TREMONTI, the band led by CREED and ALTER BRIDGE guitarist Mark Tremonti, will release its sophomore album, “Cauterize”, on June 9 via Fret 12. The follow-up to 2012’s “All I Was” was helmed by producer Michael “Elvis” Baskette, who previously worked with ALTER BRIDGE and SLASH.
“We are extremely excited for the fans to hear this album,” states Tremonti. “We feel it is our best work to date.”
From the first riffs of album opener “Radical Change” to the final notes of the epic closer “Providence”, it is apparent that Mark Tremonti is at a whole new level with his songwriting. His hard rock/heavy metal influences shine throughout the album on songs like “Flying Monkeys”, “Arm Yourself” and “Sympathy”.
The debut single from “Cauterize” is the uptempo track “Another Heart”. The song was released on iTunes where it shot to the Top 5 on the iTunes Rock Singles chart
“Cauterize” track listing:
01. Radical Change
02. Flying Monkeys
04. Arm Yourself
05. Dark Trip
06. Another Heart
07. Fall Again
08. Tie The Noose
TREMONTI will tour around the globe in support of “Cauterize” without bassist Wolfgang Van Halen due to scheduling conflicts with his main band, VAN HALEN.
“I am still part of TREMONTI and very excited for the release of ‘Cauterize’, but unfortunately am unable to participate in the upcoming tour dates, both in the States and overseas, due to my prior commitment with VAN HALEN for the upcoming summer tour in support of the ‘Tokyo Dome Live In Concert’ album,” states Wolfgang. “Look forward to seeing all of the TREMONTI fans on the road as soon as my schedule permits!”
The upcoming tour kicks off in the United States in April before heading over to Europe in June. The band will be making stops at some of the largest festivals in the world, including Welcome To Rockville, Rock On The Range and Download. TREMONTI will be opening some dates for SEETHER while also headlining shows in the United States.
Mark Tremonti told The Pulse Of Radio that “Cauterize” is not the only disc he has coming out in the near future. “We put together two albums,” he said. “We have this album that’s [coming] out, but in the same recording session we recorded another album called ‘Dust’. That’s gonna be coming out who knows when, but probably within a year. So I want people to know that that record is part two of this record. It’s not necessarily record three, it’s just the second disc of this album. So there’s two 10-song albums.”
In our interview, Mark Tremonti talks about the Tremonti Project and their appearance at Ballonfest on Saturday, Wolfgang Van Halen, and the best way to celebrate his drummer’s birthday while in El Paso.
To hear the audio of our interview with Mark, click on the jump link. It is right below this sentence.
For bassist Wolfgang Van Halen, who started his music career playing in sold-out arenas with his father’s band, joining Tremonti was a learning experience. He went back to smaller venues, reversing the trajectory of most rock stars.
“I think it’s great for him,” Mark Tremonti tells Loud Guitars in the video below. “You learn a lot, playing in these venues. It’s very different, though it’s just as fun and fulfilling as doing the arena shows.”
Tremonti, as a member of Creed, had toured with Van Halen before, as an opening act. When putting together his own solo band, he actually had hoped to bring Wolfgang on board — but the younger Van Halen was busy with dear old dad. Fate intervened when his original bassist left for personal reasons, even as Van Halen’s tour came to a sudden halt after Eddie Van Halen was stricken with diverticulitis.
With Wolfgang on board, Tremonti says his relationship with Eddie Van Halen has grown, as well.
“It’s only recently that we’ve really gotten to know him,” Tremonti adds. “Now that his son is in the band, he’s come out to see us play. We did a show in Kansas City where he came out, and we were sound-checking and there we about 40 people there, with Eddie standing behind them. If they only knew!”
Wolfgang and the rest of Van Halen recently returned to the road with a date in Australia. They’ll play a string of dates in Japan this June.
As the lead guitarist in two very successful bands – Alter Bridge and Creed – Mark Tremonti has gained a reputation for being a first class guitar player and one of the hardest working men in rock. With his latest project Tremonti, Mark has found an outlet to unleash his love for speed metal and heavy riffs. In Tremonti, the guitarist has taken the role as frontman, joining him is guitarist Eric Friedman (Projected/Creed/Submersed), drummer Garrett Whitlock (Submersed) and bassist Wolfgang Van Halen (Van Halen).
Tremonti recently returned to the UK, in support of the debut album ‘All I Was’. Rock & Rose had a chat with the band prior to their show in Wolverhampton and inspired by the cryptic promotional stunt for their latest single ‘Wish You Well’, which sees Mark digging up his past, we set out to discover what the foursome store in their memory boxes and what they would alter if they could rewind time.
Rock & Rose:On the album, there is a song which includes the lyrics: “Chasing the memories of our past, these are the moments that we hold”. What memories do you cherish most from when you were growing up? Eric Friedman: For me I think it was just doing the family vacations; it was almost like the National Lampoons but not quite as crazy! Wolfgang Van Halen: Yeah same. I was going to say family vacations, like when we used to go to the beach and have fun camp fires and stuff like that. Mark Tremonti: I’d say just being young, invincible and being full of life. Wanting to go out and see and chase down everything; having that young passion for life. Garrett Whitlock: The good times!
R & R: What one moment changed your life or the direction you were going in? Eric: For me it was getting pulled onstage with Kenny Wayne Shepherd to play one of his songs. He gave me the guitar and I played in front of fifteen hundred people! I think that was when I decided that I wanted to be a musician. R & R: How old were you? Eric: I was thirteen. Wolfgang: Probably once I learnt how to play drums when I was nine, I realised that’s what I wanted…I wanted to do something in music. Mark: When I got my first record deal. That’s really kind of when I kind quit my day job – I worked at a guitar store – I got a guitar and just started touring. Garrett: Probably when I just discovered my passion for drums. I was sixteen years old, and that’s pretty much when I decided ‘ok, this is the direction I’m gonna go’.
R & R: What have been your favorite memories so far since being involved in this band? Eric: I would have to say being out here in Europe, together on the bus every night hanging out, jamming and getting to play the live shows; just feeling like a band altogether. You know when we do the record, we do it in bits and pieces so it doesn’t feel quite like it does when we’re all in the bus and just kind of hammering away. Wolfgang: Probably when I became a part of it. It’s just a really fun story of how I was kind of rushed into the band. Now we’re all really comfortable and having a good time. Mark: I think there are individual shows that were just over the top. You know, we just played Milan, Italy – that was just an amazing show. The last tour Manchester really topped them all off and we look forward to playing Manchester again. We are going to video tape it this time to make sure we capture it. Garrett: Pretty much the whole experience of it all. Like when we all started working on it together, writing and then deciding we were going to go out and tour. Then Wolfie coming into the fold. The whole thing, it’s pretty hard to put in words y’know. We’re looking forward to the next record. The whole process has been a lot of fun.
R & R: What memories would you like people to take away with them after watching Tremonti perform? Eric: I want people to walk away and think how bad ass that show was! Mark: [Laughs] I thought you were going to say how bad ass was that guitar player! Wolfgang: Just to have a good time. Mark: Yeah, I want people to leave knowing that they got every ounce of passion out of the band on-stage. We’ve been getting such good feedback, when you hear people say: ‘that was the most fun I’ve ever had at a show’. It means a lot to us because we’re just up there…We don’t have a fancy light show, we don’t have pyrotechnics. We don’t even have our own monitor engineer on tour. We are just guys playing our record as well as we can; and if people are having fun now, we can’t wait to see what happens when it spreads and we can afford to make the show bigger. Garrett: What Mark said pretty much sums it up.
Photo Copyright: Samantha Gower at www.rocknrose.net — with Mark Tremonti, Eric Friedman, Wolfgang Van Halen and Garrett Whitlock at Backstage at Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton (14.02.13).
R & R: Recently fans had the chance to solve an online puzzle to help unlock a secret website. From the reaction we saw on various forums the fans loved the experience. What sort of input do you as a band have when it comes to this kind of interactive promotion? Eric: I’d say definitely Mark has the most because he is always in cahoots with his brother, talking about stuff and figuring out twisted ways and tricks to do. Mark: Yeah, my brother Dan would be like: ‘Hey go walk down this alley there’s a camera down there, you’re gonna open this box and there will be a light that shines out of the box and three months from now we’re gonna figure out a way to do some kind of scavenger hunt so people can figure out what’s inside this box.’ I’ll shoot all kinds of stuff like that, then he, with his crazy mind, will come up with some kind of elaborate goose chase. Dan’s done it ever since way, way back, when we did something called the…what was it…some kind of Creed quest. It was all over the place – there were hints on the cover of Guitar World magazine, there were stories online that you had to read and kind of interpret and it took you to different places to win prizes. Some of the co-ordinates that were scattered throughout those stories still remain, so if you don’t have some of those initial stories you might miss out.
R & R: The secret site included the 1987 demo to ‘Wish You Well’. Do you have any other early demos you plan to release? Mark: I didn’t want to release that one [laughs], that was Dan. That was another one of my brother’s like:‘ Dude, you have to give me the demo of that’. I said no. I didn’t want to release it because it doesn’t sound as good as I’d like it to sound, but he talked me into it. He was like: ‘You know this is you as a kid and that’s part of the story behind the song’. So I let him have a portion of it.
R & R: When you reworked ‘Wish You Well’ did the lyrics conjure up the same feelings you experienced when you originally wrote it? Mark: Well, back then it was a little more funny, you know, the lyrics were a little different and there was a [in an animated, raspy voice] yeah, little kid singin’, [laughs], you know. So, now we’ve beefed it up for sure and given it a face lift. There are definitely parts in the song now that I could’ve never done on my 4 track back in 7th and 8th grade.
R & R: The secret website also featured a short video piece called ‘Digging up the past’, where a box containing a piece of Tremonti history is unearthed. Do you keep a box of mementos; if so what kind of items have you collected over the years? Garrett: I’ve got a little box at home that’s got photos of family and stuff like that and little things throughout the years. It’s kind of cool to keep stuff like that, sentimental things in your life, y’know. [Looks around at his band mates] You guys got boxes? Eric: I’ve got a box full of backstage passes that I started collecting when I was going to shows, when I was younger. I’ve got lots and lots of concert tickets of shows that I really, really, wanted to go to, not just kind of here or there ones, but the bands that you’ve always wanted to see. Wolfgang: Same – I have tons of them in this little draw string bag. Eric: Yeah, I’m not a crazy pick collector but I have a couple of picks as well. Mark: I have a draw that has all my family stuff, family albums and cards and what not that I keep. Then I’ve got…I have a box that whenever I come off tour, if I have any kind of collectable stuff, I’ll throw it in the box. Once the box overflows I kind of organise it. But I keep stuff like if we’re on the cover of a magazine, I like to keep that. I have little things like the little clock from the cover of the Human Clay [Creed] record, or the keys from the Full Circle [Creed] record. I’ve got the key to Las Vegas which the Mayor of Las Vegas gave me. I have little keep sakes like that; that you’d never get unless you’re touring around.
R & R: At the end of the ‘Wish You Well’, the video footage is rewound and the knock on the door is ignored – if you could turn back the clock would you alter anything that happened during the early stages of your career? Mark: I would definitely alter my contracts, every one of them. But nowadays more and more people just do kind of a handshake deal and if you don’t want to do business with somebody you just go the other way. I think that’s a good way of doing things. But, yeah, I would seriously dig into my initial contracts. Garrett: Practice drums more maybe. Eric: No, no I would do it exactly the same! Wolfgang: Yeah, same. Eric: [Laughs] I would pick the winning lottery. Mark: I would’ve probably invested in Google!
R & R: Have you started working on songs for the next album yet? Mark: Trying to. Got some initial ideas, not a complete song yet but there’s a bunch of scattered pieces ready to go.
R & R: Have you all been working together? If so, what has the chemistry been like creatively? Mark: So far it’s kind of sitting in the back lounge. There’s a guitar and a drum machine going and it’s like:‘Hey, that’s cool. Ok record that’. You just keep doing that until you have 15 ideas and then we’ll say: ‘Alright, damn it; it’s time to create a song!’
R & R: As you are all involved in different projects, how do you find the time to be together in the same room to create an album? Do you do a lot of work when you’re on the road? Mark: We try to. Garrett: It is a lot easier just to write when you’re at home and everyone does their thing during the day; then we come together and have our instruments there. It’s a lot harder for me when they’ve got their guitars and everything [on the bus] and I’m sitting there going [he taps his knees to create a beat]. You’re able to get your point across a little bit more when there is a drum set. But y’know, I’m looking forward to it, it should be fun. Eric: We’re always trying to make the best of the time that we have. As Mark says, we’re here altogether we might as well forge ahead and see what comes of it.
R & R: As today is Valentine’s Day – What qualities do you love about your fellow band mates?
[All laugh] Mark: All of ‘em? R & R: Yes Mark: I like Garrett’s…tenacity [laughs]. Like, how hard Garrett works, he’s a hard working dude. He’s got a vision and he’s got a goal and he’s gonna achieve that damn goal! Wolfgang…let me think really hard [laughs]. Wolfgang brings youth to this band and he’s a very…we call him ‘Sweetie boy’. [Eric & Mark burst into laughter] Wolfgang: Oh here we go! Mark: When he’s not messing with you, he’s a very nice fella and he’s a very talented young man. Mr Erock [Eric], he’s in love with life, he loves everything and it rubs off on people around him. He’s also another very gifted musician. Wolfgang: I love how easy it is to quote Garrett, he’s very quotable. He has a lot of lines that we tend to write down because it’s hilarious. I like how driven Mark is. He has been doing this drawing thing in the back of the bus when we’re hanging out. When we’re not writing he’s drawing, it’s actually really frickin’ good, which is surprising! Mark: [Shooting Wolfgang a quizzical look] Surprising? [The room fills with laughter] Wolfgang: Erock – he’s just so…his positivity rubs off you big time because he just loves everything. Eric: [Laughs] I sound like this little fairy. I just like everyone’s overall vibe. Everyone has a good vibe; everyone has their little unique thing. Musically I respect all of them on a very high level. Personally I like Wolfgang because he’s really funny and we like to watch American Dad together! Mark is really, really smart and he’s a good person look up to because he always seems to be doing the right thing. He’s really nice and he has good guitar playing skills! Grock [Garrett] is just super awesome, all the time. He’s just you know, you aspire to be half as cool as Grock because everything he says just seems to be like way cooler than anybody else. Garrett: I’m the biggest dork in the band!
R & R: What does the band have planned for the rest of 2013? Mark: We’re touring through March 7th and then we just got some offers to do some shows starting on May 25th. We’re gonna try and do some late night television, like a Jay Leno kind of appearance or Jimmy Kimmel, Conan [O’Brien], Jimmy Fallon, something like that; and then a few more shows that week. That will be in the middle of the recording process for the next Alter Bridge record, so then we’ll have to see what happens towards the end of the year.
Tremonti’s debut album is available to purchase now: ‘All I Was’
“I’ve always been a huge Alter Bridge fan and on the 2007 Van Halen tour we happened to be in the same city, so I went to go see them play and we met for the first time. We got along really well and kept in touch after that. I’m honored to be in his band now. Mark [Tremonti] is still one of my guitar idols,” Wolfgang Van Halen tells Noisecreep.
The Van Halen bassist is on the horn discussing his role in the group Tremonti. The band just wrapped up a run of European tour dates, and is currently heading to the U.S. to finish the trek in support of All I Was, their 2012 debut album. Van Halen joined the group’s ranks in late 2012.
“I was flattered that Mark thought of me for the gig, but he asked me out of nowhere after Brian [Marshall, original bassist] said he couldn’t tour. So I called my dad [Eddie Van Halen for the uninitiated] and asked him what he thought. He said, ‘Fuck yeah! It would be awesome.’ That’s all I needed to hear. So I called Mark back and told him I was in. My first show as a member of Tremonti was in New Jersey the day after I joined,” laughs the bassist.
Noisecreep can attest that Tremonti and his band boast a fervent social media following. So we ask Van Halen what kind of reaction his entry to the group’s lineup has been so far. “At first they were all surprised, but they’ve been so nice to me on Twitter and Facebook. There are always the haters, but that’s the way the Internet is anyway. I’m sure people will complain about our interview here. What can you do?”
Watch Wolfgang Van Halen on the Road with Tremonti
Growing up in a house with a certified guitar hero, Van Halen was obviously exposed to music at a really young age. But his early influences might surprise some of you. “My dad introduced me to AC/DC before I could even talk, but the band that I found on my own that I truly fell in love with was Blink-182.
“I loved the idea that they had two lead singers, and the vocal harmonies they use. I also started playing drums first, and Travis Barker is amazing. I would play along to all of the Blink-182 records. The other thing I loved about the band was that it was a trio like Muse or The Police. Three people getting it done. I love it.”
Van Halen tells us he switched to guitar after the drums, and eventually bass. “I switched to bass because it was the only position open in Van Halen [laughs]. I didn’t really get into the bass until we started messing around in the studio for about a year before the 2007 Van Halen tour. We rehearsed for a long time and at first it was just fun, and then when we got Dave [Lee Roth] involved, it got really serious.”
Watch Van Halen’s ‘She’s the Woman’ Video
Noisecreep asks the 21-year-old who some of his favorite bassists are. “Les Claypool of Primus is huge for me. He keeps pushing the boundaries of what can be done on the instrument. Justin Chancellor of Tool is another personal favorite. Colin Edwin ofPorcupine Tree is great. I also love all of the classic guys like Jack Bruce of Cream, John Entwistle of The Who and Jaco Pastorius.”
Besides rocking the bass, Van Halen is also a gifted singer, providing background vocal help in both Van Halen and Tremonti. “I actually got kicked out of choir in 5th grade. I think I learned more about singing from listening and picking apart harmonies on records I listened to like Blink-182.”
Kicked out of choir? Noisecreep needs to know. “I couldn’t focus on the classes, and I never paid attention. I was always just a troublemaker.”
Don’t worry Wolfgang, you’re doing just fine.
Watch Tremonti’s ‘Wish You Well’ Video
Tremonti tour dates
Feb 21 Pontiac, MI The Crofoot
Feb 22 Libertyville, IL Austin’s Saloon
Feb 23 Minneapolis, MN Mill City Nights
Feb 25 Colorado Springs, CO The Black Sheep
Feb 27 Spokane, WA Knitting Factory
Feb 28 Seattle, WA El Corazon
Mar 3 Scottsdale, AZ Pub Rock Live
Mar 5 West Hollywood, CA Roxy Theatre