MARK TREMONTI Says WOLFGANG VAN HALEN Is 'An Incredibly Talented Musician'

Niclas Müller-Hansen of Sweden's Metalshrine recently conducted an interview with ALTER BRIDGE and CREED guitarist Mark Tremonti. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

Metalshrine: What's it like playing with [VAN HALEN bassist] Wolfgang [Van Halen]?

Mark: It's great, man. He's a very positive person and good to be around and an incredibly talented musician. Things have been going well.

Metalshrine: How did all this come about? Was Wolfgang your first choice?

Mark: We had talked about having him being a part of the band early on, but VAN HALEN got back together and did a nine month tour together and it was right in the window when we needed to do this so we moved on without him. Eric Friedman tracked the bass on the record and then we started touring and we had Brian Marshall playing bass with us and then something came up at the last minute with Brian and it just so happened that Wolfgang was in town. I gave him a shout and he came right over and jumped on board.

Metalshrine: Is it that you're friends with Wolfgang or Eddie? How did the connection come about?

Mark: Wolfgang was a fan of ALTER BRIDGE and came to an ALTER BRIDGE soundcheck and invited us over to a VAN HALEN soundcheck. I had actually done some shows with VAN HALEN back in the earlier days. I saw Wolfgang when he was just a kid when we were opening up for VAN HALEN and all these years later I ran back into him and it's just crazy how things turned out.

Metalshrine: Could you see Wolfgang recording with you later on?

Mark: Yeah, we've already talked about that and we look forward to it. I think it'll add a whole other element to this band.

Metalshrine: Is it a big difference writing for CREED, ALTER BRIDGE or the solo stuff? Does it come as easy for either one?

Mark: This record felt really easy to get out. There's a lot of material sitting around and especially the heavier stuff, that was just sitting there waiting to be used. I had tried it before with ALTER BRIDGE and CREED and it just never quite fit, but the guys in the band love all the heavier stuff and jumped all over it and we turned it into a record pretty quick. Writing for the next album might take a little longer trying to come up with new, better, heavier stuff.

Metalshrine: The project DOWNSHIFTER with [Jamey] Jasta and [Joey] Jordison, is that something that will ever happen?

Mark: Those were all rumors. I don't even know where they stated from. I've never even officially met Joey Jordison, but Jamey I know fairly well. We talked about working on a song here and there, but we're always on tour and at this point it's all just talk between the two of us. I never really know where those rumors came from.

Metalshrine: The stuff you wrote for this album, was any of it stuff that you had initially written for CREED or ALTER BRIDGE?

Mark: Oh, there's tons of it that I had initially tried with both other bands, but… I had the same rhythm section for those bands and those ideas with Brian and Scott never quite gelled. I was more of a metal guy and they were more classic rock or hard rock, so when it came to galloping and tremolo picking, it just didn't excite the guys so when it came time to do this band, that's what we really wanted to get out there. It's what I haven't been able to do in the past and it's what these guys love to do so it was perfect.

Read the entire interview from Metalshrine.

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