Mark Tremonti – the man GW readers named Guitarist of the Decade – has revealed he is in fact human, and named the Alter Bridge song he finds most challenging to perform.
In a new interview with Guitar World’s Amit Sharma, to promote the band’s just-released Walk the Sky 2.0 EP, the guitarist let us in on the track that still gives him trouble in the live arena.
“I Know It Hurts is the toughest thing for me to play rhythm-wise and lead-wise,” he admits.
“I always find I can get the positions right at first and then, as the title suggests, it actually starts to hurt because you have to hold the positions and it hurts the wrist and fingers.
“Before every record, I will dig as hard as I can on any new technique I’ve been working on in order to introduce new things – that way I can avoid repeating and regurgitating the same licks.
“When making that record, I stumbled on this Guthrie Govan ascending legato string-skipping extravaganza that clearly I felt good enough to tackle that day. It felt like the hardest thing I could do and a way of making myself better, because I knew I’d have to practice hard to do it live.
“That ascending legato lick is a page taken out of Guthrie’s book, and as we all know, he’s pretty much the most terrifying shredder ever to have existed. When we filmed that one live [for 2012’s Live at Wembley DVD], it was the song I spent all night thinking about.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Tremonti revealed that he’s currently writing new material – although that writing, in actual fact, has a negative impact on his playing.
Asked about his approach to improvising, Tremonti says, “It’s a beautiful thing when it’s working. But it can go in the opposite direction! If I’m not having a good day improvising, I’m just not in it and feeling too great.
“The moments where everything is working are the best and most satisfying moments of playing guitar. I’m in a songwriting mood so my playing has gone down the toilet a bit. Writing kills my playing a bit.”
Walk the Sky 2.0 is out now via Napalm Records. The full interview with Mark Tremonti will appear in Guitar World magazine’s March 2021 issue, on sale January 26.