Interview: Mark Tremonti
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Mark Tremonti is a very busy man. The ex-Creed guitarist is currently lending his skills on the strings to both his main band, Alter Bridge, and his new Tremonti solo project, which is hot off the release of its brand new album, Dust. Despite Mark being a primary songwriter in Alter Bridge, Tremonti and formerly Creed, the music the three create almost couldn’t be further apart. “I definitely get to use more of the metal roots that I grew up with [in Tremonti],” the guitarist explains. “That was one thing that I really missed in the other two bands, not being able to put that foot forward. And that’s really where my strengths came as a player growing up. Plus, I get to be the singer, and my rhythm section is much different from the other two bands. “After taking on the lead singer role, it makes it much easier to speak and sing on the mic. I used to be nervous to just talk on the mic, but now that I’m doing it night after night it’s second nature.” Tremonti's two latest albums – Cauterize and Dust – were recorded simultaneously during the same sessions, yet Mark says he didn’t enter the studio with two albums in mind. “Any time I get the chance to write, I will. If it’s in the hotel room, if it’s when the kids go to sleep, if they’re at school, if it’s the back of the tour bus… I just do it whenever I can. “I never try to write before a recording process. As soon as I’m done writing one record I start writing the next one. “So all I knew was that I wanted to record as many songs as possible while I had the producer’s time. We had about 25 songs, then we narrowed it down to twenty. And it wasn’t until we were in the mixing process that I decided to split them up into two albums. “I took all our songs and I just tried to split them up as evenly as possible. I put the strongest song on the first record, second strongest on the second record and so on. We wanted to mix up the fast-paced songs and some slow-paced songs to make it all flow as well as possible.” An example of one of Dust’s “slow-paced” songs is its title track, which was also released as the lead single and the first taste fans received of the brand new album. “I just feel like for my entire career, every record that comes out, we’ve released a heavy, fast track first. This time I wanted to put our best foot forward, do something different on this album and release my favourite song. I think it’s a good choice, people have reacted well to it and it’s just something different for us.” But despite Tremonti’s two newest albums being sibling records, the only aspect that ties them together is their artwork. “There’s a sci-fi theme to it. With Cauterize, the album artwork has this monstrous figure come to the Earth and burn it free of its impurities, cauterising it of its impurities. And Dust is the aftermath of that. “It was done by my brother, Dan. I sent him images that I’d seen on the internet; one was a painting of an ocean with this gigantic head popping out, I really wanted to run with that. He developed this scene and this creature for the album that will hopefully stick around for a few years. “But as far as themes go lyrically, there’s not much of a tie-in.”
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