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"CAUTION: "Three Minute Warning" is not for the musically faint-hearted, impatient, or critics of extreme self-indulgence. If you fall into any of the above categories, please hit the stop button on your CD player after track # 8"
Despite being a warning for one song, this more or less describes the band as a whole.

Sometime near the end of The Nineties, Dream Theater's drummer, Mike Portnoy, was asked by his company to form a Progressive Rock/Metal supergroup. Said group was composed by Portnoy, his Dream Theater comrade John Petrucci on guitar, the legendary bassist Tony Levin and a not-so-noble keyboardist named Jordan Rudess. Thus, the seeds for Liquid Tension Experiment were planted.

The band released only two albums before Rudess' definitive incorporation to Dream Theater and the obvious disbandment, at least for studio recordings, since three-quarters of the band were composed by Dream Theater members. It didn't stop Portnoy from releasing several other albums [live recordings] via his own label, Ytsejam Records.

There was a spinoff of this band, called Liquid Trio Experiment, which was composed of the same members, except one of them, who happened to be Petrucci in the first album, Spontaneous Combustion, and Rudess in the second, When the Keyboard Breaks.

The band

  • John Petrucci - guitars
  • Jordan Rudess - keyboards
  • Tony Levin - bass
  • Mike Portnoy - drums


Liquid Tension Experiment:

  • Liquid Tension Experiment - 1998
  • Liquid Tension Experiment 2 - 1999
  • Liquid Tension Experiment Live 2008 - Limited Edition Boxset (2009)
  • Liquid Tension Experiment Live in NYC (2009)
  • Liquid Tension Experiment Live in LA (2009)

Liquid Trio Experiment:

  • Spontaneous Combustion - 2007

Liquid Trio Experiment 2:

  • When the Keyboard Breaks: Live in Chicago - 2009 (with Charlie Benante as guest drummer)

Both bands provide examples of:

  • A Good Name for a Rock Band
  • Call Back: Liquid Trio Experiment 2's album, When the Keyboard Breaks is a reference to the track "When the Water Breaks", from Liquid Tension Experiment 2.
  • Epic Rocking: Aside of some exceptions, each and every single of their remaining songs break the 5-minute barrier.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The track that became "When the Water Breaks" was being recorded at the time when John Petrucci's wife went into labour and Petrucci had to leave the studio in the middle of the session. The band even included samples of a baby's first cry within the track.
  • Instrumentals: Everything this supergroup has ever done, may it be Tension or Trio, is this.
  • Non-Indicative Name: "Three Minute Warning", which is a 27-minute improvised jam recorded entirely in a single take. It's so long that the band's primary recording equipment actually ran out of space and left off the last three or so minutes. The name came from Tony Levin wanting to just play and have fun while the rest of the band wanted to get the structured recording out of the way before they started jamming. He threatened to quit and leave if they "didn't start jamming in three minutes."
  • Rule of Cool
  • Self-Titled Album
  • Serial Escalation: Set the standard for many newer progressive bands. It can't be more technically challenging than this. "Paradigm Shift" and "Another Dimension" are both fine examples of this.
  • Supergroup: Two members from Dream Theater, a future member of the same band who has previously played with many other acts, (David Bowie among them!!!) and a bassist who has played with King Crimson, Peter Gabriel and Yes.
  • What Could Have Been: Portnoy wanted several members of other bands to be part of his project, such as Dimebag Darrell, Steve Morse and Jim Matheos, before turning to his Dream Theater partner for the guitar spot.
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