Posts Tagged “Solo Sections”

Peter Hodgson of IHeartGuitarBlog.com recently conducted an interview with guitarist John Petrucci of progressive metal giants DREAM THEATER. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

IHeartGuitarBlog.com: The previous album seemed like you were trying to make the definitive DREAM THEATER album, whereas this one seems a little more relaxed, more exploratory. Is that an accurate assessment?

Petrucci: We definitely approached “A Dramatic Turn Of Events” like we had something to prove as we were writing it, and we wanted to make sure we created something that was going to really assure our fans that we were here to stay and that everything was okay and that we were moving forward in a positive way. Definitely the tone of that album comes across that way, for sure. Now, this one: after that album came out and thankfully was received so well, we had a successful tour where we were able to learn more about Mike Mangini as a person and as a drummer, and we were able to, as you said, go into this album and let our hair down and forge ahead with a new sound, a new approach, maybe more experimental. I think that the music on this album comes across as having a more gusty rock thing. When we were doing some of the solo sections, we wanted to capture the vibe of playing live and improvising and playing with that kind of real fire that happens when you’re playing together as a band. That’s how we wrote it and that’s how we think it’s coming across. With the last one, there wasn’t a drummer in the room as we were writing it, so it’s probably more controlled-sounding, and this one is — and I’ve used this term before to describe Mangini — unleashed. Freer-sounding.

IHeartGuitarBlog.com: Did you do anything in particular as a producer to facilitate that way of working?

Petrucci: Yeah, absolutely. From the beginning, in order to capture that, what we did totally differently was not only did we set up in the studio where everyone’s playing live, but we made sure that the sounds that we were capturing at that very early stage were usable sounds that could be performances on the album. So we took some extra time in the beginning to get all the drum sounds, the guitar sounds, bass and everything, so as we were writing, if we captured that moment of fire and passion when it was written, we were able to actually keep that and integrate it along with whatever we had overdubbed as well. And that was really, really helpful. As a producer, I was able to hear what the album was sounding like right from the beginning. I didn’t have to wait for the mix to hear how the guitar would sound once it was hyped up. Everything was already sounding that way. When you’re hearing on the album is what it sounded like from day one, pretty much.

IHeartGuitarBlog.com: It must be a strange moment before the album comes out, when you’re sitting on it and hearing feedback from people who have heard it but the general public hasn’t got their hands on it yet.

Petrucci: Absolutely! I’m dyin’! It’s like you have something you’re so proud of and you just want to say, “Check this out! Listen to this!” There’s this feeling of excitement and anticipation and a little bit of anxiety, but generally it’s pride. You feel like you worked really hard on something and you just can’t wait to share it. That’s what it’s all about: sharing it and having that experience with our listeners that we’re really lucky to have.

IHeartGuitarBlog.com: Well just looking at the reactions to “The Enemy Inside” when it was released…

Petrucci: Yes!

IHeartGuitarBlog.com: I don’t think I saw any negative comments!

Petrucci: Y’know what? Yeah! That was so awesome! That was so incredible to see. And it just puts a smile on my face. I love our listeners because they’re very discerning but they’re very passionate and really supportive of what we do, so when I saw that kind of reaction I was like, “Y’know what? That’s freaking awesome.” Because to put out something you’re proud of and to have people react in the way that you would hope means that you’re all on the same page, and it’s just a great beginning to this whole process.

Read the entire interview at IHeartGuitarBlog.com.

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Greg Prato of Songfacts recently conducted an interview with Jon Oliva (SAVATAGE, TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA, JON OLIVA’S PAIN). A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

Songfacts: Would you agree that SAVATAGE was one of the first-ever true prog metal bands?

Jon: Absolutely. No doubt about it. I think that really started with “Hall Of The Mountain King”, but then definitely from “Gutter Ballet” on, we definitely expanded. We had done three or four records that were basically the same, except for “Fight For The Rock”, which we don’t count. That’s like the red-headed stepchild. But yeah, we started going that route, definitely with “Gutter” and “Streets”. I had never heard of the term prog rock until a few years ago. I didn’t know what it was. Back in 1987 I don’t remember that term being around. Was it?

Songfacts: The only other band that may have been described that way is maybe QUEENSRŸCHE, but I really don’t remember them being described like that around the time that also SAVATAGE was around, back in ’87.

Jon: Yeah, it’s weird. I’m wondering when that prog base first started popping up as a new genre. I’ve got to check that out. That’s going to bother me all day now. I want to know when the first time someone said “prog rock.”

Songfacts: I think DREAM THEATER may have been the first band to be called prog metal.

Jon: If you really think about it, the first prog-type band was probably ELP. But I see what you’re saying. DREAM THEATER to me, I like that band a lot. I think the drummer is amazing, just too many solos for me. I can’t help it, man. They’re great players. You can’t take away the talent. These guys are unbelievably talented. Some of those solo sections are just like, “Okaaaay,” but great band. People like ’em, so people like 20-minute guitar solos.

Songfacts: Why do you think that TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA has reached such a huge audience, but SAVATAGE in the ’80s didn’t? Do you think it was just a matter of timing or just listeners’ tastes at the time?

Jon: Well, I think what happened with that mainly is that the name SAVATAGE, we ran the course with it. And because of some bad mistakes that we made business-wise in our younger days before Paul O’Neill, we never could quite recover from that and get into the bigger level. I mean, we did well. We did really good in Europe. But we never got SAVATAGE to that level, and after 20-some odd years and then losing Criss [Oliva, guitar] in the middle of that, we just weren’t ready to continue. The fatal thing that happened was with the song “12/24” off of the “Dead Winter Dead” album [1995]. We sent the song out around Christmastime, and a station down in Florida started playing it, and it became a hit down here. Atlantic Records sent that CD to every radio station in America and nobody would play it. They said, “Why didn’t you play the song?” It’s like, “Well, SAVATAGE, that’s a heavy metal band from the ’80s. We don’t play that shit.” They never even listened to it. You know how we know? Because the next year we sent the exact same song and put a Christmas tree on the cover and an angel and called it “TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA,” and it was #1 on 500 radio stations. So that just goes to show you that what was holding SAVATAGE back was SAVATAGE. It wasn’t the songwriting. It was the same, Paul and I, and before that, Criss, Paul, and I. You know, the proof was in the pudding. “12/24”, which is technically a SAVATAGE song from the album “Dead Winter Dead”, has sold millions of records. I’ve got them hanging on my wall. But when it was released as SAVATAGE, it sold 30,000. So what does that tell you? It tells you that the name’s turning people off for some reason, and that’s what it was. Now look at what’s happened. TSO is one of the biggest bands in the world, it’s unbelievable. It’s funny to me, because it’s SAVATAGE. [laughs] I get a kick out of this. I’m like, “It’s SAVATAGE with tuxedos and a bunch of other people from all around the world.” We bring in people from all around the world, which makes us kind of international, which I think is cool. But the thing that sells it is the music, Paul‘s stories, and Paul‘s poetry and the lyrics, and the way that Paul and I work together when we write. There’s a chemistry there.

Read the entire interview at Songfacts.

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Skyfire has posted a series of video clips online from the recording of a new EP, which can be found below. The band also commented:

“Skyfire has entered the studio to record an EP that will be released in digital format later this year. Founding member Martin Hanner (bass, orhestral arrangements) and Johan Reinholdz (guitar) have uploaded 5 videos focusing on the solo sections that will be futured on the EP. Stay tuned for more info and updates!”

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