Dear Dream Theater, and those who take the time to read what may end up being a wall of text,
My name is Zachary Ryl and for much of my life, I had no idea what I wanted to be or do. When I was 17 and 18 in my last year of highschool and my first victory lap (ended up taking two) I made some poor decisions. Nothing world ending, and yet the slow slide of any person into a non productive puddle is perhaps as great a tradgedy, if not as dramatic of one.
Eventually there was a chain of events where I really got to see what I was, and I questioned my life and I finally started to try to be someone. I got a part time job and refocused myself back at school to go to university and become a doctor. That year at school I found a guy who played guitar, and since I had recieved a guitar when I was 14 and could kind of barely play it I suggested to him that we start a band. 3 band members later and the fact that I HAD a part time job, I bought a 300$ set of drums, and that was how it all started.
My favorite band for years was AC/DC but becoming a drummer, I felt the music stifled me. Whenever I played to a song by them it was never how I wanted to play. It wasn't long before one of the bands I had picked up over the years started to stand out to me. I only had 3 songs by them but "The Dance of Eternity" had always held my interest with its inclusion of Ragtime in the middle of this electronic filled distiortion heavy mess. Then I started to really listen. My mind was blown. I went and listened to the album it came from and my mind was blown again and again.
Eventually I finished high school but since it was the first time in my life I had ever tried to do something well I didn't do as well as I needed to to qualify for University. I had no idea what to do now. I was asked by the people who care about me over and over and I still couldn't come up with anything I could believe I would follow. I thought about drumming but that would be silly wouldn't it? I started playing when I was 19! It just could not be done. (I had never heard of Jim Chapman)
One day I was listening to the Glass Prison and I reilized I had one. It wasn't as obvious as others but it was there clear as crystal. If I didn't start doing something, commit myself to something in this world I would never be a the force for good that I've always vaguely wanted to be.
I found a teacher, I found the requirements, I got a full timeish job and started running to get in shape for the first time since I was 10. I kept practicing, and kept listening, album after album, and lesson after lesson. I learned about Mike Portnoy from whom the mindblowing drumming was coming, and the rest of the band and each of their incredible musical journies. Even though I the audition requirements were for Jazz, Latin, and Rudimental playing nothing excited me as much as the amazing style of music presented by this 5 member band.
Touching and thoughful and Provocative.
Moody and Heavy and Relentless.
Syncopated and Playful and Goofy.
It is 2 and a half years, several Jazz and Latin ensembles, a dozen failed auditions for metal bands, and dozens of goofy music related stories later and I have now recived my acceptance to Toronto's Humber College for their 4 year Applied music program.
I don't know what heights I will ever reach but I know that I would never have been able to make it as far as I am without the inspiration of Dream Theater, Mike Portnoy, and more recently Mike Mangini. This is my thank you to them, and to everyone that has ever made the band possible.
This is also a warning and a peice of wisdom even for me. Don't waste your life. Chase some Dreams. And if you fail at least you tried. I have succeeded so far but the journey had many set-backs and ended up meaning almost as much as the goal.
I havn't included every detail of my story but I hope you can draw some inspiration from it. I will also be happy to answer any questions.
Thank you for reading,
-Zachary Ryl, Musical Progressive Drummer.