Mike Portnoy’s departure from Dream Theater is pretty much the biggest non-death story to break in metal over the past several months. Foundations have been demolished! Worlds have come crashing down! The strongest of e-friendships and message board dork alliances have been shattered! MetalGF copped to enjoying Scenes From a Memory when I put it on this Saturday morning! What is the Metalverse coming to???
In a move that only underscores how far beyond drumming his role in Dream Theater stretched, Portnoy took to the airwaves on Eddie Trunk’s weekly Friday Night Rocks broadcast this past Friday and attempted to clear up some of the rumors and accusations that’ve been floating around the Webernets since he announced his departure on Wednesday evening. Since you all reading this site are no doubt very concerned about wasting your boss’s dollar while you peruse the Internet, I’ll sum up the main talking points for you here in convenient bullet-point form:
- He felt that Dream Theater had been in a constant lock-step album+tour cycle for the past 15-20 that needed to be broken to keep the band fresh musically, personally, and in terms of the relationships between band members. He cites numerous examples of big bands that’ve taken such breaks and come back stronger than ever instead of just churning out material, and he argues that these breaks were critical to recharging said bands’ batteries.
- He had suggested an “indefinite hiatus,” as so many bands these days do, with full plans to come back together and continue on as Dream Theater when it felt right, but the other four members rejected this idea and insisted they needed to write and record in January 2011. Portnoy attempted to compromise by suggesting the band simply take 2011 off with specific plans to reconvene in 2012 but that proposal was also rejected. He didn’t specifically say the other guys “need to work” but didn’t deny it. The result of him quitting the band was a route no one wanted to take but the other four guys basically forced his hand.
- He’d started feeling this way about a year ago on the Progressive Nation Tour, long before anything with Avenged Sevenfold came up (before The Rev died). He cites the “Withered” video, in which he’s shown hanging out with Mikael Akerfeldth and Damon Fox (Bigelf) way more often than own band members as proof that relations between DT members were a bit strained. He didn’t mention any specific problems between band members other than to generally say that they weren’t hanging out with each other as much.
- He is by no means A7X’s permanent drummer and hasn’t yet even talked with the members of the band about their future plans. For the time being he’s content just playing drums for them, so he’ll ride out this current tour and cross that bridge when it comes.
- He’d love to play with Dream Theater again some day and is pretty sure it’ll happen, just not right now. If he rejoins the fold in a couple of years he’ll essentially have gotten his way. He cites Bruce / Maiden, Halford / Maiden, Tommy Lee / Crue and Joe Perry / Aerosmith as examples of bands that’ve continued on without key members only to re-form later to much fanfare. He hopes he won’t become the Roger Waters to Pink Floyd but seems optimistic… nay, pretty damn sure that he’ll play with DT again some day.
So there you have it. Mark my words, folks, Portnoy will play with Dream Theater again some day. You can read a transcript of the full interview here,