Dream Theater

The American band came into being in the autumn of 1985 when guitarist John Petrucci (born in Long Island, New York, USA on July 12, 1967), bassist John Myung (born in Chicago, Illinois, USA on January 24, 1967) and drummer Mike Portnoy (born in Long Beach, New York, USA on April 20, 1967) met at the famous Berklee School of Music in Boston and started to rehearse together. Keyboard player Kevin Moore joined them later and vocalist Chris Collins came in March of 1986. The quintet chose the name Majesty and signed the contract with the Mechanic Records. The band recorded a demo tape partly influenced by the Canadian Rush. Chris Collins having realized that his abilities as a vocalist were not enough comparing to his partners in the band, left. It was just the missing vocalist that was the greatest weakness of the new quintet. After a year of searching, the new vocalist Charlie Dominici was brought in to the band. In the summer of 1988, during three weeks, the band of four excellent musicians with the participation of the rather unimpressive vocalist recorded its debut album "When Dream and Day Unite". However, it was revelead that the name Majesty had already been chosen by a jazz band therefore the band changed its name to Dream Theater. That's why the release influenced by hard-rock, jazz, symphonic music, heavy metal, and last but not least by Rush, did not come out until in March of 1989. Mechanic Records, unfortunately, had not been able to cope with the promotion that's why the band was lucky indeed that some of newspaper representatives at least mentioned the first band album and appraised the predaceousness as well as the progressive style of music very positively. Promotion concerts were organized only in the surroundings of New York. Unconvenient vocalist who could not identify with the innovative approach to music was forced to leave. In spite of this fact, the rest four members continued writing and decided to select a new vocalist very carefully. Promising Steve Stone and almost recruited Chris Cintron were among those who the band was searching for to fill in the empty post of vocalist. But they were absolutely fascinated by the tape arriving from Canada with Kevin LaBrie's voice (ex-Winter Rose).After having been brought in to the line-up, opera educated Kevin LaBrie (born in Penetanguishene, Ontario, Canada on May 5, 1963) decided to use his more favourite middle name James. He has not been the only one who writes the lyrics like for example in other bands, all members of the band participate in it. The quintet of the same music opinions went over to the label belonging to Warner Music. At the end of 1991, the band started to record the second album. Saxophonist Jay Beckenstein teamed up with the band and featured in the melodious track "Another Day" included in the fabulous album "Images and Words". This release has fully revealed giftedness and music abilities of the band members. Since then, LaBrie's silky and heartfelt sensitive voice changing, here and there, into the wild and breathtaking show, has become the indivisible part of the band super-refined music. Music station MTV chose the first dynamic track "Pull Me Under" of the album for its programme, which has definitely confirmed the commercial success of Dream Theater. Individual songs characterized by their diversity and rhythmical musical passages were introduced to the audience in New York for the first time on June 8, 1992. Dream Theater was performing there as a support band of Iron Maiden. The issue "Images and Words" reached the golden award in the "country of the rising sun" - in Japan. The videocassette "Images and Words: Live in Tokio" was released in Japan afterwards. The band of four Americans and one Canadian released the excellent live 47 minute-long EP "Live at the Marquee", recorded in London's Marquee Club on April 23, 1993 during the European tour "Music in Progress". The third study album "Awake" released in September of 1994 was made up entirely of much harder tracks comparing to the previous album. The quintet - LaBrie, Petrucci, Myung, Moore and Portnoy - has come with new, dynamic and sophisticated songs changing rhythm and power chords in an incredible tempo, which almost evokes the thrash sound of music. "Awake" reached the platinum award in Japan. The brilliant track "Lie" from "Awake" hit MTV as well. After recording the album full of new progressive features, keyboardist Kevin Moore quit the band because of a different view of the band music style. However, he did not leave the band in anger, the rest of the line-up understood his different music opinions. Kevin Moore issued the debut album "Dead Air for Radios" with Chroma Key soon after. Excellent Jordan Rudess (ex-Dixie Dregs) educated at the Julliard School of Music filled in for left Kevin Moore for a while being replaced by Derek Sherinian (ex-Alice Cooper, Kiss). In September of 1995 nearly 58 minute-long EP "A Change of Seasons" recorded with Jordan Rudess was released. The EP includes a title 23 minute-long epic divided into seven parts. The study version of this idea-full track did not appear until in May of 1995, i.e. six years after its composing. The remaining 35 minutes include the live recording from London's Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club. The band has done honour to music greats like Elton John, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Kansas, Queen, Journey, Dixie Dreggs and Genesis. On January 31, 1995 while recording those peculiar cover-versions, the band members made friends with famous music colleagues, three Steves - Hogarth, Rothery (both from Marillion), How (Yes, Asia) and Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden). September 19, 1997 was a release day of the "Falling into Infinity" album. Besides progressive tracks, there are also slow and not very fecund songs, for example "Hollow Years" and "Anna Lee". John Petrucci has written "Take Away My Pain", the lyrics of which reflect his father's death. To promote the new album, Dream Theater set out on a tour including 116 concerts in 99 towns of 20 countries. In the autumn of 1998 the band released the concert double album entitled "Once in a LIVEtime" recorded during the Parisian concert in the club Le Bataclan on June 25, 1998. From time to time, the band borrows music themes from both rock and classical music spheres, which is especially noticeable in nearly 8 minute-long track "Peruvian Skies" containing adaptational music elements from Pink Floyd and Metallica. Besides this album, a video version "5 Years in a LIVEtime" with both shots from previous concerts and further bonuses was released at the end of 1998 as well. On January 18, 1999 keyboardist Derek Sherinian, who was hampering other band members by his music style of the 1970s, was replaced by an experienced, more progressive and formerly tested keyboard player - Jordan Rudess (born in New York, USA on November, 4, 1956) whose musical style has been influenced by classical music as well. Anyway, Jordan's bringing in has been the surprise only for Derek Sherinian. Jordan's cooperation with Mike Portnoy, John Petrucci and Tony Levin, bassist from King Crimson, in the purely instrumental jam project Liquid Tension Experiment was generally expected to result in his repeated bringing in to the band. (All band members, actually, permanently look for their self-realization as well as the realization of their music ideas either in their own projects or other musicians'side projects). In late 1999, the newly established quintet issued the excellent conceptual study album "(Metropolis Pt. 2:) Scenes from a Memory" considered as the best band album ever written. All band members, except Jordan Rudess, have participated in writing the lyrics of this rock opera epic partly inspired by the film "Dead Again". The main hero of the story, Nicholas, is pursued by mysterious dreams every night that seem to be from the past life. Therefore, he goes to see a hypnotherapist who thanks to the regression finds out a mystery - Nicholas is, in fact, a reincarnated young girl Victoria who died in 1928. Nicholas wants to know about the young girl's life as much as possible to get to know more about him. Piece by piece he permeates through the mystery until he finally learns about a forepast murder which two brothers are involved in (both brothers, The Miracle and the Sleeper, have already been mentioned in the fabulous track "Metropolis Pt. 1" of the "Images and Words" album).The first live concert of the band in the Czech Republic was in the town of Zlin on July 20, 2000 followed by Prague on October 11, 2000. The Czech fans could be astonished at brilliant music abilities of the band members including John Myung's unusually six-stringed bass guitar.At the end of 2001, prog rockers Dream Theater from New York released the triple live album "Live Scenes from New York". This live record of the concert performed in New York on August 30, 2000, should have originally been released just on the tragic day of September 11, 2001. The front cover represented images of World Trade Center and The Statue of Liberty among the flames of a burning razor wired apple. Due to the shocking terroristic attacks, the sale of the triple CD had been immediately stopped and postponed to November. The cover, however, has been changed into the new one without attacked American symbols being used. The performance in Roseland Ballroom has also been released on DVD containing further bonuses. One and a half hour DVD "Metropolis 2000: Scenes from New York" featuring excellent vocalist Theresa Thomason as well as a gospel chorus belongs, in spite of the fact that there are neither the Czech subtitles or a five channel sound, to the best releases I have ever seen. The performance of the band members is absolutely fascinating and amazing.Extremely hardworking, progressive art-rock-metal quintet belonging to the best bands of the world issued the double semi-concept album "Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence" on January 28, 2002. Introductory seconds relate to the end of the previous study album concerning reincarnated Nicholas. "SDOIT" begins with the sound of a crackling gramophone needle sliding on a black vinyl gramophone record. Bell strokes as well as some music pieces that follow can reflect the lack of the band own music ideas. The first highly hard track combines thrash metal and hard-core elements with modern music technology. Remaining four tracks of the first disc have also been recorded in the similarly incredible tempo. However, those tracks, are, comparing to the first one, far more segmented and harmonious featuring art-metal spirit of this millennium. The second disc contains only one, 42 minute-long title track, divided into eight parts and thus represents the longest Dream Theater song. The introductory instrumental part sounds more or less like a scenic music, which could be well used for a ballet or a children's ice revue! The unnecessarily long opus, where the instrumental part is being replaced by James LaBrie's singing, leads slowly to an excellent finale.From time to time, the multitalented band, thanks to its brilliant music art, is said to reach the very end of the rock music direction. The band music has not very much in common with the mass and easily understandable rock because the composition intricacies as well as the music perfection of all band members almost fluctuate beyond the perception limit. Well, I must admit that, in the case of Dream Theater, progressive rock music has transformed into something special that can be defined as a kind of progressive jazz or academic rock often requiring a musically experienced fan's careful listening.At the end of the 90's, drummer/percussionist Mike Portnoy established a project with keyboard player/vocalist Neal Morse (Spock's Beard), guitarist/vocalist Roine Stolt (Flower Kings), and bassist/vocalist Pete Trewavas (Marillion) called Transatlantic.On June 27, 2002 Dream Theater performed in the Brumlovka Club in Prague.On February 17, 2003, a new progressive rock band called O.S.I. released its first new album "Office of Strategic Influence". The band consists of drummer Mike Portnoy of Dream Theater, singing keyboardist, programmer Kevin Moore (former member of Dream Theater) and guitarist, bassist, keyboardist, programmer in one person Jim Matheos of Wates Warning. They teamed up with bassist Sean Malone and vocalist, guitarist, keyboardist Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree who participated in recording the album as guest musicians.Since June 2003 Dream Theater have been issuing some of their unreleased pieces. The first of three "official bootlegs" include "The Majesty Demos 1985-1986", "Los Angeles, California, 5/18/98" (from the House of Blues Club) and "The Making of Scenes of a Memory".Dream Theater released a new album entitled "Train of Thought" on November 11, 2003. "As I Am" is the first single of the album.On January 16, 2004 the band set out on the world tour that started in Manchester in the U.K.Dream Theater recorded their performance at the Budokan in Tokyo on April 26th, 2004 for a DVD and CD release. Dream Theater's "Live at Budokan" was released on October 4th, 2004. It is available as both a 2 DVD set and a 3 CD set.