Dream Theater Welcome Back Drummer Mike Portnoy to the Band
Originally published by Consequence News
Dream Theater have announced the return of founding drummer Mike Portnoy after a 13 year absence from the band. The legendary stickman is back in the veteran prog-metal act’s lineup, as his replacement Mike Mangini exits the group.
Portnoy, who formed the band under the name Majesty with guitarist John Petrucci and bassist John Myung in 1985, officially exited Dream Theater in September 2010. The drummer had begun working with Avenged Sevenfold around that time, filling the shoes of that band’s late drummer Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan. He ultimately didn’t get the full-time gig in Avenged Sevenfold, and ended up out of both bands. He soon lobbied for his job back in Dream Theater, but had been replaced by Mangini.
Recent events have suggested a reconnection between Portnoy and Dream Theater, including the drummer playing on Petrucci’s latest solo album, Terminal Velocity, as well as the pair hitting the road together for a 2022 tour.
Now, the entire band is welcoming Portnoy back with open arms, as they also bid farewell to Mangini. Each member of Dream Theater, including Mangini, issued statements on Portnoy’s return.
“I am overwhelmed with joy to be returning home and reuniting with my brothers,” stated Portnoy. “There is so much shared history between us all…so many memories, so much music…to think we’re coming up on 40 years since this journey began! The idea of creating new music together is so exciting and I absolutely cannot wait to hit the road and get to play live for a whole new generation of fans that weren’t ever able to see this lineup before … There’s no place like home!!”
Petrucci commented, “Mike Mangini’s drumming is otherworldly and I’m extremely grateful for the time he spent with us in Dream Theater. I’m very proud of all the amazing music we made together that culminated in our first Grammy win last year and the countless magical moments that we’ve shared on stage over the past 13 years. I wish him all the best of success in his future musical endeavors. I’m incredibly excited to welcome Mike Portnoy back into Dream Theater! As an original founding member, longtime friend and incredibly talented and creative drummer, I know that his return will bring a renewed spirit, passion and energy into DT that all of us, including our fans, will joyfully welcome. I can’t wait to roll up our sleeves and get back into the studio together!”
Singer James LaBrie insisted that with Portnoy back in the band, there won’t be any other lineup changes moving forward, declaring, “Having Mike Portnoy back in the band is exactly where we and things should be. Things have a way of going full circle and in this case, it makes perfect sense. I am excited with the prospects of this classic DT lineup being reunited. I can say with absolute confidence this will be the final incarnation of DT with many chapters still to be written well into our future. Onward and upward guys!! Welcome back MP.”
Myung stated, “It’s great to be back true to form with our original drummer Mike Portnoy. We started playing together as Majesty almost 40 years ago and I am excited to see what this next phase of Dream Theater creates for the future.” And keyboardist Jordan Rudess added, “We are so excited to reunite the core Dream Theater family. There is a resonance of spirit and vision that is unique and goes beyond words within our relationship with Mike Portnoy.”
Mangini, meanwhile, took the decision in stride, stating, “I understand Dream Theater’s decision to get Mike Portnoy back at this time. As was said from Day 1, my place was not to fill all the roles that Mike held in the band. I was to play the drums in order to help the band carry on. My main role of keeping our live show working tightly on a nightly basis was an intense and rewarding experience.”
Portnoy hasn’t exactly been sitting around waiting for the call for the past 13 years. In fact, he’s been one of the busiest drummers in metal, having formed the supergroups The Winery Dogs, Sons of Apollo, and Adrenaline Mob, as well as playing in the collective Metal Allegiance and other projects.
Dream Theater released their latest album, A View From the Top of the World, in 2021. The LP was the band’s 15th overall. Per Petrucci’s statement, it appears the band is heading back to the studio with Portnoy to work on the follow-up.
A press release also promises more dates of Dream Theater’s “Dreamsonic” progressive-music traveling festival, which launched its inaugural run this past summer.