- Is the Josh Pincus named on I&W booklet for the WDADU Tour the same Josh Pincus singer and keyboardist of Ice Age? faq id: 47
MP: Yes...he used to be Kevin Moore's keyboard roadie.
- Did Kevin Moore ever sing live with Dream Theater? faq id: 48
- Where can I buy DT T-Shirts, Hats, and Posters? faq id: 86
Some merchandise can be found at The Official Dream Theater Store on DreamTheater.net.
You can also Search The Web and places like E-Bay. However, beware of false copies and shady people when you use an un-official source!
- What is Nightmare Cinema? faq id: 87
Nightmare Cinema was the alter ego of Dream Theater, where they would change instruments (Mike on bass, John P on drums, John M on keyboards, Derek on guitar, James on vocals) on stage and jam mostly on Deep Purple’s Perfect Strangers, though they have played a couple other covers too (see the tourography for specific gigs and songs played).
- Has Mike ever been extremely frustrated within Dream Theater or the music industry to the point of giving up? faq id: 88
MP: This band has been through MANY, MANY ups and downs through the past 15 years (most of which are behind the scenes and you wouldn't even notice) and it takes alot of perseverance to endure it all. The making of Falling Into Infinity in 1996 & 1997 was a very frustrating period for me because I felt alot of my “control” over the band and “vision” for the band slipping away. There were many “Powers that be” that were sticking their noses and opinions into our music and not leaving us alone with the creative side of things. There were also a few other people on the “inside” that were willing to go along with all of these suggestions which made my battle even more difficult because I didn't want to have any further internal conflicts. So at the end of the day, I rolled over and played the game as well in order to move on with our career. Go forward another year to 1998 and we are getting close to wrapping up the world tour for Falling Into Infinity and the record that we made *by the label's rules* failed to break any “new” ground for our careers...not to mention that we split ways (again!) with another management company and there were alot of ex-managers, ex-lawyers, ex-agents, etc. etc. that were making life very difficult for us. All of this added to the day to day frustrations of juggling the band and the families, and the relationships of both. I finally threw up my hands and had enough. I told the guys I had enough, wanted to leave and end the band. The guys persuaded me to stick it out for the tour and re-evaluate...which I did. The biggest factor in me staying, keeping the band together and continuing was that I/we had to completely regain control over the music and direction of the band or else it just was no longer worth the frustration.
- Has Mike (or Dream Theater in general) ever considered releasing any of their albums on DVD-A (DVD audio) format? faq id: 89
MP: I've seen them, but haven't checked one out yet. But they look TOTALLY up my alley! In cases like these, we do not control what we can and can't release...it is up to our label. Right now, I am grateful we were able to get the green light on the whole DVD project, so I'm not going to push our luck!! I do know that our label (Elektra) did a DVD-A for Metallica's Black album, so they are beginning to go into that technology (Metallica was also Elektra's first DVD), so there is the *possibility* we can persuade them to let us utilize the medium with our new CD.
- Why doesn’t Dream Theater get any airplay? faq id: 91
Dream Theater’s music is not as conventional as some – they don’t try to write hit singles. Because of that and the fact that they don’t follow the popular trends of the day, radio in general ignores them. Mike is just as bummed out by this as anyone else.
- What happened to the special Roseland shirts? faq id: 92
MP: Those were a very limited edition run to keep them exclusive to the show. Winterland did put a few leftovers onto the online store, but of course they sold out right away. Occasionally, re-issues or leftover merchandise will pop up at the store, so always keep a look out for 'em.
- What are Dream Theater’s record sales like? faq id: 93
MP: I honestly don't really care about that stuff. I spend more time thinking about the music and every other angle of Dream Theater. However, I'm not going to dodge your question so I'll give you a "guess-timate." Our biggest selling album to date in America was "Images & Words" which was certified Gold (over 500,000 copies sold in the US) largely due to success of Pull Me Under on US radio. Since then, the radio & MTV market in America has drastically changed - which has weeded out the fans of "our new hit single" and our sales have leveled out to reflect our "real" fan-base which has been in the 200,000 US sales vicinity each time out. Our real sales have added up from over-seas markets (Germany, Italy, Holland, Brazil, Japan, etc.) where we do very well because those markets are less dependant on radio & MTV. For instance, all of our CD's have gone platinum in Japan (100,000 in Japan alone). I suppose the "safe" answer is that we consistently sell somewhere around half a million Worldwide each time out. (Which by Backstreet Boys standards is peanuts, but for a progressive band writing 12 minutes songs, it's quite an achievement!)
- Will Dream Theater ever cover a Winter Rose song (James LaBrie’s former band)? faq id: 94
MP: I can *guarantee* you will never hear us play one of the songs live! I'm just not a fan of *that* style of music at all....(sorry James!)
- Does Dream Theater or the record company have control over whether songs are to be allowed for distribution on the internet or not? faq id: 97
MP: Realistically, it is the record company that "owns" the material and can decide how strict or lenient they want to be with the use of it.
- Why hasn’t Dream Theater been on __________ TV show? faq id: 98
MP: Unfortunately, “musicianship” has nothing to do with popularity. In order to do the Simpsons (or SNL or Letterman, etc.), you need to be a bit of a household name. Which I really doubt Dream Theater will ever be. It's just the nature of our music. Same reason you'll never see bands like Rush or Yes in Rolling Stone magazine, etc. Of course if we were ever asked, we'd jump on it in a heart beat.
- Will Dream Theater ever appear on the Howard Stern show? faq id: 99
MP: I am a tremendous Howard Stern fan!! It is very cool that he still uses “The Mirror” on the show. I think that was Fred's doing back in '94 when Awake came out. In fact, right after Awake came out and they just started using The Mirror in & out of commercials, Howard stopped the show and was like “Woa, what was that? That was really cool...” Fred gave him the CD and he then spent a few minutes going through each track. Him & Robin ended up totally bashing us!! “The keyboards ruin everything” , “Do these guys even have a singer” etc. It was the most awesome bad review we ever got! I loved it so much, I had it on my answering machine for months!! As far as going on his show, I think we're too normal for him. We're all married with kids! He'd be bored!
- Since Fish left Marillion around the same time that Charlie was fired, did Dream Theater ever consider asking him to be their lead singer? faq id: 103
MP: Actually a bit of trivia, our *last* show with Charlie was opening for Marillion's *first* US show with Steve Hogarth. By time we began looking for another new singer, Fish was already into his solo career and we never considered that he would be interested in anything but that. Not to mention that we weren't that well known yet at that point and we never thought that he would consider a young, upcoming band from America to be his next career move! Even if he did, I don't think a 6’6” Scottish poet was what we were looking for at the time! As much as Fish was/is one of my favorites, we wanted a more “metal” type singer.
- Is the reason for Dream Theater’s low profile because they refuse to put a video on MTV and do they believe that possibly music videos are too flashy and ignore the true purpose of creating music? faq id: 104
MP: We are most definitely square pegs in a world of circles. It is a tough time for a band like ours when MTV really is only interested in Ricky Martin, Britney Spears and Backstreet Boys. (throw in Korn & Limp Bizkit for good measure which is still worlds apart from us!!!) We always have made MTV videos in the past, and in fact Pull Me Under got alot of play at the time. But realistically, and we know this....we are not a “singles” or “videos” type band. I am more concerned with creating full statement “albums” and touring and developing a long term building foundation to sustain our career. These are our focuses and we know that our style is very demanding which most people on the street are not interested in investing. But for those who do, I believe we offer a level of depth which is very artistically rewarding and luckily we have developed a large legion of fans who have come to realize and embrace and support the band on these terms...
- What does Mike think would be some signs that it's time for Dream Theater to hang it up? faq id: 105
MP: I think the only thing that will break this band up is when we can't get along anymore, or whatever. But I think, uh, I think we really make really good music together. And we have a really great chemistry together. Three of us now have been doing this for 16 years. So, we have a real history together. We've been playing together now almost as long as we haven't been playing together. Pretty much half our lives at this point. So there's a real history. And as long as the fans keep supporting it, as long as we're able to do this for a living I think we will. If ever it gets to the point where we don't have creative control anymore then I think we might hang it up. I mean, it almost got to that point a few years ago.
- What problems came up so that Dream Theater will no longer work with Terry Brown? faq id: 115
MP: Well, a long story short - Terry has burned his bridges with us in the Dream Theater camp. Basically, half way through the M2000 tour, we received word from his lawyer that he expected __ amount of $ from us for using his voice when we perform Scenes From a Memory live. Now Terry knew DAMN well when he recorded his voice as the hypnotherapist during the Scenes From a Memory sessions, that it was a concept album that we would be performing every night on tour....OF COURSE we would be using a sample of his voice in the performance being HE OPENS THE FREAKING CD and SHOW!!!!!!!! Our *speculation* is that he may have been sore with us for not choosing him to mix Scenes From a Memory which he expressed wanting to do (it was never an option as far as me and John P were concerned). He also bitched about not being credited as the hypnotherapist on the CD sleeve (we *purposely* wanted it to be an unbilled cameo). Basically, he's a big bad cry baby who was looking to cash in on his voice being used on the CD & tour anyway he could. (David Botrill's voice was on the CD and tour as the voice of Edward in Finally Free and he never complained. Theresa Thomason's voice was all over the CD and tour, never heard a peep from her...) We eventually had to pay to Terry off to avoid a lawsuit and were forced to have somebody else come in for the Roseland show to play the hypnotherapist. The guy is on the top of my s*** list and only succeeded to shoot himself in the foot because he now will never work with Dream Theater again, nor will we ever have anything nice to say about the guy who we thought was cool until this ridiculous incident!
- Why was the CBS Morning Show appearance on Sept. 14, 2002 cancelled? faq id: 326
Mike: I don't want to make a mountain out of a mole hill but basically they wanted us to do an "unplugged" performance and that's not what Dream Theater is about. So we decided it would have been a misrepresentation of the Dream Theater style and sound and what makes us unique [since only two members would have been present as opposed to the whole band] so we decided to pass on it. Whoever booked us on to begin with obviously was clueless but we thought we will continue to do things on our own terms and when they feel like coming around and re-inviting us then we will do it.
- Why is Dream Theater's merchandise so expensive? Don't they understand we can't afford to buy things at those prices? faq id: 327
MP: Our merchandise company (Sony Signatures) makes up the merchandise prices...NOT US!!!!! I agree it is overpriced and I have sent many emails to our management as well as the "powers that be" at Signatures, but at the end of the day, this is their decision based on what they charge for most of their bands on tour playing similar venues....
- How did the idea of Mike and John Petrucci singing backup come about? faq id: 403
MP: Way back around WDaDU, John and I would do some limited backup stuff and I didn't really enjoy it at that time, because I had trouble managing the mic and playing at the same time, and John just didn't really care. So we got away from that once James joined the band. But through the years, I always felt that we lacked the background vocals on albums and especially live as James was the only one that was singing, and all of my favorite bands - whether it be The Beatles, Jellyfish, Queen or Yes - all had multiple voices. Even Steve Howe doesn't have a great voice, but it's the quality of his voice that helps round out the sound of the band. John and I always sing when we write lyrics because we'll write a lot of the melodies ourselves and sing them to James or even do demos ourselves. So when we were singing in rehearsals, harmonizing with James and showing him what to do, before the "Fix for 96" dates, we finally said let's utilize this and develop it. We did a little singing in the studio for Falling Into Infinity and started to develop it live on that tour. And since then, James has sung basically all the lead vocals, and John and I do the back up vocals. I think it's important that our voices be on the record because our voices aren't going to be nearly as strong as James' in a live setting, and when we reproduce those songs live we don't want to sound like an inferior version of James' voice.
- Ever proposed to Y2J (wrestler Chris Jehrico) for Dream Theater to do his ring entrance music? faq id: 404
MP: Yes we've talked with Chris about that. I think he would love to do that but I think there are more "politics" involved which make it not such a cut and dry decision. Hell, even whether or not he wins is decided for him!!!
- Is there some sort of supposed feud between Dream Theater and Symphony X? faq id: 405
MP: No feud whatsoever that I'm aware of. I've never even met the guys. I think I once commented on one song sounding like The Mirror, so maybe people built up an imaginary feud from that comment? I don't know if they've said anything about us.
- Where can I find Dream Theater ringtones for my phone? faq id: 406
Answer: A good site is http://dt.solardreamstudios.com. Keep in mind Sprint Vision phones use regular midi files. So you can download them from dt.net and use the Vision Tool at http://www.t1mmy.net/visionTool.html to get them to your phone, along with jpg's for backgrounds. You can also use websites such as Google to find ringtones for different phones.
- Has Mike accomplished everything that he set out to do when first becoming a musician, or are there still a few goals left over even now? faq id: 407
MP: To be honest, I don't think that there's many more goals personally, musically or creatively. I think in all three of those departments, we are completely satisfied. We've gotten the chance to meet so many musicians and tour with some of the great bands out there. We've been able to make the kind of records that we want to - everything from a concept album to a double album. So overall, we are very happy and very, very satisfied with the way things have progressed. Some of it has been beyond our wildest dreams. The only thing I might say that is a goal we'd like to accomplish to a fuller extent would be commercially speaking, but this would have to be done on our own terms; we're not gonna sell out.
- Does Dream Theater plan on doing any videos in the future? faq id: 408
MP: No, I would rather take the $100,000 that it would cost to make a video and put that money into a DVD. I think that is a much more productive outlet for a band like ours. To spend that kind of money for a couple of plays on MTV in Europe, and not even get played in America, is just a waste of money and time.
- Does Mike feel that the circulating of MP3s affects Dream Theater's album sales? faq id: 409
MP: With a band like ours, I don't think it's that big of a deal. I think our fans are going to buy everything we put out anyway. I think it's bad for bands that are one hit wonders that have just one song that is popular on the radio because then somebody can just download it onto a CD themselves, but I don't think that's endangering a band like ours. We're all about the full album. Our fans love the packaging; they want to buy everything they can get their hands on whether it be real releases or bootlegs.
- What does Mike remember about being on a world tour for the first time (in 1992)? faq id: 410
MP: Images and Words had just come out, but it hadn't broke yet, so we spent three months touring America in a van. Five band members and our tour manager in a regular van, and we loved every minute of it because it was our first tour. Forget about the fact that we weren't sleeping, and we didn't have hotel rooms, and we were driving ourselves. It was a crash course in touring. Then all of a sudden 'Pull Me Under' started hitting on the radio and come January we got our first tour bus. That eventually grew into a bus for the band and crew and a trailer, then a bus for the band and crew and a truck. Our booking agent was booking us six out of seven nights. And after the first week, James threw his voice out and we ended up having to cancel shows, so we learned right away, because of the type of music we do, we can't really go more than three on and one off. We were selling out clubs, but the capacity might be 500 people and the ticket prices were low because we were still new, and we had a big overhead, so really we weren't breaking the bank. It wasn't until we started to go to Europe and play big places that we made any money off the road.
- How many more albums does Dream Theater have left on their current contract with Elektra? faq id: 411
Answer: The one that they are currently writing in the studio is their last one.
- How does Mike feel about his and Dream Theater's position in the music world right now? faq id: 412
MP: Well, I don't take it for granted. It's definitely a tough time for bands in general, but especially a band like our's, who survived this long. Dream Theater's been together for eighteen years now and for us to still be thriving, not even existing. I mean we're still growing within this little world we're in. Headlining places like Jones Beach and that was such a huge accomplishment for a band like ours to be doing that kind of stuff with no MTV play, no radio play, no mainstream press. It's definitely an accomplishment that we won't take for granted and that's why we keep doing it. Man, we have the greatest fan base out of any band out there, it's attributed to the fans not to us. We just do what we do and what happens from there is out of our hands and luckily we have this fan base that has continued to allow us to do what we do throughout all the climates and trends that seem to just come and go around us year after year.
- What happened in 1996 to make it a real difficult year for Mike and Dream Theater? How did their situation in 1996 compare to what happened to them between 1990 and 1992? faq id: 413
MP: It maybe the worst year of my life actually, for some personal reasons. There were deaths in my family, which made it a very difficult year. In fact, right from the get go, as the new year began my grandmother, who was incredibly close to me, passed away on January 2nd. That whole year was just a big stall for us. We did have the opportunity to write a hell of a lot - we ended up writing two albums worth of stuff - the FII album as well as the 6 leftover tracks (including the original Metropolis pt.2), so it was a very creative year in terms of output, but it was very frustrating for us because we weren't able to do anything with it. We were having changes with management and the record company that were preventing us from getting into the studio. We were getting seriously dragged down by all the business BS and it wasn't the first time we felt ourselves in that situation - it was a very similar situation to where we were leading up to Images and Words. There was a period back in 1990 or 91 where we had nothing going for us except the music we were writing. We kept writing, but it was like "what for?" The record company situation had fallen apart, we were looking for a new singer and then we finally got James. It was a very similar situation in 1996 - we were having problems with the label, which were actually more their problems than ours - just shuffling around of personnel and stuff like that; we were also having problems with management and once again we had a new member, so it was easy to get dragged down and I think all of us were very depressed and questioned our future during that period. But similar to 1990, we were excited about the music and that's what kept us going. We kept rehearsing and writing regardless of what was going on around us.
- Why did Dream Theater decide not to use an outside producer, beginning with Scenes From a Memory? faq id: 414
MP: It was nice to have that objective ear, but the fact of the matter is that we already have five chefs in this kitchen and the last thing we need is a sixth. John Petrucci and I especially have strong definite visions of what we want this band to be and sound like, as do James, John Myung and Jordan, so really the last thing we need is another opinion.
- Why did Dream Theater get away from using the "classic" font on Falling Into Infinity and Once in a LIVEtime? faq id: 415
MP: The main reason why we got away from using that font was because we worked with Storm Thorgerson on FII and OiaL, and Storm doesn't like to work with a pre-existing font. Since he hasn't done the artwork since OiaL, we've returned to using it.
- How did the guys come up with the original band name Majesty? faq id: 416
MP: For Rush's Power Windows tour, we slept out for tickets right in front of the Berklee Performance Center. We were listening to all different Rush tapes and we heard Bastille Day and at the ending of it, we said "oh listen to how majestic this part is - hey that'd be a great name for the band!" So we came up with the name Majesty while waiting in line for tickets that night!
- What led up to the band naming themselves Dream Theater? faq id: 417
MP: Basically, we were just trying to think of names for months on end. We were getting so desperate, we wanted to name the band anything. Like "Coca Cola, yeah that'd be good." I flipped through our legal files, we did trademark searches on all these different names, and they were horrible. I can't believe we spent so much to get these names searched. We actually did one show under the name Glasser! Glasser was the name of our lawyer at the time. That was one of the names, M1 was another one, Magus - I believe Pancake House was also one. Like the most stupid names - I don't know what anybody was thinking, but we did this one show and we said the new name of the band is Glasser. Then my dad left a message on my answering machine and he said "see how this sounds: Dream Theater." And we were like "we'd just done a show with this new name and we don't want to start changing it again." Then a couple of days later, we thought that's the perfect name, so we changed it and that's where it came from.
- Is the Simpson's Dream Theater shirt (packaged with the Korean version of LSFNY) an official piece of merchandise or not? faq id: 418
Answer: Kind of. The original Simpson drawing was made by Damien Charbonneau (a French fan) and Warner Korea used this picture without any authorization. So while it was used by the Korean record label as part of an official package, it was not sanctioned by either the band or the artist.
- Is it difficult or is it easy for Mike to be the spokesman of Dream Theater? faq id: 419
MP: Well, it is difficult because it puts a lot of pressure and burden on me but I am just naturally the most outgoing of the bunch. To be honest, I have been trying to do fewer and fewer interviews while on tour because the redundancy can become very frustrating.
- Will the 5 Years in a LIVEtime and Live in Tokyo videos be re-issued on DVD? faq id: 420
MP: When I originally pitched Elektra on the Scenes From a Memory DVD project, I also pitched a DVD with both of our previous releases. They were very open to the idea, but for obvious timing reasons, we needed to focus on pursuing filming the Roseland show first and foremost. *If the sales [of SFNY] are satisfactory to the label*, I think they will possibly pursue this idea with me. I would like to have both VHS programs on one DVD with some bonus footage that I had to cut from both VHS releases because of running time restrictions...(it would be worth it for the chapter stops alone). Time will tell. 2002 update: Rhino video had obtained the rights to them and we are in discussions about releasing "Special Edition" versions of them. They have been slower than I would like in the whole process, but hopefully these will be released soon...
- Are there any plans to publish drum transcriptions to Dream Theater's songs? faq id: 421
Answer: The Mike Portnoy Anthology Vol 1 is available and can be order through the MP Store (located elsewhere on this website).