Dream Theater kicked off The Final Frontier Tour in support of Iron Maiden in Texas this past June, and BeyondtheDarkHorizon.com was on hand to speak with frontman James LaBrie backstage. Discussing the concept of opening for their heroes first and foremost, over the course of the conversation, LaBrie goes on to explain his musical upbringing, his band's latest record, and what it's been like fronting Dream Theater for 20 years.

Read an excerpt of the interview below, go right here for the whole thing and pick up a double gatefold vinyl copy of the stunning 2009 album Black Clouds and Silver Linings at this location.

Beyond the Dark Horizon: Is there been a certain process or routine that Dream Theater follows to prepare before a tour? How do you prepare vocally to keep your voice in tact?

James LaBrie: Everyone has their own way of preparing for tours and shows aside from rehearsal. I jog every day, take a lot of vitamins get plenty of sleep. I warm up before the show and cool down after. I drink a lot of liquids, don’t drink or smoke. All these things help me keep my voice in top shape.

Beyond the Dark Horizon: And what’s amazing is the fact that you have been singing since childhood.

James LaBrie: My family always found a way to get me involved with music. I was listening to music since the age of three and singing since the age of five-that’s for sure. According to my parents, I would always sit next to a radio and one day just started singing the lyrics to the songs that I knew. I remember putting on albums and I mean “albums,” LPS [laughs] and singing songs because I loved it. I fell in love with it from the very beginning.

Beyond the Dark Horizon: Dream Theater has always been a band that never repeats itself. Where does your latest release, “Dark Clouds and Silver Linings” take you?

Jame LaBrie: With that being said, we always want to challenge ourselves and strive to take us in a direction that’s expressing ourselves musically but differently. I think with this album, it was really cool because it was kind of like a toss back with some of our musical roots. There are songs on there that sound like they might be from the “A Change of Seasons,” and the “Awake” era. Even off the “Scenes of a Memory” with the song, “The Count of Tuscany.” I think it was a really cool, very contemporary sounding album but still remaining true and maintaining our identity.

Beyond the Dark Horizon: Being Dream Theater’s frontman for 20 years, at the end of the day, what does the band and your work as a vocalist mean to you?

James LaBrie: It’s kind of weird, you wake up, speak to people like I’m speaking to you and realize that it’s the very thing that has given me the life that I have and it’s who I am. It’s bizarre in a way, you do fall into a groove and it’s like anything that you’ve done for awhile-it just becomes a norm.  But every now and then, I am jarred by the whole situation; I’m like “hey, I sing for a living. I’m doing want many people dream of doing, I’m living it.” I think it really hits you when you go out on tour and perform before thousands of people. The energy and receptiveness of the crowd makes you realize what you do for people, it’s just incredible and I’m much honored to be part of something that I always aspired to be.

Beyond The Dark Horizon: Would you say that there is still so much more to accomplish in your career?

James LaBrie: There’s still plenty more that I need to discover about myself and attain-as a singer and musician. I’m always constantly changing how I approach songs vocally, the way that I can express myself. There’s still a lot for me to express and discover.