DREAM THEATER vocalist James LaBrie recently appeared on the "Hyde Archives" program on the St. Albans, West Virginia radio station Rock 105. The full conversation can be streamed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On the group's longevity:
James: "We've had a great ride, and we're still going strong. We've been fortunate enough to be doing this for as long as we have, and we're still going out there and totally giving it [all] every night. It's been amazing."
On the group's seminal 1999 concept album, "Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes From A Memory":
James: "It was our first conceptual album. It was a natural progression for somebody who liked DREAM THEATER [for us] to want to put it out there as a conceptual piece. We were pretty psyched. We were very, very excited. We had been talking about it for some time, and finally, the opportunity presented itself. We'd come off 'Falling Into Infinity' and done that world tour and gone through some personnel changes at the label and management. We were going through some serious transformations and transitions as far as the people that are on the periphery. Going into the studio, we had gone through a lot emotionally, and I think was the gasoline on the fire for us to say to the label, 'You need to let us do this album. You need to leave us alone. We're going to go in the studio, and you're going to hear it when it's done.' Fortunately for us, they were all in agreement. Going in, we pretty much knew what where we wanted to go with it as far as the lyrical conception — reincarnation and all that — and musically, it was the first album that we did with [keyboardist] Jordan Rudess. We were pretty psyched with that, and what better man to have coming to that kind of a piece that is that kind of a musician. It was just a perfect fit. We could tell as we were in [the studio] writing and recording it that we were onto something that we thought was really going to resonate with our fans, and it still does today. Doing it live, it's pretty amazing to see the reaction to it. It's almost like a throwback right into that moment again 20 years ago."
On the group's 2016 double album, "The Astonishing":
James: "Let's be honest — it kind of divided our fans. They either loved it, or were trying to sink their teeth into it and not succeeding. We knew while we were out on the 'Astonishing' tour that we kind of said, 'You know what? We need to really get back to our roots. We need to create a more aggressive album. Just kind of let it happen. Spontaneity needs to be our friend.' I think the piece that really brought that together was deciding that we were going to go live together in this house, and the studio was only 300 feet away from the house. We shacked up and kept our focus on the music and were able to hang out with one another, so ultimately, the conversations led back to the music. I think it really fed and created the kind of album that 'Distance Over Time' became."
On writing lyrics:
James: "When we're writing the melodies, I'll hear a melody and all of a sudden, words will come into my head. With 'Out Of Reach', that's where it happened — I just started singing these words in my head and said, 'Whoa, hang on a second — I think I've got something for this. I'm going to take this lyric'... It's either something that comes to me immediately, or I just feel a connection to it."
On whether he plans to record another solo album:
James: "Matt [Guillory] and I just started speaking. We thought over a year and a half ago [that] we were going to start writing material for the follow-up to [2013's] 'Impermanent Resonance'. Matt's a very busy guy — he lives out in California [and] I'm up in Canada, and the schedules just didn't dictate us getting together and starting to put the material together. But we did speak a few weeks ago, so we're hoping that we can start to finally put some music together. Hopefully there will be something, maybe, I'm thinking late 2020."
DREAM THEATER continues to tour in support of its latest album, "Distance Over Time", which was released on February 22 via InsideOut. The record was produced by guitarist John Petrucci, mixed by Ben Grosse and mastered by Tom Baker.
During the tour, the group is celebrating the 20 th anniversary of "Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes From A Memory" by performing the album in its entirety for the first times since 2000.
LaBrie's latest solo album, "Impermanent Resonance", was released in August 2013 via InsideOut Music. The follow-up to 2010's "Static Impulse", was once again conceived with LaBrie's songwriting partner for nearly two decades, Matt Guillory. Guillory not only took the leading role in composing the material, he also handled all of the keyboards and background vocals. The album's lineup was intact from the previous recording, featuring Marco Sfogli from Italy on guitar, Ray Riendeau (HALFORD, MACHINES OF LOVING GRACE) on bass and Swedish drummer Peter Wildoer (DARKANE, MAJESTIC), who was a finalist in the DREAM THEATER drum auditions. Additionally, former SOILWORK guitarist Peter Wichers came into the fold to contribute songwriting and studio guitars.