Aniruddh "Andrew" Bansal of Metal Assault recently conducted an interview with guitarist John Petrucci of progressive metal masters DREAM THEATER. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Metal Assault: Before you announced this tour, it was made clear that it was going to be "The Astonishing" tour and you'd play this whole album. It's not like you were hiding anything from fans that expected the older material. Considering that, what's the response been like from the audiences on the first leg?
Petrucci: "Yeah, in the beginning we tried to be as clear as we possibly could. This show is kind of like what PINK FLOYD did with 'The Wall', where we're only presenting this show. So, from beginning to end, once it's done, it's done. There are no encores, no other songs. The response was really great. We started in Europe, then we did the U.S., and it was amazing. Coming back through now and going to some of the places that we didn't go to in the spring, now in the fall, like down south and in Texas and things like that, we're definitely getting people who are repeat viewers who saw it the first time around and were kind of begging us to play some older stuff as well, just for the fun of the experience. We actually agreed and started doing that the other night in Canada City. So, for the remainder of the shows that we have until December 5th, we actually broke our protocol and we now do an encore with a few older catalog DREAM THEATER songs. It's a fun added element to close out the tour, because this is the last of 'The Astonishing' run that we're going to be doing, for now."
Metal Assault: With this kind of an album and a show, as you said earlier, you've been playing venues that do broadway musicals and things like that. Do you think there would ever be a possibility of you doing that kind of adaption for this album?
Petrucci: "Oh yeah, there have been many levels of this whole project from the very beginning. I imagined it first as a DREAM THEATER show, and then of course as a DREAM THEATER album, but beyond that, there's a video game that is in development, there's a novel that is in development. And one of the other things is that, yes, it would fit perfectly, I think, adapted as a musical, in the same way that THE WHO did that successfully with 'Tommy', and GREEN DAY more recently with 'American Idiot' on Broadway. So yeah, that would be amazing. It's a whole different world from the rock and metal scene, so it's a different group of people to have to make those relationships with, but that's something that we're pursuing and I would love to see that. I think it would be totally awesome."
Metal Assault: Writing music for a concept album like this with such a story and all these different characters and emotions, I'm sure it allows you to express yourself more as a musician, as compared to a typical album that you would otherwise right. Would you agree with that?
Petrucci: "You know, I think they're all musically expressive. It's always an 'anything goes' attitude that DREAM THEATER has when we write, but I guess this one may be expanded that a little more because we were going outside of ourselves and trying to picture what these different characters might be thinking and where the story was taking place. Of course it's all fictional, so we were kind of creating these different worlds. So, it did expand our mind creatively. But I would say that emotionally, musically and spiritually, it's always been something that's a part of all our albums. Even when we go in to write the next one, we'll have just as open-minded of a spirit. Whether it's more straight-ahead, more traditional DREAM THEATER, heavier, or whatever it turns out to be, it'll still be a reflection of who we are as musicians, as creative people, and it'll always come from that genuine place, which I think is really, really important. People pick up on that and appreciate it."
Read the entire interview at Metal Assault.