DREAM THEATER :  Interview with Jordan Rudess  

 face to face interview  by Christian "Adrimir" Bengtsson__  

at Hovet - Stockholm   22.01.2004 - Train of Thought world tour  2004 


organized by  Mrs. Astrid LaSala  (Warner Music _CH)  and GryphonMetal.ch    

Jordan Rudess and Christian               




CB: Mr. Jordan Rudess, welcome back to Sweden. How do you feel?

JR: I feel good.

CB: Are you nervous for tonight?

JR: No, I don't really have time to be nervous. All the travels, rehearsals, soundchecks, programming the sounds etc. has kept me pretty busy.

CB: So how many shows have you done so far?

JR: This is the sixth one, I think.

CB: Ok, so youve been at it for a while now?

JR: Yeah, a couple of weeks.

CB: Well, I guess I better start the interview, if that's ok?

JR: Sure *smiles*

CB: With the last album you proved that you could handle heavy music, and with this new album you've taken it one step further (to my delight). Was that something that came naturally, or did you have to sort of "think outside the frames"?

JR: Band-wise or personally?

CB: Ah...both perhaps? *laughs*

JR: *laughs* Well, band-wise we felt that it was a natural step to take. Personally, I have my background in classical piano, since I studied at Juilliard in New York. But I started using synthesizers when they became popular. So I feel I can compose for almost any type of music.

CB: So do you maintain your abilities as a classical pianist, or are you more drawn towards progressive music?

JR: I still listen to classical at times, but I don't play it as often as before.

CB: The new album contains alot of heavy songs, but also one song that I absolutely love. The song "Vacant".

JR: Yeah, that song was kind of funny. It started with John (Myung) playing a bass-line in the rehearsalroom, and I was thinking "Hey...that sounds good man.." so I came up with the piano for it. The whole thing was recorded in like an hour. Then the other guys came in and said "we like it" but we didn't know if it was the right kind of song for this album, but we said "No, it'll be a nice break amongst the others". Also we didn't know if we should keep it instrumental or add vocals, but James came up with the lyrics and we liked it.

CB: And the cello?

JR: The cello was recorded by an old friend of mine, Eugene Friesen. A highly talented cellist.

CB: ...I have to ask this...In the song "This Dying Soul" there is a part that resembles the band Slipknot, and on the back of the booklet for the cd I can see the word, or name, "Slicknut". 

JR: *laughs* Really? Where?

CB: Right there. Second row.

JR: Oh right. I must've missed that. Slicknut? Hmmm...that must be something of Mike's gear.


MP: Sorry to interrupt.

CB: Oh, that's ok *smiling from ear to ear*

JR: Hey Mike, you ever heard of Slicknut?

MP: Slipknot?

JR: No Slick-nut!

MP: Oh yeah, that's the nuts that keep my cymbals in place. You don't have to screw them off, you just push a button and it sort of pops off. Why were you asking Jordan that?

CB: I mistook it as a joke towards the band Slipknot.

MP: Oh, ok. Again, sorry to interrupt, I'll be going. *leaves the room*

CB: Where were we? Right, I was going to ask you about "Scenes from a memory". I saw the DVD first, before I heard the album.

JR: Oh, that's odd...kind of backwards.

CB: Yeah, I know. But one thing that I noticed was in the song "The Dance of Eternity" there was a ragtime-part. When I first heard it I couldn't stop laughing.

JR: Yeah, we were just playing around at rehearsals and I took a variation of the theme and put a ragtime edge on it. Everybody laughed, but it sounded good so we kept it. We are generally a very serious band, with the complex music, different timings and measures and so on, so it's always nice to add something that sounds totally different. Not only for ourselves but also for the listener it's nice to have those breaks that makes you laugh.

CB: So it was just an idea that came instantly? Are there any of those on the new album?

JR: Well, not any ragtime-parts, but "Endless Sacrifice" has a funny little break in it.

CB: I also know that you orchestrated the gospel choir for "Live scenes from New York".

JR: Yes, I went to a room outside the rehearsalroom without any keyboard, sat down and put on a pair of headphones and listened to the recorded material and sketched out some parts for the choir. Actually I was a little nervous about that, because I only had like an hour before the choir arrived. Fortunately it worked out fine.

CB: I wanted to ask you a little about the song-writing contest from your website.

JR: Yeah..

CB: You got like, 54 entries, right?

JR: Yeah, we got alot of contributions. There are some very talented people out there. I was amazed that they could use some notes that we take down and work with it and make songs of themselves. We listened to all of them and we got to a point where we just had to pick a winner. 

CB: I stumbled upon one of the entries on the internet.

JR: Really? Was it any good?

CB: Yeah it was very good. I could've easily mistaken it for one of your songs.

JR: I know what you mean. Amazing what the kids can do today with computers. Kids today are so technical.

CB: Indeed they are. Thank you very much for this conversation, I only have one last question for you.

JR: Sure, go ahead.

CB: This is the "Game of Emptiness". It's not as melodramatic as it sounds. Imagine you are going on a drive from New York to Los Angeles. Your car is totally empty. What would be the first thing you put in it? The first thing you pack?

JR: My iPod.

CB: What's that?

JR: It's a little portable disc-drive that carries all of my music. For a long drive like that you have to have your music.

CB: Yeah, I would probably take something similar. Again, thank you very much.

JR: No problem. Are you staying for the show?

CB: Of course, I wouldn't miss it for the world.

JR: Ok, cool *smiles*

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