In the words of William Shakespeare, “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.” Through the years of rock n’ roll, we have experienced artists who are a testament to that statement and Mark Tremonti is one of them. Willfully deciding to become a self taught musician and avoid further subjecting himself to lessons that only suppressed his inner talent just goes to show that when you have dedication, passion, vision and no tolerance for wasting time in a place you can’t learn the type of music you want, the best decision is to purchase videos, lock yourself in your room for 8 hours a day and practice. We can all agree that he made the right choice. Clearly, this method paid off and after achieving worldwide success as the lead guitarist in bands like Creed and Alter Bridge, Tremonti finally decided to pursue the ultimate goal of fronting his own solo project rightfully named Tremonti. “The biggest challenge has been learning how to be the front guy, the entertaining one. Myles is usually the one that has all eyes on him and I’ll just focus on playing guitar but now with my role in this band, I just do my best in learning how to be the entertaining front man and command the stage.” Mark even has his own guitar and pedal lines. There are three signature guitar lines available at PRS that offer diversities within themselves and Mark hopes other musicians enjoy playing them. No plans as of now to create any additional models but you never know.
With his first album All I Was being released in 2012, it is no surprise that he continues to expand his fan base with the anticipation of his sophomore effort Cauterize scheduled for release on June 9th. Not only can we look forward to this album, we can also add additional eagerness for another album called Dust set to be released in 2016 as a follow up to Cauterize. “The record is already done. It’s been mixed and mastered. We recorded it at the same time but felt that 20 songs was way too much for people to take in at once. We want people to enjoy the music and have time to develop their own interpretations of each song. Releasing too many songs at once is just too much chaos.” Creatively and personally Tremonti has learned the rules of the road and gained life experience allowing him to bring more to the table. Lessons learned aside, he is first and foremost a husband and father to his two sons, ages six and ten.
As Tremonti tours throughout the United States, having recently played the Rock On The Range Festival in OH, Tremonti tells us about the video shoot they did recently for their second single Sympathy. “It happened in the typical rock n’ roll whirlwind fashion. I received a call about four days beforehand saying that we need to play Sympathy live when we go through Chicago and we should shoot a video for it. We didn’t have a sound check guy to practice the song and with Wolfgang not being on tour with us, there is no point, but they went ahead and put a concept together. The concept was that it would just be me and we would shoot some live footage cutting in the other guys last minute.” It ended up being really cool. The setting was in this giant old building with a bank vault in the cellar that was just massive and ornate. It was a great setting and we shot there in one afternoon. Got a great video out of it.”
Tremonti was 11 years old when he picked up his first guitar, he was clear on exactly where he wanted to go in his musical career. “It was always my intention,” he affirms. “It has always been what I loved to do more than anything. I worked as hard as I could to get here and I never look back. I also didn’t put my eggs in one basket. I went to high school, went on to college and then once we received the record deal, I stopped studying and went straight for what I have always wanted to do.” Influenced by artists like Rod Stewart and all of the 70’s soft rock, once Tremonti grew up, he got into heavy metal. Master Of Puppets album was the game changer for him musically. “It made me a music fanatic. Then I started getting into bands like Slayer and into Punk bands like Black Flag. I grew up in Detroit where it was all about the heaviest, meanest stuff back then and now I kind of combine those two worlds. My music is a combination of the melodies of 70’s soft rock with speed metal riffs and heavy metal influences,” he continues. “Imagine to my surprise moving to Orlando from Detroit and the culture shock I was thrown into. All the kids were wearing C & C Music Factory or Janet Jackson t-shirts. I constantly wondered how they did not get beat up. To each their own I suppose.” Tremonti remained true to his style sporting Metallica and Slayer shirts–he was not falling into the pop music abyss.
Not only did he teach himself to be the successful guitarist and songwriter he has become, he is also a self taught vocalist, taking only a handful of lessons. “I don’t think I got much out of the experience. I think singing live and seeing what I could do in that respect was the biggest thing in helping me to strengthen my vocals. I can definitely hear a difference between the first record and this one vocally because once you are singing for crowds and you’re testing your voice to the limits, your voice changes and you adapt to singing in front of people. Very much a different experience than practicing next to a piano. You can take as many lessons as you want but once you get out there and start doing it, it’s a total game changer, it’s an entirely different experience.”
Rest assured that Alter Bridge is still alive and well. In fact, they will be putting out another album in 2016 as well. “We have worked way too hard on Alter Bridge. Myles and I just try to coordinate our schedules. When there is a Slash tour or a Tremonti tour going on, we take a break then go back to it.” Tremonti explains he never stops writing regardless of which project he is working on and that he will always be writing music. “I love to be over-prepared when going into a recording session. It’s good to have this other outlet though, the Tremonti project so I am able to get some ideas out that would never otherwise see the light of day. The older I get, the more worried I get that all the ideas I have won’t get out.” We would hate to see that happen so keep it coming Mark. “Working with Wolfgang and Myles is always a pleasure and creatively we look forward to what the future holds for both bands.”
Tremonti’s two sons have expressed their interest in music. “My oldest son was really good at playing the drums when he was younger, especially my electric drums we had in the studio so I bought him his own authentic set and of course he stopped playing and decided to get into sports. My youngest son is really good at remembering melodies and lyrics. He will be sitting in the backseat of the car singing along to the radio. I am amazed at how he remembers them all. But I don’t want to be that kind of a dad that forces them to practice every day and have no life. With anything in life, you need to want to do it. If you don’t have a passion for it or you don’t really dig down deep for it, you’re not going to excel at it, especially if someone is forcing it on you.”
Social media has been a plus for Tremonti in that he can be more personal with his fans. “Back in the day when we were kids, you couldn’t just send a note to your favorite artist and get a response back. I try to respond to as many people as possible and give out as much information as possible on what is happening in my career.” In this day and age social media participation can make or break an artist and it is comforting to know that some embrace it. He is so personable and humble anyways, this just brings his fans closer to his music. Fans have always been receptive and there to support everything he does and they are the reason he keeps at it. “I would retire if I didn’t have my fans.”
It seems at this point, there is nothing Tremonti can’t do and the question arose if he would follow the likes of songwriters such as Danny Elfman writing music for film. Tremonti mentioned he had been offered to work on a film score for a Batman animated series, but had no experience in scoring, nor as an engineer. “If I did it, I would have to record 30 seconds and then have them write in the mood and other stuff and bring it all together. It would take years to learn, but I would love to have some of our songs placed in film. “
As the interview winds down, Tremonti loops us in to the future endeavors of the Tremonti project in which they will kick off the tour in July, take a break and then go back out in September. Australia, South America to name a few. Perhaps a hard tour in L.A., Phoenix, Texas and then the East Coast.
One thing that will never change is that music and writing will always be a part of Tremonti’s life. It is who he is and the biggest part of expressing himself. As long as he continues writing, performing and singing we can all find comfort in knowing that real music does indeed exist. It proves that Mark Tremonti is here to stay and will continue to push the boundaries of his career.