John Lennon found that comparing oneself to Jesus isn’t a good way to win fans in the U.S. Well, apparently comparing one’s band to Eddie Vedder isn’t either. Today’s birthday boy, Brian Marshall found that out a couple of decades back. We wish Brian a happy 47th birthday. While he’s not a household name, one of his bands is – Creed. He’s been their bassist for most of the time they’ve been around.
Although he was born in Mississippi, Marshall grew up mainly in northern Florida. His dad was a drummer, and while young Brian liked banging away on them, dad didn’t care for that too much so he bought the lad a bass, which he quickly took to. John Paul Jones, Geddy Lee and Iron Maiden’s Steve Harris were primary influences on his early playing. When it comes to music, he says he looks for songs with “a good firm melody and as a bass player, I tend to play off what a vocalist would do.”
He was in several bands during his high school and college years, including one called Baby Fish Mouth. When Baby Fish Mouth wasn’t sweeping the nation, he decided to form a band with some of his friends including Scott Stapp and Mark Tremonti. Originally named Naked Toddler for a few days, he suggested the name “Creed” and that seemed to change the band’s trajectory upwards. They quickly signed to a label called Wind Up, a small New York division of CBS Records at the time. According to the stories, he and Stapp actually signed the contract in blood. OK.
They quickly found success with their debut album, My Own Prison and jumped into the musical stratosphere with their sophomore release, Human Clay. That album scored them an American #1 single in “Arms Wide Open” (which was also their only top 10 hit in Canada and Australia as well), and with mainly positive lyrics and a few nods to their fairly religious upbringings, it won airplay and appeal on Christian stations as well as hard rock ones. The result was an album which sold 11X platinum in the U.S.
However, around that time Marshall was quoted as saying that they (or Scott Stapp actually) wrote better songs than Pearl Jam, a band they were already being compared to, often derisively – with the suggestion that they were mere Pearl Jam wannabes. There was an uproar over that, and Marshall quickly found himself fired, although in reality those close to the band suggest that Stapp didn’t like Marshall’s heavy drinking at the time, which would become ironic given all the famously bad behavior Stapp would soon demonstrate due to substance abuse.
Anyway, after one more album, Creed fell apart for years and Brian joined up with the guitarist and drummer, got a new singer and formed another hard rock outfit called Alter Bridge. They’ve put out six studio albums to date, with their 2004 debut One Day Remains being the most successful, going gold in the U.S. on the strength of two top 10 hits on rock charts,“Open your Eyes” and “Find the Real.” Meanwhile, Creed reformed in 2009 and welcomed him back, currently he’s a member of both although neither is very active.
While you won’t find him on a stage much anymore, he might be the guy you need if you’re looking to buy a house in the Florida panhandle. He’s a successful real estate agent there and has a university degree in design as well. He says “I still continue to record and tour as a member of both bands, (but) there are other passions in my life such as real estate… spending time with my family and traveling.”
Sharing birthday cake honors with Marshall today are a couple more skilled bassists – Captain Sensible, the oddball solo singer and member of The Damned who’s 66 and David J. of Love + Rockets and Bauhaus, who turns 63.