Guitarist of the Week – Mark Tremonti (Part 2)

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Continued from Part 1…

After Mark and Scott decided to call Brian Marshall to ask him if he would like to join them in their new endeavor. Brian accepted their offer and he decided to quit his band at the time called Head Heavy. They began auditioning singers for the  band asking potential vocalists to sing over demo tapes. Myles Kennedy auditioned and the band remembered him fronting The Mayfield Four as the opening act for Creed in the 1990s. They instinctively knew that Myles had the vocal range and tone that they were looking for. They flew him down and they got along so well that they asked him to join the band.

After juggling many different band names they finally settled on Alter Bridge named after a long-standing bridge near Tremonti’s childhood home in Detroit, just off of Alter Road. Parents forbade their children to cross the bridge as it led to the bad side of town. All of the band members were very excited to be on the verge of a new chapter in their lives.

While Mark Tremonti was between bands he got involved with Submersed a new band on Wind-Up’s label. Mark introduced Eric Friedman to the band who was impressed by his impressive guitar playing. Eric was then added as the band’s lead guitar player. Mark produced Submersed debut album “In Due Time”. The band opened for Alter Bridge’s US tour in 2004 & 2005. Eric ultimately left the band and the band was dropped from Wind-Up’s roster in 2008 and the band later broke up.

Alter Bridge entered the studio in 2004 to record their first album. The band turned in their first single and the producers edited the guitar solo out, the reason being that radio stations won’t play songs that have long guitar solos in it. Mark didn’t want to compromise and refused to surrender to their demands. Mark’s role in the band changed slightly from Creed’s setup. Mark contributed to many of the lyrics as well as more prominent backing vocals. “In Loving Memory” was a tribute to Mark’s deceased mother and “Shed My Skin” refers to the isolation Mark felt as a child when his family moved to Florida.

Alter Bridge’s debut album “One Day Remains” was released in August 2004. Their first single “Open Your Eyes” reached #2 on the mainstream rock chart. Alter Bridge began to build a fan base in the US as well as in Europe. Mark brought his brother Michael on as the band’s press and fan liaison as the band was about to embark on their tour. Alter Bridge mostly played small clubs and started earning acclaim for their live performances.

In 2005 “One Day Remains” has already sold 500 000 copies and reached Gold status. In 2005 Mark became a father to his first son Austen on the 24th of May. In 2006 Wind-Up was not providing adequate support due to its lack of mainstream success. Wind-Up wanted its much more profitable band Creed to reunite. Mark and Scott Phillips engaged in a multimillion buyout to release Alter Bridge from their recording contract. Alter Bridge funded the recording of their second album “Blackbird”.

Alter Bridge toured European Summer Festivals to keep going and when they returned to the States they tried to get signed by many record labels. They eventually signed with Universal Music who was happy to let the band keep up their creative independence. Mark became a father for the second time on the 19th of November 2006. The band completed Blackbird and their second album was released in October 2007. Blackbird was the first album where Mark incorporated a second guitarist whereas Myles contributed a lot of the songwriting, guitar layering and half of the title track’s guitar solo. The album achieved moderate success with the lead single “Rise Today” reaching number 2 on the mainstream rock chart. Alter Bridge continued to tour small clubs in the US, but they most notably gained more attention in Europe more specifically in the UK, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain. Alter Bridge often returned to Europe where they were able to play larger venues to fund the band financially, making them able to tour the US’s smaller venues as well. Danish pedal maker T-Rex Engineering offered Mark a signature phraser pedal in 2008.

In 2008 Mark decided to release an instructional DVD – “Mark Tremonti – The Sound and the Story”. The DVD has technique practice routines, songwriting tips, a documentary and guest lessons offered by some of Mark’s guitarist friends. Mark has always been a fan of instructional dvds and Mark’s brother Dan released the dvd from a guitar venture he launched called Fret12. Dan owns a media marketing company called Core12.

Alter Bridge decided to record a live dvd in 2008, they originally planned to film it at the Brixton Academy in London, but logistical issues forced them to move the shooting to the Heineken Music Hall in Amsterdam. The venue can hold about 6000 people. The band once again experienced label trouble and the DVD was delayed multiple times due to Universal’s lawyers. The full dvd was not released until January 2011, two years after the concert was filmed. The concert-only version reached number 1 on Amazon.com’s music dvd charts.

Throughout Alter Bridge’s career the ex-band members including Mark sought to distance themselves from Creed. Creed was often ridiculed in the media and their hits were often parodied. Mark was often quoted as saying that a Creed reunion will never happen and after 5 years since the breakup it seemed like rumours of Creed’s reunion was a thing of the past.

Early in 2009 rumours started to surface that Creed will return and initially the band didn’t even know about the rumours. Scott Stapp‘s management got in touch with Alter Bridge’s management and arranged a meeting with Creed’s ex-bandmembers. Scott Stapp apologized for his behaviour that caused the downfall of the band, saying that the past 5 years have changed him. Mark and Scott both had families now and both have matured. They decided to put the past behind them and before long the band decided to practice some of their old songs together. The first song they practiced was “My Own Prison” and the moment they started playing together the bond that they had as a band was reestablished. They knew they had to set up a tour and they started planning a 2009 summer reunion tour.

With a tour coming up Creed decided to write an album to support the tour. The first song that they wrote was “Full Circle” which was a reflection of Creed’s rebirth. After they completed the album, the band embarked on their first tour in six years with Mark bringing along Eric Friedman to play rhythm guitar.

“Full Circle” was released in October 2009 on Wind-Up Records and although it was Creed’s least-successful selling album it still reached number 2 on the Billboard 200 beaten only by Michael Jackson’s “This Is It” album. Creed recorded their first live dvd in Houston, Texas. At the end of the show the band received a Guinness World Record for the most cameras (239) ever used in a live recording. The dvd was released in December 2009.

After Creed’s 2009 tour, Alter Bridge began to work on their third album, internally codenamed ABIII. The band was once again faced record label issues and decided to fund the recording for ABIII themselves. Alter Bridge eventually landed on Roadrunner Worldwide, everywhere except the US where the album was released on Alter Bridge Recordings via Capitol Records a subsidiary of EMI.

After calling it ABIII for so long the band decided to name their third album ABIII. The album was released in October 2010 in Europe and November 2011 in the US. The album received overwhelmingly positive reviews. The album’s material was affected by the band’s frustrations on the music industry and Myles’s struggle with faith. Their first single off of the third album “Isolation” slowly gained momentum on the charts until it reached Number 1 on Mediabase’s Active Rock chart, as well as Billboard’s Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, where it stayed for four weeks straight. In 2011 PRS refreshed the Tremonti SE guitar by providing new colours and incorporating bird inlays.

While on tour with Alter Bridge Mark solidified his intentions to make a solo album, with Eric Friedman joining the project as well as former Submersed drummer Garrett Whitlock. Mark’s solo album “All I Was” was released on the 17th of July 2012 by Fret12 Records. He decided to make a solo album, because he writes so much material and some of it is not suited for Alter Bridge or Creed. All I Was was produced by Michael “Elvis” Baskette and the album shows prominent speed metal influences.”Wish You Well” the third single released off of the solo album was written by Mark when he was only 13, he released a demo recording of the song which was recorded in 1987.

Mark is known to be a collector of pinball machines and he is a car enthusiast. When he is on tour he will make an effort to fly back for his son’s birthdays.

Mark is well on his way to cement his name into the list of history’s great guitarists. A true idol that any musician can look up to, he is a hard worker and passionate about music. I hope that he will create music in any shape or form for many years to come.

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

Sinner’s Creed: A Memoir

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As promised on our Facebook page The Rock Riff will now be reviewing Scott Stapp‘s uncensored Memoir.

I have looked forward to reading this book since I heard about it more or less a year before its release date. I had a few questions on my mind on Creed- and Scott Stapp’s history, I was eager to have those questions answered by reading this memoir.

Was/is Creed a Christian band?

Were the relationships within the band completely restored after their reunion in 2009?

Has Scott Stapp fully recovered from his addiction (s)?

Will Scott Stapp admit to his shortcomings in this book?

Did any violence occur when the police arrested Scott Stapp at his home in 2006?

Did Scott Stapp try to commit suicide?

All of my questions were about answered by the time I finished reading the book.

I will share a few highlights from the first part of the book and after that I will give my personal opinion on the book.

The book starts by recounting the incident at The Delano Hotel, Miami Beach on the 18th of November 2006 when Scott fell 20 feet and landed on his forehead. It is amazing that he survived that fall, even the doctors couldn’t believe it.

From an early age Scott was forced to be the man of the house after his biological father, a marine left his mom and two sisters behind. He took the responsibility upon himself to be the family’s protector/guardian.

Religion played an increasingly important role in Scott’s early childhood and later in his young adulthood. Scott’s grandfather was a descendant of Indian heritage and Scott loved spending time with his grandfather at the Cherokee reservation in North Carolina, where his grandfather owned land and a cabin. His grandfather had a different approach to Christianity, he saw God in nature and his surroundings.

At the age of nine Steve Stapp entered his life, Scott loved the man who promised to protect and look after his mother and sisters. Steve Stapp married Scott’s mother and legally adopted Scott. Anthony Scott Flippen was renamed Scott Alan Stapp. He perceived the adoption as a way to start over.

When Steve became an official member of the family, he became the head of the household and he made sure everyone knew it. Steve wanted Scott to improve his behaviour at school and to bring home nothing less than an A in every subject. Fear started to rule every aspect of Scott’s life, fear of disappointing God and his stepfather Steve.

Scott was introduced to rock music by a friend who brought over a record of Def Leppard. In the middle of listening to the song “Rock of Ages” Scott’s dad burst in his bedroom door, his dad told his friend to go home. Steve told Scott that Rock ‘n Roll was not music, it was an instrument of Satan. He forbid Scott to ever listen to any music where an electric guitar is played. Scott promised never to listen to rock music again, but that wasn’t enough, so Steve decided to give him a beating to make sure he stopped listening to rock music.

One Saturday Scott spent an evening at a friend’s house and was told to be home at 6 a.m. the following day so that he could go to church. Scott overslept and received a spanking in full view of his family. After this incident Steve Stapp introduced the children to The Timer. The Timer was set to 5 minutes, the time allotted for Scott to shower and brush his teeth, 6 minutes to get dressed, gather his books and to be seated at the kitchen table. If he wasn’t in his chair when The Timer went off he would receive a beating. After breakfast he had five minutes to wash, dry and put away the breakfast dishes and then two minutes to put on his coat and get to the car. If The Timer went off you would receive a beating with no exceptions.

Scott received beatings every Monday night for the sins he didn’t get caught committing. He wasn’t permitted to date or even go out to watch a movie, so he put all his energy into sports. After a terrible fight during which Steve hit Scott’s mother Scott decided to take his car and escape his household. He went to live with a friend for about two months, until his father started to lure him back home by exploiting his weaknesses. Scott received offers from the Naval Academy, Vanderbilt and the University of Pennsylvania. Steve led Scott to believe that the schools were not offering full scholarships and that he should attend a Christian school instead, which led Scott to attend Lee University.

When Scott arrived at Lee University he realised just how sheltered his life had been. He had never tasted beer, he had never seen/smoked marijuana and he had never kissed a girl before. Scott got expelled for smoking marijuana after he admitted to smoking it to the dean.

Scott decided to attend Tallahassee Community College and planned to transfer to FSU. He met up with Mark Tremonti and they decided to start a band together, a band that will eventually become Creed.

The years in which I listened to Creed as a teenager, I had heard through the media that Creed was a Christian band. I never understood that statement at all. In my mind a Christian band would sing their praise to God directly through their lyrics. Analysing Creed’s lyrics I interpret their songs as an ongoing struggle with faith, religion, being human and God.

It was unfortunate that they were branded with a Christian label. I find their music to be emotional and spiritual, it is an experience that cannot be replicated. As a listener Creed’s music allows for deeper introspection. It makes me realise how flawed we are and how we will always strive to be better than ourselves. If it wasn’t for the Christian label and being called “uncool”, I think Creed would have been taken more seriously by music critics and music fans alike. Creed delivers heavy melodic rock music and their lyrics have meaning. What more could a fan of rock music ask for?

I found the book really enlightening when it came to the events that shaped Scott Stapp as the man he is today and the events that shaped Creed.

If you are looking for a book that describes the details of all the debauchery that occurred during Creed’s career, you will have to look elsewhere. The book does not glorify any behaviour typically associated with rock stars.

This book taught me a lot about the music industry, people, fame and depression. In my opinion it is of the utmost importance that depression is mentioned throughout the book. It demonstrates the power of the illness and how it can continue to haunt you to the point where you implode/explode. It is a common belief that if someone is depressed they sulk and hide in their room/home until they feel better or receive medication. Depression rears its head from time to time if left untreated, it is the long-term lowering of enjoyment of life or the inability to visualize a happy future. The sufferer is forced to lead a normal life and to pretend to feel normal, even sometimes fooling themselves. Another description of depression is a period of unhappiness or low morale which lasts longer than several weeks and may include self-inflicted injury or suicide.

When Creed reunited in 2009, I found it really strange that it wasn’t being marketed through the social media sites, radio or news websites. Some people probably still don’t know that Creed has reunited. The reason for this is revealed in the book and it just demonstrated to me once more what people will do for money.

Any musician or band that is on the brink of being discovered or has had a taste of fame will do themselves a favour by reading this book. I know it’s not possible to avoid all the pitfalls that you will face during your career, but at least you can say that you entered it with eyes wide open.

Personally I think it was unfair that people/the media was judging Scott for being a Christian or a hypocrite. All Christians have sinned during their lifetime, its part of being human. To hold someone in the public eye to different standards than you do yourself is in itself hypocrisy.

I really admire Scott’s wife Jaclyn’s role in his life and that of her family. Her family seem like sophisticated, educated and loving people.

A great read if you’re interested in learning more about Scott Stapp, Creed or just interested in learning more about humanity.

You can follow Scott Stapp on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ScottStapp

You can follow Sinner’s Creed on Twitter: https://twitter.com/SINNERS_CREED

You can like Sinner’s Creed on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SinnersCreed

Rock Regards,

Lauren K

Source: http://www.zimbio.com/pictures/OOoypwpUg8Z/NASCAR+Sprint+All+Star+Race/MSYbbWRuWKa/Scott+Stapp(May 21, 2010 - Source: Jason Smith/Getty Images North America)

Source: http://www.zimbio.com/
(May 21, 2010 – Source: Jason Smith/Getty Images North America)

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)

Band of the Month/Year – Alter Bridge

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And so the countdown starts towards 2013 and the anticipation for Alter Bridge’s follow-up to 2010’s AB III begins. I for one absolutely cannot wait for it to be released. It might be strange to give the title Band of the Year to a band that hasn’t toured for the past year or so, but thats the beauty of this band. They don’t have to release new material or tour for more than a year and they still have the ability to touch people’s lives in some way. Mark, Scott and Brian has been busy touring with Scott Stapp as Creed this year, Myles has had a fantastic year touring with Slash and the Conspirators and Mark Tremonti has been occupied with his solo effort All I Was. All of the band members has had a successful year, so now its time to get back down to business guys!! Alter Bridge has personally been my favourite discovery this year, although I might be jumping on the bandwagon a little later on in their career I feel like I have been a fan for years.

Myles Kennedy and Alter Bridge has a few dedicated fan pages on Facebook that has been very active in publishing content surrounding Myles’s current endeavours and Alter Bridge’s official Twitter page has certainly not been inactive or dormant this past year. Its great when fans still feel they can connect with the band in some way even though they are busy doing different projects.

Here are a few fan pages you can check out if you’re a fan:

http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/The-Myles-Kennedy-Fan-Page/193843620723265?fref=ts

http://www.facebook.com/#!/TheKennedyEffect?fref=ts

http://www.facebook.com/#!/alterbridge?fref=ts (Official)

https://twitter.com/alterbridge (Official)

http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Alter-Bridge-III/235680409963?fref=ts

http://www.facebook.com/#!/AlterBridgeSA?fref=ts

Alter Bridge is an American rock band that was formed in 2004 in Orlando, Florida. The group was named by Mark Tremonti after an actual bridge located in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, near his former home on Alter Road. Alter Bridge’s first album was met with mixed reviews and achieved gold status with One Day Remains which was released by Wind-Up Records in August 2004. After the band’s first tour they left Wind-Up Records in 2006 and signed with Universal Republic Records releasing their second album Blackbird in October 2007 which was met with positive reviews by critics. The band toured for the next two years and reconvened in 2010 to work on their third studio album. AB III was released in October 2010 through Roadrunner Records and the album was a critical success. In January 2011 Alter Bridge’s first live album and concert film was released “Live from Amsterdam” after two years of delays. Their second concert film “Live at Wembley” was released on the 26th of March 2012.

The band has had relatively low mainstream success (which isn’t always a bad thing, as we all know), but their music has been critically successful which proves that Alter Bridge consists of true artists and musicians in every sense of the word. In 2009 Ultimate Guitar Archive name Alter Bridge the 36th greatest band of the decade.

Afer Creed became inactive in 2003 following a controversial tour, that same year Mark started writing new material with plans to form a new band with Brian Marshall and Scott Phillips, being fans of Myles Kennedy‘s former band The Mayfield Four they invited Myles to join their band. The music of One Day Remains as well as most of the lyrics on the album was written by Mark Tremonti, although Myles also co-wrote the lyrics for about half the songs. A few songs from One Day Remains established an affiliation with WWE, most notably “Metalingus” which Edge adopted as his entrance theme in 2004 and used it as such until his retirement in 2011. Its ironic how I always loved that song and I always wondered who the artist was that performed it.

Alter Bridge experienced a bump in the road when their relationship with Wind-Up Records started to deteriorate. Alter Bridge still experienced some difficulty after parting ways with Wind-Up records which consisted of criticism for disbanding Creed, pressure to reform Creed and false reports of a Creed reunion. I can imagine this time in their career as being quite tough on the band and I think it was extremely unfair to blame Alter Bridge for Creed’s problems, but I suppose it was inevitable. Creed and Alter Bridge are two seperate bands and I think fans as well as the media should respect that.

Blackbird was released in 2007 and it has been dubbed by fans of the band as their best and heaviest album to date. In October 2010 “Ties That Bind” was listed by Total Guitar as the 41st Greatest Guitar Song of the Decade. Ties That Bind is definitely one of my favourite songs, its very energetic and the lyrics are powerful. In March 2011 the dual guitar solo performed by Myles Kennedy and Mark Tremonti on the song “Blackbird” was voted the Greatest Guitar Solo Of All Time by MusicRadar‘s readers, which is an AMAZING achievement considering the amount of talent featured in the top 20 that readers could vote for. Read more about Myles and Mark’s reaction to the news here: http://www.musicradar.com/guitarist/greatest-guitar-solo-poll-winners-alter-bridge-speak-403308

A single disc version of “Live from Amsterdam” was sold exclusively at venues during Creed’s reunion tour in 2009 and on Amazon.com. The dvd sold thousands and thousands of copies in comparison to the projected hundreds that Amazon expected to sell. The dvd reached No.1 on Amazon’s “Bestsellers in Music Videos & Concerts” and remained there for weeks.

On September 6th 2010 Roadrunner Records debuted Alter Bridge’s first single “Isolation” on their website, the song became the band’s most successful song reaching number 1 on active rock radio and on the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, a first for Alter Bridge. AB III was met with overwhelming critical acclaim from professional reviewers upon its release. MusicRadar called it one of the guitar albums of the year and Artistdirect gave AB III a perfect score and called it a masterpiece.

Alter Bridge’s music is a spiritual experience and it touches your soul. Alter Bridge’s music is heavy yet melodic, because Myles has such a soaring voice it creates a great contrast with the heavy guitars and bass. Alter Bridge has a unique formula which you don’t come across often. As a listener Alter Bridge’s music soothes and renews your faith in music. I’m so happy I followed my instinct when I bought AB III earlier this year, because its very unusual for me to purchase an album without listening to a few samples on the album. I take the task of purchasing music very seriously and I don’t make the decision lightly.

I can’t wait to hear what Alter Bridge has in store for fans in the new year and I hope to hear a lot more from them in the future.

Rock Regards,

Lauren K

Frontman of the week – Scott Stapp

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Scott Stapp

Scott Stapp on his Creed Live Concert DVD (2009) obtained from http://www.flickr.com/photos/33232551@N03/4213199681/

Scott Stapp is a man I really look up to and respect, he has played a great part in my love for rock music. When I was about 12/13 years of age I definitely wasn’t into rock music, but fell in love with songs like Higher and Arms Wide Open. So I’m delighted to share a bit more with you about this amazing singer.

Scott Stapp was born as Anthony Scott Flippen on August 8, 1973 to his mother and his biological father about whom little is known. He was adopted by Steven Stapp who married his mother and he decided to take his stepfathers last name. He changed his name and is now known as Scott Alan Stapp. Scott grew up in a strict religious household and in a desperate attempt to seek freedom from his strict religious stepfather he fled to a friend’s house where he stayed for a month and later returned home. Scott initially attended  Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee, but got expelled for smoking marijuana.

Scott met Mark Tremonti at Lake Highland Prepatory School where they became acquaintances, they later reunited at the Florida State University where they developed a friendship through their mutual passion for music. Stapp formed Creed in 1995 with fellow band members Mark Tremonti, Brian Marshall and Scott Phillips. Creed’s original name was actually Naked Toddler.

Creed released their debut album in 1997 called My Own Prison. Four singles were released from the album namely: My Own Prison, Torn, What’s This Life For and One.

“Each of these songs reached No. 1 on Billboards Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, becoming the first band to do so with a debut album.The album was then followed in 1999 by Human Clay, which was an immediate success and certified diamond and eleven times platinum by the RIAA.” Quote obtained from Wikipedia

During this time tension between Scott Stapp and Brian Marshall escalated to such a degree that Brian left the band to pursue other interests and was replaced by touring bassist Brett Hestla, while Mark Tremonti handled the bass parts in the studio. After a tour the band released another multi-platinum selling album, Weathered in 2001 accompanied by another successful tour. Up until a controversial concert in Chicago where fans claimed that Scott Stapp was intoxicated and unable to sing the lyrics of any Creed song. Scott left the stage on several occassions during songs for long periods of time. Some concertgoers filed a class-action lawsuit against the band, the suit further alleged that Stapp’s bandmembers, managers and concert promoters knew that Scott Stapp was in no condition to perform, but let the show go on anyway and they were named as codefendants.

The band disbanded in 2004 and released their Greatest Hits in November 2004.

I always wondered what happened to Creed and if they would ever return to the rock music scene. Even though I never knew if they would return one thing was for sure, that I would always have those songs that were so popular in my youth and the memories attached to them. The music video for My Sacrifice was something I will never forget and in my opnion its still one of the greatest music videos I have ever seen.

After Creed announced their breakup recorded the song ” Relearn Love” for The Passion of the Christ: Songs a collection of songs inspired by Mel Gibson’s 2004 film The Passion of the Christ. Scott then began working on his debut solo album, The Great Divide which was released in the US on November 2005. The Great Divide, Justify and Surround Me was released as singles off the album. It was certified platinum on December 14, 2005 and has since gone double platinum.

After months of speculation it was announced that Creed had reunited with plans for a new album and tour. Their new album Full Circle was released in October of 2009.

After Creed’s 2010 tour with Skillet Scott Stapp announced that he will embark on a short solo acoustic tour. The short solo acoustic tour began September 28, 2010 and concluded November 20, 2010. In the spring of 2010 Scott recorded an anthem for National League baseball team the Florida Marlins titled the “Marlins Will Soar”.

“Stapp appeared on Carlos Santana‘s solo album Guitar Heaven: The Greatest Guitar Classics of All Time, a cover album on which Stapp sings on the cover of the Creedence Clearwater Revival song “Fortunate Son“. The album was released on September 21, 2010.” Quote obtained from Wikipedia

Scott Stapp has confirmed that his second solo album will be titled Between Lust and Love and it will be a double album with each disc representing lust and love respectively.

Scott is involved in various philanthropic activities, Stapp founded The Arms Wide Open Foundation, he has been affiliated America’s Second Harvest and he joined Wheelchair Foundation and the DC3 Music Group in their “Plane to Haiti” project.

Scott’s life has been plagued with challenges and in 2003 he contemplated suicide, but decided against it while looking at a picture of his son Jagger. Scott Stapp was in the throes of prednisone coming out of his body. Prednisone has many side-effects and it should not be taken for longer than 7 days. Side-effects include difficulty controlling emotion, weight gain, face swelling, anxiety and depression just to mention a few. Scott has comitted himself to sobriety and shaved his head to signify a new start. He wanted his wife Jaclyn to witness his changed personality visually and perceptually.

When Scott and his band got together for the first time in the studio after their breakup it was clear to Stapp’s bandmates that he had changed. He appreciated each band member’s contribution and didn’t take them for granted like he had in the past. Scott realised how important Creed was to him as a band and a group of friends.

I admire Scott for coming out a better man than he was when he joined Creed. The band needed to fall apart in order for them to grow and to emerge as a better version of themselves. I hope he still has a long, successful career ahead of him and I can’t wait to see what he does next.

Scott is releasing an uncensored memoir of his life titled Sinner’s Creed from the day he was born up until the present day. I can’t wait to read it, I’ve been excited about its release since I first heard of it! It is scheduled for release on October 2, 2012.

Here are a few more pictures of Mr.Stapp.

English: Scott Stapp, the former lead singer o...

English: Scott Stapp, the former lead singer of the band Creed, and his band perform during a concert on the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) while under way in the Gulf of Oman Sept. 24, 2008. The band visited the ship to raise crew morale. Ronald Reagan is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet/NAVCENT area of esponsibility. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rock Regards,Lauren K