Barbara Caserta of Linea Rock recently conducted an interview with DREAM THEATER keyboardist Jordan Rudess. You can now watch the chat below. A couple of excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET)
On his working relationship with DREAM THEATER guitarist John Petrucci:
Jordan: “When I was brought into the band, I was brought in because John Petrucci really needed to have a writing partner. He was basically doing it by himself, for the most part — writing music. So when they found me, I think he was really excited about having somebody who could come in and kind of work with him instrumentally and figure out all the things that needed to be done and take it to maybe a level that… Certain things, John Petrucci, of course, is a total master at, and other things, it’s nice for him to have a keyboard player that has a different perspective and a different approach to harmony and melody and all those things. So I was brought in for that. So when I came in, my job was as a composer as much as it was as a keyboardist. But up until recently, many years later, our relationship didn’t kind of mature to the point where we could sit down together and do a project like [DREAM THEATER’s latest concept album ‘The Astonishing’]. When John conceived of the story, one of the first things he thought of is, ‘Wow, it would be really cool if Jordan and I could sit down just together alone, without anybody else there, and just write this music.’ And in doing that, it felt like it solidified a relationship that’s been maturing through the course of years. So, yeah, I would say that it’s always been a really great, symbiotic kind of relationship, but over the last years, especially doing this project, we reached another level where we kind of came together, personally and musically, and enjoyed working on this album. It was really cool.”
On DREAM THEATER’s current tour, which sees the band performing “The Astonishing” in its entirety:
Jordan: “When we wrote the music and put together this album, this experience, we realized early on that we wanted to present it in a live format. It’s one of the reasons it’s the length that it is. We wanted to make it something that was substantial and could be a presentation and could be a whole show. And we also wanted to present it differently than anything we’ve done before. We wanted to do it in smaller theaters where people could sit down and really enjoy the experience and have a different kind of DREAM THEATER experience. We also invested in having a really beautiful video show during the concert. We usually have great lights, and the lights and the video in this experience are really beyond anything we’ve ever done before. So I think it’s probably, in many ways, the highest level — you can even say the best — presentation we’ve ever given. And we’re allowing the audience around the world to sit down and absorb it. And I’ll say something very briefly about that, which is that usually, in our concerts, especially in Europe, the audience is standing. So we have been kind of adjusting to the fact that there’s more energy going out than necessarily coming back, ‘cause when you’re seated, it’s kind of mellow; you’re just relaxing. But it’s okay, because we also realized that people are really… they are absorbing this, they are enjoying it. You can see at the end of the show when they finally stand up and give us some energy back that it’s having a really big effect, which is very rewarding. So it’s extremely different for us doing this show. It was maybe a brave album to do, ‘cause it’s so different. And the tour is also very different. We’re just playing ‘The Astonishing’; it’s not like there’s anything else happening. So, yeah, all in all, it’s been a very different, exciting, nice experience.”
“The Astonishing” was released on January 29 via Roadrunner. The CD was made available in a wide range of distinctive versions, including standard 2-CD set, 4-LP vinyl box set and a limited-edition deluxe box set.
Recorded at Cove City Sound Studios in Glen Cove, New York, with John Petrucci producing, studio luminary Richard Chycki (AEROSMITH, RUSH) engineering/mixing and legendary arranger, composer and conductor David Campbell orchestrating, “The Astonishing” paints a tale of a retro-futurist post-apocalyptic dystopia ruled by medieval style feudalism. It’s a place aching for a Chosen One to rise above the noise and defeat an Empire defined by the endless drone of noise machines and the illusion of safety in bland conformity.