Music: Liquid Tension Experiment

Clockwise from Top Left: John Petrucci, Tony Levin, Mike Portnoy, and Jordan Rudess

"CAUTION: "Three Minute Warning" is not for the musically faint-hearted, impatient, or critics of extreme self-indulgence. If you fall into any of the above categories, please hit the stop button on your CD player after track # 8"
Despite being a warning for one song, this more or less describes the band as a whole.

Sometime near the end of The Nineties, Dream Theater's drummer, Mike Portnoy, was asked by his company to form a Progressive Rock/Metal supergroup. Said group was composed by Portnoy, his Dream Theater comrade John Petrucci on guitar, the legendary bassist Tony Levin and a then-not-so-notable keyboardist named Jordan Rudess. Thus, the seeds for Liquid Tension Experiment were planted.

The band released only two albums before Rudess' definitive incorporation to Dream Theater and the obvious disbandment, at least for studio recordings, since three-quarters of the band were composed by Dream Theater members. It didn't stop Portnoy from releasing several other albums [live recordings] via his own label, Ytsejam Records.

There was a spinoff of this band, called Liquid Trio Experiment, which was composed of the same members, except one of them, who happened to be Petrucci in the first album, Spontaneous Combustion, and Rudess in the second, When the Keyboard Breaks.


Discography:

As Liquid Tension Experiment:
  • Liquid Tension Experiment (1998)
  • Liquid Tension Experiment 2 (1999)
  • Liquid Tension Experiment Live 2008 - Limited Edition Boxset (2009)
  • Liquid Tension Experiment Live in NYC (2009)
  • Liquid Tension Experiment Live in LA (2009)

As Liquid Trio Experiment:
  • Spontaneous Combustion (2007)

As Liquid Trio Experiment 2:
  • When the Keyboard Breaks: Live in Chicago (2009, with Charlie Benante as guest drummer)


The Band:

  • John Petrucci - guitars
  • Jordan Rudess - keyboards
  • Tony Levin - bass
  • Mike Portnoy - drums


Both bands provide examples of:

  • Accidental Misnaming: The story behind the name of "Chris and Kevin's Excellent Adventure", where a photographer kept calling Mike Portnoy "Chris" and Tony Levin "Kevin".
  • Call Back: Liquid Trio Experiment 2's album, When the Keyboard Breaks is a reference to the track "When the Water Breaks", from Liquid Tension Experiment 2.
  • Content Warnings: Done for humorous effect, as shown in the page quote.
  • Cover Version: In some of their live shows, they did a Progressive Metal arrangement of George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue".
  • Epic Rocking: Aside of some exceptions, each and every single of their remaining songs break the 5-minute barrier.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The track that became "When the Water Breaks" was being recorded at the time when John Petrucci's wife went into labour and Petrucci had to leave the studio in the middle of the session. The band even included samples of a baby's first cry within the track.
  • Instrumentals: Everything this supergroup has ever done, may it be Tension or Trio, is this.
  • Last Note Hilarity: "When the Water Breaks", which is an epic and ultimately very serious instrumental, ends with a quirky piano solo in the last minute or so.
  • Miniscule Rocking: "The Stretch" and "Chris and Kevin's Excellent Adventure"
  • Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Generally around a 6 or 7.
  • Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: Dream Theater-esque Progressive Rock/Metal, mixed in with some Jazz Fusion, a fair amount of Zappaisms, a dash of classical-infused piano, and a teaspoon of electronic music.
  • Non-Indicative Name: "Three Minute Warning", which is a 27-minute improvised jam recorded entirely in a single take. It's so long that the band's primary recording equipment actually ran out of space and left off the last three or so minutes. The name came from Tony Levin wanting to just play and have fun while the rest of the band wanted to get the structured recording out of the way before they started jamming. He threatened to quit and leave if they "didn't start jamming in three minutes."
  • Progressive Rock
  • Progressive Metal
  • Pun-Based Title: "Biaxident", which is a play on "by accident" and the medicine "Biaxin", which John Petrucci was taking at the time.
  • Rule of Cool
  • Self-Titled Album
  • Serial Escalation: Set the standard for many newer progressive bands. It can't be more technically challenging than this. "Paradigm Shift" and "Another Dimension" are both fine examples of this.
  • Spiritual Successor: Levin-Minnemann-Rudess, a 2013 album featuring half of LTE with Marco Minnemann on drums, a very similar type of project.
  • Studio Chatter: At the end of "Three Minute Warning" and "Another Dimension".
  • Supergroup: Two members from Dream Theater, a future member of the same band who has previously played with many other acts, (David Bowie among them!!!) and a bassist who has played with King Crimson, Peter Gabriel and Yes.
  • Uncommon Time
  • Word Salad Title