and knowledge to make a difference to band mates, especially somebody who's that good.
MF: Back to some gear questions if that’s okay. What about monitoring on stage? Do you use in-ears?
JR: I do. I've been using them for the last seven, eight years. I use Sensaphonics. They're really great. Ultimate Ears is another great company. I've used those. I like those, too, but the Sensaphonics are a little more pliable in your ear, a little softer, so I like those. In the old days I used to play with Dream Theater with all our amps and there's no number of speaker cabinets a keyboard player can have that can equal even the tiniest guitar amp. There's just something about it. The guitarists come on stage with a pignose and you could have like eight whatever kind of keyboard speakers and you still won't be as loud.
MF: I guess the effectiveness of the in-ears depends on good communication with your engineer.
JR: Yes. We have a monitor guy who sits on stage with us and knows what we want to hear. As a matter of fact, my tech, my keyboard tech, mixes my show himself. He does a separate on-stage mix for me.
MF: So he's under in-ears as well and he has a good sense of what you're looking for?
JR: Exactly. That's totally it.
MF: Do you play any analog instruments these days? B3? Rhodes?
JR: I play lots of different things. My most beloved instrument is completely analog and that's a Steinway piano. I'm very involved with that instrument. I'm not much of an electric piano or a Hammond type of guy, although I certainly play my share of those types of sounds within my own keyboard world. I have one of the original Fender Rhodes bass models, given to me by Harold Rhodes Jr. It's the one that Ray used to play in The Doors. That kind of thing. Really fun. I also play my Minimoog. That's an analog instrument.
MF: Now, the Seaboard - you're in love with the Seaboard?
JR: I have my Seaboard right in front of me as we speak.
MF: Do you see it essentially replacing the role of the Continuum or do they each serve their relevant function for your performance?
JR: The Seaboard is very different from the Continuum. The Continuum is an absolutely flat instrument. It's an amazing instrument. It's wonderful. But the Seaboard, because it has a keyboard
"I LIKE HAVING A LOT OF DIFFERENT BOARDS TO PUT MY HANDS ON AND PROVIDE REALLY QUICK INSPIRATION."
form factor to it, I think opens it up more towards existing keyboard players. I think that when we finally come out with a Seaboard that is a smaller size, not an 88 model, but maybe with, say, a 61-note model, I think it's the kind of thing that most keyboard players are going to want because they'll realize that they can do all the things that they just can't do on a traditional keyboard. MF: A lot of touring keyboard performers will work with a broad selection of physical boards, the iconic three-tier keyboard stand to the left and another one to the right.
JR: Sure. It hasn't really been my approach, ever, live. I love to have that kind of setup with I'm recording or when I'm in the studio just writing. I like having a lot of different boards to put my hands on and provide really quick inspiration, but when it comes to live I like to keep my focus in one place. Nowadays with the Korg Kronos, the way it can go from patch to patch or
from combination to combination without having any glitch or interruption in the sound no matter what the effects are doing or sounds you're playing, it's pretty cool.
MF: It's pretty amazing to hear that reverb tail from the previous patch do its diffusion while you've already punched up your next sound. That got my attention the first time I heard that.
JR: I've wanted that for so many years. I've been bugging the companies to put that kind of ability into it and just kind of waiting.
MF: What are you listening to these days?
JR: I listen to things that people probably wouldn't expect me to listen to, everything from like Sigur Rós - you know who they are?
JR: I love that group. It's wonderful. I listen to my friend Steven Wilson's music. He's got a new album out that I think is wonderful. He's the guy behind Porcupine Tree. I listen to Radiohead. I've always liked them. What else? I listen to a lot of electronic music, Autechre, or Aphex Twin. I tend to listen to a lot of things that are more, I guess, mellow, on my own. I mean I spend my life playing progressive metal and I kind of feel like when I 'm on my own I just want to hear things that are a little bit more soothing to the soul. Something mellow is often what's called for. Little Pink Floyd, maybe, a little Genesis. Little bit of Black Fields could be pleasant. I tend to go back to my Gentle Giant type stuff. King Crimson's nice if I'm not into mellow. I love Imogen Heap. I like Keane a lot.
MF: Do you want to tell us a little about the Pledge Music campaign?
JR: I wrote a piece a couple of years ago called “Explorations for Keyboard Orchestra” that I've always wanted to record really properly. I took it to Venezuela a couple of years ago and I premiered it with a youth orchestra down there. I never got the recording I wanted, so I thought I would do a Pledge Music