Petter Pettersson of the Swedish web magazine CriticalMass.se recently conducted an interview with vocalist James LaBrie of progressive metal giants DREAM THEATER. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
CriticalMass.se: So, James… you have recently released a new album that has been surrounded by a lot of turmoil, “A Dramatic Turn Of Events”. Are you happy about it?
James: I am ecstatic about it! Seriously, I think that it’s probably one of the strongest albums, song-wise, that we’ve ever written, as far as I’m concerned. It forced us to look much deeper inside of ourselves in order to pull out the best that we could do, due to the circumstances. People would be much more scrutinizing and maybe have more room for criticism than for other albums due to the change. So it was up to us to prove that we’re still the same band, and we had to write one of the best albums and I think we succeeded. We are all extremely pleased with the outcome.
CriticalMass.se: You must be sick to death answering questions about [former DREAM THEATER drummer Mike] Portnoy…
James: You know what? The fact is that, the truth is that people want to know what we’re thinking, how we feel about it. It doesn’t bother me if you put it in the correct perspective. It doesn’t become a nuisance, it’s just the reality.
CriticalMass.se: Have you talked to him since his departure?
James: No. No, I haven’t spoken with him. I mean, the fact is that we’ve been very busy doing this, getting ready. Just the setup for this release has been extremely time-consuming, and then it was setting up the promotion and it was all about the tour so really, no. None of us have spoken with Mike. And I wouldn’t say I’ll never speak with him again, but right now, the way things are going, it just hasn’t happened. And he’s extremely busy doing his stuff.
CriticalMass.se: Do you look at Mike [Mangini] as a full member of the band?
James: Absolutely! He was a full member when he was asked to join the band. He’s involved. He’s very passionate of what he’s doing, and he’s looking forward to this tour, in support of the new album, but he’s also extremely stoked and excited about getting in to the work for the next album, and showing to the world that it’s a deep well of untapped Mike Mangini talent.
CriticalMass.se: Are you going to focus on the newer stuff [on the upcoming tour], now with Mangini and all?
James: You’ll hear everything, I mean, the way we want to present the show is that obviously we have to give a big nod to our catalouge so obviously we are going to play the older material as well as the new material. And we have created what we think is a good balance between the old and the new. And the light show and video show we have going on is really phenomenal. Wherever we’ve played, the fans has been absolutely loving it, the whole new visuals that we have implemented. The whole stage setup and everything, it’s really cool! A great evening, both visually and sonically.
Read the entire interview from CriticalMass.se.