DREAM THEATER’s JAMES LABRIE Says His New Solo Album Will Be ‘All Acoustically Driven’

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DREAM THEATER singer James LaBrie is currently in the studio recording a new solo album for a 2021 release. Unlike previous LPs “Elements Of Persuasion” (2005), “Static Impulse” (2010) and “Impermanent Resonance” (2013), which were written and recorded as a collaboration with LaBrie‘s songwriting partner for over a dozen years, Matt Guillory, the new effort is being tracked with Scottish musician Paul Logue, bassist and founding member of the multinational melodic metal band EDEN’S CURSE.

In a new interview with “The Everyman Podcast”, LaBrie explained how his collaboration with Logue came about. “[Paul is] from Scotland, and he used to be in a band called EDEN’S CURSE,” he said (see video below). “Back in 2010, they released an album, and I sang on a song called ‘No Holy Man’; I kind of guest with their lead vocalist — Michael Eden, I think the guy’s name was.

“Anyway, Paul and I stayed in touch with one another, because what I loved about EDEN’S CURSE is it reminded me of classic rock — like the bands [I loved] growing up, like more of a DEEP PURPLE, LED ZEPPELIN approach. That’s what I loved growing up. I also loved YES and PINK FLOYD and RUSH; RUSH I was spinning all the time. And he was the main writer [of EDEN’S CURSE].

“Unbeknownst to me, he came out to the last show that we [DREAM THEATER] did on the European tour — February 23rd,” James continued. “After we shot the DVD in London, we did one more show in Glasgow, and he was there. And I guess he was reaching out to me, saying, ‘Hey, James, I’m coming to the show tonight. Let’s hook up.’ But he was e-mailing my old [e-mail] address.

“So check this out. So, the next day, I’m at the Glasgow airport, getting ready to fly home via London. And he freakin’ walks right by me. He goes, ‘James!’ I’m, like, ‘What?’ And then I found out he was at the show the previous night. He’s, like, ‘Oh my God. I was there. I couldn’t get backstage.’ I’m, like, ‘Oh, shit!’ I didn’t know.

“Anyways, so we get to talking. We had a coffee together,” LaBrie added. “And I said, ‘We’re going back out in April.’ ‘Cause at that time, we still thought we might be going out. Nobody knew. At the end of February, people were pretty sure that everything was gonna come down. We were scheduled to go to Asia in April and continue touring Asia, all through the Pacific Rim and Australia. And I said, ‘But we’re gonna take a few months off after that, and then we’re gonna go out and do a North American tour, and then we’re done in October. Why don’t we get together and write?’ And he said, ‘Yeah, for sure.’ Well, everything crashed in the middle of March. So he e-mailed me, and he goes, ‘Hey, man, what are you doing?’ And I said, ‘I know what we should be doing. Let’s write an album.’ And so that’s what we did. I had all these ideas, he was throwing me his ideas, and we put together nine songs.”

Speaking about the musical direction of his new solo album, LaBrie said: “It’s all acoustically driven. A lot of people are, like, ‘Hey, I’m excited about your new solo album,’ and I’m sure everyone’s thinking what I do with Matt Guillory all the time. This has nothing to do with that. That’s a completely other different band, so to speak.

“I told [Paul] from the beginning I want it to be, first and foremost, what I’m feeding him musically or melodically is all gonna stem from the acoustic guitar, and then vice versa, what he was doing with me,” he explained. “Now we have keyboards coming in. He plays bass and guitar. And I had to call my other favorite guitar player in the world. Well, John‘s [Petrucci] my favorite, and then my other favorite guitar player is Marco Sfogli. So Marco‘s gonna be playing on this as well. And already I can tell you guys, the solos this guy is doing acoustically are gonna blow your mind. This guy’s just so freakin’ talented.”

LaBrie added: “As much as I was saying it’s acoustically driven, as we keep going on, we go, ‘Let’s add this. Let’s add this.’ But the fundamental equation, it started with acoustic, and I think that still will be, to a certain extent, the predominant element.”

According to James, the drums on his new solo album are being laid down by his son Chance, who also plays with the Canadian rock group FALSET.

“We’re just in the process of recording everything right now,” LaBrie said. “And when it’s done, I’ll let everybody know.”

Released in August 2013 via InsideOut Music, “Impermanent Resonance” sold around 2,200 copies in the United States in its first week of release to land at position No. 198 on The Billboard 200 chart. The follow-up to “Static Impulse” saw Guillory not only taking the leading role in composing the material, but also handling all of the keyboards and background vocals. The album’s lineup was intact from the previous recording, featuring Marco Sfogli from Italy on guitar, Ray Riendeau (HALFORD, MACHINES OF LOVING GRACE) on bass and Swedish drummer Peter Wildoer (DARKANE, MAJESTIC), who was a finalist in the DREAM THEATER drum auditions. Additionally, former SOILWORK guitarist Peter Wichers came into the fold to contribute songwriting and studio guitars.

In 2014, LaBrie released a digital EP, “I Will Not Break”, via InsideOut Music. While the opening title track was the album version taken from the “Impermanent Resonance” release, two other songs were previously only released physically as digipak bonus tracks, one tune was an alternate mix version, and two other songs were special demo versions, all previously only released physically as bonus tracks on the digipak and the Japanese edition for the “Static Impulse” album in 2010. The last three tracks were special dub step / electronica remixes of “Static Impulse” songs, previously unreleased. The remixes were done by U.S.-based DJs Jason Miller, Mutrix and NeonGenesis. The cover artwork for the EP was once again designed by Gustavo Sazes of Abstrata.net (ARCH ENEMY, KAMELOT).

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