Mark Tremonti is finding that something that was supposed to be fun and show his growth is turning into something more than he ever imagined. The Creed and Alter Bridge guitarist tells Guitar International that the early response to his ‘All I Was‘ solo album has gone beyond his wildest dreams.

The guitarist says he initially felt this was going to be a passion project. He says of his initial goals for the disc, “I’m always writing and had all these ideas that were on the backburner just waiting for the next album cycle. These ideas were pitched to both bands, but never saw the light of day, so I just wanted to make sure I got them out there … I originally thought it would be a fun thing to release for the diehard fans over the Internet. It wasn’t supposed to be a big deal, just a little side project, but as things carried on we got real excited about it.”

The musician says the timing worked out perfectly as there was just enough spacing between Myles Kennedy leaving to team up with Slash and Creed resuming their duties to complete his effort.

Tremonti says this new album has allowed him to reflect on how far he’s come as a musician and he admits he wasn’t always the well-respected guitarist that he is now. He recalls, “In the earlier Creed days, I was much more the songwriter that could get by as a rhythm player with a few tricks. I was never a good improviser or a blues player or much of a lead guitar player back in those days.”

Mark says it all changed for him when he got his Signature PRS guitar, and it put the pressure on him to really learn his instrument. He adds, “I spent a lot of time on my lead techniques and just overall raising and control and setting vibrato and all the most important stuff. I’m still really working on that.”

Tremonti says that rhythm guitar playing is his strength, and for him it was Metallica, Testament, and Forbidden that laid the groundwork for his musical educatio. “As a kid, I was into Metallica, Testament and Forbidden, all the fast, straight-down picking rhythm guys. That’s what I kind of excelled at early on because it didn’t take a lot of brains or ears to really figure that stuff out at first. It’s just a lot of repetition. That’s what I picked up more easily, so that’s kind of my wheel house now.”

As for the album title, ‘All I Was,’ the guitarist says, “I think it was fitting being my first solo CD. It sounds like a story on somebody’s life, about their past, and how it turned out. It’s a good title.” ‘All I Was,’ featuring Tremonti’s self-titled band, is due July 10.

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