I managed to catch up with Alter Bridge bassist (and all-round nice bloke ) Brian Marshall whilst on their UK winter tour before playing to a packed and sold out (yet again) Manchester Academy

R13: So Brian, welcome back again to the UK, how have the first couple of dates been so far?
Brian Marshall (BM): Pretty good, started off in Glasgow and knocked off the cobwebs, we were a little bit rusty, some sound issues. It was a tough start but the Glasgow crowd is always great. Second show we tightened up, played a few different songs to Glasgow, a bit trial and error. We have built our success on the previous two records so we didn't want to leave too many of those songs out of the set

R13: What is it about Manchester?
BM: When the tickets first went on sale and we saw the first week sales, and we thought 'Cool! Here we go!' We've been over quite a bit. Manchester has always been on the route, we love playing here, and all over the UK.

R13: Do you think the UK fans have gotten hold of Alter Bridge and claimed them for their own, even more so than the fan base back in the US?
BM: Certainly. We've worked very hard over here. It's more difficult in the U.S. to get recognized. A lot comes from the press and media, just like you're doing over here for us today

R13: So it's now 3 albums, 3 labels, and it must be a Godsend working with a band oriented label like Roadrunner?
BM: Definitely! The albums didn't connect like they did over here, and the record labels had a lot to do with that. And that carried with our second label. Roadrunner are so behind the band 100%, that's why the album came out so late here as we were finishing off the deal
R13: Proof of their support is on their website. Out of the top ten videos on the Roadrunner site, AB complete 9 out of the 10 most watched!
BM: Wow, that's great. That's news to me, thank you!

R13: How did the process for the album come about?
BM: We've always gone in and recorded about 17 songs for an album, we were all pleased with the songs on the album, so we may not have put on as many songs as we'd want to, but I think it's worked out great

R13: Are there many of the songs from ABIII featuring in the set?
BM: Yes there's maybe four or even five tracks, opening with 'Slip To The Void'

R13: What are your personal favourites on the album?
BM: 'Slip To The Void' definitely. It starts off with Myles's haunting vibe, and then Mark's guitar comes in and just sends shivers right up my spine. I like playing 'Isolation' as well, but funnily one song that I wasn't too keen on to begin with during the writing and recording process was 'All Hope Is Gone', but it is a blast to play live.

R13: Was it a long process, writing the album?
BM: We had a lot of ideas floating around, but we had a good month and a half getting the 17 or so songs down... Myles had a lot of ideas written down. Basically MT and MK come in with stuff on their computers with different riffs that they like. We all discuss what we like, as one good song for one may be different for the others. 'Wonderful Life' was a song written by Myles a couple of years ago.

R13: It must also be a cathartic process getting it off your back after such a long time?
BM: I heard him first play it during 'One day Remains', and I thought Whoa! Myles was struggling to write with the Slash tour and trying to get songs written for his solo album and wanted it finished
R13: Solo album?
BM: I think he's got 9 songs written and it's all pretty much recorded from what I gather

R13: Hear me out. I want to know if any of you got a morbid fear of death? 'Wonderful Life' is another of those 'funeral songs' as I call them i.e one that I'd like playing at mine, and follows on the heels of 'In Loving Memory' and 'Watch Over You'
BM: A lot of the lyrical content is about loss, love and I relate to it all too. It all works for me and I agree with you, there's always that element of death, or leaving, needing it, losing it, a traumatic experience or whatever the listener makes of the content

R13: You've all been busy over the last few months; Creed tour in the US; Myles playing festivals etc with Slash, it must all bode well for the Alter Bridge fan base?
BM: I don't see why it couldn't. Myles going out with Slash was always a good thing. Everyone knows Slash! He's an incredible artist and its great for Myles to be a part of that. It adds another element to the Alter Bridge thing. We always knew that we'd be back as Alter Bridge and that kept us all going as we're all committed to Alter Bridge.

R13: I'd be scared that if it was to be a big success with Slash, that Myles wouldn't want to come back.
BM: That was never on the cards.

R13: Was the Led Zep tour ever a threat to the existence of Alter Bridge?
BM: They flew him into London a couple of times, and had a couple of sessions, but ultimately decided that anything other than Plant is not Led Zeppelin.

R13: I feel exactly the same way about Thin Lizzy !!
BM: Yeah, like Rush without Neal Peart!
R13: Don't get me wrong, I wanted Myles to be huge successful with Zeppelin, but I also didn't want him to leave Alter Bridge, especially as I've been a fan since 04 and didn't want the dynamics to change. To me Zep should have gone out under a different name.
BM: I know where you're coming from

R13: So what plans are afoot for 2011?
BM: Well be back over in the Summer for the festivals, over to the US before long and then a Christmas break. Myles is due to go back out on the road with Slash. Then we've got plans to tour all over - South America, New Zealand....

R13: Hopefully Download again? And much higher up the bill. I was there for AC/DC and they were just awesome.
BM: Do you know what - I bumped into Brian Johnson in the Summer while at a wedding for a NY Yankee player, and they had this little band up there they were like 'play us a song' and we did 'Rock and Roll' by Zeppelin

R13: Finally Brian, any message for the UK fans?
BM: We are very glad to be back here. You guys are definitely the most die hard, rabid fans that we've come across who know their music, and we'll be back over as much as we can. We're not going anywhere and the band is stronger than it's ever been before

So, Brian Marshall, bass player and contributor to one of the best rock bands on the planet. I may have mentioned it before, but he's a nice bloke as well!
If you missed them on tour, you missed an absolute treat