DREAM THEATER keyboardist Jordan Rudess spoke to Andrew Daly of VWMusic about the band winning its first-ever Grammy in the “Best Metal Performance” category in the pre-telecast ceremony at the 64th annual Grammy Awards, which was held on April 3 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. DREAM THEATER was nominated for “The Alien”, a track from its 2021 album “A View From The Top Of The World”. DREAM THEATER‘s previous Grammy nominations were for the song “On The Backs Of Angels”, from 2011’s “A Dramatic Turn Of Events” album, and the single “The Enemy Inside” from 2013’s “Dream Theater”.
Jordan said: “It was very exciting to get that Grammy, as we’ve been nominated three times. And I have to say that I didn’t really expect to get it because I was getting used to being nominated and not getting it. The other reason I thought we wouldn’t get it is that DREAM THEATER is really prog metal, and we were in a metal category. I mean, that was the best category for us, but I thought maybe the voters would sort of stick together in that more traditional metal frame of mind. I was really pleased that we got that kind of recognition and validation, and it’s the one award that definitely makes a difference. In a musician’s life, a Grammy can affect your whole career. It changes the way you do business with people, and the way people deal with you. It’s a really big deal. I definitely have to say that it feels really good. We are riding high over it for sure.
Regarding “The Alien”, Jordan said: “What’s interesting about that song is, as you know, it’s not necessarily like the most commercial kind of song — it’s definitely not commercial at all; it’s in this odd time signature. When we started, Mike [Mangini] was doing this crazy time signature thing on drums that inspired us to get the song off the ground. The next thing you know, we were all writing our parts, and it came together. It actually was the first thing that we wrote for the album, so it kind of flowed out from there. It’s cool because it has all the classic DREAM THEATER elements in it, and that’s what I really liked about the song. It has the unison between me and [guitarist] John Petrucci, it has the keyboards, the great guitar leads, and these crazy meters, but it also has a solid hook. I was glad that we decided to put that out there when the record came out, and have that song be the one that was out front because I think it tells the DREAM THEATER story really well.”
The nominees in the “Best Metal Performance” category at the 2022 Grammy Awards were as follows:
* “Genesis” – DEFTONES
* “The Alien” – DREAM THEATER
* “Amazonia” – GOJIRA
* “Pushing The Tides” – MASTODON
* “The Triumph Of King Freak (A Crypt Of Preservation And Superstition)” – ROB ZOMBIE
DREAM THEATER singer James LaBrie recently told Robert Cavuoto of Myglobalmind about the band’s first-ever Grammy win: “Well, it was overwhelming, the feeling, and it was quite surreal and it took a while for it to sink in — I think a couple of days before I was, like, ‘Wow. Okay. So actually did happen. I guess the third time’s the charm, ’cause we were nominees a couple of times before for ‘On The Backs Of Angels’ and ‘The Enemy Inside’.
“When it happened and our name was called and then John went up on stage, I thought he did an amazing acceptance speech,” he continued. “He was well poised and well worded, as always; he’s a very intelligent individual.
“It’s an amazing feeling. I guess it’s another level of recognition for us and another feather in our cap, so to speak,” LaBrie added. “But, no, it’s just a great feeling and it’s affirmation as to the kind of band that we are and how we’ve been around for some time. And it’s good to get that recognition from the Grammy [Awards].”
In his acceptance speech, Petrucci said: “Wow, this is absolutely insane. On behalf of the entire band, I’d like to thank the Recording Academy and everybody who voted for us.
“You know, they used to tell us our songs were way too long, we used weird time signatures and there were too many guitar solos. In fact, this song is in 17/8, so try to tap your foot to it. But we just won a Grammy, so I’m glad we didn’t listen…
“All the DREAM THEATER fans around the world, you guys rock. We love you. For fans of prog and prog metal, stay true to your art. And it’s alive and well.”
Last December, Petrucci discussed DREAM THEATER‘s latest Grammy nomination during an appearance on MACHINE HEAD frontman Robb Flynn‘s “No Fuckin’ Regrets With Robb Flynn” podcast. He said: “The first [Grammy] nomination we had, FOO FIGHTERS were on there. And they won it. I remember Dave Grohl had said something like, ‘Oh, they should have got this,’ which I thought was nice. But this time, I don’t know if I’m gonna remember all of [the other artists that were nominated], but I think it’s GOJIRA and MASTODON [that we are up against], and it’s a cool list. I remember there were a couple of years where I was surprised at the nominees — it seemed a little bit strange — but this seems appropriate. So we’ll see. It’s fun. It’s an honor to get nominated. It’s cool. Doing what we do and the way that we do it and getting recognized in that world is something that I never would have expected. And now for us, this is the third [nomination], so it’s cool. It’s a good feeling.”
When “The Alien” was first released in August 2021, Petrucci stated about the track: “It’s the first one we wrote together. It gives people a window into what it was like when we initially met up after all of those months off. It has the adventure, the untraditional structure, the heaviness, and the hooks. It really set the tone for the album. James wrote the lyrics about the idea of terraforming and looking beyond our Earth for alternative settlements. Since we’re going beyond our planet, ‘The Alien’ turns out to be us. I thought it was a cool and creative lyric by James.”
This year’s Grammy nominations were announced on November 23, 2021. The nominations were revealed during a livestream from the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, which featured Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. and Board Of Trustees chair Tammy Hurt, as well as some special guests.
The eligibility period for the 64th annual Grammy Awards was September 1, 2020, through September 30, 2021.