Dream Theater's John Petrucci Talks About Life on the Road

Posted by Michael Mueller on June 13, 2012 at 9:36 AM

Prog-metal titans Dream Theater are currently gearing up for their upcoming North American tour in support of their 2011 release A Dramatic Turn of Events, which features the band's first-ever Grammy nomination for the single "On the Backs of Angels." John Petrucci recently took time to answer some questions about life on the road.

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How do you navigate the challenge of keeping in touch with loved ones while traveling?
While international data plans on cell phones and Wi-Fi access just about everywhere have made this a lot easier than it was 10 years ago, it can still be difficult. It's especially hard when the time zone I'm in is so off from New York, like Asia or Australia for example. Being flipped around by 180 degrees is confusing for everyone! Sometimes a quick text or FB message just to connect can be just the thing to bridge the gap between phone calls or Skype sessions. Obviously the best thing is when my family joins me on tour!

Do you unpack or live out of your suitcase on the road?
With the exception of setting up my computer and devices each day, I find that it's best not to spread out too much and to keep things in the suitcase. This way there is less of a chance of leaving something behind.

On a day off in a city, what do you do with your time? How do you find out which restaurants to go to?
The first thing I do is find a gym and get a good workout in. I also find that I can usually fit in a healthy practice or writing session. The privacy of a hotel room coupled with the occasional jet lag makes for a very creative headspace! Honestly, sometimes it's great to just relax and catch up on some TV shows or watch a movie. There are amazing restaurants all around the world and usually we communicate with one another as to which cool spot someone may have stumbled upon in town. Sometimes just a quick e-mail to say that the room service is good works as well!

Have you ever had a rough time going through customs?
It's sort of hit or miss. Usually things go pretty smoothly with no questions asked. Other times, however, seemingly for no reason, they will pull you aside and go through every bag in detail. It's a real pain and when you're traveling with a group of 20 or more people—it becomes a major inconvenience!

Is there one item that you always bring on tour to remind you of home?
It's difficult being away from my home, wife and kids. Everything reminds me of them! I do have hundreds of pictures in my photo library on my phone and computer that I constantly scroll through to help bring me closer.

What is your favorite album or songs to play on the long travel days?
Travel days are great for catching up on new music that I've been looking forward to checking out. Just sitting on an airplane for hours with no distractions (apart from those annoying captain addresses) ensures a great listening environment and my undivided attention.

For all the latest Dream Theater news, including their upcoming tour dates, please visit DreamTheater.net.


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