Author Topic: Falling Into Infinity? Less meddled with than you might think  (Read 9546 times)

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Offline Lucien

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Falling Into Infinity? Less meddled with than you might think
« on: August 03, 2014, 09:51:05 PM »
https://rockbook.hu/hirek/john-petrucci-interview-label-didnt-have-influence-falling-infinity-album

Quote
Interviewer: Let’s jump back in time a bit. It’s a known fact, that your ex-label had kind of an „influence” on your ’Falling Into Infinity’ album. If there hadn’t been this influence, in what ways would this album have been different?

John Petrucci: - Maybe I could set the records straight: I think that’s a really big misunderstanding. The label didn’t have an influence on the album. We wrote the kind of album we wanted to write. We went in there with Kevin Shirley, a great friend of mine, and we got really experimental with the songs, you know, how we recorded each song. Each song was recorded completely different, which was something that was new for us. Different amps, different drum kits, everything. And Kevin, as a producer – if that’s the influence we’re talking about- did come in, saying: „In that song let’s move this and that”, and he did what producers do. I think it’s a great album, I’m really proud of it. I think that’s a misunderstanding, as to the direction, but I’ve heard people say that before. It’s different.  The first album with Derek, we had a new influence in him as a keyboard player and writer, like I said the way that Kevin produced it was very different, so it kinda stands out in a lot of ways. Even the things that I used, different guitars and things. Very different.

Thought this was pretty interesting.
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Offline Mosh

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Re: Falling Into Infinity? Less meddled with than you might think
« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2014, 09:57:26 PM »
Not surprised. Aside from Desmond Child's involvement in You Not Me, I don't hear anything on that album that sounds like there was record company meddling. Nothing sounds un-DT to me. It sticks out like a sore thumb but when you think about it, every early album does. I&W is a huge departure from WDADU, Awake is a huge departure from I&W, FII from Awake, and so on and so forth.

And honestly it's not a bad album. It has some wtf moments but that just seems like bad writing on the band's part. When it's good, it's really good. And it flows great.
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Offline TheGreatPretender

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Re: Falling Into Infinity? Less meddled with than you might think
« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2014, 10:03:46 PM »
Well, if you listen to the original demos, the compositions themselves aren't any different, really, the only differences (You Not Me aside) either involve using slightly different tones or adding little things here and there, like with Take Away My Pain. Or getting rid of certain sections, like in Hollow Years. I mean, I thought those prechorus sections were really good, but I can't deny that it's still a really great song without them.
If MP hated those kinds of circumstances that much, then it's just the same kind of a classic case as with Metallica's Black Album, where as soon as someone advises them on how they can (objectively) improve things, they get defensive about it.
If anything, the biggest change that we witnessed was cutting out half the songs and making it a single album, instead of a double album. I'm just glad those songs eventually made it out into the world in good quality.
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Offline chaotic_ripper

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Re: Falling Into Infinity? Less meddled with than you might think
« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2014, 10:04:56 PM »
Honestly..not trying to be rude...it always seemed as if Portnoy was pissed about Kevin Shirley and Desmond Child making,for the most part, changes that were not that huge. Also, it seems that no one else in the band really had a problem with any of it. JP spoke positively about the Desmond Child experience in the Lifting Shadows book. When fans started complaining about not liking the album, MP started blaming the record company, and blowing it out of proportion.

Offline TheGreatPretender

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Re: Falling Into Infinity? Less meddled with than you might think
« Reply #4 on: August 03, 2014, 10:07:05 PM »
Honestly..not trying to be rude...it always seemed as if Portnoy was pissed about Kevin Shirley and Desmond Child making,for the most part, changes that were not that huge. Also, it seems that no one else in the band really had a problem with any of it. JP spoke positively about the Desmond Child experience in the Lifting Shadows book. When fans started complaining about not liking the album, MP started blaming the record company, and blowing it out of proportion.

Though I can't really blame him for being upset about them asking them to basically get rid of half the songs. But otherwise, I mean, it's not like MP is the only person in the world that's ever been upset about outside involvment. The only difference is that back in the late 90s, record companies didn't know what the fuck they were doing, so their meddling, against their best hopes, wouldn't result in a better received or better sold album the way it has for certain other artists in the past.
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Offline Shadow Ninja 2.0

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Re: Falling Into Infinity? Less meddled with than you might think
« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2014, 10:14:28 PM »
I'm pretty sure MP was the only one who ever said anything against the record company.

Not saying it wasn't justified, I obviously don't know what happened. It seems like the rest of the guys were cool with it, though.

Offline chaotic_ripper

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Re: Falling Into Infinity? Less meddled with than you might think
« Reply #6 on: August 03, 2014, 10:14:59 PM »
Honestly..not trying to be rude...it always seemed as if Portnoy was pissed about Kevin Shirley and Desmond Child making,for the most part, changes that were not that huge. Also, it seems that no one else in the band really had a problem with any of it. JP spoke positively about the Desmond Child experience in the Lifting Shadows book. When fans started complaining about not liking the album, MP started blaming the record company, and blowing it out of proportion.

Though I can't really blame him for being upset about them asking them to basically get rid of half the songs. But otherwise, I mean, it's not like MP is the only person in the world that's ever been upset about outside involvment. The only difference is that back in the late 90s, record companies didn't know what the fuck they were doing, so their meddling, against their best hopes, wouldn't result in a better received or better sold album the way it has for certain other artists in the past.

But my point is that he seems to be the only one in DT that was upset about it.  And I'm willing to bet that pissed him off more. He wanted to fight back and he stood alone. A little foreshadowing.

Offline TheGreatPretender

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Re: Falling Into Infinity? Less meddled with than you might think
« Reply #7 on: August 03, 2014, 10:18:16 PM »
But my point is that he seems to be the only one in DT that was upset about it.  And I'm willing to bet that pissed him off more. He wanted to fight back and he stood alone. A little foreshadowing.

Yeah, but he's always been vocal about being super protective of DT. After all it's 'his baby'. God, I feel like I've heard that so many times that it lost its meaning to me.  :lol

Funny enough, I actually listened to the Making of FII today, and there were quite a few little moments of them joking around and stuff, and even though you could hear sometimes Mike being a little 'playfully' aggressive toward Shirley, it's obvious that he was still having fun during the recording sessions... Heck, from what I've read in lifting shadows, it sounds like they had a much more miserable of a time with Prater, and even JLB spoke up about that.
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Offline TheAtliator

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Re: Falling Into Infinity? Less meddled with than you might think
« Reply #8 on: August 03, 2014, 10:19:09 PM »
This is inconsistent with the book. They did get involved because Dream Theater needed to send a song to them to get a green light to record the album, and they sent them like 5 demos of different songs increasingly pop-ish because the label wouldn't fund the recording process otherwise.

I don't remember the details, but there is no arguing with the large amount of FII demo songs that are entirely different from the final recordings on the album or not even on the album. Things were edited out, entire arrangements were changed, and producers had the same say as the composers in the process.

It's weird that JP would just disregard all of the terrible things that happened to tear the band apart during that time, but I think he does so to maintain a professional pride for all their work and to show he intends to be on good terms with any people they worked with. Which is obviously a very different approach than how Portnoy approaches such things.

To anyone who says "but I like the final version more than the demo,"- well of course you might, but that doesn't change whether Dream Theater can fairly be held accountable. One track is finished and one is unfinished, not only in terms of production, but everything else too because the band had not been the leaders of the song from the writing of first note to the day it was produced and released. You cannot judge Dream Theater's abilities on those unfinished demos. You can only judge their abilities on every single other other album.. Which, remarkably, every single one of is extraordinary.

Offline TheGreatPretender

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Re: Falling Into Infinity? Less meddled with than you might think
« Reply #9 on: August 03, 2014, 10:26:55 PM »
This is inconsistent with the book. They did get involved because Dream Theater needed to send a song to them to get a green light to record the album, and they sent them like 5 demos of different songs increasingly pop-ish because the label wouldn't fund the recording process otherwise.

I don't remember the details, but there is no arguing with the large amount of FII demo songs that are entirely different from the final recordings on the album or not even on the album. Things were edited out, entire arrangements were changed, and producers had the same say as the composers in the process.

It's weird that JP would just disregard all of the terrible things that happened to tear the band apart during that time, but I think he does so to maintain a professional pride for all their work and to show he intends to be on good terms with any people they worked with. Which is obviously a very different approach than how Portnoy approaches such things.

To anyone who says "but I like the final version more than the demo,"- well of course you might, but that doesn't change whether Dream Theater can fairly be held accountable. One track is finished and one is unfinished, not only in terms of production, but everything else too because the band had not been the leaders of the song from the writing of first note to the day it was produced and released. You cannot judge Dream Theater's abilities on those unfinished demos. You can only judge their abilities on every single other other album.. Which, remarkably, every single one of is extraordinary.

Yeah, but you don't know that JP felt that way. Maybe what MP saw as a lot of tension and the band being 'torn apart', JP just saw as another day in the studio. Considering that he never did speak out against the whole situation, it's always possible that he just had fun and enjoyed the whole experience.
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Offline Shadow Ninja 2.0

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Re: Falling Into Infinity? Less meddled with than you might think
« Reply #10 on: August 03, 2014, 10:28:49 PM »
And what's this about not being able to judge the demos? Sure we can judge the demos.

Offline TheAtliator

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Re: Falling Into Infinity? Less meddled with than you might think
« Reply #11 on: August 03, 2014, 10:34:58 PM »
*snip*

Yeah, but you don't know that JP felt that way. Maybe what MP saw as a lot of tension and the band being 'torn apart', JP just saw as another day in the studio. Considering that he never did speak out against the whole situation, it's always possible that he just had fun and enjoyed the whole experience.

Ok that could explain why it's easier for him to disregard the bad things that happened- if he wasn't deeply affected by them. But that doesn't mean the meddling happened any less.


And what's this about not being able to judge the demos? Sure we can judge the demos.

You absolutely cannot hold an artist accountable to any standard of music for an unfinished artistic vision. Your judgement of the demos is not a fair reflection of the artist's abilities.

Offline Shadow Ninja 2.0

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Re: Falling Into Infinity? Less meddled with than you might think
« Reply #12 on: August 03, 2014, 10:38:28 PM »
I'm not saying I'm going to listen to the demos and say "Well, clearly DT's crap!", but certainly I can judge them on their own merits, regardless of how many people say I "absolutely cannot".

Offline TheGreatPretender

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Re: Falling Into Infinity? Less meddled with than you might think
« Reply #13 on: August 03, 2014, 10:41:36 PM »
*snip*

Yeah, but you don't know that JP felt that way. Maybe what MP saw as a lot of tension and the band being 'torn apart', JP just saw as another day in the studio. Considering that he never did speak out against the whole situation, it's always possible that he just had fun and enjoyed the whole experience.

Ok that could explain why it's easier for him to disregard the bad things that happened- if he wasn't deeply affected by them. But that doesn't mean the meddling happened any less.


Well, you also have to consider how much time has passed. Maybe John just doesn't remember it that way. I mean, I went through some tough times in high school (like most teenagers), but in retrospect, I still look back upon it quite fondly. Maybe as far as John remembers it, the label's interference was minimal.
It's also possible that he's not looking at the bigger picture. I mean, maybe he's referring specifically to the actual recording sessions instead of the whole pre-recording business, with them asking them to remove the songs, etc.
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Offline KevShmev

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Re: Falling Into Infinity? Less meddled with than you might think
« Reply #14 on: August 03, 2014, 10:41:54 PM »


Yeah, but you don't know that JP felt that way. Maybe what MP saw as a lot of tension and the band being 'torn apart', JP just saw as another day in the studio. Considering that he never did speak out against the whole situation, it's always possible that he just had fun and enjoyed the whole experience.

Exactly.  In fact, I don't remember Petrucci ever having that much of a problem with the whole FII thing.  Portnoy was always the lone complainer about how that album went down, and it has always seemed to me that he took the "How dare anybody tell us what to do with our songs?" approach, as if they were immune from being given good advice that would make the songs better.  Like JP said, a producer's job is exactly that: to make suggestions on how to make songs better and whatnot.  It seems like Portnoy was always pissed that someone else did the job he felt they should have been doing. I understand how it can be aggravating to have an "outsider" telling you what to do, but most of the best bands ever had producers that did just that.

Offline TheGreatPretender

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Re: Falling Into Infinity? Less meddled with than you might think
« Reply #15 on: August 03, 2014, 10:46:16 PM »
I understand how it can be aggravating to have an "outsider" telling you what to do, but most of the best bands ever had producers that did just that.

Yeah, but quite a few of them ended up bitching about it.  :lol
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Offline Madman Shepherd

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Re: Falling Into Infinity? Less meddled with than you might think
« Reply #16 on: August 03, 2014, 10:52:35 PM »
Mike was also pretty pissed that JP would dare fly down to Desmond Child's house to write.  I got the sense from the book that it was mainly Mike that had a problem with FII.  JP seemed to really dig the opportunity to work with a hit songwriter. 

Didn't Mike also admit that during that time he was frequently outvoted and the votes came down to 3-2?

I always wondered who the person was that sided with Mike. 

I think it was either Derek, although he seemed to be more up for trying the mainstream route, or James, because I read somewhere there was a time when he and James were the closest (my how things change)

Offline Setlist Scotty

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Re: Falling Into Infinity? Less meddled with than you might think
« Reply #17 on: August 03, 2014, 11:00:04 PM »
This is inconsistent with the book. They did get involved because Dream Theater needed to send a song to them to get a green light to record the album, and they sent them like 5 demos of different songs increasingly pop-ish because the label wouldn't fund the recording process otherwise.
Exactly this. DT was never a band that wrote a ton of extra material for their albums. They only wrote as much as they needed to for an album, which is a pattern they've continued up to this day. The reason why they had so much leftover material for what became FII wasn't because they initially planned on recording a double album (tho MP would push for this once they got the OK), but because the label refused to let them into the studio until they had enough material they (the label) thought was commercial enough for their tastes. This came as a result of Awake not having a "hit" single on it like IaW did with PMU, and it's failure to sell as much as IaW did. And this approval process is exactly what MP is referring to in the lyrics to everybody's favorite song, Burning My Soul, when he says "I say it's green and then you tell me it's red. Keep your thoughts and ideas locked inside of your head."
 
 
It's weird that JP would just disregard all of the terrible things that happened to tear the band apart during that time, but I think he does so to maintain a professional pride for all their work and to show he intends to be on good terms with any people they worked with.
To an extent you're right, but I think JP goes further than that, in that he whitewashes it so as to remove any and all controversy and negativity, for fear that this is somehow gonna harm the band. Not saying that every bit of dirty laundry needs to be aired, but we're talking about pressures against the band as a whole, not internal struggles here.
As a basic rule, if you hate it, you must solely blame Portnoy. If it's good, then you must downplay MP's contribution to the band as not being important anyway, or claim he's just lying. It's the DTF way.

Offline TheGreatPretender

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Re: Falling Into Infinity? Less meddled with than you might think
« Reply #18 on: August 03, 2014, 11:04:21 PM »
I think it was either Derek, although he seemed to be more up for trying the mainstream route, or James, because I read somewhere there was a time when he and James were the closest (my how things change)

Derek definitely had a bigger affinity for the mainstream route. Yeah, makes sense that it would be James.



Actually, that was another thing that came to mind for me today. Given the circumstances of that period for DT, being pressured to go more mainstream, and make more radio friendly songs...
For an album like FII, do you guys think that Derek was probably the best possible Keyboard player DT could've had?
I mean, imagine if Jordan was with the band, with his classical training, and his insanely fast playing, I think it would've been much harder for him to try and make the songs "Radio Friendly". Meanwhile, one of Derek's biggest influences was Elton John, plus he played with Alice Cooper, and had that "rock star" mentality. I think he was probably the most fitting Keyboard player to have, when trying to make a radio friendly album.
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Offline Mosh

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Re: Falling Into Infinity? Less meddled with than you might think
« Reply #19 on: August 03, 2014, 11:07:58 PM »
It's also important to remember that Dream Theater was still a young band and they were still trying to get singles out there (Silent Man). While Portnoy seems like the type who doesn't like outside influences (which is fine), the other guys might be more receptive to older, more experienced, songwriters and producers like Desmond Child and Kevin Shirley. JP especially comes off as the type who would want to learn from people like that. MP seems more set in his ways, which is fine too. It's a little arrogant, but I think it worked for him (at least in the earlier days).

I'm sure further mainstream success seemed appealing to them (MP not included) and if You Not Me or Hollow Years had hit potential, they'd probably be happy about it.
« Last Edit: August 03, 2014, 11:16:08 PM by Mosh »
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Offline Rodni Demental

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Re: Falling Into Infinity? Less meddled with than you might think
« Reply #20 on: August 03, 2014, 11:12:04 PM »
I dunno what went down. But objectively speaking from personal observations. As subtle as they are, some of the choices don't seem like choices DT would generally make. Eg. Consider the demo version of BMS; it goes Intro/Verse/Interlude/Verse 2/Chorus/Instrumental Bridge/Solo where as the finished studio version goes Verse/Chorus/Verse 2/Chorus/Solo. Then it had the guts cut out of it and made into an instrumental. Whether or not some of those choices were for the better isn't really relevant to my point, I just think it indicates meddling with the compositions and arrangements.

Personally I think the demo has a much nicer flow with the longer intro, and the interlude in between the verses before jumping straight into the chorus gives it more breathing room. Perhaps similarly to the structure of CIAW. Also, they often played the live version of this song like the demo so I have a feeling the band (or someone) liked it better this way.
« Last Edit: August 03, 2014, 11:22:42 PM by Rodni Demental »

Offline TheAtliator

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Re: Falling Into Infinity? Less meddled with than you might think
« Reply #21 on: August 03, 2014, 11:14:07 PM »
@"Screw you I can judge what I want!"

You just can't fairly judge it that way. I'm not making that up, I'm just stating that you would be coming to false conclusions if you judged the demos as if they were finished pieces. Well sure, I could say you have an ugly face while only having seen your DTF avatar, but that doesn't make it a valid claim in any respect.

@"John remembers differently and sees facts in a different light"

Okay all of these are reasons he might not hold any negativity about the subject, but none of it changes what actually did happen. If he remembers less meddling than there was, that doesn't mean there was less meddling.

@"Mike is arrogant and other people have opinions too"

Changes made to compositions are not corrupting if they are made and the artist genuinely agrees with them. Anyone on the outside could tell the artist as many suggestions as they feel and not corrupt the artist's vision as long as the artist still has the power of discriminating which ones he wants and doesn't. The moment the outside force has some sort of monetary power that allows them to force their "suggestion" into the work whether the artist approves or not, the vision becomes that much corrupted.

@"Other bands have producers and it's a good thing"

No amount of how often record labels have power over the artist's work makes it fair. That's about as valid as saying "well everyone was drinking so it was okay". However, if you think it's a good thing that the producers got involved for some reason other than that- you should understand what you are saying. Producing on its own is not an art. It's just a practical means by which art is put across. If a producer is part of the composing or arranging process, than he would just be doubling as a composer or arranger. As in he is a producer and also an artist. Which is totally cool, but you should recognize it that way. In order to keep the integrity of the artistic direction, Dream Theater would have to invite the producer's artistic vision into the song, just as they would a new member on any other instrument.


To an extent you're right, but I think JP goes further than that, in that he whitewashes it so as to remove any and all controversy and negativity, for fear that this is somehow gonna harm the band. Not saying that every bit of dirty laundry needs to be aired, but we're talking about pressures against the band as a whole, not internal struggles here.

This is a good point, I definitely agree that's part of it too. I actually admire Mike's honesty, but I think it is often unnecessarily offered, and often to the wrong people (fans who don't need to be brought in to the argument).

Offline TheGreatPretender

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Re: Falling Into Infinity? Less meddled with than you might think
« Reply #22 on: August 03, 2014, 11:18:09 PM »
@"John remembers differently and sees facts in a different light"

Okay all of these are reasons he might not hold any negativity about the subject, but none of it changes what actually did happen. If he remembers less meddling than there was, that doesn't mean there was less meddling.

But it does make a difference between John, "Whitewashing" things, and simply recalling how he remembers it in a 15+ year retrospect.
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Offline TheAtliator

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Re: Falling Into Infinity? Less meddled with than you might think
« Reply #23 on: August 03, 2014, 11:29:13 PM »
@"John remembers differently and sees facts in a different light"

Okay all of these are reasons he might not hold any negativity about the subject, but none of it changes what actually did happen. If he remembers less meddling than there was, that doesn't mean there was less meddling.

But it does make a difference between John, "Whitewashing" things, and simply recalling how he remembers it in a 15+ year retrospect.

Absolutely true. I think it's probably a combination of all three- he doesn't remember it so bad, it wasn't as bad for him anyway, he doesn't want to make it sound bad because he doesn't like talking about negative things in interviews. NOT, however, that it wasn't actually as bad as it was for the band.

Offline Rodni Demental

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Re: Falling Into Infinity? Less meddled with than you might think
« Reply #24 on: August 03, 2014, 11:29:45 PM »
It's possible that a lot of it's our fault (the fans) for overanalysing every detail that comes out of these musicians mouths and then discussing it at length and essentially creating the overall collective conception of what happened that ends up being stated on a wiki page as fact.

I'm sure it was a different process in that there was influence from the producer about subtle details but whether it played out as intrusively as we imagine, is difficult to know. We do know they went on to produce the albums themselves after this one and have been doing it that way ever since. So one way or another, they obviously prefer it this way.

Offline TheGreatPretender

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Re: Falling Into Infinity? Less meddled with than you might think
« Reply #25 on: August 03, 2014, 11:33:24 PM »

Absolutely true. I think it's probably a combination of all three- he doesn't remember it so bad, it wasn't as bad for him anyway, he doesn't want to make it sound bad because he doesn't like talking about negative things in interviews. NOT, however, that it wasn't actually as bad as it was for the band.

But still, considering what we've read about their experience working on previous albums with David Prater, FII sessions seem to be relatively better. At the very least, they weren't DIRECTLY dealing with the people who were putting that pressure on them. Like I said, in the making of FII, it really sounds like they were having a lot of fun working with Shirley. I mean, of course, that was just a small glimpse, and there was no doubt some static between them every once in a while, but the point is, it wasn't like their previous albums were particularly happy recording experiences for them either.
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Offline Setlist Scotty

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Re: Falling Into Infinity? Less meddled with than you might think
« Reply #26 on: August 04, 2014, 12:11:26 AM »
@"John remembers differently and sees facts in a different light"

Okay all of these are reasons he might not hold any negativity about the subject, but none of it changes what actually did happen. If he remembers less meddling than there was, that doesn't mean there was less meddling.
But it does make a difference between John, "Whitewashing" things, and simply recalling how he remembers it in a 15+ year retrospect.
Absolutely true. I think it's probably a combination of all three- he doesn't remember it so bad, it wasn't as bad for him anyway, he doesn't want to make it sound bad because he doesn't like talking about negative things in interviews. NOT, however, that it wasn't actually as bad as it was for the band.
I just re-read JP's comments and I think there is something that should be noted - JP is mixing 2 different things into answer: writing and recording. The interview asked about the label's influence on FII. The writing is where the influence of the label is gonna come in - not in the recording of the album.

JP claims that the label had no influence on the album, but as we've already discussed, this is untrue. Then he goes on about working with Kevin Shirley, who, aside from altering the arrangements to a few of the songs (besides getting Desmond Child involved) had *nothing* to do with the writing of the demos, which the label themselves approved of. So all this talk about Kevin really has nothing to do with the topic at hand - that of whether the label was influencing them regarding FII or not.
 
 
But still, considering what we've read about their experience working on previous albums with David Prater, FII sessions seem to be relatively better. At the very least, they weren't DIRECTLY dealing with the people who were putting that pressure on them. Like I said, in the making of FII, it really sounds like they were having a lot of fun working with Shirley. I mean, of course, that was just a small glimpse, and there was no doubt some static between them every once in a while, but the point is, it wasn't like their previous albums were particularly happy recording experiences for them either.
Once they got beyond Kevin's editing the arrangements to the songs (which was the bone of contention), everything went well in the studio - even MP really enjoyed himself. But I think that's largely to do with the kind of person Kevin is as opposed to Prater. I've never met either one, but from all I've read about Kevin, he seems like a down-to-earth person who is strongly opinionated, but still friendly. Prater on the other hand comes off as an arrogant know-it-all dictator. In any case, aside from the label assigning them to work with Prater and the band choosing to work with Kevin, this has nothing to do with label interference, or a lack of it.
As a basic rule, if you hate it, you must solely blame Portnoy. If it's good, then you must downplay MP's contribution to the band as not being important anyway, or claim he's just lying. It's the DTF way.

Offline TheGreatPretender

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Re: Falling Into Infinity? Less meddled with than you might think
« Reply #27 on: August 04, 2014, 12:20:25 AM »
Once they got beyond Kevin's editing the arrangements to the songs (which was the bone of contention), everything went well in the studio - even MP really enjoyed himself. But I think that's largely to do with the kind of person Kevin is as opposed to Prater. I've never met either one, but from all I've read about Kevin, he seems like a down-to-earth person who is strongly opinionated, but still friendly. Prater on the other hand comes off as an arrogant know-it-all dictator. In any case, aside from the label assigning them to work with Prater and the band choosing to work with Kevin, this has nothing to do with label interference, or a lack of it.

Which would certainly help explain John's answer. Plus you gotta consider that it's not like FII is usually a hot topic at interviews these days. So he was probably caught off guard with the question, and when he thought about it, maybe the first thing that came to mind were the actual recording sessions, and that's simply what he boiled his answer down to. It's not like he had a chance to ask the interviewer to elaborate on the answer.
But as always, I think we're reading way too deeply into it.

Also, I'm watching Supernatural right now, so I almost ended up typing, "Which would certainly explain the demon's answer."  :rollin
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Offline BlobVanDam

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Re: Falling Into Infinity? Less meddled with than you might think
« Reply #28 on: August 04, 2014, 12:24:56 AM »
Judging by all of the not so good '90s pop demos that didn't make the album, and the comments on the commentaries about the band not really touring or recording when they wanted to, and the outside songwriter, I think it's obvious they had at least some issues with the record label during that time to get into the studio. And this is not uncommon for bands that were around from the late '80s to early '90s to have problems with that transitional time in the music industry.

There have been many things to back this up, and it was never in question until JP made this one comment, that is in line with DT's new policy of sticking to the "everything is awesome, everything is cool when you're part of a team" thing.

But it does seem like once they fought to get the green light, they mostly got to record it how they envisioned it (or at least how they demo'd it), minus most of the sugary pop stuff, and with the usual little changes you'd expect a producer to make (and as I've said before, I prefer every single change that was made to the album, and it's one of my absolute favourites).

Given that this was a transitional period to DT producing themselves and MP taking more charge, I wouldn't be surprised if MP had to deal with more of the nasty business side of getting the album made, while the rest of the band mostly have the studio experience where they had a typical studio experience.

I don't think there's a contradiction here given the different viewpoints of events.
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Offline Madman Shepherd

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Re: Falling Into Infinity? Less meddled with than you might think
« Reply #29 on: August 04, 2014, 12:30:13 AM »


JP claims that the label had no influence on the album, but as we've already discussed, this is untrue. Then he goes on about working with Kevin Shirley, who, aside from altering the arrangements to a few of the songs (besides getting Desmond Child involved) had *nothing* to do with the writing of the demos, which the label themselves approved of. So all this talk about Kevin really has nothing to do with the topic at hand - that of whether the label was influencing them regarding FII or not.
 

It's not like DT turned in a bunch of Green Day sounding demos.  Even when they were writing more mainstream stuff it was still Dream Theater.  They had already proven they can write more mainstream when they want to so having the label tell them to do more of that isn't really being that influential at all. 


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Re: Falling Into Infinity? Less meddled with than you might think
« Reply #30 on: August 04, 2014, 04:33:31 AM »

Once they got beyond Kevin's editing the arrangements to the songs (which was the bone of contention), everything went well in the studio - even MP really enjoyed himself. But I think that's largely to do with the kind of person Kevin is as opposed to Prater. I've never met either one, but from all I've read about Kevin, he seems like a down-to-earth person who is strongly opinionated, but still friendly. Prater on the other hand comes off as an arrogant know-it-all dictator. In any case, aside from the label assigning them to work with Prater and the band choosing to work with Kevin, this has nothing to do with label interference, or a lack of it.

I remember reading about Alex Lifeson having huge fights with Keven Shirley over not being able to use effect right in the studio while recording the album, Counterparts.  Kevin made him run dry and added the effects after.  Alex later said it was the right choice since it lit a fire in him big time.
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Offline Setlist Scotty

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Re: Falling Into Infinity? Less meddled with than you might think
« Reply #31 on: August 04, 2014, 04:38:25 AM »
JP claims that the label had no influence on the album, but as we've already discussed, this is untrue. Then he goes on about working with Kevin Shirley, who, aside from altering the arrangements to a few of the songs (besides getting Desmond Child involved) had *nothing* to do with the writing of the demos, which the label themselves approved of. So all this talk about Kevin really has nothing to do with the topic at hand - that of whether the label was influencing them regarding FII or not.
It's not like DT turned in a bunch of Green Day sounding demos.  Even when they were writing more mainstream stuff it was still Dream Theater.  They had already proven they can write more mainstream when they want to so having the label tell them to do more of that isn't really being that influential at all.
I get what you're saying, but no. When you keep getting told to write more songs because what you have isn't good enough, I'd say that's being influential. Perhaps not dictating specifics, but in a generalized way, they were definitely influential.
 
 
Once they got beyond Kevin's editing the arrangements to the songs (which was the bone of contention), everything went well in the studio - even MP really enjoyed himself. But I think that's largely to do with the kind of person Kevin is as opposed to Prater. I've never met either one, but from all I've read about Kevin, he seems like a down-to-earth person who is strongly opinionated, but still friendly. Prater on the other hand comes off as an arrogant know-it-all dictator. In any case, aside from the label assigning them to work with Prater and the band choosing to work with Kevin, this has nothing to do with label interference, or a lack of it.
I remember reading about Alex Lifeson having huge fights with Keven Shirley over not being able to use effect right in the studio while recording the album, Counterparts.  Kevin made him run dry and added the effects after.  Alex later said it was the right choice since it lit a fire in him big time.
I remember that quote too. Thing was, if I'm not mistaken, that night they ended up enjoying a bottle of wine together. You can be sure Prater never did the same thing!   ;)
As a basic rule, if you hate it, you must solely blame Portnoy. If it's good, then you must downplay MP's contribution to the band as not being important anyway, or claim he's just lying. It's the DTF way.

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Re: Falling Into Infinity? Less meddled with than you might think
« Reply #32 on: August 04, 2014, 04:46:27 AM »
Well you know Rush and their wines! :lol

Some musicians needs that push in the writing and studio process.  I always feel tension "In" the process makes for a good record.

Now if people don't think labels don't stick they necks into every album until the band gets the power over them they don't know the business.
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Offline Mladen

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Re: Falling Into Infinity? Less meddled with than you might think
« Reply #33 on: August 04, 2014, 06:23:22 AM »
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eoRhTO3IlkM

At 3:55, James talks about the band being influenced by ''external forces'' during the recording of Falling into infinity. After seeing this interview years ago (and of course seeing comments about it in Score documentary), I understood why the album doesn't work for me like the other albums - and then once I got the chance to hear the demos, I realized so many songs have been shortened, a lot of the longer songs (my favorites from the period) got left out, all probably with the intention of creating a more commercial record. Now, it might be that JP was the one in the band that wanted to give it a shot - after all, if you watch the Score documentary, you can see MP mentioning that some of the guys in the band were tempted by that kind of success.

But then again, it's all a matter of perspective. JLB and MP might have been the ones who though the band isn't really profiting from that kind of policy, while JP didn't really think it's a big deal, he still thought the music they're doing is fine - just different.

Offline MoraWintersoul

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Re: Falling Into Infinity? Less meddled with than you might think
« Reply #34 on: August 04, 2014, 06:33:01 AM »
Yes, James also said that he wished that they could have made an album without any outside meddling. It's weird how even here we don't pay as much attention to what he says :lol

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