Mark Tremonti has a lot of bright things in 2019 as he sits to discuss what he has in store for the year ahead with Loud Hailer.
Mark Tremonti is one very busy man. When he’s not on the road or recording with Alter Bridge, he’s working with his namesake band, Tremonti. Last year, Tremonti’s A Dying Machine was released, which also had an accompanying book. The man himself sits down with Loud Hailer to talk in depth about the birth of the concept album and book. In this interview, we also discuss touring with Sevendust and the future projects that are on the way for the legendary guitarist. There is a lot to look forward to!
LH: So, we are here to talk about the tour with Sevendust. That bill looks amazing! I know that you have been friends with Sevendust for a long time. Are you excited to get to share the stage with those guys?
Mark: Absolutely! It’s like a family to me. We’ve been friends since the late nineties. So, it’s going to be awesome. There is family and a good fanbase. I think there is a great fanbase between the two bands. So, I think it is going to be a great tour. There’s a lot of good music.
LH: Tremonti have several albums under their belt already. How is the setlist going to be? Are you still going to focus mainly on “A Dying Machine” or are you going to mix it up a little bit?
Mark: We do all the favorites from all the records and mix them up, but we lean on the new record a little bit more because we want to get that music out there.
LH: I’m also sure that it’s more fun for you to get out there and play some fresh material.
Mark: Yeah absolutely! You really want to push the new stuff and get people to hear it. The new stuff isn’t going to be a favorite until you play it for people. So, we have to give it a chance.
LH: Speaking of the new album, now that you are several months in the release cycle of A Dying Machine, how has the response been from the current fans and new ones that have gravitated toward your band?
Mark: It’s been great, man! Everyone that has heard it or have come in contact with it loves it. So, the response has been great. I’d still like to get it to a bunch of people that haven’t. I still want to get it out to even more people and we are working on it, but everyone that is familiar with the band loves the record.
LH: Which one is your favorite to play live and does that change throughout tours?
Mark: The title track to the record would definitely be my favorite to play live, for sure. It’s my favorite song on the record in general.
LH: Let’s talk about the title track of A Dying Machine. It’s one of the lengthier songs on the record and it’s just so well composed. It’s definitely one of the best-written songs. What was the composition of that like, because it just feels like it took a little more time to make that one?
Mark: That was really the first song that set the wheels in motion behind the whole record. When I was writing the song, I came up with the lyric “You’re a dying machine” and it spawned all these ideas in my head of what it could be about. It was a labor of love trying to get that song finished. Once I did, I didn’t want to stray from that vibe of that song. That’s how I got the concept. I’m not really a big fan of concepts records, but I wanted to tell that whole story and I decided to make it a concept record.
LH: One thing that I think is great about the record is that, while you’re telling this story of a machine that was built to love, you are also making a song that is relatable. The lyrics could really help someone in life. Did you ever try to tell a story and be relatable or did that just kind of happen as you progressed through the writing?
Mark: When I wrote that song after I was done with it, I didn’t want to leave that mood that I had started with and I wanted to tell the story. I got 4 or 5 songs deep and just thought “I’m going to make this record a concept record.” When I was nearly done with the entire album, I wanted to finally tackle writing a book. I’ve had that on my list of things I have wanted to accomplish for a lot of years now. I decided this would be the perfect time to come out with the album and the accompanying book. It’s something I’ve never seen before and I thought it would be interesting for the concept to have a version in a book form. It took a hell of a lot of work, but I’m really glad that I did it.
LH: Even though you were 4 or 5 songs in when you decided to make a concept and “A Dying Machine” was the birth of that, not being a big fan of concept records, did you face challenges making the album?
Mark: Yeah, but the challenges were neutralized by the fact that I had a specific thing I was writing about. Sometimes when you’re writing songs, you question what they are going to be about and you kind of have to pull the meaning from somewhere or some life experiences that inspired you or someone else or maybe something you see on the news. I had a specific goal; sit down, get it done, think about what the next character development should be in this book and then write about it. It’s good to have an outline and then go after it, but it made it more difficult with the lyrics having to be something revolving around the story. It couldn’t just be loose. It had to be something that made sense.
LH: Would you say the song to sum it all up would be A Dying Machine since that was the birth of the idea?
Mark: Yeah absolutely! That’s the core of the story.
LH: So, even though you’re not a big fan of concept records, is there any chance of a sequel?
Mark: It all depends on the overall success of it. You know, like I said it took so much effort and so much work. It was a labor of love. I loved it, but to dive into a part two, I’d really have to feel confident that that’s what people would want. I’m at the tail end now of a publishing deal for the book. So, it’s exciting for me. So, once that happens we will get an official release with Diversion Books.
LH: That’s exciting! So it will be sold where all books are sold like Books-a-Million, Amazon, and stuff like that?
Mark: Yeah! That’s the goal. I’m trying to get this distribution deal. It’s really exciting for me. If that goes well, I will definitely do a sequel.
LH: Now that the book is out are there any quotes or sections of the book that are your favorite?
Mark: All of it is my favorite and I really like the story of Rhapsody and the “As the Silence Becomes Me” section of the book. Just the creation of Stella in the book is amazing, that was really fun to edit, just to see how she comes to life. I really wanted to make sure that people loved her and thought she was a great character. When she first came to life, that was almost like my “Frankenstein” moment and I loved it! The biggest challenge was to make a character with flaws and people still loving her. I don’t want to blow the plot for anyone, but people have flaws and they are still loved.
LH: Would any characters in the book be a small reflection of you?
Mark: Brennan has a lot of similarities and he is someone who I’d like to be. He’s a good standup guy. Things don’t work out for him (laughs), but he’s similar to whom I might be in the book.
LH: You got the tour, the publishing deal, and a lot of exciting stuff. What other than that is in the future for you, Mark?
Mark: I’m working around the clock writing a new Alter Bridge record. I’m going on this tour and I’ll be writing during the tour and then when I finish, I’ll be hitting the studio with Elvis here in Orlando recording an Alter Bridge record. Once I finish tracking, I’ll go to Europe and do a North American festival circuit. Then we will be setting up the Alter Bridge record and then going on tour at the end of the year with Alter Bridge.
Tremonti’s tour with Sevendust kicks off in Houston, TX on February 1. With some shows already being sold-out, be sure to get your tickets now.
Photos By: Kirstine Walton