In an exclusive video for Planet Rock, Sons of Apollo lynchpins Mike Portnoy and Derek Sherinian have waxed lyrical about progressive rock instrumentals.
The supergroup, consisting of Portnoy (drums) and Sherinian (keyboards) alongside vocalist Jeff Scott Soto, guitarist Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal and bassist Billy Sheehan, unleash their debut album ‘Psychotic Symphony’ via Inside Out Music this Friday (20th October) and the record comes to an emphatic close with a sprawling “beast of an instrumental” track called ‘Opus Maximus’.
Of course, no strangers to instrumentals as former band mates in Dream Theater and PSMS, in the video Sherinian and Portnoy explain how songs like ‘Opus Maximus’ give them “free rein” to write music “without limitations” and allow them to throw the rulebook out.
Enthusing about Opus Maximus specifically, Portnoy says: “When we wrote that it was like anything goes. Let’s just throw everything in the kitchen sink.”
“We wrote section by section, there was no destination,” adds Sherinian. “We just wrote ‘okay here we are here, where do we want to go next’ and we just kept going until like ‘alright let’s bring it on home’ and then 11 or 10 minutes later [laughs].”
Elsewhere in the clip, Portnoy talks about how Genesis, Yes and Pink Floyd are some of the artists that have influenced his song writing, however, it’s one 1978 opus in particular – Rush’s ‘La Villa Strangiato’ – that he believes is the “virtuosic benchmark” of progressive rock instrumentals.
“The first instrumental that truly blew my mind was ‘La Villa Strangiato’ by Rush,” Portnoy explains. “To me that was the benchmark of virtuoso playing and extreme writing.”
Watch the full video here:
It’s also a perfectly good excuse to watch Rush performing ‘La Villa Strangiato’ in all its live glory here:
‘Psychotic Symphony’ is available to pre-order right here on 2CD Mediabook (featuring a second disc of instrumental mixes, including an alternative mix of ‘Opus Maximus’), Gatefold 2LP vinyl + CD, Standard Jewelcase CD & digital download.
The track-list is as follows:
1. God of The Sun
2. Coming Home
3. Signs of the Time
6. Lost In Oblivion
7. Figaro’s Whore
8. Divine Addiction
9. Opus Maximus