Guitar World Visits Alter Bridge's Mark Tremonti and His Private Stronghold of Axes, Amps and Pinball Machines
This is an excerpt from the January 2014 issue of Guitar World. For the rest of this story, plus several photos of Tremonti's gear and more — including the Beatles' 50 Greatest Guitar Songs, Andreas Kisser, Jimi Hendrix, a guide to new signature model guitars and John Petrucci's monthly column — check out the January 2014 issue at the Guitar World Online Store.
Castle Rock: As Alter Bridge release Fortress, their fourth studio disc, GW pays a visit to guitarist Mark Tremonti’s home and his private stronghold of collectible axes, amps, and pinball machines.
“That’s our first Alter Bridge Gold record,” guitarist Mark Tremonti says, gesturing toward a plaque in an upstairs room of his Orlando mansion.
It’s an unusually hot October day and Tremonti is showing Guitar World around his house. In the same room, he directs our attention toward a row of smaller, magazine-sized frames. “We’ve got some Guitar Worlds up there.
“We have bigger plaques,” he continues, shifting the focus back to the number of RIAA awards he’s received for his work with Creed, Alter Bridge and, his favorite, comedian Larry the Cable Guy.
“But I kind of screwed myself for space, because you can’t display anything bigger than a magazine cover in that area. It just turns out that once we started running out of space, records stopped selling in the world. Platinum records just don’t happen anymore. It kind of worked out.” He laughs, then points at a Creed display. “That one is for 20 million records sold.”
We’re in town today under the auspices of his hard-rock band Alter Bridge, who released their fourth album, Fortress, in September. The record contains some of the band’s hardest-hitting numbers to date, running the gamut from the metallic yet catchy single “Addicted to Pain” to the more reflective “Peace Is Broken,” which contains an impressively blues, partially fingerpicked solo by Tremonti. Tonight, some of those songs will get their live debut at the band’s first U.S. show in two years, held at the city’s House of Blues.
But prior to that event, Tremonti has invited us to his home, an expansive estate in a gated community in Orlando’s tony Windermere neighborhood. He lives next door to what’s known as the Versailles house, an as-yet-unfinished, 13-bedroom mansion that will have cost $100 million by the time it’s finished.
Notable neighbors include Shaquille O’Neal, ’N Sync baritone Joey Fatone and former New York Yankee Johnny Damon, the latter of whom will attend the Alter Bridge concert later tonight. But despite his locale and opulence, Tremonti comes across as humble. In fact, the 39-year-old is dressed like his fans, wearing black jeans and a T-shirt repping Projected, a band that Alter Bridge and Creed drummer Scott Phillips founded after the last Alter Bridge album.
As he takes us around his home, pointing out collector’s items—including a guitar that Stevie Ray Vaughan once played, and his many valuable pinball machines—it becomes evident that guitar gear has taken over his home. Cables are stuffed in cabinets, and tablature books brim to the top of dresser drawers. The hallway between his home recording studio and his bathroom houses a neatly stacked pile of amps and effects—his “giveaway pile.” He admits to becoming “creative” in his storage techniques, but that might also be because he’s the father of two boys.
His sons—Austen, age 8, and Pearson, 4—are the reason his house is so elegantly decorated for Halloween. A wraithlike creature with a jack-o’-lantern head graces his doorway, skulls sit on the table in his foyer, and an artfully positioned skeleton sits at his grand piano, just begging to bang out the chords to “Monster Mash” or some other seasonal song. As we settle into places at Tremonti’s kitchen table—the sun-drenched nook where he and Alter Bridge vocalist-guitarist Myles Kennedy jig-sawed together the songs on Fortress “like puzzle pieces”—he explains that home life for him revolves around fatherhood.
“I work hard to be a good father and husband,” he says. “I wake up at 7 o’clock in the morning to help feed the kids while my wife is making their lunches.” But at the same time, he works enough to instill his work ethic in his boys. “Sometimes my kids will ask, ‘Why do you have to work?’ ” he says. “And I’m like, ‘You see that cool toy you got right there? That’s because I work.’ ”
Photo: Justin Borucki
For the rest of this story, plus several photos of Tremonti's gear and more — including the Beatles' 50 Greatest Guitar Songs, Andreas Kisser, Jimi Hendrix, a guide to new signature model guitars and John Petrucci's monthly column — check out the January 2014 issue at the Guitar World Online Store.