Repentance

Album: Systematic Chaos (2007)

Songfacts®:

  • This is the fourth in a string of five songs which make up Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy's "Twelve-step Suite." The song speaks of steps 8 and 9 in the Alcoholics Anonymous 12 Step system, which Portnoy sums up as "Regret" and "Restitution." When we spoke with Mike Portnoy in 2010, he explained how alcoholism effected him: "That lifestyle and that disease, which I have, is going to take you out. You have two choices when you're that deep: you either have to get sober, or inevitably end up in hospitals, institutions, death, or jail. There's only two roads when you're that bad of an alcoholic or an addict. And I saw the writing on the wall for myself ten years ago. I have a son and a daughter who were just born back then, in the late '90s, and I saw that my alcoholism was killing me, physically, emotionally, and mentally. And I saw what it did to some of my heroes, people like Keith Moon and John Bonham, and it scared the hell out of me. I had to make a decision. I wanted to live. I wanted to be a father and a husband and be alive for my family, friends, and my band. And that's when I decided to get help and get sober."
  • One of Portnoy's steps on the road to his recovery was writing a letter of all his regrets. You hear such lines as "staring at the empty page before me, all the years of sorrow running through my head" and then later on, "Staring at the finished page before me, all the damage done so clear and evident." Here he has finished the letter, and it's obvious to him what he has done. Throughout the bridge there are extracts from his letter read out by members of Dream Theater, among others. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Liam - Macclesfield, England

Comments: 1

  • Keewa from Fairbanks, AlThe spoken word extracts aren't excerpts from any letter, as posted earlier.
    Dream Theater got famous friends in and asked them "Have you done something you regret?" and recorded the responses, a la Pink Floyd.
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