DREAM THEATER’s JOHN PETRUCCI: ‘I’ve Never Been Impressed With Shredders’

Total Guitar, Europe’s best-selling guitar magazine, caught up with DREAM THEATER‘s John Petrucci and PERIPHERY founder Misha Mansoor at the bands’ landmark Wembley Arena show in London to talk guitar for a cover feature in the publication’s April issue. An excerpt from the story follows below.

Total Guitar: How does it feel that such ambitious music is selling out Wembley?

Misha Mansoor: “Well, it’s not our music: it’s his! We’re not selling out a damn thing!”

John Petrucci: “It’s great. I still remember our first time coming to London to play the Marquee. Growing up as a kid, it was 10 of us raving about the new RUSH album and way into progressive music, but that pocket of kids was as far as it went. Now it’s still pockets of kids, but it’s all out there on the Internet. I always felt there was an audience for this music in the world, it was just a matter of tapping into it.”

Misha Mansoor: “DREAM THEATER, I think, are one of the last bands who’ll be able to play music on this level. There’s so much competition, so many bands, all accessible within seconds on YouTube and Facebook… it’s created an even playing field, but there’s less money to go around. I feel lucky to witness this kind of a tour, even as an opener. It’s tough right now.”

Total Guitar: What do you think of each other’s technique and sound?

Misha Mansoor: “[deadpan] I think his sucks.”

John Petrucci: “I’m working on it. I love Misha‘s sound. It has aggression, but there’s clarity and it has a personality: it sounds like your tone is talking. You know, PERIPHERY has a sound, and I’ll show my age here, but I have two 16-year-olds and their buddies are so into his style. It’s like you’ve started off a new generation. They’ll say to me, ‘Why can’t you play something like that?'”

Misha Mansoor: “Ah, you’re making me cry here! When I was 17, I decided that I needed to become John Petrucci. I’m not joking. Until that point, it was just powerchords, but then I went out and bought a Petrucci seven-string and learned as much DREAM THEATER as humanly possible. I realized really fast that it was not gonna happen. The hardest part was the alternate picking. I’ve always been rubbish at alternate picking! That was definitely a challenge. This is the master; you can hear the pick attack on every note and it’s always locked in perfectly. More abstract was that it seemed every note was perfectly chosen. I’ve never been impressed with shredders. Y’know, people who turn it into a sport…”

John Petrucci: “It’s just wankery.”

Misha Mansoor: “Pure guitar wankery. That’s a good British word. We’re trying here, us Americans!”

The full interview with John and Misha features in Total Guitar issue 226, along with an exclusive lesson from John Petrucci.

You can buy the digital edition via iTunes and Zinio.

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