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Mike Portnoy Chimes in on the Queensryche Band Name Settlement

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I'm With PortnoyHi, Mike, welcome back! It’s been a while! We’ve really missed your opinionated Internet rants!

Portnoy appeared on Eddie Trunk’s show on SiriusXM yesterday and had a lot to say about the legal settlement over the Queensryche band name. Portnoy, of course, knows all of the dudes in question having toured with Queensryche many times throughout the years. Here’s the transcription via Blabbermouth:

I think it’s smart [that Geoff] retained the rights to ‘Operation: Mindcrime’ and ‘Operation: Mindcrime II’. I mean, that’s what Roger Waters did with ‘The Wall’. And, to be honest, I wish I did it with my Twelve-Step Suite, [but] I didn’t think of it at the time. ‘Cause I get that. If Dream Theater was to go out there and perform my five-song concept thing that was completely my concept and my baby, it would break my heart to see them doing that. So I get it.

I know for the first ten years of Roger Waters’ post-Pink Floyd career, it would kill him that Pink Floyd would be playing stadiums — we’re not talking arenas; stadiums! — and Roger was playing theaters or half-filled arenas, and only because they had the name. But he smartly did retain the rights to ‘The Wall’, and I think he got the last laugh where over the last three years or so, he’s been playing stadiums and making billions of dollars.

When Geoff worked [the rights to ‘Operation: Mindcrime’ and ‘Operation: Mindcrime II’] into his settlement with Queensryche, I mean, I get that. If it was indeed his baby and his concept, then it makes sense. But, to be honest, who the hell cares about ‘Operation: Mindcrime’ at this point? It’s been so done to death over the last 20 years, who the hell cares?

But the reality is, I think it’s right that Michael [Wilton] and Scott [Rockenfield] and Eddie [Jackson] got the name, because it’s those three guys and they are in the band. I shouldn’t have gotten the name Dream Theater; it makes sense [and] I get it. [Michael, Scott and Eddie are] sticking together, they’re gonna see it out. But the fact of the matter is they’re playing the stuff that people wanna hear; they’re solely doing the stuff from their first five albums. And what is Geoff gonna do now? I guess he’s gonna have to start working on a solo career and start to build up his own name…. I think he can play whatever he wants, but they can’t do ‘Mindcrime’ I or II without him. But, like I said, it’s been done so many times, who the hell cares at this point?

Portnoy’s opinion holds weight because of its humility; he makes a great comparison between Queensryche / Tate and the Pink Floyd / Roger Waters split (although we’re obviously talking about different scales) — and some surface similarities to the situation with his split from Dream Theater — but he maintains enough distanced awareness of the situation to recognize that, just as Tate didn’t deserve the Queensryche name, he didn’t deserve the Dream Theater name either. He also makes a great point that Operation Mindcrime has been beat into the ground and might not have much value now… but down the line, who knows?

Good to hear from you again, Mike! More like this, please.

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