Former Dream Theater frontman Charlie Dominici, who sang on the band’s debut album “When Dream and Day Unite” in 1989, has passed away at the age of 72, confirmed the band. At the time of writing, the cause of death is unknown, although the band commented that his death was ‘unexpected.’
In a statement on social media, Dream Theater said, “We are profoundly saddened to hear the news of the passing of former Dream Theater singer Charlie Dominici. Charlie was the voice of our first album, ‘When Dream and Day Unite,’ recorded in 1988.”
“In addition to being a great singer, he was also an incredibly talented songwriter and proficient musician on both guitar and keyboards, and remained a close friend long after parting ways with the band.”
Born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1951, Dominici first gained prominence as a guitarist and backing vocalist for the popular New Jersey rockers Franke and the Knockouts. He auditioned for Dream Theater in 1987 when the band was known as Majesty and recorded their debut album for Mechanic/MCA Records.
Dominici performed with the band during the first four dates of their tour in support of the album before it was decided that his vocals were not what the band needed. Drummer Mike Portnoy offered at the time, “It was like having Billy Joel singing for Queensrÿche,” though he later played at Dominici’s wedding to showcase his singing talents. Dominici made a one-time appearance with Dream Theater when they were asked to open for Marillion at The Ritz in New York.
Portnoy stated in a separate social media post, “He always remained a friend… from leading the band at our wedding in 1994, to doing the WDTU reunion for the 15th anniversary in 2004, to starting his own band and opening for DT in Europe in 2007 and coming to see us when we played with [John Petrucci] in 2022. I was texting with him just a few weeks ago when he texted me on the day of the announcement of my return to DT to congratulate me. He was so happy and excited for all of us…”
Dominici continued his musical journey with his own band, Dominici, releasing three albums: O3 A Trilogy: Part One (2005), Part Two (2007), and Part Three (2008). He also made a return to the stage with Dream Theater during their 15th-anniversary celebration in Los Angeles.