JOHN PETRUCCI: “Not Having ‘A Change of Seasons’ on ‘Images and Words’ Was the Right Decision”


John Petrucci discussed Dream Theater‘s 1992 breakthrough album Images and Words, telling FreqsTV:

The tension came between the producer David Prader and some of the guys in the band.

Some decisions that the record label was making, for example not including ‘A Change of Seasons’ on ‘Images and Words.’

We originally planned that album to be a double album. So getting a phone call from the label like, ‘Yeah, we’re not gonna put ‘A Change of Seasons’ on it…’

Stupid little things like when the guitar comes in on ‘Learning to Live,’ it was supposed to fade in. That’s how we wrote it, with a fade. But when they mixed it, it just comes in.

Probably the biggest contentious kind of aspect of the album – and I really love the drum sound – but it’s how Mike [Portnoy] felt about his drums being drums being triggered.

His snare drum being triggered, and certain sensitive notes, ghost notes and things like that, being translated into full volume notes that weren’t… It’s like somebody taking your playing, and almost taking the dynamics out of it.

I could see how that totally would be an issue, they could have been more sensitive with that in the mix.

But what do I think looking back? It’s all fine. Came out great. Not having ‘A Change of Seasons’ on it was the right decision, for sure. I’m glad that ‘Images‘ is only an hour-long record.

Discussing the general atmosphere at the time, John noted:

After we did [1989's] ‘When Dream and Day Unite,’ which was our first album, what we have hoped to have happened didn’t happen.

We thought after ‘When Dream and Day Unite‘ we would go on tour and we’d have a lot more experience as a live band. But that kinda didn’t happen.

Soon after the release, we asked our singer Charlie Dominici to leave. We thought we needed a change vocalist-wise. So it was about a year-and-a-half period where we were literally keeping day jobs, getting together at night many times a week, and writing.

Writing the songs that would be on ‘Images and Words‘ and simultaneously looking for a vocalist. By the time James [LaBrie] came in everything was pretty much ready to go.

What he did, bringing his voice in, just really made these songs we were writing totally come to completion, come to life. Because he not only had the sound that we were looking for, but he had the range and ability to do anything we wanted to do.

As far as the camaraderie and the way that the band felt in the studio about each other, it was awesome. We were living together in a house not too far from the studio.

We were recording at BearTracks Studio which was owned by Ja Beckenstein from Spyro Gyra, which was a converted barn in beautiful upstate New York. When I say state of the art studio Рjust gorgeous, beautifully done in every aspect.

We were having the time of our lives. Finally getting signed again after that long period of uncertainty, having James in the band, everything was great.

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