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

 

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Band of the Month – Thirty Seconds To Mars

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30 Seconds to Mars

30 Seconds to Mars
Photo by Terry Richardson

There has been quite a bit of buzz going on in the Mars camp lately following a year of anticipation for fans awating their fourth album. I have to say that I have been looking forward to the 4th album myself for quite a while now. Mars never ceases to amaze and I’m sure this time it won’t be any different. Seeing as Jared and Shannon have shaved their “Lincoln” beards off at the end of October I normally see this as a sign that they mean business.

Artifact, 30 Seconds to Mars’s documentary about their legal battle with EMI and the making of their third album This Is War premiered at the Toronto Film Festival on the 14th of September 2012. Artifact won the People’s Choice Award for the documentary (which was a no-brainer in my book). In my opinion the lawsuit shaped the powerful album which This Is War ultimately became. Jared directed this film under his alias Bartholomew Cubbins and he made the film in order to demonstrate the greed and unfair practices that thrives within the music industry and within the systems that some record labels have in place. Keep in mind the position the band was in at the time, they have had a little commercial success with A Beautiful Lie released in 2005 and now they are locked in a battle with multi-billion-dollar conglomerate. That fact alone is quite daunting. Artifact was filmed more or less in 2008-2009.

This is War was recorded in Jared Leto‘s home in a futuristic-looking studio which Jared, Shannon and Tomo financed out of their own pockets. At the time they didn’t have a firm distribution plan or the backing of a label, they were hard at work making a new album which might never have seen the light of day. Thats a pretty spectacular, risky and brave undertaking. The album was uninfluenced and untouched by anyone whose opinion 30 Seconds To Mars didn’t respect. This Is War is a raw and rare piece of art that was created without any creative restrictions, how many albums in the music industry do you know of where this was the case?

This is War was released on the 8th of December 2009 and on the 19th of February 2010 30 Seconds to Mars embarked on their worldwide Into The Wild tour which little known to them would become a record breaking tour. The tour ended on the 7th of December 2011 at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City. Their last show was streamed by making use of VyRT, a high quality livestream that give artists the opportunity to sell digital tickets to live events that are broadcast worldwide in an online social theater. One week after their last concert 30 Seconds To Mars took their rightful place in the Guiness Book of World Records as the Longest Concert Tour by a Rock Band, because they played 309 concerts in two years.

An interesting fact is that NASA plays a song every morning in order to wake up the Curiosity Rover ever since it reached Mars and the song Echelon from 30 Seconds To Mars’s debut album made the Sol6 playlist, which is quite fitting.

On the 1st of November tickets were made available for The Mars Laboratory Part II event on VyRT which will take place on the 1st of December 2012. The event will include an acoustic set, new music, Artifact and the live tour film. 30 Seconds to Mars has used VyRT to connect with their fans in a more personal way and to convey more information to them via this medium.Anyone who purchases a VyRT ticket will automatically be entered to win a trip to Los Angeles to watch the event live, which should be pretty mind-blowing for those attending.

I really can’t wait for the live tour film to be released since its been in the pipeline for quite a long time. Jared is truly a great director, because he sees things from a different perspective than most of us do. I’m sure he has a lot of help in order to create what he envisions for a project, but he succeeds in taking the viewer closer to the action that is happening on the screen and draws them in.

I’m quite aware of the fact that there are two other amazing musicians in the band, but I just have to commend Jared Leto on all his great ideas to promote the band. He is always coming up with new ways to engage the audience and to make 30 Seconds to Mars an experience rather than just another band. For example in A Beautiful Lie’s Deluxe Edition the band requested that members of the Echelon send in their names, so that they can be thanked for their continued support. As a result the inside covers of the Deluxe Edition contain a list of the fans’ names. Another example is when the band asked fans to send in photosof themselves of which the band chose 2000 of the best fan photos and released it as the cover for the albums. Celebrities featured on some of the covers are Jared and Shannon Leto‘s mom, Bam Margera, Kat Von D and Conan O’Brien. As a Marketing graduate I can really learn from and appreciate Jared’s innovative ideas and I see him as a pioneer in the field of Marketing. The question has been asked by many an interviewer if 30 Seconds to Mars really care about their fans or if they are only really good at marketing. My answer to that would be why would someone brand himself/herself with a message he/she didn’t believe in? Jared is passionate about his band and his fans therefore he tattooed symbols from each of their albums on his body. I don’t believe anyone will go that far if they didn’t care about the message(s) they were sending, the same goes for Shannon and Tomo.

Yesterday (5th November 2012) it was announced that 30 Seconds to Mars will be playing at the Download Festival in 2013 at Donington Park on the 14th – 16th of June 2013.

Exciting things still to come for Thirty Seconds to Mars, so watch this space!

You can follow 30 Seconds To Mars across various social networks here:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/thirtysecondstomars

Twitter:https://twitter.com/30Secondstomars

MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/thirtysecondstomars

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/30secondstomars

Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/30stm/

I had to add in this funny video Jared and Shannon made which Jared posted on his YouTube channel in July:

Jared Leto

Jared Leto
Photo by Terry Richardson

Jared and Shannon Leto in the Lab

Jared and Shannon Leto in the Lab
Source: http://30secondstomars.tumblr.com/page/5

30 Seconds To Mars

30 Seconds To Mars
Photo by Terry Richardson

Proud Echelon…

Rock Regards,

Lauren K