Fireworks Magazine Online 47 - Dream Theater

DREAM THEATER


“I don’t want to be limited by other peoples desires or abilities.” (Jordan Rudess)

Interview with Jordan Rudess by Phil Ashcroft

To the outside eye things had seemed pretty stable in the Dream Theater camp. Founder members John Petrucci (guitars), John Myung (bass) and Mike Portnoy (drums) had been mainstays since the mid-80s, whilst singer James LaBrie had joined in the early 90s and appeared on all but the debut album, and even the new guy, keyboard wizard Jordan Rudess, has been around for over a decade. Therefore it came as a huge shock to the band and its fans when undisputed band leader Portnoy announced his departure late in 2010. After a brief period of confusion the rest of the band decided to carry on without him and started to audition many of the world’s top rock drummers. Obviously surprised by this development, Mike Portnoy asked for some sort of reconciliation, stating that he’d only wanted some time off, but with personality issues obviously going deeper than anyone realised, the remaining members declined his offer and continued their audition process, selecting the wonderful Mike Mangini and entering the studio in the new year to record their new nine-track opus – the autobiographically titled ‘A Dramatic Turn Of Events’.

All my previous Dream Theater interviews have been with either Mike Portnoy or singer James LaBrie, so I was particularly looking forward to speaking with Jordan Rudess for a different view. So the first big surprise as I waited in the press area at London’s High Voltage festival was that the whole band turned up to do five separate interviews simultaneously, even the usually reticent John Myung and new drummer Mike Mangini are on press duty. I shook Jordan’s hand as we were introduced and expressed my surprise about this unexpected situation, to which the keyboard player quipped with a grin, “Yes, these days even the unheard Dream Theater members get to be heard!”

With Portnoy having played such a huge role in every aspect of the band’s career it was perhaps inevitable that everyone in the band would have to change their roles slightly to take up the slack.

“Yeah, in a way there’s been a kind of natural shift just to make up for the fact that we lost a member,” agrees Rudess, “and now we have a member that’s new and has different concerns and a different personality. At first it was a little bit ‘Oh my God! What are we going to do now?’, but then we started making lists of what needs to get done in this band. Mike Portnoy had so much to do with so many things that we really needed to step up to the plate and say, ‘OK, we’ve been a little bit complacent here, let’s figure out what needs to happen,’ which I think we’ve done quite successfully.”

As for making their first Portnoy-less album, Jordan reveals that the band had absolutely no doubts that they could pull it off.

“We went into it with a feeling of really wanting to focus, do our thing and be able to create the best music that we knew how to do, just to show people that Dream Theater can continue on in a positive, strong and musical way,” he explains. “Actually the least of our concerns was the music. If you look at the bigger picture then the guys in this band are all very capable musicians and writers, so going into this album was more about continuing on with the music as we’ve done before and showing people that everything is still cool in Dream Theater land.”

Another area where work has been spread around since Portnoy’s departure is the songwriting.

“Well,” begins Rudess, “our new drummer Mike Mangini was not there at that point so he wasn’t involved, but the main writers are John Petrucci and myself, and John Myung was very involved in the process, he contributed freely and he came up with some great riffs, and James (LaBrie) was very particular about the vocal melodies and said what he did and didn’t like, and what he wanted to keep.” But are there any songs that definitely wouldn’t have happened if Mike Portnoy was still in the band? “Yes!” he says without hesitation. “As creative and talented as Mike obviously is, his opinion and his style of drumming would sometimes push us in a different direction, whereas this way we could write whatever we wanted and then later tell Mike Mangini how to play it. It worked out quite well for us because as composers it opened us up a little bit and gave us more freedom to do what we wanted. I liked that, I don’t want to be limited by other peoples desires or abilities.”

One of the things that the guys have complained about in the past was Mike Portnoy insisting they rehearse far more songs than they really need so that he could change the set almost nightly.

“That’s something that we don’t want to do that much anymore,” says the obviously relieved keyboardist, “and right now we’re sticking to the songs we most want to play. I don’t know how we’re going to approach it in the future but I can pretty much promise that no-one is particularly into changing the set every night. What we really value and what everybody could never really do to a point where we were comfortable, was nailing down a show. We have sound people and lighting people and what they really need to do is time everything so that the show is really smooth, and it’s really important to all of us in this period of transition to say ‘You know what? We have the opportunity to really work out a show, so that when we move from one song to another it’ll be really smooth and professional!’ We think the fans will really enjoy it more that way.”

Does Jordan think that the set has suffered because of that before? He pauses before replying,

“I think that the show has suffered. I think there are fans out there who value having a different set every night because they go to more than one show, but they’re relatively few, and I think sometimes our performance has suffered because of that approach. There’s a lot to be said for a show that’s dialled in – I mean we’re playing in different towns, so how many people are seeing it from night to night? Only a few I think, so why not just do the same set and work on it until it’s dialled in, so that’s what we’re doing and it’s really working so far, there’s a lot of good stuff. That’s not to say it’s not without its challenges, and nothing against what Portnoy did - he led this band for quite a number of years and did a good job - but we’re enjoying where we’re at now, the music is really happening, we’re running around the stage and we’re smiling, and it seems like the audience seems to be really elated.”

‘A Dramatic Turn Of Events’ will be released by Roadrunner on September 12th.

Read the full double page spread where Jordan talks about the new album in detail, speaks about new drummer Mike Magnini and the various special editions of the record in Fireworks #47. Available from:


• Participating WHSmith and McColls Group stores (see Store Finder for participating stockists)
• Here in the Rocktopia Shop  (registration required)
• Here in the Fireworks Magazine Mini Store (no registration required) 
• Direct from Fireworks HQ by emailing This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , paying via Paypal. Send £6 (Inc P&P)


dream-theater-interview

Share this on the web.


Comments (0)add comment

Write comment

security image
Write the displayed characters


busy

Latest Reviews on Rocktopia

JoyFocus - 'Random Access Digital Audio Heresy'
31/07/2015 | Central Electronic Brain
article thumbnail

A solid album full of Melodic Rock with a few twists and turns.


Latest News on Rocktopia

Joel Hoekstra's 13 to release melodic hard rock album 'Dying To Live' in October
30/07/2015 | Woody

Joel Hoekstra has announced the release of his n [ ... ]


Member Login



Calendar

<<  August 2015  >>
 Mo  Tu  We  Th  Fr  Sa  Su 
       1  2
  3  4  5  6  7  8  9
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31      

Search Here

Shout Here

Latest Message: 3 days, 2 hours ago
  • Casper : Does anyone know if the vault by Mr Big is going to a Japanese only release Thanks
  • Casper : Does anyone know if the vault by Mr Big is going to a Japanese only release Thanks
  • Berny : @ Casper: The next issue will be delivered on time! ;)
  • Casper : Magazine received today thank you
  • Casper : Benny no problem when can I expect a copy
  • Berny : All Fireworks readers from the US & Canada can download the #70 bonus CD. Pls. check out the news on the frontpage!
  • Berny : @ Casper: The issue should have been sorted by now, apologies for your troubles!
  • Casper : Benny contacted Bruce Sunday he is sorting it. But have heard nothing yet as he was away at the weekend have forwarded you a copy Thanks
  • Berny : There's an @ between team and gmail ... ;)
  • Berny : @ Casper: Could you pls. send a mail to rocktopia.teamgmail.com ? Many thanks.
  • Casper : Not received my copy yet paid by paypal about 4 weeks ago Regards
  • Berny : @ hphess: You should have received the magazine by now. Have fun & once again: Apologies for the inconvenience!
  • hphess : ok, replied today with all the data you need.
  • Berny : @ hphess: Will send you an eMail now!
  • hphess : Hi everyone, I bought the download version of fireworks magazine #70. Payed via Paypal. Can’t find any link to download it. Can somebody help? Thanks a lot, Hanspeter
  • Berny : @ krautco14: When unzipping the file, you will be asked for a password. Please contact us if you are still having problems. Send an email to rocktopia.teamATgmail.com (replace the AT with the @ sign)
  • krautco14 : trying to download the free cover CD & PDF but don't know where to enter the password for the zip file. Please Help!!
  • Berny : @ AORsoftie: Pls. visit: «link» and follow the link to the download instructions. Please contact us at rocktopia.team AT gmail.com if you need help.
  • AORsoftie : I bought # 69, registered on this site...but can not find the free cd?????
  • Berny : @ Gers Racing / @all: If you cannot unzip the free bonus CD, pls. follow the link in the TOP MENU (Fireworks - > Fireworks Online). The file is password protected. Pls. enter the name of the band featured on page 14 of FW #69. NO capital letters are allowed. So if the name of the band was "Rocktopia", please type in "rocktopia" (excluding the ' " '' ;) ).
  • Berny : P.S.: Please add an @ before gmail.com ... ;)
  • Berny : @ Gers Racing: Sorry for your troubles: Did you purchase the magazine from a newsagent in the USA or Canada? Did you download it from our online store? Pls. send a mail to rocktopia.teamgmail.com.
  • Gers Racing : Can't seem to open the download of your FREE BONUS CD & PDF, after I bought issue #69
  • Rocktopia Te : Check out the Bonzo Bash 2015 live review & visit us often to read over 200 new album reviews in the next couple of weeks. We are about to feature over 4000 CD reviews, making Rocktopia THE fastest growing Melodic Rock reviews site in the industry.
  • Berny : @ Dean: Supremacy is the new Bonfire! ;)
  • Dean : Just heard a few tracks off new Bonfire with David Reece on vocal , not sure they should still be called Bonfire but sounding mighty fine .
  • Berny : Listen to the new single by AUTOGRAPH and watch them perform live at Firefest 2014 ... only on Rocktopia!
  • Rocktopia Te : Fireworks Magazine #69 OUT NOW!
  • Berny : TEN's latest studio album 'Isla De Muerta' can be pre - ordered right HERE on Rocktopia!!
  • Rocktopia Te : Over 20 NEW album reviews ... ENJOY!

Only registered users are allowed to post

Hit Counter

mod_vvisit_countermod_vvisit_countermod_vvisit_countermod_vvisit_countermod_vvisit_countermod_vvisit_countermod_vvisit_countermod_vvisit_countermod_vvisit_counter
mod_vvisit_counterToday9864
mod_vvisit_counterYesterday20759
mod_vvisit_counterThis week30623
mod_vvisit_counterLast week167028
mod_vvisit_counterThis month77846
mod_vvisit_counterLast month705620
mod_vvisit_counterAll days30779367

We have: 210 guests, 30 bots online
Your IP: 54.82.86.242
 , 
Today: Aug 04, 2015

Follow Us

FacebookTwitter