Dream Theater’s legendary guitarist John Petrucci tells his thoughts on progressive rock in an interview with Radio Rock 106.6. According to him, a musician can do anything he wants with progressive music. He says:
“Now, fast-forward to today, there’s so many different offshoots of progressive music. There’s more traditional, there’s different metal, there’s all these crazy versions, sometimes what people call ‘progressive’ to me doesn’t sound progressive, so I don’t know. I don’t really know anymore, but I know from our perspective, like when we would listen to a Rush song like ‘Hemispheres,’ or we would listen to ‘Close To The Edge’ by Yes, the thoughts we had were like, ‘Wow, you don’t really have to follow any form.
The song doesn’t have to be three-and-a-half minutes. It doesn’t have to keep repeating the chorus.’ Or, ‘Hey, we can have a guitar solo for two minutes, then completely change to a whole mellow section.‘ This whole mindset that you can do whatever you want, it’s a freedom. To me, progressive music has this sense of freedom in style.
You can do whatever you want. You can put in any style of music. If you want a little Latin samba in there, stick that in there. You want to go to a crazy metal riff, put that in there. You don’t want to repeat the chorus, fine, it doesn’t matter. You want to end with a guitar solo? Why not? There’s no rules. That’s what makes it progressive. That can be in the forum of being very technical or not. Pink Floyd is progressive; they’re not very technical, but all those songs take you on this journey. It’s almost like storytelling in music. With ‘The Astonishing’, having a story, then scoring like you would to a movie with music. The music doesn’t make any sense form-wise, it just follows what’s happening as you’re telling the story. To me, that’s progressive music.“
You can watch the entire interview from below.