Several musicians you've worked with who love your playing have said they can't understand why you're so hard on yourself since you blow them away all the time. Do you use that as a tool to push your creative limits?
Yes, I've done that a few times. Things can be hard because sometimes when I play something, it's going to have similarities to something I've done before. I try not to do the same things so it feels like I'm really improvising, but sometimes I catch myself and think “Geez, didn't I hear that somewhere else?” and I'll go and erase two or three tracks at a time. I did a lot of stuff for the guys in Planet X. I was supposed to play on everything on one of their albums, but in the end I only played on two tracks. I originally played on seven tracks, but I came back from the pub one night and played the stuff and hated it, so I erased it. The next morning, I thought I should listen to the original tracks again to see what I could do with them, but in my stupor, I had actually reformatted the drives and needed to get the material retransferred so I could start again. Unfortunately, I ended up not finishing the project. It's funny. Jimmy Johnson would sometimes come to my house and pay a visit just to make sure I wasn't erasing everything when we were working together. [laughs] I dunno. I always want things to be better and it never is in the end. You eventually just give up and go “Okay, I guess that's it.” Once a record is done, I never worry about it again. I'll slave over it for months and once I get to a certain point, I move on.
TCG: You have a thing out with Derek Sherinian and Planet X.
AH: Virgil Donati is an amazing drummer! Yeah, I did do something with Derek Sherinian and Virgil Donati. I'm not sure if it was a Planet X album or if it was Derek's solo album or if it was Virgil's album. I'm not sure where the tracks ended up but I did do a couple of tracks a year or so ago for Derek and then I just did a couple more for Virgil so I don't know which albums they're on or anything,