March 9, 2000

Notes on the last tour with Dream Theater

I just got back from the Dregs/Dream Theater tour. John Petrucci stopped by my place yesterday to spend some time writing for an upcoming project that we're looking at together. The tour itself went very well, although our first gig in L.A. was pretty much a disaster as the show got shut down and tremendous sound problems emerged.

Along the way, everybody got to be pretty good friends, although many of each band members had known the other guys through side projects and such. Playing every night and then listening to John Petrucci play with his impeccable technique really pushed my playing back up a notch after a little while on the road. John has always amazed me with his quick mind and great technique, but he keeps getting better, and therefore, more amazing.

Andy West and I started the Dregs almost 30 years ago as an experimental band, and there we were standing next to each other playing again. In order to keep both he and Dave LaRue involved, Andy took many of the bass parts up an octave on his 7 string guitar, so it was like a guitar doubling the bass lines, which is something that I often did on the records as an overdub. A couple of tunes Andy played his bass, with those super low notes down to a B shaking the stage.

One thing that we noticed was the audience that came to see each band was able to enjoy both groups with no problems. Often when two groups are on tour, the audiences tend to be more polarized. And everybody seemed to enjoy the Star People as well, who had to open most of the shows just as the doors were opening. Even with that handicap, they entertained the audience with a pretty quirky approach and some good playing.

I'm in the studio with a great engineer named Chris, remixing some of the new Steve Morse album that will be on Magna Carta records soon, called Major Impacts. It's songs that I've written to sound like some of my early major influences. Dave LaRue and Van play on it, being restrained and professional on some of the tracks where I just needed some basic support, others are more typical of the SMB for them. Rod Morgenstien was travelling in the same car as me and heard the album and guessed every one of the influences right. T Lavitz got all but one, and that one was a combination of more than one influence, so it wasn't fair to say that he didn't get it. So, time to get back in the studio.

Later, 2000