Steven Rosen of Ultimate-Guitar.com recently conducted an interview with Mark Tremonti about the ALTER BRIDGE/CREED guitarist's debut solo album, "All I Was". A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: Why did you decide it was now the right time to release "All I Was"?
Mark Tremonti: It was just a perfect opportunity for me to get all those ideas that didn't necessarily fit the other two bands. I had a three-month window where Myles [Kennedy, ALTER BRIDGE singer] was out with Slash and thought it would be the perfect opportunity to get those things taken care of and get those songs out there.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: So these songs were never meant in any form or fashion for ALTER BRIDGE or CREED?
Mark Tremonti: The way I write is I write parts. I've got just a ton of parts and when the time comes to write an album, I'll throw all the parts at the guys and we'll choose our favorites and put 'em together. It's a musical puzzle. With this all my favorite parts that I had continuously played for the guys and just never turned into a real song, I decided to take all my favorites and use 'em on this album.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: Why do you think the other bands didn't want to use these songs?
Mark Tremonti: I think a lot of 'em didn't work because some of it was a little bit more metal-based because that's what my roots really were. I really wanted to get that stuff out on this record because some of my favorite parts have always had my roots in it. But at the same time melodies are the most important thing to me as a songwriter. So to try and pack the record and trying to get my favorite melodies as well as my favorite kind of riffage and musical ideas out there as well.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: "All I Was" is heavier than CREED or ALTER BRIDGE. Do you feel more comfortable in this style?
Mark Tremonti: Well, since I was a kid I've always joked about wanting to be in a speed metal band. That's what I was listening to when I was growing up but at the same time I spend most of my time writing melodies and not the speed metal thing. So I think this band was just an attempt to kind of incorporate both of those things in the same project. And just get that all out of my system or just work on it for the future. I think this initially was just gonna be this little fun side project to release without a record label and just on the side on the Internet. But as it started forming, we were very happy with it and decided to really make a go of it.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: You knew specifically that you wanted to be the singer of your songs?
Mark Tremonti: Yeah, I thought it was the perfect time to do that. I didn't have as much pressure as a singer because people know I didn't put myself out there as a singer obviously. 'Cause I've been touring professionally now for about 16 years with two other bands where I wasn't the singer. I've always been a writer all these years and I really love writing vocal melodies and I thought it would be very liberating to be able to just sing 'em exactly how you hear 'em in your head. Because I've spent most of my career playing my parts for other people and trying to get them to like them and see them through. And with this you're just a one-stop shop for all that stuff and you can make sure it's exactly how you envisioned it. It's not to say it's any better or worse working like that; it's just easier. Working with other people they help put a spin on things that make it better a lot of times. With this it was just very easy and very quick.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: Did it take you any time finding your true voice and feeling comfortable as the main singer?
Mark Tremonti: I loved it and thought it was a blast. It was the first time I really got to sing at full volume with a band behind me. At first I didn't know how it was gonna turn out then once we got practicing for a few weeks, I noticed getting more confident with my voice and having more control and learning new tricks naturally as I was practicing. In that three or four weeks that we got the initial arrangements down, my voice came a long way. I had no idea what was gonna happen but I think just practicing and doing it day in and day out and really focusing on your voice, I knew it was the only way to get good at singing. You don't wake up one day and know how to sing. You've got to get out there and do it at full volume and not just in the shower or in the car but really where you're applying yourself.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: You brought in Michael "Elvis" Baskette to produce the album who had worked on the last two ALTER BRIDGE albums.
Mark Tremonti: I just know when I work with Elvis, it's gonna sound great and I don't have to worry about that. I know I feel comfortable working with him. He's an easy guy to work with. He's not the kind of guy who's gonna miss any small detail that's gonna stand out to anybody. He's gonna make sure everything is taken care of and he controls the singing. Every time we had done albums in the past and I'd be singing my backups he'd say, "Wow, I really love your voice." You have to feel confident about that and you need a producer who kind of works your confidence in there. It makes a difference.
Read the entire interview from Ultimate-Guitar.com.