At one point this past weekend, Spotify decided to recommend that I listen to Dream Theater. I’m not sure where this particular recommendation came from—perhaps I listen to more overly-wanky prog metal than I’m cognizant of?—but…it happened, and I haven’t been able to eat or sleep properly for a couple of days.
There’s quite a long list of both pleasant and unpleasant things I’d rather do than listen to these overly-self-indulgent Berklee College of Music alums, and so absent a proper Nine Circles ov list this week, I’ve decided to try to distill that list into a more manageable portion to fill the void. So without further ado, I present The Nine Circles ov NOT Listening to Dream Theater:
John Petrucci Psycho Exercises
Instead of struggling through a 24-minute guitar solo from John Petrucci (and realizing that he’s probably disappointed it didn’t last a full half-hour), why not enjoy a guy with a voice transformer making fun of his guitar training videos?
You may not like Dream Theater’s music, but there’s no denying that THE TROOCH and singer James LaBrie have put their time in at the gym. (Or the ‘roids. Or maybe both.) And do you wanna be shown up by the dudes who wrote a song called “The Count of Tuscany?” Hell no, you don’t. So pump some iron, and listen to some NOT-Dream Theater while doing so.
Watch Geoff Tate’s Hilariously Awful EPK
If you somehow haven’t yet seen this six-minute pile of gold, stop what you’re doing immediately and watch. The ex-Queensrÿche / current-Operation: Mindcrime (LOLOL) frontman may be similarly up his own asshole, but he at least can give us something to laugh at.
Grow some PROPER facial hair
White goatees? Soul patches? Those aren’t gonna cut it outside of Dream Theater. Take a page out of Corey and Manny-O-War’s playbooks and get some real hair growing on your face. Or buy some from a fifth-grader, à la South Park. Either way, it’s better than yet another spin of “Peruvian Skies.”
Listen to a hardcore punk record
The punk movement originally spawned in part as a reaction to the glut of progressive rock filling the mainstream throughout the late ’60s and early ’70s. So why not bring that idea back for the present by taking the Dream Theater record out and throwing on some Fucked Up? (Or better yet, Violent Reaction)
Write a concise, three-minute pop song
There’s no better antidote to an eight-part, 42-minute behemoth than a one-part, three-minute tribute to all things taut and saccharine. Wanna have even more fun with this exercise? Construct your song with all root-note bass parts and just picture the face John Myung would make if he had to listen to it!
Get a really, REALLY awful tattoo
It may be permanent, but think of it this way: there’s no way it’ll be as hilariously lame as this one that ex-Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy put on himself. Plus, tattoo pain <<< the pain of Train of Thought ever crossing through your eardrums again, right?
Explore different prog bands
Progressive rock and metal aren’t inherently evil. One of my favorite bands in any genre—a member of my personal Mt. Rushmore of music—is a prog band. There’s good stuff out there to be had if one knows where to look. So instead of Dream Theater, maybe revisit some Opeth or Porcupine Tree!
Make a Top 9 list and run out of ideas before you even finish it
Keep it heavy,