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General Band (Questions regarding all of Mike’s bands and projects)

  1. When is Dream Theater/[insert side project here] gonna play in [insert city/state/country here]? faq id: 41
  2. Where can I buy CD's and Videos of Mike's bands on-line? faq id: 42
  3. Does Mike prefer playing in front of big crowds or small? Why? faq id: 43
  4. What role does Mike take in his respective bands? Is he the band leader? faq id: 44
  5. Can I get the studio notes for ________ song or _________ album? faq id: 45
  6. I want to start covering Dream Theater/[insert side project here] songs with my band when we play clubs – do I have to get permission to do so? faq id: 46
  7. Has Mike ever been inspired to write music based around Twin Peaks? faq id: 49
  8. Would Dream Theater/OSI ever consider letting the fans name the next album? faq id: 50
  9. When recording long songs (such as When the Water Breaks), does Mike record the whole thing in one take? faq id: 51
  10. Would Mike consider doing a Radiohead cover with Dream Theater or OSI? faq id: 52
  11. What are Mike’s favorite songs to play? faq id: 53
  12. What is Mike's opinion on MP3s circulating on the Internet? faq id: 73
  13. Has Mike or would Mike ever take direction from the other guys in any of the bands he's involved with? faq id: 203
  14. Why does Mike allow advance/promo copies of [insert latest album name] to be sent out if he doesn’t want the songs to be spread on the internet before the album is released? Doesn’t he realize that the MP3s are very easy to come by? faq id: 204
  15. How does Mike come up with his drum parts for a new song? faq id: 265
  16. As Mike continues to play songs over and over, do his drum parts evolve so that they are different from what was on the album? faq id: 266
  17. Does Mike ever anticipate how well an album (that he is involved in) will sell? faq id: 299

Questions and Answers

  1. When is Dream Theater/[insert side project here] gonna play in [insert city/state/country here]? faq id: 41
    Dream Theater will play where it makes sense financially. Their booking agents and management make that decision, NOT THE BAND. But, most importantly, your neck of the woods has to have a promoter willing to fork over the money necessary to bring band, equipment and entourage along. If no promoter shows interest, there is nothing anybody can do. Promoters will take on events if CD sales show that they will make a buck out of it. Promoters are not even going to try if only to break even or lose money. Another thing is that moving equipment and people to another country/continent is very costly a cannot be justified for just one gig. So, a multi-city per country tour is a plus. Bottom line, whining will get you nowhere. If you want to see Dream Theater in your area, start looking up local promoters and letting them know about the band and the interest there is. That is the only way you are likely to get Dream Theater to tour your country/city.

  2. Where can I buy CD's and Videos of Mike's bands on-line? faq id: 42
    The RECORDINGS section of this site has links to purchase most available Dream Theater and Liquid Tension Experiment (LTE) items. For Transatlantic items it is best to check the TRANSATLANTIC section of this site.

  3. Does Mike prefer playing in front of big crowds or small? Why? faq id: 43
    MP: Big crowds are exciting, but lack the crowd interaction which I so strongly thrive on.

  4. What role does Mike take in his respective bands? Is he the band leader? faq id: 44
    MP: I have alot of trouble learning how to let go of the reigns. It is definitely a good quality of mine (for productivity's sake), but also a bad one in some ways (can cause internal resentment if not openly discussed), and I am always trying my best to balance it. I was willing to give "letting go" a try in '96 and '97 and ultimately was not satisfied with the results. Dream Theater has always been my baby and I have put way too much time, energy, blood, sweat and tears into it to let anything get in the way of my ideas and vision. (for better or worse!) I took a very different approach in TransAtlantic and it was a bit of a relief for me to "let things go" for a change of pace and even more so in OSI, so I guess I am growing a bit. (But I am still a 100% control freak in DT!)

  5. Can I get the studio notes for ________ song or _________ album? faq id: 45
    MP: I do have all of the outtakes, writing of DAT's, charts, notes, etc. etc. but to be honest, I do not have the time to sort through any of that stuff right now! ...and I cannot just give stuff like that out to fans for the asking!!

  6. I want to start covering Dream Theater/[insert side project here] songs with my band when we play clubs – do I have to get permission to do so? faq id: 46
    As long as they aren’t recorded for some sort of release, you wouldn’t have to get permission.

  7. Has Mike ever been inspired to write music based around Twin Peaks? faq id: 49
    MP: No interest in doing it lyrically (Anthrax already did it with the Black Lodge). Musically, we kind of already have. “Eve” was definitely inspired by Angelo Badalamenti's score.

  8. Would Dream Theater/OSI ever consider letting the fans name the next album? faq id: 50
    MP: HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! That was funny! You guys can come in and write and record it for us as well if you'd like!!

  9. When recording long songs (such as When the Water Breaks), does Mike record the whole thing in one take? faq id: 51
    MP: It is always different for different songs. WTWB specifically, was recorded in 4 chunks. Especially because Liquid Tension Experiment would write in the studio and the whole process needed to move quickly, it made it easier to write for the day, record the day's progress and then continue on writing and tracking the next parts the next day. Also, that enabled me to really focus on my performance in 5 minute chunks as opposed to the whole 17.

  10. Would Mike consider doing a Radiohead cover with Dream Theater or OSI? faq id: 52
    MP: I LOVE Radiohead (one of my favorite bands), but I don't think the rest of Dream Theater like them enough to ever want to cover one of their songs. Funnily enough, I did have "Fake Plastic Trees" on the original set list for the Unplugged Fan Club show in Rotterdam (coincidentally before Marillion covered it), but the other Dream Theater guys blew it off and never got around to learning it! As far as OSI, sure stylistically it would fit, but a) Jim is not a Radiohead fan, and b) there are no future plans for OSI at this moment.

  11. What are Mike’s favorite songs to play? faq id: 53
    MP: Hmmm....looking back throughout my career..I'd have to say: Wait For Sleep The Silent Man Regression Through My Words Through Her Eyes State of Grace (Liquid Tension Experiment) Hourglass (Liquid Tension Experiment) Bridge Across Forever (TransAtlantic) [for those of you who may not have picked up on it, Mike's being sarcastic and joking around he doesn't play much, if at all on any of those tracks - ed.]

  12. What is Mike's opinion on MP3s circulating on the Internet? faq id: 73
    MP: I'm a big trading and bootleg fan and supporter, so I love trading stuff and bootlegs and MP3's. I'm a big fan of that so I'd be a hypocrite to not support it when it applies to my own music. The only problem I have with MP3s is when they hit the 'net, before a new album is released. It ruins the surprise for everybody. You know when you make an album, everybody looks forward to the release date. You want everybody to hear it at the same time and not ruin the surprise for everybody else or start spreading opinions it before anybody else had has a chance to form their own. That's the only thing that bothers me. It bothers me from an artistic point of view that people get their surprises ruined before the release date, but I don't think it bothers me on a commercial level. I don't think it affects sales for a band like our's. It was just I didn't want the surprise ruined before the album came out.

  13. Has Mike or would Mike ever take direction from the other guys in any of the bands he's involved with? faq id: 203
    MP: No. No matter what project I'm working on - Dream Theater, TransAtlantic, LTE - everybody pretty much stays out of the drum department, which is good for me. I'm a tough person to give direction to. But I tried to be with Kevin Moore when recording OSI. It was frustrating for me, but with the OSI thing, I wanted to try something different. If I was just going to do another project, like any of the other ones, then it's kinda pointless. I wanted it to be something that was different for me, so I was open to taking Kev's direction. He's really into working with loops, samples and effects and I have no experience in that department, so there were a bunch of songs where I just played it straight so he could manipulate the drums as he sees fit. And like I said in that diary, it was a tough adjustment for me to have someone telling me what to play. And it ruffled my feathers a bit, but in the end, it was good for me because it was something different.

  14. Why does Mike allow advance/promo copies of [insert latest album name] to be sent out if he doesn’t want the songs to be spread on the internet before the album is released? Doesn’t he realize that the MP3s are very easy to come by? faq id: 204
    MP: I don't release the promo CD's....I don't do the band's promotion (well, actually I do most of it but that's another story!!) our record company does....If it were up to me, they wouldn't be sending out any promo CD's because in this day and age of the net and MP3's it is impossible to control. But most magazines write their reviews and articles *months* in advance and therefore need the product that early as well....(that is why the label still won’t have the CD on the shelves until [later]..the time between the completion and the release is called "set-up time"). I have discussed in detail with the label and our management about being very selective over who receives promo copies this soon in advance because of the danger of MP3's spreading, and they are doing their best....but all it takes is *1* bad apple and then it spreads like wildfire....

  15. How does Mike come up with his drum parts for a new song? faq id: 265
    MP: Whenever I hear a new piece of music that I'm trying to come up with parts for, I try to become a certain drummer. I'll hear a piece of music and immediately think of somebody and how they might approach it. I could pinpoint places in just about every song we've done where I've played parts that were directly inspired by other drummers. When I'm creating drum parts, I'm trying to come up with interesting patterns, things that hopefully haven't been played before. I'm not thinking about the technique when I'm coming up with parts; I'm thinking in terms of the composition and creating something that will fit and maybe expand on a composition. And then I'll stretch it further by overlapping time signatures or changing the meter.

  16. As Mike continues to play songs over and over, do his drum parts evolve so that they are different from what was on the album? faq id: 266
    MP: From the beginning of the tour until the end, when you play the same thing every night, you inevitably want to mess with it and change it. With the LTE stuff and the "spontaneous" writing style for DT, the drum parts were recorded so immediately that there wasn't that whole process of developing patterns, riffs, fills and stuff, so more than on the older albums, there's been room for improvisation.

  17. Does Mike ever anticipate how well an album (that he is involved in) will sell? faq id: 299
    MP: I don't put expectations on anything I do really, I just do what I do. After I do it it's out of my hands. Even with Dream Theater record sales I don't expect anything or even care, I don't even look at the sales, you know. That stuff to me is nice for the record company, but for me it's more about the music and the creative process.