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By Andy Argyrakis
Creed gives cash-strapped fans ticket prices that won't break their bankbooks
August 3, 2010
During Creed's initial run throughout the late 1990s and early 2000s, the group sold 35 million records while racking up hit after hit like "Higher," "My Own Prison," "With Arms Wide Open" and "My Sacrifice." Though the guys went their separate ways with singer Scott Stapp treading the solo route while guitarist Mark Tremonti, drummer Scott Phillips and bassist Brian Marshall started up the new band Alter Bridge with Myles Kennedy, the core foursome is back together after a half decade hiatus. And the bellowing hard rockers are picking up right where they left off, starting with the new CD Full Circle (Wind-Up) and continuing with a "20-10" reunion tour at amphitheatres for a mere $20 in the pavilion and $10 on the lawn, which Tremonti talked about just prior to loading up the buses.
How did you guys actually get back together in the first place?
Tremonti: Scott called our management and facilitated us all meeting and getting together after all those years and immediately we talked about putting a tour together. Six years gives everyone enough time to grow up and we've all had kids in meantime. We realized there are not that many folks who've done as much as we've done and it's such an exciting thing to do tour arenas and amphitheatres.
Is everyone getting along these days, especially considering there was tension the first time around?
Tremonti: We're good and much different than the old days now that we all have families and kids. When we're off tour, I don't see anybody except for Scott Phillips because he lives down the street. Everybody's always so busy that we loose track of one another, but that makes it easier on relationships and we appreciate the time together doing what we love and not being forced into a situation when we're on a bus on top of each other for 24 hours.
How has having a family changed your life?
Tremonti: It sure takes a toll on the guitar playing, but it's a blessing. Kids are the best thing that ever happened to me, and it's true, you have to make sure your time is well spent. During any time off, I'm making most of it. And I'm writing a song or playing guitar instead of watching TV. [My family] was on the road pretty much the whole time last summer and it's pretty much the same this summer, but school starts in August, so my oldest son won't be able to do the second half. After such a long break, how were you able to transition back to Creed full time? Tremonti: It's been kind of like a fire drill. [Last summer] we had planned our tour first and then decided to make a record after the fact, which meant we were on a limited time frame and it felt like a whirlwind. And as this tour with Creed is done, we're back to making an Alter Bridge album, but I think forced deadlines like that heighten your sense of imagination, which is good for me as a songwriter.
What was your goal with the newest CD Full Circle?
Tremonti: We wanted to show everyone we weren't just sitting idle over the last six years but were developing ourselves as musicians and as songwriters. We didn't want to sound complacent or like a band just willing to just play the old songs. We wanted to keep it relevant and we knew that when Creed put a new record out, there were going to be a lot of ears and eyeballs on it. It was a very quick process that turned out to be a lot of fun.
Creed's always had really inspirational songs in the past, but how would you describe the lyrics these days?
Tremonti: I think it's about overcoming obstacles and getting past trying times in your life. I think the songs "Rain" and "Overcome" are about getting through and putting your head down to push through any situation. We had to do that to get back together and become relevant again, so we're getting out there and trying our hardest.
What kind of set list should fans expect this summer?
Tremonti: With the first tour, people were wanting to hear all the old songs they were familiar with and we only played a couple of the new songs. But now that they've gotten airplay and people are more familiar with it, the new tour will probably be a full tour about the record, but we'll still play songs from older records as well and switch it up.
How did you guys come up with such fan-friendly prices?
Tremonti: We got a call our from our manager who had a brainstorming session with Live Nation and they came up with the concept. The year is 2010 and the economy's taken a nose dive to the point where everybody's suffering. Nobody's taking into account ticket prices continue to rise when they should be drastically reduced. We don't have to blow everything up all night long. Fans want to see us play songs, and with a good light show, we'll be able to play our songs for people who can afford $10 or $20 ticket prices. People deserve to get out and have a good time without stressing out about spending money.
What's your take on so many tours being canceled this summer?
Tremonti: I hear it all the time and it's a shame. At the same time, I think artists are reconsidering the way to go about touring the next time. It's fun to see a huge spectacle like U2 or The Rolling Stones, but with a giant show like that, you're going to pay a premium. For a band like us, we figure people want to see and hear the songs live, not explosions, so we've made it affordable.
What inspired you guys to donate the opening show's sales to the Nashville flood victims?
Tremonti: We've got a lot of ties in Nashville between recording the last Creed and Alter Bridge records there. With so many other issues going on right now, like the oil spill and the earthquake in Haiti, it got swept under the rug a bit and they could use some support.
You guys are also giving away a motorcycle and guitar on this tour that I heard were valued at $80,000!
Tremonti: That bike is incredible! I've seen a lot of high end bikes, but this is the biggest rear wheel production on any motorcycle. The bike design is incredible and whoever wins this is one lucky person. The PRS guitar has the same paint job as the Orphan bike and you can register at shows or at Creed2010.com. The bike will be on display throughout the tour and you can take pictures with it.
What's your take on coming back to the Chicago area?
Tremonti: I think Chicago and Houston are our two biggest fan bases. I have a ton of family that lives in Chicago, so my guest list will be at least 60 people! We always try to prove ourselves when we come to town and the audiences are great.
Creed headlines the First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre in Tinley Park, IL on Sunday, August 15. For additional details, visit www.livenation.com and www.creed2010.com.