Alter Bridge Interview: Mark Tremonti on ‘Walk the Sky’ and What’s Next

2019-10-09

Alter Bridge – Story by Anne Erickson, courtesy photo

Mark Tremonti of Alter Bridge chats with Anne Erickson about the band’s new album, “Walk the Sky,” the state of rock ‘n’ roll and what he admires about Myles Kennedy as a vocalist

When Alter Bridge releases a new album, it’s an event. The band’s fans are among the most loyal and dedicated in modern rock music, and with the band’s “Walk the Sky” album out on Oct. 18, those followers are buzzing with excitement all over social media.

“Walk the Sky” features Alter Bridge’s longtime lineup of Mark Tremonti, Myles Kennedy, Brian Marshall and Scott Phillips. Listening to the record from front to back, it’s obvious the band is musically tight and has a special chemistry that’s all their own. Tremonti spoke with Anne Erickson of Audio Ink about “Walk the Sky,” “what he admires about Kennedy as a vocalist, the state of rock ‘n’ roll and much more. Read the full interview below and listen via the YouTube player.

Anne Erickson: Congrats on the new album, “Walk the Sky.” You and Myles Kennedy have great musical chemistry together, and that really comes across on the record. How important is your musical chemistry to Alter Bridge’s sound?

Mark Tremonti: It’s very important. We’ve been writing songs since 2004. It’s been a long time, and we have learned a lot from one and other as writers and musicians, in general, and have always gotten along and had a shared vision.

What do you admire about Myles Kennedy as a vocalist?

His dedication to his craft. The emotion he pus forth on his vocal performances in the studio and live. There’s nothing phony about it. It’s all very sincere and believable.

One song I really love off the new album is “Godspeed.” Tell me about the inspiration behind that track.

I had a dear friend of mine pass away last year, and that song was a tribute to him, wishing him well on his new tourney. It’s my favorite track on the album, too.

You sing leads on “Forever Falling.” Now that you’ve had this time in Tremonti singing leads, how is that experience helping you when doing a song like “Forever Falling” with Alter Bridge.

It gives me the confidence to know I can do it. In the past, I’d be nervous, but now, I look forward to singing. I like singing on stage. I sing karaoke! Singing is a good time.

You sing karaoke for fun? That’s funny! I’ve interviewed a lot of vocalists who actually don’t like doing karaoke.

Yeah! My buddy has a karaoke setup at his house, and he’s always having parties, and we start to party off karaoke. A lot of great singers don’t like doing karaoke- Myles doesn’t like singing karaoke. But, since I’m not being judged as a singer as much as he is, I can get away with it!

“Wouldn’t You Rather” is doing really well at rock radio. Why did you pick that for your first single?

I think we had three songs we were juggling, and the radio staff with the label said that was the one they felt best about, so we put our trust in them. A lot of times, you want to release a song that’s going to be fun to perform live, and that’s a good, high-energy live tune, we look forward to playing that live, for sure.

You guys have a tour happening right now with Skillet. What makes teaming up with Skillet a good fit for Alter Bridge?

There’s a lot of overlap with fans, and we know the fans enjoy them, and hopefully fans enjoy us, too. And fans are getting a lot of bang for their buck when they come out. Skillet puts on a killer show, and they have a big production and big songs, and I think the fans we have who aren’t too familiar with them are going to love it.

Is there any artist out there who you would really like to collaborate with, who you haven’t with yet?

My dream would be Metallica. They were my favorite band growing up, and that would be quite an honor.

Do you think that rock ‘n’ roll is in a good place in 2019?

I think it’s getting in a better place. It got to be more of a niche thing a few years back, with the amount of people listening to it in the States, especially, but I think the past couple of years, it’s turning around. It’s looking up.

Have you ever thought about Alter Bridge releasing an acoustic album? Myles Kennedy’s voice would be perfect for that.

We’ve discussed it. It might be something we do at some point It’s just a matter of timing.

People always want to know if there’s any chance Creed will release new music or tour again.

You never know. It’s just another matter of timing. For the next year and a half, I’ll be working hard on Alter Bridge and writing new music for Tremonti, and if something comes along in the Creed camp, never say never. Who knows? To be able to do it all is tough. It’s just a matter of how much spare time I have.

The 20th anniversary of “Human Clay” just passed. What are your memories from that album?

I just remember hearing “Higher” on the radio for the first time, and everybody had said after “My Own Prison” that we were going to have the sophomore slump on our next record and we would have a one hit wonder record and disappear, and then “Higher” came out, and everybody had good things to say about it, and it ended up being our biggest song to date and biggest record ever for us. I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing now if it wasn’t for that record.

What’s next for you and Alter Bridge?

We’re going to tour. We’re going to go back out in the States in February and then hit Europe again, and we’ll be touring all next year with Alter Bridge. After that, we’ll go back and tour with our other bands. Myles will go back to Slash, and I’ll go back to Tremonti.

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