John Petrucci

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John Petrucci
John Petrucci 2010.JPG
John Petrucci in 2010
Background information
Birth name John Peter Petrucci
Born (1967-07-12) July 12, 1967 (age 48)
Kings Park, Long Island, New York
Genres Progressive metal
Occupation(s) Musician, songwriter, producer
Instruments Guitar, vocals
Years active 1984–present
Labels Roadrunner, Sound Mind Music, Magna Carta
Associated acts Dream Theater, Liquid Tension Experiment, Explorers Club, G3, Nightmare Cinema
Notable instruments
Ernie Ball Music Man "Majesty" (2013–present)
Ernie Ball Music Man John Petrucci Signature Model (2000–present)
Ibanez JPM John Petrucci Signature (pre-2000)

John Peter Petrucci (born July 12, 1967) is an American guitarist, composer and producer. He is best known as a founding member of the progressive metal/rock band Dream Theater. With his former bandmate Mike Portnoy, he has produced all Dream Theater albums since their 1999 release, Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory until their 2009 release, Black Clouds & Silver Linings, and also produced alone their 2011 release A Dramatic Turn of Events and 2013's Dream Theater. He also sings backing vocals for Dream Theater. Petrucci was named as the third player on the G3 tour six times, more than any other invited guitarists. In 2009 he was named the No. 2 Best metal guitarist by Joel McIver in his book The 100 Greatest Metal Guitarists.[1] He was also named as one of the "Top 10 Greatest Guitar Shredders of All Time" by GuitarOne magazine.[2] In 2012, Petrucci was ranked the 17th greatest guitarist of all time by a Guitar World magazine readers poll.[3]


John Petrucci was born on July 12, 1967 in Kings Park, New York to an Italian American family. He picked up the guitar at the age of eight because his older sister was allowed to go to bed later in order to practice the piano. However, he decided to quit the guitar when his attempts to stay up late were unsuccessful. He picked up the guitar again at the age of 12. Petrucci has said he committed to practicing guitar 6 hours a day when he discovered it was his passion. His early influences were bands like Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, AC/DC and later he got more into progressive and metal genres with Rush, Yes, Iron Maiden, Dixie Dregs and Metallica.[4][5]

Eventually, his childhood friend and future Dream Theater keyboardist Kevin Moore invited Petrucci to join his cover band. Petrucci attended Berklee College of Music in Boston with childhood friend John Myung (bass), where they met future bandmate Mike Portnoy (drums). While in Berklee they often covered two of their biggest influences, Iron Maiden and Rush. These three, in addition to Kevin Moore, formed the band Majesty. Because there was already another band with the same name, the group later became Dream Theater.

While Petrucci is most commonly associated with Dream Theater, he is also in the project band Liquid Tension Experiment, and has appeared as a guest on records by other artists, such as the Age of Impact album by the Explorer's Club.

Petrucci has released a guitar instructional video, Rock Discipline, which covers warm-up exercises, exercises to avoid injury while playing, alternate picking, sweep picking, chords and other techniques for developing one's guitar playing. Petrucci also has a book named "Guitar World presents John Petrucci's Wild Stringdom", which was compiled from columns he wrote for Guitar World magazine under that title.

In 2001, Joe Satriani and Steve Vai invited Petrucci to tour with them on the popular G3 guitar tour, which exposed him to a massive number of new fans and inspired a solo album. The album, Suspended Animation, was released on March 1, 2005, and was available for order from his web site. Petrucci also appeared on the 2005 and 2006 G3 tours, and in 2007, went on G3 tour again, this time with Paul Gilbert and Joe Satriani. In a recent video with Larry DiMarzio, Petrucci announced that he is working on a follow up to his 2004 album, Suspended Animation and a new Dream Theater album.[6]

Petrucci also wrote and recorded two instrumental soundtrack songs for a Sega Saturn game titled Digital Pinball: Necronomicon. Each track is roughly two minutes long, and are named simply Prologue and Epilogue. In a spoof rock band, Nightmare Cinema (which was the Dream Theater members changing instruments for a gig), he used the "alternate stage name" Johnny James.

In 2012, Petrucci was invited once again to join Joe Satriani in his G3 tour with Steve Morse. His Dream Theater drummer Mike Mangini, and his former G3 bass player Dave LaRue accompanied him on the tour.

Dream Theater bandmate Jordan Rudess revealed in an interview that Petrucci is a practicing Catholic.[7] He currently lives in St. James, New York with his wife Rena Sands, a guitarist in the all-female heavy metal band Meanstreak, and they have three children—twins Samantha and Renato, and Kiara. He is the uncle of Jake Bowen, a guitarist in the progressive metal band Periphery. He is also an avid fan of bodybuilding and dedicates much of his off time to weight training. He is a voting member of NARAS.[8]

Musical style[edit]

Guitar technique[edit]

John Petrucci during a concert in 2012.

Petrucci is respected for his variety of guitar styles and skills. One of the most notable of these is his high speed alternate picking which, as he himself claims, requires a "strong sense of synchronization between the two [playing] hands." John is notable for frequent use of the seven-string electric guitar, which he says he uses as a writing tool, taking advantage of the extended range for heavier riffing and to play extended range runs as part of a solo. Moreover, Petrucci often combines his metal shredding technique with a slower, emotive soloing style. His influences as a guitarist include Steve Morse, Al Di Meola, Steve Howe, Allan Holdsworth, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Randy Rhoads, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Alex Lifeson, Yngwie Malmsteen and David Gilmour.[5][9]

Petrucci is the only band member in Dream Theater to have contributed lyrics to every album, and his lyrics have been used for at least three songs on each. These include, among others, Metropolis, Pt. 1: The Miracle and the Sleeper, The Spirit Carries On, The Great Debate, In the Presence of Enemies, and Through Her Eyes. Petrucci uses real-life experiences for lyrical inspiration, as can be heard in the songs The Count of Tuscany, A Nightmare to Remember and Endless Sacrifice.


Petrucci has acted as a backing vocalist live since the Awake Tour. He is a baritone, producing a sound darker than that of James Labrie's tenor voice. He also has a role in writing the vocal melodies for Dream Theater, as shown on demo versions of Wither and Spirit Carries On, on which he performs the vocals.

In live performances before Mike Portnoy departed, he only sang small sections of backing vocals or harmonies, with Mike performing the majority of the backing vocals. After Mike Portnoy's departure, Petrucci has taken on some his singing duties in songs such as The Dark Eternal Night and War Inside My Head, with other backing vocals being on a backing track.


Solo albums[edit]

With Dream Theater[edit]

Studio albums

With Liquid Tension Experiment[edit]

With G3[edit]

With Jordan Rudess[edit]

As a guest[edit]


  • Working ManVarious Artists (A tribute to Rush) (1996)
  • Dragon AttackVarious Artists (A tribute to Queen) (1997)
  • Guitar BattleVarious Artists (1998)


Year Title Notes
1993 Images and Words: Live in Tokyo First Dream Theater live DVD. Includes extended version of "Take the Time."
1995 Rock Discipline – VHS John Petrucci does a DVD on guitar warmups, tricks, exercises, and his gear.
1998 5 Years in a LIVEtime The only live Dream Theater DVD with Derek Sherinian.
2001 Metropolis 2000: Scenes From New York
2002 Rock Discipline – DVD
2004 Live at Budokan
2005 G3: Live in Tokyo
2006 Score 2DVD's recorded at Radio City Music Hall on April 1, 2006 New York, US Celebrating Dream Theater's 20th Anniversary. They performed this concert with a symphony orchestra.
2007 Chaos in Progress: The Making of Systematic Chaos DVD included in the special edition of Systematic Chaos
2008 Chaos in Motion 2007–2008 Released September 30, 2008. Documents the band's 2007/2008 Chaos in Motion and Progressive Nation tours.
2013 Live at Luna Park
2014 Breaking the Fourth Wall 2DVD's recorded live at the Boston Opera House on March 25, 2014, released on September 29, 2014 on CD, DVD, and Blu-ray.


External links[edit]