Planet X, the band around Derek Sherinian and Virgil Donati was formed back in 1999. before that time Derek had been a session musician for Kiss and Cooper, as well as a permanent member of Dream Theater. Virgil has worked with lots of artists such as Steve Walsh and Steve Vai. Just before leaving DT, Derek prepared his first solo album called “Planet X” together with Virgil. By working on that project they discovered that they had lots of musical things in common; so Planet X became a fully fledged band even before the release of the first CD. The band has since gone on to release three studio albums (“Planet X” (1999), “Universe” (2000), “MoonBabies” (2002)) and a live album (“Live from Oz” (2002)). Now they are about to release their fourth studio CD called “Quantum” and the album features guests’ musicians such as Brett Garsed and the notorious Allan Holdsworth (former guitar player of Soft Machine and UK). So it is time for a chat with Derek who turns out to be not so very talkative….. Or maybe my questions are not that interesting, who knows, here we go…..

So, Derek, why did it take 5 years to release a new Planet X album?

Derek: Well, I was very busy with my solo albums and Tony left the band… He now plays with Steve Vai, so actually we finished the new album quite fast.

What are the main differences between “Quantum” and “ MoonBabies” ?

Derek: One of my all time favourite guitar players – Allan Holsworth - plays on the new album and he did an amazing job. And “Quantum” is the first CD without Tony MacAlpine. Musically speaking the new CD is more progressive and more intense than “MoonBabies”.

How did you get Allan to play on your new album?

Derek: Well, as you know he played on my last solo album “Mythology” as well and I think that he is one of the best guitar players ever. He is very innovative and he has a beautiful and unique playing style, there is no one like Allan!

Have you read reviews of the new album already?

Derek: No, I have not seen any, yet. But the reviews about “MoonBabies” were all raving, so I hope that they will be the same for the new album.

Will Allan be playing on the upcoming tour in the Planet X band?

Derek: No, I do not think so and that is a shame really.

Who will be the bass player during the upcoming tour?

Derek: Actually, I do not have any idea, yet ha ha ha….

Are there already tour plans/schedules? And will you be coming to Europe this time?

Derek: There are no plans yet, but I do not think that we will be coming to Europe, sorry, mate. I guess it will be too expensive, but I would love to come to Holland again, I know we have lots of fans there, s.

You only wrote 1 new song for “Quantum”, Vigil did the rest, why?

Derek: I was so busy with my solo projects that I really did not have the time. And Vigil did such a great job with the new songs, the sound is great and all the songs are very original and out of this world. He writes great songs, so why should I meddle with that?

When can we expect the first Planet X DVD?

Derek: There will be one in the hear future, we need to pick out a couple of suitable shows to film some decent live stuff for a DVD. But I promise you that there will be a Planet X DVD before 2009!

Seeing that your music is not really commercial or fit for air play on the radio how do you “sell” your music?

Derek: Well, Inside Out has always been very supportive and of course our music is not meant for the big masses, but our fans are dedicated and they also spread the word, so we get by.

What sort of music do you listen to at home or in your car?

Derek: Lots of classical music really, jazz and hip hop.

And Dream Theater?

Derek: No, not really...

How would you describe the music of Planet X to someone who has never heard a shred of music of your project?

Derek: Out of this world, heavy, rich and progressive would be the key words!

What is your favourite track of the new album?

Derek: Desert Girl, just because Allan plays on that one!

Thanks for your time, Derek.

Derek: Thank you!

Interview by Martien Koolen
(c) 2007 RockUnited.Com, 20 May