Prog bands are hardly renowned for crafting chart friendly singles. Sure, there have been exceptions, from Jethro Tull’s Living In The Past to Kayleigh by Marillion and Yes’ Owner Of A Lonely Heart, but most prog songs are too long and complex to bother the singles chart. In 1992, Dream Theater bucked the trend when Pull Me Under was picked up for rotation by MTV, propelling the song to #10 on the Billboard US Mainstream Rock Chart. Taken from their second album Images And Dreams, which introduced vocalist James LaBrie, the song’s success marked Dream Theater as rising prog heavyweights.
Jump ahead twenty years to 2012 to a group of kids covering the song for a session organised by the O’Keefe Music Foundation. Based in Ohio, the Foundation offers kids the chance to not only have free music lessons, but to record in a professional studio with a video shoot to match. O’Keefe videos have included covers of Iron Maiden, Korn, and a whole slew of Danzig tunes, the latter released on an excellent double vinyl album called Danzigology, but alongside the metal tunes, they’ve dived into prog, tackling Tool, A Perfect Circle, and Dream Theater. Their Pull Me Under video has wracked up over 1.3 million views, although it’s been outperformed by the O’Keefe video for Tool’s 46 And 2, which has passed 26 million!
Of the preciously talented performers masterfully executing Dream Theater’s hit, the oldest was guitarist Jon Ludwick at eighteen, while the youngest were Jace Niven (11) on acoustic guitar, Evans Wells (10) on congas, and the remarkable young vocalist Kala Rose (11). Ten years later Kala, is still making music as frontwoman of the Ohio-based band Saving Escape, a group formed with some of her fellow O’Keefe alumni that plays bluesy, funky rock. They released an EP, Old Soul, in 2019 and their latest single Sweet Lovin’ came out earlier this year.
You can support the O’Keefe Music Foundation and their mission to enable kids to play real music – their words not ours, but no argument there – by purchasing the track from their Bandcamp page.