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Individual members What was James doing before he joined DT?
Before being picked up by DT for Images and Words, James sang in a Canadian glam band called Winter Rose. They released a self-titled album in 1987, which was re-released in 1997.

James beat more than 200 competitors to take the vocal position in DT.

What equipment does John M use?
As of this update, we are not 100% sure of his set-up. Once we find out, this question will be updated with the correct answer.

Read the comments to this question for some of the equipment fans have seen him use.

Who are John M's influences?
John Myung's primary incluences are Geddy Lee of Rush, Steve Harris of Iron Maiden, and Chris Squire of Yes.

What is a Chapman Stick?
"The Chapman Stick is a unique electric string instrument. Instead of being plucked like a guitar, the act of fretting a note causes it to play. This means that you can play notes with both hands allowing you to play a much fuller arrangement. Emmett Chapman created this technique on a self-built guitar in the late 1960s. In subsequent years he created The Stick as the ultimate instrument for tapping technique."

John Myung plays the Stick on the songs "New Millennium" and "Take Away My Pain", and in various sections of "Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence".

Go to stick.com for more info.

Does John M speak?
This is somewhat of a common topic on the DT message boards.

When around a camera, or a crowd, JM is very soft-spoken. We have been assured however that this is not true in private.

If you really want to hear his voice, pick up his instructional video.

What equipment does John P use?
John endorses Ernie Ball/MusicMan and has many custom made guitars. More information on these and his other equipment can be found at JP.com.

Who are John P's influences?
Petrucci has two groups of primary influences, "...the Steve's and the Al's". The Steve's are Steve Morse, Steve Howe, Steve Vai, and Stevie Ray Vaughan. The Al's are Alex Lifeson, Al Di Meola, and Allan Holdsworth.

Did John P write music for a video game?
John was asked to write/record music for an old Sega Saturn game called Necronomicon. There are 2 pieces he wrote: "Necronomicon Prologue" and "Necronomicon Epilogue".

The availability of the game is unknown, and we have not been able to find any more information on the appearance. Currently, the songs are available as MP3s on various websites or P2P networks.

What equipment does Mike use?
For the recording of Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence and Train of Thought, Mike used a kit called the "Siamese Monster". Pictures and technical information can be found here. For Octavarium he used a white kit called the "Albino Monster".

Mike uses TAMA Starclassic drums, Sabian cymbals, TAMA Iron Cobra pedals and hi-hats, Latin percussion, Remo heads and Pro-Mark 420 custom sticks.

Who are Mike's influences?
Mike Portnoy gives his influences in this excerpt from a Daily Vault interview:

"I used to like Neal Peart but I don't really listen to him that much anymore. He was a big influence for me when I was younger. I really listen to so many different drummers I mean, Terry Bozzio, Simon Phillips, but when I listen to music I don't really listen to the drummers... I listen to the ways the songs are produced, I listen to the ways the songs are written. When I listen to music there are lots of aspects I listen to, not just the drummers."


In a more recent Sabian Q/A session, he answered the following:

Sabian: Your favourite drummer in today's music scene?
Mike: Mike Mangini, Vigil Donati, Marco Minnemann, Danny Carey, Carter Beauford

Sabian: Who, in your opinion is the Drummer of all drummers?
Mike: Vinnie Colauita

Sabian: The Pioneer?
Mike: Terry Bozzio

Sabian: The Legend?
Mike: Ringo Starr or Neil Peart

Why does Mike play with one stick upside-down?
On a TAMA instructional video he says that he can achieve a much fuller snare sound with the butt end of the stick as opposed to the tip. So for this reason, his left-hand stick is always upside down.

Is there bad blood between Mike and Magna Carta?
This is a very complex issue, but in a sentence: yes, there is.

It goes way back to the Liquid Tension Experiment albums, which were both released on the label (in fact it was Magna Carta's president that gave MP the oppurtunity to create the group in the first place).

In 2001, Mike was trying to release his Liquid Drum Theater DVD and he planned to use (amongst other things) some songs by DT and a couple by LTE. Elektra allowed Mike to use DT's music without trouble, but Magna Carta refused to allow him to use his own music without paying them substancial royalties.

Now, at about the same time as he was attempting to get permission to use LTE songs in a drum video, Andy West (Dixie Dregs) asked Mike to lay down some drum tracks for a project of his called Rama. Mike had not yet been refused access to the LTE material at this point, so he agreed and played on two Rama tracks.

Once Magna Carta had screwed Mike, he never wanted anything to do with them again... but it was too late to get himself out of the Rama project, and he had to let the label use his name as a promotion once more.

Mike posted the following on his message board in a topic about his Rama appearance:

"I asked him to remove my name from the credits which he and the label refused to do (for obvious reasons...)
That is why I (and MP.COM and DT.NET and the DT fanzines) have not been promoting this CD.

It's a shame that Andy has had to suffer as a result of this because he is a cool guy, but I refuse to support MC any further (both financially and creatively)...

Download my 2 tracks off of KaZaa or another file sharing service as I did lay down some cool shit on these tracks...but I am personally trying to avoid those crooks at Magna Carta from making another single penny off of my name as I had to pay them **ALOT** of money in order to get my LDT DVD released for the fans...."

Since then, Magna Carta have continued to use MP's name as a promotional tool without seeking MP's permission - for example, a compilation of some of Mike's work on the label called Prime Cuts, which MP has publicly denounced.

Read more about the story on the MP FAQ here.

What equipment does Jordan use?
Thanks to Ryan Maziarz, who sent me an email with the following information:

Main Controller: Kurzweil K2600XS with the following add-ons:

- Sampler
- Piano Expansion ROM
- Orchestral and Contemporary ROMs
- PRAM upgrade
- Digital I/O and mutitrack
- 128MB Sample RAM
- Removable SCSI hard-drive and CDROM for fast loading of programs and setups

In the rack:

- 3 K2600RS rack units – two are used to store additional sounds, and one is a backup (configured same as the keyboard)
- 2 Korg Triton Racks – one is a backup
- 1 Korg Karma 76 key keyboard – controlled from the K2600XS via MIDI
- Fuhrman power conditioner with uninterruptible power supply

For practicing while on the road, Jordan uses a Novation SuperNova II in addition to a small Yamaha keyboard.

In Jordan’s studio, he has:

- K2600XS
- Korg Karma
- Various Moog synths, etc…
- Macintosh G4 Titanium Notebook running Mark of the Unicorn (MOTU) Digital Performer 3 recording and sequencing software
- Various MOTU MIDI convertors, USB/Firewire devices etc
- Rackmount standalone CD duplicator/burner
- A large Mackie mixer (not sure which model)
- Mackie SRM450 active sound reinforcement monitors (used live sometimes as well)
- Mackie HR824 Active Studio Monitors

Stand: custom swiveling stand made by Patrick from Amsterdam

Traveling case: custom designed by Mark Synder (JP’s guitar tech), it holds two K2600XS’s and two Korg Karma’s (one backup of each). It also has huge drawers for storing sound lists, transcription binders etc…

Who are Jordan's influences?
Jordan says his influences (as far as keyboardists go) are Keith Emerson, Rick Wakeman and Patrick Moraz.

His favourite bands include Gentle Giant, Yes, Genesis, Pink Floyd, ELP, King Crimson and Jimi Hendrix.

What was Jordan doing before he was in DT?
Jordan is a Julliard educated keyboardist who has been producing music since the early 80s. His discography can be found on JR.com.

When DT first asked him to join the band (in 1994, after Kevin's departure), he instead decided to join The Dregs, who had asked him to join them on tour at almost the same time DT were talking to him.

It was with the Dregs that he formed RMP with Rod Morgenstein, a band that later opened for Dream Theater, and when MP was putting together LTE Jordan was the keyboardist chosen for the project. Working with Jordan prompted Mike and John to ask him once more to join the band, and since he'd finished with the Dregs he accepted their offer.

How did RMP form?
RMP (Rudess/Morgenstein Project, now known as RPM) started back when Jordan toured with The Dregs. At one particular show a power failure caused every instrument apart from Jordan's keyboard to become unplayable, and of course drums don't need amplifiers, so the two jammed until the power came back on. Both were suitably impressed at how well they jammed together, and RMP was born.

Why was Charlie Dominici fired?
According to Mike Portnoy and John Petrucci, he was released because of several reasons, but most importantly because he didn't fit in with the band in a few important ways. He was far older than the rest of them, had a different idea of what DT should be, and lacked ability as a frontman when performing live. There were also apparently a few personality conflicts at work.

Dream Theater is still in contact with Charlie, he sang at Mike Portnoy's wedding in 1994 and appeared at the 15th anniversary celebrations of When Dream and Day Unite (available as When Dream And Day Re-Unite through Ytsejam Records).

Why did Kevin leave the band?
Kevin's musical tastes have changed over the years, and he grew increasingly unhappy with the musical direction that the band had taken. He felt that the differences had become so great that he could not continue in the band.

"...in some ways it's a shock to us and in some ways, it isn't, you know. I mean, the way that they [the fans] consider us a 'family unit,' in a lot of ways, it's true because, I grew up with Kevin, like, since we were little kids and this has been our band since... whenever. We were 17, out of high school, you know, the first year in college, so it is kind of weird, not having him in the band, it's definitely strange. The only thing I can say to the fans is, you know, so far as worrying and whatnot, this is something that was going on with Kevin like, or, the way he explained it to us, for a couple of years, so he was slowly sort of stepping out of his position, and even with the writing on Awake, it's not as much of his trademark and his sound and his writing. So if they're into this album, maybe that's a good sign because it was something that was written a lot without his enthusiasm or without his input for the most part, so, it's sort of a... step to the new whatever's going to happen next. So if they like it, that's a good sign..."

"...he didn't tell us slowly, it was unexpected for us too. But it's just that he was thinking about it for awhile, we didn't even know that, you know? We sensed that he was a little bit distant, that maybe he was unhappy, but we never thought he would leave the band, 'cause like I said, this has been something we've been into since we were little kids or whatever. He told us right towards the end of the recording session for Awake, which was about mid-July, and that was really strange because, you know, we weren't finished recording and he told us this, so... I mean, obviously we finished up the recording of the record, but it was... I guess no time is a good time, but it seemed like a strange sort of time and we were all really shocked, you know, we were like, 'I don't understand,' you know? It's hard for me to understand because we've been pretty successful and we think this record is going to do really well for us, we hope it is, and there's a lot of things on the horizon and we've worked our entire lives to get to this point, so it's hard for me to relate to leaving that..."

"...I don't think you can pinpoint to one specific reason why he left the band, but I think basically it comes down to this... over the last couple of years, he's sort of changed the type of music that he's into, that he likes to write and he's demoing a lot of stuff where he's playing everything himself and singing himself and it's in a different style, like techno/industrial sort of style, nothing like our band... it just seems like playing with us, he wasn't able to do the type of stuff that he wanted to do and he figured he never would if he stayed in the situation, so he wanted to be true to his musical vision. I guess that was kind of frustrating with him. Maybe when we started the band and for the first couple of albums, it was the kind of stuff he really liked doing and then for whatever reason, whatever happened in his life... whatever was happening, whether it was touring or whatever, he just changed the type of stuff he was into and he no longer felt passionate, or feels passionate, about the style of music that Dream Theater plays... you know, the heavy, progressive sort of music..."

- John Petrucci

What is Kevin doing now?
In August 1994, after parting ways with DT, Kevin moved to Santa Fe, NM and lived there for about a year while writing and recording new solo material with the help of Rich Kern, who also did the drum programming for "Space-Dye Vest". Some of the demos he recorded during this period of time were made available through a demo called "Music Meant To Be Heard, Etc." that was originally set up on Ytsejam in early 1995.

In the summer of 1995, Kevin decided to shave his head and move to Los Angeles, CA to record some new material with Fates Warning drummer, Mark Zonder. These songs eventually turned into the "Chroma Key" demos and featured Kevin on keyboards/bass/vocals and Mark Zonder on drums. Kevin describes his new music as "keyboard-oriented semi-progressive rock."

Kevin recorded more "Chroma Key" songs during the last half of 1996 (with Jason Anderson on guitar, Joey Vera on bass, and Mark Zonder on drums), and mixed those songs with Steve Tushar. Kevin's website, chromakey.com, has information on acquiring Chroma Key's debut CD Dead Air For Radios which was released in 1998 by Massacre Records in Europe and Fight Evil Records in the States.

Kevin also played with Fates Warning on a number of occasions including the albums A Pleasant Shade Of Gray and Disconnected.

Kevin went back to work in early 1999, offering a new 6-song Chroma Key single of demos and remixes, as well as a limited edition Chroma Key screen print. He also put out a collection of demos on CD, titled This is a Recording. He also played keyboards on tour for a new band called On.

In 2003 Kevin teamed up with Mike Portnoy for the first time since 1994 for Jim Mattheos' "OSI" project, released through InsideOut Music. There is the possibility of a sequel, but from what the band members have said it isn't incredibly likely.

Kevin is also continually working on Chroma Key 3 (although work on it has been interrupted on a couple of occasions), which he said will be more organic and natural than the very digital-sounding You Go Now. It is unknown when it will be completed.

Also in 2003 he wrote the soundtrack for a Turkish horror movie, and when answering questions at the premiere he said that he planned to stay in the country for at least a year afterwards.

In 2004 Kevin released the third Chroma Key album, Graveyard Mountain Home, and in 2006 was involved in OSI's sophomore release, Free.

Why was Derek fired?
When Kevin left, Jordan was the band's first choice for a replacement. However, the Dregs also approached him at the same time, and Jordan felt that he would rather be in the Dregs at the time. Derek was originally a fill-in for the Awake tour, but after realising how well he fit with the band, DT decided to recruit him as a full-time member.

But, after working with Jordan Rudess during recording for Liquid Tension Experiment I and II, the band felt that Jordan's playing and writing style was more in tune to where they wanted to take Dream Theater as the new millennium approached. Unfortunately, this left Derek out of a job.

"With the recent release of our live CD and video, it seemed the right time to close this chapter and begin a new one. Derek's contributions to the band both musically and personally over the last four years is something that we will always treasure, and we will all miss."

- Mike Portnoy


"I am very proud of my musical growth and contributions to the band in the last four years. I have nothing but positive thoughts and feelings towards John, Mike, James, and John. Jordan Rudess is a friend of mine and a great talent. I wish all of them the very best!"

- Derek Sherinian

What is Derek doing now?
Derek has released 3 solo albums, entitled Planet X, Inertia, and Black Utopia. The band that was used for the recording of Planet X has since been transformed into a stand-alone band, rather than a DS solo album. There have been 3 PX releases so far, "Universe", "Moon Babies", and "Live From Oz".

His talents can also be heard on the Platypus CDs "When Pus Comes to Shove" and "Ice Cycles", as well as Jughead with Greg and Matt Bissonette. Some of Derek's contributions can also be heard on Encores, Legends & Paradox, Odd Man Out and Y2K.