ALTER BRIDGE – “Addiction Is A Very Nasty Animal”

“Addiction Is A Very Nasty Animal”

Via: bravewords.com

Alter Bridge is a band worth waiting for. Their last studio album, AB III, was released in 2010. Once the extensive touring cycle wrapped up, guitarist Mark Tremonti released a solo album under the moniker TREMONTI, and vocalist Myles Kennedy was hand-picked by former GUNS N’ ROSES guitarist SLASH to sing on his Apocalyptic Love album, and travel the world in support of. Now, Mark and Myles have reconvened with their Alter Bridge brethren, drummer Scott Phillips and bassist Brian Marshall, to release their unparalleled fourth album, Fortress. BraveWords.com caught up with both Mark and Myles prior to the start of their current UK and European tour. 

It’s rather ironic that the new album is called Fortress, yet the cover depicts an abandoned and dilapidated wooden shack in the middle of nowhere. “My brother Dan does all our artwork,” comments Mark. “We were going back and forth with all these castle-like images… it just didn’t speak to us. Then me and (drummer) Scott Phillips were pulling up images on Google, just searching for random stuff, and I came across this nuclear test ground with this little shack that looked like it was about to fall over. I thought – what a good idea to do a play on words, and do the opposite of what everybody would think because the song itself does the same thing. Lyric-wise, it talks about how all these steadfast things in your life and in the world – for example the Roman Empire. Everything has its day, everything comes and goes. Everything that you might think is a constant will have its shelf-life. So that’s why we chose that.” Myles re-affirms Mark’s statement, “Yeah, the title track ‘Fortress’ is basically about the idea that there are things you assume are big, invincible, institutions or structures that will never fall down. But ultimately it will. If you give something enough time, it will crumble down around you. We wanted to show that on the cover; the final outcome and the reality of so many situations – be it your beliefs, relationships, governments, religions. Eventually, so much of that will fall. So we thought that was a logical visual to use for the album cover.” 

In an unusual move, Alter Bridge placed the title track as the very last song on Fortress. “I drew up the very first album order and I had ‘Fortress’ towards the middle of the record,” recalls Mark. “But then when Myles gave me his feedback, he switched around three or four songs from where I had them; and he had ‘Fortress’ at the end. I had ‘All Ends Well’ at the end, because of the title. I thought that would be a good closing track for a record. I was a little nervous with ‘Fortress’ being the last track because it was such an important song and people might overlook it. But with it being the title track I felt a little better, bookending the album with ‘Achilles’ – the two big epics. At first ‘Calm The Fire’ was a contender to be the lead-off track on the album. In the end, ‘Cry Of Achilles’ won out as the stronger song.” 

‘Cry Of Achilles’ serves as a fantastic introduction to Fortress. Although it’s titled after a prominent figure from Greek mythology, the song itself is not about the hero of the Trojan War. According to Myles, “When we put the song together, we were trying to find a working title for it. The arrangement was so long and epic, I was joking around and said, let’s call it ‘Cry Of Achilles’. It was one of those song titles that ended up sticking. When I actually started writing the lyrics, I tried to bring that into it, but unfortunately that just did not work. So it’s one of those songs where the title has nothing to do with the actual theme; it’s kind of funny how that works out.” The title itself harkens back to Myles’ childhood when he was enamoured with Greek mythology. “I went through a period in the fifth and sixth grade, where I was really into it. We had a teacher come in and tell us a little bit about it; I was really captivated. I remember asking my Mom for all these Greek mythology books, and I would read them. Interestingly enough, I don’t remember a lot of it. But it was something I definitely found compelling. There was a movie that came out when I was a kid (in 1981) called Clash Of The Titans; I loved that movie! That was a special time growing up.” Surprisingly, Myles did not see the 2010 remake because he “wasn’t sure what to make of it,” preferring to stick with the original.

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