Sons of Apollo – 'Psychotic
By Dave Schwartz
“It’s a band, not a project,” says
keyboardist Derek Sherinian.
Sherinian, along with fellow Dream
Theater alumnus Mike Portnoy, has teamed with Ron "Bumblefoot"
Thal (ex-Guns 'N’ Roses), Billy Sheehan (The Winery Dogs, Mr. Big,
David Lee Roth) and Jeff Scott Soto (ex-Journey, ex-Yngwie
Malmsteen's Rising Force) to create Sons of Apollo. Their
new record “Psychotic Symphony” dropped on October 20th and
the music industry is abuzz.
DaBelly recently spoke with Derek
Sherinian about the new record and plans for 2018.
DS: Hey, this is Derek. I
am so sorry for being late. This is off-schedule for me and
I apologize. Our record, “Psychotic Symphony,” dropped
DB: No worries Derek.
Things are fine. I’m Dave from DaBelly. How are you?
DS: I’m good. Our record
came out today and the phone is ringing off the hook. I got
immersed in all this and forgot that I had a 10:30!
DB: It’s all good Derek.
Well let’s get this interview going. First of all, I’m
shocked that there’s any interest at all in you guys putting out a
record! (Laughter) Let me say congratulations on “Psychotic
Symphony.” I’ve only heard a few of the tracks but they are
DS: Thank you very much.
It’s vibing like crazy. It’s charting very well. The
band is excited, the fans are very excited. The future is
bright for Sons of Apollo.
DB: It certainly looks like it.
I would love to hear a little bit about putting the record
DS: Well Mike and I had a history
together. We played in Dream Theater together 20 years ago
and we reunited in 2012 on a project and realized that we wanted
to do something more serious. So here we are in 2017 with
Sons of Apollo and we have a group of just amazing musicians.
Mike Portnoy, Billy Sheehan, Bumblefoot and Jeff Scott Soto.
Everyone in the band has a strong history. There’s a
pedigree of great bands that we’ve played with in the past.
We’ve joined forces and made an amazing record. It’s a hard
rock record with hints of progressive rock and classic rock but it
all comes together and centers as hard rock.
DB: I agree. I’m amazed
with the energy of the songs I’ve heard. Much has been said
about how you fought to find the balance of each song. As
you’ve already mentioned, the musical pedigree of this band is
incredible and it would’ve been easy for this record to slip into
a bit of a wank-fest. Can you talk a little bit about
writing toward the balance of a song?
DS: Well, yeah. When Mike
and I first put this together, we thought it was going to be more
progressive metal like the stuff we’ve done in the past, but when
we started writing all of our hard rock and classic rock came to
the forefront, especially with Bumblefoot. We all were
really shocked with that. And so the progressive rock just
seemed like icing on the cake. So we put the song bits first
and then mastered the art of strategic wankery around it. We put
in the killer solos and the middle sections but never to the
detriment of the song.
DB: During the writing process,
were there any songs that surprised you? Songs that started
in one place but ended up someplace completely unexpected?
DS: Yeah, a few of these songs
had starting points that I wrote that in my studio. Then we
wrote the middle section together and so it became collaborative.
So I may have had the first three sections and then it went off
into a completely unexpected direction. So there were a lot
of sections that were composed before we all get together and then
a lot that are composed when we are together. It’s a nice
DB: What was it like to get
behind the console once again with Mike? The "Del Fuvio
Brothers” back in business.
DS: It was really great.
Mike and I have always had a strong musical and personal
chemistry. It’s nice to work with him in a band where we’re
both in it from the ground floor. We share a lot of
enthusiasm and work very well together as a production team.
DB: You’ve got a couple videos
out. Three of them including “Lost in Oblivion” which
debuted today. Tell us how the singles get selected and
DS: Mike was in charge of the
direction of the videos. We had a video producer and
director. Mike picked the songs. Mike worked with the
label pretty much and it was really impressive how fast we did
three videos in three days, at three different locations. So
they all have a completely different look. I’m just
impressed how well they came together. I think the “Lost in
Oblivion” video looks fantastic.
DB: Yeah, three videos in three
days is amazingly quick. There’s been much said about Sons
of Apollo being a band and not a project. I understand that
you guys committed all of 2018 to each other. Please talk
about the importance of being a band rather than a project.
DS: This band, we feel, has the
most potential to generate the most heat. We’re all thrilled
about this record and we’re all feeling the buzz.
Fortunately, especially today, it’s really clear where our
priorities are going to be. People have a tendency to
gravitate to where the heat is. Sons of Apollo is going to
be the biggest fire.
DB: That is exciting to hear.
The last question I have for you is about touring...
DS: 2018 is going to be a full
year of Sons of Apollo touring. We’re starting with a Cruise
to the Edge in February. From there we’ll do a U.S. tour.
Then we go to South America and Europe. We plan to hit
everywhere in the world hopefully twice. We realize that
even though we have established names as individuals, we are still
a new band and we need to put the work in necessary to raise
awareness and prove to the people that we’re ready to do this.
I want to thank Derek for sharing a
moment with DaBelly. I’m looking forward to seeing Sons of
Apollo step to the edge of the stage and scream at the world.
Pick up “Psychotic Symphony” and watch for tour dates!