John Petrucci is best known as the guitarist and founding member of the progressive metal band Dream Theater. He is also the band’s producer and main lyricist as well as an original member of the acclaimed Liquid Tension Experiment with Tony Levin. John is a long standing veteran of Joe Satriani’s prestigious G3 tours along with Steve Vai, Eric Johnson and Paul Gilbert.
Born John Peter Petrucci on July 12, 1967, he grew up in Kings Park, New York, a small suburban town on Long Island. John began playing guitar at age 12 and quickly realized that music was his passion and that the pursuit of excellence on his instrument would consume him for the years to come. To that end, he practiced for at least 6 hours a day in an effort to further his understanding and technical abilities as a guitar player. Some of his early influences include Steve Morse, Al DiMeola, Steve Howe, Allan Holdsworth, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Randy Rhoads, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Alex Lifeson, Yngwie Malmsteen, Rush, Yes, Iron Maiden, The Dregs and Metallica. At age 18 after graduating from high school, he attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston along with schoolmate/bassist John Myung where they fatefully met drummer Mike Portnoy and quickly formed the nucleus of what was to become Dream Theater.
John proceeded to take his band on a very successful musical journey including many gold and platinum CD and DVD releases (see “discography“) as well as extensive world tours (see “tour dates“). He would go on to receive many notable awards in the various guitar publications throughout the world, including the 2007 “Guitarist of the Year” as named by the readers of Total Guitar magazine and most recently “Best Metal Guitarist” in the 2010 Reader’s Choice Awards poll in Guitar Player magazine.
John met his wife Rena Sands in 1989 and the two would later marry in September 1993. Rena was the guitarist and founding member of the all female metal band Meanstreak. Rena continues a career as a guitar player with her band Mixxed Company who can be seen playing regularly in the New York/east coast area.
In 1995 John released his first instructional video called “Rock Discipline” and was also a contributing columnist in Guitar World magazine’s “Wild Stringdom” series. A book by the same name would later be released as a collection of the lessons featured in the magazine.
In 1998 and 1999 John released “Liquid Tension Experiment” and “Liquid Tension Experiment 2” respectively, along with DT band mates Mike Portnoy and Jordan Rudess and the inimitable Tony Levin on bass. Both albums would not only prove to be worthy and enjoyable side projects, but also favorites among fans worldwide.
The year 2000 brought with it the unveiling of John’s record label, Sound Mind Music. Created and run by his wife Rena, it’s first release was “An Evening With John Petrucci and Jordan Rudess”, an acoustic-instrumental live concert of Latin/Jazz improvised music for guitar and piano. The concert was recorded in June of that year at the Helen Hayes performing arts center in Nyack, NY.
In 2001 John joined the North American run of the popular G3 tour with Joe Satriani and Steve Vai. He performed as a trio with DT band mate Mike Portnoy on drums and bassist Dave LaRue of Dregs/Steve Morse Band fame. John would subsequently continue on with legs in Mexico and Japan with Joe and Steve (“G3 Live in Tokyo” was released in 2005) South America with Joe and Eric Johnson, Australia with Joe and Steve and again in North America in 2007 with Joe and Paul Gilbert.
In 2005 John released his first and much anticipated solo album titled, “Suspended Animation” on the Sound Mind Music label. The self-produced album of all instrumental guitar music featured Dave LaRue on bass and Dave DiCenso on drums. Drummer and re-mixer Tony Verderosa also contributed to the CD and can be heard on the song “Tunnel Vision”. The album was mixed by friend and long time DT producer/mix engineer Kevin Shirley. Many of the songs John debuted live while on tour with G3 would later make up the bulk of the CD.
John is a long time Ernie Ball/Music Man endorser who proudly has a 6 and 7 string signature model guitar with called the “John Petrucci BFR”. He is also an avid and loyal user/fan of Mesa Boogie amplification as well as a devoted DiMarzio and Dunlop endorser (see “gear“). You can catch John regularly doing clinics/master classes for Ernie Ball and Mesa Boogie in diferent locations throughout the world (see “clinics“).
John currently resides on Long Island with his wife Rena and three children Samantha, Reny and Kiara and two cats named Miss E. and Mr. E. Cupcake. He enjoys spending his lesiure time having fun with his family, dining, watching movies, skiing and vacationing as well as doing home improvements. John is also an avid fan of bodybuilding and dedicates much of his off time to weight training. He is a voting member of NARAS.