Mark Tremonti Talks New Creed and Spring Tour
Fri, 13 Jan 2012 09:27:05
"We were always passionate about the songs," smiles Creed guitarist Mark Tremonti.
That passion is precisely why Tremonti and his Creed cohorts Scott Stapp, Brian Marshall, and Scott Phillips crafted some of the most enduring and massive modern rock albums. It's impossible not to feel the power coursing through now classic Creed offerings, My Own Prison, Human Clay, and Weathered. That power brews from a combination of Tremonti's innovative, intricate, and infectious six-string mastery, Stapp's robust vocal prowess and lyrical elegance, Marshall's bass thunder, and Phillips's percussive diversity. On their forthcoming spring tour, Creed will play each of those albums from front-to-back—one per night. Most importantly though, the band is hunkered down in the studio between it all crafting their highly anticipated fifth outing, which promises to be another rock record for the ages. The passion will never leave these four individuals…
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor and Dolor author Rick Florino, Mark Tremonti of Creed and Alter Bridge talks favorite songs to play live from My Own Prison and Human Clay, the upcoming tour, and the band's next album.
What are your favorite songs to play live from My Own Prison and Human Clay?
I still love playing "Torn", "My Own Prison", and "Unforgiven". You play some of them now and you feel like you were just a child when you wrote them it was so long ago. When you play some of the musical parts, you know you would do something different nowadays. In a way, it's cool to revisit and see where your head was at and how you've grown.
Is some of the music still challenging for you?
On My Own Prison, everything is pretty straightforward. There are a couple of riffs here and there that were pretty cool. For the most part, the first album was pretty simple overall. As we got into the second and third records, we learned along the way and got a little deeper with the songs.
"Pity for a Dime" shows your diversity. What's the story behind that song?
I've always really liked that song. I first started out just playing the chorus and threw out the lyrics "Sell my pity for a dime". Scott went and finished the lyrics around that lyric. That was one of my first guitar solos. It has that cool classic rock vibe to it.
Where did "Inside Us All" from Human Clay come from?
I remember being in college writing that chorus. I called Scott and told him I had a great chorus that I wanted him to hear. I really dug it, and he loved it right away. We pieced it together relativity quickly. It's driven by the melody more than the music. It's a nice moody and passionate song.
How do you perceive these albums coming to life on stage?
We don't have any plans yet. As we're working, we're writing another album. As we get into rehearsals, I'm sure we'll come up with cool transitions and freestyle a little bit at the end of the songs—just not do it verbatim. We got back together, and we knew we had a limited amount of time before leaving on an Alter Bridge tour so we wanted to get as much done as we could on the writing of new music. We're going to revisit the songs along the way and really focus in on them in March.
Is it almost like walking into a time machine?
When I go back to My Own Prison, it's definitely like stepping back into my much less experienced self where everything is so simple and basic. There's a lot of space where you'd do other things nowadays. That stuff might've been so successful because it was so digestible. You overcomplicate things when you learn how to overcomplicate things [Laughs]. Those songs are mostly melody-driven.
Did you always have a natural chemistry in Creed?
We always loved our songs! We didn't record a song or play it live if it didn't give us the chills. We kept moving on until we had a solid ten songs for that first record.
Do you remember the first Creed jam session?
There were a few. At first, we had a different bass player and an additional guitar player. I was playing metal riffs and Scott was singing U2 kind of stuff. Little by little, the more we played, the more we got on the same page. Being in Creed took away some of my metal roots and made me morph into what you hear on the records.
Where's the new Creed material headed? Are you embracing that metal side or going back to basics?
It's so early on right now. I think it's a good mixture of everything. We have some stuff that hits on the overall mood of My Own Prison, and we wrote a song the other day that has a "My Sacrifice" feel to it. We wrote a song that has an "Unforgiven" feel. It's jumping all over the place. We're not trying to overcomplicate it. We're letting it flow naturally and so far we're very happy with it. The new record is turning out solid. We're excited to keep going with it.
How does writing work for you guys?
I write completely by myself. I can't even have my wife or anybody around when I'm writing melody ideas. I can write riffs around anyone, but when I'm singing to myself, you have to make mistakes and sound silly when you're writing something, so I always am alone. I'll log all of my ideas and get together with the guys and throw things out there. Most of the time, they'll dig it. If they don't, I'll show them another part. Once they like the parts, I'll play them from Scott and he'll freestyle over it. If something doesn't come together, I'll show him what I had over it, and we'll fuse our melodies together. Melodies are the most important thing. I work on those the hardest.
Are you excited to see Creed?
See Mark featured in our top guitarists of the 21st century feature here!