Between A Rock And A Prog Place: DREAM THEATER’s JORDAN RUDESS - “I’m Looking Forward To Being Able To Smoothly Go On Tour…”
October 4, 2021, 3 weeks ago
What truly is progressive music? Each month BraveWords will aim to dissect that answer with a thorough overview of the current musical climate that is the prog world. Old and new, borrowed and blue. A musical community without borders. So watch for a steady and spaced-out array of features, current news and a buyer’s guide checklist to enhance the forward-thinking musical mind. So, welcome to BraveWords' monthly column appropriately titled, Between A Rock In A Prog Place.
In this month’s column, Dream Theater’s Jordan Rudess discusses the band’s new album, staying busy during the pandemic, and future plans.
How challenging was it writing and recording A View from the Top of the World during the pandemic?
“The hardest part was coordinating everyone and getting the plan together so all would feel safe at this crazy time! Once we got our plan together and got to the studio, the hard work could begin with some semblance of normality. We recorded at our own HQ and that really helped the process. No hard deadlines is always great and just to have the comfort of our own facility really helped the process.”
What is the meaning behind the album title?
“Album title (and the title track song) refers to a kind of headspace that people have who take extreme risks for the rush and excitement. Like people who jump out of helicopters with skis on! Going beyond the norm to achieve those levels of thrill and perspective that most don’t experience.”
What else did you do during the pandemic to stay busy and productive?
“I recorded two other albums and started a Patreon! LTE 3 was recorded after a 22 year break! I also recorded my own solo album entitled A Chapter in Time. It’s like a musical diary of this chapter in our history. During the initial lockdown I would express myself by going into the studio and recording almost every day. Basically allowing my feeling to come out through my music. I had no particular goal or album creation in mind. It was more just a healing thing for me to do personally. After a while I realized that much of what I had created could be shared with everyone else as an album. I released it on the Bandcamp platform exclusively for now. As far as Patreon is concerned. I started that up after doing 50 livestreams for free in a row. I felt strongly that I needed to find a platform that allowed people to give back to the artist and so my Patreon was born. It's one of the coolest things I’ve done. As somebody who is passionate about social media, improvisation, education and communication now allows me to have this wonderful inner circle and have a great time while making it possible to get support from the fans!”
What are your thoughts concerning artists - including Dream Theater - either launching tours or about to launch tours at this stage of the pandemic? [Note: This question was answered shortly before Dream Theater postponed their 2021 tour dates until 2022]
“Well, obviously a very difficult time. Every situation is different. Every band, every country and every artist. The decisions that have to be made are tough. We have never had anything like this happen during our lifetime. I’m looking forward to being able to smoothly go on tour and not have to have this level of concern…”
Any other future plans or projects?
“I’m getting ready to drop my own NFT next month on our own platform called Nifty Underground that my team has been developing. First artist on the platform will be me but shortly after the plan is to open it up to artists around the world. In creating this I’m personally able to explore other sides of my creativity which include visual elements as well as audio. I believe there is a strong future in the NFT world and I’m super excited to be part of this new movement. I’m also working on some new music apps which will be released in late 2021 and 2022.”
Between A Rock And A Prog Place News Blast
A documentary (rockumentary?) about Canadian prog metal greats, Triumph – entitled Triumph: Rock & Roll Machine – was premiered last month at the Toronto International Film Festival. The film was produced by Banger Films, and features vintage footage, new interviews with the band members, as well as such renowned fans as Sebastian Bach and John 5. A trailer for the doc can be viewed below. Queensrÿche vocalist Todd La Torre has issued a new video from his solo album Rejoice In The Suffering, entitled Vexed – which you can see right here.
Earlier this year, symphonic metallists Epica offered a worldwide streaming event, Ωmega Alive. And on December 3, the band will issue it on various formats. Pre-orders are already available, and you can also enjoy a video of the song ‘Unchain Utopia’. And if that isn’t enough ‘Epica’ for you…you can now enjoy (as long as you’re of legal age) a sip of Epica Beer!
Italian modern symphonic power metallists Temperance have issued the first single/video from their new studio album, Diamanti – entitled “Pure Life Unfolds” . Diamanti will be released on November 19th, and can be pre-ordered. Virginia proggers Shumaun issued their third album, Memories & Intuition, last month. Described as “for fans of Rush, Dream Theater, and Porcupine Tree,” you can sample bits of the entire album...and decide for yourself if the description was fitting.
Symphonic melodic death metallists Aephanemer have unleashed a new video, ‘Panta Rhei’, which is a preview of their new album, A Dream of Wilderness, which drops on November 19th. Although Finnish folk metallists Korpiklaani issued their latest album, Jylhä back in February, they have just recently issued a video for an outtake from those recording sessions – of the Joe Jackson tune (introduced to metalheads via Anthrax’s later cover), “Got The Time,” but now titled “Ennen” (which translated to English means ‘before’). You can enjoy the clip here.
Sweden’s Majestica have issued a video for their anthemic tune “Metal United,” which sees the band performing on a barge while floating a top water! And another Swedish prog group, the trio Vokonis, have released a new/stand-alone single, ‘Null & Void,’ which can be streamed. Prog legends YES – whose line-up now consists of Steve Howe, Alan White, Geoff Downes, Jon Davison, and Billy Sherwood – returned this month with their latest album, The Quest. The album’s latest single/video is “Dare To Know” (which was preceded by “The Ice Bridge”).
Tool have announced tour dates for both the U.S. and Europe for 2022. Blonde Redhead will open for Tool from January 10 to February 10, while The Acid Helps will open from February 19 to March 20. Australian progressive death metal thrashers Be’lakor have chosen October 29 as the date that their latest album, Coherence, will be made available for purchase. But you can pre-order/order it, or view the video for their track ’Foothold’.
Montreal, Canada's In Solastalgia, EitherWay is a visual/instrumental post-prog project led by a chap named Jean Philippe Hébert, whose debut EP, Morii, was recently issued. The EP’s title track can be sampled here. Ohio’s Untamed Land is described as “the world’s very first metal band incorporating the feral sounds of classic, old western cinematics.” You can be the judge of this after viewing their new video below for the track “Clothed In Smoke”, off their sophomore effort, Like Creatures Seeking Their Own Forms.
October New Albums
October 1, 2021:
Black Sabbath – Technical Ecstasy [expanded reissue]
Yes – The Quest
October 8, 2021:
In Solastalgia, EitherWay – Morii
Jeff Scott Soto – The Duets Collection: Vol. 1
The Syn [featuring Yes’ Chris Squire] – Flowerman: Rare Blooms from the Syn
Untamed Land – Like Creatures Seeking Their Own Forms
October 22, 2021:
Dream Theater – A View from the Top
October 29, 2021:
Be’Lakor – Coherence
Emerson Lake and Palmer – Out of This World: Live (1970-1997) [10-LP boxset]
Nektar – The Other Side (CD/DVD edition)
Pink Floyd – A Momentary Lapse of Reason: Remixed & Updated
Various Artists – Breakthrough: Underground Sounds of 1971 (4CD set with Yes, Electric Light Orchestra, Emerson Lake and Palmer, Jethro Tull, Thin Lizzy, + others)
Have an hour to kill and you’re in the mood for some prog clips recorded/filmed for the BBC back in the good old days? You’re in luck! Here’s near 60 minutes of vintage performances by the likes of Jethro Tull, Yes, ELP, Genesis, and King Crimson, among many others.