The technically proficient guitar playing of John Petrucci has elevated Dream Theater to the upper echelon of contemporary heavy metal. While its lineup has continuously evolved, the Long Island-based quintet has consistently delivered sharp-edged music. Dream Theater is known for its high-energy concert performances. While they've released several live albums - Live at the Marquee, recorded at the London club; Live in Tokyo, recorded during the Music in Progress Tour in 1993; and a triple-CD and DVD, Metropolis 2000 - they remain one of heavy metal's most bootlegged bands.
Formed as Mirage by Berklee College of Music students Petrucci, bassist John Myung, and drummer Mike Portnoy, Dream Theater soon expanded with the addition of keyboard player Kevin Moore and vocalist Chris Collins. Releasing an eight-tune demo, Majesty Demo, under its original name, the group sold 1,000 copies within six months. The departure of Collins in late 1986 left Dream Theater without a vocalist. After a long period of auditioning possible replacements, they settled on Charlie Dominici in November 1987. Changing its name to avoid confusion with a similarly named band at the Mirage hotel and casino in Las Vegas, the group agreed on Dream Theater, inspired by a now-demolished California movie theater. Signing with Mechanic Records, they began working on their first full-length album. Delays caused by label mismanagement limited the group to performing at small clubs and bars. Frustrated by its experiences with the label, Dream Theater finally severed its ties with Mechanic.
This was only one drastic change in the band's course of action. Firing Dominici, the group spent the next couple years searching for a vocalist. Their search ended in late 1991 when they received a demo tape from Canadian vocalist Kevin James LaBrie, formerly of Winter Rose. Arranging for LaBrie to fly to New York to audition, they went on to invite him to join the band. Signing with Atco Atlantic (now known as East West), Dream Theater released its second album, Images and Words, in 1992. One of three videos based on songs from the album, "Pull Me Under", became an MTV hit. Although they showed considerable growth with their third studio album, Awake, recorded between May and July 1994, Dream Theater continued to be hampered by personnel changes. Before the album was mixed, keyboardist Moore left the group to focus on his solo career. Hired as a temporary replacement for the band's "Waking Up the World" tour, Derek Sherinian later became a permanent member. His first recording with Dream Theater was a 23-minute epic, "A Change of Seasons", written in 1989 and released in September 1995 on the album of the same name.
Following a mini tour, "Fix for '96", the members of Dream Theater separated for several months and became involved with a variety of outside projects. Petrucci was the busiest. In addition to joining Portnoy and keyboard player Jordan Rudess in The Liquid Tension Experiment, a group that they shared with influential bassist/stick player Tony Levin, he played guitar with Trent Gardner's Explorer's Club and made a guest appearance on Shadow Gallery's Tyranny album. Myung and Sherinian collaborated with King's X vocalist Ty Tabor in the band, Platypus. LaBrie worked with Mull Muzzler, a group formed with Matt Guillory and Mike Mangini.
Dream Theater experienced its most recent change when Rudess was tapped to replace Sherinian, who had been fired in 1999. The band released the progressive rock-heavy Scenes from a Memory that year, a conceptual piece that followed the story of a 1928 murder of a young woman and how a modern man is haunted by the crime. It was followed by Live Scenes From New York in 2001, which suffered from an unintentional bout with controversy when its original cover, which featured the city of New York in flames, was pulled due to the events of September 11. The group continued in the progressive metal vein in 2002 with Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence
, followed by the leaner Train of Thought
in 2003 and Octavarium
Sherinian went on to record as a soloist and to play with a progressive and jazz fusion band, Planet X. Petrucci released an eponymously titled solo album in 2003, featuring accompaniment by Dave LaRue of The Dixie Dregs and Boston-based drummer Dave DeCenso.
Progressive rock masters Dream Theater
return in full force with their ninth studio album, Systematic Chaos
(2007). The album features heavy riffs, soaring melodies, and intricate arrangements. Dream Theater
appeases its loyal fans but also reaches out to all rock fans with hook-laden hits like "Constant Motion", "Forsaken", and "The Dark Eternal Night."
Black Clouds & Silver Linings is ďa musical and emotional rollercoaster, but most of our albums areĒí Mike Portnoy says of Dream Theaterís tenth studio album and second Roadrunner release. Black Clouds & Silver Linings (2009) marks another milestone on Dream Theaterís iconoclastic musical journey, which began two and a half decades ago and now encompasses a hugely impressive body of music thatís established the durable progressive metal outfit as a one-of-a-kind creative force with a fiercely devoted international fan base. The new album - produced by band members Mike Portnoy and John Petrucci, who also serve as the groupís main lyricists - offers a vibrant manifestation of the world-class musicianship, vivid lyrical scenarios and ambitious, multi-leveled compositions that have established Dream Theater as a uniquely compelling creative force.
With their following growing greater with each album and tour, Dream Theater
is certain to keep making music for a long time to come.
A Dramatic Turn of Events (2011) is an album born from transition, crafted with studied persistence and possessed by newfound freedom and free-flowing invigoration. The album strikes the perfect balance between Dream Theaterís intimate history with all that is heavy, progressive and melodic until each element is fully realized. Longtime fans of the band intrigued by the speediness of the notes on display from Dream Theater have much to study on the album, while fans of melodic hooks will find equal pleasure within the songs.