Mike Portnoy invited Jordan Rudess (keyboard) and progressive rock icon Tony Levin (bass, Chapman Stick) of King Crimson and Peter Gabriel’s band to join him. In his instructional video “Liquid Drum Theater”, Portnoy said that his first choice for the guitar was Dimebag Darrell, but he was unable to join because of conflicting schedules. Two other primary choices, Steve Morse (Dixie Dregs, Kansas, Deep Purple) and Jim Matheos (Fates Warning) were also unavailable. Portnoy then turned to fellow Dream Theater member John Petrucci to fill the position (despite initially wanting to keep the project completely separate from Dream Theater). The combo was formed as a side project to Dream Theater in 1997. Some theorise that Rudess was asked to join Dream Theater largely because of the success of Liquid Tension Experiment. He had already declined a previous offer to join in 1994 and instead became a member of the Dixie Dregs, known for complex, “Southern fusion” instrumental music.
On the live album An Evening With John Petrucci & Jordan Rudess John Petrucci and Jordan Rudess played the song “State Of Grace” from the first Liquid Tension Experiment album. Because this was a live performance by the two ex-members the song was played only with acoustic guitar and piano.
An Evening with John Petrucci and Jordan Rudess/LTE – Hourglass
The Spontaneous Combustion album is the result of the jamsessions that were held during the recording period of the second Liquid Tension Experiment album. John Petrucci is absent from these jamsessions, as he was with his wife who was giving birth at the time. The album was released under the Liquid Trio Experiment monicker but is essentially from the same band.
Liquid Tension Experiment – Spontaneous Combustion
By Christy Lee