Mark begrüßte mich mit den Worten "nice shoes" und nach einem Blick auf seine Füße erwiderte ich mit einem Lächeln "yours as well" da wir beide normale schwarze Converse Chucks anhatten. Nach einem kurzen Plausch darüber, dass das Grünspan im Rotlichtviertel von Hamburg liegt, fingen wir mit dem eigentlichen Interview an:
Allschools: I read that you started playing the guitar with 11 years, is that true?
Mark: Yes it is.
Allschools: Why did you decide to pick up the guitar and not any other instrument?
Mark: It was just what I was drawn to. I heard songs on the radio with a cool guitar part and I just thought "I want to be able to play that so badly". When I saw the movies "Crossroads" or "Back to the future", or just anything with good guitar parts in it I wanted to play them.
Allschools: Did you ever think about learning another instrument?
Mark: Yes, I played bass which is pretty similar to guitar on one of our records. I started playing the piano for a little while and after about 4 months into it I realized that I spent too much time doing that and not enough on my guitar playing so I stopped. I bought a drumset and started to learn to play the drums and I learned just enough to learn that I'm not very good at playing drums (smiling). So I'll stick to the guitar,
Allschools: So you tried almost everything.
Mark: Yes, definitely.
Allschools: Did you take guitar lessons or just tought it yourself?
Mark: No, I took one lesson when I was younger and they tried to teach me how to play songs like "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" and stuff like that.
Allschools: And obviously, that wasn't what you imagined?
Mark: Yes, I was like "well, how about some Metallica?" and they were like "yeah, we'll get to that later" and I said "I'll get to that now!" (smiling).
Allschools: So from that time on you just tought it yourself?
Allschools: Alright, comparing your time in Alter Bridge and Creed to your solo project, what's the most apparent difference?
Mark: My stage setup is very simple with this. And I have to be very healthy, I gotta get a lot of sleep and drink a lot of tea. If my voice goes away, the show is off. So that's the biggest difference.
Allschools: Have you always been singing besides playing the guitar?
Mark: I've always been a songwriter so I always have been singing when I was writing songs but I've never been a lead singer until now.
Allschools: But you enjoy your new role as a frontman?
Mark: Yeah, I love it!
Allschools: Does your solo project interefere with you being in Alter Bridge? You're touring a lot with Alter Bridge and now with your solo project. How can you combine that?
Mark: This is only our second tour with the solo project and Alter Bridge wont tour until September so I had a lot of time. I just want to keep this band going with like two or three short tours a year. We just have to make a lot of planning time ahead.
Allschools: You just mentioned your next tour with Alter Bridge in September, are you coming back to Germany?
Mark: Oh yeah. that's the plan. When we come back to Europe we will definitely play Germany.
Allschools: Who chooses the support bands for your solo project?
Mark: I just leave it up to the people from the label. I think they search online and choose bands with a similar sound. and it's always good to find a band that has a record label behind them to help push the tour. The Band we have playing with us in Germany (MALRUN) is fantastic.
Allschools: Which song on "All I Was" is your personal favourite and why?
Mark: I don't have a favourite I just have a favourite song to play and that would be "Whish You Well", "Things I've Seen" is one of my favourites to sing. It depends on what day it is.
Allschools: It's always hard to categorize music. Wikipedia describes "All I Was" as "melodic hardcore with speed metal influences" would you agree to that?
Mark: With this band I wanted to get out the more "metal side" of me that I grew up with, I haven't been able to do that with my last two bands as much was I would like to so with this band we got to push it a little more into the metal but melody has always been my favourite thing so we had to keep that in.
Allschools: Was that one of your reasons to start the solo project? To be able to play songs that wouldn't fit into Alter Bridge or Creed?
Mark: I just wanted to be able to put out the ideas that I constantly throw at the other guys and that don't make it onto the records. Like "I love this riff" but then it wouldn't fit in with the other guys and so I took all those ideas and put them into this.
Allschools: You've won a Grammy with Creed and you've been guitarist of the year several times, what's more to come? Do you have any goals that you want to achieve in your life?
Mark: I just keep my head down and keep writing music. My goals are just to keep going out and playing music. Try to grow as an artist.
Allschools: Creed has always been known as a religious band, do you think that beliving in god makes an impact on the music you're making?
Mark: That was mainly because Scott, our singer grew up in a very religious family. The rest of us, we just wanted to be in a rockband, the religious thing just came along with a lot of stuff that Scott was putting in there.
Allschools: Do you personally believe in god?
Mark: Yes, I do. But I don't believe in the god that mankind has created. I believe in my own faith.
Allschools: So not all your fans have to believe in god?
Mark: No! I don't push the religion thing into music, I think everyone has their own vision of what their faith is.
Allschools: You're married and also have to kids, how do you keep in contact with them? I guess being away from them can be very very hard.
Mark: Yeah definitely! I'm only home a couple of months a year. I go back to the States in two weeks so I'll be able to see them. My wife sometimes surprises my flying to a show. And the kids, last year she brought my oldest son.
Allschools: How old is he?
Mark: He's turning eight.
Allschools: Wow that's still very young to be on a rock tour.
Mark: Yes and I have a four year old as well. But he hasn't been over here yet and my oldest son has been over here twice.
Allschools: Okay, to finish this up could you tell me two reasons why I should go and see you with your solo project and two reasons why I should see you with Alter Bridge?
Mark: For the solo project: if you like the heavier parts of Alter Bridge and you'll see a great band, Wolfgang Van Halen and the other guys are great musicians. With Alter Bridge you've got one of the best rock singers on earth singing, Myles Kennedy. And I think the Alter Bridge stuff is more of like the experimental, moody kind of stuff. And it's a bigger show, bigger lights and so on, we've worked so many years to build that up.
Allschools: Alright, perfect! Thank you very much for taking the time Mark!
Mark: Thank you!