Epigram for the last straw - Derek Sherinian Interview WWW0.ORG / PROG Last actual Update: 12 Feb 2002

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Here is a Derek Sherinian Interview from October 1999

By John Vidiadakis

Let's start from the present and future...You have released an  album by Magna Carta, and everybody is curious to know some more details  on your band and on the album. How was it formed, and what's the  acceptance the press and the fans have showed until now? How would you  describe its musical style?

The response to "Planet X " has been outstanding! it is receiving rave reviews all over the world, understandibly so. The album was written by Virgil Donati and I the last 3 months of 1998 and recorded in january 1999.

Is there a band called Planet X or the whole matter is just your solo  project? What are the future plans for this matter anyway? 

I want to make clear that PLANET X is now a band. Tony MacAlpine has joined forces with Virgil and I and we are finishing our debut CD "Universe" which will be out sometime in 2000. With a new millennium, it is time for new heroes. PLANET X looks forward to rising to the forefront of instrumental prog fusion.

I know you're surely tired of answering this question, but we can't avoid it anyway... What happened finally with Dream Theater that led to your departure? Musical differences, personal ones, what? What's your  relationship with them now? 

I was fired from Dream Theatre in January 1999. I was in the middle of recording my solo record in my studio The Leopard Room, and I received a phone call from the guys saying that they were going to use another keyboard player. I was shocked, but I know in my heart that I was hardly the weak link in that band. Also my rock and roll spirit didnt match up with their personalities. I wish them the best and have no hard feelings.

You came about one and a half year ago in Greece for a live with Dream Theater that blew all of us here away. What's your memories from this gig? Is it true that your origin has something to do with Greece? 

My family from my mother's side is from the greek island of Nissiros. That show in Athens was one of the highlights of my career. I was playing for my people, and I had a very warm feeling in my heart. 

Until now, what's your general memories from your cooperation with Dream Theater, Kiss and Alice Cooper? What's the thing you gained as an artist and as a person from your collaboration with all these great artists?

With Kiss and Alice cooper, it was so much fun!! It was a total circus atmosphere and I was truly living the rock and roll dream. That all comes out in the spirit of the music. In dream theatre, the one positive thing I can say, is that it opened the  public's eyes to me, and It was the perfect
stepping stone to launch PLANET X. Last week marked my 10 year annivesary with Alice Cooper!

Which are the artists that you would name as your influences? How would you define your personal playing style? 

I am greatly influenced by Eddie Van Halen even though he is a guitarist. I am all about soul and style. It is much more important for me to have my style and sound immediately identified, then it is to play scales at blistering speeds. I know that I definetly have my own style. I would define it as fierce.

There were some people who blamed you for "Falling into infinity", since, according to them, the album was a commercial, easy listening one, and you were responsible for this new direction of Dream Theater. What would you say to them?

It is simply not true. My main contributions to that CD was 'Lines in the Sand" which was the coolest song on that album, and "New millennium" Other members were busy writing with Desmond Child. Look at the Songbook and you can see who is credited with doing what.

Also anyone with ears could determine after one listen of PLANET X that I was
not the problem on FII.

Platypus and Explorers Club... what are your memories from these two co-operations with some great artists? Are there any plans for something similar in the future?

Platypus was a very fun side project, it was an honor to be able to work with Rod Morgenstein. Explorer's Club was the fastest session I have ever done. I went in and played 2 solos and walked out.

What do you think on prog rock and prog metal scene nowadays? Does it deserve to carry the term "progressive"?

I think that Progressive Rock or Prog metal has turned into Spinal Tap. These bands try to be so profound, and they are all so boring.  What ever happened to the spirit of the great bands like ELP and YES?  Keith Emerson sticking knives in his Organ, or Rick Wakeman with his capes and beer bottles. Where
is the flash? where is the excitement?  Today we get bands with bad CD artwork, opera singers, and Bad haircuts!!

I have been influenced by Gene Simmons and Alice Cooper. I will put some kind
of visual spectacle in PLANET X , I promise you.

One thing that seemed strange to many people was your clothing... Of course, it has nothing to do with music, but many people made the mistake to feel uncomfortably with you because of your image, what would you say to them?

I became more famous by having an image. It's all about standing out.. and besides , I am not the first keyboard player in rock and roll to dress funny! Look at Elton John, Rick Wakeman, Emerson..

Give me the 5 albums you would never sell, even if you were starving.

The first five VAN HALEN albums!!!!

Visit Derek's websites at www.dereksherinian.com  and  www.xplanetx.com

 
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