DREAM THEATER keyboardist Jordan Rudess was recently interviewed by Australia's The Rockpit. An excerpt from the chat follows below.
The Rockpit: At what point did you start discovering rock music?
Jordan: "Well, when I was really little and really focusing on classical, I also was aware of things like THE BEATLES and had a bunch of the old 45 records. I didn't have a chance to really dive into that and get seriously into it; I was just into the fringe of the whole thing. But as I got older into being a teenager, then I had friends who would turn me on to some stuff they thought I would love, which I did, like GENESIS, YES and GENTLE GIANT, EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER, and those things had a huge influence. The thing that really led me astray from the classical way was listening to EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER's 'Tarkus' album; that was a huge influence in my life. I loved that album — I thought it was amazing — and it kind of made me think there was something more beyond classical that I wanted to really know about."
The Rockpit: When you look back at the stuff you were listening to at that time and when you listen to what you are doing now, do you see the connection between all that stuff?
Jordan: "Yeah, there's a grand connection to the whole thing, from my classical playing to all the styles that I discovered along the way from THE BEATLES to learning a little bit of the boogie woogie and playing the blues. What's really cool is the kind of music that I make, even with DREAM THEATER, is a fusion of styles in itself. So all the different things that I play, whether it was Bach, Mozart, Gershwin or whatever, they all can kind of come into play in the grand mix of things, which I think is part of what makes what we do interesting."
The Rockpit: In the classical world, whom do you consider to be your most favorite or most influential? I mean, Bach seems to be a natural choice, I suppose, but is there a particular player or composer that maybe shaped the way you play or your style?
Jordan: "Well, because the classical repertoire is so deep, it's hard for me to pick one. There's certain ones in different periods of time that were most influential, like Bach, of course — he stands out in my mind because the kind of music or the counterpoint and the focus that's there is very unique, and I love going back to that and playing Bach. But going to the more romantic side, I was always a big Chopin lover. Just the way that Chopin approached the piano, he really understood the piano and how it would resonate and wrote all this beautiful piano music. And then the more romantic ones that came a little later, like Rachmaninov, and certainly getting back to Gershwin, so there are stand outs within those hundreds of years for sure."
Read the entire interview at The Rockpit.
This fall, Rudess will embark on a three-continent solo piano tour, "From Bach To Rock", featuring the music of DREAM THEATER reimagined for the piano. The trek will begin on November 12 with performances in Japan, Taibei and Singapore, followed by seven shows in Australia and New Zealand and five shows in Argentina, Chile and Brazil. Many of the venues are offering VIP packages which will provide fans with an intimate experience with Rudess at the piano.