Where do I even start with this. DREAM THEATER are basically the reason that OzProg exists. Brad & Salty started this thing originally as a petition to get DT out to Australia, before it morphed into the online community and news site it has become today.
Personally, I’ve been a massive Jordan Rudess fan for years, so it was a real joy to get to chat with him ahead of their first Australian tour in 6 years.
For those new to the Dream Theater game – watch their video for ‘Looking Glass’ from the new self-titled album. Upbeat and with that classic prog vibe, it’s a good entry point for what the band are up to now – likewise, this awesome piece of work from ‘A Dramatic Turn Of Events’ shows they haven’t lost their poignant, dark edge.
There’s also this old school keyboard solo, just for fun.
Hi Jordan, it’s an honour to speak with you
Well thank you, it’s good to speak to you as well!
Firstly, just passing on a big hello from Salty, he says he’s looking forward to catching up with you
Oh great! Thank you.
So it’s been six years since the last Dream Theater Australian tour, there’s been a couple of albums since then and you’re doing ‘evening with…’ shows this time. What we can expect in the set list?
Well I’m very pleased to say we’ll be bringing to Australia the set we’ve been performing around world – I think it’s truly the best ‘evening with Dream Theater’ shows ever – in terms of the music, it’s the best set of visuals, the best lighting we’ve ever done. It’s exciting to bring to Australia – you know we’ll be continuing along the world tour we’ve been doing, so for those who’ve followed online we’re bringing that tour.
I remember reading a while ago that you said taking epic long walks was your form of keeping fit whilst on the road – do you still do that & what other warmups might you do?
I do love to walk around different cities, I’ll just put my bags down and I’ll go out the door and vibe the town and experience what I can in the small amount of time I have. In terms of practicing I often have a keyboard back in the dressing room do basic warmups, but nothing too intense, we’re doing 2 to 3 hour shows!
So what about off tour?
Off tour – that’s a good question – the last tour we did before this break I was thinking I’ll keep practicing back home and after 2 months I’ll be fresh, ready to go. Well, I didn’t do anything until till close to leaving for the tour. I pretty much remembered everything – I made one stupid mistake, which I corrected immediately the next night. Ideally we’d be rehearsing once a week, but the reality is there’s so much to d o – we have fmailie pother things play catchup be more a family person im doing a lot of other tings and then hopefully then get movitated before have to leave
So you’ve toured the world with Dream Theater, sold millions of albums – what ambitions do you have left at this stage in your career?
Every album we try to do something a bit different and certainly the next one – the thing about Dream Theater is about keeping it challenging and fresh. The music we’re playing is far from rote – it keeps you on your toes, keeps you sharp – even though we’ve been all around the world, from a musical point of view it’s never boring. We’re always concerned with being technically proficient and musically expressive. Career-wise we try to keep this wonderful ride we’ve had for a long time, keep that ride going, but growing too. It’s reflected in the effort we put into shows, the way we present ourselves – what is our presentation, what elements are there – who is coming along with lighting, visuals, crew – it’s something we all care so much about – it doesn’t get boring.
What are you listening to at the moment?
I listen to so many different kind of groups! As far as Dream Theater fans might know – I love a band called Haken. They just sent me a pre-release of their new EP and it’s pretty much blown my toes off – it’s so great! What I love about them is not only that they’re really nice guys, but I’m also a big prog rock guy and they lean toward that element with Gentle Giant and Jethro Tull influences and I really appreciate that.
Beyond prog, I listen to lots of electronics – I love the Squarepusher new album – it really makes you think. I also like spacey newer rock, like Sigur Ros. I’m a big fan of Stephen Wilson, he’s a big friend of mine. Beside that I often go back to the standard stuff I grew up with: Yes, Genesis, all that.
OK I’m aware we don’t have a heap of time, but something we do is include a bunch of fan questions, some of these are great, some are silly…
OK, no problem.
Would you ever consider a collaboration with Adrian Belew?
For sure I’d consider it – we toured with him with Crimson Projekct. If time allowed I’d definitely consider it.
Did you cut your hair because Tupac cut his hair?
Tupac? Oh absolutely that’s exactly why!
Any work planned with Marco Minneman?
Oh I’m sure our paths will cross, we did the Levin/Minneman/Rudess project and I’d like to do it again. When I think about the future he is absolutely at the top of my list of people to work with.
Is there any unreleased material from your work with Rod Morgenstein?
Rod Morgenstein – the sad answer is yes, there is stuff we did but never released, absolutely great stuff. But life is so busy not only with Dream Theater but with my Wiz Music app company making stuff for Android and Microsoft, there’s just not enough hours in the day. I hope one day I get a chance to finish that material.
Thanks again Jordan – it’s been great to speak with you and we look forward to seeing you here soon!
DREAM THEATER tour Australia in October
MELBOURNE Palais Theatre
SYDNEY Big Top