Mark Tremonti And Rusty Cooley: On The Sound And The Story

Mark Tremonti, of Creed and Alter Bridge fame, has released The Sound and the Story [Core Twelve], an instructional DVD that combines technical lessons with discussions on gear, songwriting, and music biz survival skills. Tremonti is joined by several guest instructors, including shred guru Rusty Cooley.

What sets this DVD apart?
Tremonti: I have been a huge fan of guitar instructional products all of my life. I’ve picked up a lot of techniques and exercises that have helped me improve my playing. I have also always surrounded myself with great players who have inspired me to try many new things on the guitar. I wanted to leverage all of my experience and the knowledge I’ve gained to produce the most comprehensive instructional DVD possible.
Cooley: I think it’s very diverse and shows all of the aspects of Mark’s playing. It gives you an inside look at things that most players don’t talk about.

A lot of guys might not be comfortable having guest instructors on their DVD.
Tremonti: This is my circle of guitarist friends, and their styles are very different than mine. I hope that this diversity inspires people to experiment with a variety of playing styles and techniques. Cooley: Mark genuinely loves to play guitar and learn from others. Plus, there is so much I can learn from playing with him. Hanging out with a guy like that doesn’t hurt your songwriting either! Tremonti: I am very fortunate that I was able to turn my passion for guitar playing into a career, and I never take that for granted. I hope I’ve created something that will help people improve their playing and stay committed to the guitar.

Butch Walker On Song Writing

Aside from writing material for his own records, including his latest, Sycamore Meadows [Original Signal], Butch Walker also pens hits for Pink, Avril Lavigne, and others. Here are some of his insights for breaking out of the same old same old.

“One of my go-to things to spice up a progression,” says Walker, “is to apply a lot of 7 chords to it—major 7s, minor 7s, and dominant 7s. A lot of my favorite records from the ’60s and ’70s did that, but we lost that somewhere along the way. Another thing is to switch from major to minor on the same chord to resolve a phrase. That’s a Beatles trick, and it really helps me melodically.

“Throwing in key changes for the chorus is another thing I’ll do. I might modulate up a full step, but only for the chorus, and then come back down for the verse. It’s pretty cliché to just wait for the end of the song to jump up a full step. It’s very Celine Dion. Desmond Child was also guilty of that in the ’80s. I worked with Desmond on the very first record I ever did. I was trying to explain a lyric about love, and he lashed out at me and said, ‘What do you know about love? You’re not even a person yet.’ I was offended at the time, but he was right. In order to speak from your experiences, you need to have those experiences first.”

Cathy Carter Duncan, co-founder and CEO of Seymour Duncan, was a rider on the team that won the 2008 Score International Off-Road Racing overall season title for motorcycles up to 250cc. The all-woman team placed first at the San Felipe 250, third at the Baja 500, and fourth at the Baja 1000, and the total combined points from each race were enough for the season championship. Duncan and her teammates are the first women in Score’s 40-plus-year history to win a season title.