Transatlantic is the progressive rock supergroup comprised of Neal Morse (lead vocals, guitar, keyboard), Roine Stolt (lead vocals, guitar), Mike Portnoy (drums, vocals), and Pete Trewavas (bass). The band was founded in 1999 by Mike Portnoy, who envisioned an all-star progressive rock band with the finest players from prog’s leading bands.
Mike began by contacting Neal, who agreed to pursue the idea. The next person they needed was a versatile, accomplished guitarist who could also sing lead vocals. Roine Stolt (Flower Kings) fit the part perfectly. Morse had been corresponding with him since their bands performed together in LA for 1997’s “Progfest”. Roine was excited to work with them, and joined the fold.
The last remaining part to fill was bassist who would compliment Mike’s adventurous rhythms while providing a tonal foundation for the complex musical structures of Neal and Roine. Portnoy was a long-time fan of Marillion, and asked bassist Pete Trewavas to complete their lineup. Trewavas agreed there was strong potential for the group, and joined up.
The band convened at a recording studio in upstate New York, each bringing a collection of material he had written. Those ideas were then adapted, added to and refined throughout the sessions, evolving to become a distinct new sound: an amalgam of modern progressive rock and pop/rock.
The band’s first release, SMPTe (an anagram of the members’ last names and a reference to the time code used on analogue records at the time), arrived in 2000. The album shook the progressive rock community, sending shock-waves that were felt even by the mainstream rock community (and entering the German pop charts). An instant classic, it was the most critically acclaimed and talked-about prog release of the year.
A successful tour of Europe and the United States followed. With some of progressive rock’s top performers taking the stage, the band’s live show produced sonic and visual fireworks to captivated audiences throughout the tour. One incredible show in the US was recorded and released as the colossal DVD and 2-CD set, Transatlantic Live in America (2001).
Despite each member’s already demanding schedule with his own band, Transatlantic assembled again later that year to record their second studio release. The highly anticipated Bridge Across Forever (2001) exceeded expectations with a daring new collection of epics that enthralled fans once again. Each track allowed them to further flex their musical muscles with expansive improvisations that never compromised their songwriting.
The ensuing tour provided an opportunity for fans, old and new alike, to experience the virtuoso performance, pure energy and unrestrained passion of Transatlantic in concert. The CD/DVD release, Transatlantic Live in Europe, captured the band at their best.
The stars that burn brightest often burn fastest, and following the second tour, Neal Morse announced he was leaving mainstream music. In lieu of replacing him, Transatlantic disbanded. Though they never specifically ruled out further work together, the band was often quoted as saying it was very unlikely. And so it was for the next six years, a stillness peppered only with the murmur of steadfast fans who refused to stop believing in a reunion.
The silence was shattered in the summer of 2009 when Mike Portnoy dropped a bombshell: a new Transatlantic album, with all the original members, was underway. Several months earlier, Neal had been writing a piece entitled, “The Whirlwind”. Morse realized, to his surprise, that it had the facets of a Transatlantic epic. Mike listened and drew the same conclusion.
Mike and Neal then proposed a reunion to Pete and Roine. They agreed, and prog’s first family converged upon Nashville to write the next bold chronicle in their musical record.
In Germany, the Netherlands, and the United States, Transatlantic landed on major sales charts. The band’s biggest tour followed with shows in 11 countries across North America and Europe. Daniel Gildenlow (Pain of Salvation), providing additional guitar and keyboards and giving the band it’s most massive sound, yet. The London shows were recorded for future release on DVD.
The Whirlwind fused all four artist’s unique creativity, fulfilling six years of potential, and culminating in their best effort to date. Entering 2009, audiences thought they might never hear Transatlantic again. In less than a year, they dazzled audiences with the their most successful album and tour.
In 2010, The Whirlwind concert experience came home on DVD, capturing the entire 3.5 hour London concert and featuring a 2 hour documentary. In addition, the incredible performance of the Genesis epic, “Return of the Giant Hogweed”, joined by (Genesis guitarist) Steve Hackett at the High Voltage Festival.