Dream Theater, a band known for 10-minute polythematic epics, wanted to avoid being too formulaic with the arrangements on its latest CD, Black Clouds & Silver Linings.

Dream Theater, a band known for 10-minute polythematic epics, wanted to avoid being too formulaic with the arrangements on its latest CD, Black Clouds & Silver Linings.

The Beat knows this because guitarist extraordinaire John Petrucci told us so.

While initially we were incredulous, his explanation began to clarify his contention.

"One of the things we find makes this band unique is that our albums all have different styles - concept albums, more heavy records, more progressive records," Petrucci said. "This time we felt like we needed to work hard to have arrangements that would be not what you expect."

A second pass through the CD further clarified matters, starting with the opening track, A Nightmare to Remember, which doesn't so much dip and turn or get all experimental as merely adjust expectations by moving thematically at times or in directions that make the listener take extra notice.

Petrucci figures the effort required is worth it.

"Writing music and being creative is really personal," he said, adding that this personal experience is also exactly what draws others in.

"With fans, it's all about the music."

Fans intersect with the music in a different way in concert, Petrucci explained, because of the physical connection that exists.

"Performance is still personal, because you're sharing, but you're also looking people in the eye," he said. "It's more physical. It's like a sporting event the way I look at it."

The band's current tour finds DT opening for Iron Maiden in stadiums and arenas, which Petrucci said "has been really cool, getting to play in some larger venues."

The downside is, given the band's 25-year history and 10 studio records, only getting to play one song from Black Clouds & Silver Linings.

So the bands booked a few headline dates when the Iron Maiden tour had consecutive off-nights such is Friday's Columbus show.

"This record's debut was our highest Billboard chart position ever," Petrucci said. "That's pretty cool for a band that's been around for 25 years."

"Since we started playing these songs live, they've been getting a great positive reaction," he said.


For more from The Beat's interview with John Petrucci, read the BeatBlog.