Creed: Second Coming
GW The title Full Circle is clearly referential to the band’s reunion. Is there an overarching theme to the album as a whole?
TREMONTI There is. The song “Overcome” says a lot of it. A lot of these lyrics are along the lines of “I’ve changed,” “Give me a second chance,” “I’m trying to overcome the past”—stuff like that. Scott wanted to come out and prove to the world that he’s a changed man, and that he appreciates everything he has.
GW There’s some heavy guitar work on Full Circle, and also more solos than on past Creed records. I’m sure you’re happy about that.
TREMONTI I am. I grew up on speed metal and stuff like that. So I like to play music that’s a little more progressive. The problem is that once you reach a certain level of success, there are all these people around you who are making money off you. So you can’t go be an artist and do whatever you want, because you have to have the big hit song that’s going to pay for the Mercedes-Benz. In our case, we would turn in a record and usually the label wouldn’t bother us too much. But if I threw a horse gallop in there, I’d get laughed at. I don’t want that to happen anymore.
GW You’re less concerned with what everybody else thinks.
TREMONTI Definitely. With Creed, back in the day it felt like we were fighting for survival every step of the way. We always heard, “Your next single’s going to fail,” or “Your second record’s going to bomb.” It was like that our whole career. But at the same time people were giving us their doomsday predictions, we were selling tons of records and tons of concert tickets. So it was weird. Nowadays, we don’t have all the stresses. Now we can just do it because we want to do it. We already have the legacy and the name that’s going to bring people to shows. People who are fans of Creed are going to follow Creed.
GW Over the course of your career, Creed sold more than 25 million records in the U.S. alone. Given the current state of the music industry, that seems like a statistic from a long-gone era.
TREMONTI I don’t want to be all doom and gloom, but I just don’t think that can happen anymore. I mean, Nickelback sold something like seven million albums, but I don’t know if there’s ever gonna be a new rock band that comes out fresh and does it like we did. It would have to be the next Guns N’ Roses or Oasis, a band that just catches fire worldwide. So this time around I initially said, “Let’s not do a record, because the market being how it is, you just don’t sell records like you used to. I don’t want people to see the decrease in the number of sales and start saying that this was a failure.” But then after a while I thought, Let’s just make a record that we’re satisfied with and not worry about sales and all that stuff. Give the fans some new songs to hear on the tour. And I’m glad we did.
GW And yet the state of the economy and the music industry did have an effect on your tour. There were reports of tickets going for as little as a few dollars in some markets. Did that surprise you?
TREMONTI I didn’t know what to expect, given the state of things. But I was happy with the turnout. The shows weren’t all sellouts, but every time we played, the amphitheaters looked pretty full to me. I guess sometimes promoters would give some of their favorite buyers extra tickets to fill the place up so they could get more concessions. But this was our first time back in eight years, and we had to prove ourselves. Maybe people thought we were just an old washed-up band coming out to play our old stuff. That’s why we needed to come out with the new record, to really prove we’re on top of our game.
GW Do you feel like you’re on top of your game again?
TREMONTI We turned out a record that’s the best we can do and that we’re all proud of. We’ve done our job, and the fans seem to like it. So I’ve learned not to stress about it. When people say to me, “How many records did you sell this week?” or, “How’s the single doing?,” the answer is, I don’t know. I’m just a guy who writes music and plays my guitar.