Keyboards (piano, organ and synthesizer) have had a checkered history in Rock There's been a lot of great Rock created without them. It seems that keyboards are most predominant when a group is seeking a pop hit, usually a ballad, or plays Prog Rock. From the latter camp, keyboardist Derek Sherinian emerged.
The L.A. based Sherinian first gained notoriety as a member of Dream Theater. He stayed with the band from '95 to '99, or from "A Change Of Season" to "Once In A LIVEtime," before being replaced by Jordan Rudess.
In '00, Sherinian began a duel career as a session musician and solo performer. As a solo he worked with a wide range of musicians including Zakk Wylde (Ozzy Osbourne/Black Label Society) and Steve Lukather (Toto). Can't get much wider than that.
The release of the album "Planet X" led to the formation of a group with the same moniker. Sherinian also worked on KISS sessions and toured with Billy Idol.
'06 saw the release of "Blood Of The Snake," featuring a remake of Mungo Jerry's "In The Summertime," with contributions from Idol and Slash.
1999 Planet X
2003 Black Utopia
2006 Blood Of The Snake
2009 Molecular Heinosity
Given the over-the-top heavy hitters on board for "In The Summertime" it was easy to image the song would get a brutal reworking akin to Blue Cheer's willful demolition of "Summertime Blues" decades ago. But no, here we have a rather faithful remake. The notes are right, the performance is OK, and they do capture the song's lighthearted tone. Still, anyone looking to indulge in '60s kitsch would be better served digging up Mungo Jerry's original.
The remainder of "Blood Of The Snake" reflects Sherinian's Prog Rock leanings. "Czar Of Steel" and the synth-driven "Phantom Shuffle" provide the majestic grandeur while "Man With No Name" delivers a much needed guttural punch.
Listening to Planet X or other Sherinian adventures is much the same experience. Heavy, hard instrumental Rock (with occasional guest vocalist) delivered with high drama and power. Except for a twist here and a turn there, these efforts have a general sameness to them.