A "space-dye vest" is apparently an article of clothing. The song is about trying to reconcile the end of a relationship. It was written by Dream Theater's keyboard player, Kevin Moore, who explained: "I was looking through a clothing catalog and saw a picture of a girl modeling this piece of clothing called a space-dye vest. And, so, I fell in love with her [laughs] for some strange reason and so the minute I did that, the minute I was just like obsessed with this person, I was like, 'why am I doing that?' and I noticed that I was doing it a lot lately. And I think the prime reason that I was doing that, and this is what I figured out at the time, was that I had just come out of a relationship where I'd gotten dumped, basically, and so I think the situation was that I wasn't finished giving all that I was ready to give, so I was just, like, throwing it around, you know, just aiming it in different directions. It was a total case of projection. And this song is just trying to sort it out and just kind of admitting that I'm just kind of lost. So it's kind of a dark song. It was very cathartic though."
Kevin Moore told his bandmates he was leaving Dream Theater near the end of the Awake sessions after they had already recorded the song. This didn't go over well with the band, who had to scramble to replace him for the upcoming tour (they went with Derek Sherinian, who stayed until 1999). According to drummer Mike Portnoy, they wouldn't have recorded the song if they knew Moore was leaving; they included it on the album but never played it live because it was totally his song. (Thanks, Trond B - Kristiansand, Norway, for above 2; quote from faq.dtnorway.com)
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