Dream Theater's John Myung on Jul. 26 show at B.B. King's, new music with The Jelly Jam, and more
A native of Kings Park in Suffolk County, John Myung is one of the most renowned bass players in the world. As an original member of the influential hard rock band Dream Theater, John has been playing arenas and amphitheaters around the world for decades. Dream Theater remains active as ever, having released The Astonishing -- as recorded in Glen Cove -- earlier this year.
In his downtime from Dream Theater, John stays busy as a musician, contributing bass to a variety of projects. One such band is The Jelly Jam, which released its fourth album through Mascot Records last month. While the first Jelly Jam studio release came out in 2002, the trio -- which also includes drummer Rod Morgenstein and guitarist Ty Tabor -- did not tour in support of its first three albums. That changes this summer, however, and the group's run includes a Jul. 26 show at B.B. King's in Manhattan.
I read that you moved to Long Island in your early childhood. What was it that influenced your parents to move to Kings Park of all places?
JM: To be closer to family, as well a transition from New York City life to a more suburban setting.
These days, how often do you get back to Long Island?
JM: At least a couple of times a year when visiting family and friends.
What was the first concert that you attended in Nassau or Suffolk?
JM: My first actual concert was seeing The Who at Shea Stadium. But my first big rock concert on Long Island was at Nassau Coliseum, to see Iron Maiden on the Peace of Mind Tour.
Was there a local band that particularly inspired you to pursue music as a career? Or a teacher?
JM: I remember seeing bands like Zebra, George Cintron, but Rush, Yes, and Iron Maiden were my main influences. The live music scene was really alive back then which added to the overall excitement.
You met some of your Dream Theater bandmates while studying at Berklee. What inspired you to attend school there?
JM: It seem like the right progression out of high school to further pursue the musical path. I liked the fact that other musicians that we looked up to also had spent some time there as well.
Jelly Jam tour aside, what's coming up for your career-wise for the rest of 2016?
JM: Well, Dream Theater finished up its North American leg in Seattle on May 11, then takes a short break before going to Asia in the fall. For me its straight into rehearsals for The Jelly Jam tour, which starts this July into August 2016.
Do you have plans for a clinic in the New York area anytime soon?
JM: No, this year is pretty much booked.
When you're not busy with your work, how do you like to spend your free time?
JM: I like to stay creative. One of the things I like to do is see what Ty Tabor and Rod Morgenstein are doing, and if they have free time we’ll get together and work on creating music for The Jelly Jam.
Is there something you wish more people knew about John Myung?
JM: I like to spend time with my family enjoying the little things in life, which are the big things, as well as get out on the golf course.The Jelly Jam has just completed its fourth album, as released on Mascot Records on May 27. We will be touring for the first time this summer.
Do you have a favorite restaurant on Long Island?
JM: Any Chipolte Mexican Grill will do!
Finally, John, what do you wish more people knew about Long Island?
JM: I found it to be an amazing place to grow up, where meaningful relationships developed that lead me to where I am today.