Mark Thomas Tremonti (born July 18, 1974) is an American musician and singer-songwriter, best known as the lead guitarist of the rock bands Creed and Alter Bridge. He is a founding member of both bands, and has also collaborated with many other artists over the years. He released his debut solo album, All I Was, in July 2012.

Since his early years with Creed, Tremonti has received positive recognition as a guitarist and songwriter and has received a number of accolades, including one Grammy Award for Creed's single "With Arms Wide Open." He was also named "Guitarist of the Year" for three consecutive years by Guitar World, and in 2011 he was listed in Total Guitar magazine as the fourth greatest heavy metal guitarist of all time.

Early Life

Tremonti was born on July 18, 1974, in Detroit, Michigan. He grew up in an Italian Roman Catholic family in Grosse Pointe, just outside of Detroit, for most of his childhood life before moving to Wilmette, Illinois. He began to become enthralled with music, and bought his first guitar at the age of eleven. When he was fifteen, his family moved again to Orlando, Florida, where he enrolled in Lake Highland Preparatory School. During this time, his mother was diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus, which left Tremonti devastated. After graduation, he moved to Clemson, South Carolina to attend Clemson University to major in finance. After his freshman year in college, he moved back to Florida to enroll in Florida State University, where he was reunited with his then future Creed band mate Scott Stapp, who Tremonti had known in high school.

Career

Creed

Tremonti is a founding member of the American hard rock band Creed. He formed the band with lead vocalist Scott Stapp in 1993 with fellow members Brian Marshall and Scott Phillips joining as bassist and drummer, respectively. Rhythm guitarist Brian Brasher was also briefly a member from 1993 until 1995 when the band was known by its original name, Naked Toddler. While often criticized and parodied, Creed is recognized by many as one of the major acts of the post-grunge movement of the late 1990s and early 2000s. Tremonti and Stapp have been collectively recognized as one of the most prolific songwriting teams in all of rock music.

The band released their debut album My Own Prison in 1997 to strong mainstream success, selling over six million copies. Four singles were released from the album: "My Own Prison," "Torn," "What's This Life For," and "One." Each of these songs reached No. 1 on Billboard's Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, making Creed the first band to achieve such a feat with a debut album. My Own Prison was followed in 1999 by Human Clay, which was an immediate success and certified diamond and eleven times platinum by the RIAA. The band released four singles from Human Clay: "Higher," "With Arms Wide Open," "What If," and "Are You Ready." "Higher" spent a record-breaking 17 weeks on the top of the rock radio charts. Marshall left the band in 2000 due to increasing tension with Stapp and to pursue other interests. He was temporarily replaced by touring bassist Brett Hestla. Creed also won their first, and to date only, Grammy Award for Best Rock Song for "With Arms Wide Open" in 2001. That same year, after a tour, the band released another multi-platinum selling album, Weathered, from which six singles were released: "My Sacrifice," "One Last Breath," "Hide," "Don't Stop Dancing," "Weathered," and "Bullets." It would be the band's only album without Marshall on bass; Tremonti handled the bass parts himself. The tour to support this record was overwhelmingly successful but ended with a considerably controversial concert in Chicago that ultimately led to the band's breakup. The band announced that they had disbanded in 2004, citing tension between Stapp and the other members, Tremonti in particular. The three instrumental members went on to found Alter Bridge while Stapp opted for a solo career, and Creed released their Greatest Hits in November 2004.

However, after months of speculation, despite early claims from Tremonti that Creed would never return, it was announced that Creed had reunited with plans for a tour and a new album. The record, Full Circle, was released in October 2009 and became the band's only album to not be certified by the RIAA. "Overcome," "Rain," and "A Thousand Faces" were released as singles. Creed supported the album by touring throughout North and South America, Europe, and Australia during the summers of 2009 and 2010. The band also released a record-breaking concert film titled Creed Live in December 2009. Tremonti, Marshall, and Phillips, owing to the reunion of Creed, now plan to alternate tours between their primary band Alter Bridge and Creed, their side project, with the singers of both bands working on their own projects while the other band is active. A fifth Creed album was expected in late 2011 or early 2012 according to Tremonti, and in early 2012 the band reconvened to tour and start work on a fifth album. However, relations between Stapp and Tremonti cooled and the album was abandoned, with the future of the band uncertain.

Alter Bridge

Alter Bridge was formed in January 2004 by Tremonti, Marshall, and Phillips after Creed disbanded. They asked Myles Kennedy, formerly of The Mayfield Four and the current vocalist for Slash's solo project, to be their singer. The newly formed band released their debut album, One Day Remains, in August 2004 on Wind-up Records. It saw mostly negative reviews, with many critics calling Alter Bridge an offshoot from Creed, but the album became Alter Bridge's only RIAA-certified album, going gold. Three singles were released from One Day Remains: "Open Your Eyes," "Find the Real," and "Broken Wings." After a tour, it was followed by a second album, Blackbird, in October 2007 on Universal Republic. Blackbird was met with largely positive reviews and released four singles: "Rise Today," "Ties That Bind," "Watch Over You," and "Before Tomorrow Comes." Its title track received strong acclaim from reviewers, and its guitar solo, which was performed by both Tremonti and Kennedy, was later named the greatest guitar solo of all time by Guitarist magazine in 2011.

Alter Bridge embarked on a successful world tour in support of Blackbird, recording their December 7, 2008, show at the Heineken Music Hall in Amsterdam, Netherlands, for a live DVD titled Live from Amsterdam. A single-disc version of this DVD was sold exclusively at venues during the Creed reunion tour in 2009 and on Amazon with a Blu-ray version and a deluxe DVD edition scheduled to be released later in stores. However, the distribution in stores was delayed as a result of record label issues multiple times, causing frustration amongst Alter Bridge fans and band members. It was finally released in stores in North America on January 11, 2011, after two years of delays.

Alter Bridge's third album, AB III, was released on October 11, 2010, in Europe and the UK on Roadrunner Records, and on November 9, 2010, in North America on Alter Bridge Recordings via EMI. A loose concept album, AB III has received critical acclaim, with Rick Florino from Artistdirect calling it a "sprawling masterpiece." Its lead single, "Isolation," reached No. 1 on active rock radio and the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks, the band's first single to do so. The band toured extensively in support of the record, with Black Stone Cherry and Like a Storm in the spring of 2011, in addition to co-headlining the second annual Carnival of Madness Tour with Theory of a Deadman. The tour continued into January 2012. Four more singles from AB III have since been released: "I Know It Hurts," "Ghost of Days Gone By," "Wonderful Life," and "Life Must Go On." The band also released a second concert film titled Live at Wembley on March 26, 2012. The band reunited in late 2012 and recorded from April to July 2013 their fourth album titled Fortress, released on September 30, 2013.

Tremonti

During the time that Creed was at the end of its career in the early 2000s, Tremonti had intentions to form a speed metal side project called Downshifter (with Hatebreed vocalist Jamey Jasta and Slipknot drummer Joey Jordison), but the project never got off the ground. Later, in 2008, Tremonti and his brother formed FRET12, an online musicians' community, production company, and record label, to release his 2008 instructional guitar documentary DVD titled Mark Tremonti: The Sound & the Story, wherein he teaches all of his guitar solos from Alter Bridge's sophomore release, Blackbird. He also teaches warm-ups, alternate tunings, finger picking style, legato techniques, and other advanced exercises. His DVD, which is the first in The Sound & the Story series of instructional DVDs, also features guest appearances from Myles Kennedy, Michael Angelo Batio, Rusty Cooley, Bill Peck, and Troy Stetina. The aforementioned series also includes DVDs by Leslie West and Troy Stetina.

Tremonti later began expressing interest in releasing a solo album in 2010. "The bands are so different," he said of his two current main projects. "And I write so much. I'm going to do a solo record because there are some songs that I'd hate to think wouldn't see the light of day because they don't work for Creed or Alter Bridge." He is playing guitar and singing lead on all of the songs himself, and former Submersed members Eric Friedman and Garrett Whitlock perform on the record as well. Tremonti described the music as "melody driven," and in a May 2011 interview, Tremonti said that it would be a "heavier-sounding" thrash metal album. He later said that the album is "probably heavier than either Creed or Alter Bridge," and that it would have "lots of soloing."

On January 20, 2012, Tremonti launched a website for his solo album where fans can sign up to receive news, previews, live streams, and giveaways. A list of working song titles was also included on the webpage, as well as the album title, All I Was. He later launched a new website for his solo work after the album's release. It was set for a July 10, 2012, release on FRET12 Records and "You Waste Your Time" will be the first single from the album, and according to FMQB, "You Waste Your Time" would be released to active rock radio stations in May 2012. The entire song was made available for listening on May 6, 2012, one day before its release, on Loudwire.com. One day after its release, the song reached number 10 on the iTunes Rock Songs Chart, and Tremonti's live music video for it premiered on May 17, 2012, on Noisecreep. The album's official release date was announced on Ultimate Guitar Archive as July 17, 2012.

His solo band originally consisted of Friedman and Whitlock alongside Alter Bridge and Creed bassist Brian Marshall playing bass guitar as a session/touring member. The band performed its first solo concert at The Social in Orlando, Florida, on July 17, 2012, with the performance filmed for a future video release. Wolfgang Van Halen replaced Brian Marshall as a touring bassist in September 2012.

Tremonti are currently recording their second album with Wolfgang Van Halen playing bass.

Other works

Tremonti has worked with several artists since his beginning years with Creed. In 2001 he collaborated with comedian Larry the Cable Guy on his comedy album Lord, I Apologize, on which Tremonti is credited as a performer and songwriter. Tremonti later recalled, "We had become friends a long time ago, before his career really started to take off. We joked about getting together and doing a song, and he called me up one day to say he actually wanted to do it. So he sang me his idea, and I went to record my guitar lines that day, and the record went gold."

Tremonti later began performing in the neo-classical metal genre with guitarist Michael Angelo Batio, whose 2004 album Hands Without Shadows featured Tremonti as a guest musician on the Deep Purple cover "Burn." He said that he is "really good friends" with Batio, and that working with him was "an honor." Batio later appeared on Tremonti's guitar instructional DVD The Sound & the Story as a guest tutor, along with Myles Kennedy, Troy Stetina, Rusty Cooley, and Bill Peck, and then in 2009 Tremonti appeared on Batio's next album, Hands Without Shadows 2 – Voices, performing a solo on the Metallica medley "Metallica Rules."

In 2004 Tremonti co-produced, with Don Gilmore and Kirk Kelsey, some songs on In Due Time by Submersed, whom Tremonti helped get signed to Wind-up Records. Former Submersed guitarist Eric Friedman recalled his experiences with Tremonti in the studio, saying that watching him "taught us a lot as far as music and songwriting and being able to get across the things we want to get across." Tremonti said that producing is not "something I'd do any time soon again." He later continued working with other artists on the musical side, in 2005 with Fozzy on their album All That Remains, performing a guitar solo on the song "The Way I Am." His Alter Bridge band mate Myles Kennedy also appeared on the album. In 2008 Tremonti made two guest appearances, one with the metalcore band Bury Your Dead on their self-titled album, and another with Sevendust on the song "Hope" from Chapter VII: Hope & Sorrow, which also featured appearances from Myles Kennedy and Chris Daughtry. Tremonti's influences include Metallica and Testament, as well as Pantera, Celtic Frost, Mercyful Fate, Van Halen, Slayer, Ministry.

Personal Life

On December 14, 2002, Tremonti married Victoria Rodriguez, with whom he has two sons, Austen and Pearson. They currently reside in Orlando, Florida.

Tremonti is a collector of guitars, amplifiers, and pinball machines, and is known to enjoy playing table tennis. He is also an avid fan of reading: "Five or six years ago," he told Artistdirect, "I started going crazy reading books. Now, I can't get enough." He has listed works such as the Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin, The Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe, Old Man's War by John Scalzi, The First Law trilogy by Joe Abercrombie, The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran, and On Writing by Stephen King as some of his favorites.

One of Tremonti's brothers, Michael, is Alter Bridge's fan liaison and publicist. Another brother, Dan, has created the artwork for all of the albums by both Alter Bridge and Creed and is the president and creative director of a design/marketing company called Core Twelve. Tremonti's mother died in January 2002 and Alter Bridge's song "In Loving Memory" is a tribute to her.

Filmography

  • Mark Tremonti: The Sound & the Story (2008)
  • WWE: RAW (2005)

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