Band of the Month – Tremonti

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Band of the Month – Tremonti (continued…)

Tremonti is an American rock band founded and fronted by talented lead vocalist and guitarist Mark Tremonti. Mark is best known as the guitarist for Creed and Alter Bridge. In addition Tremonti consists of rhythm guitarist Eric Friedman, drummer Garrett Whitlock and bassist Wolfgang Van Halen. Originally the band started out as Mark’s solo project which evolved into a fully fledged band after the release of the band’s first album titled “All I Was” on the 17th of July 2012. Mark played bass and lead guitar on the band’s debut album as well as fulfilling his duties as the lead vocalist. Mark’s band mate in Creed and Alter Bridge Brian Marshall was the touring bass guitarist for the band until his departure later that year. Brian was replaced by Van Halen bassist Wolfgang Van Halen.

Towards the end of Creed’s career in the early 2000s, Tremonti wanted to form a speed metal side project called Downshifter which would have included Hatebreed vocalist Jamey Jasta and Slipknot drummer Joey Jordison, but the project never came to fruition. Later in 2008, Mark and his brother Dan Tremonti formed FRET12 , an online musicians’ community, production company, record label and artist management company to release his 2008 instructional guitar documentary DVD titled Mark Tremonti: The Sound & the Story, where he teaches warm-ups, alternate tuning, finger picking style, legato techniques, and other advanced exercises. It marked the first in a series of  The Sound & The Story instructional DVDs which includes DVDs by Leslie West and Troy Stetina.

Mark started showing interest in releasing a solo album , because he writes a lot and he felt there was potential in songs he had written that didn’t suit Alter Bridge or Creed’s genre/material. Former Submersed members Eric Friedman and Garrett Whitlock formed part of the band. Mark described the music as melody driven and in an interview he described the album as being a heavier-sounding thrash metal album.

On the 20th of January 2012, Tremonti launched a website where fans can visit to find out about the latest news, previews, live streams and giveaways. A list of song titles and the title of the band’s debut album “All I Was” was announced on the website. The release date for the album was set for July 2012 on FRET12 Records under the management of Dan Tremonti & Tim Tournier. The first single from the album “You Waste Your Time” was made available on the 6th of May 2012, one day before its release on Loudwire.com.

One day after its release, the song reached number 10 on the iTunes Rock Songs chart and the live video for the song premiered on the 17th of May 2012 on Noisecreep. The official release date for the album was announced on Ultimate Guitar Archive as the 17th of July 2012. Produced by Michael “Elvis” Baskette, the album shows prominent thrash metal influences. This album marks the debut of Mark Tremonti as a lead vocalist.

Tremonti originally consisted of Eric Friedman, Garrett Whitlock and Brian Marshall playing bass guitar as a session/touring member. The band’s first concert took place at The Social in Orlando, Florida, on July 17, 2012. Wolfgang Van Halen replaced Brian Marshall as a touring bassist in September 2012 and was named as an official member of the band in March 2013. A previously unreleased B-side “All That I Got” became available as a single on the 16th of April 2013.

In 2014 Tremonti began recording their second album with Wolfgang Van Halen playing bass. Another B-side called “Gone” was released as a single on the 16th of September 2014. On the 3rd of March 2015, the band released a sample of their song “Radical Change” and revealed the album title “Cauterize” along with the song listing for the band’s sophomore effort. On the 17th of March 2015 Tremonti released another song preview for the track “Flying Monkeys” and gave a concrete release date of the 9th of June 2015 for Cauterize. On the 20th of March 2015 Tremonti unveiled on Twitter that the first single would be titled “Another Heart” and that it would be released on the 24 March 2015. On the 23rd of March 2015, the single “Another Heart” was available for streaming via FRET12. The artwork for Cauterize was revealed on the 27th of May 2015, additionally it was announced that it will be the first of two albums that were recorded together to be released. The second single “Flying Monkeys” released in the US on the 15th of May 2015 and is available for digital download via iTunes.

After listening to Cauterize I was struck by Mark Tremonti’s vocal performance on the latest record in comparison to its predecessor. Cauterize engages all of your senses and doesn’t let up until the end. By listening to Cauterize you witness the development of the band as a unit. I love the philosophical lyrical content of “Providence” and Mark’s vocals shine on the song combined with some beautiful riffs.

I like the heavier, yet melodic style that the band has adopted, it attracts new fans without alienating existing fans especially since the genre of music the band play is so far removed from Mark’s other projects. I can imagine it takes a lot of investment and guts to start a third band from scratch, especially when your schedule is already planned years in advance. Tremonti is unique, because of the fact that the band consists of established musicians who really don’t have anything to prove and is making music purely for the love and passion that the band members possess for their craft.

You can follow Mark Tremonti on Twitter: https://twitter.com/MarkTremonti

You can follow Eric Friedman on Twitter: https://twitter.com/IIEROCKII

Follow Garrett Whitlock on Twitter: https://twitter.com/GWDrums

Follow Wolfgang van Halen on Twitter: https://twitter.com/WolfVanHalen

Follow Tremonti Project on Twitter: https://twitter.com/TREMONTIproject

Rock Regards,

Lauren K

Credits to Letarte Photography Source: https://www.facebook.com/letartephotographync?fref=photo

Credits to Letarte Photography 
Source:
https://www.facebook.com/letartephotographync?fref=photo 

Credits to the photographer/owner Source: https://www.facebook.com/TremontiProject?fref=ts

Credits to the photographer/owner
Source: https://www.facebook.com/TremontiProject?fref=ts

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Band of the Month – The Tremonti Project

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Since 2010 Mark has expressed his interest in releasing a solo album, since he has written many songs that does not fit the style of either Alter Bridge or Creed. He decided to the album within a three-month window where Myles Kennedy was touring with Slash and Scott Stapp was touring as well. He describe the album as melody-driven with elements of thrash and speed metal thrown in. Essentially Mark was going to back to  his roots, he was always interested in exploring metal music a little deeper, but never had the avenue to do so. He grew up on the likes of Pantera and Metallica. Although Mark was always interested in metal music, he was adamant to incorporate a strong melody in the songs. His sense of melody has improved through the years during his work with Creed and later Alter Bridge. I’m a strong believer in incorporating melody and structure to a song, it doesn’t matter how heavy the music is as long as a recognisable melody is present, I will probably like it.

On the 6th of April 2011, Alter Bridge announced that tracking of Mark’s debut album has begun. On the 20th of January 2012 Tremonti and FRET12 launched “The Tremonti Project”, a website where fans could go to find out more about the band, receive news and stay updated on the progress of the album. The song list, band members and title of the album were officially announced on the website. On the 20th of March 2012 the album artwork was revealed and the album was to be distributed by EMI. “You Waste Your Time” was announced as the first single to come off the album and the song was made available for listening on the 6th of May on Loudwire.com. A live music video for the song was released on the 17th of May 2012. The album’s release date was on the 17th of July 2012.

I will admit when I first heard that Mark will assume both the vocal and guitar duties, I was sceptical. I didn’t know what to expect and I wasn’t sure how strong Mark’s voice would be. Through my first listen to All I Was , I was overwhelmed. Keep in mind I hadn’t had much exposure to trash or speed metal. I was overwhelmed by the instruments at first, it was a lot for me to absorb. The more I listened to the album, the more the melodies and layers of instruments began to take shape. Mark’s voice has grown on me since the first few times that I listened to the album. He has a low register, but his voice can sound more tender when he sings higher notes. Garrett Whitlock did a stellar job on the drums, the drums play a huge part on the album and sets the ebb and flow for the songs. Eric Friedman is a fantastic guitarist and his style complements Mark’s in every way. Eric delivered impressive backing vocals as usual. The album is a technical masterpiece that only seasoned musicians could pull off. My favourite song off the album is “You Waste Your Time”, because of the fast guitars and heavy drums, it makes me want to headbang wherever I am. Last but not least the listener is treated to many guitar solos that once again demonstrates Mark’s amazing talent. His songwriting ability is remarkable to say the least and he manages to connect to the listener on another level through his songs.

You can follow Mark Tremonti on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/MarkTremonti

You can follow Eric Friedman on Twitter: https://twitter.com/IIEROCKII

You can follow Garrett Whitlock on Twitter: https://twitter.com/GWDrums

You can follow the band here: https://twitter.com/tremontiproject

Rock Regards,

Lauren K

Guitarist of the Week – Mark Tremonti (Part 1)

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Mark Tremonti has played a huge part in the rock music industry as we know it and his contribution just keeps getting more clear by the day. He has had a hand in creating some of my favourite songs and albums in the past few years. He has astounding skills upon which he has improved and built upon year by year. Only a true musician works hard at his craft and relentlessly pursues perfection.

Mark Thomas Tremonti was born on the 18th of April 1974 in Detroit, Michigan to Italian-American parents Michael and Mary. He grew up in a Roman Catholic family in Grosse Pointe before he moved to Wilmette, Illinois.  He has two brothers called Michael II and Daniel. At around the age of 11 Mark was exposed to bands like Kiss and Metallica by his brothers. Mark bought his first guitar around about the Christmas of 1985.

Mark signed up for guitar lessons, but quit after the first lesson, because they insisted on teaching him Mary Had A Little Lamb, when all he wanted to learn to play was Master of Puppets. Mark then decided to teach himself by reading from tab books and learning to play his favourite songs by ear until he got them right. Mark attended his first concert which was headlined by Iron Maiden and he vowed to become a lead guitarist of a band, someday.

After his freshman year in High School Mark’s life was uprooted once again when his family decided to move to Orlando, Florida. His friends in Detroit shared his love for bands like Metallica and Anthrax. Whereas his peers in Lake Highland Prepatory   Orlando had a preference for pop acts like Milli Vanilli and associated acts. Around this time Mark’s mother was sadly diagnosed with Lupus. Mark started to adopt the gothic trend, he wore Megadeath shirts underneath his white school shirts and secretly smoked cigarettes underneath his car.

Mark started to feel like a misfit in school and with his brothers away at college, Mark decided to find solace in his guitar. As expected Mark’s despair and sadness manifested itself in his music. Music became an outlet for Mark’s feelings and Alter Bridge’s song “Shed My Skin” is a reflection of this time. Mark formed his first rock band in High School called Wit’s End. Wit’s End played  Motley Crüe and other metal covers. Mark became acquainted with classmate Scott Stapp even though they weren’t in the same group of friends.

After High School Mark decided to go to College to study Finance, he attended Clemson University in South Carolina for a year. He rented instructional videos which increased his playing skills immensely. For financial reasons he transferred to Florida State University where he reunited with high school classmate Scott Stapp. Mark had a job at the time as the cook at Chilli’s restaurant. He even wore his Chilli’s shirt to an early Creed photo shoot. Mark improved his guitar skills and even performed at open mic nights. Scott and Mark decided to form a band after a long discussion, they then started auditioning musicians to complete the band. Scott Stapp and Mark Tremonti auditioned a drummer and the drummer’s friend got behind the drums and started playing Living Colour with Mark. Mark and Scott immediately knew they had their man. That man was Scott Phillips. With the addition of Brian Marshall on bass the band was complete. The band gained an extra member in 1995 called Brian Brasher, but he left before the band became famous.

The band struggled to come up with a suitable name, so one day Mark came up with a name taken from a humorous newspaper clipping that he carried around in his wallet, so the band was named Naked Toddler. The name was not well received and the band soon decided to change it. Brian had previously been in a band called Maddox Creed and they decided to use a variation of the name. Scott suggested that the band be called Creed. A creed represents a promise or a belief. Scott Stapp’s ancestors were Creek Indians so the name seemed to be the perfect fit.

Creed’s first recorded song was called “Grip My Soul”, but it was never released. The band performed at Floyd’s Music Store and Jeff Hanson the venue’s manager was most impressed by the two original songs that the band performed. He started his own management and promotion company to support the venture.

Creed’s debut album was recorded in pieces and Creed returned to the studio when they had saved enough money to record. Jeff got the local radio station 101.5 to play the title track of their debut album called “My Own Prison“. The song prompted an instant reaction from listeners and the radio station was overwhelmed by calls from people wanting to know what this new song was.

My Own Prison was released on their own independent music label, Blue Collar Records. The artwork was designed by Mark’s brother Dan an arrangement that has continued for every Creed and Alter Bridge cover to date. Only 6000 copies were printed. They sold their CDs at their shows while they were on tour and managed to sell 5, 000 copies in just 6 weeks. Creed knew they would need the backing of a major label if they wanted to make it big, so they auditioned for many record labels without success. A new record label called Wind-Up Records showed interest and asked if Creed would sign up as their first act. My Own Prison was re-released by Wind-Up in 1997.

Creed continued and their fan base continued to grow as a result. The fans started requesting Creed on their local radio stations. The band drew increasing attention and went from selling 3,000 albums per week to 25, 000 albums per week. My Own Prison was a huge success making Creed the first rock band in history to have four number-one singles off of their debut album. The album has sold 6 million copies in the US alone as recorded up until March of 2011. Mark was honored by Guitarist Magazine as Guitarist of the Year for 3 consecutive years.

Around this time Paul Reed Smith approached Mark and offered him a signature guitar model. PRS crafted its first single-cutaway model, moving the pickup toggle to the top, and sent it to Mark. With the PRS Tremonti Signature guitar Mark became the second guitarist(after Carlos Santana) to have a PRS signature model. PRS produced a limited run of 100 and each was signed by Mark.

Creed released their second album Human Clay to immediate success, Human Clay sold 11 million copies. Human Clay was one of only 100 albums ever to be certified diamond status by the RIAA. The first single off of the album “Higher” spent a record-breaking 17 weeks at number 1 on the mainstream rock charts. In 2000 Brian Marshall left the band due to tensions within the band. The band never replaced Brian instead opting to hire a touring bassist which was Brett Hestla of Virgos Merlot.

In 2001 Creed accepted the Grammy award for the Best Rock Song for”With Arms Wide Open“. At this point in Creed’s career the band had sold 13 million albums in 5 years and had charted seven consecutive #1 singles. In early 2001 guitar pedal maker Mortley worked with Mark to design and make a signature wah pedal called the Mark Tremonti Power Wah.

Creed released their third album in 2001 called “Weathered”. The album debuted at number 1 on the Billboard 200 and it stayed there for the next 8 weeks. Mark was again approached by Paul Reed Smith to develop an entry-level signature guitar. Mark’s world was turned upside down with his mother’s tragic passing in 2002. Creed started to experience some problems as relentless touring,  disagreements and Scott Stapp’s demons begun to take their toll on the band. Despite all the negative tension the band was experiencing the silver lining of 2002 was when Mark Tremonti married his girlfriend Victoria Rodriguez on December 14.

When the time came for Mark and Scott to sit down to write the fourth Creed album, they were constantly fighting and found that they were going nowhere creatively. Creed announced their break-up in 2004, Wind-Up then went against the band’s wishes and released Creed’s Greatest Hits album in November 2004.

Mark spent the majority of 2003 and 2004 at home honing his technical skills practicing for up to 8 hours a day. He attended classes to learn how to use Pro Tools and he took singing lessons as well. He recorded some demos at home without knowing what would become of them. Mark and Scott Phillips decided that they would like to form a new band. Mark wanted to refocus on his personal goals that he set for himself and go about achieving them with Scott Phillips who shared the same desire.

Due to the impression Mark Tremonti has made on the rock music industry this feature will be split into two parts. Readers can look forward to more insight into the guitar legend’s life next week.

You can follow Mark on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/MarkTremonti

Rock Regards,

Lauren K

Guitarist of the Week – Eric Friedman

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Eric Friedman photographed by Shutter Disgrace Photography

Eric Friedman photographed by Shutter Disgrace Photography

Eric Charles Friedman was born on the 28th of June 1984 in Yorba Linda, California, United States. Eric is also referred to as Erock and he is best known as the current rhythm guitarist and backing vocalist for Creed.

Eric’s career more or less started when he was just a teen at the Galaxy Theatre (Santa Ana, Ca) in 1996 when his teenage guitar hero Kenny Wayne Shepherd (who is married to Mel Gibson‘s eldest daughter) pulled him onstage for a jam session during his set. Shortly after he began playing in his own blues band called The Eric Friedman Band. Eric was endorsed by Fender at the tender age of 13! Eric Friedman was the youngest guitarist at the time to be fully endorsed by Fender.

Eric had the opportunity to open up for bands like Buddy Guy, Jimmie Vaughn and Jonny Lang. He had a developmental deal with Steve Vai’s label Favored Nations at the age of 15.

In the year 2000 at the age of 16 Eric started a band called Blacsun that had demos produced by Brett Hestla (Virgos, Dark New Day, Replaced Brian Marshall as touring bassist for Creed). That same year Eric became the lead guitarist for the band Submersed. Their debut album was called In Due Time and their second album was titled Immortal Verses which was released on the 18th of September 2007. Eric didn’t resume his role as the lead guitarist for their second album, but he did have songwriting credits. Submersed disbanded in 2008. Eric was the lead guitarist for Daughters of Mara which was founded in 2001, their self-titled album was produced by Garth Richardson (Mudvayne, Rage Against the Machine). The group disbanded in 2008.

Eric Friedman grew up listening to Creed’s music in particular My Own Prison (one of my faves too!). His first introduction to Mark Tremonti was at a NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) show. The NAMM Show is one of the largest music product trade shows in the world, founded in 1901. Eric’s manager at that time introduced him to Mark Tremonti. They subsequently jammed at one of the Rivera amp booths and although they had very different styles of playing, they realised that they both complemented one another. Eric Friedman is heavily influenced by blues and Mark Tremonti is heavily influenced by metal music. That is how Eric became the rhythm guitarist and backing vocalist on Creed’s 2009 Reunion tour. I was first introduced to Eric Friedman on Creed’s record-breaking 2009 “Creed Live” DVD where he appears as a touring member. Mark recounts the manner in which he was introduced to Eric on Behind the Scenes footage on the DVD. Eric has appeared in interviews, promotional videos and photos of Creed recently which has led to rumours that Eric might officially be joining the band. The band admits that it has been discussed, but nothing has been confirmed as of yet. Friedman joined Creed in 2012 on their 2 Nights tour.

Eric is currently also the lead guitarist and songwriter for the band Hemme. He is featured on Tremonti’s debut solo album All I Was playing guitar, bass and singing background vocals. In 2012 Eric became a member of the supergroup Projected alongside Sevendust’s John Conolly, Vinnie Hornsby and Creed/Alter Bridge drummer Scott Phillips. Their debut album called “Human” was released on the 18th of September 2012. They plan to do a tour in support of the album, but with the band members being involved in various projects its going to be a challenge to arrange it.

From the few glimpses I have seen of Eric these past few years I have come to the conclusion that he is a genuinely sweet, easygoing guy who loves to play Disc Golf, ride motocycles and spending time with family and friends. It is apparent that he has a deep appreciation for music, therefore he has remained humble even though he has accomplished much in his early career. Eric is currently in a relationship with Sara Lawrence who is expecting a baby girl. Sara has more or less 9 more weeks before she delivers.

I wish them the best of luck for the future and I’m sure Eric will make a fantastic father!

You can follow Eric Friedman on Twitter: https://twitter.com/IIEROCKII

You can follow Eric Friedman on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/EricCFriedman

Rock Regards,

Lauren K

eric friedman 1

Eric Friedman of Creed by AlfieLipa, on Flickr
Source: http://www.pinoyphotography.org/forum/index.php?topic=106039.0

In This Photo: Eric FriedmanGuitarist Eric Friedman of Creed performs at the Wiltern Theatre on May 15, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (May 14, 2012 - Source: Kevin Winter/Getty Images North America)

In This Photo: Eric Friedman
Guitarist Eric Friedman of Creed performs at the Wiltern Theatre on May 15, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (May 14, 2012 – Source: Kevin Winter/Getty Images North America)

Mark Tremonti – All I Was

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Image

Photo from Mark Tremonti’s Official Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/#!/MarkTremonti

“Since his early years with Creed, Tremonti has become widely recognized for his technical and songwriting abilities and has received several accolades, including one Grammy Award for Creed’s single “With Arms Wide Open.”He was also named “Guitarist of the Year” for three consecutive years by Guitar World magazine,and in 2011 he was listed as the fourth greatest heavy metal guitarist of all time by Total Guitar.” Insert from Wikipedia.org

Mark Tremonti’s Debut Album and single.

So I finally got to watch the video for ‘You Waste Your Time’ today ,even though it made its debut on the 17th May 2012, I couldn’t view it. I assume it wasn’t available for viewing in South Africa yet.

Here is the link to the video: http://96xrocks.com/alter-bridges-mark-tremonti-debuts-new-video-for-you-waste-your-time-video/

I didn’t really know what to expect from the lead guitarist of Creed and Alter Bridge, since I haven’t really heard his voice before except backing vocals here and there. I was pleasantly surprised by Mark’s voice and the song, I like it a lot!

You can preview three of the songs off of Mark Tremonti’s debut album ‘All I Was’ here: http://www.tremontiproject.com/

Mark Tremonti is joined on his debut album by his solo band consisting of Eric Friedman, Garrett Whitlock and Creed & Alter Bridge bassist Brian Marshall.

For more information on Mark Tremonti’s solo album follow the link for complete track listing and more:

http://www.marktremonti.net/soloproject.php

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Official Cover Art for ‘All I Was’.

Mark Tremonti’s skills on guitar is impressive to say the very least and you will never cease to be amazed by his talent.

Rock Regards,

Lauren K