Alter Bridge

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Alter Bridge

Rock group

Post-grunge, alternative metal band Alter Bridge combines former Creed members Mark Tremonti (songwriter and guitarist) and Scott Phillips (drummer) with former Mayfield Four singer and songwriter Myles Kennedy and original Creed bass player Brian Marshall.

Creed, the former musical home of three members of Alter Bridge, had sold 30 million albums worldwide, had two No. 1 albums, and played concerts for millions of fans. But after personal troubles with Creed singer Scott Stapp broke up the band in 2003, Phillips and Tremonti continued to get together and jam. They called Marshall to ask him to join them. Marshall told a VH1 reporter, "When I got the call from Mark I could tell by the tone of his voice that Alter Bridge was something that he was really excited about and I immediately knew I wanted to be a part of it." He added, "It's great to be working with those guys again, we haven't skipped a beat."

They still needed a singer, and they remembered vocalist Myles Kennedy, whom they had met in 1998 when his former group the Mayfield Four toured with Creed. Tremonti told the VH1 reporter, "None of us could recall hearing someone with his voice or passion … we knew he was the guy. Then he came down to rehearse with us in Orlando and he was one of the nicest and most humble people we had ever met; everything just clicked with all four of us. As we were running through the songs, the future fell into place before our eyes."

They took their name from a bridge on Alter Road in Tremonti's childhood home. Tremonti was not allowed to cross the bridge, which was on the border between Detroit and Grosse Pointe, Michigan, because his parents thought the neighborhood on the other side was too dangerous. To Tremonti, the bridge represented a place of choice, the edge of the unknown. Tremonti told the VH1 reporter that this sense of exploration epitomized the band: "The music is driven by melody and experimentation. It is all about fun, and if it weren't, I doubt any of us would be committed to the new band to the level that we are."

Kennedy grew up on a farm in Spokane, Washington, and during his high school years, he dreamed of playing guitar in a rock band. Using a tennis racket as a prop, he played "air guitar" for hours in front of his bedroom mirror. His father, noticing his obsession, offered to give him a job cleaning out horse stalls at a dollar an hour so he could earn money for guitar lessons. He played guitar in his high school's jazz band and also played the trumpet with the regular school band. After graduating from high school, he completed the Commercial Music/Jazz Studies program at Spokane Falls Community College. Following a busy career with bands Citizen Swing and Mayfield Four, he pursued a solo career before joining Alter Bridge.

Brian Marshall was born in Jackson, Mississippi, and is the son of a drummer. Although he started out playing the drums as a child because his father had them around the house, he switched to bass after his father got annoyed when Marshall used his drums, scratched them, or misplaced them. When he was 16 or 17, his father bought him a bass and a small amplifier. Marshall attended college at Florida State University, where he earned a degree in interior design. He worked as an architect after he graduated, but at the same time, he was playing with the band Creed, and the success of that band steered him back to music full time.

Mark Tremonti became a music fan as a child, when he listened to his older brother's recordings of Kiss, Ted Nugent, and Metallica. He had two guitar lessons as a child, and told an interviewer for Toazted, "[They] tried to teach me ‘Silent Night’ and all these horrible songs that weren't any fun to play, so I quit taking guitar lessons." Now, he said, he learns from other guitar players, and added, "It's great to learn from other guitar players that you respect because you can learn a lot more from another player than you can from a book or a CD."

The band signed a contract with Wind-Up Records in 2004, and released their debut album, One Day Remains, in August of that year. Most of the songs were written by Tremonti; three of them became hit singles. Marshall wrote most of the bass lines, but in an interview posted on his Web site, he said that he was not happy with the final product: "I had written some really cool parts but the producer, Ben Grosse, kind of came in and hacked up some things making it a little more simplistic." He also said, "[We] were being pushed … to get [the album] out so quick that we really didn't have time to develop as a band." However, the album did well despite this assessment, going gold in the United States and gaining many fans in Europe.

Alter Bridge spent the next couple of years touring. Marshall commented in the interview on his Web site that although he loves playing live, touring was "grueling, it's tiresome, you miss home, you miss your dogs, you miss your loved ones."

In 2006, they ended their contract with Wind-Up Records, after some heavy pressure from the label to reform Creed. Marshall said in an interview on his Web site, "They wanted a reunion, so we felt we had to get out of that outfit." They left, having regained the rights to many of their songs and moved to Universal Republic Records, which released their second album, Blackbird, in October. It included the first Alter Bridge single ever released to pop radio, "Before Tomorrow Comes." Marshall told the interviewer on his Web site that his favorite song was the title cut, "Blackbird": "When that song came to be I was on a cloud for a few days. It was like ‘Wow!’ here is this epic song, something like which we've always wanted to do."

When asked what his views were about the band's future, Marshall said on his Web site, "I see us just continuing to tour, continuing to write and continuing to do what we do. I don't know what's going to happen. I know that we have a great record, we're very proud of it and that the best is yet to come." And, in Toazted Tremonti told an interviewer, "You know, we just wanted to put out the music that we loved to do, and whatever happened, happened. That's about it."

For the Record …

Members include Myles Kennedy , vocals, guitar; Brian Marshall , bass; Scott Phillips , drums, percussion, keyboards; Mark Tremonti , vocals, guitar.

Group formed in 2004; released One Day Remains, 2004; released Blackbird, 2006.

Addresses: Record company—Universal Republic Records, 1755 Broadway, 8th Fl., New York, NY 10019. Web site—Alter Bridge Official Web site: http://www.alterbridge.com.

Selected discography

One Day Remains, Wind-Up Records, 2004.

Blackbird, Universal Republic, 2006.

Sources

Online

"Alter Bridge," Toazted.com,http://www.toazted.com/playinterview/893/Interview-with-Mark-Tremonti-on-Fields-of-Rock.html (June 4, 2008).

"Alter Bridge," VH1.com,http://www.vh1.com/artists/az/alter_bridge/bio.jhtml (June 23, 2008).

Brian Marshall Official Web site, http://www.brianmarshallonline.com/bioinline.html (June 4, 2008).

—Kelly Winters

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Alter Bridge

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