Tremonti are back with their new studio album, their strongest to date and they are touring extensively to promote it in the best way they can. Grande Rock caught up with rhythm guitarist Eric Friedman and talked about the concept of the new album, the tracks, the touring and the fans’ reactions among other interesting things.
Tremonti BAND PIC
Hi Eric, I’m glad to have you on Grande Rock. The new Tremonti album “A Dying Machine” is truly astonishing and most say that is Tremonti’s best work to date. What’s your say?
E: Thank you so much!! I really feel the same.”A Dying Machine” is my favorite out of the four we’ve done so far... we had a lot of fun making it!
This is Tremonti’s first concept album that is also accompanied by a novel written by Mark Tremonti and the writer John Shirley. Do you know how the idea for this concept story came about?
E: It all started with the title track, “A Dying Machine” and spiraled from there. Once those lyrics were in place, the picture became clearer and it was easier to focus & build from there with each new song we threw in. Mark and I would have long phone calls about the concepts and evolving storyline as each song was being put together. It was a lot of fun and very exciting throughout the process!
What does the album title “A Dying Machine” declare?
E: It’s not so much a declaration; it’s really just a very important part of the storyline that sparked the entire concept of the album and story.
Can you give us a hint of the album concept story in general.
E: “A Dying Machine” weaves a tale of two stories... that of two characters (called Ares and Stella), highlighting human error through the creation of seemingly perfect beings... beings who ultimately want what all people want: the freedom to love and live.
Do you think that “A Dying Machine” is Tremonti’s most diverse album to date and why’s that? Are there any new elements that have been added to the new album in general?
E: I definitely do. As far as the elements, there is a bit more programming to add to the sonic soundscape in support of the music that is performed by us on our instruments. I really feel this record gets its diversity through the style of the songs rather than the instruments that are playing them. We really wanted to branch out and do something out of the norm but we tried to do it in a way that wouldn’t alienate the fans that we already have.
You’ve been playing with Mark since the debut release. So, can you tell us if there were any alterations in the way of recording and writing the new album?
E: Mark & I have actually been playing together for 19 years. Over that time our partnership has evolved immensely. I went from being a fan, to a fully-fledged partner. It’s been a great experience; he is a great person, friend, and musical comrade. Mark usually comes to the table with plenty of ideas and riffs... then we get together and put them all in order and arrange them into songs. Once we had the basic skeleton for a track, I would go home to California and demo them out at my house... record the guitars, bass, program the drum parts & even do some programming like strings, percussion and other sounds. They are very extensive demos, haha! I feel it really helps doing that so we know what to expect of a song when we go in to record it.
Once again, you’ve worked with Michael “Elvis” Baskette for the album’s production. I guess you agree with the motto that says “never change a winning team” right? Were there any new tricks on the album production?
E: We love Elvis… he is truly amazing at what he does. He’s very inspiring and so incredibly gifted... and not to forget, he’s just a cool dude! This time around, Elvis spent a lot of time after hours adding sonic candy to everything... if you listen in headphones, it’s really apparent.
You’re on the road as we speak, so I’d like to ask how the touring has been so far. What are the fans’ impressions on the new album?
E: The fans really seem to like this one! The tour has been great and it’s been a blast playing these new songs. Mark is evolving as a frontman and a singer, so that just makes everything better for us and the fans. Feels great to be back at it!
Do you prefer to be on the road rather than in the studio? What are the best moments you had on the road on this tour so far?
E: I do... I like to see people’s reactions and meet everyone who listens to our tunes. The looks on their faces, the energy between everyone in the venues, it’s just electric and I thrive on that. The writing/recording process is a lot of fun and fulfilling, but it’s kind of a lonely space and I’m usually thinking how I can’t wait to get the music out and play it for everyone, haha!
Do you believe that “A Dying Machine” would make an opening to a new audience for Tremonti and if yes, why’s that?
E: That would be the hope!! I think there are a handful of songs that have a much more “fresh” sound than what we’ve done in the past... but I’m sure every band says that about their new album!
Time for our “weird questions”!!! What are those things that you do not like in the music industry nowadays?
E: I don’t really like to complain about how things are because there is a lot of good going on these days in the industry... but if I were to point something out that I think is a negative, I would say that bands/artists rarely make money off of album sales anymore and that’s a tough pill to swallow. It’s like a painter spending thousands of hours on a painting and just giving it out for free.
Which is that band that you’d like to be part of (any time & era)?
E: I’m into so many different styles, so it’s hard for me to say. There are so many bands I feel like I would be selling myself short by only wishing for one, haha!
Has the internet changed the ways music should be played and released or not? Is it a “divine gift” or a curse?
E: It definitely has. In ways it is great for getting your music to new people, but in ways it is a curse because of how easy it is to obtain. It’s not as “special” anymore in my opinion. There was always something neat about going to a record store and getting a physical copy in hand. So, it’s good & bad.
Top 3 mystery movies of any era?
E: That’s impossible!!!
Which is the record you wish you had written and why?
E: Karnivool – “Sound Awake”... because I love it!
Fill in the phrase… “Alternative Rock wouldn’t have evolved the way it did, if it hadn’t been for…”
E: … Nirvana!
Which are the top 3 Alternative Rock albums of all time according to you?
E: That’s also impossible!!!
If you had the opportunity to invite any famous person, living or dead, over for supper whom would you choose and why?
E: Jim Carrey, because he’s my absolute favorite!
If you had the chance to travel in time… where would you choose to go? To the past or the future and why?
E: I would love to be around in the 40’s & 50’s in California... I just love the simplicity and the cars!!
Were you obliged to give just one album to extraterrestrials that would represent the whole human music, which album would it be and from which band/artist?
E: You guys are killin’ me!! Haha... there are so many styles to cover, I can’t think of one single album to represent all of humanity!!
Who is the sexiest female Rock Star of all time?
E: I’m gonna have to go with my sister from another mister, Lzzy Hale.
Which do you consider to be the best female & male vocalist in rock history?
E: Lzzy Hale & Chris Cornell!
Imagine that your girlfriend/wife/life partner is selling your whole album-collection just to buy an expensive ring for herself. How would you react?
E: Cryin’…