Alter Bridge Mark Tremonti Interview: My Champion, Kirk Hammett Hardwired Solos & More

8. How My Champion Was Written

Scott Tailford: Back when you guys were releasing Fortress, Myles had mentioned that Addicted to Pain came together fairly quickly, that you knew it was going to be the 'big single'. How did My Champion come to be?

Mark Tremonti: I'd put together some ideas that I was really excited about when I got together with Myles, and it was kinda one of the more mainstream, more upbeat ideas that I had.

What I was bringing to the table was focused around that opening riff, I really enjoyed that. I had a different verse going with it, and the chorus [then] is now the pre-chorus, so when we were sitting down with one another, Myles had an alternate chorus, I through the bridge out there- it wasn't a difficult song to put together, it was just a matter of me and Myles getting together and matching our best ideas.

He threw out that great chorus, it fit perfectly well, and everybody was happy. The parts I had worked on got to survive in the song, and he got one of his favourite choruses along with a verse we both developed. It's a happy outcome when we can both contribute to a song, it's how we like to operate with Alter Bridge.

S.T: In terms of the lyrics, you guys have been through a lot with record labels, writing Ties That Bind about breaking away from various record labels. What or who is My Champion about, and what was the inspiration for the lyrical portion of the track?

M.T: The song is just about the underdog, y'know? About somebody that might not be the strongest individual or the best athlete, or the best at anything, but gets up and stands up for themselves.

When the chips are down, they're going to overcome that adversity.

S.T: That kind of feel really comes across in the solo, it's very up-lifting. How did the solo come together in regards to how much of the song was already recorded?

M.T: The solos always come last, they're kind of like the lyrics; you put the song together and then you attack the final piece, which are always the solos, the lyrics. You never know what the final arrangement is gonna be, and you don't wanna have to 'complete' something and have to redo it, especially when solos and lyrics take a long time to develop.

They can take days, they can take hours. I always try to take advantage of whatever tuning I'm in for a solo, and make it as unique as I can. I started and ended with a couple little phrases that used the DADGAD tuning to my advantage, along with a few different voicings, and then I factored in standard and Drop D tuning.

(From slightly later in the interview) I've just realised when I said DADGAD, it's more like Drop C. That low string is tuned to a C, and the whole guitar goes down a whole step.

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