Being an opening act is thankless work. Operating on the theory of "what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger," life on the road sucks. Bad food, miserable accommodations and riding in a broken down bus that leaks exhaust fumes into the coach. The pay-off is the few moments when the group has the opportunity to impress the headliner's usually disinterested audience. Few, if any come to see the opening act. Hopefully, some will be impressed as the lowly group plows toward that elusive headliner status. While the crowd facing the stage is the focus, vocalist Myles Kennedy discovered the headliner is an important audience too.
After selling 30 million albums, guitarist Mark Tremonti and vocalist Scott Sapp had a falling out. So Tremonti partnered with fellow Creed member Scott Phillips. After a couple fruitful jam sessions they made the call former Creed bassist Brian Marshall (he left prior to the group's last album). Soon he was onboard. Obviously, with the basics taken care of, the band needed a vocalist. But who?
Back in Creed's glory days the Mayfield Four, with Myles Kennedy, opened for them. Memorable performances made Kennedy the final piece of the puzzle.
Alter Bridge, a name taken from an actual bridge in Tremonti's native Detroit, became the band's moniker. The bridge was viewed as a boundary to the children in surrounding neighborhoods. To go beyond the bridge was to venture into uncharted territory. In '04, the group released "One Day Remains."
Some band members have trouble escaping the past. And Tremonti, Phillips, and Marshall got caught up in theirs . Wind Up Records, the group's label, began putting pressure on the three musicians to reform Creed with Sapp. Creed was huge so you can't blame the label for trying. But it was something the trio just didn't want to do. Besides, such an effort would put Alter Bridge into a deep (and likely permanent) shade. Still, the label kept at it.
As that was going on, Alter Bridge recorded their sophomore studio album, "Blackbird." "If anything sounded like Creed, we nixed it from this record," said Tremonti. "We want to step away from it and become a band on our own."
Having had enough of being pressured, Alter Bridge left Wind Up for Universal Republic Records. "Blackbird" dropped in October, '07, and the single "Rise Today" became the official theme song for World Wrestling Entertainment's (WWE) Unforgiven 2007.
While Tremonti, Marshall and Phillips were on the '09 Creed reunion tour, Kennedy kept busy working on a solo album. "I have been locked away working on my record," wrote Kennedy on MySpace. "There don't seem to be enough hours in the day to get everything done. It's been an amazing experience." One reason there may not have been 'enough hours' is that Kennedy also helped Slash (Guns N' Roses/Velvet Revolver) with his solo album.
Originally titled "Alter Bridge III," the group's third album, a '10 release, was shortened to "AB III."
"Live At Wembley," an album/DVD package from their headlining performance in '11 at London's Wembley Arena, was recorded before a packed house of 12,000; their largest U.K. audience to date.
At this point, Tremonti, Marshall and Phillips reinstated Creed for a tour. Kennedy worked with Slash on the successful '12 set "Apocalyptic Love." That same year Tremonti issued a solo album "All I Was" and Phillips launched Projected with Sevendust's John Connolly and Vinnie Hornsby, and former Submersed guitarist Eric Friedman. Following that rush of activity, Alter Bridge went to work on fourth studio set.
"Fortress" was produced by Michael Baskette (Incubus) who had previously worked with the group.
"We pushed ourselves harder and further than we ever have previously in order to make the most out of every individual arrangement," said Tremonti of the '13 release. "We wanted this album to be our most unpredictable and exciting one yet. From the early feedback we have received, it looks like we have achieved what we set out to do."
"Fortress" debuted at #12 on the Billboard 200 chart with first week sales of 30,000, which topped the sales of "ABIII."
Tremonti recorded his sophomore solo album, "Cauterize," again featuring Friedman along with bassist Wolfgang Van Halen. Meanwhile, Kennedy toured in support of his second album with Slash, "World On Fire."
In January '16, Alter Bridge began recording their fifth studio album. Just months down the road, "Dust," Tremonti's third solo effort dropped.
But it was Alter Bridge's turn soon enough. They released their fifth studio album, "The Last Hero" with the track "Show Me A Leader," a half year later. Kennedy said the song "reflects the frustrations that a lot of people are feeling with the current state of the world."
Alter Bridge Discography
2004 One Day Remains
2010 AB III
2012 Live At Wembley
2016 The Last Hero
Alter Bridge treads the line between post-Grunge and Hard Rock. They have enough brut force to make an impression though they spend an inordinate amount of time on power ballads and mid-tempo dramas.