Alter Bridge’s Mark Tremonti: The Gun Shy Interview

Mark Tremonti

The first time most of us heard about Alter Bridge, it was soon after Velvet Revolver fired Scott Weiland; Alter Bridge frontman Myles Kennedy’s name started flying around online forums as Scott’s possible successor. Of course, Myles never ended up auditioning, but somehow ended up working with Slash anyways on his self-titled solo LP.

Since then, they’ve become something of a rock and roll powerhouse. Last week, Gun Shy Assassin spoke with Alter Bridge guitarist Mark Tremonti. He was in Italy, where the band are wrapping an eight-week European tour.

“Yesterday, we got to see the Coliseum and the Vatican and all kinds of cool stuff and we got to do a show in front of 3,000 Romans,” Tremonti tells Gun Shy Assassin. “It was great.”

Alter Bridge will be heading back to the states soon to do some U.S. shows in support of their new album AB III; Tremonti, who is also a member in good standing with Creed, says the band need to do as many shows as they can squeeze in before Myles has to return to the road with Slash starting in mid-January. The Slash association, Mark says, is a good thing.

“I think it has helped,” says Tremonti, who is one of three guys from the band Creed who’re in Alter Bridge. “We were doing the Creed tours when that was going on, and that’s when Myles and Slash started doing songs together, and I think between both of those happening, it has brought more attention to Alter Bridge, and this time around, it’s just brought more credibility and awareness to the band.”

AB III dropped less than a month ago and the record opened at #17 on the Billboard Top 200 albums chart with 28,000 copies scanned. That’s a lot in this day and age of the illegal download. The band plans to do a headliner in April and May through the states which will keep them busy until European festival season. In the fall, Tremonti says Alter Bridge will be back in the states for even more touring.

This recent European run’s been eventful for Alter Bridge; band pal Slash showed up out of nowhere and played with in Stockholm, and then again when the band were performing at the Classic Rock Awards. During that gig, Tremonti kept “looking up, and seeing all the greats out there, the guys from Rush…it was pretty intense.”

AB III has received a lot of critical acclaim, but what’s up with that name? Yes I realize its the band’s third offering but were any other names considered for the album?

“Well, that’s the one that we all kind of referred to it as, and the fans online,” Tremonti says. “For over a year, we’d all been calling it AB III, so by the time it came down to putting a name to the album, it felt strange to name it anything but AB III.”

Tremonti says he’s already started working on riffs for the next album, which led me to ask him whether he’s ever “lost” a riff…come up with it in his sleep, for instance, and then forget it in the morning?

“We did a show in Allentown, and someone broke into our dressing room and stole my handheld tape recorder that I’d record all my ideas on, and it was…I mean, I’d rather them steal diamonds than steal that from me,” he says about the incident that happened five years ago. “It was a pretty traumatic experience. I lost four months of work; it made me want to hunt that person down. We went to Walmart that night, and I bought a new tape recorder. I worked double-time to try and retrieve everything [from memory], and it actually ended up spawning a lot of really great new ideas.”

While Tremonti says he’s in full “Alter Bridge mode,” he did mention something about a possible Creed summer tour in 2012. “That’s if the world hasn’t come to an end yet,” he says. I asked if he’s spoken with Creed frontman Scott Stapp since the Sully Erna incident.

“I haven’t talked to Scott since [Sully] went off that one night at the show, but knowing Scott, he probably wasn’t very aware of it,” he says. “I think [Scott’s] manager called our manager, who also manages Sully and Godsmack, and then Sully in return…he didn’t need to but he wrote a big sincere apology letter. We’ve all hung out and he’s been very nice to me every time I’ve met him. Something happened way back in the day and he’s held a grudge, and I guess he got angry and let that resurface. It was shocking.”

Shocking only if you don’t know that Sully Erna suffers from a Napoleon complex.

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