The Hippo


May 19, 2019








Tremonti. Photo courtesy of Ashley Maile.

Tremonti and Trivium: The HardDrive Live Tour 

When: Saturday, Sept. 19, 8 p.m.
Where: Casino Ballroom, 169 Ocean Blvd, Hampton Beach
Tickets: $19 General Admission at  

No filler
Tremonti hits Hampton

By Michael Witthaus

 The upcoming Casino Ballroom show co-headlined by Tremonti and Trivium is part of the HardDrive Live Tour. It’s a fitting moniker for the recent solo work of Creed co-founder and current Alter Bridge guitarist Mark Tremonti. His band released a new album in June, and the sessions produced enough material for a second LP — 20 tracks in all. 

Tremonti explained in a recent phone interview that the burst of output came from culling through almost 15 years of material stored on his computer. 
“I like to really dig in with my solo stuff, and when I know I have a timeframe to get into the studio, I come in prepared with as much stuff as possible,” he said. “I don’t want to be some disgruntled 80-year-old man who’s pissed that my life work’s gone to waste. So I go all out.”
Cauterize is packed with the melodic metal-edged rock that’s grown Tremonti’s fan base since the solo project launched in 2010. “Radical Change,” “Another Heart” and “Arm Yourself” are among his current live show favorites. 
“All the heavy fast stuff is always the most fun to play,” he said.
The follow-up, due later this fall, is called Dust, and Tremonti believe it’s just as solid. 
“Whittling down to 20 tracks is a lot of work,” he said. “There are no filler songs; it’s only the best of the best.”
The workaholic will return to the studio with Alter Bridge after tours of the U.S. and Europe. A Creed retrospective is in the offing as well, though Tremonti worries that a busy schedule may limit his contribution to the effort. He learned about the project during his first conversation in years with Creed singer Scott Stapp. It came after a chance encounter last spring at Orlando’s Hard Rock Hotel; the two have texted since. 
“When I ran into him he had just gotten cleaned up and it was good to see that he was doing better; it’s good that we ran into each other in good spirits,” Tremonti said.  “The new record label wants to put out some sort of box set and I wasn’t aware of it … so I don’t know what it’s going to contain. I told him I’d wish they’d wait a year or two so we could put something special in, [but] there’s just too much traffic going on right now [for] any new Creed stuff.”
Bassist Wolfgang Van Halen is currently on the road with his dad’s band, so Tanner Keegan is subbing on the Stateside leg of the tour and will be onstage for the Sept. 19 show at Casino Ballroom in Hampton Beach. Tremonti became aware of Keegan in his hometown of Orlando. 
“Tanner was in a band called Endorphin … really kick-ass progressive metal, kind of like a System of a Down,” he said. “We always used to go out and see them, so when Wolfgang couldn’t do it I called both him and Brett Hestla — Brett runs a studio in Orlando so he wouldn’t be able to leave home, and Tanner was our other choice. He came out and we loved him. He’s done a great job.”
Despite living in the land of Disney for over 20 years, Tremonti maintains his intensity music-wise. 
“I grew up in Detroit and I don’t think you ever really lost your roots,” he said. “That’s really where I got most of my musical inspiration from.” 
For proof, Tremonti described his family’s current living situation. 
“We’re fixing up our house, so we had to temporarily move out,” he said. “The room I’m in right now has a Little Mermaid sticker on the wall and it’s all baby blue. It was a girl’s room. I’ve brought in all my amps and guitars in there and that’s where I write. Picture that.”
Four years ago, Guitarist magazine named Tremonti’s guitar solo on the 2007 Alter Bridge song “Blackbird” the greatest of all time. He has mixed feelings about the honor. 
“When I was first made aware of being on that list I thought there’s no way in the world I want to win this, it just puts a big target on me,” he said. “It’s just a huge honor to be mentioned in the same sentence with some of the people who are on there.”
Stretching out artistically is a central appeal of his solo act, Tremonti said. 
“I love to sing. I’ve been a melody writer since I was 11 years old, and one of the most frustrating things as a songwriter for me is people saying I’m just a lead guitar player, because most of the time I spend working is writing vocal melodies,” he said. “It’s good to be in a band where I actually get to sing.”

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