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Periphery Guitarist Misha Mansoor on Why He Loves Playing in Australia, the Term ‘Prog’ + Dream Theater

Gary Wolstenholme, Getty Images

Modern prog metal masters Periphery are headed down under to tour Australia as you read this. Right before they headed out though, Noisecreep had a chance to chat with founding member, guitarist Misha Mansoor.

He was excited about the trip and the chance to head down and play in support of last year’s well-received album, Periphery II: This Time It’s Personal.

Mansoor also couldn’t resist talking about Dream Theater shredder John Petrucci, his biggest influence. That’s perfectly fine with Noisecreep, because we always like talking about Petrucci, too.

Misha, you leave in just a couple of days for Australia. You must be excited?

Absolutely. I have to say, the fans in Australia really get it. The sort of music we do can sometimes require a little more patience and that’s something the folks down there really seem to understand. I’m not sure why, but there is one theory we have. We tend to do well in cities and Australia is so big but the people are concentrated in the thin strips of coastal towns where you’ve got all these small to midsize cities – not so much small towns. Maybe that has something to do with it, but regardless, we just love playing down there.

What do you think about how the term “prog” has been defined and redefined in the last few years?

Well the term “prog” has never really bothered me. The way we define it, is it is just a credo for us to do whatever we want to do. We could do a song as long as we want, however we want to do it and as melodic or atonal as we want. So prog for us really just means the ability to create whatever we feel like creating in that moment.

Watch ‘Make Total Destroy’ Video

At what age did you first start becoming aware of modern music?

I would say at about age 13 or 14 is when I began to discover what I would consider modern music. It was all about Nirvana, the Offspring and Green Day. Then shortly after that I discovered Incubus, Tool and Deftones. Deftones, to me, were really a big deal and still are and I’m excited we have an upcoming tour with them.

And then of course at some point you discovered Dream Theater.

Yes, I did, and I’ve never quite gotten over them. What really did it for me is when we toured with them and I could watch them during sound check. They are just insanely talented guys. The sweetest dudes you’ll ever meet but truly scary to watch even when they’re just fooling around. When you have a band where all the guys have literally mastered their instruments, it can only be an inspiration to you.

John Petrucci, in particular, has played a part in your evolution as a player yourself, right? We all know he did a guest solo on the Periphery song, ‘Erised.’

He has. John has always impressed me. I was never into shredders, you know, turning music into a sport. But John does things in just such a tasteful way. He plays the right notes at the right time and that’s the most important lesson I’ve ever learned from him. There’s always a right note at the right time. He said he likes my playing and I have a hard time processing that because I think what I do is so boring compared to him. I’d watch him on tour, how he would practice at least two hours every single day in his room, just so dedicated. And he’s also such a good person, that he inspires me to want to be a better person myself. So it goes beyond just guitar playing. He is a very important person in my life.

Listen to ‘Erised’


Catch Periphery out on tour:

Feb 23 – Soundwave Festival – Brisbane, Australia
Feb 24 – Soundwave Festival – Sydney, Australia
Feb 25 – Gershwin Room – Melbourne, Australia w/ Crossfaith
Feb 28 – ANNANDALE HOTEL – Sydney, Australia w/ Crossfaith
Mar 01 – Soundwave Festival – Melbourne, Australia
Mar 02 – Soundwave Festival – Adelaide, Australia
Mar 04 – Soundwave Festival – Perth, Australia

w/ Deftones:

03/08 Atlantic City, NJ – House of Blues
03/09 New York, NY – Terminal 5
03/10 Montclair, NJ – Wellmont Theatre
03/12 Stroudsburg, PA – The Sherman Theatre
03/13 Norfolk, VA – The Norva
03/15 Charlotte, NC – Fillmore Charlotte
03/16 Myrtle Beach, SC – House of Blues
03/17 Atlanta, GA – The Tabernacle
03/19 Miami, FL -Fillmore Miami Beach
03/21 St. Petersburg, FL – Jannus Live
03/22 Orlando, FL – Hard Rock Live
03/23 Mobile, AL – Soul Kitchen
03/25 Baton Rouge, LA – The Varsity Theatre
03/26 Corpus Christi, TX – Concrete Street Amphitheater
03/27 Pharr, TX – Pharr Entertainment Center
03/29 Austin, TX – ACL Live at the Moody Theater

03/30 Houston, TX – Bayou Music Center (not w/ Deftones)

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