Creed and Alter Bridge guitarist Mark Tremonti discussed the difficulties he faces when playing as an opening act for a major band, singling out middle fingers as one of them.
Mark said on The Jasta Show (transcribed by Ultimate-Guitar):
“They think that that’s nice, to give you the finger. When they first started doing that… I remember way, way, way back in the day, this dude was flipping me off in the front row the whole time.
“It was pissing me off. And I looked over and… I’m not gonna say who because I don’t wanna get him arrested, but somebody in my band jumped down the stage and punched the guy, before cell phones and all that stuff could…
“And the guy… nothing ever came about it. I think the guy was just like, ‘Fuck yeah, party!’ And then [kept] flipping me off.
“Nowadays, when I see fingers in the sky, I just think they’re having a good time. Because if they’re smiling and flipping you off – they’re either being an asshole or the biggest fan in the world.”
During the rest of the conversation, Mark talked about opening for Iron Maiden with his solo band. Asked on what his strategy was to win the Maiden fans over, Tremonti replied:
“I yell at them the whole time. I don’t give them a second to be quiet. I think the very first show we did we had sound restrictions. It was outside and it was light. And nobody had a damn who we were. So it’s just a matter of, ‘This is not gonna happen the next show.’ And we just upped the energy.
“But I think when you open for a band like Iron Maiden or Metallica or Slayer, it makes you a better band. When you go back into your own shows, it feels like you’ve been playing baseball swinging with the heavy bat. And when you get on stage and do your thing, then you’re as twice as strong of a band from having done it.”
The musician added:
“A lot of those Iron Maiden fans, they love to hear those high vibrato vocals. Brent [Smith] from Shinedown can do that stuff. So as soon as he hits [high notes], they’re gonna love it. People love that stuff.
“That’s one thing I worried about doing the Iron Maiden thing – I sing like a caveman. And I didn’t know if they would like it. But it was great. We won them over.
“And some of those guys you’re talking about, I learned my lesson 20 years ago. You look out at the crowd, you see one dude… You see a thousand people that are enjoying your show, but you see that one person that’s giving you the stink eye.
“Two hours later, after you showered and you’ve eaten and you’ve talked to your wife and kids, you’ve got to the bus and that dude’s standing by the bus waiting for a picture. And you’re like, ‘What am I thinking? Why did I let that guy bring my show down when he was just maybe a fan that’s quiet?’.”