» Scott Phillips - Alter Bridge
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Interview conducted June 8 2017
Interview published June 16 2017

Metal Covenant hooked up with drummer Scott Phillips of American outfit Alter Bridge before their show at Sweden Rock earlier this month.

Tobbe: You put out a record in September [8th], Live At The O2 Arena + Rarities, so tell me a little bit about the live recording and also the rarities.

Scott: Yes. So we had the fortune of getting to do a headline show at the O2 Arena in London, which is a really prestigious accomplishment for us and we felt like we needed to capture that moment and share it with, you know, our fans around the world. So we recorded the O2 and we ended up recording 6 or 7 shows on that tour, I think.

Some of the songs that we didn't play at the O2 that we wanted to include with that. And then a rarities CD, which is full of songs that were b-sides that, you know, might have not made a specific record, but still songs that we liked. So this was a perfect opportunity to kind of put those two collections together in one cool package and let the fans get a chance to experience it.

Tobbe: Your last record, The Last Hero, was out in October last year and after getting to know it for quite some time now, what has it brought to the overall Alter Bridge discography?

Scott: I think we're, you know, as proud of this record as we've been of any record. I think there's a ton of great songs on there and we try to always incorporate anywhere from 3-5 of those on any given night. There's obviously a lot of songs, you know, on our previous records that the fans still wanna hear, so we don't wanna, like, play just Last Hero stuff and a couple of other songs. We really try to incorporate a blend of all five albums into the live show. But yeah, there's some really great songs and a lot of fun to play live, for sure.

Tobbe: Do you guys agree on most decisions in the studio, or is there kind of a constant, but friendly, battle between you guys when you're recording?

Scott: Yeah. I feel like we always tend to, you know, get on the same wavelength pretty quick when it comes to the writing and recording process. And then we'll get everything out in pre-production. You know, if there's a part that somebody is not digging they'll speak up and then we'll work on maybe trying to change that part and we have Elvis, Michael Baskette, our producer, who kind of becomes a fifth member of the band nowadays.

You know, everybody respects each other's opinion and if there's something that's not vibing with somebody then everybody else will do what they can to make that part better and just try to do a part all together. So by the time we actually go in, or tracking it, everybody is real confident with the song.

Tobbe: But is a strong will and a little bit of ego also important to get somewhere in music, like you guys obviously have done?

Scott: I think so, yeah. You gotta be able to lay your foot down. You know, Mark [Tremonti, guitar] and Myles [Kennedy, vocals] are the primary songwriters, so all of the beat, the riffs and the melodies are all born from them and if Brian [Marshall, bass] and I, or whoever, is like "I'm not digging that." then, you know, I guess you've gotta have the balls to stand up and say something to begin with.

Mark has said it a lot of times that he's really grown thick skin over the years, because, you know, at the end of the day if somebody is telling you your idea is no good then that's gotta be, you know, a blow to your psyche, to your ego, and he's really learned how to let that roll off of his back, The four of us are fortunate enough to be able to make things work the way we make them work. There is probably a little bit of ego involved, but I think there has to be in order to get, you know, where you wanna get in this business.

Tobbe: Have you guys already talked a little about the direction for another record? Just some loose talk, you know.

Scott: No, not yet. I know that Mark is doing a lot of writing now, but it's probably gonna sit for the upcoming Tremonti album. Though, from some of those ideas Alter Bridge ideas are born and then from some Alter Bridge ideas is where the Tremonti idea can be born from as well, so. We haven't sat down together and start working on anything new at this point, but soon enough…

Tobbe: And you're playing with a side band too, Projected, and you put out a new album in about a month [Ignite My Insanity. Out July 21st.], so what can you tell me about that album?

Scott: So Projected is myself, John Connolly [vocals, guitar] and Vinnie Hornsby [bass] from the band Sevendust and then Eric Friedman, the guitar player for Tremonti, and we did an album in 2012 [Human] that John basically just put out by himself, online, through social media and channels and stuff like that that got a lot of really positive reaction from fans.

We never had a chance to tour it, but, you know, five years and many Sevendust albums later John had sort of a stockpile of material that he really wanted to do and decided to do another Projected record. I recorded my parts about a year ago, but yeah, coming out soon. We actually signed with a label this time, so we're gonna want somebody else to do the heavy lifting of promoting and getting it out there.

Tobbe: So why is it necessary to have a side project or a solo project? Why don't you guys put all effort into Alter Bridge instead?

Scott: Well, it sort of started around the time that we did that Creed reunion in 2009, which occupied most of that year. We had just finished touring on Blackbird [2007] at the end of 2008 and had not gone in to record AB III [2010] yet.

So it sort of occupied a lot of our time and Myles ended up doing some stuff with Slash, that, you know, turned into Slash featuring Myles Kennedy And The Conspirators and it just so happened that the cycles were sort of working out, where anytime we'd do something with Creed, he was doing that, and then we could get back together with Alter Bridge.

And then Creed kind of fizzled out again, but Myles and Slash were having really great success, so. I think Mark decided to do a solo record from knowing that once we'd finish up AB III Myles was gonna be going back to Slash. You know, he had a lot of material that he'd written that he didn't get a chance to get out.

So Tremonti was born out of that and then, you know, Alter Bridge is sort on this every 3 year cycle of getting out music and then there'll be a Slash record and a Tremonti record. And now we're throwing a Projected record in the mix as well and Slash is on tour with Guns N' Roses, so I don't know what the schedule is next year. If it's gonna be Myles working on a solo record, or what…

We're in so many damn bands right now. It's hard to keep track of, but somehow we're making it work and people seem to enjoy, you know, all the entities that have sort of spawned off of this band. So we keep it going as long as we can.

Tobbe: All you guys have accomplished a lot in music and what could possibly be the next step for you guys in order to maintain a high-energy level?

Scott: First and foremost it all comes down to the music. And this next record will be just as important as anything we've ever put out, so we'll definitely spend a lot of time making sure it's the right direction that we wanna go in.

We've been, you know, extremely fortunate that, through Europe and the States and now, you know, we're starting to get out to the rest of the world as well, we have fans that really seem to appreciate what we do. And we're just trying to continue to build that. You know, finding territories.

We go to South America for the first time this year ever as Alter Bridge. We've got a huge fanbase down there; at least we've seen their presence online, but never had the opportunity to get down there, so I think we're very excited about that.

We did a tour through Australia and New Zealand a few months ago that was really, really amazing. First ever time that we've gone down there and really done any headline shows. So yeah, you know, just keep trying to make new fans and continue to, you know, hopefully put out good music.

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