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“I was a huge Al Di Meola fan. Casino was a big record for me, especially when I started getting better on the guitar and wanted to push myself. It blew me away. And from the Casino album, I got turned onto Return To Forever.
“It’s probably more from the fusion side of things – like The Dregs, who were another very fusion band, as well – but that’s an important element in Dream Theater. When we got together, not only were we only into the prog side – the Yes side, the Rush side, the long songs and the storytelling – but we were also into the Maiden metal side.
“We used all of that with fusion, a strong emphasis on instrumental fireworks – everybody striving to be at the top of their game on their instruments, being able to improvise, reacting to sections of music that just went off.
“A lot of progressive bands have some of that element, but it’s more prevalent in fusion bands, where you’re expected to be a monster. It’s all in there on this record.”