Creed’s Mark Tremonti says My Own Prison is about trying to find hope
July 24, 2014 · by the newt · in american made.
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 9, 1998
When Creed guitarist Mark Tremonti called from Toronto on Canada Day, his band was 90 minutes away from taking the stage at Edgefest, the touring rock show that visits UBC’s Thunderbird Stadium on Saturday (July 11). The fast-rising Florida quartet is on a bill that includes such high-profile Yankee bands as the Foo Fighters and Green Day, but when asked which Edgefest act he was most proud to be touring with, Tremonti chalked one up for Canuck rock.
“Tea Party,” he replied without hesitation. “They opened for us in America for a coupla months and turned out to be, like, our favourite band in the world.”
Creed hails from Tallahassee, the college town immortalized by Aerosmith in the opening line of “Last Child”, in which Steven Tyler screeches: “Take me back to south Tallahassee, down cross the bridge to my sweet sassafrassee.” Tremonti has known lead vocalist Scott Stapp since high school, though they didn’t actually make music together until both were enrolled at Florida State College. Stapp was studying political science and Tremonti finance—which should come in handy when they’re tallying up the cash that has flowed in since January, when the band’s My Own Prison CD was certified gold (500,000 copies sold) in the U.S.
“That’s right,” quipped Tremonti of the windfall, “my 10 bucks.”
Though a certified commercial success, My Own Prison was originally made for less than $6,000 in producer John Kurzweg’s home studio. Two months after its indie release in ’97, the disc had moved more than 3,000 copies, which led to a signing by New York’s Wind-up Entertainment. The CD was eventually remixed by Ron Saint-Germain (Tool, Soundgarden) and rereleased through BMG Distribution (Attic Records in Canada), and it has since become a rock-radio hit, hovering around Number 30 on the Billboard album chart.
Much of My Own Prison’s popularity is due to the brooding title track, reminiscent of Alice in Chains, which cowriter Tremonti explained is about taking responsibility for one’s own actions. “You know, the prison that you’re in, and your life, is created by you and no one else,” said the 24-year-old guitarist, who discovered hard rock in Grade 7 via Metallica’s Master of Puppets. “The whole album is about findin’ your own answers and just tryin’ to find hope.”
Creed will perform a special charity concert March 26 at the Hard Rock Cafe in Atlanta to raise funds to aid flood victims in Albany, Georgia.
The band plans to donate proceeds of the show, co-sponsored by local radio station 99X, to the Albany chapter of the Red Cross when its tour stops there April 3 for a performance at the Albany Civic Center.
Some 11,000 Albany residents have been displaced from their homes by flooding from the Flint River, and the region has already been declared a disaster area by President Clinton.
Creed’s debut album, “My Own Prison,” has just been certified platinum after 26 weeks in release.
The fast-rising Creed are continuing to put in some heavy hours on the road promoting their new platinum record, “My Own Prison,” and it looks like their touring schedule is going to include two dates opening for Van Halen in May.
Sources at Wind-Up Entertainment confirmed that the indie band has been asked to join the veteran rockers May 19 in Detroit and May 22 in New York City. A spokesperson said more shows had been discussed, but those were the only two dates that scheduling would allow.
Creed is currently touring in the South. The band will be presenting the Red Cross in Albany, GA, with some flood relief funds for flood victims on April 3 generated at a benefit last week in Atlanta.
Van Halen begins their very short U.S. trek May 13 in Houston, wrapping it up May 24 in Philadelphia before heading off to Europe.
With big egos, deep pockets and nasty attitudes, some rock stars have reputations befitting Ebenezer Scrooge.
But the Christmas spirit has hit rockers Creed, who perform tonight at the Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center.
The Tallahassee, Fla.-based quartet is donating portions of the concert's ticket proceeds to the Richmond-Columbia County unit of the American Cancer Society and co-sponsoring a canned food drive benefiting the Golden Harvest Food Bank.
"I think it's refreshing to see a band that cares about the community," said Julie Tollison, community income manager for the cancer society. "They really have a generous spirit."
The band, whose album My Own Prison has gone double platinum, is contributing to various charities in each city they perform on their current tour.
"They chose charities that are important to them -- that they have been touched by," said Ms. Tollison.
Drummer Scott Phillips' paternal grandmother died of lung and brain cancer a few years ago. "She'd been battling it for a while," Mr. Phillips said Friday in a phone interview from Atlanta. "It's one of things that hit home."
Creed has done benefit shows before, like a concert aiding flood victims in Albany, Ga. But on their current eight-date mini-tour, the band decided to donate money to organizations that have helped people they know, Mr. Phillips said.
He said the decision was influenced partially by the holiday season.
"It's the least we can do. I guess not everybody in the world is overly greedy," he said.
From each ticket sold to tonight's show, $1 will be donated to the American Cancer Society, said Ms. Tollison, who expects to get a check of between $3,000 and $4,000. The money will be used to support cancer research, patient services and cancer education, she said.
Also, receptacles for canned food will be placed at the arena doors.
A raffle ticket will be issued for each can donated, and the winner will get to go backstage after the show to meet the band, take pictures and receive an autographed guitar.