Unlike many technical guitarists JP has a great sense of melody and feel, and is as much about tone and phrasing as he is speed. He has a similar approach to equipment, utilising his arsenal of Mesa Boogie amps, with an elaborate switching system mixing rack equipment with stomp boxes and his Fractal Audio Axe FX. His choice of guitar is his signature Ernie Ball Music Man guitar, which has been meticulously tested and developed to suit John’s extreme requirements of an instrument, most recently in the new Majesty guitar, which we feature elsewhere in this issue.
Dream Theater was formed when school friends and Long Island natives John Petrucci and John Myung attended the Berklee Music School in Boston. Petrucci and Myung met musically like-minded drummer Mike Portnoy, and began jamming songs by Rush and Iron Maiden. Before too long it was obvious that the trio were more serious about their band than studies and finally left the school before completing their studies. John Petrucci enlisted school friends Kevin Moore on keyboards, and Chris Collins on vocals. The band took the name Majesty, and before too long parted company with Collins and enlisted Charlie Dominici on vocals. Due to another band sharing the name Majesty, the band embarked on trying to find a suitable name for their band. They soon settled on the name Dream Theater, suggested by Portnoy’s father, taking the name from a Californian Movie Theater.
In 1989 the newly named Dream Theater released their debut album when “When Day and Dream Unite”. The albums response wasn’t what they had expected, and also saw the departure of Dominici from the position of lead vocals. Following successful battle with their original record label, Dream Theater began writing again and auditioning new singers. They settled on Canadian vocalist James LaBrie and in 1992, following the signing of a new deal, they released “Images and Words”. The single “Pull me Under”, began heavy rotation on both radio and MTV, enabling the band tour extensively in the US, Japan and Europe.
When it comes to complex arrangements, time signature changes, intricate unison riffs, and face melting solo sections, there’s no better band than Dream Theater.
This was the beginning of big things for Dream Theater, as well as several changes in line up. During the final stages of their second album “Awake”, Kevin Moore left the band, and was replace by Derek Sherinian. Sherinian’s spell with the band was short-lived, contributing to the “Change of Seasons” EP and the more commercial orientated “Falling into Infinity”. The latter album was a difficult period for the band, especially for Portnoy who struggled with the outside interference of the record company to make the band more commercially viable. Sherinian was replaced by virtuoso Jordan Rudess. The band was now set to record some of their best work to date, including such albums as “Metropolis Pt2: Scenes from a Memory”, “Train of Thought”, “Octovarium” and “Black Clouds & Silver Linings”.
In 2010, the music community was shocked with the departure of founder member Mike Portnoy. Portnoy had been filling the drum slot with US hard rock band Avenged Sevenfold, as well as embarking on several side projects. Portnoy had stated he wanted to take an extended break from Dream Theater, but the rest of the band rejected the offer, resulting in Portnoy's departure. Dream Theater embarked on a well publicised audition process, documented on YouTube, before finally settling on ex-Extreme and Steve Vai drummer Mike Mangini. Dream Theater continue as a driving force in the progressive Rock/Metal genre, releasing two new albums to date with Mangini on drums, including “a Dramatic Turn of Events”, and “ Dream Theater”
Dream Theater are without a doubt one of the most influential Metal bands of the past 25 years, and have legions of loyal fans around the globe. Through hard work, perseverance, and dedication, Dream Theater are one of those rare bands that have huge success, playing and recording music that they want to play, and what their fans want to hear. Dream Theater are now in another exciting chapter of their long career.