"There is a darker vibe to this record..." - hmv.com talks to Alter Bridge
Since they formed out of the ashes of Creed back in 2004 Alter Bridge have built themselves up into one of the world's biggest and most beloved rock bands. They return today with a new album The Last Hero (you can preview and purchase it on the right-hand side of the page), it's their fifth in all and their first since both frontman Myles Kennedy and guitarist Mark Tremonti took time out to pursue solo projects, we spoke to Tremonti about making the album and their plans for an epic UK arena tour...
You come to this album after some time apart doing solo projects, how did that affect the writing process?
"Myles (Kennedy, frontman) and I are always writing and sending each other ideas so the process is pretty similar but we use Skype a lot now to show each other riffs. We do also stockpile ideas for when we all get together, and then try to work on those ideas collectively to see what sparks at that time."
How did you want this album to move on from what you’ve done before?
"We are always trying to push to the next level while staying true to our sound and our die hard fans. I think we did that with this record, The Last Hero has some of the best songs we have ever done on it."
You worked with Michael 'Elvis' Baskette once again, what does he give you as a producer?
"Elvis is the fifth member of the band without a doubt… he just gets us and how we work. We really trust him completely and on this record he pushed us really hard; sometimes that is difficult for a producer to do. He knows our structures really well and if he sees us starting to chase an idea for too long he will say so or he takes notes on riffs and throws out ideas that we would have never thought of."
This is your first album without Roadrunner, why did you decide it was time for a change?
"The music industry is always changing and our contract was up so our management did their homework, brought a bunch of labels to the table, and for this record Napalm Records was just completely into the band and got behind us. We are really excited to be with them!"
What kind of album is this lyrically? Does it have a common theme?
"Lyrically we write about our own experiences or experiences we see our friends going through - every song is different when it comes to meaning but there is a darker vibe to this record I think."
When did you settle on the title of The Last Hero? And why?
"That song just stood out from the start - it sums up the messages behind a lot of the songs so it just felt right. This is also my favourite art work we have ever done - it's very bold and makes a statement."
Were there any other titles in contention?
"Once we all talked about it and the The Last Hero name came up it was unanimous so we didn't have to think of too many thankfully!"
How’s your live set coming together? You’ve got a lot of material to choose from now…
"We are putting a lot of time into it, with five records out now we are trying to hit the right songs from all of the albums. We are going to set up the setlist with some staple songs for every night and then also change out some songs from night to night. We know a lot of our fan base travels to multiple shows so we want everyone to get something new from night to night."
You’ve got quite the bill for your UK arena tour with Volbeat and Gojira, how did you go about putting that together?
"We gave our manager and our agent a list of our favourite bands we'd love to have on the road with us and then they worked really hard to make it all happen for us! This tour is really going to be something special. We have the biggest production we have ever done, in some of the largest rooms we have ever played. We are really looking forward to it!"