Author Topic: The Curious Case of JLB (analysis of JLB's vocals)  (Read 4451 times)

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Offline cramx3

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Re: The Curious Case of JLB (analysis of JLB's vocals)
« Reply #105 on: May 09, 2018, 09:44:03 AM »
I think a good short term solution would be to start touring with an opening band again. That way, the DT set would be slightly shorter and would give James less singing time every night, while still playing mostly songs with vocals and not a lot of instrumentals.

Or see if they can get on a tour opening for a bigger band.  I mean, as a fan, I'd rather see a full DT show.  But switching things up from their standard theater tours could be good for the band in terms of getting exposure and either as an opener or adding an opener, making things a little easier for the band's health and vocals specifically.

Offline ZachAnsley

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Re: The Curious Case of JLB (analysis of JLB's vocals)
« Reply #106 on: May 09, 2018, 01:26:07 PM »
I will be doing a Russell Allen video at some point, and one of the main points I plan to expand upon with him is that he took shows off when he wasn't well.  I know this for a personal fact because back in 2005 he was ill when he came through Atlanta on Gigantour, and they cut all of Symphony X's set as a result.

I can't think of one time where DT's shows have been cancelled other than for venue related issues.

Allen is nowhere near where he was in 2001 now, but he has more left in the tank than James does, and little decisions like the aforementioned ones are part of the reason why.

Offline Anxiety35

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Re: The Curious Case of JLB (analysis of JLB's vocals)
« Reply #107 on: May 09, 2018, 01:29:36 PM »
I will be doing a Russell Allen video at some point, and one of the main points I plan to expand upon with him is that he took shows off when he wasn't well.  I know this for a personal fact because back in 2005 he was ill when he came through Atlanta on Gigantour, and they cut all of Symphony X's set as a result.

I can't think of one time where DT's shows have been cancelled other than for venue related issues.

Allen is nowhere near where he was in 2001 now, but he has more left in the tank than James does, and little decisions like the aforementioned ones are part of the reason why.

That would be cool. I think many of us DT fans really like Russell Allen.

Offline Setlist Scotty

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Re: The Curious Case of JLB (analysis of JLB's vocals)
« Reply #108 on: May 09, 2018, 02:44:44 PM »
I can't think of one time where DT's shows have been cancelled other than for venue related issues.
They are rare, but there's been a handful of times that they definitely canceled shows because of JL. Most recently, they canceled a show in Italy (in March 2016) because of him being sick. They also canceled a show in Detroit in 2006 since he wasn't well, and it would've been the fourth night in a row that they did a show; it was also close to the RCMH/Score show, so they didn't want him to push himself and risk affecting the video shoot. And there was also a show in April 1998 in England that was canceled because JL was sick. That's about all I can think of.
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Re: The Curious Case of JLB (analysis of JLB's vocals)
« Reply #109 on: May 09, 2018, 03:06:09 PM »
I can't think of one time where DT's shows have been cancelled other than for venue related issues.
They are rare, but there's been a handful of times that they definitely canceled shows because of JL. Most recently, they canceled a show in Italy (in March 2016) because of him being sick.

I was at the concert that happened the night before, right there in the moment he didn't sound so bad to me and I enjoyed the concert, but looking back to it after reading news of the cancellation of the following show I realized how he was quick to always leave the stage whenever he finished his parts, most likely to drink and rest in between his parts. Guess I dodged one since he could have been easily be already sick before the show.
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Re: The Curious Case of JLB (analysis of JLB's vocals)
« Reply #110 on: May 09, 2018, 03:11:43 PM »
I will be doing a Russell Allen video at some point, and one of the main points I plan to expand upon with him is that he took shows off when he wasn't well.  I know this for a personal fact because back in 2005 he was ill when he came through Atlanta on Gigantour, and they cut all of Symphony X's set as a result.

I can't think of one time where DT's shows have been cancelled other than for venue related issues.

Allen is nowhere near where he was in 2001 now, but he has more left in the tank than James does, and little decisions like the aforementioned ones are part of the reason why.

Allen's pretty great. I'm looking forward to your video on him. I'm pretty sure Symphony X doesn't tour nearly as much as Dream Theater. It's unfortunate they can't live off their music but that must be a good thing for Russel Allen's voice. Actually, I don't even know if Allen sings a lot with other bands when Symphony X doesn't tour. I know he's in Adrenaline Mob but I'm not sure how much they tour.
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Offline gzarruk

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Re: The Curious Case of JLB (analysis of JLB's vocals)
« Reply #111 on: May 09, 2018, 03:44:22 PM »
I will be doing a Russell Allen video at some point, and one of the main points I plan to expand upon with him is that he took shows off when he wasn't well.  I know this for a personal fact because back in 2005 he was ill when he came through Atlanta on Gigantour, and they cut all of Symphony X's set as a result.

I can't think of one time where DT's shows have been cancelled other than for venue related issues.

Allen is nowhere near where he was in 2001 now, but he has more left in the tank than James does, and little decisions like the aforementioned ones are part of the reason why.

Allen's pretty great. I'm looking forward to your video on him. I'm pretty sure Symphony X doesn't tour nearly as much as Dream Theater. It's unfortunate they can't live off their music but that must be a good thing for Russel Allen's voice. Actually, I don't even know if Allen sings a lot with other bands when Symphony X doesn't tour. I know he's in Adrenaline Mob but I'm not sure how much they tour.

I think AMOB is on indefinite hiatus at the moment (not a bad thing, though).
It sounds like, "ruk, ruk, ruk, ruk, ruk." Instead of the more pleasing kick drum sound of, "gzarruk, gzarruk, gzarruk, gzarruk."

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Re: The Curious Case of JLB (analysis of JLB's vocals)
« Reply #112 on: May 09, 2018, 03:52:38 PM »
I am not superstitious at all, but Amob should probably call it a day with the luck they've had on tour. Drummer dies in tour bus, bass player and tour manager die in tour accident.
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Offline gzarruk

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Re: The Curious Case of JLB (analysis of JLB's vocals)
« Reply #113 on: May 09, 2018, 04:16:34 PM »
I am not superstitious at all, but Amob should probably call it a day with the luck they've had on tour. Drummer dies in tour bus, bass player and tour manager die in tour accident.

And I think Mike Orlando, their drummer and John Moyer formed a band with another singer. Itís pretty safe to say AMOB arenít going to be active for a while...
It sounds like, "ruk, ruk, ruk, ruk, ruk." Instead of the more pleasing kick drum sound of, "gzarruk, gzarruk, gzarruk, gzarruk."

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Re: The Curious Case of JLB (analysis of JLB's vocals)
« Reply #114 on: May 10, 2018, 12:35:08 AM »
I will be doing a Russell Allen video at some point, and one of the main points I plan to expand upon with him is that he took shows off when he wasn't well.  I know this for a personal fact because back in 2005 he was ill when he came through Atlanta on Gigantour, and they cut all of Symphony X's set as a result.

I can't think of one time where DT's shows have been cancelled other than for venue related issues.

Allen is nowhere near where he was in 2001 now, but he has more left in the tank than James does, and little decisions like the aforementioned ones are part of the reason why.

After how much youíve talked about ďraspyĒ singing being bad for the voice, I canít possibly see how youíd even remotely like, let alone condone, his singing. Itís very raspy, very often. Also, Iím not sure where you are getting the idea of him not being as good as he was in 2001...dude still sounds amazing as ever. Iíve literally never heard or seen a single clip of him sounding off live. The dude is an absolute beast. Every live recording Iíve ever heard, heís always fantastic, and every bit as on point as studio recordings. Heís way, way more consistent than LaBrie has ever been, and probably more than any other metal frontman I can think of. Itís crazy. Every time they go out on a new tour, I keep thinking maybe heíll finally have an off night, but nope. Always on fire.
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Offline goo-goo

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Re: The Curious Case of JLB (analysis of JLB's vocals)
« Reply #115 on: May 10, 2018, 05:41:05 AM »
I am not superstitious at all, but Amob should probably call it a day with the luck they've had on tour. Drummer dies in tour bus, bass player and tour manager die in tour accident.

And I think Mike Orlando, their drummer and John Moyer formed a band with another singer. Itís pretty safe to say AMOB arenít going to be active for a while...

Stereo Satellite. They were about to release an album. But a couple of days ago, Orlando posted that he wasnít in the band anymore and all the money from the pldge campaign was refunded. Very odd how this band ended.
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Offline Lethean

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Re: The Curious Case of JLB (analysis of JLB's vocals)
« Reply #116 on: May 10, 2018, 09:21:24 AM »
I will be doing a Russell Allen video at some point, and one of the main points I plan to expand upon with him is that he took shows off when he wasn't well.  I know this for a personal fact because back in 2005 he was ill when he came through Atlanta on Gigantour, and they cut all of Symphony X's set as a result.

I can't think of one time where DT's shows have been cancelled other than for venue related issues.

Allen is nowhere near where he was in 2001 now, but he has more left in the tank than James does, and little decisions like the aforementioned ones are part of the reason why.

After how much youíve talked about ďraspyĒ singing being bad for the voice, I canít possibly see how youíd even remotely like, let alone condone, his singing. Itís very raspy, very often. Also, Iím not sure where you are getting the idea of him not being as good as he was in 2001...dude still sounds amazing as ever. Iíve literally never heard or seen a single clip of him sounding off live. The dude is an absolute beast. Every live recording Iíve ever heard, heís always fantastic, and every bit as on point as studio recordings. Heís way, way more consistent than LaBrie has ever been, and probably more than any other metal frontman I can think of. Itís crazy. Every time they go out on a new tour, I keep thinking maybe heíll finally have an off night, but nope. Always on fire.

My experience has been the opposite.  DT and SX are both bands that I've seen for multiple shows on tours (but I did not catch SX at all the last time), and I've found James to be way more consistent than Russell.  RA even made a comment from the stage one night - I don't recall it word for word but he was very frustrated about reading comments online and YouTube about and said in a mocking voice "the vocals were a little off" and rolled his eyes.  That seemed really out of character for him but I chalked it up to him having a bad night.  My impression is that he starts a tour off strong but then starts to struggle (and their tours aren't that long).  But this is based on my experience seeing him live, and I'm sure others have different ones.  He was one of my favorite singers for a while but I remember coming to the conclusion that he probably would not be able to do what James does night after night with so many dates and way longer shows.

Offline bosk1

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Re: The Curious Case of JLB (analysis of JLB's vocals)
« Reply #117 on: May 10, 2018, 09:28:36 AM »
I've never seen them in person, but I've seen and heard plenty of clips where Russ was not "on."  It is what it is.
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Offline goo-goo

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Re: The Curious Case of JLB (analysis of JLB's vocals)
« Reply #118 on: May 10, 2018, 09:32:56 AM »
The thing about Allen is that a) he gives out tons of energy and that must be draining physically on him. Not saying JLB doesn't give tons of energy, but you notice the difference. Allen is more "physical" than JLB and moves more on stage vs JLB. b) Allen likes to drink the heavy stuff. At least at every Symphony X and Amob shows where I have seen him, he always has a bottle of a skull shaped glass container with scotch I believe. I don't know if he does that during the TSO shows but he definitely does the drinking with his other bands. And finally, RA uses the rasp voice a lot.
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Offline Ninjabait

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Re: The Curious Case of JLB (analysis of JLB's vocals)
« Reply #119 on: May 10, 2018, 11:57:37 AM »
I don't think it helps Russell Allen's case there that afaik he hasn't had formal training outside of choir in school. He mostly coasts off raw talent and trying to achieve a "sound", which isn't always healthy. JLB has (post-accident at least) received some training and he seems more concerned with keeping his voice in good condition now. Also, yeah, drinking alcohol during or before a show is BEYOND a terrible idea.

I'd be more interested in seeing analysis of the big symphonic metal sopranos and mezzos like Tarja Turen, Simone Simmons, Floor Jansen, etc. It'd be interesting to which ones have actually good technique and which ones are mostly just faking it.

Offline kaos2900

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Re: The Curious Case of JLB (analysis of JLB's vocals)
« Reply #120 on: May 10, 2018, 01:14:35 PM »
I've seen SX multiple times, once of which I was literally inches away from RA for the whole show thanks to the venue being so small and I don't recall a moment where he was off. I'm sure they occur, but I'm guessing they few and far between. I've seen DT 11 or 12 times and JLB has been pretty spot on for every show. I think the DT vocals are a little more challenging than the SX stuff. Regardless both guys are amazing though I'd give the edge to RA for consistency.

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Re: The Curious Case of JLB (analysis of JLB's vocals)
« Reply #121 on: May 19, 2018, 06:34:53 AM »
Great thread.  I am a long time fan of DT and JLB sympathizer.  I definately feel James vocal abilities, in regards to performance of early DT discography, shows his age.  Geddy lee, Halford and Dickinson, Tate (dear god), many others are unable to perform early tracks during live shows. 
 Anyway, that being said, I feel JLB's performance on The Astonishing, just a few years ago, was virtuosic and brilliant, on so many levels.  And, at the age of 50 plus, JLB had recorded one of his best vocal performances, IMO, on TA, that I have ever heard. 
 Going forward, DT needs to focus on JLB's other vocal abilities, as TA did.  Explore that.  He still has an amazing voice, with heart and emotion that I think, is the essence of why he has a large contingent of DT fans, that appreciate him.  Look at recent tracks like Breaking all Illusions, The X Aspect, JLB is present, and provides great attachment to these pieces. BAL is an instant classic.  DT needs to stay in that wheelhouse and JLB will represent. 
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Offline Lethean

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Re: The Curious Case of JLB (analysis of JLB's vocals)
« Reply #122 on: May 19, 2018, 07:26:11 AM »
Awesome post - I pretty much agree with all of it.  Especially how incredible TA was.

Offline RodrigoAltaf

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Re: The Curious Case of JLB (analysis of JLB's vocals)
« Reply #123 on: May 20, 2018, 04:55:38 PM »
Thanks for posting, I loved that video!

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Re: The Curious Case of JLB (analysis of JLB's vocals)
« Reply #124 on: May 22, 2018, 03:54:06 AM »
Lots of interesting points have been made in this thread, and I don't think I can add lots of substantial things but here's a thought:

Kinda unfair how people maintain that Russell Allen is the superior live singer given Symphony X plays a show for every 30 shows DT plays. Their touring schedule isn't nearly as rigorous and intense as DT's, and we all know that takes an important toll on JLB's voice (or anyone's for that matter).
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Re: The Curious Case of JLB (analysis of JLB's vocals)
« Reply #125 on: May 22, 2018, 01:02:29 PM »
Lots of interesting points have been made in this thread, and I don't think I can add lots of substantial things but here's a thought:

Kinda unfair how people maintain that Russell Allen is the superior live singer given Symphony X plays a show for every 30 shows DT plays. Their touring schedule isn't nearly as rigorous and intense as DT's, and we all know that takes an important toll on JLB's voice (or anyone's for that matter).

Totally agree there. And DT songs are far more difficult as far as timing goes than SX songs in general. Breathing must be really hard on some as well.

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Offline ZachAnsley

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Re: The Curious Case of JLB (analysis of JLB's vocals)
« Reply #126 on: May 22, 2018, 05:25:26 PM »
Lots of interesting points have been made in this thread, and I don't think I can add lots of substantial things but here's a thought:

Kinda unfair how people maintain that Russell Allen is the superior live singer given Symphony X plays a show for every 30 shows DT plays. Their touring schedule isn't nearly as rigorous and intense as DT's, and we all know that takes an important toll on JLB's voice (or anyone's for that matter).

My next video is going to be on Russell Allen, and I hopeit will be rather enlightening. :)

Offline TAC

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Re: The Curious Case of JLB (analysis of JLB's vocals)
« Reply #127 on: May 22, 2018, 06:29:54 PM »
Zach, speaking of Russ Allen (and Labrie) for that matter....

Is there a way that you personally can quantify emotion in someone's voice, or gauge something intangible?

James Labrie gives me goosebumps, but for some reason, I simply do not connect with Russ Allen even though I feel like I should. But I just don't. There's just something very cold about him.




Anyway, (if you're taking requests  ;D), I'd love to see your analysis of Michael Kiske.
would have thought the same thing but seeing the OP was TAC i immediately thought Maiden or DT related
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Offline gzarruk

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Re: The Curious Case of JLB (analysis of JLB's vocals)
« Reply #128 on: May 22, 2018, 08:04:14 PM »
Zach, speaking of Russ Allen (and Labrie) for that matter....

Is there a way that you personally can quantify emotion in someone's voice, or gauge something intangible?

James Labrie gives me goosebumps, but for some reason, I simply do not connect with Russ Allen even though I feel like I should. But I just don't. There's just something very cold about him.

Try listening to Paradise Lost (the song), itís one of my favorite performances by Russell.
It sounds like, "ruk, ruk, ruk, ruk, ruk." Instead of the more pleasing kick drum sound of, "gzarruk, gzarruk, gzarruk, gzarruk."

Offline TAC

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Re: The Curious Case of JLB (analysis of JLB's vocals)
« Reply #129 on: May 22, 2018, 08:05:28 PM »
I'll give that a special listen, but I have all of their albums. I've heard plenty of him to know.
would have thought the same thing but seeing the OP was TAC i immediately thought Maiden or DT related
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Offline MirrorMask

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Re: The Curious Case of JLB (analysis of JLB's vocals)
« Reply #130 on: May 23, 2018, 01:02:32 AM »
Anyway, (if you're taking requests  ;D), I'd love to see your analysis of Michael Kiske.

Inhuman singer with an absurd talent that stopped singing live in 1993 and therefore kept his voice until his 50's, and the moment he undertook a serious world tour again with Helloween started to struggle?  :D
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Offline rumborak

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Re: The Curious Case of JLB (analysis of JLB's vocals)
« Reply #131 on: May 23, 2018, 01:48:06 PM »
Regarding the touring schedule, it's also somewhat easy to say he should have taken more days off. Just about any band has to expect to drift back into obscurity the next week, so every concert has to be sung like it's your last. Even if that means singing unsustainably.

For their more recent concerts I agree with the argument however.
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Re: The Curious Case of JLB (analysis of JLB's vocals)
« Reply #132 on: May 23, 2018, 04:39:14 PM »
Anyway, (if you're taking requests  ;D), I'd love to see your analysis of Michael Kiske.

Inhuman singer with an absurd talent that stopped singing live in 1993 and therefore kept his voice until his 50's, and the moment he undertook a serious world tour again with Helloween started to struggle?  :D

 :lol

Walked into that one didn't I?
would have thought the same thing but seeing the OP was TAC i immediately thought Maiden or DT related
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Offline ZachAnsley

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Re: The Curious Case of JLB (analysis of JLB's vocals)
« Reply #133 on: May 24, 2018, 12:51:31 AM »

Offline bosk1

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Re: The Curious Case of JLB (analysis of JLB's vocals)
« Reply #134 on: May 25, 2018, 10:56:58 AM »
Regarding the touring schedule, it's also somewhat easy to say he should have taken more days off. Just about any band has to expect to drift back into obscurity the next week, so every concert has to be sung like it's your last. Even if that means singing unsustainably.

This post cannot be quoted enough.  I have made similar comments in the past, but have never articulated it as well as rumbo just did!
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Offline Lethean

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Re: The Curious Case of JLB (analysis of JLB's vocals)
« Reply #135 on: May 25, 2018, 10:59:55 AM »
I thought the Russell Allen video was cool, and I especially think #4 (the amount of touring) is a huge piece.  I've seen him at the end of a tour, or in the middle of a tour after the 3rd night in a row, and based on that, I think he'd have a lot of trouble had Symphony X done extensive touring over the years.  That having been said, maybe he'll see these videos and decide to tone down the gruffer  vocals in the interest of preserving his voice.... (one can hope?).  :)

Offline bosk1

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Re: The Curious Case of JLB (analysis of JLB's vocals)
« Reply #136 on: May 25, 2018, 12:31:31 PM »
The Russ Allen video was good.  But I was more interested in a specific analysis of how he does the gruffness and power that he portrays in his vocals, and whether or not that is healthy.  In fairness, it is covered briefly at the very end where Zach basically says "I don't know how he does it."  :lol  And the concept is covered in fair depth in his "The Zen of NOT Screaming!" video (which, despite being very ranty, is very informative).  But for me personally, I was looking for more application of those concepts specifically to Russ's singing.  But don't get me wrong--I'm not trying to criticize the video or sound ungrateful for the effort that is put into these.  I'm just expressing what info I am interested in.
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Offline ZachAnsley

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Re: The Curious Case of JLB (analysis of JLB's vocals)
« Reply #137 on: May 25, 2018, 05:28:21 PM »
The Russ Allen video was good.  But I was more interested in a specific analysis of how he does the gruffness and power that he portrays in his vocals, and whether or not that is healthy.  In fairness, it is covered briefly at the very end where Zach basically says "I don't know how he does it."  :lol  And the concept is covered in fair depth in his "The Zen of NOT Screaming!" video (which, despite being very ranty, is very informative).  But for me personally, I was looking for more application of those concepts specifically to Russ's singing.  But don't get me wrong--I'm not trying to criticize the video or sound ungrateful for the effort that is put into these.  I'm just expressing what info I am interested in.

I don't know how he creates the gruff stuff.  It isn't something I have put any substantial amount of time into understanding, so I don't want to claim to be an expert on how the sound is created.  I do, however, know that the methods that people explain are either untrue and pseudoscientific or extremely unhealthy.

Russell creates the clarity in his tone by correlating his speaking voice to his singing, and also by being very careful as to the amount of tension he creates when he sings.  The masterclass I quoted goes into more detail, but I didn't want to just be a repeat of that video, so I just expounded upon the major points I felt were relevant.

Offline ZachAnsley

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Re: The Curious Case of JLB (analysis of JLB's vocals)
« Reply #138 on: May 25, 2018, 05:34:06 PM »
Also, if it seems like the videos aren't as in depth as the JLB one the reason is that people have been pretty critical of the videos' overall length, so I am trying to condense the analysis videos a bit.  I could talk for hours about this stuff, but I have to consider the average YouTube viewer attention span.

Offline Ninjabait

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Re: The Curious Case of JLB (analysis of JLB's vocals)
« Reply #139 on: May 25, 2018, 06:01:31 PM »
Also, if it seems like the videos aren't as in depth as the JLB one the reason is that people have been pretty critical of the videos' overall length, so I am trying to condense the analysis videos a bit.  I could talk for hours about this stuff, but I have to consider the average YouTube viewer attention span.

Do you script the videos or just hit record and go off the cuff? I didn't see many major edits that would indicate the former and you digress a bit which indicates the latter. Because if you don't script, the general practice with educational YouTube videos seems to be to script the thing out, rehearse it a few times, and then record several takes of different parts, which are then edited together.  Also, the length is fine, if still a bit long. Generally the best ballpark is to hit the 3-15min range with educational videos like this. The more focused you are delivering your message and the less you backtrack or negate statements or digress the better.

Also, get right into it. You have literally only a few seconds (we're talking 3-16 seconds really) to capture the viewer's attention, so you have to jump right into the meat of the video or set it up with some sort of intriguing tease. You can skip over introductions and "why I made this video stuff" since that's mostly fluff. If you do explain why you made a video, keep it extremely short (like "Thanks to x and y on Patreon for suggesting video" short) and save it for after you tease the audience or at the end of the video. If you're worried about choppy looking edits, I'd do a "slideshow" format or have audioless video clips or one of those drawing videos. It's always good to keep the audience's peepers engaged as well as their earholes and their brain...holes. Listen, I opted for physics, not anatomy in high school okay?

If you want good models for how these kind of videos should be constructed, I'd look at 8bit Music Theory (who covers music theory of video game tracks and is probably the closest model) and The Game/Film Theorist channels. Other popular stuff like CGP Grey, footofaferret, VSauce 1-10,000, and minutephysics are good models too. There seems to be a winning structure to these kinds of videos, and you can find a lot of ways to creatively express yourself and get your ideas across within this simple framework.

Hope all this stuff helps, I'm always really happy to help people grow YouTube channels and stuff because I've learned a freaking lot about how all this works.