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Dream Theater’s John Petrucci on Touring Overseas and Drummer Situation

John Petrucci
Robert Cianflone, Getty Images

Dream Theater founder and guitarist John Petrucci is undoubtedly one of metal’s most admired and beloved musicians. Although the band has been around since 1985, Dream Theater continue to prove that they walk the thin line of experimental creativity. Petrucci recently spoke with Pollstar about why the band is bigger overseas, their replacement for longtime drummer Mike Portnoy and much more.

“You know, I never feel like I’m quite ready,” says Petrucci about Dream Theater’s current European tour. “When I’m home, it’s a whole different set of circumstances. I’m married and have three kids, and so that includes all the business of things that go along with that. It’s kind of hard for me to imagine being away and not being there, and you know it’s kind of like you wear another hat.”

Petrucci continued to comment on the difference between playing the U.S. versus overseas. “When we tour in America, the shows are great, and the fans are just as passionate and excited as anywhere else in the world, but in other parts of the world, in parts of South America and in parts of Europe and Asia, the size of the venues and the amount of people we get at concerts is considerably more. Differences of playing to 20,000 people as a headliner as opposed to 5,000 or 6,000.”

Mike Mangini recently replaced former Dream Theater drummer and founding member Mike Portnoy after he left the band in 2010. “We debuted him live at an open-air festival in Rome … in July,” Petrucci shared about Mangini. “And the response and the reaction to him has been incredible. I really have a lot of respect for our fans and listeners of our music because they’re just very, very gracious about how they’ve accepted Mike and we couldn’t have anticipated a more positive reaction.”

Petrucci summed up his overall mindset regarding Dream Theater. “We’re fortunate to be able to make a living at this,” states Petrucci. “Sometimes when bands make changes things go in an opposite direction. But we’re very fortunate – the album debuted Top 10 again, the tour’s been successful, and there’s the Grammy nomination. We’re really at a great place and we’re very thankful. You see a lot of what’s going on with the economy … and see tours failing and bands breaking up and everything else, but we’re fortunate that we have the ability to continue and be successful. We don’t take that lightly, that’s for sure.”

Tonight (Jan. 23) the band is playing in Helsinki, Finland – just one stop in their latest world tour. To read the full John Petrucci interview, click here.

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