John Petrucci Remembers Early DT Days: 'We Were Criticized for Overplaying'

The guitarist remembers the critics saying Dream Theater "doesn't know how to write songs."

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Back in the day when Dream Theater were setting the standards of progressive metal and making headway for the genre, they weren't exactly met with unanimous praise from critics and music fans. And now, two decades later, guitarist John Petrucci remembers those times and some of the criticism the group received. As he told Metal Injection, there were more than a few complaints when it comes to DT sound. "When we first started, we were young guys writing this kind of music and we came out with our first album and a lot of people - I mean some people liked it, they were into that kind of style, but a lot of people sort of criticized it for being, you know - the songs are too long and we're overplaying, we don't know how to write songs and there's too many solos and it's too technical and all this stuff," the axeman explained. "And we were just like, you know what - that's the kind of music we wanna write, that's what we feel comfortable doing and we kept doing it. And for a very long time, it was always on the outskirts, it was never something that was considered too acceptable, but all along, we knew that this kind of music exists out there.

"We knew that there was a huge fanbase and so many people all around the world and all different countries that love progressive music, love progressive rock and metal and want something more from the music, something different from three-minute pop songs." Petrucci continued, "So we just kept going and at some point it turned around where it went from not being something that anybody wanted to associate with [to] 'Wait a minute, there's something here, this is pretty cool.'" Dream Theater released their new, self-titled album yesterday (September 24) through Roadrunner Records. Prior to official release, the record was streamed in full.

10 comments sorted by best / new / date

    "HURR DURR.. they stil overplayyy! They sux!!" -- typical dumbass normally found in comment sections. Can't wait to pick up the new record today!
    Well critics only care about Bob Dylan, so that might be part of the problem. If people listened to critics, we wouldn't have solos and instrumental parts because it it's deemed too "self-indulgent".
    i love the way Dream theater writes music, and i hope they never stop making the music the make with all the solos and the technical!
    I'll never understand why people criticize bands for "overplaying". They're trying to use their talents to the fullest. How the hell is that a bad thing? If you don't like it I understand, but come on. I wish more bands would "overplay", to be honest. To me it keeps music interesting.
    Love DT Their new album kicks ass! Love the catchyness and technical stuff on the new album
    I'm pretty sure Dream and Day was heavily criticized but Images & Words was well-received. Honestly, even as a fan, I can't argue with that.
    Nobody said Kansas or Yes wrote songs too long. There are reasons it's called progressive. All those critics just happen to be very unintelligent. Anyway, hope DT never changes.