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“My friend Keith Leedham, who was two years older than me, turned me onto Marillion. ‘You’ve gotta hear this band!’ – that’s how that went. I listened to this album and was like, ‘Wow!’ I got lost in it. I can remember every moment about it. It’s one of those records that becomes the soundtrack for a certain point in your life.
“The most influential thing, besides the actual music, was Steve Rothery’s thematic guitar playing. You hear this a lot in Dream Theater, where the guitar takes on a theme. The guitar rides out a melody, and the melody becomes a focal point for a song. That’s the whole Marillion thing. If you can achieve the Rothery Misplaced Childhood approach, it’s like hitting nirvana!
“Also, it’s the first instance I can think of in progressive music where the lyrics are so soul-exposing. This isn’t some made-up story; you’re finding out what this person went through. Those emotions being sung in such an expressive way over this incredible music, it had a tremendous impact on me as a lyricist and songwriter.”