An interview with Mark Tremonti: “My new life’s purpose”

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Mark Tremonti in Frank Sinatra's Dressing Room

As Mark Tremonti himself says, growing up in the States it’s impossible to ignore the music of ‘Old Blue Eyes’. Whether it’s around the house, the Christmas period or at the movies, the music of Frank Sinatra plays a big part in a lot of people’s lives whether they realise it or not. For Mark Tremonti, Sinatra’s music had always held a special place in his heart but it took on a new meaning upon the birth of his daughter, Stella.

“It’s kind of a happy place for me and as I grew older, I just started singing along and it just kind of suited my voice. I’ve always loved singing and about three years ago, I became obsessed and just wanted to practice my best at replicating what he does”.

Stella Tremonti was diagnosed with down syndrome and her family did everything possible to make life as carefree as possible for her. Wanting to help others going through similar situations to his own family, Mark joined the pieces together between his own family and the charity work of Frank Sinatra. From this, Take A Chance For Charity and the record Tremonti Sings Sinatra, where all proceeds will go to charity was born, but there was no easy road ahead. Through family, fundraising and Frank Sinatra, a beautiful opportunity was born out of a tough period.

“Almost as soon as she was diagnosed I think I was obsessed with Sinatra and practising just like I was on the guitar as a kid. I didn’t know what I was going to do with it, I just wanted to play. Then once we got the diagnosis, it was almost immediate. I was like, You know what, that’s why I’m so obsessed with this. I’m going to record an album and I’m going to do it to raise money and awareness for Down Syndrome. It’s my new life’s purpose.”

The first step was to convince his manager Tim Tournier of the idea who was instantly on-board and had an ace up his sleeve. Tournier had been taught guitar by Dan McIntyre who played guitar for Sinatra and from that, things started to fall into place. They set up a lunch with McIntyre and Mike Smith, Sinatra’s band leader. “I told them about this project And they said, well, can your boy sing? And my manager who has never heard me sing Sinatra was like, yeah, he can do it. He just believed in me so I sent my manager some phone recordings of me doing Luck Be A Lady just so he could feel better about it.”

From there, they assembled the surviving members of Sinatra’s band for three sessions in 2021. The other big hurdle lying in wait was getting approval from Sinatra’s state who get hundreds of calls each month for similar projects but they were also won over after hearing about the cause and Tremonti’s voice. Everyone who has heard the covers themselves has reacted in a similar way, just look at the quotes surrounding the album from the likes of Kirk Hammett and Slash. Of course, the cause itself is more than enough to win anybody over but the songs themselves are as authentic as you can get to the real thing.

“It was pretty insane and one of the coolest things I’ve ever done in my life and these guys were so nice to work with. At first, I think they didn’t know what to make of me, being this rock guy but after our first session, everybody was really excited about the project.”

“Once people hear it, it’s been the best response I think I’ve ever gotten in my career as far as people saying, What is this? You know, it’s been incredible feedback so far. It’s been something I’m real proud of.”

Mark Tremonti sings Sinatra is the first project to be released under Take A Chance For Charity. His aim is for others to follow suit in his own footsteps by taking themselves out of their comfort zones into something they’ve always loved, catching people off guard in the process. “The whole point behind this take a chance for charity organisation I’m starting is to do that, to have other artists come out with a project that their fan base would have no idea that it was coming. I don’t want to just raise a million dollars with with the Sinatra record, I want to raise $100 million with everybody else’s projects. I want it to turn into, like the Ice Bucket Challenge where people keep challenging one another to do these projects and have a lot of fun doing it.”

“It could spawn all kinds of craziness that we would have never gotten, you know, and it’s like I’m trying to get as diverse an amount of people as I can. I’ve got my good friend Larry, the Cable Guy, the comedian who’s going to do a project and I just went on tour with Chris Daughtry, he’s going to do a project. The country band Lone Star wants to do a project, Steve Stevens, Black Stone Cherry, a bunch of different folks. The WWE wrestler Edge wants to do a project so I want to get, like I said, actors and athletes, as many different genres and backgrounds as I can get.”

Tremonti Sings Sinatra is released on the 27th of May 2022. 100% of the album’s proceeds will go to the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) to help people with developmental disabilities and their families. You can purchase the album, find out more about Take A Chance For Charity or donate to the NDSS on the Tremonti Sings Sinatra site.

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