James LaBrie Says ‘Pull Me Under’ Popularized Dream Theater


Dream Theater frontman James LaBrie recently joined IbagensCast for an interview and argued their song ‘Pull Me Under’ is what made Dream Theater so famous.

In the early and mid-1990s, grunge’s popularity was at its peak. With the releases such as Nirvana’s 1991 classic ‘Nevermind,’ Alice In Chains’ ‘Dirt,’ Soundgarden’s ‘Superunknown,’ and Pearl Jam’s ‘Ten,’ grunge overshadowed other genres and became the most popular form of rock music. This indeed affected many bands negatively, but not Dream Theater.

After Charlie Dominici’s departure in 1989, Dream Theater attempted to work with other singers, but it didn’t work out. During this period, they wrote most of the songs from ‘Images And Words.’ In 1990, James LaBrie joined the band after impressing them with his demo. In January 1991, the band released the album ‘Images And Words.’

Featured in this album, the song ‘Pull Me Under’ achieved remarkable radio airplay and was on heavy rotation on MTV. Talking about the song’s success, James LaBrie told Ibagenscast that ‘Pull Me Under’ helped them to survive the rise of grunge music. Moreover, the singer claimed it encouraged a wide audience go and get their album.

According to LaBrie, ‘Pull Me Under’ gave Dream Theater their current status, and if it weren’t for this song, they wouldn’t be here. He argued that the classic hit gave the band momentum and a feeling of security for their following albums. So, ‘Pull Me Under’ was pivotal in Dream Theater’s success because it helped them create a successful career.

Asked how Dream Theater wasn’t affected by the rise of grunge, James LaBrie said the following:

“I think the catalyst was ‘Pull Me Under.’ I mean, ‘Pull Me Under’ blew up on the radio; it went number one on the radio in the States for quite some time. Our video was being played about every 20 minutes on MTV. So, ‘Pull Me Under’ gave us this platform to sit on, and suddenly, everybody’s going, ‘Who the hell are these guys?’ And that led to people wanting to go out, get the album, listen to it, [and] take it for what it is.

Because ‘Pull Me Under’ didn’t set you up for a song like ‘Metropolis,’ ‘Learning To Live,’ or ‘Under A Glass Moon.’ When people got the album, I’m sure they thought it would be a lot more like ‘Pull Me Under,’ more heavy metal and in your face. Then, all of a sudden, they’re getting hit with a song like ‘Metropolis’ or even a song like ‘Surrounded’ where it was like ‘What the hell is going on here?’ This song has so many different shades to it.”

He then continued:

“I’ve said this several times in the past that if ‘Pull Me Under’ hadn’t happened, I’m not sure you and I would be sitting here talking today because it really did give us that momentum and that security to set everything in stone as far as Dream Theater was considered. And it set us up for all these subsequent albums that came along the way. Yeah, if you want to know how that happened, I think that’s how it happened. We had a song like ‘Pull Me Under,’ it went through the roof, put us on another tier, so to speak, enabling us to go on and create the career we’ve had.

You can watch the rest of the interview below.