Friday, December 6, 2013

December 6th, 2013 - "Progressive Waves": An Interview With Arjen Lucassen!!

Hallo friends!  The Meista here with a very special posting today... I'm am very excited and humbled to be sharing an interview I conducted with a HUGE hero of mine, the progressive metal/rock Dutch musical genius, Arjen Lucassen!! 

Arjen Anthony Lucassen is a multi-instrumental musician (guitars, keyboards, electronics, bass, banjo, percussion, etc.), songwriter, singer, and record producer, best known for his long-running (and exceptionally brilliant!) progressive metal/rock opera project Ayreon as well as Star One and Guilt Machine. As with all Ayreon albums, his latest, "The Theory of Everything" features the talents of multiple guest singers, who portray various characters in the storyline.  Theses singers include John Wetton (King Crimson, UK, Asia, Uriah Heep, etc.), Marco Hietala (Nightwish, Tarot), Cristina Scabbia (Lacuna Coil), Janne JB Christoffersson (Grand Magus), and Tommy Karevik (Kamelot, Seventh Wonder), along with backing vocalist Wilmer Waarbroek and Lucassen himself.  Joined with these singers are several guest musicians including keyboardists Rick Wakeman (Yes), Keith Emerson (Emerson, Lake & Palmer), and Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater), and guitarist Steve Hackett (Genesis, GTR).

I recently spoke with Mr. Lucassen via e-mail about his career as a musician/songwriter, his influences, and his current album, the epic "The Theory Of Everything"... 

  1. How did you originally get started in music?  In a playback band, believe it or not. It was back in 1972, the days of glam rock (Sweet, Slade, T. Rex). Of course I was the singer wearing my mother's wig :-) But then I heard Ritchie Blackmore on Deep Purple's Made in Japan and I decided that I wanted to learn how to play guitar for real.
  2. Both your musicianship and songwriting prowess is wonderfully and profoundly powerful!  What musicians have influenced you most… both in terms of instruments and as a songwriter?  Thanks for the compliment!  Ritchie Blackmore, Keith Emerson, Rick Wakeman, Cozy Powell, John Bonham, Robert Plant, David Gilmour, Ian Anderson, Alice Cooper and many, many more.
  3. Do you follow other progressive/rock metal bands?  Oh yes, I read many magazines and check out all the bands that could be interesting for me.
  4. What musicians/bands are currently on your radar? Nowadays I listen to new music as a musician, not as a fan. Especially if it's music that's close to my own music. Stuff I appreciated now are acts like Devin Townsend, Avatarium, Steven Wilson, Midlake, Katatonia, Toehider etc. 
  5. Who do you listen to in your down time?  As a fan I listen mostly to 60's and 70's music like Floyd, Zeppelin, Beatles, Rainbow, Hawkwind, old Queen, Jethro Tull, Alice Cooper, Rush, Camel... the list is endless!
  6. Who do you think we should be listening to more? I think the band Toehider from the guy who plays the father (Michael Mills) on my new Ayreon album ["The Theory Of Everything"] deserves more attention.
  7. With the obvious nod to science fiction, your lyrics also convey a sense of humanism and compassion.  Is there a specific ‘message’ you are trying to convey with your music?  Although disguised as sci-fi, my lyrics are always more about human emotions and relations. However I'm definitely not trying to convey a message with my music, I want to entertain and not to educate. Between the lines there is plenty to discover though.
  8. Along with science fiction themes, you appear to have a bit of a fascination with the paranormal.  Have you had any unusual or what you might consider paranormal experiences?  If so, care to elaborate?  I wish! No, weirdly enough I'm a very sober and rational person. Stuff has to be proven scientifically for me. I believe in science. Until the moment something paranormal would happen to me!
  9. What is your favorite song to perform live and why?  I stopped playing live more than 20 years ago, it's just not my thing. I just did two very short tours after that. I'm really a recluse, I rarely leave my home and my studio. Only to go jogging and shopping :-)
  10. Do you foresee the possibility of performing an entire Ayreon album on stage and even touring some form of Ayreon?  Any plans of playing American any time in the not too distant future?  No, Ayreon never was and never will be a live project. Sorry...
  11. This is probably a loaded question J, but are there any other side projects you are working on currently?  I only work on one project at the time. At the moment I'm pretty much empty, an Ayreon album always takes a lot out of me, emotionally and creatively. So I hope the inspiration will come soon and guide me into a next project, whatever it will be. I never plan ahead.
  12. Who have you enjoyed working with the most (thus far)?  I've enjoyed working with all the musicians I've worked with, really! I definitely could not choose favorites. They have all been amazing, whether they are very talented or not, or well known or not.
  13. Is there one person you would like to perform on an Ayreon album that you have not been able to connect with as of yet?  There are 200 persons I would like to work with that I haven't worked with before. I'm serious, really! I've got the list here :-)
  14. Is there one person living or dead you would most like to meet?  As I told you I am a recluse, which means that I very rarely socialize with people. I hate socializing. So... no one! I'd rather watch a good TV series.
  15. Brews and Tunes pairs craft beer with hard rock, progressive rock, and metal.  I know you are not a big beer drinker, but… So Arjen Lucassen comes home from a long day at the studio or from a show… what beer does he grab and what album does he spin to help him decompress?  I'm the most boring person alive, believe me! I never come home because I never go out. And I don't drink alcohol! Sorry that my answers aren't more spectacular, haha!
A HUGE thank you to Mr. Arjen Lucassen for this interview!!   You're welcome, keep up the good work :-)  Cheers, Arjen
Learn more about the amazingly talented Arjen Lucassen and all of his projects (including Ayreon) at and order your copy of the latest Ayreon album, "The Theory Of Everything" from my buddy Kevin at the Heavy Metal Shop:!  Tell 'im Brews and Tunes sent ya!
 Proost... Gezondheid!!

No comments:

Post a Comment