Knitting Factory Presents
Alter Bridge - The Last Hero Tour
Heroes push us to excel. Their will, courage, and sacrifice can bring out the best in the world around
Fittingly, on their fifth full-length album, The Last Hero, hard rock juggernaut Alter Bridge pursue a level of
excellence inspired by timeless heroism. Making the record became something of a personal quest for
the quartet—Myles Kennedy [vocals, guitar], Mark Tremonti [guitar, vocals], Brian Marshall [bass], and
Scott Phillips [drums]. In 2013, the band reached an elevated creative and critical milestone with Fortress.
It bowed at #12 on the Billboard Top 200, moving over 30,000 copies first-week and earning unanimous
tastemaker praise. The record garnered perfect scores from Total Guitar and KERRANG! as well as
acclaim from Billboard, The Guardian, Loudwire, Ultimate Guitar, and many more. In between sold out
tours in Europe and North America, the guys appeared on VH1 and graced the cover of Classic Rock
Magazine who labeled Fortress, “The best thing they’ve ever done,” while Eddie Trunk called it, “A top 10
album of the last 10 years.” When it came time to write new music, the musicians collectively raised the
bar yet again.
“Every time we do a record, my only goal is for people to simply think it’s better than the previous one,”
declares Mark. “We pushed ourselves so hard last time, and we knew were going to push ourselves
much harder here. When we brought material in, it had to outdo Fortress.”
“We always strive for that,” agrees Myles. “While recognizing where we’ve come from, we wanted to
expand what Alter Bridge is. This record is definitely an exploration of the hero theme—whether it be the
lack of heroes, the need for heroes, or a tribute to heroes. There’s a story in there.”
Myles wrapped up touring with Slash, and Mark finished up a successful run supporting his second solo
album Cauterize in late 2015. By January 2016, the four members congregated back in Orlando with
longtime producer Michael “Elvis” Baskette [Slash, Trivium]. Over the next four months, they diligently
assembled and tracked the 13 songs comprising The Last Hero.
“Because we have very finite windows of time to put these records together, it’s nonstop when we
regroup,” explains Myles. “Each writer is very involved.”
“We’d work all day in the studio, and Myles and I would go back to my house and come up with ideas all
night,” recalls Mark. “We set up camp in my kids’ playroom with a Garage Band system to prepare for the
next day. It was intense.”
Constantly progressing, the boys decided to employ some fresh techniques, utilize more alternate tunings
and even recorded on a seven-string guitar for the first time.
“We don’t want to put out the same thing over and over again,” Tremonti continues. “We want to keep
everyone guessing. There are three new tunings, and that helped keep us inspired. I’d never recorded on
a seven-string until now. This is the first record where Myles planned out his solos beforehand. In the
past, he would wing it with this magical, improvisational touch. What he did is amazing. Me and Slash
have both said he’s the best guitar player in our bands.”
“We weren’t afraid to travel certain roads we might’ve been hesitant to venture down on the last two
albums,” adds Myles. “As a result, some of the songs are more uplifting and melodic. There was certainly
a psychological shift. We embraced the past. You hear elements of each record throughout our history.”
The Last Hero opens with the urgent, untamed, and undeniable “Show Me A Leader.” Following an
intricate clean intro, the song gallops into a rapturous chant punctuated by fierce and fiery seven-string
shredding. It’s a clarion call for the next phase of Alter Bridge.
“Lyrically, it definitely reflects the frustration a lot of people are feeling with the current state of the world,”
admits Myles. “The world is looking for trustworthy effective leadership and not this undignified dog and
pony show that’s really made a mockery of our system.”
“It’s indicative of our process,” Mark goes on. “Myles had this guitar intro that I loved, and I had the
chorus. We put them together. The words call out for a proper leader.”
“My Champion” climbs from a swell of delay into an impressive guitar lick before Myles delivers one of the
most spirited choruses of their career to date. “The lyric was actually inspired by thinking back to my
situation as a kid,” he remembers. “I was this really small, underdeveloped kid who had to work extremely
hard to keep up with all of my peers. It was very frustrating. I would hear a lot of words of encouragement
from parents, coaches, or teachers though. A lot of those things were stored away, and they manifested
themselves in this song. I’ve been able to apply some of those concepts in my life a thousand times over
Then, there’s “Poison in Your Veins,” which channels an airy refrain through a whirlwind of guitar Sturm
und Drang. “This song showcases the inner dialogue in one’s head; serving as reminder to live life
courageously, take chances, and ultimately believe in yourself. It’s not a new theme for us, but definitely
one that can never be overstated," explains Myles.
Tremonti adds: “We wanted to make it as musically interesting as possible, while preserving a hook.”
“Losing Patience” tempers a bombastic drum groove with an ominous and poignant proclamation, while
the ballad “You Will Be Remembered” evinces another side of the sound. “It’s a tribute to heroes like
anybody who’s served the country or community,” Myles remarks. “The song touches on the ultimate
sacrifice soldiers, police, and firemen are willing to give.”
Nearing seven minutes, the title track and finale ebbs and flows between hypnotic heaviness and an
instrumental elegance that’s cinematic in scope. “That’s probably my favorite track,” he states. “Whether
it’s today, 100 years ago, or 1,000 years ago, being a human on this planet is never easy. We’re going
through a lot. The need for heroes, positive influences, and good leadership is obvious, but we definitely
need it right now.”
“Fans love the epic side of Alter Bridge,” Mark says. “We tried to stretch the boundaries again. The
arrangement isn’t typical at all. It’s an important moment for the record.”
Ultimately, Alter Bridge heroically deliver for fans worldwide and rock music at large.
“It’s good to be back in the Alter Bridge battle,” Myles leaves off. “Every time we do a record, I’m
reminded of how great it is to have this passionate and loyal audience. We don’t take it lightly. We
consider it an honor that people let us into their lives that way.”
Given the world’s unpredictability, survival requires reaction. With so many factors beyond our control, the focus of life often becomes about how we respond to these outside forces. The same can be said for music. Regardless of how trends ebb and flow, artists must react appropriately in order to thrive and survive. Since 1998, All That Remains continue to progress, while clenching steadfast to the principals that etched their place at the forefront of 21st century hard rock. On their seventh full-length album, The Order of Things [Razor & Tie], the Massachusetts outfit—Phil Labonte [vocals], Oli Herbert [guitar], Mike Martin [guitar], Jeanne Sagan [bass], and Jason Costa [drums]—preserve an ethos of evolution.
“You have to adapt to the world around you as opposed to expecting everything to adapt to your perspective,” claims Labonte. “You can’t really control what goes on in your life, you can only control your reaction. I’ve gotten a certain amount of peace from embracing this truth. That’s the way things go. This is literally The Order of Things.”
It’s been quite a ride for All That Remains. The group reached another landmark with 2012’s A War You Cannot Win. It debuted at #13 on the Billboard Top 200 and yielded two hit singles. “Stand Up” ascended to #1 at Active Rock radio, a first for the band, while “What If I Was Nothing” landed at #2. The group hit the road for sold out shows alongside Volbeat and In This Moment in between incendiary festival appearances at Rock on the Range, Welcome to Rockville, Rocklahoma, and more. It would’ve been easy to simply repeat themselves creatively. However, they decided to bulldoze a new path for The Order of Things.
For the first time, the band tapped Josh Wilbur [Lamb of God, Gojira] for production, cutting the bulk of the record in Massachusetts and fine-tuning vocals in Los Angeles. After four albums with Killswitch Engage’s Adam D behind the board, Wilbur offered not just a breath, but a gust of fresh air.
“It was a good time to try something different with someone new,” affirms Mike. “It was helpful to have a completely new perspective. We had a crazy chemistry working together right away. He made a gigantic difference across the board. I’d love to do more records with him.”
“It was a massive benefit,” Phil agrees. “We didn’t have any expectations about what we were supposed to do other than write quality music. Moreover, Josh brought his own angle on what All That Remains sounds like and could sound like. It’s a mixture of these two elements. That’s what this record is.”
As a result, the group burst out of the gate with their heads held high once more. Commencing with an entrancing piano intro, album opener “This Probably Won’t End Well” tempers an arena-ready beat with an unshakable riff just before Labonte delivers a soaring refrain.
“It just seemed like the obvious opening track,” says Labonte. “The piano bookends the album, and it just fell into place. It’s a strong song, and it flows. The subject matter is self-explanatory and really honest. It’s all in there.”
The infectious “Divide”sees Labonte and Sagan’s voices entwine in a hypnotic harmony, but not before “No Knock” unleashes a brutal and bludgeoning stomp punctuated by searing guitars and the singer’s unmistakable growl. “In our entire history as a band, this is the first time I ever swore on a song,” Labonte chuckles. “I dropped the F-bomb twice, and the track needed that. I’ve never been the kind of guy who throws swears in to fill syllables. It fit the vibe for ‘No Knock’ though. I had to do it.”
“It came together by accident like some of the coolest things we’ve done,” Mike goes on. “We can do anything in this band. Whether it’s a ballad or brutality, it fits within who we are.”
At the same time, “For You” delivers one of the band’s most poignant, potent, and poetic hooks. Augmented by acoustic guitars and a bombastic energy, it’s yet another side of All That Remains. “That’s a personal song,” adds Phil. “It’s pretty straightforward. We were thinking of it a little differently.”
Jeanne’s voice adds another dimension to The Order of Things standouts like “Bite My Tongue.” “We didn’t even know she could sing like that,” admits Mike. “Josh made her comfortable enough to try it, and she delivered. It makes for something very special.”
After the hyper-charged thrashing of “Tru-Kvlt-Metal,” everything ends where it began with a piano during “Criticism and Self-Realization.” It creates a cohesive journey from beginning to end that beckons full attention.
Those dynamics have defined All That Remains since day one. It’s why they’ve not only persevered while the musical landscape morphed and changed, but also why they’ve become veritable hard rock leaders, shaping the scene and then skyrocketing past its confines. Their worldwide album sales exceed over one million, while track sales surpass 1.5 million. Their position at the top of Active Rock radio remains indisputable with six singles going Top 10 at the format, three of which went Top 5 or higher. However, All That Remains continue reacting at every turn, igniting a personal revolution in the process.
“There’s something for everybody,” concludes Mike. “It’s just about writing solid songs. It’s our philosophy and approach.”
“To be flat out honest, all I want is for people to walk away from our shows or records feeling better,” Phil leaves off. “If they’re bummed out, they come to a show, and they leave feeling good, that’s great. I hope someone hears a song and feels even better than they did before it started. That’s who we are.”