NEWS: Clapton, Alice Cooper, My Chemical Romance, Van Halen

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Here are my latest news stories for Gibson.com. By the way, in a couple of weeks it’ll be one year since I started writing for Gibson. I’ll do a wrap-up of my favourite features over that time soon!

Eric Clapton, Wynton Marsalis Collaboration Hits DVD

Alice Cooper Returns to the Sunset Strip

My Chemical Romance Name New Drummer

Van Halen Album Completed?

INTERVIEW: Dream Theater’s John Petrucci

When Mike Portnoy quit Dream Theater a year ago, it could have been a disaster for the band. Instead they went into audition mode, recruiting former Extreme/Steve Vai drummer Mike Mangini to record A Dramatic Turn Of Events. The new album is classic Dream Theater, with odd time signatures, clever arrangements, genre-hopping, long instrumental sections and plenty of shred. Mangini proves he’s the perfect man for the job, and the entire band sounds energised and inspired by the new, more democratic approach to composition. It’s their most varied and creative work since 1999’s Scenes From A Memory.

The first impression I had of this album was “This reminds me of something. What is it? Oh! Dream Theater!” It really brings back the things I really loved about the Images & Words era.

Cool! We were definitely conscious to look at our goals for the new album and really talk to each other beforehand. I had a lot of conversations with Jordan (Rudess, keys) about the compositional direction, and trying to hone in on the elements that make the band special in our eyes. We had a conversation with James (LaBrie) about where we wanted to take the vocals melodically, and conversations with John Myung (bass) not only about the album but each song. We had a very focused general outlook of the entire writing process. And not only that but as a producer what it was going to sound like when it was all said and done. So that probably helped keep it in that direction.

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