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Drummer Mike Portnoy to leave Dream Theater

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Author Topic: Drummer Mike Portnoy to leave Dream Theater  (Read 1270 times)
Perplexio
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« on: September 12, 2010, 02:09:34 pm »

Drummer and founding member of Dream Theater, Mike Portnoy has left the band he helped found over 25 years ago.  His press release:
Quote
I am about to write something I never imagined I'd ever write:

After 25 years, I have decided to leave Dream Theater....the band I founded, led and truly loved for a quarter of a century.

To many people this will come as a complete shock, and will also likely be misunderstood by some, but please believe me that it is not a hasty decision...it is something I have struggled with for the last year or so....

After having had such amazing experiences playing with Hail, Transatlantic and Avenged Sevenfold this past year, I have sadly come to the conclusion that I have recently had more fun and better personal relations with these other projects than I have for a while now in Dream Theater...

Please don't misinterpret me, I love the DT guys dearly and have a long history, friendship and bond that runs incredibly deep with them...it's just that I think we are in serious need of a little break...

Dream Theater was always my baby...and I nurtured that baby every single day and waking moment of my life since 1985...24/7, 365...never taking time off from DT's never-ending responsibilites (even when the band was "off" between cycles)...working overtime and way beyond the call of duty that most sane people ever would do for a band...

But I've come to the conclusion that the DT machine was starting to burn me out...and I really needed a break from the band in order to save my relationship with the other members and keep my DT spirit hungry and inspired.

We have been on an endless write/record/tour cycle for almost 20 years now (of which I have overseen EVERY aspect without a break) and while a few months apart from each other here & there over the years has been much needed and helpful, I honestly hoped the band could simply agree with me to taking a bit of a "hiatus" to recharge our batteries and "save me from ourselves"...

Sadly, in discussing this with the guys, they determined they do not share my feelings and have decided to continue without me rather than take a breather...I even offered to do some occasional work throughout 2011 against my initial wishes, but it was not to be...

While it truly hurts for me to even think of a Dream Theater without Mike Portnoy (hell, my father named the band!!), I do not want to stand in their way...so I have decided to sacrifice myself and simply leave the band so as to not hold them back against their wishes....

Strangely enough, I just read an interview that I recently did that asked me about the future of DT and I talked about "always following your heart and being true to yourself"...sadly I must say that at this particular moment, my heart is not with Dream Theater...and I would simply be "going through the motions", and would honestly NOT be true to myself if I stayed for the sake of obligation without taking the break I felt I needed.

I wish the guys the best and hope the music and legacy we created together is enjoyed by fans for decades to come...I am proud of every album we made, every song we wrote and every show we played....

I'm sorry to all the disappointed DT fans around the world...I really tried to salvage the situation and make it work...I honestly just wanted a break (not a split)...but happiness cannot be forced, it needs to come from within....

You DT fans are the greatest fans in the world and as you all know, I have always busted my ass for you guys and I hope that you will stay with me on my future musical journey, wherever it may lead me....(and as you all know my work ethic, there will surely be no shortage of future MP projects!)

Sadly...
Your fearless ex-leader and drummer,
MP

This is kind of a kick in the gut for me.  Dream Theater is the first (and thus far only) band that I started listening to because of the drumming.  Because Mike Portnoy is just that damned good.  He is EASILY my favorite living drummer.  In addition to being the band's drummer he co-produced with John Petrucci all of the band's albums after 1997's Falling Into Infinity.  He has also maintained an extensive library of soundboard recordings of most, if not all, of the shows Dream Theater has EVER performed!  Some of the better shows have been released online via the band's own label, Ytsejam Records. 

Honestly, I don't care much for heavy metal-- Dream Theater is one of but a small handful of heavy metal bands I listen to and the main reason I got into this band has now "left the building." :-(
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Perplexio
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« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2011, 11:59:37 am »

I just read that Dream Theater has a new drummer and they've been working with him exclusively since about October.  They've been able to keep his name under wraps thus far.  They wanted to hold off on announcing him to make sure he's "the guy" before letting the fans know.  I believe this stems from some of the difficulties they had when replacing Charlie Domenici who was fired shortly after the recording of their 1989 debut album, When Dream & Day Unite.  There was one guy they announced as their new lead singer around 1990 or 1991.  His first (and only) gig was so bad the rest of the band came out and apologized following that performance and he never performed with the band again.  OUCH!

As such I can see the band's reticence with the announcement of their new drummer's name.
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« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2011, 09:27:22 am »

The latest rumor regarding Portnoy's replacement in Dream Theater is Mike Mangini.  Mangini is an award winning and in demand session drummer and I believe he even holds some Guinness Records for speed drumming.  He recently left his job as an instructor at Berklee School of Music.  The band has been refusing to comment on this rumor and the non-denial coupled with Mangini's recent departure from his teaching position at Berklee has only served to further fuel the rumors. 

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« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2011, 08:52:14 am »

I was just reading about this due to your post on the other board. I didn't realize Mangini took over for Extreme on their "Waiting For The Punchline" album when their drummer decided to quit drumming and go into management. They broke up soon after. They have since reformed buy with another drummer, however if I read it right he stayed on with Cherone's short lived Tribes OF Judah, of which I never heard anything from.

From what I was reading there were quite a few Dream Theater fans who thought they had lost the magic many years ago and some really like the change while others felt the band is crap without him. How do you see this. It sounds vaguely reminiscent of Cetera's Departure. Where everyone seemed to think the band was done.
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« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2011, 11:42:35 am »

I was just reading about this due to your post on the other board. I didn't realize Mangini took over for Extreme on their "Waiting For The Punchline" album when their drummer decided to quit drumming and go into management. They broke up soon after. They have since reformed buy with another drummer, however if I read it right he stayed on with Cherone's short lived Tribes OF Judah, of which I never heard anything from.

From what I was reading there were quite a few Dream Theater fans who thought they had lost the magic many years ago and some really like the change while others felt the band is crap without him. How do you see this. It sounds vaguely reminiscent of Cetera's Departure. Where everyone seemed to think the band was done.

Often a drummer leaves and is replaced no big deal because the drummer is rarely a focal point in the band.  Portnoy was largely the spokesman for the band.  He kept a library in his basement featuring soundboard recordings of nearly every concert they ever performed.  He was integral in forming the "Ytsejamrecords.com" site and giving fans access to rare demo versions of songs and some of the band's better live performances over the years. 

I don't know whether or not the band will be crap without him yet as the new album won't be released for a few more months yet.  I guess you could say I fall into the "curiously skeptical" category when it comes to this.  I think the band has milked it a bit too much though.  They picked the new drummer back in October and have already completed their first album with him... yet still haven't announced/confirmed who he is. 

I thought their last album, Black Clouds & Silver Linings was a real return to form and was their best album since 2003's Train of Thought.  Other than the nearly 30 minute long title cut and perhaps 1 other song, I didn't care for their Octavarium (2005) release.  2007's Systematic Chaos was a step back in the right direction but wasn't quite "there" yet. 

My favorite DT albums though were 1994's Awake (the last album with their original keyboard player, Kevin Moore.  He was also a great songwriter.  His replacement is a better keyboard player but isn't much of a lyricist.  The quality of their lyrics have never quite matched the ones Moore wrote when he was in the band) and 2003's Train of Thought (other than a short 2 and a half minute long ballad in the middle of the album, it's a full speed ahead full on crunchy metal delight). 
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« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2011, 04:13:40 pm »

Did you see the web broadcast of the drummer auditions? Mangini's was the first up and he was amazing.  From a technical standpoint, I think DT chose the right drummer. Now, the question remains about the quality of the new material and the integration of that with Portnoy's material in a live setting.

Overall, I think DT does well when there is a balance between speed/thrash and the melodic pieces. The "palet cleanser" between dinner courses. Too much of either and this band becomes like too many other groups out there.
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« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2011, 04:39:57 pm »

Did you see the web broadcast of the drummer auditions? Mangini's was the first up and he was amazing.  From a technical standpoint, I think DT chose the right drummer. Now, the question remains about the quality of the new material and the integration of that with Portnoy's material in a live setting.

Overall, I think DT does well when there is a balance between speed/thrash and the melodic pieces. The "palet cleanser" between dinner courses. Too much of either and this band becomes like too many other groups out there.

I think they need to abandon the slow stuff though.  Stick with uptempo and melodic mid-tempo.  They haven't done any "slow" stuff that has grabbed my attention since Falling Into Infinity (where the slow stuff was actually the best stuff on the album-- Hollow Years, Take Away My Pain, and Anna Lee... even Speak to Me which was recorded during those sessions but didn't make it onto the album was pretty damn good!)  

From a lyrical standpoint I don't think they've ever fully recovered from Kevin Moore's departure after the Awake album.  He was a great lyricist and I think he inadvertantly challenged the other guys in the band to be better songwriters as their material was better when he was in the band as well.

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« Reply #7 on: June 02, 2011, 09:41:28 pm »

Exactly, if they can put forward a good mix of mid- to uptempo material with their heavy material; and do so that works together as a whole package, then DT should have a good second half of their career.

As to their weakness re: lyrics maybe the introduction of a new member will be the catalyst needed. Petrucci and Portnoy wrote most of the lyrics of recent albums, LaBrie does, maybe one song per, and Myung hasn't written a lyric since Metropolis Pt. 2

I'll check out the new album and then we'll chat.
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This train is my life
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                Hogarth, Kelly, Mosley, Rothery, Trewavas
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