Mark Tremonti: Records that changed my life


24th Oct 2023 Culture

4 min read

Mark Tremonti: Records that changed my life
Returning with his first-ever holiday album, Christmas Classics New & Old, Grammy award-winning musician Mark Tremonti (best known for his rock bands Creed, Alter Bridge and Tremonti) looks back on the records that changed his life  
As a founding member of the rock bands Creed, Alter Bridge and Tremonti, Mark Tremonti knows and loves rock and metal music.
However, there’s more to his music tastes than just those genres, as he has also released a fundraising charity album Tremonti Sings Sinatra. Now reuniting with the stellar orchestra from that recording, he’s back with a Christmas album—Christmas Classics New & Old. But what are the albums that have most influenced him as a musician?

Metallica, Master of Puppets

This was the record that really set me off. Before that I was just like any other kid, I was listening to the Beastie Boys and Licensed to Ill was the big album that everybody was listening to. Agent Orange was another big band because all my friends were skateboarders and watched the Bones Brigade movies and Agent Orange was in there.
"To this day it’s one of my favourite records—it's beautiful, it’s heavy, it’s got everything in between"
But then one night I couldn’t get to sleep and I went up to my brother’s room and said “what’s that song about a sanitarium I keep on hearing?” So he gave me the record and I just couldn’t stop listening to it. I was up all night long listening to it—I can still remember it clearly, that discovery of Metallica and that sound. To this day it’s one of my favourite records. It’s beautiful, it’s heavy, it’s got everything in between.
“Orion” is my favourite song. It’s the instrumental but it just tugs at the heartstrings the most and has a special place in my heart.

Celtic Frost, Morbid Tales / Emperor’s Return

That was a time when I was just looking for the heaviest thing I could find and the moods that those guys presented on those records were something different than I’d heard. I loved the chord progressions, the diversity of the songs and how Tom G Warrior sang in so many different ways. I think Metallica and Celtic Frost are my two all-time favourites.
"Dethroned Emperor" is probably my favourite from that record. It’s just so sludgy and heavy. I think "Procreation (Of the Wicked)" is probably one of the coolest Celtic Frost riffs, that’s probably one of the biggest head bobbers that they’ve done. I know the Metallica guys love Celtic Frost as well. I got to see them live one time in Orlando and it was amazing. One time in Sweden, Tom G Warrior came out and I got to spend some time with him and he was a gentleman.

Bob Marley, Legend

That’s my go to. It’s just such a powerful record and it makes you feel good as soon as it comes on. If I’m having a house party, that’s such a great album. Bob Marley was such a powerful force—his music could bring together warring parties on stage and get them to agree with one another. 
"It’s just such a powerful record and it makes you feel good as soon as it comes on"
"Buffalo Soldier" is a great song, and "No Woman No Cry", but every single song is top notch. There’s not a bad song on that record. That record has just been along for the ride for my whole life, it’s just amazing.

Slayer, Reign in Blood

It has a lot of weight in what I became as a riff writer and I think Reign in Blood is the best guitar riff record of all time. There’s some of the best guitar riffs I’ve ever heard all packaged into one record. One of my key strengths on the guitar is rhythm, speed metal playing and I got that from when I was young trying to keep up with Slayer. It was a great challenge. It’s just a brutal, heavy record and the most dangerous thing I could find.
I was never a kid that dressed the part—I was just a normal kid who loved heavy metal. I would have it on my headphones listening to it. My parents were in the house and whenever it would say anything about Satan I would turn it down quick so my parents wouldn’t make me get rid of the record.

AC/DC, Back in Black

I think AC/DC is the second best rock band of all time, after Led Zeppelin. Back in Black was one of those records that I loved as a kid. That title track in particular, I could listen to it a million times in a row and never get sick of it.
"The title track in particular, I could listen to it a million times in a row and never get sick of it"
It’s such a crazy achievement after losing a singer, coming back with a new singer and being that powerful. It’s one of the top-selling records of all time and I can see why.

The story behind Mark Tremonti’s new Christmas album

The Christmas record was something that when I did the Sinatra record it was because I sang at Christmas parties and it felt great to do so it just gave me the confidence to do the Sinatra thing. When my daughter was diagnosed with Down’s Syndrome I did the Sinatra record for charity. It opened the door for me to be able to do the Christmas record. After the Sinatra record people told me I should do a Christmas record and it’s something I’ve always loved. The Sinatra record put the guys in place for me to be able to pull this off. The Christmas record has a 17-piece brass section, 23-piece string section, an eight-piece choir. Singing with a choir was one of the coolest things I’ve gotten to do.
“The First Noël” was the first time I sang with the choir and I’ll never forget that. That’s not an easy song to sing. It’s not because of the high notes, it’s because of the low notes and some awkward phrasing. I think there’s nothing more epic than the big church Christmas songs like that and “O Holy Night”.
Banner photo: Tremonti Christmas album photo. Credit: Chuck Brueckmann
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