NEPA Scene Staff

Prog metal supergroup Sons of Apollo performs at Penn’s Peak in Jim Thorpe on Feb. 7

Prog metal supergroup Sons of Apollo performs at Penn’s Peak in Jim Thorpe on Feb. 7
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From a press release:

It was announced today that Sons of Apollo, a new progressive metal supergroup featuring members of Dream Theater, The Winery Dogs, Mr. Big, Guns ‘N Roses, and Journey, will perform at Penn’s Peak in Jim Thorpe on Friday, Feb. 7, 2020 at 8 p.m. with special guest Tony MacAlpine, an instrumental guitarist known for his solo work as well as his bands CAB and Planet X.

Tickets, which are $25 in advance or $30 the day of the show, go on sale this Wednesday, Aug. 21 at noon at all Ticketmaster outlets, the Penn’s Peak box office (325 Maury Rd., Jim Thorpe), and Roadies Restaurant and Bar (325 Maury Rd., Jim Thorpe). Penn’s Peak box office and Roadies Restaurant ticket sales are walk-up only; no phone orders.

In early 2017, rumors began circulating about a new secret project including former Dream Theater members Mike Portnoy and Derek Sherinian. Finally, on Aug. 1, the duo revealed the details to the rest of the world, introducing their new band, Sons of Apollo. Reuniting to form Sons of Apollo, Portnoy and Sherinian joined forces with guitarist Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (ex-Guns N’ Roses), bassist Billy Sheehan (The Winery Dogs, Mr. Big, David Lee Roth), and vocalist Jeff Scott Soto (ex-Journey, ex-Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force), releasing their debut album, “Psychotic Symphony,” on Oct. 20, 2017 via InsideOutMusic/Sony Music.

“Psychotic Symphony” was produced by the dynamic production duo of Portnoy and Sherinian, also affectionately known as “The Del Fuvio Brothers,” the nickname given to them over 20 years ago during their time together in Dream Theater.

Sons of Apollo formed very organically, its seeds planted with a predecessor group.

“Derek and I reunited shortly after I left Dream Theater in 2010 and we put together an all-instrumental touring band with Billy Sheehan and Tony MacAlpine,” Portnoy explained.

“That was my first time working with Derek since the ‘90s when he was in Dream Theater, and it was just great to be working with him again. Ever since that tour, which was really just a one-off live thing, he has been nudging me to start a real, original, full-time band. The timing just had never been right, because I had too many other things on my plate. Long story short, the time was finally right to take the bait and put together a band.”

“Mike and I work at a relentless pace in the studio,” Sherinian continued. “The music is modern, but we have an old-school soul. What is unique about Sons of Apollo is that we have true rock ‘n’ roll swagger along with the virtuosity – a lethal combination!”

But what to call this next great supergroup?

“Derek was mainly the one behind the name. I have a list that I keep on my phone of about a hundred different band names, which I constantly have to refer to every time I have a new band every year,” Portnoy said with a laugh.

“So I pulled up the list and Apollo was one of the names on the list. It was a word that both of us really liked. We started fiddling with different variations of the word. One of the original band names we were working with was Apollo Creed, the character from the ‘Rocky’ movies, but after lots of different discussions on different variations, Derek suggested Sons of Apollo and it seemed to stick. Apollo is the god of music so, with that in mind, it seemed like a fitting name.”

With Portnoy, Sherinian, and Sheehan having previously toured together in the aforementioned lineup that came to be known as PSMS, playing instrumental versions of various songs drawn from each member’s history, Sons of Apollo was the next logical step. They kept that fire burning and stoked it higher by bringing in a different guitarist, adding a vocalist, and creating all original material. The nine songs comprising “Psychotic Symphony” incorporate the progressive style and individual technical prowess Portnoy and Sherinian shared together in Dream Theater, combined with the swagger and groove of Van Halen, Deep Purple, and Led Zeppelin.

“I have known Mike and Derek for a long time, so when they came to me with Sons of Apollo, I jumped on this straight away,” said InsideOutMusic Label Manager Thomas Waber. “However, the album they ended up recording exceeded my already high expectations by a long mile! We couldn’t be happier about it!”

Sons of Apollo hit the road in 2018 for their first worldwide tour.

“This is a real band,” Portnoy declared. “This is going to pick up for me and Billy where The Winery Dogs left off, in terms of this being the next logical full-time thing for us. I’m not saying The Winery Dogs have broken up because we haven’t; we’re just on a break. Sons of Apollo is absolutely going to be a full-time band, and we plan on touring all over the world … and, honestly, it is the priority for all five of us.”

“We will go on a worldwide crusade … to bring Sons of Apollo to as many people as possible,” Sherinian agreed. “Apollo was the god of music, and we are his mighty offspring!”

The name Tony MacAlpine is synonymous with modern musical virtuosity. Whether performing as a solo artist, band member, session player, touring hired gun, or as a producer, he continues to prove that he truly is one of rock’s most amazing and versatile musicians. He incorporates classical, jazz, and fusion influences into the hard rock/metal genre on both guitar and keyboards.

In his career spanning three decades, MacAlpine has produced, written, and arranged 12 solo instrumental studio albums. He has also released four albums with his jazz fusion band CAB, three albums with his progressive rock band Planet X, and a number of other band projects. In addition, he has contributed both guitar and keyboards to a long list of records by other artists.

On Sept. 1, 2017, he released his latest solo record, “Death of Roses.” The seven-track album is the first of a two-part release and features Hungarian drum sensation Gergo Borlai, with Pete Griffin returning on bass. It continues MacAlpine’s ongoing evolution with hook-laden melodies, breathtaking solos, complex rhythms, and crushing seven and eight-string guitar riffs, complemented by his own equally exceptional keyboards.