Frequently Asked Questions
Which other progressive bands do the band members like?
MICHAEL ROMEO Rush, ELP, UK, Kansas, Dream Theater. RUSSELL ALLEN Pink Floyd MICHAEL PINNELLA Definitely ELP, Kansas, Rush. UK, to name a few. Although, I wasn't only influenced by prog bands, bands like Sabbath, Deep purple, Ozzy, and DIO had a huge influence on me. JASON RULLO Rush, Kansas, Yes, Zappa MICHAEL LEPOND Rush, Fates Warning, Queensryche, Dream Theater, Yes
Who influenced each of the band members?
MICHAEL ROMEO BANDS : Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Ozzy, Rush, Zappa, Kansas. GUITARISTS / MUSICIANS : Randy Rhoads, Al Dimeola, Van Halen, Uli Jon Roth, Yngwie Malmsteen, Paul Gilbert, Allan Holdsworth, Shawn Lane, Frank Gambale, Jean-Luc Ponty, Frank Zappa. COMPOSERS : Bach, Mozart, Wagner, Rimsky-Korsakov, Stravinsky, Holst, John Williams. RUSSELL ALLEN I grew up in a music family. So, my first impressions of music were an interesting mix of country & folk (my Mom and my grandparents) and rock&roll (my Dad was into the Beatles and my uncle liked Pink Floyd). I remember being captivated by the outlaws of country, especially Willie Nelson. I guess that's why I leaned toward Rock & Metal in my later years. As I got older I discovered Van Halen, Led Zep, Iron Maiden, Dio, Ozzy (Solo+Sabbath) Halford (Judas Priest) and Paul Rodgers (Bad Company), just to name a few. When I moved to NJ in the early nineties, I had met and was inspired by a singer named Ray Gillen. He sang for a band called Badlands and I really liked the way he sang. When I got into the band scene in Jersey I was into Soundgarden and AIC. Both Lane and Chris had a big influence in my development at that stage. I continue to find things that move me. Whether it be a new comer or one of my idols that continues to impress me, I always try to absorb all things good in music. MICHAEL PINNELLA I was influenced by many of the prog./rockers of the 70's and 80's, Keith Emerson and Eddie Jobson have to be my two favorite players of all time. JASON RULLO Alex Van Halen, Neil Peart, Billy Cobham, Dennis Chambers, Dave Weckl, Vinnie Colaiuta, Terry Bozzio, John Bonham MICHAEL LEPOND Joey Demaio (Manowar), Steve Harris (Iron Maiden), Geezer Butler (Black Sabbath), Geddy Lee (Rush).
What hobbies do the band members have?
MICHAEL ROMEO Writing/composing music, movies (adding to my DVD collection), spending time with my family. RUSSELL ALLEN Well, It is no secret that I'm into sports and Video Games. I enjoy competitive organized sports (Both playing and watching) I'm a DIE HARD OAKLAND RAIDERS FAN!!!! I like strategy games on the PC. I also like to camp and go boating(Fishing, Skiing) and I like to watch epic movies. MICHAEL PINNELLA I like to play with saws and sharp things, Build furniture, spend time with my wife and kids... JASON RULLO mountain biking, skiing, cooking, video games, reading MICHAEL LEPOND Mythology, History, Horror movies, Unexplained Phenomena, Politics, Animals, Television, and of course......Heavy Metal.
What were the band members previous jobs/what jobs got them the revenue needed to get the equipment to start a band?
MICHAEL ROMEO Everything from construction work to giving guitar lessons. RUSSELL ALLEN Well, I think everybody knows what I used to do "On Guard!" 0=(=======- (Medieval Times) MICHAEL PINNELLA Well, I've done everything from masonry, landscaping, well-drilling, to sales. I think I was working as a small engine mechanic in 1993 when I met Mike Romeo. 'CA Power Equip'. funded my first gear purchase for the band.... MICHAEL LEPOND For the last 10 years, I have worked as an accounting and billing clerk. I also worked as a Landscaper in the summer months.
How do I contact the band or their management?
The band receives e-mail sent to firstname.lastname@example.org; as a matter of privacy, the band prefers not to publicize their private e-mail addresses. Postal mail can be sent to: Symphony X P.O. Box 4205 Middletown, NJ 07748 USA For booking inquiries or other questions for management: Gunter Ford for World Management P.O. Box 3095 Sea Bright, New Jersey 07760 USA fax: 732 747 3357 email@example.com
Why did Rod and Jason, and Tom Walling leave the band? How did you find Russell?
The member changes over the years were mostly a result of personal problems and things of that nature. After the first CD, Rod just wasn't working out and left. By a strange coincidence, Rod had actually introduced Thomas Miller to Russell in a clothes store in NY. So, a few months later, when Rod was gone, Thomas Miller remembered Russell and the band contacted him. MICHAEL ROMEO - Yes, it was when we were recording Damnation Game, in the studio, it just wasn't happening. Rod left and we called Russell to check him out and see if he was interested. He came down, we jammed, and he recorded all the vocals tracks in a few days. About Jason, he left after Divine Wings, there was some tension in the band, everyone was a bit stressed out from all the recording, and Jason was having some other personal problems that seemed to add to things. We weren't happy with him and he wasn't happy either, so it was a mutual thing that he left. We started working with Tom Walling for Twilight in Olympus, and new problems arose with him. He couldn't make any commitments to the band, and was growing disinterested. We were still friends with Jason, and one day he came down to jam and things felt much better and he sounded great.
Why did Thomas Miller leave the band?
MICHAEL ROMEO - I knew Tom for many years, and still I am not sure of the exact reasons. I can only guess from what we (the band) saw. On the first tour in Japan, Tom was very stressed about the situation of touring. There were several episodes where he became sick, had anxiety attacks, etc. Then there was the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which he claims he had...and was also getting into this religion thing. So all these added up and he eventually said " I can't do this anymore.". We have no bad feelings toward Tom, and I still find it hard to believe - that someone who I grew up with, played in numerous bands with, and was totally dedicated to music, somehow lost interest. Was it the fear of touring, sickness, or religion? I can not answer that question, only Tom knows why. But whatever it is that he is doing now, we wish him the best.
How would you describe Symphony X’s music?
MICHAEL ROMEO - That is difficult because we try to make each song have its own individuality. We just try to write good songs. Comparing the sound of a song like "King of Terrors" to say.."Candlelight Fantasia " is tough. We are a metal band, we have progressive tendencies and incorporate classical ideas into the music. But each song is usually very different from the next. People have their own way of labeling bands as well...someone could hear "The Accolade" and think of us as a prog band...someone could hear "Wicked" and say we are a metal band . Someone could hear the track "The Odyssey", and have no idea. So...I guess if we had to narrow it down..we are a progressive metal band.
What is the story behind ‘Lady of the Snow’?
THOMAS MILLER -- Lady of the Snow was inspired by a story from Japanese folklore. The character is the Yuki-Onna, she is seen as the mysterious Lady of the Snow. MICHAEL ROMEO -- The band was looking for a musical and lyrical theme to represent tonalities and scale ideas for a new song, and Tom suggested the Lady of the Snow story and the music was written to reflect the lyrics.
What is ‘Candlelight Fantasia’ about?
THOMAS MILLER -- Candlelight Fantasia is about a composer of music who lives in a world that doesn''t relate to or appreciate his art. We don't want to elaborate too much, it is up to the listener to create and paint his own picture of the general concept from these lyrics.
What is the story behind the album ‘V: The New Mythology Suite’?
The story is based on legends of Atlantis, ancient Egyptian mythology, Astrology and Edgar Cayce's clairvoyant readings about Atlantean culture.
The sword on the back cover of ‘Twilight in Olympus’ remarkably resembles a Tom Maringer design; is one of the band members a collector?
RUSSELL ALLEN -- I do collect swords, the sword on the CD, though, was the from the guy who did the artwork, Dan Muro.
Will you ever credit the classical pieces you use in your music?
MICHAEL ROMEO - This issue has recently been brought to our attention. From time to time we have used different sections of classical music in our songs. We figured people would immediately recognize this. In the end of Death of Balance, we incorporated the Lacrymosa from Mozart's Requiem.....now, most people we talk with say "I like how you guys used the Mozart there." - incorporating the old and the new. ( anyone who saw Amadeus knows this )...So we figured this was obvious to everyone. We are not trying to "be sneaky" or "claiming credit" or anything like that. We thought people would realize this..as a given. But anyway... now it is brought to our attention, and we recognize AND totally respect this. So " yes" we will pay more attention to this and if we do use something, of course we will credit it.
What about the song ‘Twilight in Olympus’?
The band thought about finishing the song and releasing it in the their next CD ('V: The New Mythology Suite'). Instead of doing so, the band distributed the song fragments that they had composed so far among different stages of the conceptual album V.
What do the pieces of tape that’ve been seen on Mike Pinnella’s keyboard referring to ‘garlic trompet’ mean?
When Pedro (former Symphony X webmaster) asked Jason Rullo what it meant, Jason answered: "There are things that only the band and the crew members should know :)".
Why is Michael Pinnella credited with knife and chainsaw juggling on the ‘Twilight in Olympus’ album? What’s the story there?
MICHAEL ROMEO -- It was the week we started recording the basic tracks, we were at Trax East waiting for Mike P. to show up, we hadn't heard from him for a few days...so when he showed up, he had a cast and a million bandages on his hand. He had severed three tendons in his right hand with a knife. It seemed that he was doing some handy work around his house and was a bit reckless with a butter knife....?!?!? He managed to get through the recording and has recovered fine. MICHAEL PINNELLA -- Yes...well, about the credits... it's kind of a joke. I did almost cut off my 4th and 5th fingers with a knife and was in the hospital for a few days.