John Petrucci’s Opinion On Kurt Cobain’s Untamed Sound

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Musicians have been talking about whether having musical education kills creativity. While some artists have thought education is not an obstacle to the creation, others consider it might have adverse effects. This issue has been discussed in the rock scene by significant musicians.

In Kurt Cobain’s case, although he did not have technical music knowledge, he was an inspiration for many musicians with his unique singing style. On the other hand, John Petrucci formed an impactful band, Dream Theater, by improving himself at the music school. He has influenced many guitar players with his unique techniques.

John Petrucci once talked about whether it was an obstacle to have technical education by giving examples from Kurt Cobain and himself. Though Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain was a rocker who did not attend a musical school, leaving a legacy extending to the present.

What Did John Petrucci Say About Kurt Cobain’s Raw Sound?

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John Petrucci started to be interested in music at a very young age, inspired by significant musicians like Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. Petrucci attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston which shaped his musical career. The musician put the building stones of Dream Theater with John Myung and Mike Portnoy during that period.

Petrucci joined an interview in 2020 and answered the questions about his musical career. When the interviewer asked what he was thinking about whether technical music education kills creativity, he said it mostly depends. According to him, some musicians’ creativity could be restrained by having technical education because of overthinking the learned elements. Petrucci stated that some of them had natural abilities; however, this did not mean they could not have improved themselves with education.

The rocker continued mentioning Kurt Cobain in the same interview. According to Petrucci, Cobain was an excellent musician born with natural musical talent. As he stated, a gifted person might change positively or negatively after having technical education. The guitarist gave an example from himself, saying that going to Berklee affected his musical career positively by broadening his horizon.

According to the rocker, musicians’ creativity might be restrained when they could not find a balance between the education they had and the root of the unique approach to their art. As Petrucci mentioned, this question’s answer changed from one person to another based on their experiences.

When asked if education kills the creativity, Petrucci explained:

“In fact, they are people who write great music and are great at what they do, or were, in the case of Kurt Cobain. But I’ve also seen where people who take the path where maybe they have that gift like I was describing, and then they go to school, and it changes a bit. It could change for the positive or the negative. I think it’s a difficult question to answer because I think it depends on the person.

If I take my own experience, going to Berklee College of Music and learning more about music and music theory helped open my mind, and it helped to give me more options as a player to grab from. But when I create music, what I try to do is still approach it from that raw, primal beginning.

When you get into the weeds, as you said, and you’re trying to figure stuff out, and you’re trying to craft your songs, which is a big part of it, then all that music training comes into play, you might have more options than you would if you hadn’t had that training.”

As John Petrucci explained, whether having technical education in music is an obstacle in front of creation has still been a controversial question. Despite being an untrained musician, Kurt Cobain impacted the rock scene as much as the educated ones. As Petrucci stated, it is questionable if getting an education would kill Cobain’s creativity because it changes from one person to another.