I was very excited to find out about the release of a newly revised edition of Lifting Shadows, the authorized biography of American progressive metal band Dream Theater. The book is by rock music writer Rich Wilson, who has made contributions to publications such as Classic Rock, Classic Rock Presents Prog, Rock Hard, Metal Hammer, and Record Collector. You can find detailed information about the book at http://liftingshadows.com.
Here is an excerpt of the book:
The Making Of ‘Images And Words’
While the band were ensconced in the lush, leafy surroundings of Bear Tracks studio in Suffern, New York with David Prater recording those demos, an informal approach had been made by Oliver to another singer, Robert Mason, in order to investigate the possibility of him replacing LaBrie. The claim is even more astonishing when you consider the band’s constant desire to control every aspect of Dream Theater’s development, yet the move was apparently made without their knowledge.
“Something I feel has never been acknowledged is that I fought very hard to have LaBrie remain in the group,” insists Prater. “I told Derek Oliver that he wasn’t the one to make the call – I was. I’d produced a band called Adrian Dodz as a development deal with Don Grierson at Epic Records. I finished it just weeks before I started Dream Theater. I played it for Derek Oliver and he said he wanted their singer, Robert Mason, to replace LaBrie. Mason turned it down. He thought he had a brighter future with The Lynch Mob.”
“Robert Mason came into the office and we had a chat,” admits Oliver. “I remember, he was very anti-joining the band which was strange really. He didn’t really have anything else going on, and the other music he was involved in wasn’t in the same position as we had with Dream Theater, who obviously had a record deal.”
Perhaps what is even more surprising is that Dream Theater’s manager, Derek Simon, was also fully aware of the overtures that Oliver had been making towards Mason, but he had concealed the information from the band. This was probably a shrewd move on his part given the likely resentment and open hostility such a suggestion would have received from Portnoy and Petrucci. The pair had been wary when previous singers, such as Steve Stone, had tried to influence the band’s direction and would hardly have reacted with glee if they had discovered that plans were afoot to potentially substitute their carefully selected vocalist without their consent.
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