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Old 08-06-2009, 08:44 AM   #1
King Oropher
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Some info on the Album. Interview with Mark.

Creed launches comeback in Pittsburgh after five-year hiatus
Thursday, August 06, 2009
By Scott Mervis, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Creed members are back together and kicking off their reunion tonight at the Post-Gazette Pavilion.

Upon the announcement that Creed would be reuniting in the summer of 2009, you could almost hear the collective cheers and groans in the musical universe.

There are few bands in rock history so commercially successful and critically despised at the same time as this one that formed at Florida State University in the mid-'90s.

Case in point: Creed topped the charts and sold more 30 million records worldwide in its heyday -- while also landing at No. 23 on the Blender list of The 50 Worst Artists in Music History. That entry noted that "the Florida group's real crime is its music, an overblown distillation of grunge's most obviously commercial elements every inch as vapid as the music Nirvana and company were rebelling against."

* With: Like a Storm; Calendar for Preston.
* Where: Post-Gazette Pavilion.
* When: 7:30 tonight.
* Tickets: $29.50-$85; 1-800-598-8703.

After about five good years, during which the band scored hits like "With Arms Wide Open," "Higher" and "One Last Breath," Creed started to bottom out around 2003, coinciding with singer Scott Stapp's increasingly erratic, alcohol-related behavior.

After the breakup in 2004, Stapp released a semi-successful solo album, "The Great Divide," while the rest of the members -- Mark Tremonti, Scott Phillips and Brian Marshall -- went off to form the more active Alter Bridge with singer Myles Kennedy of The Mayfield Four.

With neither spinoff really setting the world on fire, it was only natural that a Creed reunion would bubble up, despite word from both sides that it would never happen.

The first reunion show takes place at the Post-Gazette Pavilion tonight, a few months in advance of a new, as-yet-unfinished album. This week we talked to guitarist Mark Tremonti about how Creed came together again.

What are the preparations like for that?

We had a rehearsal space in L.A., where we rehearsed for about a week and a half. We were also finishing up our record, so we would record in the afternoons and then go in at night for rehearsals. Now we have two dress rehearsals before the show where we have the full production -- pyro and lights, video -- so we know when to not stand over like a flaming pyro explosion.

Did it take a while for you guys to shake off the rust?

Not really. We got together, I think, to actually play in March and our plan was to play through some of the older material to get reacquainted musically. Me, Scott Phillips and Brian Marshall have been playing solidly for over a decade now, so it meshed really well, and then Scott was really excited to be singing, so it felt really natural. It kind of took us through a time warp. You feel like a kid again. It was our early college years when we were playing and writing these songs, so it was cool.

Instrumentally, you were Alter Bridge. Did you ever mess around with those Creed songs?

No. One of our main obstacles was the success with Creed would always overshadow Alter Bridge here in the States. One of the things we wanted to do was find a singer who sounded very different than Scott so we didn't appear to be trying to exploit the success of our prior band. We wanted to stand on our own, so we did our best to not play either of our bands' previous material.

What changed that you guys were able to get back together?

Mainly it had to do with time and growing up. When we initially had success we were all young college kids and experiencing success and the whirlwind that comes with it. Things happen very quickly and it's hard to keep a handle on it all and people sometimes grow apart personally and artistically along the way. But ... I explain to people, how can personalities not change when six years go by and you have two children and a wife? And Scott had never met my two kids. It's easy to say that personalities change along the way. We've all become more mature. I think more than anything, being able to tour at this level is something we didn't want to just throw away for the rest of our lives. We're all grown men enough to say let's just leave the past and not even discuss who said what at what times. We all knew that the last year or so was just a tough year and we all accept that and now we want to go out and appreciate what we built in the past.

Did it have anything to do with the possibility of Myles Kennedy doing the Led Zeppelin reunion tour?

No. It was all coincidental. We were in a transition phase with our management. Scott got a call in with our new manger to facilitate talking about a possible summer tour. We thought it was an exciting idea. I think it all hinged on the first meeting we had ... everyone had their guards down and just said our hellos and it was fine, there was no uneasiness. Everybody was comfortable, and once we had a few more meetings we started talking about maybe releasing a few songs to help launch the tour. After that, we decided let's just do a record. The problem with that is we had a tour scheduled and about a 21/2-month window in between so we had to work nonstop to get this record done -- and it's still not done. We have a couple songs left to lay vocals on, and then it will be finished. I think we'll finish cutting vocals the first week of September and try to get it out the end of the month or early October.

Was there some hope you'd get it out before the tour?

Ah, we would have loved to. It really helps a tour when you can use the strength of the record to help push ticket sales, but there was no possibility and it was too late to back out of the tour we set up, so we just had to rely on our fans digging our catalog.

Are the new songs much in line with the older stuff?

No, there's definitely a big difference. There's obviously going to be two or three songs that have that radio feel to them, but the rest of the record definitely has a different sound than our past. Since we've walked away from Creed years ago, we've all been digging as hard as we can to survive in this business, 'cause it's such a cutthroat business. You gotta stay on top of your game to survive, and we've been touring nonstop, putting out records, putting out everything we can and loving every minute of it, but experiencing lots of things along the way to make us better musicians and writers and performers. And we've poured it all into this record.

Now, you don't get the best rap from critics. I was just wondering how you cope with that.

Um, well, it's funny. With Creed, the more people were critical, the more records we would sell. And then with our other band, Alter Bridge, we would get a lot of critical praise, but then we [laughs] go gold, so it's kind of a double-edge sword. Usually, when it's very commercial and it's easy to digest, people tend to buy records and not appreciate the artistic side of it, and then when it's a little more artistic, most people don't really get it and the critics dig it. We kind of have the best of both worlds right now.

It seems like a lot of bands have turned up sounding like Creed, Have you noticed that?

I think when we left the scene, there was a spot for other bands to fill, and I'm glad that's happened, 'cause now that we're back, it seems like our fan base is still out there checking out the same rock scene. Right now I think the biggest thing is awareness. I don't think there's a whole lot of awareness about this tour yet, so once we get it out there, hopefully these old fans will come back to the Creed shows.

The Creed sound is heavily influenced by Pearl Jam and that grunge era. Is there still much life in that sound?

Well, I was never influenced musically. ... If you listen to Pearl Jam and listen to the music of Creed, they're not similar. Pearl Jam is a blues-based jam band, and musically I grew up ... I actually grew up in speed metal, which you can't tell from listening to Creed, but with the Alter Bridge stuff you hear a little bit more of it. If you listen to the bare music between Pearl Jam and Creed, you're not going to find much similarity, I wouldn't think.

A lot of it might be in the vocal style.

Like I said, I grew up listening to heavy metal so my roots are in either classical finger-picking stuff or heavy downpicking rhythms.

What is the status now of Alter Bridge? Do you have time to devote to two bands?

We have a DVD we just shot in Amsterdam for sale on the Creed tour. And we're going to have a record out early next year. It's business as usual in the Alter Bridge camp.

All Blacks
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