Tag Archives: Myles Kennedy

Review: Alter Bridge’s Live At The O2 Arena + Rarities

By Andrew Catania

This album was recorded at the biggest moment of Alter Bridges career, the show at the famous London O2 Arena on November 24, 2016.   The live album is spread over two discs and accompanied by a third exclusive disc release of rarities.

The Writing on The Wall” kicks off. “Come to Life” quickly follows what is probably my favorite track. “Addicted To Pain.” A stunner on record and wonderfully reproduced live. The anthemic “Ghost Of Days Gone By” has Kennedy leading and encouraging the faithful to sing along. Again “Cry Of Achilles” benefits from audience participation before we get almost a duel between Myles`s vocals and Mark Tremonti`s guitar, stunning. “The Other Side” is a mid-paced burner and gives the crowd a chance to catch their breath.

The massive “Farther Than The Sun” allows Brian Marshall on bass and Scott Phillips on drums to shine and show off their musical ability. Another track I must admit to loving is “Ties That Blind,” the music and vocals soar up and down as the melody changes direction throughout. Wonderful.

Mark Tremonti takes over vocal duties for “Water Rising” adding a further dimension to the band.

The additional disc of `Rarities’ commences with “Breathe” recorded around the time of the ‘One Day Remains’ sessions and has only ever been available as a US retail exclusive via Best Buy. An excellent track that I’m surprised doesn`t form part of the live set as I’m sure it`d be well received.

Two more never-before released tracks “Cruel Sun” and “Solace” follow that were recorded during the ‘One Day Remains’ sessions in 2004. “Cruel Sun” provides a robust platform for Myles to demonstrate the dexterity of his vocal range. “Solace” starts off quite mellow but is filled out with some fantastic guitar licks. A real grower of a song.

The remaining tracks have only been released in Japan until this collection. The first of them being “New Way To Live” which has a real ethereal beginning before becoming a rockier outing.

Damage Done” and “We Don’t Care At All” are straight out rock songs, which have great bass and guitar lines. “Zero” is up next and is a more intricate and involved tune, the music is more elaborate, and we get some stunning vocals. In “Home” we get a more anthemic outing

This release has something for everybody. The live show highlights where the band is at present, a band really on top of their game. Listening to the live outing, you can understand why they have managed to sell out two nights at London’s Royal Albert Hall, this coming October in under seven minutes. The additional disc of rarities will please fans with songs previously unreleased and some others harder to obtain.

This is a release I’d recommend to anyone.  8/10 stars.

Mark Tremonti Discusses Alter Bridge’s New CD Live At The O2, New Tremonti Album Due Next Summer

By Andrew Catania  

Myles Kennedy, Mark Tremonti, Brian Marshall, and Scott Phillips tear through hits like “Farther Than The Sun,” “Show Me A Leader,” “Rise Today,” and their masterpiece “Isolation,” showcasing a band on the top of their game. Other highlights include the Tremonti sung “Waters Rising,” the acoustic-driven “Watch Over You” and their mighty signature anthem “Blackbird.”

Also, this latest release contains an exclusive full-length “Rarities”-CD that will give every collector cause for rejoicing. The CD features the never-before released tracks “Cruel Sun” and “Solace” that were recorded during the One Day Remains sessions. The song “Breathe” from those same sessions was released as a bonus track exclusively for Best Buy on The Last Hero.  These tracks join seven other songs that have only been released in Japan until this collection. ” In addition to the regular 3 CD audio version, you can go for the ultimate fan experience and get one of the limited deluxe versions which also include an exclusive ALTER BRIDGE documentary with plenty of interviews with the band, their crew and family, giving you an unusual glimpse behind the scenes of this legendary show at London’s O2 Arena!

I spoke to Mark about the live album and Tremonti’s future record.

Did you guys want to put out a live record or was this part of your record deal?

MT: We threw the idea out there, and everybody thought it was a good time to do it.  We’ve never made a stand along live CD without the DVD.

Was the London show the biggest you headlining?

MT: Yes, it was the largest show to date.

Of the rarities that are on this Live CD, which one is your favorite?

MT: Cruel Sun is my favorite. It’s crazy that it’s been 13 years since we recorded it l I’m glad to have the best song to get out, and I think it’s great to have the fans to be able to hear again a reminder of how the band sounded on the first album.

You recorded other live shows in London, will we see any of those songs for future “B-sides”?

MT: I doubt it.  We will be filming our two shows in London when we play the Royal Albert Hall in London with the 52 piece Parallax Orchestra.  We’re going to try and have that Live DVD out by Christmas.

When will we see another Tremonti Record?

MT: I’m currently in a writing session and will be recording a Tremonti album starting in January.

You’re a balanced songwriter/guitarist.  Do you start jamming to come up with riffs and how do the lyrics come to you?

MT: It just depends on the moment. Sometimes I’m just strumming away one after the other is finding challenging progressions and whatnot. Sometimes when I play a riff that’s what a lot of movement, and it is when I heard that song on the TV over someone’s about to sit back and learn just listen to the rhythm and sing over the top and then see if I can play and sing at the same time. So it just depends on how complicated it is sometimes

Do you have an idea when Tremonti might be touring next year?

MT: The album should be out next summer, and we should be touring by then.

When will you start recording a new Alter Bridge album?

MT: We’re supposed to deliver a new Alter Bridge album to the label in mid-2019.

Any memorable moments from the O2 concert?

MT: I met the Prince of Qatar.

Do you have a favorite guitar that you use in the studio?

MT: I mean I have a lot of favorites but the studio, but for the lower tuned stuff, I’ll use some of my signature baritone guitars.  I’ll use my charcoal burst guitar for some leads.

Any Pedals?

MT: I’m not much of a pedal guy.  I just use amps.  I make the best out of the amp that I’m using. 

Do you have any endorsement products coming out?

I have my signature low wattage amp being announced at NAMM 2018.  It’s going to be a 40-watt amp.

Alter Bridge’s new record Live at the O2 will be out September 8th, 2017 via Napalm Records

What’s New With Alter Bridge’s Mark Tremonti: The Interview

By Andrew Catania

Mark Tremonti is a successful musician.  He’s a family man, humble, very outgoing, lyricist, and guitarist.  One thing he’s good at, he’s good at putting out good music.  Whether it’s Alter Bridge or his solo band Tremonti, you’re going to get a good album.  I sat down with Mark to discuss Alter Bridge, his solo band, and his future tour and recording plans.

 

Hi, Mark! How are you?

Hi good, how are you?

I’m doing fine thanks! Doing fine! I hope the tour is going well.  Rusty Cooley texted me last night and said he was with you.

Yes! Nice!  I got to see him briefly last night for an hour in Albuquerque

How’s the tour going?  Your new album sounds great!

Thanks,  man! It’s going well! We’ve got about five more shows before the US leg is done and head on over to Australia

So my question I’ve wanted to ask you for years is how did you go from guitar player in one good band in the late 90’s early 2000’s to the guitar in an another awesome band, you’ve had a solo record, you’ve worked with Wolfie Van Halen and your solo album was heavier than the previous two albums you did with both your bands.  How did you do all this?  What is your success to all this?  You’ve had very successful music come out.

I think it’s all about the songs.  I love writing songs.  I spend a lot of time writing at any given moment, and I don’t think I’ll ever release all the idea’s I’ve ever written, but I try to get the idea’s out, so they don’t go to waste

Is it true you keep a file on your computer of song’s you might not have put out on a Tremonti album or an Alter Bridge album to keep them there in case your next record comes up, and you go through your files

I’ve just got a bank of you know like a hard drive bank of parts you know not completed songs.  I keep them in parts and when it come’s time to do a record I arrange them

Do you write the lyrics or the music first?

I do the melodies and then the music first.  Sometimes the melodies will have some key phrases that I’ll work on but most of the time I do the lyrics last because you know you can sing one part about going to school and another part about driving a bus and it won’t match so you’ve got to rewrite lyrics, so it lets you know if these parts are going together.

Take me back to early on when you started to play guitar, who influenced you to pick up? What was the first kind of guitar you had? How did all that come about?

I just was drawn to it every time I would hear a guitar breakdown in a song even in a pop song.  When I was a kid I remember hearing Boston songs, and even like J. Geils Band songs it would just drop down to a guitar riffing out, and I’d just loved the sound of it, and I was obsessed with it, and my buddy had a brother who played guitar and he’d always have his door closed and I ‘d hear it through the door and I asked my friend do you think he’ll let me play it? And he was like, “hell no my brother will kill you!”  So for years, I asked for a guitar for Christmas, and finally, I bought one for $10 from my buddy.

What kind was it?

It was an imitation, Les Paul.  It was a Tara

Oh wow! OK! When you had that, did you take lessons or were you self-taught?

I took one lesson, and I asked if he could teach me how to play Metallica back in the day, and he said no, I don’t know that song, I’ll show it to you next time.  After my second lesson,  he didn’t have it prepared for me, so I quit!

(laughter)

He tried to teach me the Mel Bay 101 book, and it wasn’t what I wanted to learn

So you just taught yourself what you wanted to do?

Yes! Self-taught and I’m glad I am now because it was a process that gave me my sound.  It didn’t move me into a guitar teacher sound.

Do you consider yourself a shredder? Or a different kind of player?

It’s crazy! Like some of these guys like Rusty is my good friend, a freak of nature on the guitar.  I’m a much different guitar player.  We all have our different strengths and weaknesses you know, and I think if you play the guitar for years you’re going to have a lot of the various experiences than other guys. I consider myself a songwriting guitar player, and that’s most exciting.

You can hold your own because you’re not just a guitar player, you’re excellent lyricists as well.

Thank you!

Alder Bridge, Tremonti even yourself with Creed.  Your lyrics are just phenomenal.

Thank you very much!

The Alter Bridge record is your best to date. I’m not saying that some of your other stuff isn’t good, but this is good! 

Thank you very much.  Yes, we worked hard on it, and if you’re not getting better, you’re getting worse, I’d always say.  You’ve got to make your new album better than your previous ones.

Tell me about your gear.  I know you’re a Les Paul fan but what are you using for your tour?  What’s your set-up?

I have a signature model PRS that I play, guitar-wise.  Amp-wise I have for years now I’ve used a Mesa Boogie triple rectifier paired up with a Bogner Uberschall, and it’s a very simple rig.  It only has just a few pedals in front of it.  I’ve got my signature Wah pedal in front of it, and my tube screamer and that is pretty much it. I pretty much run two halves stacked at all times. For clean I just dial back the volume and clean it up that way

Nice!

I used to have a real complicated rig, but now I just feel like since I’ve done my solo project I simplified the rig and I just kept it that way for Alter Bridge.

Getting back to what you’re saying, you are a different kind of guitar player because I’ve seen you in interviews, I’ve followed you for a long time, you’re just like a regular everyday person.  You write good music; you play guitar, you’re a very approachable person.  Do you think that has a lot to do with the success that you’ve had? You seem very humble about it; you’re not like one of the ‘ego ‘ kind of guys

It’s just not my personality.  I’ve never been that kind of person.  There’s always for every great guitar player there’s always going to be 1,000 people better than that player.  I’ve seen it over and over again.  If you look on Instagram or YouTube or whatever, you’re going to see guys you’ve never heard of that blow your mind.  They might not do what you do as good as you do it but they do their own thing, and you’ve got to respect somebody that develops their sound and have something that you want to add to your sound

If we were going to have a conversation say 15 years ago or that would you believe that you’d be as successful as you are today with mainly two bands and a solo album?  Would you think that if we talked 15 years ago?

I’m not sure you know.  I probably wouldn’t have believed it before my first band got a deal. I just kind of seen that if you work hard and have previous success and try to repeat it with the same work ethic you can kind of keep going as long as you keep your head in the game and keep a solid fan base you know, you keep your fan base happy and give them solid music, you’re not just spitting stuff out there, you can keep going.

In Alter Bridge, who is the one who writes the most lyrics?  Is it you,  Myles?  Do you guy’s share most of it?

Well, Myles and I  write everything for Alter Bridge.  Usually, we’ll write parts, and we’ll give them to one another like I’ll write a chorus, he’ll write a verse, and I’ll write a riff, he’ll write a bridge, and we’ll piece it together like puzzle pieces, and then he’ll go and finish the lyrics  I’ll write parts with melodies and I’ll have some filler songs and I’ll let him kind of suit the words to the overall song.

Are you doing any guitar clinics while you are out on tour?

Yes, I do one every day. Every show day I do one around 2:00 right before so I run up to sound-check at 4:00 I start at 2:00 and then it’s usually scheduled for an hour and I like to double it, so it’s a real time roughly

Who are some of the guitarists that you listen to these days?  I know you’re a big Joe Bonamassa fan, I’ve read that.

Yes, absolutely! Joe is amazing. Joe is about the best there can be and then Derek Truck I think is amazing.  There’s Shawn Tubbs he’s a guitar player that I’ve discovered that I’m really into at the moment. Eric Gales, another good player.  Yes, I mean there’s just so many.

You’ve got a lot of touring going on.  What is 2017 going to bring?  Are you going to be doing another Tremonti album?  Or are you just pretty much going to concentrate on Alter Bridge this year?

I’m going to be writing a Tremonti album.  After this tour is over, I’m going to have the guy’s come to town and start writing and just kind of pick our moments to keep writing and probably get a record out next year

OK.  Are you going to have Wolfie (Van Halen) back in the band?

I don’t believe so; he’s doing his project right now.  It’s either he’s playing bass in somebody else’s band, or he’s singing and playing bass and drums and everything in his project right now, and I’m sure he’s going to want to put all his efforts into promoting that.

Do you have any sound direction you want to go with the next Tremonti album?

In a perfect world, I want to kind of split it up.  You know I don’t want to get trapped into having to do massive records all the time because it’s something I really wanted to get out with the solo project was the heavier side of my writing but I don’t want to abandon some of the melodic atmospheres of stuff altogether so I ought to do just like I did the last time, do two albums and have two different sounds.  Have one be more atmospheric in music, acoustic, real melodic and have the other one be straight up heavy

Regarding when you’re on the road, do you play your guitar hours on end in the day? Are you writing on the road?

Yes, I play guitar as much as I can so you know when I go out on tour I look at it as a window of time where I can dive into the guitar a lot.  When I’m at home it’s tough because I’ve got two kids and responsibilities at home, so if I get in an hour and a half at home I’m lucky, when I’m on tour I can put in 6 hours a day you know which is definitely a good day Yes, kids will keep you busy.

 

When you’re playing do you improvise much at all or do you pretty much stay where the core of it all is?

No, I mean I love to improvise.  I wish I had done it at a younger age.  I’m the kind of player that will always make other solo’s and try to mimic them note for note, and I was never thrown into that situation where there’s a blues band or something that I had to improvise with. I try to improvise a little bit every day just to try to break out of that regime of a guitar player and just kind of flow freely you know.  I want to be invited to play with a great blues player you know to hang.  Metal was always my thing I never knew the blues style of playing, but as I get older, I love it!

Regarding your playing, how would you describe your playing would you consider yourself blues?  

Rock / Blues-ish. It’s based on metal, but the tunings I use are the way I play.  It’s just really experimental.  I try to go places where I think other people are not going to go when it comes to writing parts and finger style patterns and what not.  When I do my clinic’s, I show people how I try to make mistakes.  I try to come up with chord voicings that I’ve never heard before, or somebody would never want to hear before.  Try to make something sound as bad as possible, and when you’re doing that for a half an hour or even 10 minutes, you’re going to come up with something amazing by just stumbling down the path that nobody’s ever been down.

Do you have any pre-show warm ups that are original to you?

I used to go through our set list and just knock out each solo a couple of times just so they were fresh in my mind but now I’m just doing whatever I’m trying to learn, and I’ll just be jamming on that and learn on that until the show starts up and by then I’m pretty warmed up.

When you have a song list, do you ever skip over or tell your band mates we’re going to try something else and kind of switch things up?

We switch it up every night.  We try to, you know we have a lot of fans that follow us from show to show and so we want to make sure there are a couple song’s different every night we’re always rotating stuff

Are there songs that you won’t play live?

No, they’re just song’s that when we play a song live we’ve got to take a couple of days to rehearse it because we’ve got five albums now, so there’s no way for us to pull them out at any given moment we have to go back and re-run them.

Where do you see Alter Bridge going from here?  You’ve got a strong album out.  You have high sales  You’ve got a successful tour going on.  What would be the next step for this band, for Alter Bridge for you and Myles and the guys?

We’re just really digging into this tour.  It’s been about the most touring we’ve ever done on an album, and we’re only half way there, so we’re going to keep going through the end of the year and take a breather after that and then do a normal cycle and let ourselves live a little while before we write the next one but we’ll never stop.  We’ll always be writing for the next record, so there’s a lot of idea’s that are sitting there right now that won’t materialize until the next Alter Bridge record comes out

Very nice!  And just as you’re a parent and you’re a musician, is it hard to balance family life with on the road?

That’s the worst thing about what I do it’s any day I feel away from my kids is a wasted day. Playing the best show of my life is not as special as spending time with my family.  Just last week I rented a tour bus just for them, and they came out for a week, and whenever I can get them out, I beg my wife to bring them out but now that they’re getting older and with school, it’s tougher to get them away.  I try to plan.

We just drove into Albuquerque and no fool you, 5:00!

(laughter)

The thing that I get from your fans and what I get is you have an A section of Alter Bridge fans that are on one spectrum all the way to the other.  Have you seen that at your shows?

Oh yes!  We have fans that also love very different styles of music.  We’ve got people that like heavy stuff, we’ve got people that like soft stuff, we’ve got old, young and people from all around the world.  It’s great to see that there’s something for everybody

Guitar pics, I was going to ask you, are you one of those who likes the 2mm thick ones? Or are you like the jazzy thin.   What kind of pic’s are you using?

I use a 1mm nylon

Very nice!

Yes, it’s a pretty standard pic.  I went the jazz three route for a little while, it was good but then I just kind of think I didn’t have one around, and I went back to my 1mm nylon, and it just felt like home to me, so I just stuck with that.

Are you endorsed with PRS?

Yes, I’ve had a signature model now for 16 years or so

Who else are you endorsed with?

Morley Pedals, T-Rex Pedals, D’Addario Strings that’s about it.

What string gauge are you using on your guitar?

The gauges are all over the place.  Each of my guitars has a piece of tape on the back that has the listing of the guitar gauge because we use so many tunings the guitar measures’ strings are all over the place but if I’ve got a guitar at home I’m just writing on or playing on I use on the E, A and D string I the strings from a set of 11’s and G, B, E and I’ll use a set of 10’s

Nice! And D’Addario strings how do you like them?  I’m kind of new with D’Addario.  They came standard on my Ovation and my Rusty Cooley RC7.  Do you think that D’Addario is a premier product?  I mean I know you’re endorsed by them, but I just started using them.  They seem pretty nice.

Yes, you know someone told me a long time ago that there are only three string manufacturing plants and there’s a bunch of companies that use them. To my knowledge, I should probably study this more and experiment with it more, but I don’t think there’s a huge difference between string companies, to be honest with you. I heard there’s some new fancy line out that has a lot more definition and shelf life going, but I don’t know what that is.  I’ve just been so used to D’Addario’s for so long.  You know I played Blue Steel’s when I was younger, they all seem the same to me, I don’t know.

Do you have any advice to any of your fans that are starting to play guitar up and coming that want to hit the instrument and start playing the instrument for the first time?  Do you have any advice for them?

Yes, I would say to try to be a writer right off the bat.  There are so many great guitar players out there that just focus on the guitar but not the songwriting side of things.  That gives you longevity being able to do this and being able to make a living at it Excellent advice.

Follow Alter Bridge and Mark Tremonti @

https://www.facebook.com/alterbridge/

https://www.facebook.com/MarkTremonti/

Doug Marks – The Metal Method and his Legacy

By Andrew Catania

Doug Marks, a prominent figure in the contemporary rock and metal guitar community thanks to his more than 30 years of experience as a guitar teacher. He developed what would be known as one of the most popular guitar methods of the world: The Metal Method. Doug’s early days as a teacher started doing private guitar lessons in Denver, Colorado as a way to help other fellow guitar players to develop their potential; he also learned from his students’ questions: when he didn’t know about something, he did the necessary research to find the answer, making him grow as a musician and teacher. When he later moved to Los Angeles, his students were interested in keeping in touch with him. They thought that Doug’s method of instruction was excellent, so he was encouraged by his pupils to find a way to give long distance guitar instruction.

By 1982 he was pursuing a career as a heavy metal musician with his band, named Hawk. Doug had the opportunity to work this project with many great musicians that were not so known at the time: Charlie Morrill (ex-Black Night), Teddy Days (ex Hellion), Scott Travis (Judas Priest, Racer X, Thin Lizzy), David Fefolt (Forgotten Realm, Valhalla) and  Matt Sorum (Guns N’ Roses, Velvet Revolver). Doug managed to release the first Hawk studio release independently in 1986 as his personal project, a solid ten track album with Marks taking the leading guitar role, demonstrating a clean, bright and virtuosic heavy metal sound that was going to support his reputation as a metal guitar teacher.

The Metal Method

To keep in touch with his former students from Denver, and to make his method available to a larger audience, Doug Marks started to develop what was going to be known as The Metal Method. Metal Method Guitar Lessons has founded in 1982 thanks to his students’ questions; this was the way in which the method was shaped from the very beginning, and it owes his success and popularity to the fact that, to this day, Metal Method answers your needs as a guitar player.

The method consisted of a mail-order business in which Doug made his lessons available through audio cassettes and video tapes, where he explained the foundations of guitar playing, from the very beginning, under the assumption that you never picked up a guitar before. This was going to be known as the Basic Course in 1982, and it was the genesis of all. Doug takes you step by step into the paths of heavy metal technique and musical theory in a moderately increasing difficulty that is reasonable regardless of your playing level, avoiding you the pain of getting frustrated with impossible goals and overwhelming information.

The examples are played at different speeds, so you can easily keep up with the music, allowing you to analyze and practice each lesson in a way that you can get the most out of it, without being overwhelmed trying to play them at full speed right away. One of the most successful factors of this course was the fact that you can feel how Doug Marks is talking to you, not to a microphone or recording equipment, but to you as a student, as someone who’s eager to improve! That’s something that was not being offered in the market back in the day: a personal relationship between tutor and student, which is something the Metal Method offers.

The method was successful right from the beginning thanks to the philosophy of great guitar lessons at a lower price, with a high volume of sales. It was expanded into many editions that focused on specific areas of the guitar technique: Speed and Accuracy for Lead Guitar, Easy Guitar Modes, Guitar Mastery Package, Classic Guitar Licks and many others made in collaboration with guitar legends like Michael Angelo Batio: Speed Kills 1 and 2, Star Licks Master Series videos are an example. The Method has grown into a thriving business with plenty of information for all guitar players out there. In Doug’s website, he interacts with the people, answering their doubts and hanging around with them, showing how down-to-earth he is, and proving that he cares about the students and their learning process.

nice-half-smile

The Metal Method Legacy

It is amazing how the Doug Marks legacy is evident to this day. Worldwide known guitar masters such as Rusty Cooley or Myles Kennedy have said how important the Metal Method was to them! Doug is right when he states the following on his website: “We’ve been in business since 1982 for one reason – our program works!” The basic course is still going now in his 2016 revision! In the field of guitar lessons, we are always searching for the perfect answer to questions like “how can I play faster?” “How can I approach lead guitar?” “What is the musical theory I should know to play what I like?” and the Metal Method is positively answering these questions to all of us!

The influence of the Method has been around for 34 years already, helping many guitar players out there to achieve the desired improvement in their guitar playing technique. And don’t let the word “metal” fool you: if you are into any other genre like blues, country, jazz, rock, and roll…you will get plenty of advice and useful information from the Method, because of all the resources it has to give to any aspiring artist.