- What did Dream Theater plan on doing differently when writing and recording Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence? faq id: 214
MP: This time around, from a production standpoint, we wanted to give each song it's own sonic personality. (With Scenes From a Memory we couldn't do too much of that, because we wanted to keep the approach consistent). We did actually do alot of that with the recording and production of Falling Into Infinity (although I've expressed some disappointment with some of the compromises we had to make from a compositional standpoint, I actually loved the way we *recorded* that album). Alot of different instrumentation, weird recording and processing, multiple overdubs, sonic experimentation, etc. which is also what we did with this one.
- What did Dream Theater use for inspiration during the writing and recording of Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence? faq id: 215
MP: The stuff I brought in: Metallica - Master Of Puppets, Tool - Aenima, Radiohead - OK Computer, Radiohead - bootleg (don't remember the name), Pantera - Far Beyond Driven, U2 - Actung Baby, Nine Inch Nails - The Downward Spiral, Soundgarden - Superunknown, Alice In Chains - Dirt, Kevin Gilbert - Thud, King's X - Faith Hope Love, Galactic Cowboys - Space In Your Face (the King's X and Galactic Cowboys CDs were only to play the 8 string bass sounds to JM). John Petrucci brought in some Bartok, Rage Against The Machine - Battle for Los Angeles and Maria Tipo - Chopin Nocturnes.
- What was the original title for The Great Debate? What was the original title of Disappear? faq id: 216
Answer: Conflict at Ground Zero - the title was changed after 9/11 due to the fact that the World Trade Center site is now refered to as ground zero, and the song has nothing to do with that incident whatsoever (it actually is about stem cell research). As viewed on the Elektra "in studio" preview clips, Disappear was originally known as Move On.
- How does Mike feel about the title track to Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence being indexed by part? faq id: 217
MP: I was a bit torn over whether or not we should give the song different ID's on the CD, because I wanted it to be perceived as 1 song. Ultimately I decided to index it because after a few listens, the novelty of seeing the CD timer reach 42:00 would wear off and it would become very annoying to have to scroll through the whole song to find a particular section.
- Were there any extra tracks left over from the recording sessions of Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence? faq id: 218
MP: No, if there were any tracks left we could have fit them on because there was still room left over. Basically what you are hearing is what you get and we did not even mean for this record to be a double CD. All along it was supposed to be a single CD and then when we got to write the title track it ended up being so long that we had no choice but to make it a double CD.
- Was writing a 40-minute song an attempt to top Scenes From a Memory? What was the premise behind the title track to Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence? faq id: 316
MP: No, it wasn't intentional. When we started writing the sixth song, we already had 55 minutes of music done. I knew in my mind, and even suggested to the others "let's make another ACoS-type song." And I remember John Petrucci saying "OK, but let's not go past 20 minutes." We figured it would be a single CD set of 75 minutes and that would have been it. As we do with all of our songs it just grows and grows and the next thing we know we are 40 minutes into the song. Before we knew it we had this giant piece of music, which I kind of view as a mini-concept record, a mini Scenes From A Memory. We knew once we had that we needed to come up with a concept that would tie it all together, so John and I came up with this idea of creating six different characters and each of us would write about three of them. So I wrote about three and John wrote about three. Basically, it's almost like a tour through an insane asylum where people are dealing with mental anguish, manic depression, and issues like that. So we created six different characters and tried to look at their different stories and differences in their lives, but yet the common thread that binds them all together.
- What was the order that the songs for Six Degrees were written in? faq id: 317
Answer: The Glass Prison, Misunderstood, The Great Debate, Disappear, Blind Faith, Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence.
- What would the track listing have been if Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence would have had to have been a single disk release? faq id: 318
MP: That's a question I didn't want to have to come up with an answer for when we finished the record, and luckily we were able to sidestep having to come up with a solution. I did lay awake a few nights pondering that thought, and the problem was that we had 95 minutes of music. I think off the top of my head that Blind Faith or Disappear would have been the first to go. But either of them by themselves would still not be enough to bring the album down to 80 minutes, so we would have been stuck in the position of having to cut *two* songs if Six Degrees wasn't one of them. It would have been a horrible puzzle to try to figure out, and I'm glad that I didn't have to come up with a solution to that one.
- Will there be a "sequel" to the Glass Prison that covers the remaining steps of recovery (as Alcoholics Anonymous teaches)? faq id: 319
MP: It's something that would be a nice little project for me to try to tackle in the coming years. It would also probably be a very good thing for my recovery. So yeah it's something I'm thinking about.
- What ever became of the Master classes that Dream Theater took with some World Music musicians before going in to record Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence? How much of that influenced Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence? faq id: 351
MP: With regards to the Master classes, we were on the 2000 tour in Europe and Jordan, John Petrucci and I were on a plane discussing plans to make the album some sort of World Music album, but still keeping it Dream Theater - keeping it heavy and progressive. What we were going to do was that each song would represent the style or flavor of a different country. And we would incorporate these different styles or sounds, keys, modes, scales or rhythms and try to do different things in a World Music sort of progressive metal way. That was before John Petrucci and I saw Pantera, and threw that whole idea out the window! We did take a couple of those Master classes and learned some different, weird African rhythms and it was interesting. But the things that they were teaching us, about poly-rhythms and counterpoint writings and stuff - these were things that we were already utilizing. So when it came time to try to apply these lessons to what we do, it just turned out that doing what we do is what we do best. And then the biggest irony is that when John and I were out on the G3 tour in 2001, Steve Vai's "Alive in an Ultra World" comes out and the concept behind that album is exactly what we were going to do! So it worked out good that we ended up abandoning that idea.
- How much material has ended up on the cutting room floor during the sessions for Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence? faq id: 352
MP: One example that comes to mind would be The Glass Prison, which originally ended with a drum solo. We ended up cutting it during the mastering stage. Originally, at the very end, right after the vocal line that says: "the door was wide open" - it went into a 20 second drum solo, and then the band came back in to play the final riff one last time. So actually every version of The Glass Prison that was used in the studio always had it, even Kevin Shirley's original mixes had it. It wasn't until mastering that we chopped it off and took it out.I had it taken out because it just sounded so arbitrary to me once the lyrics were added. As you know, we write all the music instrumentally before writing the lyrics. So when The Glass Prison was in instrumental form, the drum solo seemed cool there. But once the lyrics were written, it seemed out of place. It seemed so much more powerful to just end with a downbeat right after that last vocal phrase.
- How did the label feel about it being a two CD set and the songs being so long? faq id: 353
MP: They really do not care about the length of the songs. They have given us enough freedom by now that we do whatever we want and they are happy with the end results in terms of sales. The sales keep them happy and the creative freedom that they give us keeps us happy. It finally has become a nice working situation.
- After Scenes From a Memory, was there any pressure on Dream Theater with regards to how they were going to follow it up? faq id: 354
MP: There was a bit of that pressure. Everybody kept saying, "How are you going to top Scenes...?", "How are you going to do it" and "What can you do next?" I agree with you in a way because I think that Scenes... was a real pinnacle for us creatively. There was a little bit of that question mark of what do we do next. We knew that we did not want to do another concept record, so we knew we were going to be writing individual songs again. This is something we had not done since Jordan came into the band, so that was something that we were looking forward to. We just went into the studio and did what we do. We do the best we can and keep the music as diverse and interesting as possible, as well as experimental. Ultimately, I guess we took things to extreme places. The songs are very long, even by our standards. So I guess that is how you top Scenes... with a double CD with a 42 minute title track.
- What is the Glass Prison about? faq id: 355
MP: It's about battling addiction and recovery and those were some things that I have dealt with in my personal life over the past few years. All three of the movements are written directly about the first three steps in twelve step recovery of Alcoholics Anonymous. So the first step in the first section of the song is admitting being powerless, the second step is needing the help of others, came to believe a power greater than ourselves to restore sanity. The third section is being willing to turn your life over to a higher power and handing over your will. So the three sections are directly out of the first three steps in AA.
- What was Dream Theater thinking about when they wrote the music to The Glass Prison? faq id: 356
MP: We wrote this song in three separate movements, which was something I suggested, and "Holy Wars...The Punishment Due" by Megadeth and also "Mouth For War" by Pantera inspired it. I played both of them for the band as an example of how they were kind of written in three separate movements and I wanted to try something like that. I also wanted to keep it completely balls to the wall heavy from start to finish. We have always had very heavy sections in our music, but usually they go off on these tangents. This was the first time that we actually concentrated on heaviness from start to finish without really ever letting up.
- Is it true that Mike and John Petrucci went to see Pantera the night before the first session, and that's what inspired them to write The Glass Prison? faq id: 357
MP: It's true. When we go into the studio, we never know where it's gonna go. It can be something as simple as hearing a Radiohead song on the way to the studio that can spark the direction of that day's work. The Pantera show inspired us to start off heavy, but we've always had that heavy element in our music.
- What is Mike's favorite part of the song Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence? faq id: 358
MP: I'm a sucker for balls and chunk, so probably War Inside My Head & The Test That Stumped Them All. But I LOOOOVE the Grand Finale as well.
- How did Dream Theater go about writing the title track to Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence? faq id: 359
MP: We wrote the whole piece as one 40 minute song. We wrote the overture first and from there we took the themes in the overture that we liked and knew we wanted to expand into full sections we would then develop them into full sections and then once we looked at the entire 40 minute thing after it was finished we divided up the sections and John and I split up the sections into six different characters and each of us write about three. Basically I wrote about three and he wrote about three and they're six different people all from very different backgrounds and walks of life, all dealing with the common thread of trying to cope with mental imbalances and things like that.
- How did Mike approach the drums for the Overture from to Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence? faq id: 375
MP: We approached the Overture as if we were scoring a movie or writing a piece of classical music. For us as a band, it was a whole new way of writing and recording. Jordan's presence is felt most on the title track because he was the instigator and motivator for most of those sections. We wrote the sections around his keyboard parts since his parts were recorded first. My drumming approach for that was not that of a rock drummer, but rather more like that of an orchestral player. I wanted to avoid playing drumset grooves and focus more on the classical orchestration by doing things like multiple marching snare drum overdubs and bass drum and tom patterns with orchestra cymbals. Once we recorded the Overture, that laid the groundwork for the rest of the piece.
- Are "About To Crash" and "About To Crash (Reprise)" basically about the same character? faq id: 376
- Why is War Inside My Head so short? faq id: 377
MP: It's just the way it came out. We kind of wrote that together with The Test That Stumped Them All, so we wrote those back-to-back. They weren't supposed to be broken up in to specific lengths time wise; they're all just sections of the big piece. We weren't even conscious of the lengths of the individual sections. We were just writing with a vision of the big picture.
- Who's voices can be heard at the beginning of Goodnight Kiss? faq id: 378
MP: The children playing are Melody and Max Portnoy, and the goodnight kiss is Marlene and Melody Portnoy!