Log of the Artist Shop/Talk City IRC Chat with Rod Morgenstein and Derek Sherinian of Platypus on Sunday, March 28, 1999


<WotanCCC> Todays Featured Artist conference is with drummer Rod Morgenstein and keyboardist Derek Shrinian of the group Platypus.  Get your questions in early using the following format;   Type /msg AskPlatypus Your question here.

<WotanCCC> Folks, our good friend GaryDavis from the ArtistShop will be typing for Rod Morgenstein this afternoon.

<WotanCCC> ******************************
<WotanCCC> .
<WotanCCC> . Welcome to todays
<WotanCCC> . Artist Shop
<WotanCCC> . Featured Artist Conference
<WotanCCC> .
<WotanCCC> . An afternoon with
<WotanCCC> . Platypus
<WotanCCC> . (Rod Morgenstein & Derek Shrinian)
<WotanCCC> .
<WotanCCC> . Presented by
<WotanCCC> . @Music and TalkCity
<WotanCCC> .
<WotanCCC> ******************************

<WotanCCC> Platypus has just released their debut album on Velvel Records called When Pus Comes to Shove.  Rod has an extensive background as one of the founding members of the extremely influential Dixie Dregs.  He  was also a part of Winger and more recently the Rudess Morgenstein Project.  Derek's background is with Dream Theater.   The other members of Platypus include John Myung, bassist and stick player for Dream Theater, and guitarist/vocalist Ty Tabor of King's X.  Rod and Derek, thank you for joining us today.

<GaryArtistShop> I would also mention that Derek spent about 10 years with Alice Cooper and did some work with Kiss as well.

<DerekSherinian> Hi!

<RodMorgenstein> hey everybody!

<WotanCCC> Ok, lets start with a question from the audience...

<AskPlatypus> aboxofrogs says: I hear your music as sort of a "jazzy" Captain Beyond. How do you describe your music?

<DerekSherinian> I'm not sure what Captain Beyond is.

<WotanCCC> Captain Beyond was a "progressive"/hard rock band in the early 70's. Short lived but their first album was incredible and worth looking for. CB was a fusion of many different styles too.

<RodMorgenstein> The easiest way to describe it is what do you get when you cross the music of 3 different bands, which is what we're from.  Everybody brought nearly completed songs and sections of songs to the 5 day rehearsal. So each song has a little bit of everybody's input on it.

<DerekSherinian> I would describe Platypus as being a hybrid of many different styles.

<RodMorgenstein> Plus we seem to be divided in terms of whether we wanted to do a vocal or instrumental record. That's why it came out 50/50.

<DerekSherinian> There is a definite Kings X thing.  Instrumentally the band is going all over the place.

<AskPlatypus> catfood says: When Pus Comes to Shove is great! When will we get a second CD?

<DerekSherinian> We begin writing May 14th, and hopefully we can have a new CD out by early next year.

<RodMorgenstein> Well, we begin in the middle of may. Eveyone will converge at my house for a week of rehearsals and hopefully we can get this thing done before the end of June. That's the plan anyway.

<AskPlatypus> theuglyjanitor says: Who are some of your influences? Who did you try to emulate when you first started playing?

<DerekSherinian> My earliest influence was Elton John, that's when I first started entertaining in a band and playing along with other instruments.  Then I got into Van Halen, and there was such energy in the music.  The virtuosity of Eddie Van Halen and the pomposity and flambouyance of David Lee Roth.  That's where my rock and roll influences began... like Aeorsmith ... that's where my progressive influences came... Jeff Beck...and a lot of early seventies fusion.

<RodMorgenstein> My earliest was Ringo!  Followed by Mitch Mitchell, from Jimi Hendrix, John Bonham from Led Zeppelin....Clive Bunker from Jethro Tull, and Billy Cobham from Mahavishnu!

<DerekSherinian> Also... Dixie Dregs was a huge influence!

<RodMorgenstein> Thanks, Derek, I appreciate that :-)

<DerekSherinian> :-)

<AskPlatypus> aleroy says: Well, hi Rod, Aymeric Leroy from Big Bang Magazine, France... We did an interview (with Jordan's help) about the excellent debut by RMP... Plans for a follow-up or is Jordan too busy with Dream Theater now ?

<RodMorgenstein> Jordan and I do have plans to get a second recording underway. We have 3/4 of the music ready to start. It's just a matter of scheduling.  And now we have the Platypus recording coming up, but I'm also getting ready to hit the road with Jazz Is Dead, a Grateful Dead jam band recently vacated by Billy Cobham.

<AskPlatypus> mcphista1 says: I would like to know if the profoundly talented and gorgeous Derek is going to tour in support of Planet X...

<DerekSherinian> Well...funny you ask!  Planet X is the title of my solo album on July 23 on Magna Carta records.  The concept Planet X will work into the name of my new band, featuring myself and drummer Virgil Donati.  The lineup is yet to be determined, but as it stands now, guitarist Brett Garsed will be playing Planet X's debut gig, May 5th at the Baked Potato, Hollywood, Ca.  The band will be all instrumental, hardcore progressive fusion.  The stage will look like my keyboard riser.

<AskPlatypus> Calamari How did the group come up with the name, Platypus?

<RodMorgenstein> That's for Derek to answer (LOL)

<DerekSherinian> The name Platypus happened when we were at Rod Morgenstein house...and we were working on a song called What about the Mirch ...we had a clavinette ....and listening to a tape...and I remarked that when I heard a clavinette...it reminded me of a Platypus....and everone then said that we should name the band Platypus.

<RodMorgenstein> It then became the inside band joke for the entire process.   And then all the plays on the word Platypus resulted in the title of the CD.   And then the song Platt Opus.  And when the band hits the road, the only way anyone will get back to see us is with their backstage Platypass (LOL)!  We were just in hysterics for days!!!

<DerekSherinian> LOL!

<WotanCCC> I can't wait to see what happens in the mosh pit.

<RodMorgenstein> And I can remember the next day I had to go to a big family function and I was so excited to tell everyone, "You're not going to believe what we're naming the band....Platypus!" Then I had all the blank stares that didn't get the humor at all.  It was like being in a Woody Allen movie.

<DerekSherinian> The cool thing about the name Platypus is that everyone we tell it to ...they always repeat the name back, and start cracking up...it's a very memorable name.  I remember at the time we wanted to use the name, we did an internet search ...there was a bad of 13 -14yr old kids...a garage band...but we decided to take the name anyways.

<AskPlatypus> symx says: rod: where do you see the differences between Derek and Jordan Rudess ?

<RodMorgenstein> First, they're both fantastic musicians and I feel honored to be able to work with both of them!  I think the level of both of their playing is really deep.  But Jordan's background comes from a classical Julliard school of training whereas Derek seems to come more from a rock background.  And Derek's got the rock "hammond" thing sewn up, as you can hear all over the Platypus record!

Working with Jordan on the RPM CD, it was amazing to see his sound design abilities where I could describe a sound and he would just start twisting knobs and create it.   To me it's just great to have the opportunity to work with so many great musicians who all make their instruments speak differently. And to think that you only have 12 notes to work with makes it that much more amazing.

<AskPlatypus> toninno says: Derek and Rod, what is your every day practice schedule?

<RodMorgenstein> Mine has always varied.  Today I just practiced for two hours before this chat because I have to get my chops up for the Jazz Is Dead tour.   But my life is so busy with all these other things, plus I'm an associate professor of percussion at Berklee college of music in Boston that I'm not able to practice every day.  Plus I am in midi hell (!) trying to learn my performer software K2500 Synth and Mac computer!

<DerekSherinian> It's very erratic!  It depends on what I'm doing.   Sometimes I'll go weeks without playing at all, and sometimes I'll play ten hours a day.  Obviously I practice more when I'm getting ready to go on tour or write an album.  I've learned after playing my instrument for 25 years, it's important to be able to walk away.  It's too easy to lock into patterns... you don't want to sound like you're playing finger excersizes which is an affliction many people suffer from.   I concentrate in having an original voice on my instrument.  I also keep my chops up by teaching in Los Angeles.  My students keep me in line.

<AskPlatypus> dtitchy says: Hey Derek! It's Mark from Cybermoon... Here's my question: Do you know yet if John Myung will be part of Platypus II? If not, do you guys have anyone else in mind? Looking forward to visiting "Planet X" in July!!

<DerekSherinian> Thank you mark!  I cannot imagine Platypus without John Myung, considering he founded the band.

<AskPlatypus> Calamari How would you describe your vocals, and who writes the lyrics?

<RodMorgenstein> Ty is the lyricist...

<DerekSherinian> That is all Ty's department.  I couldn't tell you what one of the songs are about.

<RodMorgenstein> Speaking for myself since I am in instrumentalist, I would write the stupidest lyrics. I want to write some for you now!  Here goes....

<DerekSherinian> Oh nooooo! LOL!

<RodMorgenstein> Together we can fly, high up to the sky...

<DerekSherinian> Rod, that's very touching....

<WotanCCC> I know I feel touched.

<RodMorgenstein> Hey Derek, this is my new song, what do you think?  (LOL)

<DerekSherinian> Open the next Platypus record with it ;-)

<RodMorgenstein> I have a lot of respect for lyricists because they somehow are able to make very basic statements that we've heard time and time again, but do it with such economy without making it sound corny.

<DerekSherinian> Generally when I listen to music, I kind of pay attention to the groove and instrumentation and the tone of the vocal.... rather than the content of the lyric.

<RodMorgenstein> I agree.

<DerekSherinian> I know that women tend to listen to the lyrics more and what you say in the lyrics.... we never had girls at the Dream Theater shows... LOL!

<RodMorgenstein> and BTW, what is Stairway to Heaven about? (LOL)

<DerekSherinian> Exactly!!!

<AskPlatypus> lacaid says: Is the misprint on the album a simple mistake, or does it have some symbolic meaning? :)

<DerekSherinian> It has a meaning that goes too deeply for me to get into on this chat.

<RodMorgenstein> Unfortunately that's a record company oversite.  We only come up with the titles.

<AskPlatypus> b_o_g_i_e says: This question is for Derek: When you first joined Dream Theater, it seemed you weren't too into progressive music, but upon your leaving the band, it seems that you've come away with a progressive edge. Have your views towards "prog" changed any, and if so, how?

<DerekSherinian> I've always had a fondness for progressive music.  In my bedroom when I was jamming... I would play along with them.  Lines in the Sand was my best example... on the Falling into Infinity album.  I was more into jazz rock fusion, like Alan Holtzworth,Jeff Beck...Mahaveshnu orchestra and Dixie Dregs once again.

My new album ...my new band Planet X ... I would say the two main influences are the band UK and early Jeff Beck....but a lot heavier with the spirit of a band like Van Halen, Black Sabbath or Metallica ....with more fire!

<AskPlatypus> loubi says: Derek, I heard you used a real hammond organ on Platypus, were you into Deep Purple thing or is it a coincidence ?

<DerekSherinian> I've always liked Deep Purple, and I liked the tonality of John Lords keyboards...I think that every rock keyboardist should have a Leslie and a distorted Hammond as part of their hammond sound. It just gives it edge.

<AskPlatypus> allmodels18 says: where did you guys meet?

<DerekSherinian> Obviously John and I were playing in Dream Theater.  I've been a fan of Rod Morgenstein since I was 14, so when his name came up to be involved I got very excited!

<RodMorgenstein> I think I met Derek in a Greek diner near my house a couple years ago. Do you remember that Derek?  I remember Dream Theater opened up a show for Winger back in 1989 and I started to get to know those guys better when Jordan & I were opening up shows for DT for the last 3 years.  Also I knew Ty a little because King's X had opened up a show for Winger along with Mr. Big, actually.

<DerekSherinian> Rod, I didn't mean to make you feel old right there.  LOL!

<RodMorgenstein> You failed, Derek (making me feel old)! LOL!

<DerekSherinian> LOL!

<AskPlatypus> toninno says: Hi Rod!!! How long did it take to put together the songs from Rudess/Morgenstein Project?

<RodMorgenstein> Each of us had come into it with 4 songs nearly completely finished on our own.  We wrote two songs together which were almost stream of consciousness which probably.  Each took 5 to 7 full working days.  One of my songs, Cartoon Parade, used to be played in the Dixie Dregs in the early days. I wrote that song in 1976, believe it or not.  And it was an incredible feeling having it finally get recorded.

<AskPlatypus> mallrats23 says: WILL THERE BE A WINGER REUNION ROD

<RodMorgenstein> We've had some conversations this year. I'm very close to Kip. I did his first solo record and some drums on his follow up to come out probably early next year.  But as far as the band, Winger, we're all very good friends and we'd probably be up to doing something in the future. There have been lucrative record offers.  At the moment Kip is very focussed on his solo record and has been studying classical composition, very intensely. So his focus is not in the rock arena right now.  But I think down the road something will be possible.  There's a VH1 special that's called "Where Are They Now" which features a 10 minute segment with interviews with Kip and me.  It's been running for the last two months.  Thanks for asking about Winger, despite all the negative press that the band has received, I'm very proud of my part of it.  And I think it's some of the most intelligent music to come out of that period.

<AskPlatypus> calvin6s says: With all the side projects, how do you decide which song to save for which band?

<RodMorgenstein> That's a great question!  A little bit of agonizing and a great deal of thought goes into what would best suit each project.

<DerekSherinian> You've just got to go with the flow.  Whatever comes out at that time will go to that project.

<RodMorgenstein> To be honest, at the moment I'm a little bit overwhelmed.

<DerekSherinian> Sometimes you might write something not appropriate for that time...and it might mutate to another project.  For instance... Plat Opus ...was an idea I worked on with a friend a long time ago.  The only part I liked of the original was the main theme...so I took that main theme and re-wrote around that to make it fit around teh platypus sound.  hi calvin!

<RodMorgenstein> I didn't initially think that Chimes would fit the concept of the band. I'd had that completely written and sitting around for 5 years.  Actually I don't think any of us had any idea what we would sound like until we came together to rehearse and with basically a two week slot to rehearse and record a record, I think we were all a bit surprised at how much organized music we would end up with, as opposed to a bunch of long jams.

<DerekSherinian> That is such a beautiful song...and I remember Rod played it for us.... and right away we all said.... it's got to go on... it reminded me so much of the Dixie Dregs.  The way that Rod plays it on piano.... Rod, for all of you that do not know, is an incredible pianist as well as a drummer.  He plays piano on "Chimes"on the Platypus record.  "Chimes" happens to be my mothers favorite song on the record.

<RodMorgenstein> Derek, I'd like to meet your mother (LOL).  And tell her what wonderful taste she has in music (LOL)

<DerekSherinian> LOL!

<AskPlatypus> caughtinawebtoo1 says: So guys, what bands are you currently listening to?

<DerekSherinian> ::::: thinking:::::

<DerekSherinian> No one in particular.  I find myself going back to all my old fusion records that I used to listen to years ago.

<RodMorgenstein> I just was blown away by the new Vital Information record.   Steve Smith on drums, Tom Coster on keys, Frank Gambale on guitar and Jeff Andrews on bass.

<DerekSherinian> Also, in my CD player in my car, I have everything from Aerrosmith to Jaco Pastorius...to Marilyn Manson...

<AskPlatypus> aleroy says: Do you both acknowledge the "progressive rock" label? Do you view this label as a very open concept or a restrictive thing?

<DerekSherinian> People like to always put labels on things

<RodMorgenstein> I hate labels to begin with.  I think it pigeonholed the Dixie Dregs from the beginning.  Because the Dregs music included country, classical, rock, jazz, celtic, etc.....

<DerekSherinian> I think it can be very restrictive...because when I hear Progressive rock... I think of Yes, Genesis, Gentle Giant.  Take Dream Theater for instance....there are progressive elements...but also elements not progressive.

<RodMorgenstein> Labels give the listener the preconceived notion of what the music will sound like...

<DerekSherinian> I think Progressive rock is too restrictive a term... like Metallica is Rock, Matchbox 20 is Rock...there are all sorts of options on Progressive rock.

<RodMorgenstein> I don't think Platypus is a prog rock band when I think of most of the bands that fit that genre.  To me it's more mainstream and drawing from a wider musical base.  Lyrically the songs on Platypus are totally un prog rock.

<AskPlatypus> ytzefan says: It's cool publishing your email... do the many mails annoy you?

<DerekSherinian> No, they dont' annoy me at all ...

<RodMorgenstein> ditto.

<DerekSherinian> something terrible has happened to me... I've developed Carpal tunnel from my recent computer addiction in the last two years.  In the result of that, I am going to be spending a lot less time on the computer.  I don't need my hand falling off.

<WotanCCC> Is there anything else you would like to mention before we conclude today?

<RodMorgenstein> Thank you for all your interesting questions...and your interest in the band and in our careers.

<WotanCCC> You guys have some great fans here today.

<DerekSherinian> Yes, for anyone who wants to contact me or find out what's happening carreer wise...you can get me at dereksherinian.com

<WotanCCC> Cool

<RodMorgenstein> My website address is www.mediusvision.com/rod

<DerekSherinian> I am accepting music students in the LA area... I can be reached at Dsherinian@aol.com.  The debut of Planet X will be May 5th at the Baked Potato, Hollywood, California featuring myself, drummer Virgin Donati, guitarist Brett Garsed

<RodMorgenstein> You can be sure he's not a 'Virgin' (Donati that is)

<WotanCCC> LOL

<DerekSherinian> One other thing... my solo album Planet X will be out July 13th on MagnaCarta Records worldwide.  Thank you everybody !

<WotanCCC> Looks like our time is up... I'd like to thank everyone for joining us tonight.  Rod and Derek, we appreciate your taking the time to come and chat with us today, and hope you'll come back to Talk City again soon!

<WotanCCC> To purchase When Pus Comes to Shove, or for information on other Artist offerings, please visit The Artist Shop Online at:


and the Platypus web site at


<WotanCCC> ===========================================
<WotanCCC> .
<WotanCCC> Next on our Featured Artist Series:
<WotanCCC> .
<WotanCCC> . Tuesday, April. 6th at 6:00 pm pt / 9:00 pm et
<WotanCCC> . Essential Recording Artists FFH
<WotanCCC> .
<WotanCCC> . Thursday, April. 15th at 6:00 pm pt / 9:00 pm et
<WotanCCC> . Capitol Recording Artists Less Than Jake
<WotanCCC> .
<WotanCCC> . Stay tuned for more fine
<WotanCCC> . Artist Shop / @Music productions
<WotanCCC> .
<WotanCCC> ===========================================

<WotanCCC> Finally, thanks to the Artist Shop for working with us on this conference. We especially appreciate the efforts of Gary Davis in giving us the opportunity to speak with Rod Morgensteing and Derek Sherinian.



<WotanCCC> If you would like to provide feedback on this chat, please send us email to specialevents@talkcity.com   Don't want to miss Talk City's special events?  Subscribe to special events updates:


<WotanCCC> If you'd like your own home page and web site, please go to http://home.talkcity.com  Tonight's show has come to an end. We thank you, our great audience, and extend a very special Thank You to our guests from....... PLATYPUS.........We look forward to seeing you again soon.  @Music Featured Artists is produced in conjunction with @Music, The Artist Shop, & Talk City (tm), a production of Talk City, Inc.  Copyright 1999, All Rights Reserved


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