Shockwaves: Pat Metheny.
DS: He's an incredible musician, but he's a little too light in the loafers. A little too soft. I need balls in my music. But he's an incredible player.

Shockwaves: What about Rick Wakeman.
DS: What I love about Rick Wakeman and Keith Emerson is that those guys were rock stars. If you look at them, Rick Wakeman has the cape, and he's got the Heineken beers behind him on his keyboard rack, and Emerson was putting knives in his keyboard. I think that's cool! A lot of prog bands today, they don't subscribe to that show business mentality.

Shockwaves: John Lord, from Deep Purple.
DS: Great. A lot of my organ sound, like how Elton John influenced me on my piano playing, John Lord--whenever I play distorted organ--I think Deep Purple.

Shockwaves: Dave Weckl.
DS: Incredible. Great fusion drummer.

Shockwaves: Jens Johansson
DS: Great keyboard player. He's probably one of my favorite guys that are out today. He's an aggressive player, and he plays heavy... Just very cool. Very cool player.

Shockwaves: Wasn't he going to join Dream Theater before you?
DS: I think he auditioned before I did, but for some reason it didn't work out.

Shockwaves: Why did you leave Dream Theater?
DS: I got fired [long, uncomfortable silence].

Shockwaves: You want to, like, go into that at all?
DS: Sure. Basically, I was in the middle of recording my solo record and I got a phone call--it was a conference call from the other guys--and they said that they wanted to hire someone who they had worked on in some of their side projects. It came as a total shock, because I went and played some shows for the holidays and we were talking about recording the album in February, and I get home a week later and I get the phone call that I wasn't in the band. And it shocked me, at first, but at the same time it was very clear to me what I had to do, and I looked at it as an opportunity to springboard off a bit and start my own thing, which is Planet X. And it was great timing because I had that solo record coming out and I could use that to start planting seeds in the public and let them know that Planet X was starting to happen. I'm better off now. I have no hard feelings.

Shockwaves: What was it like playing with them?
DS: I have very mixed feelings. It was very good for me, because I definitely improved as a player in a lot of ways. But at the same time it was very restricting. My hands were tied in a lot of situations and it was extremely frustrating to be in a band where I didn't have the control, and I think after a while it just clashed...personalities clashed. They're all married, with families. I'm single...I didn't belong in that band. I was too Hollywood.

Shockwaves: Is there anyone you haven't played with who you'd like to?
DS: I'd like to play with Jeff Beck or Eddie Van Halen. That would be awesome. If either of those guys, if you're reading this and want to play on my next solo record...I'll pay you a lot of money [laughs]. It'd be awesome.

Shockwaves: Have you met those guys?
DS: I met Edward once, and he was very cool, but I never met Jeff Beck.

Shockwaves: [Wrapping it up] Alrighty, well, I guess...
DS: Can I put my website in there? For all my updates on what I'm doing, you can go to, and my e-mail address is

I thank him and tell him how much I dug his CD, but he doesn't seem to give a rat's ass. So I take some pictures of him sitting behind his piano, and split.

And on the way home, I think about how cool it would have been if he started busting out "Candle in the Wind," or maybe "Apocalypse 1470 B.C." while I was taking those pictures. I've never even seen the guy play... Oh, well... I guess Eddie Van Halen probably wouldn't have started playing, either.