- Did TransAtlantic ever play “In Held (‘Twas) In I” in concert? faq id: 123
MP: Like myself, Roine was a fan of the song and was totally into covering it. Both Neal and Pete had never heard the original before. I had chosen to not do it live because we had already “been there, done that”...and I wanted to try some different covers live (Firth of Fifth, Strawberry Fields, Shine On, etc.)
- Why did Mike pick Roine and Pete to be a part of TransAtlantic? faq id: 124
MP: My original choice for a guitarist was Jim Matheos as both he and Neal Morse were very talented writers and visionaries (and friends of mine) that I always wanted to collaborate with. When Jim backed out, Neal suggested Roine and I agreed he was a good choice as he was a very prolific writer and visionary of his band, so it made sense for the TA formula. Pete wasn’t the leader or writer from his band, so he kinda was a little bit of a different role from what the rest of our positions were, but I always really admired his playing and felt he was underrated and underused in Marillion whom I was always a very big fan of.
- Was the song Mystery Train inspired from the Jim Jarmusch movie of the same name? faq id: 125
MP: Funny you ask that....I am a HUGE Jim Jarmusch fan and have seen the movie Mystery Train many times. However, Neal brought in those lyrics and when I pointed out it was the name of a movie I was into he had never heard of it.
- Did TransAtlantic tune down when playing live? If so, why? faq id: 127
MP: At the request of Neal (for his voice), we tune down a half step live (to an E flat). In other words, the guys aren't transposing the keys...they are merely tuned down. Neal also did this with Spock's Beard.
- Why does Mike prefer Bridge Across Forever more than SMPTe? faq id: 437
MP: Let me start by saying that I absolutely love the first album as well. But my personal feelings with what makes BAF even better is that it was even more of a collaborative effort. The first one was too, but basically we got together and shaped the TransAtlantic versions of songs around the individual demos [supplied by Neal and Roine]. Meaning we would take the existing song, change a part here, add a part there, but basically we wre using their demos as the blue print to work off of. With BAF, there were still demos being passed around. But rather than just reshaping those songs, we actually ended up taking Neal's demos and songs and we would take bits of Roine's demos and songs and combine that together. We basically were taking everybody's individual ideas and making one huge, giant picture. I think everbody's ideas are more represented in a kind of band context. And even the vocals were split up a little more, which was important for us, because we didn't want it to sound like a Spock's Beard or a Flower Kings record. In terms of composition, I think the bits and pieces really came together to make some real magical pieces of music.
- Why do Stranger In Your Soul and Duel With the Devil start off the same way (although in a different key)? faq id: 438
MP: That was a conscious decision that I actually suggested at the start of the session - to try to have different pieces that cross over from song to song throughout the album. And it's something that I suggested with Dream Theater too on previous albums. We did it with Awake and obviously Scenes From a Memory. You constantly have all these parts that are jumping from song to song to give the whole thing one giant coherent flow from start to finish. It almost feels like a concept album. It's not lyrically at all, but musically you have a lot of that kind of feel. And I thought that was an important thing, because from song to song, you have so many themes and ideas and you develop them and bring them back and rephrase them. There is no reason why you can't do that across the big spectrum of an entire album.
- How did Pete end up having a lead vocal on Stranger In Your Soul - did he want to do it or was he forced into it? faq id: 439
MP: Actually I think we had to push him into it! That section of Stranger In Your Soul, which is almost the same as the closing section of Suite Charlotte Pike, stems from an idea that Pete brought in on a demo. So when we worked it into Stranger In Your Soul, it was natural that he would try to sing it. And then ultimately I think it ended up working, but we actually have two versions. We also have a version where Neal sings those parts. When doing the mix, we decided to have Pete sing it the first two times and Neal singing it at the very end. And even though Neal has the stronger voice, which is why we kept his at the end, there is a certain innocence and texture that Pete's voice kind of adds to that sectoin and we thought it was a nice change of scenery with the voices swapping back and forth.
- How did the Beatle medley version of Suite Charlotte Pike (played on the late-2001 tour) develop? faq id: 440
MP: Suite Charlotte Pike is kind of an ode to side two of Abbey Road. So that whole song was already very Beatlesque, so when it came time to do the tour, I wanted to throw a Beatles cover into the set as we always have and I thought what better thing to do than the entire side two of Abbey Road, and then I thought it would be clever to kind of intertwine it throughout Suite Charlotte Pike, so it's constantly jumping back and forth between the two.
- What is this TransAtlantic "Bridge Across Europe Tour 2001" CD I've heard about? Is it a legitimate CD? What are it's contents? faq id: 441
Answer: This is a legitimate promotional CD that was a collaboration between The Flower Kings Fan Club and Inside Out Records to celebrate the European tour. The CD was limited to only 3000 copies, distributed at only three shows - Holland, Belgium and Germany. It features the following tracks: an edit of Duel With the Devil (TransAtlantic), Learning to Live (live - Dream Theater), Road to Sanctuary (The Flower Kings) and At the End of the Day (Spock's Beard).
- What are Mike's feelings with regards to Neal Morse quitting Spock's Beard and TransAtlantic? faq id: 442
MP: As a friend - I am trying to be as understanding and supportive as I can be...As a (part time) band member - I am just honored and privileged to have had the opportunity to work with him as I consider him a musical genius...and as a fan - I am sad and disappointed at the loss of one of my favorite songwriters. It surely is shocking and it also spells the end of TransAtlantic as I wouldn't possibly consider continuing it without him.