ROCKBLADETS skribent Philip Almén satte sig ner med Mark Tremonti innan hans spelning på Debaser Strand i Stockholm. Samtalet kom att handla allt från skapandeprocessen, barndomen och att leva eller inte leva på gamla meriter.
What's your main source of inspiration?
My own life or my close friend and family, or just turning on the news and what's going on around me. When I write I try to set a mood of some sorts, and I spit out lyrics to what is fresh in my mind – What I've gone through or what I've seen others go through, or what I've seen on the news.
You lived in Orlando, Florida during your teenage years. Do you ever feel like going political in your music after the tragedy that happened there recently?
We touch upon it all the time, but it's never a direct "I'm gonna vote for this person/You shouldn't do this/You shouldn't have guns". It's a lot of reaons why it's not black and white with abortion or gun control. Of course religious folks say it's never right to take a life. But what if you're raped? It's stupid and it's like a Medieval thing to think. Everybody has there views, but it's really polarizing.
What country has the most hardcore fans?
In the entire world, it's in South America. Through Chile and Argentina, they're mad. They love it, they can't get enough of it. They have no inhabitions. The band stopped and they would sing every word.
Do you dream of playing at a certain venue?
Wembley Stadium. We're going to move up to the O2 Arena with Alter Bridge, and maybe if we sell that venue a couple of times… It's going to be huge. Maybe one day.
Do you feel like you have to restart every time you have a new project?
I've started from ground zero three times. With my first band we built that up to the biggest levels we could and called it quits and had to start out from the bottom again. We went from sold out arenas to clubs with sometimes forty people. Now we're getting Alter Bridge back to arena level. Now when I start with Tremonti, more people stuck around this time around. We start doing clubs and theaters. Nowadays it seems like the Creed thing is going away a bit, and it's more Alter Bridge and Tremonti now. Creed wasn't a big band in Europe. We only toured here two or three times. In America we played arenas across the country. It was as big as it could possibly get. We won a Grammy for the song "With Arms Wide Open". Those were all the great moments, but we began to ask ourselves things. The relationships within the band were so bad that we were miserable, we decided to start over. I don't want to start anything else. I want to build Tremonti.
Do you feel like your sound and the genre is typical Orlando, Florida?
Definitely not. It's very pop and dance-oriented. Kids in high school don't listen to metal at all. My son is eleven and the kids in his school listen to the top-40 radio stations. I grew up in Detroit, so it was rock and metal, but when I moved to Orlando it was like Janet Jackson. Nobody in my school listened to metal, I was the only person. It made me feel like an outcast at first. I was the only one playing a guitar, that was my life, playing in bands and such. Nobody played anything. People didn't even know what Metallica was, and this was 1989.
Do you feel like you represent your genre and make it bigger in Orlando?
I don't know if I have a genre. Since we started Alter Bridge we've had a hard time pairing up with touring bands. We're somewhere in between radio rock type of music and more progressive. Tremonti is more of a hard rock/metal band.
Do you feel like rock is dead?
Rock is not the number one music in the world right now, it's more Justin Bieber. Some if it I don't like, but some of it I like. I have a friend who is a DJ. When James Bay comes on the radio I think he's brilliant. And Take Me To Church with Hozier is a brilliant song. My influences are already settled in me. I try to learn as much new stuff as possible to put new stuff into my music. But my influences are more of the progressive sort, not pop oriented.
What's what your favorite type of musical process? Is it band practice, recording or playing live?
When you listen to the music you have created you get excited and can't wait to play it live. One of my favorite moments is when you hear a record mixed and mastered and you get to anticipate the fans reactions. Which songs are the fans going to like the most – Sometimes you're right, sometimes you're wrong.
Do you have a dream collaboration?
Any kind collaboration with Metallica would be my dream come true. It would be amazing. But it would never happen. They're so established, they got two guitar players. They're my biggest heroes.
Do you have a musical or personal goal with this year?
I've spent the first five months at home, so this will be my first motnth of the year away from home. So being away is tough, but I'm used to it. The goal is to non-stop getting the word out with my two records, and in between that be a family man, hanging out with my wife and my babies.
Mark Tremonti och hans soloprojekt Tremonti går på Debaser Strands står det tydligt: Här byts storskalighet mot intimitet och hängivenhet. Trots att bandet bara är ett par år gammalt finns redan tre album ute som bidrar till en varierad och stor katalog. Det finns inget tvivel om att Mark sedan länge bevisat sig vara en virtuos på gitarr, men hans alltmer naturliga roll som frontman är en fröjd att se. Rösten blir bättre för varje album, närvaron likaså och tillsammans med balansen att låta sig själv och andra bandmedlemmar få sina sekunder i strålkastarljuset är konserten väldigt dynamisk både i valet av låtar, stämning och framförande. Många gånger, speciellt mot slutet, ger Mark plats åt bandets andra gitarrist Eric Friedman – En gitarrist som med så mycket teknisk kompetens och närvaro otvivelaktligen skulle kunna agera frontman i sitt egna projekt. Trummisen Garrett Whitlock gör det till synes omöjliga möjligt på trummor genom hela konserten, men den turnerande basisten Tanner Keagan faller in i glömskan rakt igenom, låt efter låt. Det finns ingen låt som låter bas ta plats, utan detta är musik för tjocka tunga riff och dubbelkagge.
Att kunna peta in den allsångs-vänliga och lite mer poppiga Symptathy för att mot konsertens slut spela den totala bulldozern Brains sätter pricken över i. Detta är en konsert fylld av kanske inte överraskningar, men definitivt en klar indikation att bandet Tremonti är brett och bra nog att vara kapabla att gå väldigt, väldigt långt.
Skribent: Philip Almén (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Foto: Joanna Hemmingsson (email@example.com)
Event: Tremonti, Europa-turné
Arena: Debaser Strand, Stockholm
Bäst: Att konserten knappt hade några svackor
Sämst: Några av mina absoluta favoritlåtar uteblev