Interview and Live Photos by Robert Cavuoto
Alter Bridge will be releasing their new seven-song EP, Walk the Sky 2.0, on November 6th via Napalm Records.
With the remaining dates of their 2020 tour canceled, Alter Bridge decided to do what they do best; create music. They will be releasing an EP featuring six live-versions of songs from Walk the Sky and one brand new studio tracked called “Last Rites.”
Myles Kennedy [vocals], Mark Tremonti [guitar], Brian Marshall [bass], and Scott Phillips [drums] handpicked these live songs from their Victorious Sky Tour. Each song showcases the band’s aggressive and diverse playing style, coupled with Myles’ powerful tenor voice and Mark’s fiery guitar playing. The new studio song, “Last Rites,” was created during the COVID-19 lockdown and the band doubled down on their combination of tightly wound riffs, rhythmic fury, and pushed-to-the-edge vocals making “Last Rites” everything you would expect from the band. The new track is very reminiscent of the songs off Walk the Sky.
“Last Rites,” is coupled by live versions of “Wouldn’t You Rather,” “Pay No Mind,” “Native Son,” “Godspeed,” “In the Deep,” and “Dying Light” to round off Walk the Sky 2.0.
Walk the Sky 2.0 pre-orders can be found here https://alterbridge.com/collections/walk-the-sky-2-0-pre-sale
I spoke with Mark to find out the importance of Alter Bridge putting out this EP for the fans, creating the new studio song “Last Rites,” the status of the next Tremonti and Alter Bridge studio albums, and his latest obsession!
Robert Cavuoto: This album is a nice gesture to your fans during these difficult times. Was that the thought process behind putting it out?
Mark Tremonti: Yeah! We knew there was going to be a big gap to any musical exposure from us, so we put out the six live songs and the new song “Last Rites” to hold our fans and ourselves over. We are trying to keep everybody in tune with the music and stay in touch.
Robert Cavuoto: Was there was something special about these six live performances that made you select them?
Mark Tremonti: They were taken from the run of shows we did in the US late last year. We wanted to use the most current performances because when you’re first starting a tour, the songs are still being worked out. We gave our producer a couple of options for each song just to make sure there wasn’t a broken guitar string, someone out of tune, or Myles saying something silly in between the verses [laughing]. We let the producer pick the best versions.
Robert Cavuoto: Do you recall where the performances were from as I imagine your fans would like to know if they were taken from a show they attended?
Mark Tremonti: We haven’t even broached the subject, but that sounds like a good idea, so fans have some ownership in being there.
Robert Cavuoto: When I saw Alter Bridge play in New York City in September 2019, you performed “Wouldn’t You Rather” and “Pay No Mind,” so it was great to hear live versions of other songs from the Walk the Sky album.
Mark Tremonti: These were all the songs that were playing regularly.
Robert Cavuoto: Are you a fan of live recordings?
Mark Tremonti: I’m a fan of live recordings when it comes to me getting into guitar stuff. I feel that when you capture a guitarist doing his thing live, it’s very special.
Robert Cavuoto: Do you enjoy creating and filming live DVDs?
Mark Tremonti: I’ve always liked live videos when I was young. As far as us putting out a video while on tour; I start stressing about catching the tour’s essence in one night. Even two weeks leading up to the show, I tend to have a little anxiety about it. It’s always good when it’s over [laughing]
Robert Cavuoto: Was “Last Rites” a leftover song from Walk the Sky, or was it newly created?
Mark Tremonti: It’s mostly brand new; like most Alter Bridge songs, there are parts of songs that sit around in a holding pattern until they materialize into a song. When it comes time to record an album, we take those parts and piece them together as best we can.
Robert Cavuoto: Does the band talk about the vision of each upcoming album?
Mark Tremonti: It depends on the album. Usually, Myles and I will write as much as we can using our favorite ideas. I’ll tell him I have a riff for a verse and ask if he has any ideas for a bridge or chorus. On Walk the Sky, we knew we had a very limited time in the studio, so we had to create demos, which were completely fleshed out. When we got to together, the album was half Myles songs and half my songs. The band puts their spin on all the songs in pre-production, which makes them sound like Alter Bridge.
Robert Cavuoto: Have you used this lockdown time to work on the next Alter Bridge studio album?
Mark Tremonti: I’ve been writing for my next solo album. My producer lives here in Orlando, Florida, and Myles has been here the last two months recording his solo album. He just finished tracking it a day or two ago, so I’m next on deck to go into the studio for mine in November/December. Once that’s done, Myles and I will start to work on writing the next Alter Bridge album while touring for our solo projects. That’s when we start compiling ideas for the next Alter Bridge album.
Robert Cavuoto: How far along are the songs for the next Tremonti album?
Mark Tremonti: I’m pretty very far along; I would say I’m 14 songs deep. I would get to about 20 songs before deciding which ones will make the final cut. It’s not a question of which songs are good or bad; it’s which work and have a good dynamic range.
Robert Cavuoto: You put Cauterize and Dust out under a year apart, are you thinking of doing something similar with all these songs you’ve written?
Mark Tremonti: I talked with my manager about the release, and he has some clever ideas for it. Nothing is finalized, so that we will see. I told him that I want to record as many songs as possible so I can take my time with them all. You can never have enough songs recorded as they can always be used for a future release.
Robert Cavuoto: I always felt Tremonti was a little heavier than Alter Bridge. Are continuing in that heavier vein for Tremonti?
Mark Tremonti: Yeah, it has heavier elements, and it definitely has some of the moody, atmospheric stuff like Alter Bridge. The Tremonti band’s rhythm section stands apart from Alter Bridge, and any type of speed metal that I bring into Tremonti might not necessarily fit into Alter Bridge. Our vocal couldn’t be any more different. Myles is a seasoned tenor, and I’m almost a baritone. That’s the big difference in how the two bands sound different.
Robert Cavuoto: Songs are written in different ways and for different purposes based on your frame of mind. Do you do find yourself creating something adequate one day, then suddenly creating something very special the next?
Mark Tremonti: Yeah, you never know what you are going to get on a given day. I have a general rule; if I’m flowing well, I don’t care if it’s 6:00 am, I’m going to keep going. I’ll go until I’m no longer inspired. Sometimes you can go for five days without coming up with anything or being inspired. Other times you can be on fire and do five days of work in a few hours. You never know what you are going to get.
Robert Cavuoto: Did you take up any new hobbies during the COVID lockdown.
Mark Tremonti: Right now, I’m obsessed with Frank Sinatra. I’m taking vocal lessons to sing in his style. Singing like that has helped me be a better singer. It’s a good exercise and great to have a passion for something which spills over to what you do. I kept busy during the lockdown; I painted my entire house, wrote an album, and played a lot of guitar. The kids are back in soccer every day of the week, so that’s keeping me busy too.