“Everything about that album and the concert, which I had on video tape, changed my life. The band was amazing; the energy of the crowd was incredible. It’s just a really special performance. I actually wore out the video from pausing it so many times because I was trying to learn all of his solos.”
“I was also blown away by how a three-piece band could sound so majestic and huge and play in a style that’s inherently rock and roll yet still pushes the boundaries of what they’re doing musically—this idea of being experimental, using different time signatures and not really being concerned about song length and traditional constraints. I can’t tell you how huge of an impact that had on me. 2112 basically set the course for my musical career and how I approached Dream Theater.”
The sound of the guitar was so untamed, and it lit a fire inside me to approach the guitar like a weapon. The lore behind Let There Be Rock is that Angus and Malcolm Young would face a Marshall against the wall and crank the sucker all the way up. You can tell the amp was turned up unbelievably loud: you can practically feel Angus' fingerprints rubbing against the strings.
My sister gave me Fireball for my eighth birthday, June 30, 1971, and that day my life forever change. I knew immediately that I was going to be a guitarist for life and there would be no turning back. It's like one minute I was a kid playing with cap guns, and then someone handed me a fuckin' nuclear bomb! My life was never the same, to say the least.
If you look at the elements of that record, it contains many of the things I enjoy doing today. It has history, melody, and the lyrics are wonderful. Along with its enchanting and exquisite melodies, West Side Story has attitude and a tremendous amount of frenetic energy. It's emotional, theatrical and technical. It's everything.
Basically, it made me want to be a metal guitar player. Before I heard the record, I was a 13-year-old skater listening to a lot of punk: Black Flag, Bad Religion, JFA, Sucidal Tendencies, G.B.H. and Sex Pistols. It was in that context that I got a guitar and started making noise, punk rock style.
I was 15 years old and a friend of mine brought it over to my house insisting I had to hear it. I was still living at my parents' house at the time, and they had a very loud stereo system. My friends would come over and we would blast it up to what we thought was concert level. Boy, was I naive!
I'd been into records by Black Sabbath, Zeppelin and Deep Purple, but Rocks sounded like the Rolling Stones, who had been my favorite band from age 3 to 13. It had the blues-based rock and roll thing, but turned up to 15. Aerosmith delivered the songs with such urgency, and the music had an almost punk attitude.