In a conversation with Guitar Player, Dream Theater guitarist John Petrucci credited Steve Morse and the Dregs for letting him experiment and branch out with his music instead of sticking to the obvious route.

John Petrucci and Steve Morse established their separate careers, and their paths crossed when Petrucci first heard Morse playing the guitar. They’ve been friends ever since. They even toured together as Dream Theater and Dregs. The duo even share the same manager.

Petrucci stated that finding Steve and Dregs at a young age allowed him to make more challenging music. He added that he ‘blamed’ Morse and Dregs for paving the way for musicians like him. But he also acknowledged that making music this way is more rewarding for an artist.

John Petrucci‘s words on not playing it safe:

“It can be hard and scary sometimes. For me, it’s all Steve’s fault. [Morse laughs] No, it’s true, in a way, because I was a young musician getting into rock music and playing guitar. And then I heard the Dregs and I thought, There’s more to this than what other people are doing. And I include Yes and Rush in that – they followed their own paths.

I decided that I wanted to play music that is more challenging and more nontraditional as far as structure, and that kind of attitude really bucks the whole system. But that’s what I wanted to do. It’s been an uphill battle at times, sure, but we’ve been fortunate to make a career out of doing a style of music that we love.

We’re really proud to be part of this big prog family tree that includes Steve and the Dregs. For as scary and difficult as it is, it’s also really rewarding. You’re doing things on your own terms, and you’re forging your own path.”

Now, they also share a connection with Ernie Ball Music Man. The iconic duo both designed a guitar with the company.