In one of Rocksins’ biggest exclusive interviews in our two and a half year history, I was lucky enough to catch up with Alter Bridge and Creed bassist Brian Marshall in the bowels of Wembley Arena, a few hours before Alter Bridge took to the Wembley stage to deliver a career defining performance (one that was also recorded for posterity on DVD). If you’d like to read a review of Alter Bridge’s Wembley performance you can do so by clicking the link. If you’d like to hear what Brian had to say on Alter Bridge’s biggest ever headline tour, their forthcoming live DVD, Creed’s plans for 2012 and many other things, please read on. A big thanks to Ashley Maile for the photo too!
Jamie: Ok, so this is the last night of your first UK arena headlining tour here at Wembley, are you guys excited for this evening?
Brian: Definitely. It’s been a long seven years and we’ve been over here a lot working out butts off and we’re just glad that we’ve been able to reach as many people over here as we have. It’s very exciting and very nerve wracking because we’re shooting a DVD here and it’s a big crowd y’know? It’s pretty intense.
Jamie: Is this the biggest headline indoor crowd you will have played to as Alter Bridge?
Jamie: Is that just in the UK or..
Brian: It’s the biggest headline Alter Bridge show ever! Tonight!
Jamie: That’s awesome, has the rest of the tour gone well? There’s been very good feedback in the press and on the Internet.
Brian: Definitely, yeah, there’s been great crowds. We were in Europe for five weeks before we came here and you know it’s lots of different countries but we’ve been steadily drawing between 2,000 – 4,000 across Europe. But we’ve been really excited to come over here to do this, it’s been a blessing.
Jamie: Are you filming the entire show tonight (at Wembley) for a concert DVD or will you be combining it with bits and pieces from the other shows?
Brian: It’s going to be completely from here.
Brian: Yup, all Wembley. We’ve done some B-roll stuff, backstage stuff, pictures, that sorta thing. I don’t know if it will be used in the live DVD but it’s still there, we have a live camera guy out with us all the time for tracking different things and logging different things and different moments of our tour.
Jamie: I know you have been on the road with Black Stone Cherry for a few months now, first here in Europe in the festival season, then in the US with the Carnival of Madness tour and now back here again, you must either be pretty good friends or be wanting to kill each other by now?! Or maybe both?
Brian: *laughs* Nah we don’t want to kill each other we love those guys. You’ve done your homework!
Jamie: I try, it helps being a fan first and a journalist second.
Brian: They’re a great, great bunch of guys and a great band. I could pretty much tell immediately that there was a certain chemistry within that band, and just having them out, it’s been like a family. They’re really good kids and I can remember when I was their age and when we were starting to get exposure with Creed and that sort of thing, I kinda know what they’re going through. It’s good to see that they all have level heads and they’re keeping it together. It’s good to have them on here although they’re a hard act to follow! They have a lot of energy.
Jamie: I know they’re coming back to the UK in a few months and the interest in that seems to be really high so hopefully that will go well for them.
Brian: We certainly hope so, we’re pulling for them.
Jamie: From here you get to go home and have a bit of a break for Christmas and then is it right January/February time you’re headed to Australia for the Soundwave festival?
Brian: That’s correct, in February.
Jamie: Is that something that’s been on the radar for awhile? I wasn’t sure if you were looking to do any Alter Bridge shows in 2012 with your other commitments (You guys with Creed and Myles with Slash).
Brian: It’s been on the radar for awhile. As Alter Bridge we went over there with Disturbed a few years ago, maybe two years ago and we were support, third band from the headline spot so that was a little frustrating for us but we still got over there. But this trip has always been on the radar; We were initially planning to do something in Australia a little bit sooner, like a lot sooner like last month or something sooner, I’m not 100% sure what happened but I think we were supposed to play a festival that got totally canned. We had shows that were scheduled between the big festival dates but for us at the time it didn’t make any sense to go over there and play for 1,000 people. But we’re coming there soon!
Jamie: With all the success the band has had since AB III has come out, something you had ten years ago or more with Creed, does it feel stranger the second time round or do you think you have a better appreciation for it?
Brian: Definitely a better appreciation. When you’re that young and you’re thrown into a whirlwind you don’t really…my life changed so much overnight and you tend to at least a little bit forget where your roots are and when you’re that young you get caught up in things. There was a sense of maturity that came along with Creed’s breakup and Alter Bridge coming together and us starting afresh and not wanting to rely on our past success. We should be happy though because that was a part of our lifes and a part of our past, our history. It’s an exciting time because yes, we do tend to respect it more. Plus when Creed was blowing up it was a lot more of a different situation with the Internet and piracy and that sort of thing and it’s a lot harder for bands to break now. But fortunately we’re doing pretty well, lightning strikes twice *laughs*
Jamie: You guys have toured here a lot over the years, especially on the One Day Remains album, I remember seeing one of your first shows at the Astoria back in 2005…
Brian: We were here before that we came over and played some real small club to like 200 people!
Jamie: Yeah I remember, I tried to get tickets to that and it sold out too fast *laughs*
Brian: I can’t remember the name of the place…
Jamie: I’ll find out, I can always put it in the interview afterwards (interviewers note: it was ULU).
Jamie: Do you think the UK took to Alter Bridge quicker than other places did?
Brian: Yeah…I would think so, we’ve definitely been over here more than anything. It’s so much different from the states because here it’s more media driven, whereas in the states it’s more radio driven. People in the US are force fed certain music, you turn on your radio and there it is, whereas here you read about it, and if you like what you’re reading you go out and listen to it, I dunno tell me if I’m wrong?
Jamie: I’d say that’s fairly accurate.
Brian: I think that in turn brings more passion from fans in the UK, I think they’re more drawn to that band so they’re gonna go to that show. They all come together when they go to that show, there’s an energy that happens there that we don’t see so much in the States. That’s a really cool thing, that’s why we like to be over here so much.
Jamie: Do you think as well with Creed the first time round primarily toured in the States, did you guys make it here once or did you never make it here?
Brian: Uhmm…I don’t remember *laughs* I think maybe once.
Jamie: Do you think it’s the fact that when the majority of Creed transferred into Alter Bridge fans in the UK had been wanting to see you for so many years and then all of a sudden you embraced the UK…
Brian: Yeah, we have a lot of fans here. Creed does as well and we want Creed to come over here. All that stuff is being talked about right now. Myles is going to be going back out with Slash so he’s got him tied up for awhile, and Mark’s doing his solo project but I think he’s pretty much done with that. I don’t think he’s planning to tour that or anything, I think Creed is pretty much in our eyesight right now. “On the radar” as you say.
Jamie: In terms of Creed are you looking at writing another album, or doing a tour, or both?
Brian: I would think, there are songs that are being talked about with Creed and I know there are at least six that are being worked on, put together. Not by the whole band right now but there are ideas floating around being worked on. I’m anxious to get back & play with those guys and see what happens.
Jamie: When you guys are out on the road as Alter Bridge do you keep in regular contact with Scott (Stapp, Creed singer)?
Brian: I have recently. In the past I really haven’t as much, there’s been some recent things that have come up that have kinda made us talk and that’s a really cool thing, that’s kinda getting us back to where we were a few years ago with Full Circle, so it’s cool.
Jamie: Do you find if you personally are writing or thinking about song ideas for one band or the other do you feel that you deliberately change your style of playing and writing for one band more than the other as Alter Bridge does tend to be a little bit heavier than Creed?
Brian: I always feel like if I’ve done something before I try to stay away from it, whether it be for Creed or Alter Bridge. I just take it as “ok I think I’ve pretty much done this before”, but if it sounds cool for the song then I might do it, y’know? But if I feel like I’ve done it before I want to up myself and make it better, and make the song better. I think Mark, when he’s writing, he doesn’t really think one way or the other, he logs everything down and then he’ll come to me and/or Scott (Phillips, Creed / Alter Bridge drummer) and we’ll play it and kinda dissect it – then we might say “that’s more geared for Alter Bridge” and then Mark will log it in his computer as possible Creed, possible Alter Bridge. So we’re a filter for Mark *laughs*.
Jamie: It seems to work pretty well!
Jamie: Have you guys set any kind of provisional timetable for when you will reconvene and for writing the follow up to AB III?
Brian: Hopefully, we have talked about it, hopefully around this time (November) next year. It’s still kind of up in the air right now but I would imagine we’ll start piecing together a lot of the songs for another record in late 2012 or early 2013 with a release date hopefully around March 2013.
Jamie: Just in time for the festival season once again.
Jamie: Speaking of festival season, I saw Alter Bridge at Download, that was a pretty fantastic show, did you guys enjoy your return to Donington?
Brian: Definitely, it was a little nerve wracking *laughs*, that’s a big stage man.
Jamie: Well you guys filled it very well!
Brian: Thank you.
Jamie: As it’s the last night of the tour are there any celebrations planned? Or will you all head off to the airport and go your separate ways?
Brian: We’ll probably just go back to the hotel and yeah, just goin home. It’s funny I’m kinda getting anxiety about going home – but if I’m at home I get anxiety about coming on the road!
Jamie: Do you find it takes you awhile to adjust from being on the road to being at home?
Brian: Yes, because I have to cook my own food, to do my own laundry *laughs* you kinda have to de-program yourself because out here you get spoiled. There’s a lot of people working for the band and taking care of you making sure you’re here or there and at home you have to decompress, it’s like “I guess I gotta go to the store and get me some noodles. I don’t know how to cook oh god what am I going to do”.
Jamie: One last question, are there any particular funny stories that have happened on this tour that you’d care to share?
Brian: We’re all pretty tame and laid back, let’s see this tour and funny stories…when I get asked questions like this I always feel like well I really don’t have any funny stories maybe we’re the most boring band in the world *laughs*. But we’re really not we’re a lot of fun! But there’s nothing that’s really off the chain. I didn’t see Flip (Scott Phillips, Alter Bridge drummer) streaking this tour yet that’s usually the front runner. But there hasn’t been any of that yet.
Alter Bridge will play the Soundwave Festival in Australia in February 2012. The deluxe version of their album AB III entitled AB 3.5 was recently released on Roadrunner Records. The Wembley Arena DVD will be released in March 2012 and will also come with a documentary about Alter Bridge’s whole 2011 European / UK Tour. For the latest Alter Bridge news and more interviews with your favourite rock & metal artists please stay tuned to Rocksins.com.