Hard Rock

Intervista Alter Bridge (Brian Marshall)

Di Davide Sciaky - 10 Dicembre 2019 - 18:57
Intervista Alter Bridge (Brian Marshall)

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Interview by Davide Sciaky

Hi Brian, how are you doing?

Good, thank you.


We are about halfway through this tour, how has it been so far?

Good, good, good.
All shows have been excellent, it’s been a little bit colder than we were expecting, but it’s been a lot of fun.
The bands, the crews, the fans, everybody showing up and having a good time and it’s been a great experience so far.


The last time you played here in Milan it was at a much smaller venue, is Italy the only place where you’ve grown so much or is the same in other countries?

Some countries it’s really grown a lot quicker, in other countries it’s been a slower climb, but in each city, each time we come back it seems to grow a little bit.
The UK, Italy, Germany are all really good markets for us, but we just kinda continue to do what we do and see growth, and try to reach as many people as we can on the road and it’s a slow grind in some spots, but then in others people really seem to attach to us and come out more.


So, you weren’t really surprised when you ended up playing bigger places this time around.

We spent a lot of time coming to Italy, we’ve been coming here pretty steadily for going on 16 years.
It’s nice to come to Italy, we are very excited to be here, we were talking about it last night, about coming from Switzerland to Italy and how cool it’s gonna be today.
As soon as we walked in it was like, “Yeah, alright!”, I wish we could play this show every night! [Laughs] It’s exciting!


Let’s talk your new album, “Walk the Sky”, which was released about a month and half ago. It charted amazingly, in the UK it was 1st in the independent, and in the Metal and Hard Rock categories, 4th in the overall chart, 1st in Swizerland, 5th in Germany, 1st in the Top Rock category on Billboard in the States. You’ve always received very nice accolades, but it seems that with every new album you’re doing better. Does this put pressure on you when you start working on a new album, do you feel a sort of competition with the previous one, “I have to top that”?

Yeah, we’ve always kinda felt that way even since the beginning, going back to “One Day Remains” and then “Blackbird”, especially, we had a lot of time between “One Day Remains” and “Blackbird” and that album is a fan-favourite, and is a band-favourite as well, and I think going into the third record we really felt that pressure, but I think now, on our sixth album, we just kind of… you know, things are done a little bit differently, Mark and Myles go away and they are doing their solo projects and they bring in material. We use Dropbox to familiarise with it and then when the pre-production starts we go in the re-writing process and that’s when we all sit down together, really play through all the material and see what really hits on for us.
Speaking about the release, we are really proud of all our team, all the work that went in through the record label, our management and everybody that’s been on the whole side of the release putting things out there on the internet, the tracks that we released prior to the album being released to give a taste to the fans.
The big trick in this day and age is trying to keep it from being leaked [laughs] because once you get the master, final recording’s done and it’s all of us listening to it, then the label has it, they have have the masters and that’s already a lot of people.
There was one song that was leaked that we were able to kinda cover up and make it look like it was a track that we were releasing, but it really wasn’t [laughs].
We put together a video real quick, overnight, it was ‘Take the Crown’? No, wait, it was ‘Pay No Mind’, I don’t think it was even scheduled to be released, but somehow it leaked, we still don’t know exactly WHO it was… but that’s the big trick in it all.
Overall we’re super proud of the record, it seems that the fans are really enjoying it, and we’re enjoying playing it live; we’re playing 4-5 new songs a night on this tour, so it’s fine and fresh for us.

The cover up thing is amazing, I’ve never heard of any band pulling a trick like that.

Yeah, we got a text that morning that it got out, I guess it was on the Dark Web or something, and we were like, “Oh God, it leaked! What should we do?”, so we said, “Let’s release it now, we’ll put together a lyric video and we’ll make it look like we planned it”.


You mentioned the songwriting: do you have a fixed songwriting process, or do you like to change things up from one album to the other?

It’s always been different, especially since everybody is doing it in different parts of the world, doing their other respected projects, Tremonti and Myles with Slash, and he’s also doing his solo project.
Today, in Alter Bridge world, ideas are always flowing, but like I said it changed a little bit; I think “The Last Hero” was written while we were actually all in the same room together, Mark and Myles would come and go together away and then the next morning we would bring that material in and we would play it.
This record was written over the course of a year or so, we had a Dropbox to familiarise with the material, there were 12 to 15 ideas that were there, none of them were completely complete, but a lot of them were 50% done, just a verse-chorus idea, and then we would all get together and the final product would eventually come out. We would play it together, as we always do, and that’s when the music takes its shape.

You were saying that you are playing four or five new songs: the album is quite long, fourteen songs, are you planning to play more songs in the future?

Yeah, I think eventually we will, we’ve tossed around that idea here, if we want to bring in more new material.
I think that right now, with it being so fresh and new to the fanbase and to ourselves, it’s a little bit much to take on, I think we are comfortable with alternating songs in an out.
We have probably six or seven that we are comfortable playing live and that the fans want to hear live, and we rotate each night doing something different.


Last year Myles released his debut solo album, an acoustic album. Have you discussed the idea of making an acoustic album, or even just an EP, with Alter Bridge as well?

Personally? I’ve got some things in the works, but finding time for it might be a little tricky, we got a lot of things that are happening next year and even the following years, so trying to find time to be with family, and take care of things at home too, that’s an important part of everyone’s life, really.
But, I mean, there are some ideas that I’ve been throwing around, I’m actually thinking about starting a little country band [laughs].
There’s some material out there right now that I’m working with my singer and my guitar player, so we’re starting to piece together some ideas.


That was actually something that I wanted to ask you about, everyone is getting their solo band, so I was wondering if you had thought of doing something.

Yeah, I mean, I think it’s more just an outlet for me, I’m not really considering it to be something enormous, obviously I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want it to be that, but, you know, I like Country music, it makes me feel good, and we’ll see what happens.
Certainly in the future.


We talked about how well your album charted, do you think Rock and Metal are in a good place today, in 2019?

I do, but I’m surrounded by it all day.
The people that I’m in close contact with, that I call “my circle”, Rock is very much alive.
If you get in somebody else’s circle they might be into something else, but, I mean, this is living proof that Rock is still alive and kicking, I mean, we are playing in a arena in Milan, so it proofs positive.


Talking about Rock and Metal today, a couple of days ago Slayer played their last show. They are just the last of a number of bands that are calling it quit in the past few years. How does it feel to see those big bands, bands so influential to Metal, go?

I don’t think it’s Slayer’s last show.
They said it is, they might take a little break, but I guarantee you in about 3 or 4 years Kerry King is gonna get an itch, and he’s gonna get out there and play those Slayer songs, so we’ll see.
It does seem to be happening, like, look at the Mötley Crüe, case in point, they signed a contract and now they’re about to embark on another huge tour so, you know, it’s really cool that band have really stood the test of time, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Kiss, Metallica, Megadeth, they’re still out there, they’ve been around since I was in grade school.
They’re still out there doing it, and I respect that, and I hope that they continue to do what they do for as long as they can possibly do it.


We’re now in the period of transition where old legendary bands are retiring, maybe not Slayer but other certainly are, and we’re waiting to see who’s gonna take their place. Do you think Alter Bridge could do it?

Time will tell, we’re not really replacing anybody, we’re just gonna keep doing what we’re doing and enjoying what we’re doing.
When those slots become available I would hope that we would be a selection for it, time will tell and we will keep plugging along.


Well, at least in Italy, this arena where you’re playing today, Metallica and Iron Maiden played here in the past, so it seems like you’re pretty much there.

Alright, yeah!


Other than Alter Bridge, are there any other band that you put your eyes on, that you think might get there?

There are a lot of up and coming acts that I have seen recently that kinda cut my ear, Dirty Honey is one that we toured with in the States and I got big expectations from them, they have released a song, and they aren’t even signed by a major label and they got to number 1 in the Rock charts in the States and that’s pretty cool.
I’m a big Rush fan, you know… the only band that I feel are actually retired, because Neil Peart has, I don’t think he’s making a comeback, I think he’s done, so that’s the only band that I feel has really retired, but IF they did a comeback I’d be all for it because they are my [makes explosion sound].
Black Stone Cherry are a great band, good friends of ours… Gojira are amazing, I think they putting out a new record and they’re putting their stamp on the Metal scene, people want to see them, want to hear them and they got a great thing going.