatra project in the future and asks people to bombard all their favorite musicians, artists, actors, athletes and everyone they know. Tell them about this project and see if they’ll follow suit in the Take A Chance For Charity project. “It’s a win-win for everybody. You raise money for a good cause while having a good time and maybe open some new eyes to a new genre that you might not do already.”
Tremonti Sings Sinatra will be released on all platforms on May 27th and by visiting www.tremontisings.com
Alter Bridge Walk the Sky & Walk the Sky 2.0 as well as Tremonti’s 2021 released solo album Marching In Time are still available on all streaming platforms.
Take A Chance For Charity Website: www.tremontisingssinatra.com
About Take A Chance For Charity:
Take A Chance For Charity is a new charity focused on giving artists/actors/athletes/anyone with a platform the ability to get out of their comfort zone. The idea is to have people get out of the genre they are known for to raise funds/awareness for the charity of their choice. We want people to have the most fun they ever had while raising money for charity. An actor can sing, an athlete can dance, a musician can perform a song out of their musical genre – any artistic interpretation. This gives participants the ability to do something out of the ordinary – in fact extraordinary – all in the name of charity. Tremonti Sings Sinatra will be the first release for the cause, the recipient being NDSS.
The National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) is the leading human rights organization for all individuals with Down syndrome. NDSS envisions a world in which all people with Down syndrome can have the opportunity to enhance their quality of life, realize their life aspirations, and become valued members of welcoming communities. Founded in 1979, NDSS supports and advocates for the Down syndrome community by focusing on three key areas of programming: Resources & Support, Policy & Advocacy, and Community Engagement. Within these focus areas, NDSS engages in various activities, events, and programs on topics that are critical to our community such as federal and state advocacy and public policy, health and wellness, education, and employment. NDSS creates resources to support individuals with Down syndrome, their families, and caregivers across the lifespan and hosts awareness and engagement events throughout the country including the National Buddy Walk® Program, the Times Square Video presentation, and New York City Buddy Walk®, Racing for 3.21 on World Down Syndrome Day, Run for 3.21, DC Golf Outing, the annual NDSS Gala & Auction, and various other events. Visit http://www.ndss.org for more information about NDSS