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He reeled off a list of reasons why his time is presently spoken for: “I’ve got a record that just came out [his second solo album, Cauterize], a record that’s going to come out in the spring [third solo album Dust] and an Alter Bridge record to write and release next year.” He also notes that Alter Bridge vocalist Myles Kennedy has a solo record on deck and will be writing a new album with his other side project (Slash featuring Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators) in 2016.
Tremonti feels the Creed retrospective would be better suited for a 2017 release since it would mark the 20th anniversary of the band’s six-times platinum debut album, My Own Prison. “The world doesn’t need any more music out of this camp for the next few years after this year,” he says with a laugh. “So another Creed album would just be overkill.”
Tremonti is currently promoting Cauterize on the HardDrive Live Tour, which he’s co-headlining with fellow Florida-based rockers Trivium. It runs until Oct. 24. Cauterize was released in June to reviews that were even more favorable than those for his first solo project, 2012’s All I Was.
“A lot of people like the heavy side of it,” he says of the feedback he has gotten about the record. “Throughout my whole career I’ve never heard a complaint from a fan saying, ‘This is too heavy.’ It’s always the opposite. The albums keep getting heavier and heavier; they like ’em more and more. At the same time, I think the musicianship has improved, and I think we’re adding a little more progressive elements into what we do.”
If that’s the case, fans will likely enjoy Dust just as much since Tremonti wrote it at the same time as Cauterize. He wound up with two albums’ worth of material because he was so satisfied with the final product after he recorded about 25 songs with producer Michael “Elvis” Baskette (Incubus, Three Days Grace).
“When I looked at the big picture when the mixes were coming in, I don’t want to release 12 or 13 songs and have seven songs thought of as B-sides,” he explains, so he “cut it right down the middle. If there’s two moody songs, one goes on one record, one goes on the other … I tried to make [the albums] as evenly paced as possible.” Dust will also be supported with several months of touring that Tremonti believes will start in May 2016.
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A steady schedule of writing, recording and touring is plenty to keep him busy, but that’s not all Tremonti’s working on. He also has Fret12, an initiative that he launched as a guitar-instructional DVD company with his brother Dan that has morphed into an online collective including such respected musicians as Black Label Society’s Zakk Wylde, Slipknot’s Jim Root and Karnivool’s Mark Hosking. The website lets players connect with fans, sell signature merchandise, offer downloadable tutorials, and set up live clinics with people who want to take lessons with their favorite shredders. Tremonti also gives fans lessons prior to each show while he’s on the road.
“I always enjoy it. It’s part of my warm-up for the day,” he says. “It keeps me on my toes playing, and I try to keep on learning new stuff. I get a lot of the same students coming through every time we go on tour, so I have to change up my game plan every time.” He notes that attendees are typically nervous when they arrive, but quickly relax. “Nobody’s going to be put on the spot. If you don’t want to play, you don’t have to play.”
He credits players like Root for spreading the word about Fret12 and encouraging others to participate. Tremonti says that although some guitarists initially declined when he asked them to join, “people are coming back around and asking to be a part of it.”
He also hints, “I don’t want to let the cat out of the bag, but we’ve got a hugely, hugely famous, incredible, amazing person” who reached out to Tremonti’s camp that is interested in getting onboard with Fret12, and they are in “pretty much the biggest band on earth. It would be a dream come true [if they joined].”