Songs to Live by: Dream Theater’s John Petrucci

Dream Theater, 2019

Dream Theater fanatics prepare yourselves: the band’s new album Distance Over Time drops this Friday, February 22nd (you probably already knew that) — and the progressive metal icons will hit the road shortly after that in March for a six-week run that hits everywhere from San Diego to Mexico City. Ahead of that excitement, we caught up with virtuosic lead guitarist John Petrucci to see what he listens to when he’s not shredding his brains out. Read on to find out everything the axe master enjoys for every mood, from his wake-up jams to what he turns to when he’s tied one on the night before.

WHEN I’M PISSED OFF:
METALLICA – “BATTERY”

It just has a lot of energy, and I just want to start breaking things when I hear it. [Laughs]

WHEN I’M FEELING DEPRESSED:
BREAD – “EVERYTHING I OWN”

If I’m feeling depressed, and I just want to wallow in it, I’ll put this on. It’s one of the saddest songs ever written — you listen to it, and you just get so sad. It totally bums me out every time.

WHEN I GET UP IN THE MORNING:
YES – “ROUNDABOUT”

It’s a positive, energetic song. You hear that Chris Squire bass riff, and you want to get up!

WHEN I GO TO BED:
ANDREAS VOLLENWEIDER – “DOWN TO THE MOON”

He’s a new age harpist, and I got turned on to his Down to the Moon album a long time ago. The song “Down to the Moon” is just so relaxing. It’ll put you right to sleep — in a good way.

WHEN I’M HUNGOVER:
PINK FLOYD – “COMFORTABLY NUMB”

It might seem kind of obvious, but I immediately thought of “Comfortably Numb.” It’s perfect hangover music.

WHEN I’M GETTING IT ON:
JOURNEY – “FAITHFULLY”

Who doesn’t love Journey for that kind of thing? And that’s actually my wife and I’s wedding song, so that’s perfect.

SONG I MOST WANT TO BE REMEMBERED FOR:
“GLASGOW KISS”

It’s on my solo album, Suspended Animation. It’s a fun song, and a lot of guitar players come up to me, telling me how much they enjoy it. It’s instrumental, it’s guitar, and I think it sums up the spirit of my playing.

SONG I WISH I WROTE:
PETER GABRIEL – “IN YOUR EYES”

I’m a huge Peter Gabriel fan, so it could be almost any one of his songs. But “In Your Eyes” is really one of the greatest songs ever written.

SONG I WANT PLAYED AT MY FUNERAL:
DREAM THEATER – “THE SPIRIT CARRIES ON”

I don’t know if it’s weird to pick your own song, but this song from Scenes From a Memory seems like the perfect one. It’s not only representative of what I did during my life, but it pretty much sums up my feelings about death and the afterlife.