Personalities | John Petrucci | Dream Theater to G3 | Guitar Heroes

The guitarist in Dream Theater, John Petrucci (b. 1967) brought his virtuoso style – lengthy syncopated lines, complex rhythmic variations and grinding tones – into the progressive-metal scene. In the past decade, he has been involved in several extracurricular projects, often with other members of Dream Theater.

Raised in Long Island, New York, Petrucci started playing guitar at the age of 12 and assiduously practised and emulated his heroes, working his way through the acknowledged masters, from Steve Howe to Randy Rhoads. At 18, he attended Berklee College of Music in Boston with his school friend, bassist John Myung. There, they met drummer Mike Portnoy and formed the basis of Dream Theater.

Recruiting keyboard player Kevin Moore and singer Charlie Dominici, they released When Dream And Day Unite (1989). Images And Words (1992) with new singer James LaBrie broke them to the MTV audience with the epic ‘Pull Me Under’. Live At The Marquee (1993) and Awake (1994) consolidated their following, with an emphasis on lengthy but concisely written pieces. Metropolis Part 2: Scenes From A Memory (1999) was a concept album that featured new keyboard player Jordan Rudess. Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence (2002) balanced heavy, experimental songs with progressive pieces. Train Of Thought (2003) had an underlying theme of anger, Octavarium (2005) was fixated around the number eight, and Systematic Chaos (2006) was dramatic and aggressive.

Petrucci’s first side project was Liquid Tension Experiment (1998) with Portnoy, Rudess and bassist Tony Levin. Its success resulted in Liquid Tension Experiment 2 (1999). In 2001, Petrucci joined the G3 tour of North America with guitarists Joe Satriani and Steve Vai. He toured with them in 2005, playing music from his solo album Suspended Animation (2005).

Dream Theater signed with Roadrunner Records in 2006, and their releases since then include Systematic Chaos (2007), Black Clouds & Silver Linings (2009), A Dramatic Turn Of Events (2011) and Dream Theater (2013).

Petrucci mainly plays Ernie Ball Music Man guitars and has two signature models; he also plays a seven-string guitar. His complex stage rig is based around Mesa Boogie amps and speakers.

Essential Recordings

Dream Theater: Images And Words

Dream Theater: Awake

Liquid Tension Experiment: Liquid Tension Experiment

Solo: Suspended Animation

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