Photos © 2017 by: Roman Sobus
NEAL MORSE: Lead Vocals, Keyboards, Guitars
MIKE PORTNOY: Drums, Vocals
RANDY GEORGE: Bass
ERIC GILLETTE: Guitar, Vocals
BILL HUBAUER: Keyboards, Vocals
Biography: The journey of Neal Morse has seen three decades of musical accomplishments, the latest being the inception of THE NEAL MORSE BAND. The Los Angeles born Prog-Rocker Neal Morse (Spock’s Beard, Flying Colors, and Transatlantic) has forged many relationships over the years. The most compelling and fruitful efforts have been those with Mike Portnoy (ex-Dream Theater, The Winery Dogs, Twisted Sister, Transatlantic, Flying Colors, and more).
Together the pair has launched four bands. But the band that has endured the longest and thus with the most musical output has been THE NEAL MORSE BAND. Over the years, Neal along with Mike Portnoy and Randy George always assembled musicians as needed to support Neal’s solo music. In 2012, Neal with longtime bassist Randy George held auditions to find the musicians needed to fill out the band as a permanent lineup that would write music collectively. Bill Hubauer (keyboards, vocals) and Eric Gillette (guitar, vocals) joined the band after three days of auditions. They went on to release THE GRAND EXPERIMENT in 2014 followed by the ALIVE AGAIN live DVD/2 CD package in 2015.
Together, the five members are now embarking on THE SIMILITUDE OF A DREAM. This will be the eighth studio album with Morse, Portnoy and George, but the second as a true collaboration with this lineup.
As Neal Morse explains, “THE SIMILITUDE OF A DREAM is loosely and sometimes directly based on the book, Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan. The original title was The Pilgrim’s Progress From This World To The That Which Is To Come; Delivered Under The Similitude Of A Dream, and it was originally published in 1678. The book chronicles the spiritual journey of a man from the City of Destruction to a place of deliverance. Someone had suggested to me that I do a concept album based on this book, but I kind of forgot about it. Then when I began writing new songs last December, the suggestion came to my mind. I had never read the book, so I Googled the SparkNotes story outline and began to write some little song bits and instrumentals based on what I had read. Those bits combined with the ideas that the other guys brought to the table then miraculously exploded into this double concept album. Funny thing is, this album only really covers about the first 75 or 80 pages. Maybe we should’ve made a five disc collection! Well, we’ll save that for later. Ha.”
“I honestly think this is THE album of my career,” declares drummer Mike Portnoy. “Neal and I have now made 18 studio albums together, and I consider THE SIMILITUDE OF A DREAM the absolute creative pinnacle of our collaborations together. I’ve always had a soft spot for double concept albums such as Pink Floyd’s THE WALL and The Who’s TOMMY, and I can bravely say that I think we’ve created an album here that can sit side by side with those masterpieces. Bold words, I know, but after a career of almost 50 albums, I honestly consider this to be one of the defining works of my career.”
“We weren’t sure we had enough music to make a double CD, and yet it seemed as though the concept and the music wanted to go there,” bassist Randy George continues. “Ultimately, we created so much great music in the sessions that it just had to be a double album! To cap that off, we worked with a pre-imminent classic album cover artist to create painted illustrations of our concept which will grace the booklet!”
THE NEAL MORSE BAND tours worldwide almost yearly and continues to grow in popularity, attracting new listeners everywhere they go. The band has toured in North America, Central America, Europe, Israel, Mexico and India. The shows are filled with excited and extremely loyal fans, some which have regularly traveled very long distances to see the band. The band has an extensive catalog of live shows on Blu-Ray and DVD as well.