Michael Romeo

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Michael Romeo
Romeo performing in Novara, 2007
Romeo performing in Novara, 2007
Background information
Birth nameMichael James Romeo
Born (1968-03-06) March 6, 1968 (age 53)
New York, United States
GenresProgressive metal, power metal, symphonic metal, neoclassical metal
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter
InstrumentsGuitar, bass, keyboards, clarinet, programming
Years active1994 – present
Associated actsSymphony X, Phantom's Opera, Ayreon, Redemption, Kotipelto, Steve Walsh

Michael James Romeo (born March 6, 1968) is an American guitarist and a founding member of the progressive metal group Symphony X. He is one of two members to appear on every Symphony X release (the other being Michael Pinnella).

Romeo was ranked #91 out of 100 Greatest Heavy Metal Guitarists of All Time by Guitar World.[1]

Early life[edit]

Michael Romeo's introduction to formal music training began with piano lessons when he was 10 years old.[2] He also played clarinet. However, it wasn't until after hearing his first Kiss album that he seriously considered switching to the guitar. He ended up purchasing a cheap acoustic guitar at a garage sale.

Influenced by Kiss, Led Zeppelin, Rush, AC/DC, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Deep Purple, and Emerson, Lake & Palmer,[2] he became serious about the guitar after listening to the albums Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of a Madman by Ozzy Osbourne. He was also heavily influenced by the neoclassical technique and style of Randy Rhoads,[2] Ritchie Blackmore,[3] Yngwie Malmsteen, and Uli Jon Roth and guitar virtuosos like Shawn Lane; along with well-known composers such as Johann Sebastian Bach, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig Van Beethoven, Richard Wagner and Igor Stravinsky . Romeo's own influence has rubbed off on younger players, including DragonForce's Herman Li, who listed Romeo among his Top 10 favorite guitarists in 2011. Romeo is a fan of Star Wars, and has recorded an arrangement of themes from John Williams' scores for the series under the title "Star Wars Suite". His favorite Star Wars character is Darth Vader.[4]


Caparison Dellinger II – Michael Romeo Custom
ManufacturerCaparison Guitars
Body typeSolid
Neck jointBolt-on
NeckHard Maple
BridgeSchaller S-FRT (Floyd Rose type)
Pickup(s)2 Humbuckers
Neck: DiMarzio Tone Zone
Bridge: DiMarzio X2N
Colors available

Since 2005, Romeo has taken advantage of a new custom model, Caparison Dellinger II – Michael Romeo Custom, which he used to record the Symphony X album Paradise Lost. Romeo was introduced to Caparison by Henrik Danhage of Evergrey.[5] Throughout his career, Romeo has also used ESP M-II Deluxe guitars with EMG Active pickups and Fender Stratocasters to perform and record other albums from the band.

In terms of amplification in the studio, he uses an ENGL Fireball as well as a recently acquired Engl SE E670 that is used strictly for recording purposes. Live, Romeo makes use of both the Engl Fireball and Powerball models as well as various Line 6 (company) models. Recent photographs that have been made available at Symphony X Official Website show him also using other amplifiers from brands such as Marshall and Madison. He has also been known to use a Mesa Boogie Triaxis and Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier for recording.

In terms of effects, Romeo pairs his various amplifiers with a TC Electronic G System and a Boss NS2 Noisegate.

Side projects[edit]

In 1994, he released a solo album entitled The Dark Chapter.

In 1995, Long Island Records of Germany released the self-titled debut Phantom's Opera album featuring Michael on lead guitar, Colie Brice on vocals, Bob Nelson on drums, Eric Walz on bass, and founding member Jack Young on keyboard and piano. The album was reissued with bonus tracks by Song Haus Music in the US in 1999.

As a guest musician for Ayreon, Romeo has played guitar solos on the song "Dawn of a Million Souls" (featuring lead vocals by Russell Allen), from Ayreon's 2000 album Universal Migrator Part 2: Flight of the Migrator, and on the song "E=MC²", from Ayreon's 2008 release, 01011001. He played a solo on "Revel In Time" as well, the album done in 2022 by Arjen Lucassen's side project, Star One. Romeo also did the guitar work for Vitalij Kuprij on his "Piano Overture' song in his album Forward and Beyond. Romeo also played a guest solo on the Eidolon album The Parallel Otherworld on the song Arcturus #9. Romeo also did some orchestration work on 3 songs of Steve Walsh's solo album Shadowman.[6] In 2012, Romeo recorded some solos and guitar work for the debut album of progressive rock project Flaud Logic.[7] He also made a guest appearance on the new Pat Gesualdo Iceland album.

In 2018, Romeo announced the release of a new full-length solo album called War of the Worlds, Pt. 1, also featuring Rick Castellano (vocals), John "JD" DeServio (bass) and John Macaluso (drums) as the backing band. It was released on July 27 via Music Theories Recordings / Mascot Label Group.[8]


With Symphony X[edit]


As a guest[edit]


  1. ^ "Guitar World's 100 Greatest Heavy Metal Guitarists of All Time". Blabbermouth.net. Roadrunner Records. January 23, 2004. Archived from the original on September 2, 2011. Retrieved September 11, 2011.
  2. ^ a b c Symphony X website "Archived copy". Archived from the original on July 21, 2011. Retrieved July 21, 2011.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link), Michael Romeo tells the story of his influences and musical career.
  3. ^ Owen Edwards (April 3, 2008). "Michael Romeo Interview – A Perfect Symphony Part One: 1970's to 2000". alloutguitar.com.
  4. ^ "DragonForce Shredder Herman Li Lists His Ten Favorite Guitarists". Roadrunner Records. July 12, 2011. Retrieved July 28, 2014.
  5. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOLzQcQnV3A&t=1300s
  6. ^ "Review: "Walsh, Steve: Shadowman" – Sea of Tranquility – The Web Destination for Progressive Music!". Sea of Tranquility. Retrieved July 28, 2014.
  7. ^ "News". Flaud Logic. Retrieved July 28, 2014.
  8. ^ "SYMPHONY X Guitarist MICHAEL ROMEO To Release 'War Of The Worlds / Pt. 1' Solo Album In July". Blabbermouth.net. May 30, 2018. Retrieved May 31, 2018.

External links[edit]