This is an edited version of the log taken from #ytsejam on irc.dreamt.org:2112 on Sunday, July 21st, 1997. The questions and answers have been kept intact, and the only editing that was done was grammatical corrections, punctuation, spacing, and the order of comments when questions and answers overlapped. Hope you like it - Pat.
<Carpe> CONFERENCE HAS STARTED!!
<Carpe> SEND YOUR QUESTIONS TO: AskMe
<Askme> What is your position on bootlegs, and do you have special consideration for Mike Bahr bootlegs?
<MikeP> My position has always been very pro-bootleg.
<MikeP> I'm a collector myself.
<MikeP> Most of the others are very anti-bootleg.
<MikeP> The band as a whole, it seems, is cool to Mike Bahr,
<MikeP> cause it seems to be a family ytsejam sort of thing.
<MikeP> The band seems to tolerate those.
<MikeP> The anti-boot members stay away from that.
<Askme> What is your favorite Marillion album, song and singer?
<MikeP> Misplaced Childhood
<MikeP> Fish era
<MikeP> and Brave, Hogarth era.
<MikeP> Hogarth has a much better voice,
<MikeP> but fish is the more intense lyricist.
<MikeP> I love both singers and both eras.
<Askme> Is Dream Theater gonna play in Toronto sometime soon?
<MikeP> Definitely, Toronto in the fall.
<MikeP> Most likely October, when we hit the road.
<Askme> Does Dream Theater have any plans of touring Romania (or Eastern Europe, for that matter) in the near future?
<MikeP> We definitely would like to.
<MikeP> Hopefully, with the next Euro tour we can get farther east.
<Askme> Do you have any bands in mind that you'd like to have open for you guys when the tour starts this fall or whenever?
<MikeP> If we are starting with a headlining tour,
<MikeP> my first choice would be Spock's Beard.
<MikeP> They're a fave of mine, I'd like to get them on the bill.
<MikeP> Don't want to start naming names, rumors will start to fly. :)
<Askme> MikeP: Now that the album's (about) finished, is there any one (or two) songs that really stand out to you? Either by writing, performance, or what have you.
<MikeP> They all stand out for different reasons.
<MikeP> My 2 faves are "A New Millennium" and "Lines in the Sand,"
<MikeP> they're the more technical ones.
<MikeP> I really love Anna Lee for different reasons.
<Askme> what cities in South America will you play besides Monsters of Rock?
<Askme> How do you see LaBrie's singing on _Falling Into Inifinity_, more like _Images and Words_ era or more _Awake_ era? How did he develop?
<MikeP> More like _Images and Words_...
<MikeP> Less rough growling,
<MikeP> lower in range, but cleaner.
<Askme> People like putting labels on Dream Theater's music. But if Dream Theater HAD to pick either one of the following labels, prog or metal, which one would they choose to be categorized as?
<MikeP> Psychedelic bluegrass. :)
<MikeP> I couldn't pick one. It's too confining.
<Askme> Since you asked about South America... can you include Puerto Rico in there?
<MikeP> I don't know about Puerto Rico, never got any offers for touring.
<MikeP> I may be there for some clinics,
<MikeP> don't know about the whole band.
<Askme> Would you consider touring again with I Mother Earth, and maybe hitting more places in Canada?
<MikeP> We like those guys a lot.
<MikeP> They're looking for a new deal, and a new singer.
<MikeP> Why not?
<Askme> How was Derek's playing? Closer to Wakeman, Emerson, or Moore, somebody other?
<MikeP> It's Sherinian.
<MikeP> He doesn't want to be Wakeman, Emerson, or Moore.
<MikeP> He has a style all his own, and his playing is absolutely incredible.
<MikeP> That's the thing I'm most anxious for people to hear, is Derek's contribution.
<Askme> I have heard that in some fan clubs, bands give out backstage passes, is the Dream Theater fan club planning on doing the same?
<MikeP> We've never done that officially.
<MikeP> We usually are considerate and accommodating to the fan club people.
<MikeP> I can't say whether we can officially do that.
<Askme> How were the drums recorded, like _Images and Words_ or _Awake_/_ACOS_?
<MikeP> Completely unlike either one.
<MikeP> In the past, I did all the drum tracks in the first two weeks,
<MikeP> and recorded instrument by instrument.
<MikeP> This time, we're going song by song.
<MikeP> Everyone will work on one song and finish it before we start another song.
<MikeP> Each song, the drums sound different.
<Askme> Is the new album gonna be more like _Images and Words_ or _Awake_, or totally different?
<MikeP> It'll be like the best elements of each, and taken into a whole new direction entirely.
<Askme> Since there were so many problems with the label getting the band into the studio for this album, will you be looking for another label for future albums?
<MikeP> I don't think we have a choice.
<MikeP> As long as we're bound by contract, we'll be with Elektra.
<Askme> Any chance of a "Nightmare Cinema" CD featuring Blind Melon as guest artists hitting record stores soon??? :)
<MikeP> Luckily, no. :)
<MikeP> But I could see more live appearances in the future.
<Skadz> laimer :P
<MikeP> Nightmare Cinema is something that's more enjoyable visually than it is audibly. :)
<Askme> Would you ever tour with Megadeth?
<MikeP> If they asked us to, and the timing was right, we'd love to.
<Askme> How heavy is the album overall? Heavier than _Awake_? Same level as _Images and Words_?
<MikeP> I don't think it's as heavy as _Awake_,
<MikeP> but there are still some very heavy moments.
<MikeP> There's a little bit of everything, just like all our albums.
<MikeP> If anything, there's a lot of aggression and energy as opposed to heavy thrash elements.
<Askme> Any chance you'll hook up with Fates Warning for any shows this fall, and what do you think of their latest "epic"?
<MikeP> I love the album.
<MikeP> I think it's their masterpiece.
<MikeP> We would love to take them out again.
<MikeP> However, it looks like the schedules won't work out that way.
<Askme> Hi Mike, welcome to the madness. When you arrive in Toronto in the fall, is there any chance of you and Petrucci doing a combined clinic?
<MikeP> Sure, it's a possibility.
<MikeP> Have your local music store call up Tama and Ibanez.
<Askme> About the Eastern Europe tour... would an action similar to what Marillion fans have done by making an US tour fund be of any help?
<MikeP> I don't think the funding would be a problem,
<MikeP> it's more the scheduling.
<MikeP> It didn't make enough sense for Marillion to come to the US, financially
<MikeP> For us, it's a matter of getting the scheduling worked out.
<Askme> How do you see the current state and future of progressive rock/metal?
<MikeP> Creatively, it seems to be pretty healthy.
<MikeP> Mainstream America is definitely a tough time.
<MikeP> I think there's a lot of great music being made,
<MikeP> America isn't buying it in large doses.
<MikeP> Makes it hard for the bands to survive.
<MikeP> Hopefully, corporate rock in the US will begin to fade out again,
<MikeP> and some real music will be produced.
<Askme> Will you guys tour with Iron Maiden on the new album? (releasing it around the same time)
<MikeP> That's pretty unlikely.
<MikeP> I don't know what their plans are.
<MikeP> Definitely not in America.
<MikeP> I have no idea what those guys are doing.
<Askme> Speaking of the fan club, will there be another Christmas bonus CD this year?
<MikeP> Most likely.
<MikeP> I'd like to do one every year.
<Askme> What will be the first single and its b-side(s) ?
<MikeP> Still being sorted out.
<MikeP> We're not sure.
<MikeP> Once we have chosen the first single (for radio) it wouldn't have a b-side.
<MikeP> We don't know what the first commercial single will be.
<Askme> Also ask if [Mike's] a big Howard Stern fan. :) hehe
<MikeP> Yes, definitely, big time.
<MikeP> I'm never up early enough to hear him live on the radio,
<MikeP> but I tape the E! show every night. I have hundreds and hundreds of them.
<MikeP> Baba booey's to you all. :)
<MikeP> I had Howard bashing Dream Theater on my answering machine for a while...
<MikeP> one of the greatest highlights of my life so far. :)
<Askme> How do you feel about Neil Peart and his drumming, and what where your objectives in the Working Man tribute to Rush?
<MikeP> His drumming was a big inspiration to me growing up.
<MikeP> I was very disappointed in his reaction to Working Man.
<Askme> How did you build up so much speed with your right arm?
<MikeP> You don't want to know. :)
<MikeP> Same way you guys all do. :)
<Askme> How did the band members get along with the new producer, any major "musical differences" between you guys?
<MikeP> Actually, we love him. We get along incredibly well.
<MikeP> At first, we butted head a bit creatively.
<MikeP> He comes from a more commercial background.
<MikeP> I was fighting the battles for the long songs and the more prog ones,
<MikeP> in the end, I think Kevin's suggestions were good.
<MikeP> It's been great working with him.
<Askme> In the past, Dream Theater has been 'criticized' as being more technical, than emotionally impacting. How do you see the new album as replying to that?
<MikeP> I think there's more emotion on this album than ever before.
<MikeP> Hopefully this will change that opinion.
<MikeP> At the same time, there's still a lot of musical integrity there.
<Askme> Are we going to see any more old stuff get released anytime soon? What about a full live album?
<MikeP> We have so much new material, and an overabundance of new songs,
<MikeP> that we'll most likely focus on releasing new stuff, first and foremost.
<MikeP> There's always a possibility of a full live album.
<Askme> What are some of your favorite venues to play (in America and abroad)?
<MikeP> The Vic Theater in Chicago is nice.
<MikeP> The Warfield in San Francisco.
<MikeP> The Majestic in San Antonio is one of the most beautiful theaters we've ever played.
<MikeP> Manhattan Center in New York.
<MikeP> Usually, to me, a great venue is a place where everyone can see the show,
<MikeP> and a stage big enough for us to put on our whole show.
<MikeP> The Palace in Los Angeles is cool, too.
<MikeP> The Celebrity in Anaheim is cool.
<Askme> Has the [album] artwork already been done, and by who?
<MikeP> It's in the process of being done by the legendary god of cover art work, Storm Thorgerson.
<MikeP> He's done all the Pink Floyd covers and a lot of the Led Zeppelin covers.
<MikeP> We've always wanted to work with him, so it's great to have the opportunity.
<Askme> Are you looking for more airplay with this latest release?
<MikeP> Of course!
<MikeP> To continue to make records, we have to continue to sell them.
<MikeP> To sell them, we have to be heard.
<Askme> Is it true that Myung has purchased a Chapman Stick and is using it on the album?
<MikeP> It's very cool.
<MikeP> The song "A New Millennium" was written with the Stick.
<MikeP> He also used it on a couple other songs as extra embellishment.
<Askme> How would you describe Petrucci's playing on this album?
<MikeP> Incredible as always.
<MikeP> We've all really stretched the boundaries of the instrumentation, more than ever.
<Askme> Will we hear "Metropolis II" as an _A Change of Seasons_ [EP] type release?
<MikeP> I hope so.
<MikeP> I'm hoping we can release it sometime in '98.
<MikeP> Similar to _A Change of Seasons_.
<MikeP> Of course, anything can happen, but that's what I'd like to see.
<Askme> What do you think of A N G R A?
<MikeP> They're very cool.
<MikeP> We almost played a festival in South America with them.
<MikeP> We're going down there, but not playing the festival.
<MikeP> Originally, we were slated to do Monsters of Rock,
<MikeP> it was on again, off again.
<MikeP> We couldn't confirm it, and we couldn't wait any longer.
<Askme> The beginning riff of "The Mirror" must be the most borrowed riff in prog metal... where did YOU get influences to that part of that song?
<MikeP> I brought that in.
<MikeP> More of a rhythm than it is a riff...
<MikeP> Concept of twisting that rhythm around I brought in.
<MikeP> That was inspired by listening to Helmet.
<Askme> When I heard "Where Are You Now" for the first time, I immediately thought that it would be the first single, and a huge hit (for the "genre"). Is that a strong contender for the first single?
<MikeP> We're not even gonna put it on the album,
<MikeP> we have so much material to choose from.
<MikeP> The stuff that we've chosen, we think, is even stronger than that.
<MikeP> Thanks for the compliment. Maybe it'll be a b-side down the road.
<MikeP> I can see that one being the "Don't Look Past Me" of this era.
<MikeP> By the way, 7 songs are done. We should be done in about two weeks.
<AskMe> Hey, Mike. Can't wait for the new album. My question is, what do you think of the new Queensryche album? Do you feel that they have "sold out" by making almost grunge sounding music?
<MikeP> Well, hmm...
<MikeP> I really do not like the record at all.
<MikeP> I don't know if it's a matter of selling out or not.
<MikeP> Shoot us if we ever do that. :)
<AskMe> If it were up to you what style of music was considered popular by the masses would Dream Theater be more, "Balls and Chunk"??
<MikeP> Yeah, we would.
<AskMe> The official page lists "Anna Lee" as a "Derek" song. Is it still being considered for inclusion on the album?
<MikeP> Yeah, it made the final cut.
<MikeP> It's one of my faves on the album.
<MikeP> It will silence anyone that thinks he can't write anything as beautiful as Wait For Sleep or Space-Dye Vest.
<MikeP> Not that it's a competition.
<AskMe> What other new prog bands [do you] like?
<MikeP> Spock's Beard, I think, is the best new one.
<MikeP> Fates Warning
<MikeP> Enchant is really good.
<MikeP> Meshuggah from Norway.
<AskMe3> Is there an official release date? Will it be worldwide or might there be separate dates?
<MikeP> Sept 23rd in the US.
<MikeP> I assume it'll be the same across the world, more or less.
<AskMe> How much have Neil Peart's drumming techniques influenced you?
<MikeP> A lot when I was younger.
<MikeP> These days, not that much anymore.
<AskMe> How has it been trying to record a new album and be a father at the same time?
<MikeP> I haven't slept in two months :)
<MikeP> But they both have been incredible experiences,
<MikeP> incredibly rewarding.
<AskMe> How did Doug Pinnick's guest vocals turn out?
<MikeP> He's an amazing singer and an incredibly cool guy.
<AskMe> What do you think of the Tyson fight?
<MikeP> Oh God.
<MikeP> It's disappointing to me,
<MikeP> Because I spent three years waiting to see him get back in the ring.
<MikeP> Now I have to wait another year.
<MikeP> I thought the first fight was the best thing to happen to boxing in a long time.
<MikeP> And the second one disgraced it, which is a shame.
<AskMe> What [do you] think of Megadeth's latest effort?
<MikeP> I haven't had a chance to listen to it too much.
<MikeP> What I heard I liked.
<MikeP> Much better than the last album.
<MikeP> Noticed one song where the beginning sounded like the rhythm from A Fortune In Lies.
<AskMe> How familiar are you with Japanese rock... more specifically the band X-Japan and the magazine Burrn!
<MikeP> Not too familiar with the band.
<MikeP> Burrn! will be coming to the studio next week for a cover story.
<AskMe> When I saw the _Awake_ tour, Derek did an awesome jazz solo. Anything like that on the new CD?
<MikeP> There's some stuff like that in "Lines in the Sand", which is very jazzy.
<MikeP> His two biggest influences are jazz/fusion and rock guitar players,
<MikeP> like Rhoads and Eddie Van Halen.
<AskMe> Which Yes drummer would you say had a bigger impact on you, Alan White or Bill Bruford?
<MikeP> Bruford was the bigger influence,
<MikeP> because he played on all of my fave Yes albums,
<MikeP> and I love his KC and UK stuff.
<MikeP> But White is also a great player who I've always admired.
<MikeP> Bill Bruford has always been the more technical, and White the more groove-oriented one.
<AskMe> How much have James and Derek contributed to the writing process for this album?
<MikeP> Derek has contributed incredibly, musically,
<MikeP> an incredible amount.
<MikeP> All of the music is written by me, John, John, and Derek.
<MikeP> On a musical level, he's been an equal.
<MikeP> He didn't write any lyrics.
<MikeP> James' contributions have been sort of what they always have been,
<MikeP> write some lyrics, and collaborate on the melodies.
<AskMe> What have you been listening to lately?
<MikeP> The new DT for about two months now, nonstop. :)
<MikeP> New Tool, Bozzio Levin Stevens.
<MikeP> New Marillion, new Fates Warning.
<MikeP> Fave of the year is Kevin Gilbert's that he was working on when he died.
<MikeP> I have a DAT of that.
<AskMe> Mike, do you miss Sundance in Bayshore (RIP)?
<MikeP> I have hundreds of memories from that place,
<MikeP> not only from the times we've played, but the shows I've seen there.
<AskMe> Do you sing any backup vocals on this album?
<MikeP> Yeah, actually.
<MikeP> Me, John Petrucci, and Derek are all doing background vocals.
<AskMe> How is James' herd of caribou doing?
<MikeP> They're doing well. :)
<MikeP> He's hoping to start a ranch next year for the Canadian Dream Theater tourists :)
<AskMe> Is their a change in stage outfits (All black to retro-shirts) or something like that?
<MikeP> I've never worn any shirts.
<MikeP> I'll have to start wearing shirts, because I've gained about 20 pounds. :)
<MikeP> John Petrucci's stuff was cool, actually. :)
<AskMe> Have you heard the Finneus Gauge CD yet?
<MikeP> No, actually.
<MikeP> Someone is sending me a copy next week.
<AskMe> Do you like any death metal bands?
<MikeP> Everything from Machine Head, Sepultura, Testament, Exodus, Slayer...
<MikeP> I haven't been able to keep up to date with the latest.
<MikeP> I don't go too far into the really obscure guys.
<AskMe> Have you had any jazz influence, if so what types?
<MikeP> All of us, especially at Berklee, listened to that kind of stuff.
<MikeP> Less so traditional jazz, more like Corea, Holdsworth, Dimeola.
<MikeP> Mahavishnu Orchestra.
<MikeP> Stuff like that.
<AskMe> Is "The Silent Man" written about John Myung? :)
<MikeP> No, but he definitely is the silent man. :)
<MikeP> I haven't spoken to him in about three years myself. :)
<AskMe> If you're still on the Ytsejam... Who's your favorite frequent Ytsejam poster?
<MikeP> My favorite poster is anyone that talks about Dream Theater.
<MikeP> I haven't been able to keep up since melody was born and since we started recording.
<MikeP> I've been skimming.
<AskMe> You guys haven't cut your hair like Satriani, have you?
<MikeP> No, well Satch shaved his head.
<MikeP> John Petrucci cut his hair before the European Fix shows.
<MikeP> He's still shoulder-length.
<MikeP> The other three of us still have long hair.
<AskMe> Question: Are you influenced by new drummers such as Virgil Donatti?
<MikeP> Yeah, definitely.
<MikeP> Virgil is incredible.
<MikeP> Some of the best new ones are Virgil, Jojo Mayer, Horatio Hernandez, and Kurt Covington.
<MikeP> There are many great great drummers out there that I've seen doing the clinics.
<MikeP> Virgil used to play in a Dream Theater cover band in Australia called Theater of Dreams.
<MikeP> Virgil's a monster. He's scary.
<AskMe> Have you ever considered making a 40-60 minute song that will take up the whole album (the ultimate anti-commercial release ;-)? (Like Fates Warning)
<MikeP> It's a nice idea, but It's been done.
<MikeP> I don't look at that as one song, I look at it as a concept album.
<MikeP> I'd like to do a concept album someday.
<AskMe> Are you taking your family with you on the tour?
<MikeP> Well, I try to bring them along whenever possible, here and there.
<MikeP> We'll see what works out for everybody.
<MikeP> All of us have families.
<AskMe> Which is, in your opinion, the most technical guitarist in the world ?
<MikeP> Frank Zappa.
<AskMe> What do you think of I Mother Earth's last release _Scenery and Fish_?
<MikeP> I thought it was amazing.
<MikeP> I love it.
<MikeP> The production was great. We met with Paul Northfield because of it, but opted for Kevin.
<AskMe> I know you like rap, were you disappointed when Biggie Smalls was shot dead?? :)
<MikeP> I've lost interest in rap the past couple of years.
<MikeP> I was never a Biggie Smalls fan.
<MikeP> I was really into rap in the early 90s.
<MikeP> Beastie's _Paul's Boutique_ and Public Enemy's _Fear of a Black Planet_ are two of my all time fave albums.
<AskMe> What sorts of sounds has Derek been using... organ and piano stuff or more synthy-type stuff?
<MikeP> He's been doing everything.
<MikeP> He's incorporated lots of piano and lots of classic sounds...
<MikeP> Hammond B3, Mellotron, Rhodes piano...
<MikeP> as well as complete state-of-the-art cutting edge with his new Korg -
<MikeP> getting sounds out of this thing I haven't heard.
<MikeP> You'll swear some of this stuff is guitar.
<AskMe> Seen any good flicks lately?
<MikeP> I loved _Contact_.
<MikeP> That opening sequence was great.
<MikeP> My new fatherhood role has cut my movie intake drastically.
<MikeP> I saw _Chasing Amy_ too, thought that was great.
<AskMe> What did the band think when John brought in the 7 string??
<MikeP> I was enthusiastic to get it incorporated,
<MikeP> being a big fan of the real heavy stuff.
<MikeP> [He's] only using it on "Just Let Me Breathe" and a few sections of "A New Millennium" on the new stuff.
<AskMe> What advice would you give to a striving unsigned prog metal band?
<MikeP> Quit. :)
<MikeP> Get out while you can. :)
<MikeP> It's one tough business, and you have to be strong to survive.
<MikeP> Especially if you're in a prog band.
<MikeP> Give up and join the Spice Girls. :)
<AskMe> Dream Theater has always had a special connection with The Strand in Providence, Rhode Island. Did you play one of your first shows there?
<MikeP> No, the first time we played Providence, we played a place called "The Living Room."
<MikeP> ...on the _When Dream And Day Unite_ tour.
<MikeP> Then, Club Baby Head, which was the size of my living room. :)
<AskMe> Has James written any songs as far as lyrics go?
<MikeP> He wrote Anna Lee.
<AskMe> What's your new drum set like, and did you add electronic percussion to it?
<MikeP> No electronics...
<MikeP> no room to fit it in. :)
<MikeP> The kit's amazing.
<MikeP> It's a monster.
<MikeP> I used two drum sets in the studio.
<MikeP> The huge Tama 'Star Classic' set.
<MikeP> And a 4-piece version of the _Images and Words_ set.
<AskMe> If you had to leave the band, and you HAD to choose a replacement, who would you pick?
<MikeP> I wouldn't wish that upon anybody. :)
<MikeP> I'd have to say Deen Castronovo, Rod Morgenstein, or Jonathan Mover.
<AskMe> What do you think of the Cynic departure?
<MikeP> I think Sean and Sean are still together, and have a new band.
<MikeP> I stay in touch with Sean Malone, and looking forward to hearing the new stuff.
<AskMe> What do you think about Ska?
<MikeP> I don't really follow it that much.
<AskMe> Opinions on Savatage?
<MikeP> Those guys are really cool.
<MikeP> We're good friends with Al Pitrelli.
<MikeP> Those guys do really well in Europe, and I'm glad for them.
<MikeP> Cool guys, cool music.
<AskMe> What crosses your mind when a fan mentions that he/she has driven 1000+ miles to see Dream Theater play?
<MikeP> I'm incredibly grateful. That's cool as hell.
<MikeP> I've done it myself for some bands.
<MikeP> I totally appreciate the effort that goes into that.
<AskMe> What cover song that you haven't done would you most like to do?
<MikeP> "In Held 'Twas In I" by Procul Harum. (sp?)
<AskMe> LAST QUESTION: Are you gonna play To Live Forever on this tour?
<MikeP> Id like to, but those harmonies are tough to pull off. :)
<MikeP> Thanks for the patience,
<MikeP> We're anxious to begin our tour...
<MikeP> South America in September.
<MikeP> Start here in October.
<MikeP> Tour through Christmas.
<MikeP> Hopefully we'll get the whole band to Australia.
<AskMe> Mike says thanks a lot...
<Skadz> Well, I just want to say thanks to Mike
<Skadz> and thanks to everyone for coming out
<Skadz> great turnout
<Skadz> hopefully it will make for some DECENT jam content
<Skadz> Go away now :)
<Skadz> MASS EXODUS
<Skadz> GET OUT
<D-Man> please use the exits to the rear. thank you.
<D-Man> have a safe trip home now.
<Skadz> don't drink and drive
<Skadz> give the keys to a friend
<D-Man> or hitchhike
<Skadz> or sleep on the street
<D-Man> or sleep at skadz' place :)
<Skadz> but overall, get the fuck out
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