NHTE 162 Jordan Rudess AND Vinnie and the Hooligans

Jordan Rudess performed and then was immediately interviewed and Vinnie & the Hooligans sat down for a Q&A as well during the Winter 2017 NAMM show in California. Rudess has been the keyboard player in platinum-selling Grammy-nominated prog rock band Dream Theater for 19 years now. While he does talk about the band during this interview, he was also promoting and doing a live demo of the GeoShred app from moForte and Wizdom Music. (Rudess founded the latter.) He also talks about his influences. On their portion of this NHTE episode, two of the four members of Vinnie & the Hooligans talk about their latest EP, the band’s history and songwriting process, the following they’ve built up, and what’s ahead for the rest of 2017. Plus, of course, we give the listeners a taste of the band’s original music.

Show Quotes: 


“We’re running into people all the time, ya’ know, young guitarists, drummers, keyboardists that really cite Dream Theater (as an influence).  It’s such an honor, though.  It’s a responsibility.”

“One of my great keyboard heroes unfortunately passed away this last year, Keith Emerson.  He was probably the biggest influence in my keyboard life after I got out of playing classical music.”

“… a real combination between the audio world and the visual world, I tried to put them together and make an instrument that would both be very musical and effective but also allow people to make music that hadn’t made music before.”

“If you have a multi-touch device, (the Geo Shred) can be your instrument.  You can go and severely rock and shred and have all the power and the emotion coming right out of the iPad.”

(with the GeoShred) “you’re literally putting that energy behind it to make the sound happen.  It’s like you’re controlling the wild beast in a way, which is the beauty of a guitar.”

“I think it’s really smart for young musicians to be doing more than one thing just so they can keep feeding themselves… but for me it’s about the passion that I have for new instruments for expression.  I just became so into synthesizers when I was leaving Julliard, getting out of the classical thing.  I discovered the mini Moog and how you could bend pitch and move knobs and all this kind of stuff… It led me on this path to really wanting to explore new instruments and new sounds.”


(Vinnie) “I usually write a lot of my songs when I’m trying not to listen to people because a lot of times you get too much influence.”

(Miguel) “We were, like, …what if we got drums and went electric… I think there’d be kind of a cool vibe to it – especially the music and stuff that Vinnie’s writing, it’s all real life stuff, ya’ know, it hits home.”

(Vinnie) “I prefer honesty because in the long run that’s gonna make me a better musician and a better songwriter, is if I have someone telling me what’s wrong with it.”

(Vinnie) “I get writer’s block a lot and I feel like, yeah, I gotta get this done, I gotta write some songs, but at the same time a lot of times I’ll write half a song and I’ll just put it away and I won’t revisit it for who knows how long and then somehow it’ll come back and I’ll finish the song.”

(Vinnie) “We just kinda do it for fun and we do it because we like playing together and it’s great to have people come out and see us and people listen to us… It’s cool seeing the songs really reach out further than we’d ever think.”

Songs on this episode: 

Jordan Rudess
improv/”Greensleeves” (live)
“Hallelujah” (live)

Vinnie & the Hooligans
“Another Shade of Blue”
“Miner Ballad”