Creed: Second Coming
GUITAR WORLD A few years back you gave an interview in which you described your time in Creed as a nightmare. You were determined not to return to the band. What changed?
MARK TREMONTI It was just the passing of time. We’d all started families, had kids, grown up a little. Scott had also begun to reach out a little bit and say nice things about us in the press. We knew he wanted to get back together—I just didn’t know if it was going to be another time that we’d do it and end up fighting. But I decided it was worth having a sit-down with him, and I noticed right away that that old mean streak he had when dealing with me or anybody else was gone. He’s very calm now and doesn’t butt heads with anybody. He’s as happy as can be and not stirring things up. It’s funny, because back in the day Scott was the guy that, if you were getting fired from this organization, you were getting fired by Scott Stapp. He was the guy to watch out for. I feel like now I’ve taken on that role. [laughs] I’m a nice person, but I work hard at what I do. If somebody does something wrong, they’re gonna hear about it. So we’ve shifted roles in a way.
GW At that first meeting, were there issues that still had to be worked out between Scott and the rest of the band?
TREMONTI We didn’t even bother with that. It would have been impossible to go back and fix things, so we just left it unsaid. We had kind of a tacit agreement that we wouldn’t bring up the past; we would just move forward. It was like, Hey I remember the bad times, but I far more remember all the good times. We had eight or nine years of good moments, and only one and a half years of real shit. So we kept that in mind.
GW You and Scott started the band together back in the mid Nineties. It must have been difficult to see the person you grew up with and built a career beside destroy what you created.
TREMONTI It was tough, because all of a sudden you have that one live-wire guy who’s capable of anything, at any time. We never knew what was going to happen. We could be going to meet some important person and, who knows, maybe Scott would get in a fistfight with him. He was that kind of guy at the time. And it’s funny, it always comes down to money with people. I always get asked the question: “How could you walk away from all that money?” It’s like, dude, you make enough money where, at some point, all you want is happiness. I made enough money to be able to go and search out what I wanted to do artistically. Creed allowed me to do that. So I was able to go off and experiment with Alter Bridge, and I’m thankful for that. And then six years went by, and a lot of things healed. Scott had a few wake-up calls and now has a newfound respect for everyone around him. He’s a changed man.
GW Why did you choose to do the reunion tour before releasing the new album?
TREMONTI Because when we first got together, it was with the intent that there was only going to be a tour. As time went on, we decided we should do a record as well. But it was too late to get it out before the tour, which was already scheduled for the summertime. But it all worked out. Since we were on a tight schedule with the tour kickoff, we had only two and a half months to write and record the album. So it was a fire drill to get the record done, but that brought a nice energy to the songs.
GW Did you start fresh when it came to composing the material for Full Circle, or were you using ideas that might have otherwise been intended for Alter Bridge?
TREMONTI What’s funny is that when we first started doing Alter Bridge a few years back, people would always say, “Ah, it’s just Creed Part II ,” and all that. So if I ever wrote something that I thought sounded too much like Creed, I’d just file it away in a folder on my laptop. When it came time to do Creed again I had all these ideas that I couldn’t use before. All of a sudden they were usable.
GW Any songs in particular?
TREMONTI Most of the music on this record, and a lot of the melody ideas as well, were already sitting there, just in pieces. The parts to “Rain” had been kicking around from a while back. And the guitar work on “Away in Silence” was actually on my instructional DVD [2009’s Mark Tremonti: The Sound & the Story]. I remember my brother used to love that guitar part, and he didn’t want me to put it on the DVD because he said, “You’ll ruin it from being a song.” But I was like, “Don’t worry, I can still use it later on!” And I did.