Classic Rock Revisited spoke to John Petrucci about DREAM THEATER‘s latest album ‘A Dramatic Turn Of Events‘ recently as well as the Grammy nomination they received at the end of last year. Check out some extracts from that interview below:
You are nominated for a Grammy. They say the nomination is the honor but wouldn’t it be great to take one home?
John: Who wouldn’t want to put that on the fireplace mantel? It would be unbelievable to win a Grammy; that would be a dream comes true. Equally unbelievable is getting nominated. We’ve been doing this for a long time and this is our first Grammy nomination; it means so much to us. When I heard the news I was flipping out and the whole band is really happy. It is an achievement for any artist but for us it is different. If an artist is being played all over the radio and they are very commercially oriented then it might just seem like another step in their career. Being a band that plays the kind of music that we do, it is different. The song that is nominated, “On the Backs of Angels,” is a nine-minute song. Our band plays progressive metal. We have time signature changes and we do all kinds of crazy stuff in our music, so for us to be nominated is so awesome. To be recognized by the Academy in this way is really unbelievable.
What is Dream Theater’s secret? Prog bands are not supposed to be nominated for Grammy’s or have their albums debut in the Top 10.
John: I think there is a listening audience for this type of music that is huge; I think there always has been. I think back about myself and there were bands that were really, really huge but they were not mainstream. I was still fanatically into them. There are tons of other people that are into that kind of music. It is just a matter of having it come to the foreground. It really is the power of the fans. This is the music that we love to play, love to listen too and love to write. There is a worldwide audience that has a lot of passion that is into this kind of music. To have it recognized in this capacity doesn’t happen too often.
You wrote the song that is nominated but you also produced the entire album. How did you wear the separate hats?
John: As far as writing the music, that is my passion and it is something I love to do and it comes very natural to me. Producing the music, at the same time, is kind of like wearing another hat. The key thing that I did for me, the whole time, from the beginning, before we even wrote a note, was to think of what kind of record we wanted to make. What was the specific goal we were trying to achieve and who were the people on our wish list that we were going to do it with. We got to work with a lot of great people who mastered and engineered the record. It was all about staying focused and remembering the kind of album we wanted to make. It was about taking the time to check yourself and make sure that you’re on track and that you haven’t strayed. To me, that is the key to success – having a definite goal. I think if you have that when you go in then you are more likely to finish where you wanted to in the first place.
With Mangini being the rookie, did you make him earn his stripes? Was there any hazing?
John: The biggest hazing was for us to stick him on stage in Rome on our opening show. It was make it or break it time. He pulled through 100% for us.
Do you have your Grammy speech written?
John: I am working on a speech, just in case. You have got to be prepared. With all the great bands in our category I don’t think we will win but you’ve got to at least be prepared.
How about new music?
John: Writing is a funny thing, sometimes it just hits you. We are not really in that mode as we are traveling and living in hotel rooms. We haven’t really written anything officially for the next album yet.
MTV also intevriewed James and Mike from the band recently and you can see those video interviews below: