As you may know, Mark is really two sentences expert. It was really hard for him to open up a bit. However, by a mix of friendly questions, finding surprisingly plenty of common ground, we could later cover some sensitive issues. I include few tips on this matter as well…
I first came into a contact with Mark’s guitar playing with Creed, back in the day, I was about 14y old. My girlfriend back then loved the band and their catchy tunes as With Arms Wide Open, One Last Breath, My Sacrifice. Well, the whole bloody world did. Next to that, I remember till this day, how My Sacrifice supported this incredible video, with the best football moments ever. When I lived in Serbia, without YouTube, we were sharing this video by any means possible.
Get the guitar hero to talk
Before you may start asking sort of personal questions as: “How come you were always so shy to sing? Was it a bit frustrating to be always called “just” a top class guitarist, even though you are such a great writer of vocal melodies?” The best option is to start with a friendly stuff: I’m a big soccer and table tennis fan, so is he. We both love 80’s Bay Area thrash metal band Forbidden and their hardly known masterpiece Forbidden Evil (“This is one of my most favorite albums dude!!”), old Sepultura, Jason Newsted’s amazing solo project etc. Add honest compliments on his singing and the interview is suddenly a friendly talk!
Suddenly you see, answers are getting longer and more open, even though the topics of solo career or bravery to sing are sensitive issues. However with a support from a family and friends nothing is impossible, as he says. Afterwards we found some another similar interests at brilliant Australian band Karnivool. The reason was, both of their guitarists are participating in a project Fret12 which works as a platform to connect guitarists with their fans. Established by Mark’s younger brother Dan btw.
Sensitive question alert
I have been dealing with a issue to include OR not to include sensitive questions in the past two weeks, more than ever. No matter, if it was Mark, Ritchie Blackmore or Stephen Carpenter of Deftones. It really depends on the mood, length and openness of the interview. There might be great opportunities, as when I spoke with Jason Newsted for an hour, but when some of these guys answer barely in two sentences, interview has given time of 20 minutes, there is simply no time for anything deeper. Plus, I would ruin the whole thing. You might say: “You will never talk again!” It might be true, might not, but I still value the talk and this would be disrespectful. Therefore the best option is to mention upfront, this would be the last question and solve the whole Creed/Scott Stapp going nuts by a simple and honest question (plus Mark felt, I’m sort of obliged to ask it): “At the end, I would like to kindly ask you for all loyal Creed fans, if there is a chance for any new music in the upcoming years?”
There was no tabloid effect in the question, no intention to cover Scott’s troubles and the priority of this question, were really the fans. Therefore I received sort of press release answer, as he is used to say these two sentences regularly, but still in a friendly way: “I am not saying, it will never happen. However, currently I’m fully occupied by promoting Dust and writing of new Alter Bridge album to be released next years, therefore the fans of Creed, have to be patient.”
Sth for Alter Bridge fans – Blackbrid Live Amsterdam.
The Best Solo All Time according to Guitar Magazine