John Petrucci was born on July 12, 1967, in Kings Park, New York, to an Italian American family. He picked up the guitar at the age of eight because his older sister was allowed to go to bed later in order to practice the piano. However, he decided to quit the guitar when his attempts to stay up late were unsuccessful. He picked up the guitar again at the age of 12. Petrucci has said he committed to practicing guitar 6 hours a day when he discovered it was his passion. His early influences were bands like Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, AC/DC, and later developed an interest in progressive rock and heavy metal, exemplified by Rush, Yes, Iron Maiden, Dixie Dregs and Metallica.
Eventually, his childhood friend and future Dream Theater keyboardist Kevin Moore invited Petrucci to join his cover band. Petrucci attended Berklee College of Music in Boston with childhood friend John Myung (bass), where they met future bandmate Mike Portnoy (drums). While in Berklee they often covered two of their biggest influences, Iron Maiden and Rush. These three, in addition to Kevin Moore, formed the band Majesty. Because there was already another band with the same name, the group later became Dream Theater.
While Petrucci is most commonly associated with Dream Theater, he is also in the project band Liquid Tension Experiment, and has appeared as a guest on records by other artists, such as the Age of Impact album by the Explorer's Club.
Petrucci has released a guitar instructional video, Rock Discipline, which covers warm-up exercises, exercises to avoid injury while playing, alternate picking, sweep picking, chords and other techniques for developing one's guitar playing. Petrucci also has a book named "Guitar World presents John Petrucci's Wild Stringdom", which was compiled from columns he wrote for Guitar World magazine under that title.
In 2001, Joe Satriani and Steve Vai invited Petrucci to tour with them on the popular G3 guitar tour, which exposed him to a massive number of new fans and inspired a solo album. The album, Suspended Animation, was released on March 1, 2005, and was available for order from his web site. Petrucci also appeared on the 2005 and 2006 G3 tours, and in 2007, went on G3 tour again, this time with Paul Gilbert and Joe Satriani. In a recent video with Larry DiMarzio, Petrucci announced that he is working on a follow up to his 2004 album, Suspended Animation and a new Dream Theater album.
Petrucci also wrote and recorded two instrumental soundtrack songs for a Sega Saturn game titled Digital Pinball: Necronomicon. Each track is roughly two minutes long, and are named simply Prologue and Epilogue. In a spoof rock band, Nightmare Cinema (which was the Dream Theater members changing instruments for a gig), he used the "alternate stage name" Johnny James.
In 2012, Petrucci was invited once again to join Joe Satriani on the G3 tour, along with Steve Morse. He was accompanied by bassist Dave LaRue and drummer and Dream Theater bandmate Mike Mangini.
Dream Theater bandmate Jordan Rudess revealed in an interview that Petrucci is a practicing Catholic. He currently lives in St. James, New York, with his wife Rena Sands, a guitarist in the all-female heavy metal band Meanstreak, and they have three children—twins Samantha and Renato, and Kiara. He is the uncle of Jake Bowen, a guitarist in the progressive metal band Periphery. He is also an avid fan of bodybuilding and dedicates much of his off time to weight training. He is a voting member of NARAS.
Petrucci is respected for his variety of guitar styles and skills. One of the most notable of these is his high speed alternate picking which, as he himself claims, requires a "strong sense of synchronization between the two [playing] hands." John is notable for frequent use of the seven-string electric guitar, which he says he uses as a writing tool, taking advantage of the extended range for heavier riffing and to play extended range runs as part of a solo. Moreover, Petrucci often combines his metal shredding technique with a slower, emotive soloing style. His influences as a guitarist include Steve Morse, Al Di Meola, Steve Howe, Allan Holdsworth, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Randy Rhoads, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Alex Lifeson, Yngwie Malmsteen and David Gilmour.
Petrucci is the only band member in Dream Theater to have contributed lyrics to every album, and his lyrics have been used for at least three songs on each. These include, among others, "Metropolis, Pt. 1: The Miracle and the Sleeper", "The Spirit Carries On", "The Great Debate", "In the Presence of Enemies", and "Through Her Eyes". Petrucci uses real-life experiences for lyrical inspiration, as can be heard in the songs "The Count of Tuscany", "A Nightmare to Remember" and "Endless Sacrifice".
Petrucci has acted as a backing vocalist live since the Awake Tour. He is a baritone, producing a sound darker than that of James LaBrie's tenor voice. He has also written vocal melodies for Dream Theater. Petrucci's role as a vocalist expanded following the departure of Mike Portnoy, who had been Dream Theater's primary backing vocalist and occasionally even shared lead vocals with LaBrie. In live performances, Petrucci now replicates some vocal parts originally sung by Portnoy, with others being recorded samples.
Petrucci is a long-time user of Musicman guitars and Mesa Boogie amplifiers. His pedalboard setup has changed a little over the years, usually changing to different modulation or overdrive pedals, while maintaining a similar setup and sound throughout - the key to his tone still remaining the Mesa Boogie distortion.
A handful of brands have released John Petrucci signature guitar gear:MusicMan released John Petrucci signature guitars
Dunlop released John Petrucci signature "jazz" guitar picks
TC Electronic released the Dreamscape John Petrucci signature fx pedal.
In the beginning of 2016 two new releases were announced: the Dunlop John Petrucci signature Cry-Baby wah, and the Mesa/Boogie JP-2C John Petrucci guitar head amp, which is available is three different versions: regular, rackmount or Limited-edition.
MUSIC MAN JOHN PETRUCCI SIGNATURE GUITARSJohn Petrucci
John Petrucci BFR
JP16 (With Floyd Rose Bridge)
IBANEZ SIGNATUREIbanez JPM
ACOUSTIC GUITARTaylor Acoustic Guitar (916ce, 856ce, 712ce Taylor's 30th anniversary)
Amps and Effects:Mesa/Boogie JP-2C John Petrucci signature Mark Series amp head
Fractal Audio Axe FX 2
Framptone A/B Box
TC Electronic Dreamscape John Petrucci Signature
Dunlop DCR-2SR Crybaby Rack Module "John Petrucci signature Cry-Baby wah"
Axess Electronics Switchers
Keeley Mod TS9DX Flexi-4X2
Analog Man King Of Tone
Analog Man TS808 Mod
BOSS PH-3 Phaser
MXR EVH Flanger
Carl Martin Compressor
Mark Snyder Custom Interface/ Switcher
Furman AR Pro Power Conditioner
Pedals Board:RJM Mastermind GT/22 MIDI Foot Controller
Axess Electronics FX-1 MIDI Foot Controller
Ernie Ball 25K Stereo Volume Pedal
Dunlop Crybaby Remote Pedal
Boss TU-3 Tuner
Dunlop Crybaby Remote Pedal for Center Stage
Custom Steel Diamond plate Foot Rests with Buttkicker Drivers installed for that ultimate thump!
Cabinets:Mesa Boogie Traditional Rectifier 4X12 Cabinets with Celestion Vintage 30 speakers
Pickups:DiMarzio Signature Crunch Lab (Bridge)
DiMarzio Signature LiquiFire (Neck)
DiMarzio Signature Illuminator (Since 2013)
Strings:Ernie Ball RPS
Picks:Jim Dunlop Signature JP Shield Black Jazz III
Cables and Connectors: Mogami Neutrik
Guitar Straps:DiMarzio Black Cliplock
In Ear Monitors:Sensaphonics 2 XS
Other pedals that have been spotted on his board include:MXR EVH-117 Flanger
MXR EVH Phase 90
TC Electronic Helix Phaser
Ibanez TS9DX Tube Screamer
Ibanez TS808 Tube Screamer
TC Electronic PolyTune 2
Suspended Animation (2005)
When Dream and Day Unite (1989)
Images and Words (1992)
Falling into Infinity (1997)
Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory (1999)
Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence (2002)
Train of Thought (2003)
Systematic Chaos (2007)
Black Clouds & Silver Linings (2009)
A Dramatic Turn of Events (2011)
Dream Theater (2013)
The Astonishing (2016)
Liquid Tension Experiment (1998)
Liquid Tension Experiment 2 (1999)
G3: Live in Tokyo (With guitarists Steve Vai and Joe Satriani) (2005)
An Evening with John Petrucci and Jordan Rudess (2000)
Digital Pinball: Necronomicon soundtrack (1996)
Explorers Club – Age of Impact (1998)
Jon Finn Group – Wicked (1998)
Jordan Rudess – Feeding the Wheel (2001)
Derek Sherinian – Blood of the Snake (Played on track "Czar Of Steel") (2006)
Marty Friedman – Loudspeaker (Special guest guitarist on "Black Orchid") (2006)
Periphery – Periphery II: This Time It's Personal (Guest solo on track "Erised") (2012)
Working Man – Various Artists (A tribute to Rush) (1996)
Dragon Attack – Various Artists (A tribute to Queen) (1997)
Guitar Battle – Various Artists (1998)