The Groove: Dream Theater's John Petrucci '86

Lisa Occhino
December 2, 2011
Dream Theater
John Petrucci, live at the Orpheum in Boston.
John Myung
Jordan Rudess, Mike Mangini, and James LaBrie
James LaBrie and John Petrucci
Photo provided by Roadrunner Records
Photo by Lisa Occhino
Photo by Lisa Occhino
Photo by Lisa Occhino
Photo by Lisa Occhino

Nearly three decades after legendary progressive metal band Dream Theater originally formed at Berklee, the band has just released their eleventh studio album, A Dramatic Turn of Events, and is currently on a world tour. This record is the first the band has released since drummer Mike Portnoy announced his departure. Through an audition process, he has been replaced with former Berklee professor Mike Mangini.

Dream Theater's concert at the Orpheum Theatre in Boston a few weeks ago was the best concert I have ever seen, and probably will ever see, as far as musicianship, band cohesiveness, on-stage energy, and pure quality are concerned. It should be a requirement for all aspiring musicians to see this band perform live at least once in their lives—but hey, that's just my opinion.

I could go on and on telling you about Dream Theater, but since I got the amazing opportunity to sit down with John Petrucci—yes, the man himself—backstage before the show, I figure I'll let him tell you about his band instead.

Berklee Groove: What was your time at Berklee like, and how do you feel it affected your career as a musician?

John Petrucci: In the town that I grew up in, there were a lot of kids who played instruments—every corner, every garage, there was always someone playing, so I got used to that. But going to Berklee was like that times ten. . . . I really felt like I was where I belonged. Me and John Myung went there straight out of high school, and we were just so into our craft and practicing all the time. People kind of look at you strange, but at Berklee everyone's the same way so you feel like you really belong—it's incredible. . . .

Read more from Dream Theater guitarist John Petrucci.