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Derek Sherinian

Formed: 1999
From: Laguna Beach, CA, United States
Last Known Status: Active

Background

Derek Sherinian is the Caligula of keyboards” – Alice Cooper

It’s rare to find an equal mix of style and substance –– but keyboardist Derek Sherinian has balanced the two admirably during his 18-year professional career. While he has performed alongside some of rock’s flashiest showmen, Sherinian has also proven that he’s more than capable of trading licks with many of the most respected musicians on the planet.
Raised in Santa Cruz, Calif., Sherinian began playing his family’s piano at age 5. A few years later, he was introduced to the music of Elton John.
During his junior year of high school, Sherinian was offered a scholarship to the prestigious Berklee School of Music in Boston, Mass. Enjoying its “completely concentrated musical environment,” he jammed with the likes of Will Calhoun, who later went on to play drums with Living Colour, and future Megadeth, Alice Cooper guitarist Al Pitrelli.
After three semesters at Berklee, Sherinian felt he was ready to test the waters of Los Angeles. There, he was soon introduced to Buddy Miles. The drummer of Jimi Hendrix’s Band of Gypsies was in the process of assembling a band to tour R&B clubs across America, and he invited Sherinian to audition. “We jammed, and he ended up digging my playing,” he recalls. “It was my first time working with a well-known musician, but to this day, I don’t think I’ve played with anyone that has more of a gift. He’s a total natural.”
>From there, Sherinian got a phone call from his old Berklee buddy Pitrelli, who had just been named musical director of the Alice Cooper band. “They were looking to hire a keyboard player and drummer, so Al called me right away,” he recalls. “I went down and auditioned, and it all worked out.” He subsequently joined Cooper on the road in support of the multi-platinum album Trash, performing the first of some 250 shows with the legendary shock-rocker on – quite fittingly – Halloween 1989. (Also debuting with the group at that show was drummer Jonathan Mover.)
“Derek Sherinian is the Caligula of keyboards” – Alice Cooper

Soon after completing another tour with Cooper – this time in support of Hey Stoopid – in 1991, Sherinian learned that Eric Singer, Cooper’s then-drummer, had been hired by Kiss. When it came time to tour in support of their Revenge album, the band needed an offstage keyboard player. Singer suggested Sherinian. “The first thing Gene said to me was that I looked like Paul Stanley and Cher’s love-child,” Sherinian says, laughing at the recollection. “Then Paul asked me to play the opening chords of ‘Love Gun,’ and I nailed it because I’ve heard that song since I was 12. Afterwards, Gene came up and shook my hand, and that was it – I was on the Kiss tour.” (Alive III, recorded during the Revenge tour, became Sherinian’s first major label release.)

After three semesters at Berklee, Sherinian felt he was ready to test the waters of Los Angeles. There, he was soon introduced to Buddy Miles. The drummer of Jimi Hendrix’s Band of Gypsies was in the process of assembling a band to tour R&B clubs across America, and he invited Sherinian to audition. “We jammed, and he ended up digging my playing,” he recalls. “It was my first time working with a well-known musician, but to this day, I don’t think I’ve played with anyone that has more of a gift. He’s a total natural.”
From there, Sherinian got a phone call from his old Berklee buddy Pitrelli, who had just been named musical director of the Alice Cooper band. “They were looking to hire a keyboard player and drummer, so Al called me right away,” he recalls. “I went down and auditioned, and it all worked out.” He subsequently joined Cooper on the road in support of the multi-platinum album Trash, performing the first of some 250 shows with the legendary shock-rocker on – quite fittingly – Halloween 1989.

Soon after completing another tour with Cooper – this time in support of Hey Stoopid – in 1991, Sherinian learned that Eric Singer, Cooper’s then-drummer, had been hired by Kiss. When it came time to tour in support of their Revenge album, the band needed an offstage keyboard player. Singer suggested Sherinian. “Paul asked me to play the opening chords of ‘Love Gun,’ and I nailed it because I’ve heard that song since I was 12. Afterwards, Gene came up and shook my hand, and that was it – I was on the Kiss tour.” (Alive III, recorded during the Revenge tour, became Sherinian’s first major label release.)


Sherinian was told about the Dream Theater keyboard vacancy by former Cooper bandmate Mover, but he admits he “didn’t know much about the band going in. When I first heard the material, it was terrifying, because I’d never played stuff that technical before. I flew out to New York and went into the audition, and I felt like I did OK. I didn’t feel like I did great; I figured it could have gone either way.”
The band thought otherwise, naming Sherinian as their new keyboardist just in time for the kickoff of the Awake tour in October 1994. “I think it’s pretty funny that for someone who’s never played in a progressive rock band before, my first progressive gig was the biggest one at the time,” he says. “When I was a kid, I would have never thought I would be in that kind of band.”
After four years, three records and two world tours comprising more than 200 concerts, the relationship ran its course and Dream Theater hired a new keyboardist. “At the time, I was disappointed with their decision, but it’s now clear that they did me the biggest favor in the world,” Sherinian says. “I now enjoy complete creative control in my releases, which I think is invaluable."
Sherinian had already begun recording his first solo album, Planet X, when he parted ways with Dream Theater. “I never in a billion years thought that I would ever be a solo artist, but I was approached by Magna Carta Records to do a solo record and I loved the freedom of not having to compromise,” he says. Following up on a recommendation from Shrapnel Record founder Mike Varney, Sherinian recruited Australian drummer Virgil Donati to perform on the album. The chemistry was immediate, as the two wrote the “Atlantis” trilogy during their very first jam session.

The Planet X album, released in 1999, led to the formation of the group of the same name, as Sherinian and Donati decided to expand on the concept by recruiting guitar virtuoso Tony MacAlpine. Now a true band, Planet X issued their debut recording, Universe, in 2000; it was followed by MoonBabies in 2002. (That same year, Live From Oz – recorded during the band’s inaugural Australian tour – was also released.)
Although Sherinian values his experiences with Planet X – he says the group’s goal remains to be “the sickest instrumental band in the world” – he also has not forgotten his rock roots. “Planet X kind of developed into a wild, out-of-control musical beast, and there are certain things, sounds and grooves that I just cannot do in Planet X,” he says.
In that spirit, Sherinian joined forces with drum legend Simon Phillips (Jeff Beck, Toto) to write, co-produce and perform on his second solo album, Inertia, released in 2001. The album also featured guest spots by guitarists Steve Lukather (Toto) and Zakk Wylde (Ozzy Osbourne, Black Label Society), along with bassist Tony Franklin (Blue Murder, The Firm) and violinist Jerry Goodman (Mahavishnu Orchestra).
in 2001, Derek teamed up with drum legend Simon Phillips, and guitar studio ace Steve Lukather. "These guys are two of the biggest cats in the business, to be exposed to the is just incredible" "Derek's CD (Inertia) is probably my best recorded work in my whole career. Great record! I'm very proud of it!" -Steve Lukather, 2001

Inertia became the building block for Black Utopia (2003),Sherinian’s third solo record. In addition to the returning members named above, three new faces joined Sherinian’s all-star team: bassist Billy Sheehan and legendary guitarists Yngwie Malmsteen – with whom Sherinian toured in 2001 – and Al DiMeola. "One of the highlights of my career was flying to Miami to produce Yngwie, and the next day Al DiMeola- all for my record! "
In 2004, Sherinian recorded his forth solo record, "Mythology". Fusion great Allan Holdsworth, Steve Stevens and John Sykes guest on this record. The core line-up of Wylde, Phillips, Franklin, Lukather and Goodman remained.
2006 marks the release of "Blood Of The Snake". Once again, Sherinian has a surrounded himself with an all-star lineup, including Billy Idol, Slash, Yngwie Malmsteen, Dream Theater’s John Petrucci and long-time collaborators Zakk Wylde, Simon Phillips, Tony Franklin, and Brian Tichy.

The lead single for Blood Of the Snake is a cover of the Mungo Jerry classic, “In the Summertime.” Sung by Idol and featuring Slash’s renowned guitar licks, the song has the potential to be a hit for the summer of ’06.
“"In The Summertime" was my favorite song when I was 3,” acknowledges Sherinian. “Billy started singing it one day at soundcheck, and we started jamming on it. We agreed it would be a great song to cover one day. Slash was the perfect guitarist for this track. I think that “In the Summertime” is a great, timeless song. The timing is perfect to do a remake, and the combination of Billy and Slash is very cool.”
Aside from “In The Summertime” and the brooding, Ozzy-like “Man With No Name,” Blood Of the Snake is peppered with various jams and interludes, showcasing Sherinian’s ability in the jazz and fusion fields.
“I have always been a fan of jazz fusion, but from the perspective of a rock player crossing over to jazz, not vice versa,” notes Sherinian. “I think that is how Jeff Beck approached his classic instrumental records and I like to follow in that path.”
A man with an extensive, almost jaw-dropping resume, Derek Sherinian may be known more for his work with Alice Cooper, KISS, Dream Theater, and Billy Idol, but it is his solo work that will ultimately define his career. Given the all-around flair and dynamics within Blood Of the Snake, it’s readily apparent that Sherinian is excited about the prospects of this record.

Taken from http://www.dereksherinian.com/bio.htm

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