JOHN PETRUCCI Completes Recording Guitars For New DREAM THEATER Album: 'I'm So Happy With How They Came Out'

May 1, 2024

DREAM THEATER's John Petrucci has completed laying down the guitar tracks for the band's sixteenth studio album. The upcoming effort will mark the progressive metal legends' first LP since drummer Mike Portnoy's return to the group last October.

Earlier today (Wednesday, May 1),Petrucci shared a video message in which he said in part (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I'm here to tell you that I'm actually officially done recording all of the guitars for what we will for now call DT16, the latest DREAM THEATER album.

"I'm so happy with how the guitars came out. Our extraordinary, talented engineer Jimmy T [James Meslin] and I, we set out to create and capture what we call the Mount Rushmore of guitar tones. I think we did it. It's up to you guys to decide. But anyway, we had so much fun recording the guitar."

Petrucci continued: "I wanna nerd out for a second. So, in striving to get there, and with Mike Portnoy rejoining the band, we decided we'd kind of look back a little bit. So we contacted our longtime friend and engineer Doug Oberkircher, who recorded DREAM THEATER classic albums such as 'Images And Words', 'Scenes From A Memory', 'Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence', 'Train Of Thought'. And it turns out that Doug still had the original Neve preamps that he used to record the guitars on those records. And so we contacted Doug and we acquired the preamps, and, man, we got all the gank, all the aggression, but it still sounds really warm, smooth top end, expressive, layered. It's like a T-Rex made out of chocolate cake lit on fire. [Laughs]

"Anyway, it came out great," John added. "So I can't wait for all of you to hear that."

Last month, DREAM THEATER announced the European leg of its "40th Anniversary Tour 2024 - 2025". The trek — presented as "An Evening With Dream Theater" — is the first outing since Portnoy's return.

The European leg of DREAM THEATER's "40th Anniversary Tour 2024 - 2025" consists of stops in 23 cities and kicks off on October 20 and runs through November 24.

Portnoy co-founded DREAM THEATER in 1985 with Petrucci and bassist John Myung. Mike played on 10 DREAM THEATER albums over a 20-year period, from 1989's "When Dream And Day Unite" through 2009's "Black Clouds & Silver Linings", before exiting the group in 2010.

Mike Mangini joined DREAM THEATER in late 2010 through a widely publicized audition following the departure of Portnoy. Mangini beat out six other of the world's top drummers — Marco Minnemann, Virgil Donati, Aquiles Priester, Thomas Lang, Peter Wildoer and Derek Roddy — for the gig, a three-day process that was filmed for a documentary-style reality show called "The Spirit Carries On".

Last month, DREAM THEATER singer James LaBrie was asked by Rolling Stone magazine why he and his bandmates wanted Portnoy to return. He said: "I think we had to return the band back to its strongest form." Petrucci added: "It wasn't one singular thing; it was sort of a series of life events that caused an organic conclusion. We all talked about it. It was like, 'Yeah, this makes sense right now.'" Keyboardist Jordan Rudess chimed in: "There's so many factors involved, and each of us has our particular relationships. And it was just a moment when everything seemed to come together, and we went, 'You know what? Let's do this. Now's the time.'" Myung concurred, saying: "It was a collective moment of certainty."

Asked if he was surprised when he was invited back into the band, Portnoy said: "Before the Covid pandemic, if you had asked me or any of these guys, 'Was a reunion in the cards?' I probably would've said I doubted that it could happen. I think if the lockdown hadn't happened, you guys probably would've been on tour, and I would've been on tour with one of my 48 bands. But once we were all locked down, John asked me to play on his solo album. Then, from there, Jordan, John, and myself did the LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENT album. And then I did John's tour. So there were just these series of events of reconnecting us — not only on a musical level but also on a personal level for many years prior to that.

"All of our families are friends," he continued. "And my daughter and John's daughter shared an apartment together for many, many years. And John Myung lives right down the block from me, and his wife's at my house every night. There was just a series of events both personally and musically that started to feel like, 'Well, maybe this really is in the cards. Maybe this is the right time.'"

Asked if they see this reunion as healing a fractured band, Portnoy said: "I don't want to be over-philosophical about it, but as we're all getting older. Here we are in our 50s and 60s. You start to think of the reality of, 'How much time do we have left?' I would hate it if this were to become a Roger Waters-PINK FLOYD or Peter Gabriel-with-GENESIS situation where the fans want it, but it never happens."

Petrucci added: "When Mike left the band, it was traumatic for all of us. We had to figure out how we were going to move our career forward. And those years that went by, they were also healing years because you don't just have something like that happen, and all of a sudden, you're all best buddies a week later. There's some trauma there that had to heal. Thirteen years was enough time for that to happen and be, like, 'Hey, you know what, man? We love each other like we're brothers.'"

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