Kevin’s musical tastes have changed over the years, and he grew increasingly unhappy with the musical direction that the band had taken. He felt that the differences had become so great that he could not continue in the band.
“…in some ways it’s a shock to us and in some ways, it isn’t, you know. I mean, the way that they [the fans] consider us a ‘family unit,’ in a lot of ways, it’s true because, I grew up with Kevin, like, since we were little kids and this has been our band since… whenever. We were 17, out of high school, you know, the first year in college, so it is kind of weird, not having him in the band, it’s definitely strange. The only thing I can say to the fans is, you know, so far as worrying and whatnot, this is something that was going on with Kevin like, or, the way he explained it to us, for a couple of years, so he was slowly sort of stepping out of his position, and even with the writing on Awake, it’s not as much of his trademark and his sound and his writing. So if they’re into this album, maybe that’s a good sign because it was something that was written a lot without his enthusiasm or without his input for the most part, so, it’s sort of a… step to the new whatever’s going to happen next. So if they like it, that’s a good sign…”
“…he didn’t tell us slowly, it was unexpected for us too. But it’s just that he was thinking about it for awhile, we didn’t even know that, you know? We sensed that he was a little bit distant, that maybe he was unhappy, but we never thought he would leave the band, ’cause like I said, this has been something we’ve been into since we were little kids or whatever. He told us right towards the end of the recording session for Awake, which was about mid-July, and that was really strange because, you know, we weren’t finished recording and he told us this, so… I mean, obviously we finished up the recording of the record, but it was… I guess no time is a good time, but it seemed like a strange sort of time and we were all really shocked, you know, we were like, ‘I don’t understand,’ you know? It’s hard for me to understand because we’ve been pretty successful and we think this record is going to do really well for us, we hope it is, and there’s a lot of things on the horizon and we’ve worked our entire lives to get to this point, so it’s hard for me to relate to leaving that…”
“…I don’t think you can pinpoint to one specific reason why he left the band, but I think basically it comes down to this… over the last couple of years, he’s sort of changed the type of music that he’s into, that he likes to write and he’s demoing a lot of stuff where he’s playing everything himself and singing himself and it’s in a different style, like techno/industrial sort of style, nothing like our band… it just seems like playing with us, he wasn’t able to do the type of stuff that he wanted to do and he figured he never would if he stayed in the situation, so he wanted to be true to his musical vision. I guess that was kind of frustrating with him. Maybe when we started the band and for the first couple of albums, it was the kind of stuff he really liked doing and then for whatever reason, whatever happened in his life… whatever was happening, whether it was touring or whatever, he just changed the type of stuff he was into and he no longer felt passionate, or feels passionate, about the style of music that Dream Theater plays… you know, the heavy, progressive sort of music…”
– John Petrucci
“He played an important part on this album. He’s an incredibily
talented person. We saw it coming for a while.
We didn’t really want to admit it. In retrospect we look back and
when we talk now we knew there was something there that wasn’t right.
For maybe six months Kevin was going in a different direction.
His musical direction was very much different from ours. We were more
and more separated in our ideas to the point that it was obvious
that he had to move on with his stuff. We needed to find someone who
was more understanding and in synch with where we’re going musically.
We’re all still great friends and we wish him the best.
I talked to him recently and he’s doing great. He’s in Santa Fe
writing music. It’s all for the best when you have any negativity
within a band sooner or later if it’s around long enough it starts
to pull everyone else down. “
– James LaBrie
“Musically, I think my approach to writing has changed a lot in the past
sevaral years. It came to a point where my views were so different from the
rest of the band that they were having trouble relating to each other’s
ideas. At the same time , I was finding a great deal of fulfillment writing
and recording my own material. Eventually, this became more important to me
than anything else. I came to the decision that I needed to concentrate on
my own musical identity and that a split with the band would be the best
thing for both the band and myself.
I truly believe that Dream Theater have a lot more to offer the music world
and I have a deep respect for each of them as musicians and as people. I
wish them all the best.”