Robert Cavuoto of Guitar International recently conducted an interview with ALTER BRIDGE/CREED guitarist Mark Tremonti. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Guitar International: With Myles [Kennedy, ALTER BRIDGE singer] working with Slash, I imagine it could be a double-edged sword. There's the positives of the attention it brings to ALTER BRIDGE, and the other side people constantly asking "Is Myles gonna be leaving?" What's your take on it?
Mark Tremonti: We haven't seen any cons yet; it's all been positive. Myles is not the guy to say one thing and do another. He says he's completely committed to ALTER BRIDGE just like we told him with this CREED reunion stuff. We're all very open with one another, there are no secrets. We're having a great time and ALTER BRIDGE is doing better than we ever have, and nobody's going anywhere. I think Slash just brings more credibility to who Myles is as a singer and a frontman and gets some of the respect that he deserves.
Guitar International: You have been in the music news a lot regarding you being one of the few people who heard the new VAN HALEN CD and now you will be going to do a few dates with them. How did you form a relationship with them?
Mark Tremonti: Yeah, well we first did shows with them back in the CREED days. Eddie [Van Halen] actually gave me one of his guitars, and then years went by. It's funny, at one of those old shows; I think at Madison Square Garden, he ran through a crowd of fans and press just to tell me how to set up the guitar with the springs on the guitar when he had Valerie and Wolfgang with him. And it meant a lot to me that he'd leave his family to come tell the young guitar player what to do. I remember Wolfgang was six or seven years old then, and now, eleven years later, he has become a fan of ALTER BRIDGE. He came out to some shows, and we've become friends. We invited him to ALTER BRIDGE soundchecks, and we hang out with him every time we go to L.A. He's also played with ALTER BRIDGE at the House of Blues the last time I was out there. He brought his dad to our show that was a crazy night. You had Slash and Eddie and Wolfgang Van Halen at the show! The last time we went to L.A., Wolfgang came and hung out with me and my buddy and asked if we wanted to go see practice the next day and I said, "Of course!" so he picked me up and got me into the studios at his dad's house, where they played every song on the new record for me. It was just amazing.
Guitar International: Wow. From what I read it sounds like old-school VAN HALEN.
Mark Tremonti: Yeah, it does. I haven't heard a single vocal on it yet, but it definitely had the juice, it was great.
Guitar International: Was it like "Van Halen 1", "Van Halen 2", "Fair Warning" era?
Mark Tremonti: I think it was a mixture of it all. It wasn't all edgy and dark like "Fair Warning"; it was a mixture, somewhere in the middle.
Guitar International: Do you ever get nervous playing around Eddie? I imagine that would be a problem for some guitarists.
Mark Tremonti: Nah. You know, I was very comfortable. He's such a nice guy; it was very comfortable for me. One moment I'll never forget is being at the House Of Blues when I was warming up for our show and I was doing some left-handed legato exercises to get my hands ready. I knew all these guys were gonna be there so I wanted to be on my A game, so I'm sitting there working on my left hand, and I notice somebody standing a few feet behind me. I turn around and look and it was Eddie. He looks at me and he goes, "You don't pick too much, do ya?" I'm like "Aaaah, I do! But I'm working on my left hand!" [Laughs] So that was one of those crazy moments.
Read the entire interview from Guitar International.