John Petrucci

Last updated
John Petrucci
Dreamtheater - Wacken Open Air 2015-1619.jpg
Petrucci performing with Dream Theater at Wacken, 2015
Background information
Birth nameJohn Peter Petrucci
Born (1967-07-12) July 12, 1967 (age 52)
Kings Park, Long Island, New York, U.S.
Genres
Occupation(s)
  • Musician
  • songwriter
  • producer
InstrumentsGuitar, vocals
Years active1984–present
Labels
Associated acts
Website johnpetrucci.com

John Peter Petrucci (born July 12, 1967) is an American guitarist, composer and producer. He is best known as a founding member of the progressive metal band Dream Theater. He produced or co-produced (often with former member Mike Portnoy before he departed the band in 2010) all of Dream Theater's albums from Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory (1999) to Distance Over Time (2019), and has been the sole producer of the band's albums released since A Dramatic Turn of Events (2011).

Contents

Petrucci has performed as the third guitarist on the G3 tour seven times, more than any other invited guitarist. He was voted "Best Prog guitarist" by The Prog Magazine [1] and the "Greatest Guitarist" by Burrn magazine [2] and Mariskalrock. [3] Guitar World magazine lists Petrucci among the "Fastest Guitarists of All Time" [4] and calls him "the most celebrated and popular guitarist in the world of progressive metal" and "arguably the most versatile and proficient player in his realm, with a highly developed melodic sense and an alternate picking technique that is virtually untouchable as far as speed and precision", while also ranking him among the top 5 "Best Guitarists of the Decade". [5]

In 2019, Petrucci won the SENA Performers European Award. [6] Joel McIver's 2009 book The 100 Greatest Metal Guitarists ranks Petrucci second, after Dave Mustaine. [7] He was also named as one of the "Top 10 Greatest Guitar Shredders of All Time" by GuitarOne magazine. [8] In 2012, Petrucci was ranked the 17th greatest guitarist of all time by a Guitar World magazine reader's poll. [9] . Petrucci's signature guitar model "Majesty" (by Ernie Ball Music Man) is the best selling signature guitar model of all time, according to Forbes. [10]

Biography

John Peter Petrucci was born on July 12, 1967, in Kings Park, New York, to an Italian American family. He picked up the guitar at around the age of eight because his older sister was allowed to go to bed later in order to practice the organ. However, he decided to quit the guitar when his attempts to stay up late were unsuccessful. He picked up the guitar again at the age of 12. Petrucci has said he committed to practicing guitar 6 hours a day when he discovered it was his passion. His early influences were bands like Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, AC/DC, and later developed an interest in progressive rock and heavy metal, exemplified by Rush, Yes, Iron Maiden, Dixie Dregs and Metallica. [11] [12]

Eventually, his childhood friend and future Dream Theater keyboardist Kevin Moore invited Petrucci to join his cover band. Petrucci attended Berklee College of Music in Boston with childhood friend John Myung (bass), where they met future bandmate Mike Portnoy (drums). While in Berklee they often covered two of their biggest influences, Iron Maiden and Rush. These three, in addition to Kevin Moore, formed the band Majesty. Because there was already another band with the same name, the group later became Dream Theater.

While Petrucci is most commonly associated with Dream Theater, he is also in the project band Liquid Tension Experiment, and has appeared as a guest on records by other artists, such as the Age of Impact album by the Explorer's Club.

Petrucci has released a guitar instructional video, Rock Discipline, which covers warm-up exercises, exercises to avoid injury while playing, alternate picking, sweep picking, chords and other techniques for developing one's guitar playing. Petrucci also has a book named "Guitar World presents John Petrucci's Wild Stringdom", which was compiled from columns he wrote for Guitar World magazine under that title.

In 2001, Joe Satriani and Steve Vai invited Petrucci to tour with them on the popular G3 guitar tour, which exposed him to a massive number of new fans and inspired a solo album. The album, Suspended Animation , was released on March 1, 2005, and was available for order from his web site. Petrucci also appeared on the 2005 and 2006 G3 tours, and in 2007, went on G3 tour again, this time with Paul Gilbert and Joe Satriani. In a recent video with Larry DiMarzio, Petrucci announced that he is working on a follow-up to his 2005 album, Suspended Animation and a new Dream Theater album. [13]

Petrucci also wrote and recorded two instrumental soundtrack songs for a Sega Saturn game titled Digital Pinball: Necronomicon. Each track is roughly two minutes long, and are named simply Prologue and Epilogue. In a spoof rock band, Nightmare Cinema (which was the Dream Theater members changing instruments for encores), he used the "alternate stage name" Johnny James.

In 2012, Petrucci was invited once again to join Joe Satriani on the G3 tour, along with Steve Morse. He was accompanied by bassist Dave LaRue and drummer and Dream Theater bandmate Mike Mangini.

Dream Theater bandmate Jordan Rudess revealed in an interview that Petrucci is a practicing Catholic. [14] He currently lives in St. James, New York, with his wife Rena Sands, a guitarist in the all-female heavy metal band Meanstreak, and they have three children—twins Samantha and Renato, and Kiara. He is the uncle of Jake Bowen, a guitarist in the progressive metal band Periphery. He is also an avid fan of bodybuilding and dedicates much of his off time to weight training. He is a voting member of NARAS. [15]

In 2018, Petrucci joined Joe Satriani on the G3 tour. They were accompanied by Uli Jon Roth on the European leg of the tour, and Phil Collen in North America. His second solo album, titled Terminal Velocity will be released in 2020. [16]

Musical style

Guitar technique

Petrucci in 2012 John Petrucci - 01.jpg
Petrucci in 2012

Petrucci is respected for his variety of guitar styles and skills. One of the most notable of these is his high-speed alternate picking which, as he himself claims, requires a "strong sense of synchronization between the two [playing] hands." John is notable for frequent use of the seven-string electric guitar, which he says he uses as a writing tool, taking advantage of the extended range for heavier riffing and to play extended range runs as part of a solo. Moreover, Petrucci often combines his metal shredding technique with a slower, emotive soloing style. His influences as a guitarist include Jimmy Page, [17] Brian May, [17] Eddie Van Halen, [17] Steve Morse, Al Di Meola, Steve Howe, Allan Holdsworth, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Randy Rhoads, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Alex Lifeson, Yngwie Malmsteen and David Gilmour. [12] [18]

Lyrics

Petrucci is Dream Theater's most prolific lyricist, with each album including at least three songs featuring his lyrics. Some of Petrucci's notable songs include "Metropolis, Pt. 1: The Miracle and the Sleeper", "The Spirit Carries On", "The Great Debate", "In the Presence of Enemies", and "Through Her Eyes". Petrucci has occasionally used real-life experiences for lyrical inspiration, as heard in songs such as "The Count of Tuscany", "A Nightmare to Remember" and "Endless Sacrifice".

Singing

Petrucci has acted as a backing vocalist live since the Awake Tour. He is a baritone, producing a sound darker than that of James LaBrie's tenor voice. He has also written vocal melodies for Dream Theater. Petrucci's role as a vocalist expanded following the departure of Mike Portnoy, who had been Dream Theater's primary backing vocalist and occasionally even shared lead vocals with LaBrie. In live performances, Petrucci now replicates some vocal parts originally sung by Portnoy, with others being recorded samples.

Equipment

Petrucci is a long-time user of Music Man JP and Majesty series guitars and Mesa/Boogie amplifiers. While his pedalboard, controller, effects and overdrives have undergone changes over the years, the core of Petrucci's guitar sound remains Dimarzio pickups and Mesa/Boogie amplifiers. Most recently the signature JP-2C amplifier based on the Mark IIC+ series and other Mark and Rectifier series amplifiers, such as during the recording of Train of Thought. [19] [20] [21]

A number of brands have released signature guitar equipment designed or endorsed by Petrucci:

At the beginning of 2016 two new releases were announced: the Dunlop John Petrucci signature Cry-Baby wah, and the Mesa/Boogie JP-2C John Petrucci head, a three-channel amplifier which is available both as a stand-alone amp head and as a rack-mounted amp head, and differs from other Mesa/Boogie Mark series amps in that it features two separate graphic EQs, midi controllable and channel assignable, "Shred" circuit and "pull" functionality on several settings resulting in increased versatility. [22]

Discography

Solo albums

With Dream Theater

Studio albums

With Liquid Tension Experiment

With G3

With Jordan Rudess

As a guest

Others

Videography

YearTitleNotes
1993 Images and Words: Live in Tokyo First Dream Theater live DVD. Includes extended version of "Take the Time."
1995Rock Discipline – VHSJohn Petrucci does a DVD on guitar warmups, tricks, exercises, and his gear.
1998 5 Years in a LIVEtime The only live Dream Theater DVD with Derek Sherinian.
2001 Metropolis 2000: Scenes From New York
2002Rock Discipline – DVD
2004 Live at Budokan
2005 G3: Live in Tokyo
2006 Score 2DVD's recorded at Radio City Music Hall on April 1, 2006 New York, US Celebrating Dream Theater's 20th Anniversary. They performed this concert with a symphony orchestra.
2007Chaos in Progress: The Making of Systematic Chaos DVD included in the special edition of Systematic Chaos
2008 Chaos in Motion 2007–2008 Released September 30, 2008. Documents the band's 2007/2008 Chaos in Motion and Progressive Nation tours.
2013 Live at Luna Park
2014 Breaking the Fourth Wall 2DVD's recorded live at the Boston Opera House on March 25, 2014, released on September 29, 2014 on CD, DVD, and Blu-ray.

Related Research Articles

Dream Theater American progressive metal band

Dream Theater is an American progressive metal band formed in 1985 under the name Majesty by John Petrucci, John Myung and Mike Portnoy while they attended Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. They subsequently dropped out of their studies to concentrate further on the band that would eventually become Dream Theater. Though a number of lineup changes followed, the three original members remained together until September 8, 2010, when Portnoy left the band. Mike Mangini was announced as the new permanent drummer on April 29, 2011. In 1991, James LaBrie joined replacing Charlie Dominici as the lead singer of the band and has been the singer ever since. The band's first keyboardist, Kevin Moore, left the band after three albums and was replaced by Derek Sherinian in 1995 after a period of touring. After one album with Sherinian, the band replaced him with current keyboardist Jordan Rudess in 1999.

Liquid Tension Experiment American band

Liquid Tension Experiment (LTE) was an instrumental progressive metal band founded by Mike Portnoy, then Dream Theater's drummer, in 1997. The band has released two albums through Magna Carta Records. A third album, with the absence of John Petrucci was released in 2007 under the name "Liquid Trio Experiment". A live album with the absence of Jordan Rudess (mostly) was released in 2009 under the name "Liquid Trio Experiment 2". Three live albums and two videos were released in 2009 by the complete band.

Jordan Rudess American keyboardist and composer

Jordan Rudess is an American keyboardist and composer best known as a member of the progressive metal band Dream Theater and the progressive metal supergroup Liquid Tension Experiment.

Mike Portnoy American drummer, songwriter

Michael Stephen Portnoy is an American musician and songwriter who is the current drummer for The Neal Morse Band and supergroups Flying Colors, Transatlantic, The Winery Dogs, Metal Allegiance and Sons of Apollo. Portnoy is primarily known as the former drummer, backing vocalist, and a co-founder of the progressive metal band Dream Theater. In September 2010, Portnoy announced his departure from Dream Theater after 25 years, with Mike Mangini taking his place as drummer of the band. Since his departure, Portnoy has formed a variety of new bands and projects, including Adrenaline Mob, Flying Colors, The Winery Dogs, Sons of Apollo, Metal Allegiance, and BPMD.

<i>Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory</i> 1999 studio album by Dream Theater

Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory is the fifth studio album and first concept album by American progressive metal band Dream Theater, released on October 26, 1999 through Elektra Records. It was recorded at BearTracks Studios in Suffern, New York, where the band had previously recorded their second studio album Images and Words (1992) and the EP A Change of Seasons (1995).

<i>Train of Thought</i> (Dream Theater album) 2003 studio album by Dream Theater

Train of Thought is the seventh studio album by American progressive metal band Dream Theater, released on November 11, 2003 through Elektra Records.

<i>Awake</i> (Dream Theater album) 1994 studio album by Dream Theater

Awake is the third studio album by American progressive metal band Dream Theater, released on October 4, 1994 through East West Records. It was the last Dream Theater album to feature keyboardist Kevin Moore, who announced his decision to leave the band during the recording of the album.

Derek Sherinian American keyboardist

Derek Sherinian is an American keyboardist who has toured and recorded for Alice Cooper, Billy Idol, Yngwie Malmsteen, Steve Vai, and Joe Bonamassa. He was also a member of Dream Theater from 1994 to 1999, is the founder of Planet X and also one of the founding members of Black Country Communion and Sons of Apollo. He has released seven solo albums that have featured a variety of prominent guest musicians, including guitarists Slash, Yngwie Malmsteen, Allan Holdsworth, Steve Lukather, Joe Bonamassa, Billy Sheehan, Zakk Wylde and Al Di Meola.

<i>Live at Budokan</i> (Dream Theater album) live album by Dream Theater

Live at Budokan is a live recording released by progressive metal band Dream Theater on October 5, 2004, available on either 3 CDs, 2 DVDs, or 1 Blu-ray Disc. It was recorded at the Nippon Budokan Hall on April 26, 2004 in Tokyo, Japan.

<i>Octavarium</i> 2005 studio album by Dream Theater

Octavarium is the eighth studio album by American progressive metal band Dream Theater. Released on June 7, 2005, it was the band's final release with Atlantic Records. Recorded between September 2004 and February 2005, it was the last album recorded at The Hit Factory in New York City. With it, the band decided to create "a classic Dream Theater album", drawing upon their various stylistic influences while trying to make the music less complex. The album takes its creative concept from the musical octave.

"Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence" is the sixth song and title track on the album of the same name, written and performed by progressive metal/rock band Dream Theater. Though the song is essentially broken up into eight movements on separate tracks, it lasts 42 minutes in full and takes up the entire second CD of the album. The song was conceived when keyboardist Jordan Rudess wrote what would become the "Overture" section, and the band took various melodies and ideas contained within it and expanded them into segments of the complete piece. The song explores the stories of six individuals suffering from various mental illnesses. Particularly represented are bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia, post-partum depression, autism, and dissociative identity disorder.

<i>Systematic Chaos</i> 2007 studio album by Dream Theater

Systematic Chaos is the ninth studio album by American progressive metal band Dream Theater. Released on June 4, 2007 in the United Kingdom and June 5, 2007 in the United States, Systematic Chaos was the band's first release through Roadrunner Records, which was sold to their previous label Atlantic Records, through which the band had released their previous studio album Octavarium (2005). The album was recorded from September 2006 to February 2007 at Avatar Studios in New York City, after the band's first break from summer touring in ten years. The lyrics of the album were written by John Petrucci, James LaBrie, and Mike Portnoy about fictional, political, and personal topics, respectively.

<i>Black Clouds & Silver Linings</i> 2009 studio album by Dream Theater

Black Clouds & Silver Linings is the tenth studio album by American progressive metal band Dream Theater, released on June 23, 2009 through Roadrunner Records. It is the band's last album to feature drummer and founding member Mike Portnoy before his departure on September 8, 2010. The album was recorded between October 2008 and March 2009 at Avatar Studios in New York City, where they previously recorded Falling Into Infinity (1997) and Systematic Chaos (2007). Black Clouds & Silver Linings was produced by John Petrucci and Portnoy, and was engineered and mixed by Paul Northfield.

The Twelve-step Suite is a set of five songs by American progressive metal and rock band Dream Theater. One song was featured on each Dream Theater studio album from Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence to Black Clouds & Silver Linings.

Wither (Dream Theater song) Dream Theater song

Wither is a single by the progressive metal band Dream Theater, released on September 15, 2009. The single contains the album version of the song "Wither", an alternative version of "Wither" with vocals and piano only, a demo of "Wither" with John Petrucci on vocals, and a demo of "The Best of Times" with Mike Portnoy on vocals. It is the band's last official release with Portnoy, who left the band in September 2010. This is the only studio release without the Majesty symbol in its front cover.

<i>A Dramatic Turn of Events</i> 2011 studio album by Dream Theater

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Metropolis 2000 Tour was the main world tour by progressive metal/rock band Dream Theater, promoting Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory album. The tour began January 31, 2000 in Phoenix, Arizona, US, and concluded October 21, 2000 in London, England. The tour to support the album was unusual in that every show started with a full performance of the entire album, something the band had never done before with any of their previous albums.

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