My Cart

0 items in your order

John Petrucci

Dream Theater

"It's that desire to want to create. Why do artists draw and why do writers write? Because you have to." Watch John Petrucci of Dream Theater dive into his creative process and why he’s always played with Ernie Ball.

Transcript

John Petrucci:
In the neighborhood that I grew up in in New York on Long Island, there were a lot of musicians. For some reason that time in history and in our town in New York, everybody played, so it was all around me, tons of garage bands, things like that. I'd just walk up, see people playing.

John Petrucci:
I used to kind of have these reoccurring dreams that I played guitar, which I thought was so bizarre and it all sort of fit together at some point and I said, "I want to play guitar."

John Petrucci:
I was always a creative kind of person. I was into writing and drawing and painting and music is another aspect of that, but I think it was really being in the right place at the right time, being surrounded by so many musicians in a real vibrant scene with a lot of young players.

John Petrucci:
Growing up as a kid on Long Island, I mean at some point early on when I started to play guitar and really put in the hours and get really into it, I kind of had tunnel vision where this, I knew this is what I wanted to do. I didn't want to do anything else. I wasn't interested in anything else. I wanted to go to Berkeley College of Music because that's where Steve Vai went and these different guys. I was total tunnel vision and even things like being a fan of a band, like Iron Maiden, going to see them play and going to an arena where there's 15,000 fans wearing the t-shirt and the band is up on stage with all this production. You watch a video of them touring the world and meeting the fans and signing things and that interaction, that even made it worse. I was like, "This is what I'm going to do with my life."

John Petrucci:
Early on in my career I was really into the volume pedal techniques that somebody like Steve Howe or Alex Lifeson would use. Alex, I don't know if he was even using a pedal. He might've been using his volume now, but that effect made me really interested in using a volume pedal and right away I used an Ernie Ball pedal. It started with the pedals and then moved onto the strings and then of course, the guitars.

John Petrucci:
The thing that keeps me interested in playing guitar and performing, it is the creative bug that I have inside me. It's something that it doesn't really go away. It's sort of on at all times. Even if I just recorded something or just released an album or did something creatively, it turns right back on. It's kind of like a hunger. You have a big meal and a few hours later you have to eat again.

John Petrucci:
I personally have all this stuff going on in my head as far as musical ideas and my whole philosophy was I don't ever want to be hindered technically by my ability to play or not be able to play an idea that I hear. The technique that I developed was just meant to facilitate the ideas that I had. That creative part and that emotional part, it always has to come from a real genuine place inside you. Again, it's that desire to want to create. It's like why do artists draw and why they're writers write? It's like because you have to.

John Petrucci:
It really is about the music. I'm playing, I'm looking out into the audience and when you see people grooving along to the songs, smiling, clapping, singing along, whatever, they don't care about the scale that you just play. Maybe some guitar players do, but the bigger picture is that everyone is getting into the music and how the music is reaching them, what it means to them, the memories it created in their lives. Being able to share that with people who you don't even know, but you're having this interaction, that's amazing. That's what it's all about.

John Petrucci:
If you can somehow keep that bigger perspective and not focus so much on the small perspective, little minutiae of playing guitar, which is easy to get sucked into, I get sucked into it. But if you can kind of open your mind up to that music is like the sharing experience, I think it gives you a better, just a better mindset as far as creating and puts you in the right place.

We use technologies, such as cookies, to customize content and advertising, to provide social media features and to analyze traffic to the site. We also share information about your use of our site with our trusted social media, advertising, and analytics partners. You indicate your consent to this use by clicking “I Agree” or by continuing to use this website. View details.