In a brand new interview with GigsAndFestivals.com, ex-DREAM THEATER drummer Mike Portnoy was asked if the recent passing of British art-rock icon David Bowie has made him think that perhaps he would like to one day play with his former bandmates again.
“Look, I’m a very sentimental guy, I’m a very nostalgic guy,” he responded. “I was the guy in DREAM THEATER that opened up the door to [former keyboard player] Derek Sherinian and [original vocalist] Charlie Dominici to come back and join us on stage [at a concert in Los Angeles in 2004]. I also extended that invite to [keyboardist] Kevin Moore, so I’ve always been that type of person. I look at my past with a fond memory, and I probably shouldn’t even say this — I’m not trying to publicly state this — but around Christmas time I sent all the guys in DREAM THEATER a nice e-mail, just reaching out to say how much I love and miss them, because that’s just the way I am.”
He continued: “Jordan [Rudess, keyboards] and John Petrucci [guitar], we’ve stayed in touch, so in answer to your question, I’ve never closed the door on doing something with them. It’s not like I’m waiting for it; it’s not like I’m planning it, it’s not like it’s in my career plan, but certainly if the invitation, or if the opportunity arose, I would surely welcome it. It’s just because, you know, I don’t hold grudges, and I like to have an open heart and always cherish the people in my life and in my past. That was twenty-five years of my life.”
Portnoy, who co-founded DREAM THEATER more than thirty years ago, abruptly quit the band in September 2010 while on tour with AVENGED SEVENFOLD. He has since been replaced by Mike Mangini (ANNIHILATOR, EXTREME, JAMES LABRIE, STEVE VAI). Portnoy later revealed that he tried to rejoin DREAM THEATER, only to be rebuffed.
Asked in a 2015 interview with Loudwire if it’s true that he quit DREAM THEATER due to the fact that he wanted a five-year break from the band but the other guys in the group disagreed, Portnoy said: “Well, I mean, obviously, the fact that I left the band is a fact. But the five-year break thing is fiction. That’s a… What is it called? Not a rumor… a myth… urban legend. The five-year thing is an urban legend. I never said five years. I just wanted to have a hiatus. Just ‘cause we had been going 25 years — boom! boom! boom! — with no break. Write-record-tour, write-record-tour, and it was burning me out. It didn’t mean I wanted to stop making music. One of the biggest misconceptions was, after I left DREAM THEATER, I went off and did, like, five different bands and side projects. Everyone was, like, ‘We thought you wanted a break.’ And it was, like, well, I didn’t want a break from making music; I just needed a break from the DREAM THEATER camp. It was 25 years without a break in that camp, and I was just fried. I needed other people and other musical outlets in my life. But the five-year hiatus, I think… I had suggested hiatus of any length, it somehow got misinterpreted as a five-year… which, coincidentally, would have been now. So it would have been up by now, actually — if it was a five-year hiatus.”
Portnoy was also asked whether it’s true that he offered to return to DREAM THEATER shortly after quitting the band, but that his offer was rebuffed via DREAM THEATER’s lawyer. He responded: “I’ll just say that there was… Once I left, there was a tremendous amount of legalities and technicalities, so I’ll just say that I was doing whatever it would take to keep peace and keep things going smooth. And at that point, they were just only speaking through their lawyer. But it’s a 25-year relationship coming to an end, so, obviously, it goes very, very deep, not only personally and emotionally, but also legally, and all the red tape that’s involved with something like that. So it was a tough time, a tough period, and, luckily, we all got through it. But, yeah, I don’t wish that kind of stuff on anybody in a band. It’s tough.”