What is your opinion of Ringo? – Elizabeth T.
“Ringo was the first influence on me, so I don’t think that I could have a better opinion. He’s got a confidence that is so amazing. You really have to appreciate how he played rock ‘n’ roll on stage with a smile on his face in situations where he only had a microphone or two. He knows who he is and he’s confident – that’s my evaluation of him. He’s solid, a solid influence.”
Of the older Dream Theater songs that you’ve played live, which one gave you the biggest fight to master? – Big Norm
“The ones from the first album, and the reason why is because of the tempos. They’re all over the place, up and down – there’s changes everywhere. They’re uniquely recorded, played a certain way at that time. For me to match that means that I have to match that same feeling, and it takes a long time to know the little fluctuations to reflect how it is.
“Yet, I don’t really have to reflect how it is. The way I am with Dream Theater now is the way I play those songs. That’s exactly what my plan is.”
Of the songs on the new album, which one was the most challenging for you? – Randall Walker
“The Looking Glass took the longest for me to get, and it’s because I improvised the most on it. But you know, that goes back to the older tracks. Whenever there wasn’t a lot of time for those guys to mull over their parts and they just kind of had to play stuff, all of that comes out of an improvisational base. Those things are hard to replicate for anybody.
“The Looking Glass was the most improvised track on the new album. I had to catch a train home, so I really whipped it out – I just played it and left! [Laughs] Later on, I had to go back and hear what I did. There’s so much cymbal work on it, with layers and layers of sticking, and it’s hard for me to hear in that frequency range. And I was improvising.”