Ayreon (Arjen Lucassen)

"I've already experimented so much, I think there's not much more to experiment"
on Wed, 04/12/2017 - 18:22
Arjen Lucassen
Every time Arjen Lucassen makes a new Ayreon album it’s like waiting for the all-star game of your favorite sport. This new chapter in Ayreon history, called "The Source" kind of marks a brand new start for Arjen: a new label, a prequel to the story and a cast of singers/musicians that’s jaw dropping. As always, he proved to be a more than a pleasant company for more than 45 minutes, as he let us inside the walls of the electric castle and told us everything we need to know about his new masterpiece.
 
Hi Arjen. How are things going in the Electric Castle?
 
Excellent! Doing a lot of promotion for the album. Lot of interest, lot of good reaction, so I can’t complain. 
 
Well, it’s my turn to congratulate you for the new Ayreon album...
 
Thank you!
 
Ayreon - The Source
 
I’m more than sure it will satisfy your fanbase, to say the least...
 
I think so, yeah... I think this is pretty safe album for the Ayreon fans. It’s true, yeah...
 
Well, that’s not bad...
 
Oh no! Every once in a while you should do an album like that... (laughs)
 
Especially, after a challenging album like "The Theory Of Everything"...
 
I know, I know! It was a bit too challenging for the people I guess... It was the way I worked back then. Gathering ideas while I was working and just gluing all the ideas together. I love it, but when I hear it I can imagine people having problem with it.
 
On the other hand, variety is good. You can’t make the same kind of album every time...
 
Absolutely! And that’s usually how I work. I make one album that I think people may like and then an album that I think “mmmmhhhh, not too many people will like it”, like this one. It keeps it interesting...
 
It’s the same with the clips that I release now. First I released “The Day That The World Breaks Down” just knowing that people will love it, you know. It’s a typical Ayreon song and it’s got all the styles in it. Then, after that, I come with “Everybody Dies”, which is a more challenging song, a bit more busy, a bit more different... I like that. To keep it fresh...
 
While listening to the album I was thinking that it must be difficult to decide whether you prefer to stay more loyal to a typical sound that your fans know and love or think as a progressive musician and explore new territories... What helps you make up your mind in the end?
 
I don’t really think about things like that. I don’t really plan out, I just work and see where it takes me. But, by now... I’ve made albums since I was nineteen, which is 1979 (laughs) and I already did so much and I already experimented so much on all these albums, I think there’s not much more to experiment. I mean, I could experiment, but then I would go into regions that I don’t like. I could do jazzy stuff or use saxophones or do some hip hop here and there (laughs), but that would not be me...
 
I know that a lot of artists say that they don’t care what people think, but for me it’s very important that people like it. That’s why I do it and that’s what gets me into the studio each day. Just knowing that people are waiting for my stuff and not wanting to disappoint them plays a role. Which doesn’t mean that I always play totally safe of course.
 
This album is definitely safer... well, I shouldn’t use that word maybe... More consistent than “The Theory Of Everything”, a bit more catchy. I don’t want to say a better cast, but maybe a more well know cast this time.
 
That’s true and it’s down the line in my questions, but before we start digging deeper in the music of the album let’s start with some basic stuff. It’s your first album with Mascot after a very long partnership with Inside Out. Firstly, how come you decided to change a label after so many years and secondly what difference did it make to you?
 
Well, my Guilt Machine album was released by Mascot and they re-released it on vinyl. So, when I went to their office, it was this great office with all this great people working there and they did such a great job on the re-releases of Guilt Machine. It sold really well and I was at their office talking about it and then the boss was like “what about Ayreon?”. I said “well, the contract is finished with Inside Out, so basically I’m free, but I’m perfectly happy with Inside Out, so I’ll just stay with them”. I’m kind of loyal, I’ve worked with them for 15 years now or whatever...
And they said “No, no! You should sign with us, because this and because that!”. 
 
They had a lot of good arguments and I really liked all the people working there. It’s a Dutch company, it’s just half an hour from my house. I had to think about it for half a year. Really, it took me half a year and it was really a coin on each side, it was 50-50. One moment I was like “of course I’ll stay with Inside Out” and the other moment was like “Oh, it’s good to try something new” (laughs). And in the end there was this decision one day, saying “let’s try something new”. 
 
And, so far, I’m really happy with my decision, because like I said there’s so many people working there, they all have their task, I know them all and they phone my every day “hey, what about if we do this?”, “what about if you put that on your socials?”, “what about if we arrange this and that for you?”, “what do you think of a promotion tour in Europe?”, “what do you think of doing four or five clips this time?”. They just have a lot of ideas and initiative and I really like that.
 
Arjen Lucassen
 
You started writing new music having nothing specific in mind.  When did you start to realize that it was going to turn into a new Ayreon chapter?
 
Well, every album I do - as I always say - is a reaction to the album before. Before this one, I did The Gentle Storm album, which is a very feminine album. It had Anneke of course, it was a love story and I really felt like doing something a bit more male... a bit more masculine, a bit more balls in there... (laughs)
 
So, then I first thought of Star One and I started with these heavy riffs, but before I knew it I was coming up with all these folky parts too, parts from flute, cello and violin. And basely they have no place in Star One; Star One is pure metal and science fiction.
 
Then it started to be very eclectic and have many different styles and I thought “well, this looks like it’s turning into an Ayreon album”.
 
I’m curious to know how much time it takes to put everything in line. Compose the music, write the concept and the lyrics, decide on the roles, communicate with all potential guests, finalize the artwork... It seems like tons of work there...
 
Yeah, definitely! I think it’s about a year. Maybe a bit more than a year, but it’s like all year, you know... I have no holidays, I have no weekends, I have no social life, no friends, nothing... (laughs). I’ve work like this, all day, for about a year...
 
Also, I always try to imagine the procedure you follow as to how you pick the singers. Do you write the story and the music and then think of certain vocalists for specific roles? What was the case this time around?
 
It’s basically always the same. I first finish the music, I let the music inspire me to come up with the story, once I have the music and the story then I go to my wishlist. 
 
I have a wishlist that you wouldn’t believe of about 200 singers and half of them are impossible to have, cause half of them are either too famous or not in life anymore (laughs)... Then I choose about 30 singers that I think fit the concept and I think fit the music. 
 
This time, because the music is a bit heavier, a bit more guitar oriented than the previous Ayreon albums I looked a little bit more in the metal site, instead of the prog site. I think “The Theory Of Everything” was really my prog album and this is my metal album. 
 
Then, I just approach all these singers and see who is available and once I’ve got ten or eleven singers, I confirm them and then I divide them over the album, because I want them divided equally. I don’t want one singer singing five songs in one album and nothing in the other.
 
And then, in the end, I start writing lyrics and I base the characters in the story on the personalities of the singers. It’s a weird way of working, but it works for me... (laughs)
 
If I am not mistaken only Anneke van Giersbergen and Damian Wilson were up to now the only singers to have appeared on more than one Ayreon album. So why was it needed to break this rule of having almost only newcomers?
 
That’s not all of them. It’s Edward Reekers, he is on all three first albums...
 
Well, only a few anyway...
 
I think Floor has been on three albums, I don’t remember... She was on “Dream Sequencer” and then she was on “01011001”...
 
But, anyway, the rule of only new singers was basically only on two albums. Only on “The Human Equation” and on “The Theory Of Everything” where I had a rule that I only want to work with new singers. But, all the other albums feature singers that were also on other albums. And the reason why I didn’t apply that rule this time is because I didn’t want to limit myself. Simply, because I wanted the best singers in the world and I’ve already worked with most of them... (laughs). So, this time there were no rules.
 
Also, something you mentioned earlier, it’s one of the few times that you have only well-known and established singers. Even Mike from Toehider can’t be counted as a newbie anymore... Was it a conscious decision?
 
I see this as a new start. It’s called “The Source” and I think this is the source of Ayreon, this is the beginning of the story, it’s a prequel to the story. It’s a whole new start and I just wanted the best this time. 
 
I look for unknown singers, give them chances and stuff like that, but this time I wanted very-very distinctive voices. That was very important for me... distinctive voices... like voices of Tobias and Hansi... You recognize them from anywhere...
 
Arjen Lucassen
 
My next question is about the singers. I would like to take each one of the vocalists and give me one reason why each one was perfect for his role and then pick one highlight of each performance on the album:
 
- James LaBrie as the historian: I wanted James because of his warm, very emotional voice and I thought he would be perfect to tell the story basically, to start the songs. All favorite part? Oh, it’s hard cause they all sing in nine songs... (laughs). I think I like what he did in “Bay Of Dreams” in the intro, it’s beautiful...
 
- Russell Allen as the president: Well, Russell Allen is in my view one the best singers in the world. I’ve always said that since Dio is not here anymore, he’s on top of the world with his style, together with people like Jorn Lande and Tommy Karevik. He’s become a constant factor in my music. He has charisma not only on stage, but also in his voice and he has power and melody, so that’s the reason. My favorite part of him is on “The Star Of Sirrah”, the verse...
 
- Tobias Sammet as the captain: Well, of course, Tobias and I go back a bit... There was this whole invented rivalry between us, but we’ve always been best of friends. We have the same sense of humor. He’s never been on an Ayreon album before, but we did this song, the “Elected” cover together, which was fun to do. I just think his voice is charismatic too, but what I like most about him is that he does so many things so well... He’s a great songwriter, he’s a great singer... I think he’s an underrated singer. When I got his parts that he sung on this album, I was really-really, totally amazed by what he did. Again, such a distinctive voice, so powerful... I love what he did in the first song, the introduction of his part, the captain. I wrote the part of the captain especially on him, because he’s this cocky person who knows everything better than everyone else! (laughs)
 
- Hansi Kursch as the Astronomer: Hansi was my first choice basically... I had this song “Planet Y Is Alive” and I still remember exactly... I was walking in the forest and I had the melody “planet Y is alive” (editor: Arjen sings the chorus of the song) in my head and I heard it with Hansi’s voice. Like it couldn’t be anyone else! What I like about his voice is that again it’s very distinctive. It sounds so huge! Whenever he sings he’s like this bard, this giant standing on top of the mountain, filling the whole valley with his singing... (laughs). And he’s an incredibly nice guy as well, one of the nicest guys in the business...
 
- Tommy Karevik as the opposite leader: I think Tommy Karevik right now is one of the best - if not the best - singer in the world in his style. It was so fantastic working with him on “The Theory Of Everything” and this time I wanted to give him a different part. On “The Theory Of Everything” he has a very emotional, soft part and this time I wanted him to be more evil, you know... He’s the opposition leader and I wanted him to sing more powerful and to show more of his technique, which hid and it’s amazing, cause he combines melody and power and a lot of blues and soul is in his voice too. So, yeah, he sings amazingly all over the album. I think on “Deathcry Of A Race” it’s amazing! He starts very soft and he ends very powerful and I really - I said it in the lyric video of “The Day That The World Breaks Down” - I started crying when I first heard his parts.
 
- Michael Eriksen as the diplomat: We’ve been friends for a long time and I always liked Circus Maximus. What I like about his voice is that it’s very clear, it’s very melodic, he’s a total melodic singer. He’s almost and AOR singer. I thought it’d be interesting. I wanted a positive character on the album. A very positive voice... So, he can sing powerful, but it’s still positive and that’s why I wrote the part of the diplomat on him. And again, he’s such an extremely nice guy and so funny. I mean, when you see the DVD of the album you will see how funny he is. He has his own scene, where he’s doing bloopers and stuff... Great guy...
 
- Tommy Rodgers as the chemist: I discovered him when I read a review of his solo album, under the name Thomas Giles, that was called “Pulse”. It described it being atmospheric and Pink Floyd stuff, so I checked it out on youtube and I came across this song called “Hypoxia” and I loved it so extremely much that I listened to all his stuff. All his solo stuff, as I didn’t even know he was in Between The Buried And Me. I didn’t even know he was a growler... (laughs). I just loved his clean voice and his music. He’s a great composer too. Then, of course I discovered Between The Buried And Me and heard that he can scream too, so I contacted him on Twitter. I thought “well, this guy has never heard of me, it’s going to be very hard to convince him”. But, he knew my stuff and he immediately said “Oh yes, man! That would be a challenge for me, to sing completely different music!”. He really made it his own. He added a lot of his own parts, changed melodies and he worked really-really hard on it to make it great. Fantastic guy as well. My favorite moment of his is probably on “Aquatic Race”. I love the parts that he sings there.
 
- Floor Jansen as the biologist: Well, I worked with her when she was eighteen and she had just joined After Forever I think. I heard her and I saw her and I knew she was gonna be a star one day. So, that’s why I gave her the chance on “The Dream Sequencer”. Of course, later on I worked with her several times, like on Star One and on the album “01011001”. You know, she could do anything. She could do opera, she can sing with a lot of power and she’s such a sweet girl... Gosh, she’s someone I would like to work with forever, you know... I’m so happy that she joined Nightwish. Not just for Nightwish, cause they have the best singer they ever had, but also for Floor cause she deserved this chance. She’s been working hard all her life and now she’s on top of the world and that’s where she should be. Favorite moment? That’s so hard... She mostly sings at the end of songs, cause I really wanted her to go for it. A good one would be “The Day That The World Breaks Down” in the end when we already had ten amazing singer and then on top of that she manages to impress everyone!
 
- Simone Simons as the counselor: I first met her when she came to me with her then boyfriend, Mark Jansen, at a show that I was attending. Together they walked on to me and said “we’re big fans of you, we started out listening to “The Final Experiment” and I was like “wow” (laughs). That’s always very cool to get recognition from fellow musicians. I love the sound of her voice. She has a very warm voice. It’s also different from Floor’s and that’s what I like, to have to female singers that are different from each other. I love the part that she did on “Sea Of Machines”, she does this middle part. And it’s also her favorite part, she told me. Very dark, emotional part. And it’s also very nice and easy to work with. She’s funny as she has this dry sense of humor all the time. But, it’s also easy to work with her. Like for example on “The Source Will Flow” all these harmonies at the end, we just came up with that spontaneously while she was in my studio. 
 
- Mike Mills as TH1: Funny thing is Mike wasn’t planned to be on this album. I had ten singers and everything was ready and I was stuck with one part. It was a part on “Run! Apocalypse, Run!” and I couldn’t figure it out. And I was like “Mike, I keep going back to “Gates Of Babylon” from Rainbow. Can you come up with something?”. And then he recorded like this huge Queen choir, it was like “la, la, la” [editor: Arjen sings it]... Just la, la, la, you know... And it was so great that I got really greedy and I said “Mike damn it! I want this all over the album!”. Cause I never had something like this on Ayreon before. So, I started finding bits for him all over the album. And he, of course, sung all these harmonies with all these voices, so we were like “what are you gonna be on this album? You can’t be like a normal character with all these voices! Maybe you can be an android or something!” (laughs). My favorite part of course is the binary part on “The Day That The World Breaks Down”. I just gave him zeroes and ones and he made it totally on his own, he recorded all the melodies and he’s just one of the biggest geniuses that I’ve ever worked with. I’ve worked maybe with 3-4 geniuses and he’s definitely one of them...
 
- Nils Rue as the prophet: I’ve known Pagan’s Mind for a long time. I’ve mailed Nils all the time and we knew we were gonna work together one day. I just never had the right part for him. Until this part came along and what I like about him again is that he has a very distinctive voice. I remember when I put his audio clip on Facebook everyone knew immediately who that was. Again, the mix of power and melody... I love that. I don’t like mindless screaming, that does nothing for me. I don’t like people distorting their voice too much. He knows how to be powerful with a melodic voice. Which part do I like of him the best? Again, it’s “The Star Of Sirrah”, he sings the verse there, which is amazing, cause it’s first sung by Russell Allen and then it’s quite a challenge to do the second verse. And he totally pulls it off!
 
- Zaher Zorgati as the preacher: Well... I read somewhere it’s metal with oriental influences and I thought that’s interesting. Cause I like oriental influences ever since Rainbow and “Gates Of Babylon” and Led Zeppelin with “Kashmir”. So, I checked it out and I totally loved that band Myrath. So, I went to the Symphony X gig where they played support and I talked to him and he knew my music and immediately he was interested to sing on the album. But then some things went wrong. I kind of heard nothing back from him... At some point I told him “sorry man, I found another singer now, so there’s no space for you now”. He said “oh, it’s a shame, I would love to do it, but I’m so busy”. So, in the end, I found this special part for him and it’s a very fitting part, cause he’s always sings about religion - there’s a song called “Believer” on the last album - and I thought he would be perfect as the preacher. So, he’s in song, on “Deathcry Of A Race” where basically the whole race has dies and he’s the preacher who delivers this eulogy for the Alpha race. 
 
Kind of a lament...
 
Yes, that’ it! Correct!
 
Now, let’s go to the story. If I am not mistaken this is a prequel to “01011001” album. Right?
 
Right! That’s right! Basically to “01011001”and “01011001”is of course connected to most other Ayreon albums...
 
In the end, I’m coming to a common conclusion. That we’re destined to make the same mistakes, as if we move in circles, but in different times and spaces.
 
Absolutely! That was the whole idea. Like what’s happening now on earth, happened first on Planet Y, they became totally dependent on technology, even losing their emotions. I was inspired by the front cover actually, which is this woman in a tank with all the tubes attached to her. And when I saw that image I thought “wouldn’t it be cool if this is a Forever?”. You know, Forever were once humans. So, that’s where the whole story started from. Again, on planet Alpha, the origin of man, the same problem occurs. Machines become more intelligent than humans...
 
If all the roles are clear, then you told TH1 could be and android... I sense him as a mix or R2D2 and C-3PO from Star Wars and Snarf from Thundercats, haha...
 
(many laughs) That could very well be... Well, TH could stand for Trans-Human of course, but you know his band is called Toehider, so that’s appropriate to...
 
Arjen Lucassen
 
On “Deathcry Of A Race”,  the part we mentioned before that you have Zaher of Myrath singing in his eastern melody that sounds like a lament and obviously it’s something different for your music. Why did you think it fit in there? Was it a part you wrote or Zaher brought it?
 
I just told him I want something Arabic there, so please just take a part from the Bible. I think it says something like “Let there be light, and there was like”. Something like that is what it means. Again, as I said, I thought it was fitting because it was about the death of a complete race, you know. It’s a very adventurous song that one. You get the opera voices after it, which is nice contrast. It worked out really great in the end.
 
Apart from the singers, you have two of my favorite guitarists adding a solo on album. Both Paul Gilbert and Guthrie Govan are unbelievably talented...
 
Oh yes!
 
Why did you want them on the album and how did you get in touch with them?
 
Well, on my previous album, “The Theory Of Everything” I had the biggest keyboard players in the world. I had Keith Emerson, Rick Wakeman and Jordan Rudess, you can’t get any higher than that... (laughs). Because this album is more guitar oriented I wanted to repeat it on this album and have the best guitar players in the world.
 
So, I was thinking of shredders. Yngwie Malmsteen and Paul Gilbert, those are the two fastest guitar players in the world and melodic as well, so I contacted the record company, Mascot, who knows him and knows his manager. We contacted his manager to see if he was interested to do it and of course he wanted to hear the part first. And it’s a very challenging part! It’s not your AC/DC song... (laughs). Every chord is different and it’s weird chords, but he had no problem at all. He sent it to me and I didn’t have to change anything, didn’t have to tell him anything. It was just perfect. 
 
Then I also wanted the best guitar player in the world right now, which I really-really think is Guthrie Govan. The first time I heard him was on the song “Drive Home” of Steven Wilson and I was like “Holy shit! Who is this?”. So, I listened to some of his other stuff and it was very clear to me that I wanted this guy. I think he’s the best right now. Luckily, the American side of Mascot knew him, so I approached him via them and he listened to it and he had a LOT of questions “What about this chord? This goes from major to minor? You want me to emphasize that? Will there be drums on this?”. He had all these questions and I was like “Oh no!”. I had that before and went very wrong. It’s usually people that are not sure, but then suddenly, within a week, I got like two versions of the solo and they were both brilliant! So, it was two horrible luxury problems that I had to choose and two brilliant solos. But, I chose one and then he’s such a nice guy, such a gentleman and said “why don’t you use the other one for a Japanese bonus track or whatever?” (laughs)
 
Apart from the prog element, I get more of a 90’s power metal vibe in some songs, like “Run! Apocalypse, Run!” and “Planet Y Is Alive” and it kind of reminds me of “The Flight Of The Migrator” album. Maybe it’s because of Tobias Sammet and Hansi Kursch singing, I don’t know. Do you have a love for the 90s power metal scene?
 
It’s totally based on the '70s, that’s where my roots are. For me “Run! Apocalypse, Run!” is like “Kill The King” of Rainbow. So, that’s where it comes from, it doesn’t come from the '90s...
 
Well, '90s were influenced by the '70s, so...
 
Of course! Everyone is influenced by the '70s... it’s where it all started...
 
Myself, I’m a '90s child I guess, that’s maybe why I’m seeing it that way...
 
Well, “Kill The King” was one of the first dual bass songs you know... “Danger! Danger!” [editor: Arjen sings “Kill The King” a bit”] (laughs)
 
Well, the Rainbow influence is obvious. Especially on “Into The Ocean” I thought I was hearing Ronnie James Dio singing on the verse of the song...
 
Oh yeah... The working title for that song was “Silver”, from “The Man On The Silver Mountain”... (laughs). Now, I think this album goes back a lot to Rainbow and Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin and bands like that. Like the riff on “The Star Of Sirrah”, it could be a Tony Iommi riff. He was a big influence on me as well...
 
I want to say something that I hope doesn’t get misunderstood. I love Tobias Sammet’s voice, but he’s not considered in the league of... let’s say of Russell Allen as a singer. Yet, with his passionate performance makes him stand out among these great singers. How do you explain that?  
 
Cause he puts so much personality in it. I told him what his part was, I told him you have the part of the captain and maybe jokingly he wrote me “I will be that captain! I’m gonna crawl into the skin of that captain!”. And just every word he sings has emotion and has acting in it. He’s more of an actor, he puts a lot of acting, he’s not just a singer. 
 
We all know that you’re a big fan of music as well, so especially for prog music I’d like to know who you consider as leaders of the genre in our days?
 
Progressive? Is that really prog? Or metal? Or what?
 
Well, I guess I don’t really know what prog means anymore...
 
Yeah, I do not know anymore either... (laughs). Well, for me it’s people like Devin Townsend who are totally unique. He’s not copying anyone, he has totally his own style and that’s definitely progressive for me. 
And then of course there’s people like Steven Wilson and Opeth who are very modern. I think my music is still a little old fashioned... I’m also older than these guys (laughs), maybe that’s it. But, Steven Wilson, Katatonia and Opeth, those kind of bands are definitely keeping this style of music alive. 
 
Have you heard any new - not that much known - bands that you think carry this music to the next day?
 
Well, bands like Toehider of Mike Mills... I think they really deserve more recognition. It has a lot of humor in it and maybe that’s what people find difficult, I don’t know. But, you know, Devin Townsend, gets away with it as well. I think Toehider is definitely a band that deserves more attention...
 
How do you feel that the first ever Ayreon shows are gonna take place in some months from now?
 
Well... pretty scared... (laughs). It’s very nervous, it’s a big step for me, but it has to be done. At some point it has to be done. Like I said, it’s a new start this album and of course we did “The Theater Equation” which was a theater play of “The Human Equation” and it was a big success. We sold out four times and the catalyst was basically that performance and the way I saw my music come alive on stage, which gave me tears. And then looking into the audience and seeing all these emotions, like smiling and crying and all that, at that point I decided we have to do an Ayreon best-of show, a rock show. Then, together with Joost van den Broek, my keyboard player and my best friend, we set it up and we know it was going to be a big job, cause it has sixteen singers. So, we knew it was going to be two years of work and we’ve already worked on it for a year with a whole group of people. Until the shows, I’m sure we’ll be working hard on this, cause it has to be perfect...
 
I tried to get tickets for myself but I failed, but the truth is that I don’t really know if I could make it in the end... Anyway, I’d love to be there...
 
Yeah, I know, I should have done more... But I really-really didn’t expect to sell out three shows in one day. It’s nine thousand tickets, I never really expected that...
 
Could there be a more extended run of dates? Maybe some shows outside Netherlands, in other European countries? Cause there are many of us that would love to watch such a unique show...
 
Well, the thing is that we started arranging it more than a year ago and a year is really necessary if you want to have sixteen singers and ten musicians together in the same place. You have to arrange it two years in advance. So, that’s what it takes. It takes two years to set it up. If we ever do it again - which is a possibility of course - it would be two years after this show. You can’t just do it like “oh, let’s do some shows here, let’s do some shows there”... it’s impossible. All these singers have their own bands and their own projects and they are not available. You could do it with a few singers, but that would not be the same I think. 
 
Do you consider something like in the vein of what you did with Star One? Like a tour? Or is it out of the question for you?
 
It’s out of the question for me personally. I don’t tour anymore. I will never ever tour again. It would have be an Ayreon without me and I am not sure if that would be an option...
 
No reason for that...