When you first spin Planet X, you might be a bit surprised at how hard-hitting and rhythmic the record really is. There's a reason. "Planet X was written primarily by myself and Virgil Donati, our drummer," explains Derek Sherinian. "Virgil is from Australia and he's setting the drum world on fire. He had only been on a couple of Australian albums, and that's one of the reasons I went with Virgil, because he wasn't on a lot of albums already. I wanted to surprise everybody and capture his fire for the first time on this record." Joining Derek and Virgil are bassist Tony Franklin and guitarist Brett Garsed. Tony is one of the greats, having played with John Sykes in Blue Murder and Jimmy Page in The Firm. Of Brett, Derek offers the following: "Brett's a session guy who has played with everybody from Olivia Newton John to the Nelson Brothers. But he's a fusion player at heart, and almost immediately after I jammed with him, I fell in love with his style. The other cool thing is that he and the other guys are right here in California, which goes a long way toward making this the real band we want it to be." Construction of Planet X proceeded at a comfortably Californian pace. "We worked hard but not too hard," laughs Derek. "We did it in this little dingy rehearsal space in North Hollywood. Virgil and I went in and played like five days a week, four hours a day, for eight weeks, and just kept tweaking and shaping the material. Once we did the drums, we brought the tapes up to my house, went into The Leopard Room, my studio in the Hollywood Hills, finished it, went down and did the tracking and that was it."
Other highlights include 'State Of Delirium', which again finds Derek stepping outside keyboard talk into the world of the total rock experience. "That's a really cool song. The main keyboard part reminds me of Joe Perry on slide guitar, jamming with Black Sabbath. And then the b-section reminds me of 'Kashmir'." Much of the rest, Derek sees in terms of Jeff Beck, specifically records like There And Back, whereas 'Money Shot' harkens back to his days of cheap sunglasses and hot cars. "Again, that one's influenced very much by Van Halen, living in Southern California, summertime, the girls." --ProgUnderground, Oct 1999