PS: As a musician, what attracted you to the keyboards as your instrument of choice?
DS: There was a piano in the house growing up. A couple of times I switched over to guitar, but I always end up on my original instrument.
PS: What sort of formal training have you had as a player?
DS: I started taking lessons when I was 5, I have studied at Berklee College of Music, and privately with Russell Ferrante, T Lavitz, and currently take lessons with Mitchel Forman.
PS: Growing up, what keyboard players floated your boat & why?
DS: Jan Hammer, T Lavitz, Emerson, Wakeman, Elton John. I could feel each of those players' personality come through their playing. I borrow from all of them and put it in to my own style.
PS: Why did you join Dream Theater?
DS: I was out of work and needed a job!
PS: What do you consider to be the high point of your work with Dream Theater?
DS: My favorite memory with Dream Theater is playing this ancient Amphitheater in Athens in 1998. That was a fun gig.
PS: What prompted you to leave Dream Theater?
DS: Dream Theater fired me in Jan. 1999. I was shocked at the time, but in retrospect, they have done me a huge favor. It was a good run.
PS: Planet X is a wonderfully complex & melodic album. What were your deciding factors in choosing who would play on your solo debut?
DS: Virgil Donati was recommended to me by Mike Varney. We had a jam session and I left totally in awe of him. His command of his instrument just blew me away. It is as if he is mocking time when he plays. He will be a huge drum star very shortly.
PS: What sort of input did Virgil Donati have in the writing?
DS: Virgil wrote half of the record. It was such a good writing chemistry, we decided to start a band around the Planet X concept. We are mixing the debut Planet X CD Universe with Tony MacAlpine on guitar, Virgil Donati on drums. (which has since been released on the InsideOut Music America label) Planet X is now a band, not a side project. We are committed to taking this worldwide. The response so far has been incredible.
PS: If anything, Universe is even more insane than the first Planet X! Can this unit stretch boundaries even farther?
DS: I place great importance in showing musical growth in each CD That you put out. there will always be a missing element in your current works that you feel that you could make stronger the next release.
PS: Will Planet X be playing any live gigs?
DS: We have toured in Holland, Belgium, England, and Southern California. We will be doing a 6 Week US and Canada tour in November, stay tuned at xplanetx.com.
PS: Who'll be in the bass slot?
DS: We are not sure yet, but you can bet that he will be able to wail!
PS: Do you consider the music you do to be "Progressive" or is that tag irrelevant?
DS: I call it instrumental prog- fusion.
PS: Please tell us a few artists you can't stop listening to!
DS: Ozzy, Van Halen, Allan Holdsworth, UK, Bruford.