Creed’s Mark Tremonti says My Own Prison is about trying to find hope

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ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 9, 1998

By Steve Newton

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Though a certified commercial success, My Own Prison was originally made for less than $6,000 in producer John Kurzweg’s home studio.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.”

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