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DREAM THEATER guitarist John Petrucci released his second solo album, “Terminal Velocity”, on August 28 via Sound Mind Music/The Orchard. The follow-up to 2005’s “Suspended Animation” features guest musicians Mike Portnoy (SONS OF APOLLO, ex-DREAM THEATER) on drums and Dave LaRue (DIXIE DREGS) on bass. The effort marks the first time Petrucci and Portnoy recorded together in over a decade, as well as their first time playing together since Portnoy departed DREAM THEATER.
In a new interview with “Coffee With Ola!”, Petrucci said about his renewed working relationship with Portnoy (see video below): “People are really happy about it. It’s funny — you know how things are online with social media and the different outlets that we put music and videos out, you try not to get sucked too much into the comment section. However, I do like to kind of scan that, and what I saw was people just very happy, not only that Mike and I were doing something musically together, which the main comments were mostly that, but just that they thought the [first] song [to be released from the album] was very positive and uplifting. And I love that.
“With my solo music, I want it to be something that you look forward to listening to and that could enhance your mood when you’re doing something,” he continued. “When you’re going to the gym, you’re going for a drive, you’re going to the beach — whatever you’re doing. ‘I’m gonna put this on ’cause it’s gonna elevate my mood.’ The last thing I wanted to do was make some kind of depressing, dark, pandemic-themed thing. It’s not what I’m about as a guitar player.
“It was really great for me to have Mike play on the record. I hadn’t done anything musically with him since he left DREAM THEATER over 10 years ago. And it was really just fun, because it’s different when you’re in a band with somebody. Really, we grew up together — we met when we were 18. And you’re in business together. It’s different than when it’s, like, fast forward, now it’s, like, my friend is playing drums on my album. It was so easy going and so cool. He was able to come to my studio despite the pandemic situation on the East Coast in the U.S. It was safe for him to come to the studio — he doesn’t live that far from me. And he spent a week, and we had fun. And he did a killer job.
“These songs take a lot of different skills, I think, as a drummer — some are uplifting and happy; some are metal; some take double-bass chops; some you’ve gotta do a shuffle; some are blues; some is Latin feel,” Petrucci explained. “And it’s just a testament to Mike‘s playing — he knows how to do all that stuff. And he came in, totally easy going, did it. We had fun. And I’m really happy that he did it.”
Portnoy, who co-founded DREAM THEATER more than 30 years ago, abruptly quit the band in September 2010 while on tour with AVENGED SEVENFOLD. He has since been replaced by Mangini (ANNIHILATOR, EXTREME, JAMES LABRIE, STEVE VAI).