Did DREAM THEATER Draw Inspiration From Christian Rock Band?

A registered user of the DreamTheaterForums.org web site, which is described as the largest unofficial DREAM THEATER fan community on the Internet, has pointed out the alleged similarities between “Feed The Machine”, the opening song on “Until We Have Faces”, the third full-length studio album from American Christian rock band RED, and “Build Me Up, Break Me Down”, a track from the latest DREAM THEATER CD, “A Dramatic Turn Of Events”.

“Until We Have Faces” was released this past February and was selected by DREAM THEATER guitarist John Petrucci as his favorite album of 2011. The musician, who is responsible for the bulk of the songwriting in DREAM THEATER, told the Roadrunner Records web site, “I just love everything about the RED album. The songwriting, playing and production are all stellar!”

After a link to Petrucci‘s list of top albums of 2011 was posted on the official forum of former DREAM THEATER drummer Mike Portnoy, Portnoy took it upon himself to comment, “Check out the first song on [John Petrucci‘s] fave album of the year…. WOW, the arrangement and orchestration sounds awfully familiar!! Surely it must be an intentional ‘nugget’ for the fans… It couldn’t possibly be blatant formula plagiarism, now could it…?? I just have to laugh…”

Portnoy‘s post was met with a mixed bag of reactions from the fans on his forum, with some expressing their disappointment over the “classless” way he chose to bring up the topic and some suggesting that DREAM THEATER has always drawn “inspiration” from other bands, even while Mike was still a member of the group. This led to Portnoy‘s follow-up message in which he wrote, “Hey…I’m not trying to start a war…. and I am indeed totally in a happy place in my life and career… I’m just merely making an observation and posting openly on my own forum like I always have and always will… If anybody ELSE wants to blow this up, it’s their choice and doing…not mine!”

He added, “And PS – to defend music that I co-wrote/arranged (that were cited previously in this thread), there’s a difference between ‘inspiration corner’/’copping a certain vibe’ and blatantly re-writing an existing song or formula section by section…”

He continued, “Hey, I’m not mad…just merely sharing an observation as a listener…sorry, when I heard that RED song, it immediately jumped out at me and was pretty obvious.”

This past September, a longtime DREAM THEATER fan posted an article online which pointed out the alleged musical and structural similarities between “A Dramatic Turn Of Events” and the group’s breakthrough 1992 release, “Images And Words”.

When asked by Ultimate-Guitar.com for his response to the article, Petrucci said, “I think our fans enjoy analyzing our music and looking at things under a microscope and stuff, and it shows the level of passion from the fans for what we do. They look at what we’re doing, and they wanna know what’s going on. With every album people wanna try to find hidden messages and new meanings, secret nuggets and things like that. People have always searched for those types of things in our music. It shows how much our listeners are strongly interested in what we’re doing in a very detailed manner.”

He added, “We really like music. We have a certain thing that we try to accomplish musically, a certain sound that makes us who we are. The core elements of DREAM THEATER, of who we are and how we make music. Those are elements that are identifiable. That’s what gives the band its sound, and keeps the band having an identity.”

After being pressed to comment on the fan’s allegation that DREAM THEATER “simply rewrote ‘Images And Words’” for “A Dramatic Turn Of Events”, Petrucci said, “We wouldn’t rewrite an album, no. That wouldn’t be something that we would do.”

RED‘s “Feed The Machine”:


DREAM THEATER‘s “Build Me Up, Break Me Down”: