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You’ve worked with Neal Morse on a variety of projects. Why do you like playing with him so much?
“Man, I can’t say enough about my relationship with Neal. First of all, on a musical level, he’s one of my favorite songwriters in the world. I put him up there with John Lennon, Roger Waters and Pete Townshend. His music just really moves me and touches me.
“There’s the side of me that’s a fan, but there’s also the side of me that’s a musical collaborator. We’ve now done, I think, 15 studio albums together between Flying Colors, Transatlantic and his solo catalogue. He and I have a tremendous musical relationship and a chemistry that works so easily. There’s so much respect between the two of us and mutual admiration.
“And then there’s the personal side. He’s one of my dearest friends and is one of the most positive spirits I’ve ever known. Beyond the musical side, I think that’s one of the reasons I like working with him so much. He’s been a huge positive influence on me, as a person and as a father and as a husband. My sobriety and his Christianity – there’s a lot in common there. And he helps me with that; he helps me to be a better person.”
You sing on the album, as you have on other records and in other bands. Are you surprised that some people might still say, “I didn’t know he could sing”?
[Laughs] “It is amazing. You’d think, at this point, anybody who’s been following my career would have noticed. In Dream Theater I did most of my singing. In Transatlantic I sing lead as well as lot of background vocals – same with Flying Colors, and the same with Yellow Matter Custard, my Beatles tribute. And like I said, I did a tremendous amount within Dream Theater. I did a tremendous amount of secondary lead vocals and harmonies, and I wrote a huge amount of lyrics and melodies within the band. You’d think a lot of people would know by now, but I guess not everybody pays attention.
“For me, this is one of the great things about Transatlantic, that you’ve got four people singing, four distinct voices contributing to the music. All of my favorite bands have had all four members singing. Obviously, The Beatles are a great example; maybe a lesser example is KISS. In Pink Floyd, you had three of the guys singing; Queen had three of the guys singing. I’ve always appreciated the variety in those bands."