A Birthday Look at Mark Tremonti

(Gibson) Born in Detroit, Michigan, on this day in 1974, founding Creed guitarist Mark Tremonti spent most of his childhood in the affluent Detroit suburb of Grosse Pointe before moving with his family to the equally affluent north-Chicago suburb of Wilmette, Illinois. The future three-time Guitar World "Guitarist of the Year" acquired his first guitar when he was 11. At 15, his family moved to the Orlando area, where he eventually graduated from high school.

After a year at Clemson University, where he studied finance, Tremonti transferred to Florida State University, where he met up with former high school friend Scott Stapp. In 1995, Tremonti and Stapp co-founded the band Naked Toddler with bassist Brian Marshall and drummer Scott Phillips. A second guitarist, Brian Basher, also was in the band, albeit briefly, in '95.

After thankfully changing their name to Creed, the band released their debut album My Own Prison in 1997. The album wasn't an instant success, but the band toured their socks off, and the harder they worked, the more their fan base grew. What were club gigs the first time through a city became theater gigs the next time around, and in the scheme of things, their graduation to arena rock stars was virtually overnight. Their hard work those first couple of years paid off handsomely when My Own Prison eventually sold more than 6 million copies. The album spawned four consecutive #1 singles on Billboard's Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, including "My Own Prison," "Torn," "What's this Life For" and "One."

With a rabidly devout legion of fans, Creed's sophomore album, Human Clay, was poised for greatness, and it didn't disappoint. When the smoke had cleared more that two years after its release, Human Clay was certified platinum 11 times by the RIAA. Four singles were released from the album, all of them hits, including "With Arms Wide Open," "What If," "Are You Ready" and "Higher," which spent an eye-popping (and record-breaking) 17 weeks atop the rock radio charts. more on this story

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