The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) brought together some of the music industry’s most prominent guitar retailers and some of the world’s greatest guitarists. Ernie Ball Music Man guitarist Rob Chapman (Chapman Guitars) had the opportunity to sit down with signature artist John Petrucci. Chapman’s interview covered everything from John’s song writing techniques, the 2019 Majesty, to the highly anticipated new Dream Theater album Distance Over Time. Here are the six things we learned from Chapman’s sit down interview with the metal guitarist.

Watch the full interview


1. He played the 2019 Majesty while recording the new Dream Theater album. (1:30)

“There were a couple of different things going on at the same time while we were recording the record. One was that prototypes for this new model were being made and I was able to get one in time to play on a song or two.”

2. The sound of the guitar determines the music style. (3:47)

“If you’re playing with kind of a cleaner sound and you’re playing progressive, you’re going to get that 70s, UK style sound. If you’re playing a style that’s more rock ‘n’ roll, where the guitar is more organic and not as heavy than its going to go in that direction. Dream Theater is more of a progressive metal band because that is the direction that the guitar pushes the music.”

3. The new album was recorded in a barn. (6:06)

“We recorded in this big, renovated barn in upstate New York. It was a barn that was built as a film and recording studio that was absolutely gorgeous. But the original owner sold it, took all the gear out, and now its just a big empty shell. We moved everything in there and wrote the record.”

4. Dream Theater writes songs that are technically hard to play on the guitar. (10:26)  

“All the guys in the band continue to push themselves technically and its fun. It’s kind of like driving a fast car, its just a lot of fun to do. To challenge each other and make music that not all the time, but at sometimes, is kind of complex and over the top. It brings a lot of tension and a lot of drama to the music when you do it right. We understand there are Dream Theater fans that like that side of us, but we like that side of us. That’s where it comes from. It comes from a natural place.”

5. He doesn’t believe there is any “perfect” place to write music. (11:45)

“The funny thing is that sometimes music just hits you. Sometimes it comes when you’re fooling around with a piece of gear, which is why I’m such a gear nerd. I love amps, guitars and trying new pickups and things because you just get inspired by the instrument and by the craft and just a love of guitar and gear. Sometimes its from massive lack of sleep when you’re traveling and super jet lagged in some weird dream state, then all of a sudden all this music pours in.”

6. His relationship with Ernie Ball Music Man is much more than just strings and guitars. (13:26)

“I can honestly say the moment I interacted with Sterling and met the Ball family and started working with them, that was one of the best things in my professional career, and eventually in my personal life as well. They’re so into the art of guitar building, they’re innovative, they have some of the best engineers on their team, and Sterling and his whole family have this spirit of ‘making tools for artists.’ They’re so dedicated to that. So we have come up with some of the most amazing instruments on the planet by working together.”

Listen to Dream Theater

Preorder Dream Theater’s new album Distance Over Time here.

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