WotanCCC: . Welcome to todays
WotanCCC: . Artist Shop
WotanCCC: . Featured Artist Conference
WotanCCC: . An evening with
WotanCCC: . James LaBrie
WotanCCC: . Presented by
WotanCCC: . @Music and TalkCity
WotanCCC: James has joined us to discuss his latest project, Mullmuzzler. With the help of the venerable Terry Brown, producer of Rush's output during the '70's, James built, shaped, then fine-tuned nine distinct, heartfelt and often bombastic tracks, all of them co-writes with an army of the field's hottest creators including members of Shadow Gallery, Matt Guillory of Dali's Dilemma, and Trent Gardner from Magellan and Exploreres Club.
The result is a banquet of purifying rock, some of it slamming in a Zeppelin frame of mind, some of it reminiscent of Queen and possibly Styx, some of it simply the most elegant classic rock you will ever hear. And, hopefully, James will also share with us the progress being made on the forthcoming Dream Theater album!
James, thank you for joining us tonight.
Mullmuzzler: Thank you. Great to be here.
ASKJamesLaBrie: RandomTask says: How did you get your start in music? Do you have any advice for beginners?
Mullmuzzler: Started as early as, according to my parents, three years old. I was singing constantly whether it was making much sense at that point, I was just trying to sing. It had a lot to do with my father who was into Barbershop Quartet. He introduced me to Nat King Cole, Tony Bennett, Stuff like that.
This progressed to elementary school. By the time I was seven/eight year old the music teacher in my school had me singing contests around my area, so I was dead serious about it even at that young age.
At 10 years old I actually got into barbershop quartet singing with my father, at 14 I started singing in rock and roll bands. At 20, still in rock'n'roll band, I studied opera for 4 1/2 years. And finally that's what led up to my connecting to DT.
My advice to anyone wanting to make a career in this industry is to dedicate a lot of
time to your particular instrument, whatever that may be. And if you believe
strongly enough in yourself, then no
matter who often you get hit down, you'll keep getting up and have a very strong chance of making it and seeing your dreams come to fruition.
ASKJamesLaBrie: Alucard says: What does MullMuzzler mean?
Mullmuzzler: OK. I actually put the description on the inside
sleeve, but for
those who don't know... 'to silence an individual's thought before it can be
expressed in any manner.' Hence, "Keep it to Yourself." The title of the album ;-)
ASKJamesLaBrie: DeViLozzo says: I'd like to know if Dream Theater are
more or less unite 'cause all the members have a parallel project (LTE,
Mullmuzzler: All members are very much united. I would go as far as to say that we're probably closer in relationship than we have been in a few years... It's very healthy, the Dream Theater camp. And this next album will prove it by far!
ASKJamesLaBrie: DJGeorge81 says: How long is the new Dream Theater cd
what are the song titles?
Mullmuzzler: First and foremost, I'm not going to divulge the song titles. And secondly, the length of the album, I'm not going to give it accurately, but I believe it's about 77 minutes and 11 seconds.
ASKJamesLaBrie: Styles2112 says: Hey James, you're the
you draw any inspiration or influence from other vocalists? Who?
Mullmuzzler: Well, 1st, thanks very much, I appreciate the compliment. First and foremost, one of my favorite vocalists was Freddy Mercury.... then it goes to, believe it or not, Nat King Cole, Steve Perry, Lou Gramm, and very early Faces stuff with Rod Stewart. He has a unique sounding voice. I don't always go with someone who's got it technically together, but feeling, soul, etc.
Also I like Placido Domingo and the new fellow Andrea Bocelli. That gives a good scope on where I come from. Old Steve Walsh from Kansas, I thought that was great. And believe it or not, one of my favorites, is Steven Tyler who has a great rock voice. Also Bon Scott from AC/DC.
If you listen to those albums, really listen to it, the voice is very unique and distinctive.
ASKJamesLaBrie: JRHep says: , James I would like to know your opinion of some of the singers who currently emulate you and your style?
Mullmuzzler: Hmmmm..... I'm not sure who he specifically has in mind.
A little of what I've heard of Royal Hunt gives me the impression that DC Cooper is
doing that a bit, the way he emotes and
holds on to his notes. Who else? Hmmm, I'm at a loss for right here and now to hone in on other vocalists.
I'd be more interested in hearing other people tell me who they think are emulating me, trying to feed off my style...THOSE RIP OFF ARTISTS ...And by the way, another great vocalist that was very inspirational was Sam Cooke!
ASKJamesLaBrie: PrimalMe says: , I agree with a lot of your influences. Curious if you have had a chance to hear Ralf Scheepers of Gamma Ray/Primal Fear...and your opinion?
Mullmuzzler: I believe I heard some Primal Fear (I'm not sure that was the band, but if it was) he sounded very Rob Halford-ish (Rob is also an influence, BTW).
ASKJamesLaBrie: jimcrackcorn says: Hi James I was wondering if the new Dream Theater was goingto be more progressive than the last and Metropolis part 2 on it?
Mullmuzzler: Well, let me answer that by saying that the new Dream Theater is going to be something that everyone out there has wanted to hear for a while AND MORE!!! We hope everyone will be as excited about this as we are. We feel it's the best album we've ever made! Metropolis 2? We'll have to wait and see.
ASKJamesLaBrie: Egosh says: on MullMuzzler thrid songshores of Avalon, is the guitar riff deliberately inspired from Kashmire guitar riff??
Mullmuzzler: Well, you can't help being influenced to some degree by Zeppelin. But that being said, no, it wasn't deliberately influenced by Kashmir. But, it does have a Zeppelinish, eastern sound to it.
ASKJamesLaBrie: TheMirrorGermany says: James, Steffen from Germany here. Did you end up recording the vocals of the new DT album with Terry Brown as you liked to? Sound EXCELLENT anyway ;-))
Mullmuzzler: Hi, Steffen, great to hear from you. Yes, I did bring Terry Brown into the vocal session for the new DT album. And we had a blast doing it!!!
ASKJamesLaBrie: Styles2112 says: Why did this become a solo project, instead of DT?
Mullmuzzler: Well, this became a solo project for the simple fact of the way it began. I was approached by Magna Carta, another label... And if I was going to do something else, this was how this project began, without DT in mind. So it had different writers and players. Having just come off the Falling into Infinity world tour... we all wanted to do things on the side, which I think really helped us when it came to writing the new DT.
We were all in good shape and had a lot of energy and ideas to bring to the DT camp which made this an incredibly special album. So these side projects and this solo project in the long run added to the DT material.
ASKJamesLaBrie: nyucknyucknyuck says: For Mullmuzzler, you are credited with the liner notes. Were they easier or harder than writing a song?
Mullmuzzler: LOL!!! It's much easier to write liner notes than it is to write a song - I think.;-)
ASKJamesLaBrie: Kyo_ says: will you have any guest musicians on the new album?
Mullmuzzler: Yes, we have guest musicians, but probably not anyone that any of you would be familiar with. Unless you live somewhere in Jersey ;-)
ASKJamesLaBrie: yesrushdt says: Were there any tracks that didn't make it on the new cd? If so, is there a possibilty of them appearing on an ep?
Mullmuzzler: No, pretty well everything that was written is the album. As far as extra tracks, the only way that would happen would be for us to take the time to go in and write more... Unless we wanted to touch upon some older material, but at this point, no.
ASKJamesLaBrie: Paul_Fini says: How did you guys come up with the new DT album title, Quotation?
Mullmuzzler: Well, maybe we'll use that for the next album, because it's not being used for this album. I'm curious as to how that rumor started because it's completely incorrect.
ASKJamesLaBrie: Egosh says: how did you went to work with Shadow
Gallery?? and how was it??
Mullmuzzler: Shadow Gallery came about because during the tour for Falling into Infinity, I was contacted by Magna Carta to do a guest spot on their new album, Tyranny. After hearing the piece they wanted to do, I liked it and after hearing the complete album, Tyranny, I then thought it would be a great thing to collaborate in this style of writing they had shown me... and with myself in the mix to see what we could come up with.
ASKJamesLaBrie: _fect_ says: do you still play the drums???
Mullmuzzler: I play the drums from the age of 5 to 17. And at 17 I knew the talent and competition as a drummer was just too great. And I knew as a singer I had a shot. That was my forte...And I haven't drummed since. LOL!
ASKJamesLaBrie: yyz_ says: How do you feel about the state of the Prograssive Rock Scene at the moment. Also, do you think DT will ever allow taping?
Mullmuzzler: I think that the progressive environment at this point is very healthy. There are a lot of bands out there doing it. It's more of an underground thing at the moment. But if DT can help the other bands to this kind of music that is mind provoking, then that makes me feel good.
As far as DT allowing taping, I think it's going to happen regardless of whether we're opposed to it or for it, as evidenced by the fact that there are about 25 different bootlegs from concerts from various parts of the world floating around out there.
ASKJamesLaBrie: Styles2112 says: Are there any musicans that you would like to work with, that you haven't already? (Big Ytse-fan, been to all the Birch Hill shows and more!)
Mullmuzzler: Thanks for being such a big fan. As far as bass players, I'd like to work with Marco Marco, he played on one of the Blue Murder albums, an incredible bass player. A guitar player I'd love to work with would be Lincoln Brewster who played on the last Steve Perry solo album, For the Love of Strange Medicine. He reminds me very much of Neal Schon. And drummers - I'd love to work with, Dean Castranova. That's a few. That's just an idea. There are others, but that gives you an idea of the type of players.
ASKJamesLaBrie: Kyo_ says: have you already considered playing some LTE or Mullmuzzler material at the upcoming DT tour?
Mullmuzzler: It hasn't been discussed yet, but it could be discussed.
As far as I'm concerned, I'm not into doing Mullmuzzler at a DT concert. That's a separate
entity. If the others was to play LTE at
DT concerts, that's there choice. I think it would be easier to do LTE material at a DT concert, maybe do a medley, and get away with it. With Mullmuzzler, the vocals and all, it would have to be
played so that it wouldn't sound fragmented.
ASKJamesLaBrie: PrimalMe says: , James, have you ever lost your voice during a show? And how did you recover given the range you display?
Mullmuzzler: Yeah, I've had problems in the past where I have lost my voice, although not necessarily during the show. It might have been just before the show and told me I wouldn't be performing to my full potential. Likely due to a cold or other illness. Then you're hit with the reality that this is an organic instrument. When hit with that situation, I tend to lay back and not push myself so that recovery will be sooner.
ASKJamesLaBrie: sosholmysfyt says: <ever thought of doing a jazz album in the future>
Mullmuzzler: Huh? No, I never thought of that at this point. It could be interesting, very exciting. It would have myself approaching it in a way that jazz singers approach their melodies and such. I don't know that it's appropriate at this time in the career, or any time. But who's to say what the future holds for us.
ASKJamesLaBrie: Egosh says: You made the art cover of Mullm... Why did you choose such a tortured atmosphere when the album is more poetic??
Mullmuzzler: Interesting you bring this up. The artwork is not completely accurate to my concept. Originally the artwork was...well, let me say this... the way you're seeing the ear now at the angle is incorrect... the angle the ear should have been at would be the angle you would see my ear were we speaking face to face. The ear as you should have seen it was supposed to hover between the two subjects. And the one with the mouth agape was only supposed to have his mouth with a subtle opening to express a more genuine or rational approach to communicating to the other. But because of the detached ear we come to the detached ear we come to the realization that the communication is not complete. Hence we have the title, Keep It To Yourself.
And the lyrics in the album are dealing with the communications difficulties that we all encounter with our personal relationships and other types of relationships.
ASKJamesLaBrie: nnet44 says: what advice would u give a young artist to break into the business......maybe voice lessons/instrument?......would flute be good?
Mullmuzzler: Well, flute would be good if you're wanting to do a more orchestral approach. But if you think voice is something you want to pursue, then absolutely, you should look into voice coaching. If it's an instrument, no matter what you feel you have to offer to the music industry, if you have something unique to get you into a career situation in this industry, then you should do whatever it takes to get there without being disrespectful to others.
ASKJamesLaBrie: nyucknyucknyuck says: Dream Theatre seems to have a strong following, yet you've been with a number of different labels. Is it because the labels can't understand the music and are looking for airplay, or is it because they want you to change your sound? Or some other reason?
Mullmuzzler: Well, believe it or not, it hasn't been that we've been changing labels. The labels have been changing names. The first was Atco, then it was East/West. And now it's Elektra. But it was all the same company. It was just a changing of personnel and names to that particular end of that label. But we never did have to resign a contract because it was all the same.
ASKJamesLaBrie: Paul_Fini says: James - now that recording for the new DT is done, what are you up to?
Mullmuzzler: Well, right now I'm doing many interviews for the promotion of Mullmuzzler and beginning in the next couple of days we'll be doing both Mullmuzzler and DT interviews for promoting both. And aside from doing interviews, I'm trying to spend as much quality time as I can with my wife, daughter and son.
WotanCCC: Is there anything else you would like to mention before we conclude today?
Mullmuzzler: Just like to say that generally speaking DT has been overwhelmed with the loyalty our fans have shown us over the years and continue to do so. The reception to Mullmuzzler has been overwhelming both by the press and what I've read on the net from people personally. We realize we're in a very fortunate and unique situation, myself and the other guys are very thankful.
WotanCCC: Looks like our time is up...
Mullmuzzler: Thanks everyone for your time.
WotanCCC: I'd like to thank everyone for joining us today. James, we appreciate your taking the time to come and chat with us today, and hope you'll come back to Talk City again soon!
Mullmuzzler: Hope to see you on the next DT tour.
WotanCCC: The transcript of this event will be posted within a few days on the @Music discussion boards on Talk City. http://www.talkcity.com/atmusic and on the Artist Shop web site http://www.artist-shop.com
WotanCCC: To purchase MullMuzzler, or for information on other James LaBrie recordings, please visit The Artist Shop Online at: http://www.artist-shop.com
WotanCCC: Finally, thanks to the Artist Shop for working with us on this conference. We especially appreciate the efforts of Gary Davis in giving us the opportunity to speak with James LaBrie at http://www.artist-shop.com
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WotanCCC: Tonight's show has come to an end. We thank you, our great audience, and extend a very special Thank You to our guest ....... JAMES LABRIE.........We look forward to seeing you again soon.
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WotanCCC: Please join us in the Music-Progressive room to continue talking about James' work. And thank you all for putting up with the server problems earlier.
WotanCCC: I'm glad you came back.