Ein Interview von metalingus.de mit Mark vom Mai 2006, vor dem Alter Bridge Gig in Essen. Dies war das einzige Konzert auf dem damaligen Festival Run der Jungs und trotzdem ein ganz besonderer. Myles hatte hier das aller erste mal seine Version von Hallelujah zum Besten gegeben.
Zu dem Zeitpunkt des Interviews waren Alter Bridge gerade frisch von Wind Up getrennt und die Jungs befanden sich mitten im Writing Prozess von Blackbird. Viel Spaß beim lesen!
Me: First of all, thank you for doing this. We really appreaciate very, very much. I got questions from all over the world, like from Brazil, Australia, Sweden and Germany of course.
I'm gonna jump right into it: After parting from WindUp, which was probably a long and winding story as we can all suppose, as a musician, how does it feel to be alive again?
Mark: Very liberate. It's good to have everybody on your team working for the greater cause, instead of worring about if people have other reasons, you know? We are just very excited to move forwoard. We feel like we've got a whole new life. This is our third life now! We had one when we started with Creed, we had one when we started with Alter Bridge and now we've got anoterh life, now that we've parted ways with WindUp.
Me: Did you celebrate the BreakUp?
Mark: Yeah, we all got together, had some drinks, but we are so buys getting ready to play for other record labels, investors and what not.
Me: Flips mom way quoted your new album is gonna be darker, harded, but still melodic. Can you expand on this a little?
Mark: You know, this last year has been though on us all, we have been going to alot of transitions and the album is just a reflection of what we have been through in the last year. We let come out what we are feeling. We don't write for any specific reason.
Me: You said, when recording your new album, technically you are trying to go back to the roots?
Mark: We've been talking alot about recording analog, which is on 2-Inch tape. You know, Bands nowadays are recording on Pro-Tools where you can pitch correct everything and make everything polished and perfect.
We want everything to sound real, life and breath. We are definately using that approach on the next record. Well, we are hoping to, if we can find a good enough producer to do it.
Me: But you dont have on in mind yet?
Mark: No. We've got 5 to 6 producers that we are thinking about. It's just a matter of who is available at the right time.
Me: You said, you like to come to Germany because of the fans. Can you point out if there's a differenx between the fans in the U.S. and Germany?
Mark: German Fans are great! When I was in High-School, listing to Rock 'N Roll Music, I put posters of my favourite bands on the walls. It reminds me of that German fans are still that way into music and that passionate about music.
You know, I think in the U.S. people in general take Rock-Bands for granted. They are around your city all the time. But if you come over to Germany, people appreciate the fact that you've flown so far to come and do a show. They seem more passionate over here! That's why we have been here 6 times on one record!
Me: Do you already have a time-schedule for next year. And what are you gonna do before that?
Mark: After touring we'll go home and get into the studio and to pre-production by the end of July. And hopefully we put together some footage for a Live-DVD followed by a Live-CD before we put out our next album in spring.
Me: And what about touring some other countries where Alter Bridge hasn't been before? Like Australia, Brazil and Sweden? I got some emails from Die-Hard Fans that would die to see you in their country.
Mark: We would absolutely love to. It's just a matter of beeing able to aford to got to alot of different countries. We are at a level right now where we are just getting our name out there and play infront of many people as we can and if there's a demand for our Band in Brazil we'd go there imediately and I've seen alot of emails from Brazilian Fans and we would love to go to Brazil, Australia, New-Zeeland, Asia and Japan. Well, obviously Japan is in Asia. We wanna see everybody and it's just a matter of where there's a demand for the band!
Me: What about your "label-situation" right now? You are looking, you are searching?
Mark: We are doing showcases. We did about 3 or 4 showcases before we came over here. And when we play our show in London, there's going to be alot of record-labels there! And we are just waiting to see who it interested the most to get involved with us and whoever has got the best marketing strategies cause that's something that we always had troubles with. You know, we are just looking for the biggest fans in a Record-Lable.
Me: Are you also considering going independent?
Mark: We are. If we go independent, it's going to be alot of work on our own, just trying to get everything in motion, and that might take a little too long, so who knows what we'll do. If none of the Labels have the same visons as we do, we probably go independent.
Me: Can you describe your process of writing a song? What is around inspiring you the most?
Mark: Usually, I sit down and write on my personal recorded and then I get together with Myles and play idea by idea for him as soon as he reacts to something we try to put it into a new song and I'll keep going until another part fits and we bring it to the Band. Brian and Scott are great in arranging the song with me and Myles. It's a great process because we are on the same page and everybody respects each other. It's a democracy.
Me: So you would say Alter Bridge is a democratic band?
Mark: It is! Everybody respects each other! If somebodey has an idea, we all listen and then kind of taking a group vote.
Me: "I am not you new Messiah and I will not take you higher!" Is that in any way related to so called musicians you have worked with in the past?
Mark: It just might be... Myles wrote those lyrics and it's pretty obvious who it's about and he is deserving of those lyrics!
Me: Have you ever been overwehlmed or surprised by something a fan has done or said to express their feelings?
Mark: Yeah, everytime a fan tells me that our songs have changed their life for the better, it's just the icing on the cake!
We are just doing it to have a fun time of playing and writing songs, that we belive in! But if a fan comes up to us and says that song changed their life or the better it just makes it that much more worth to us!
Me: Tell us about your relationship to Troy Stetina.
Mark: When I did my first Guitar One interview, they asked me what my favourite Instructional-DVD's were when I grew up and I said "Speed Mechanics for the Lead Guitar" by Troy Stetina.
And they said Troy still works with Guitar One so they put us in contact with each other. I called him and we became good friends on the phone.
Finally he flew over to Florida and we started playing guitar together. And he probably flew back and forth 3 to 4 times a week.
When we were doing the "One Day Remains" record, I was writing the guitar solos and played them to Troy, getting his oppinion on what was good and what was not and I would go from there, cause I really respect his oppinion!
Me: Do you still remember your first songs you played on guitar?
Mark: I was a big Metallica fan, so I learned a bunch of that stuff first. From there, I just wrote my own stuff. I wasn't that much interested into learing somebodey elses stuff.
Me: Now that PRS can produce again, you are going to get an updated version out in Spring?
Mark: In Spring we are goin to come out with a shaved neck and a tremolo-bar.
Me: And what about your other finishes?
Mark: Yeah, we're gonna have probably the charcoal-grey and the brazilian-burst. I got a flat black one now, but we probably won't release that one.
Me: I saw you changed you rig a little?
Mark: Yeah, I added another Bogner to my rig, for my lead tone. Another 4x12 cabinet. My Boogie is my main sound, but my Bogner goes through my 15's and I cut out one of my clean amps and replaced it with a 4x12 cabinet so I could get solo tone.
Me: Were thery any moments where you were really afraid or excited when meeting great musicians like Santane, Steve Vai or Kirk Hammet?
Mark: I was very nervous to meet Steve Vai, cause he is my favourite living guitar player! It was very nice to meet Carlos Santana, cause he did a lot of talking which made me feel very comfortable!
Kirk Hammet was the same way. He came up to me and said "I like your guitar-tone!" and I was like "I learned it from youuuuu Kirk!"
I think the most intimidated was when I met James Hetfield cause Metallica is my favourite band. And Kirk is not a big talker. When I met him, he let me do the talk. There was alot of dead space!
Me: Tell us about your new Alter Bridge Page. You have taken over alterbridge.com now!?
Mark: alterbridge.com is now in our posession. As you all know my brother Michael is taking pictures and videos every night, and he will be streaming and uploading them every night hopefully, so everybody knows what we are up to!
It's gonna be very up to date and a personal site from us to the fans!
Me: How do you do it, after all those you play, that there's still that magic out on stage? Like tonight when Myles was playing Halleluhja, he was shaking and had tears in his eyes.
Mark: That's the first time he has done that and Jeff Buckley is one of his favourite singers. Our manager told us not to play another new song, so everything would be fresh when the record comes out.
So we all talked about Myles doing Halleluhja and I'm glad he did it now.
Me: If you could spend a day with someone dead or alive, who would you spend it with?
Mark: Not that we are a christian band, but I think it would be very intense to spend a day with Jesus. It would be great to sit and have a conversation with him!
For musicians it would be Stevie Ray Vaughn. I would just like to sit there, actually not playing guitar, just see what he was like in person.
Me: Is there one song you wish you would have written?
Mark: Let's see...My favourite song, as I always say, is Stevie Ray Vaughn's version of Little Wing. So if I was to write that song, it might be Little Wing.
Me: You achieved so much in your career, more than one could dream of! Do you still have any dreams for the future?
Mark: Yeah! Everyday we fight to survive in our Business. And my biggest dream right now it to get Alter Bridge to the level where we are able to tour as long as we want to! I hope we get big enough so we can get another bus so I can bring out my son! I miss him right now!
Me: If you got to choose between Alter Bridge in 5 years from now being a most sucsessfull band, selling out arenas, on one hand, and staying at the level where you are right now, playing in rather small clubs, with a very dedicated fan-base on the other hand, what would you choose and why?
Mark: I would love to play shows like we did tonight, for a small and dedicated crowd. But when it comes down to staying in your career and geting alot of people out to your concerts so you can pay your techs and your bus drivers and the other 20 people who are out with you on tour, I'd have to say compromising between the arenas and small clubs. Maybe 2000 - 3000 people would be perfect.
We just wanna be able to tour, tour and tour until we are not able to do it anymore! This is what we love doing and if you take it away from any of us, we would feel like nothing!
Me: Ok, thats it! Thanks again for doing this. We all appreciate it very much!
Mark: Thank YOU!