John Petrucci Explains How Reunion with Mike Portnoy for Solo Album Came to Be


Dream Theater guitarist John Petrucci’s upcoming second solo album, Terminal Velocity, was already highly anticipated simply because it’s been 15 dang years since his first one came out, and Suspended Animation was (and still is) very much loved by fans. But the announcement that his former bandmate Mike Portnoy plays drums on the thing ratcheted up that excitement amongst DT fanboys and fangirls (but mostly fanboys because Dream Theater) that much more.

Now, in a new chat with The Dream Theater Fan Club, Petrucci explained how the collaboration, which is the first since Portnoy left Dream Theater a decade ago, came to pass:

“We’ve been talking a bunch and he had sort of planted the seed in my ear. I was telling him about it [the solo album], and he was like, ‘Well if you need somebody, I’m available.’ And it was in my head; I’m, like, ‘I’m gonna take you up on that.’

“I had written all the songs and we programmed the drums, and I played bass, and our engineer played bass, so we had these completed songs. And Mike came in, learned everything, of course, added his touches and taste – did a tremendous, spectacular job. It was a lot of fun to kind of reunite musically and do that together; it took about six days to do. Again, he did a great job – the drums sound awesome.

“Dave [LaRue] recorded his stuff remotely, redid all the bass, and it’s mixed by Andy Sneap – it’s my first time working with Andy, and he did a tremendous job mixing it. He’s actually currently in Judas Priest playing guitar after Glenn [Tipton] couldn’t do it anymore. And he is an unbelievable mixer with an incredible resume. He did mix [2018’s] ‘Firepower,’ the latest Judas Priest, and a whole bunch of other stuff – Killswitch and Arch Enemy and Machine Head, and it goes on. He’s amazing. So, the album sounds great.”

Petrucci also explained why the solo is finally coming out after a decade of teasing. And, you guessed it, the alone-time brought on by the pandemic definitely helped things along:

“Originally, before the whole pandemic hit, I had planned on working on my solo album, because Dream Theater had some touring coming up, but there were like, chunks of free months in the year, so I was like, ‘If I don’t start it now, I’m never gonna do this.’ And then everything hit and closed down and everything got postponed, so I found myself with all this time on my hands. Basically, very shortly after I got home from that tour, I started working on my solo album – two months straight, five days a week. I got it done in about three months.”

Thank you for your service, John. We appreciate you.

No release date has been announced for Terminal Velocity yet, but we expect to start hearing music from it real soon.

[via Ultimate Guitar]

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