Ex-DREAM THEATER drummer Mike Portnoy attended the band’s concert on March 4 at the Beacon Theater in New York City. It was the first time portnoy has seen his former bandmates perform live since leaving the iconic progressive metal band over 11 years ago.
In an appearance earlier today (Tuesday May 3) the SiriusXMit is “Trunk Nation with Eddie Trunk”, Mike on the circumstances that led him to attend the show (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “We had slowly rekindled the relationship over the years. Obviously, [DREAM THEATER guitarist] John Petrucci and I did a few albums together at this point – I played on his last solo album, then him and myself and Jordan [Rudess, DREAM THEATER keyboardist] and Tony Levin came together to make a LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENT album in 2020. So, yeah, John Petrucci and Jordan had hung out with me a lot over the years, and so had our families. In fact, the first time I played with Jordan was again the last Cruise to the shore in 2019; Jordan and I played together on it. So relations had been really, really good and comfortable with these guys. And John Myung [DREAM THEATER bassist] lives just downstairs from me, so I saw him all the time in town. And his wife is very, very good friends with my wife. So there are three of the guys that I had been on very, very good terms with over the years. And my wife and John MyungThe wife of was going to see them at the New York show, and I was like, ‘You know what? What the hell.'”
portnoy went on to say that he had previously “dreamed of going to see” DREAM THEATER cheek. “I’m not saying I dreamed as if that was my goal; I’m saying I would literally have dreams at night while sleeping, where in my dreams I go to see DREAM THEATER and it’s just an awkward thing,” he explained. “So for a long time I was really nervous about it, like how weird would that be? Would it be uncomfortable? But I was finally at peace with it. I went to the show, and it was a really cool experience; it wasn’t as awkward as I had expected or feared. And at the show james [LaBrie, DREAM THEATER singer] greeted me from the stage. And I hadn’t spoken to james — as a lot of people know, I hadn’t spoken to him since I left the band — so I got to see him that night after the show. And I went into his dressing room, and in literally 10 seconds, all that drama or BS that had built up over the years, he immediately melted away. And it was just hugs and kisses and “I love you bro” and “I miss you bro”. And it was, like, everything this bullshit of the last 11 years was just water under the bridge.”
Mike continued: “You can’t spend most of your life with a group of guys like that and not be a family for life. I met John Petrucci and John Myung when we were teenagers; we met in college and our families grew up together and our wives all played in a band together and our kids – my daughter and John Petruccidaughter of – live together in Brooklyn. So it’s a family. Whether I’m currently in the band or not doesn’t matter; you can’t take away the friendship and the family and the history and the experiences that we’ve shared for so long.”
As for what it was like to see another drummer play his parts live with DREAM THEATER, portnoy said: “I’ve always been the kind of drummer who just flies [by] the seat of my pants right now. Even with my own drum parts, I don’t necessarily stick to it faithfully from show to show, whereas [current DREAM THEATER drummer Mike] Mangini Obviously, I really studied the drum parts and they had everything programmed. They’re all about precision, and that’s surely their thing. And yes, he killed him. There is no doubt that he is an incredible drummer and he plays my parts with incredible fidelity. I feel bad for him. He and I joked about it. He’s in a horrible situation where he’s damned if he does and he’s damned if he doesn’t. He expressed this frustration to me and I feel for him; this is definitely a weird position to put on. I kind of had it a bit when I was playing with it AVENGED SEVENFOLD and TWISTED SISTER, coming on the throne of two deceased drummers, and tried to learn these parts as faithfully as possible. When I had a mercenary gig like that, I spent a lot of attention trying to honor the drummer who came before me – that’s important. I don’t wanna walk into a gig like one or the other and try to force my style on it. “
portnoywho co-founded DREAM THEATER 37 years ago, abruptly left the band in September 2010 while touring with AVENGED SEVENFOLD.
portnoy was the guest of Petruccithe second solo album of, “Terminal Velocity”which was published in August 2020 via Sound Mind Music/The orchard. The effort marked the first time Petrucci and portnoy recorded together for over a decade, as well as their first time playing together since portnoy deceased DREAM THEATER.
In a 2017 interview with rockhok, portnoy insisted he “didn’t feel like getting together” with DREAM THEATER but said he would return to his old band “for the fans”. He explained: “The ball is in their court, to be honest. I don’t fancy finding them; it’s not necessarily something I’m looking to do or want to do. I’m very happy with the eighty-seven bands I have right now, so that’s something I need. But I would do it for the fans, because I’m a very sentimental person and I have a lot of good and good memories of those guys and the times. I’m a sentimental guy, so I would never close the door on that. So really, the ball is in their court, honestly. [But] if you ask me the odds [of a reunion happening]I would say, don’t bet on it, because I know their personalities as well and I don’t think they’re the type to look back.”
Few years ago, portnoy Told Strong that he left DREAM THEATER because he wanted to broaden his musical horizons. “[I didn’t] I wanna go to my grave and just be the drummer DREAM THEATER“, he said. “I knew there was so much more than I had to offer.”
Labrie had previously apparently closed the door to the possibility of a DREAM THEATER reunion with portnoytelling chile Radio Futuro in an August 2013 interview: “This possibility, I never see it coming; it’s not going to happen. Because, above all, Mike Mangini is a full member of the band now, he’s a phenomenal drummer and he does everything you could want as a drummer in a band. It helps us achieve exactly what we want to do right now musically. And he’ll be our drummer until the day we finish doing this, when we wrap up. Mike Portnoy was a big part of our past, but I think that’s where it’s going to stay. He was a drummer from the past. And in so far as now and in the future it will be Mike Mangini, and we are all very attached to that. He’s an amazing drummer, he’s an incredible asset to the band, and he makes our wildest dreams come true in terms of what we do musically and what we do with every album. So that’s how it is.”
After 36 years, I finally got to see my 1st Dream Theater show last night! 🤣 It was a wonderful evening and it was such a pleasure to hang out with my old friends again ☮️🙏
OMG—MIKE PORTNOY at the Dream Theater show now!!! Mike Portnoy is at the DT show in New York ¾/2022 with his wife Marlene and James greeted him from the stage!
Mike Portnoy AND Mike Mangini both reign. The two great eras of DT