I’ve been caught in the big black hole about 15 years ago. And there was no light on the other end, I was ready to go. I hate taking medication, but at that point taking anti-depressants was the only way for me to survive. Not even music could save me, I was empty and without inspiration. Eventually it was LOVE that pulled me out, I found the perfect partner in Lori. And then of course music helped to bring me back on top again! Now I’m glad I didn’t give up, I honestly can’t even image anymore that I ever felt that way. So yeah... just know it’s definitely possible to conquer it!
Best known for his musical project Ayreon, Arjen Anthony Lucassen was born on April 3rd, 1960 in The Hague. Both Arjen and his older brother Gjalt were good students, but unlike Gjalt, Arjen wasn’t interested much in studying. A notorious trouble-maker in class, Arjen decided to pursue a career in the music business after graduating high school. During his teens, Gjalt always teased Arjen a lot, and Arjen has been taking his revenge by playing jokes on his brother in the credits of his Ayreon CDs. If you look carefully, you’ll find a Gjalt ‘joke’ in the booklet of every CD released after 1995.
Arjen’s love of music was sparked in the 60s, when he became a big fan of the Beatles. He started buying albums in the early seventies when the glam rock era started and bands such as T-Rex, Alice Cooper, The Sweet, David Bowie were rising stars. Arjen really wanted to be in a band but he was too lazy to learn to play an instrument so he started a play-back band mimicking his heroes Alice Cooper, Slade, and The Sweet. He actually did get a lot of gigs in schools and already then he was a busy guy.
Then one day one of the older pupils approached
Arjen saying “You have to listen to this,” and handed him a copy of Deep Purple’s ‘Made in Japan’. “Glam rock is OK, but this is really great.” When Arjen listened to it and heard Ritchie Blackmore’s guitar playing, he knew what he wanted: to play guitar! So he learned to play guitar.
One particular album released during the 60s left a huge impression on Arjen. The album had everything Arjen was looking for: the music took him on an adventure, lyrics drew him into an emotional story, and reading lyrics along to discover that famous vocalists were playing parts. It became the ultimate tool for escapism for Arjen. The album was Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Jesus Christ Superstar. This album was followed by other similar albums such as War of the Worlds featuring Phil Lynott, The Who’s Tommy, Pink Floyd The Wall. After that Arjen realized that time had come to do it himself, and to do it his own way. Not limited music to one style. He used all his styles — prog, metal, folk, Beatles — despite being convinced that listeners with strong genre preferences would hate not being able to pigeonhole the music. But that didn’t matter to Arjen: for once in his life he wanted to make an album without compromises, just making the music he loved. This album became Ayreon – The Final Experiment. He found a small Dutch label interested in the project and the album simply took off. Several years later, after changing record companies, Arjen has released seven Ayreon albums as well as one compilation.