Alter Bridge is an American rock band that was formed in 2004 in Orlando, Florida. It consists of lead guitarist and backing vocalist Mark Tremonti, bassist Brian Marshall, and drummer Scott Phillips, all of whom are also members of Creed, alongside lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Myles Kennedy, formerly of The Mayfield Four and the frontman of Slash's current solo project. Tremonti named the group after an actual bridge that once existed on Alter Road near his former home in Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan.
Despite Creed's multi-platinum success, Alter Bridge arose with only gold status with their first studio album, One Day Remains, which was released on Wind-up Records in August 2004 to generally mixed reviews. After the band's first tour, they dropped their contract with Wind-up Records in 2006 and signed with Universal Republic Records, releasing their second album, Blackbird, which was positively received by critics, in October 2007. The band spent the next two years touring and working on other projects before reconvening in 2010 to work on their third album. Titled AB III, the album was released in October 2010 on Roadrunner Records and was a critical success. In January 2011, the band's first live album and concert film, Live from Amsterdam, was finally released in stores after two years of delays. A second concert film, Live at Wembley, was released in March 2012. Since January 2013 the band has been recording their fourth studio album, expected to be released the same year.
Despite relatively low mainstream success and label support for the majority of the band's career, Alter Bridge's music has been critically successful, and the band has become known for its frequent, extensive touring and loyal fanbase. The individual members of Alter Bridge are also involved with various other projects, including solo and session work, Creed, and Kennedy's collaborations with Slash and former members of Led Zeppelin. In 2009, Ultimate Guitar Archive named Alter Bridge the 36th greatest band of the decade.
Formation and One Day Remains (2003–2006)
Alter Bridge lead guitarist and founder Mark Tremonti, bassist Brian Marshall, and drummer Scott Phillips were members of Creed with lead vocalist Scott Stapp since 1997. After releasing two successful albums, Marshall left the band in 2000, followed by the release of their third album in 2001. The band went inactive in 2003 following the conclusion of a controversial tour. That year, Tremonti began writing new material with plans of forming a new band with Phillips and Marshall. Being fans of Myles Kennedy's former band, The Mayfield Four, they invited him to join as their new lead vocalist. They named the new band Alter Bridge, after an actual bridge near Tremonti's home on Alter Road in Detroit, and subsequently began recording their debut album. Although, in a recent interview Scott Phillips said the name was actually a reference to the surgery Tremonti had to get on the bridge of his nose after an accident he had bench pressing 185 lbs. in an Orlando gym.
Citing creative differences and increasing tension between Stapp and the other band members, Creed announced its breakup in June 2004. Coinciding with this announcement was the one of Alter Bridge's formation and of their debut album and the album's lead single, "Open Your Eyes." The band members felt as if Creed had "run their course" and were determined to focus on their future with their new singer. Alter Bridge's debut album, One Day Remains, was released on August 10, 2004 by Wind-up Records and received mixed reviews. Produced by Ben Grosse (who has also produced albums by artists such as Filter, Fuel, and Sevendust), the album sold 750,000 copies worldwide and achieved only gold status, a far cry from the multi-platinum success that Creed had previously achieved. It peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard charts for fourteen weeks. After "Open Your Eyes," two more singles were released from the album: "Find the Real" and "Broken Wings." Also, partially due to the fact that the album was almost finished by the time Kennedy joined the band, it is the only Alter Bridge record that does not feature Kennedy as a guitarist, although he did play guitar on several songs on the album's accompanying tour. The music was composed completely by Tremonti, who had also written most of the lyrics by himself, though Kennedy wrote or at least co-wrote the lyrics for about half of the remaining songs.
Several songs from One Day Remains established an affiliation with WWE. Most notably, "Metalingus" was adopted by former WWE superstar Edge as his entrance theme in 2004, and it was used as such until his retirement in 2011. Alter Bridge would later appear with Edge in a backstage segment on an episode of WWE Raw in 2005. Also in 2005, Alter Bridge released a rare instrumental song called "Ahavo Rabo Taco Salad" for Total Guitar magazine. It was solely a Mark Tremonti song originally, but the rest of Alter Bridge soon got involved. A song called "Save Me" was included on the soundtrack for the 2005 Marvel film Elektra. The soundtrack for another 2005 Marvel film, Fantastic Four, also featured an Alter Bridge song, "Shed My Skin." That same year, the band released a four-song EP called Fan EP as a promotional CD in Europe.
Label change and Blackbird (2006–2009)
Before the final leg of the One Day Remains tour in 2006, Alter Bridge's relationship with Wind-up Records, who did not share the band's vision, began to deteriorate. The band asked to be released from the label since the release of One Day Remains, but their request was consistently declined until April 2006 when all recording, publishing, and merchandising agreements were finally terminated. However, Alter Bridge continued to face difficulties, including criticism for disbanding Creed, pressure to reform Creed, and numerous false reports of a Creed reunion, in addition to some critics describing Alter Bridge's music as sounding like "Creed with a different singer." Despite Creed later reforming in early 2009, Tremonti responded to these claims by stating that "Creed will never exist as a band again."
In 2007, Alter Bridge announced that they had signed a record deal with Universal Republic Records. Tremonti said of the band's new material, "I think it's the best work we've ever done." Alter Bridge's second album, Blackbird, featuring the successful singles "Rise Today" and "Watch Over You," was released on October 9, 2007. "Watch Over You" was featured in VH1's Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew in 2008 and its music video featured clips from the series. Another version of the song featuring Cristina Scabbia of Lacuna Coil is available in the United Kingdom. Blackbird received very positive reviews from critics, and currently holds an average of 9.4 out of 10 on Ultimate Guitar Archive. The album also featured the critically acclaimed title track, the guitar solo of which would later be lauded by Guitarist by reaching No. 1 on their 2011 list of the greatest guitar solos of all time.
The band embarked on a successful world tour in support of Blackbird, recording their December 7, 2008 show at the Heineken Music Hall in Amsterdam, Netherlands for a live DVD titled Live from Amsterdam. A single disc version was sold exclusively at venues during the Creed reunion tour in 2009 and on Amazon.com. Released to extremely positive reviews, the DVD sold "thousands and thousands" of copies as opposed to the projected "hundreds" that Amazon expected to sell, reached No. 1 on Amazon's "Bestsellers in Music Videos & Concerts," and remained there for several weeks. A Blu-ray Disc version and a deluxe edition to be sold in stores, however, became the source of controversy as they were delayed by Universal Republic several times, causing frustration amongst Alter Bridge fans and band members, but the band remained optimistic about its release. It was finally released in stores in North America on January 11, 2011 after two years of delays.
Singer Myles Kennedy received much credit since 2008 when he was strongly rumored to be working with former members of Led Zeppelin. While reports that Led Zeppelin would be reforming with Kennedy as their new singer were false, Kennedy later confirmed that he had in fact written songs and rehearsed with Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones, and Jason Bonham.
Second label change and AB III (2009–2012)
Alter Bridge took a break in 2009 following the announcement of Creed's reunion tour and new album. While Tremonti, Marshall, and Phillips were touring with Scott Stapp as Creed, Kennedy worked on his first solo album and began working extensively with Velvet Revolver lead guitarist Slash, and later touring with Slash throughout 2010 and 2011 as his lead vocalist. However, Alter Bridge continued to write music through most of 2009 and began the recording process of their third album from February through May 2010.
On July 17, 2010, Billboard reported that Alter Bridge had signed with Roadrunner Records and that the band would embark on a spring tour with Godsmack in 2011. While the latter report was later denied by the band, Alter Bridge announced the title of their new album, AB III, along with the track listing on their official website in early August, and the rumors that the band had signed with Roadrunner were confirmed in a press release by the label. The press release also included an announcement that AB III would be released on October 8, 2010. On September 6, 2010, Roadrunner Records debuted the first single, "Isolation," on their website, where it was announced that the single would be made available in the United Kingdom on September 26, 2010. The song became the band's most successful song, reaching No. 1 on active rock radio and on the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, a first for Alter Bridge. AB III was released in Australia and Germany on October 8, 2010 and in the United Kingdom on October 11, 2010 by Roadrunner Records. It was then released on November 9, 2010 in North America on the band's own label, Alter Bridge Recordings, via EMI. The album debuted at No. 17 on the Billboard 200. The music video for "Isolation" premiered on Noisecreep on December 6, 2010. On January 11, 2011, the band finally released its long-awaited live album and concert film, Live from Amsterdam, in stores. Also, "I Know It Hurts" was later released as the second single, in Australia only, on January 21, 2011. "Ghost of Days Gone By" was released as the next single on April 18, 2011, followed by "Wonderful Life" on June 5, 2011 in the United Kingdom.
The band advertised that AB III would be much "darker" than and a lyrical departure from their previous albums, and the album was confirmed to be constructed as a loose concept album. AB III was met with "overwhelming critical acclaim" from professional reviewers upon its release, with MusicRadar calling it "one of the guitar albums of the year." Artistdirect gave AB III a perfect score and called it a "masterpiece." Also, a tribute album to Alter Bridge titled String Tribute to Alter Bridge, which features instrumental classical arrangements of various Alter Bridge songs, was made available on March 8, 2011. On October 25, 2011, Alter Bridge released a special edition of AB III titled AB III.5, which includes three bonus tracks and an hour-long documentary titled One by One.
The band started touring in support of AB III, in fall 2010 in the United Kingdom with Slaves to Gravity appearing and a second in the United States with Taddy Porter and Like a Storm. In the spring of 2011, Alter Bridge toured the United States with Black Stone Cherry and Like a Storm. Alter Bridge performed at several European festivals in the summer of 2011, including the Rock am Ring and Rock im Park festivals, the Nova Rock Festival, the 2011 Download Festival, the 2011 Hellfest Summer Open Air, and several others. Alter Bridge performed a free concert on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on the ABC television network on April 25, 2011. The band also co-headlined the second annual Carnival of Madness Tour in summer 2011 with Theory of a Deadman, with supporting acts Black Stone Cherry, Adelitas Way, and Emphatic. The tour was extended until January 2012, when the band played select dates in Australia, including the Soundwave Festival. The band has released a series of webisodes produced by DC3 Music Group detailing their tour. In addition, a second concert film titled Live at Wembley was recorded on November 29, 2011, at Wembley Arena at the band's largest headline show to date. It was released worldwide on March 26, 2012, and it will later be released in 3D.
Other projects and fourth studio album (2012–present)
The instrumental members of Alter Bridge have turned their attention to their other band, Creed, embarking on a tour. Myles Kennedy has turned his attention to his project with Slash, releasing Apocalyptic Love (2012), while Mark Tremonti released a solo album All I Was (2012). Phillips joined a new band called Projected with Sevendust members John Connolly and Vinnie Hornsby, and former Submersed guitarist Eric Friedman releasing an album called Human (2012).
Tremonti has emphasized that he is always writing music for both Creed and Alter Bridge. Members of Alter Bridge met in December 2012 to discuss the next album and the future tour of the band. They entered the studio in January to begin recording the new album, while touring intermittently with their respective solo projects. Recording continued in late April 2013 to produce their new album, with an expected release date in September. A headline tour of the UK with Halestorm and Shinedown in October has been announced.
Alter Bridge's music is often characterized and described as "heavy, yet melodic." Their music has been listed under several genres including rock, hard rock, alternative metal, post-grunge, heavy metal, and progressive metal.
Alter Bridge's music is co-written by Kennedy and Tremonti and arranged by Alter Bridge and the band's lyrics are written primarily by Kennedy, although Tremonti wrote most of the lyrics and all of the music on One Day Remains. The lyrics on the first two Alter Bridge albums mainly touch on hope and overcoming regret, sadness, grief, loneliness, pain, and addiction. The subject matter on their third release, AB III, is noticeably darker, with lyrical themes mostly based on struggling with faith and a loss of innocence.
Often recognized for their live performances, the band generally does not perform in larger venues such as arenas and amphitheaters. Instead, Alter Bridge regularly plays smaller venues such as House of Blues, as was their intention from the start. Myles Kennedy said in an interview with Artistdirect, "We're definitely a live band. That's what it's all about for us. We make records so we can go out and play for people." The band has been joined on stage by several surprise guests, including Slash, Paul Reed Smith, Wolfgang Van Halen, and Eric Friedman, and several notable musicians, such as Eddie Van Halen, Jimmy Page, and John Paul Jones, have been reported to have attended an Alter Bridge concert. Alter Bridge's live performances are generally praised.
In early 2010, Alter Bridge joined the Wheelchair Foundation, DC3 Music Group, and other artists including Scott Stapp, Godsmack, and New Kids on the Block to assist in the "Plane to Haiti" project, a relief effort to help the victims of the 2010 Haiti earthquake. The band also joined the fight against cancer in 2011 by helping the "Play for Life" organization raise funds for City of Hope Medical Center, a leading research center for cancer.
Awards and accolades
Alter Bridge's music was received poorly by critics in the band's early years, but their first album, One Day Remains, was certified gold by the RIAA in November 2004. It is the band's only RIAA-certified album. Since then, however, the band's subsequent albums have received general acclaim. The band's 2009 live album and concert film, Live from Amsterdam was also well received; it was originally released via Amazon.com, where on October 22, 2009, it rose 15,000 spots on Amazon's "Bestsellers in Music Videos & Concerts" chart in just eight hours, rising ahead of artists such as Michael Jackson and Bon Jovi to No. 1 where it remained for several weeks. This was done with no official promotion or record label support. Also in late 2009, Alter Bridge was ranked by Ultimate Guitar Archive as the 36th best heavy metal band of the decade.
In October 2010, the band's song "Ties That Bind" from Blackbird was listed by Total Guitar as the 41st greatest guitar song of the decade, with Ultimate Guitar Archive naming AB III the seventh best album of 2010 that December. In March of the next year, the dual guitar solo in the critically acclaimed song "Blackbird" was named the greatest guitar solo of all time by Guitarist, ahead of tracks by artists such as Led Zeppelin, Guns N' Roses, Van Halen, Pink Floyd, and others. Myles Kennedy responded by saying that he was "a little uncomfortable with the idea that it was voted the 'best,'" but he and Mark Tremonti both stated that they were honored. Later, in May 2011, the band defeated Avenged Sevenfold, Linkin Park, Three Days Grace, and other artists in Fuse TV's "Battle of the Fans" poll. The tournament peaked at 7.2 million votes.
- Myles Kennedy – lead vocals, rhythm and lead guitar
- Mark Tremonti – lead and rhythm guitar, vocals
- Brian Marshall – bass
- Scott Phillips – drums, percussion
- Studio albums
- One Day Remains (2004)
- Blackbird (2007)
- AB III (2010)
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Image from Discogs