DREAM THEATER's JAMES LABRIE: 'We're Much More Than' Progressive Metal

June 15, 2023

In a new interview with Revolver magazine, DREAM THEATER singer James LaBrie was asked if there are any ways people characterize his band's music that bother him. James responded: "They might just go, 'Well, that's progressive. They're all noodling, and it's these long, long songs.' And I'm like, 'Oh my God.' Obviously you haven't really listened to our album, as an album, and heard all the differences throughout each and every album, all the styles that we touch on. It's not about the epic songs."

He continued: "We love to play epics, and that has become a big part of our identity. I'm extremely proud and I'll stand behind any one of our long songs — as some people refer to them — because I think that they're brilliantly done. I'm not trying to sound pompous and conceited. I just really think that if you are going to do songs that are 12, 15, 20 minutes and so on, there's got to be a purpose behind it. There's got to be a ride there for the listener. There has to be the dynamics. Then people are going to walk away and go, 'Holy shit! Wait a minute, 25 minutes just went by?' But at the same time, you have a song from DREAM THEATER like 'I Walk Beside You'. Come on, that could have been on radio. That could have been, as far as I'm concerned, a U2 song. So it says that there's many layers to us.

"So when people say, 'Oh, you're DREAM THEATER, progressive metal,' I'm like, 'Yes, we are. But we're much more than that.' And progressive metal, I think it does describe who we are because there's an edge to our music, but there's a lot to us. There's the diversity and it's very eclectic, and we pull from several styles, and I think that's shaped us into who and what we are."

In a 2015 interview with Prog magazine, DREAM THEATER guitarist John Petrucci said that he and his bandmates "got a ton of criticism" for their songwriting approach. "They'd say our songs were too long, that we didn't know how to write songs, how the music was too complicated, the arrangements were too busy and how everyone was overplaying," he recalled. "But we just continued to do what we felt was right musically because that was just the kind of music we wanted to play together."

He added: "You have to ignore those criticisms as it only creates self‑doubt and then you get uneasy about what you're doing. If the music doesn't come from the heart, then it's all over. Now it turns out those qualities for which we were criticized were actually the ones that were embraced and praised, and even influenced other musicians."

"The Alien", a track from DREAM THEATER's latest album, 2021's "A View From The Top Of The World", landed the band its first-ever Grammy in the "Best Metal Performance" category at the 64th annual Grammy Awards, which was held in April 2022 in Las Vegas. DREAM THEATER's previous Grammy nominations were for the song "On The Backs Of Angels", from 2011's "A Dramatic Turn Of Events" album, and the single "The Enemy Inside" from 2013's "Dream Theater".

DREAM THEATER is on the road this summer presenting the first edition of "Dreamsonic". The trek will feature special guests Devin Townsend and ANIMALS AS LEADERS.

DREAM THEATER includes Petrucci, LaBrie, Jordan Rudess on keyboards, John Myung on bass, and Mike Mangini on drums. The band shares a unique bond with one of the most passionate fan bases around the globe as evidenced by their 15 million records sold worldwide. The 1992 opus "Images & Words" received a gold certification and landed on Rolling Stone's coveted "100 Greatest Metal Albums Of All Time." Guitar World placed the follow-up "Awake" at No. 1 on "Superunknown: 50 Iconic Albums That Defined 1994." The 1995 EP "A Change Of Seasons" provided the soundtrack for NBC's coverage of downhill skiing at the 2002 Winter Olympics.

Fans voted the 1999 "Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes From A Memory" the "Number One All-Time Progressive Rock Album" in a 2012 Rolling Stone poll. The album also was ranked as the "15th Greatest Concept Album" by Classic Rock. The 2009 album "Black Clouds & Silver Linings" crashed the Billboard 200 at No. 6. In 2019, the band continued to expand its audience when they released "Distance Over Time" to critical and commercial acclaim.

Find more on Dream theater
  • facebook
  • twitter
  • reddit
  • email

Comments Disclaimer And Information

BLABBERMOUTH.NET uses the Facebook Comments plugin to let people comment on content on the site using their Facebook account. The comments reside on Facebook servers and are not stored on BLABBERMOUTH.NET. To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. To report spam or any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, use the "Report to Facebook" and "Mark as spam" links that appear next to the comments themselves. To do so, click the downward arrow on the top-right corner of the Facebook comment (the arrow is invisible until you roll over it) and select the appropriate action. You can also send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@)gmail.com with pertinent details. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to "hide" comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to "ban" users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user's Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a "banned" user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the "banned" user's comments will only be visible to the user and the user's Facebook friends).