Dream Theater singer James LaBrie and guitarist John Petrucci are two of the most respected musicians in the prog-metal sphere, but they probably wouldn't be where they are if they hadn't followed the guidance of teachers and family members early in their lives and careers. In a new video interview with Download Japan (which you can watch in its entirety below), LaBrie and Petrucci were asked to share the best piece of advice — musical or otherwise — that they've ever gotten, and they were happy to pass along the words of wisdom.
"The best piece of advice I've ever received was from my father," the singer said, as transcribed by Blabbermouth, "and he said, 'Respect others and you'll have that back.' So what you put out is what you get back. And also be true to yourself and just be real. I think people that are grounded are inspirational. And that's the way that I've gone through life — is just keeping it real, being respectful and being cool. Period."
As for Petrucci, he responded with two nuggets. "As far as advice, I'll, I guess, approach it from a musical front," he responded. "There was a teacher in high school that told me about the metronome, and it was the first time a musician suggested I practice using a metronome; I'd never done that before. And it was the greatest piece of musical advice because I still do it. And what it did is it helped me to kind of be able to play things eventually that I couldn't play starting out. And playing to a metronome was a great, great piece of advice that I'll never forget.
"And then the other piece is another piece of musical advice. As a guitar player, one of the things, for me, that was really helpful when I was growing up and learning is I played with a lot of people. John Myung [Dream Theater bassist] and I, and Kevin Moore, our original keyboard player, we grew up on Long Island in New York, and everybody played. There were tons of bands and stuff. And I would just go from house to house and do Grateful Dead jam sessions and Hendrix, and then go to this guy's house who was into the Scorpions and metal, and then we'd go to this drummer's house and we'd just do scale sessions and rhythms. Then John and I would get together and learn every Iron Maiden song ever written. So playing with other musicians is a really great way to develop yourself as a player. It's not just about staying at home and shedding by yourself. Music is meant to be shared, and it's great getting that experience playing with other people. So I really, really suggest that you do that, if you're not already."