Mike Portnoy Discusses Exit From Dream Theater

Michael Angulia | 11-19-2019

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Dream Theater

Mike Portnoy was the guest on his former Avenged Sevenfold bandmate Johnny Christ's internet show "Drinks With Johnny" and addressed his exit from Dream Theater.

Portnoy discussed his decision to join up with Avenged Sevenfold and leave Dream Theater, "I think we were both what each other needed at that time. [speaking of joining Avenged Sevenfold following the death of Jimmy "The Rev" Sullivan ] I think you guys needed to get back on your feet.

"That's the way I felt like - like I was there to help you guys. And you guys, whether you knew it or not, you were there at a good time for me too, because I was 25 years into Dream Theater at that point, and I was fried, and I was burnt. And I just needed a break. And touring with you guys was very refreshing for me, and it showed me that there's more out there than just the little Dream Theater bubble that I had been in for 25 years. So you guys were really good for me at that point as well; you kind of opened up my eyes to other things."

He then expanded on his reason for leaving Dream Theater and how that impacted A7X, "I pretty much made the decision that I needed a break from those guys; I needed to be able to explore other things, whether it be with you guys, or if it was not with you guys with something else. And I knew that - I knew that it wouldn't necessarily work out between you guys and me, because I didn't know if you were ready to make a commitment.

"And I knew that the whole Dream Theater thing sparked up so much drama at the time, with all the Blabbermouth headlines. Any time I did an interview, it became a f***ing headline.

"It was horrible, and believe me, I never wanted that. And I'm sure, for you guys, that became a huge distraction. I've always been a social media guy - that's always just the way I've been - and I know you guys keep that sh*t in check.

"I could tell the way it was going down that you guys wanted to stay focused on Jimmy's legacy and whatever you were gonna do next, and I get the fact that the timing wasn't right. But for me, it didn't matter. If it wasn't gonna be with you guys, I needed to do other things with other people - that was just what I needed in my life and my career."

Portnoy then explained, "Dream Theater was on my back to make commitments to a time table, 'cause they wanted to go on. And I just wasn't ready to make those commitments. So, anyway, what happened happened, and at that point, I finished after a year with you guys, and then at that point, you guys moved on and I went on to do what I've been doing ever since now.

"It's been over nine years and I've got dozens of different bands and projects. I've put out literally 40 albums since that time. Even Dream Theater, and I'm not saying this to [criticize] them, but even they have only put out four albums since I've been gone.

"And I think I just needed more than that. I needed to be able to play with Metal Allegiance and Flying Colors. And then I went and I played with Twisted [Sister] after you guys, after they had a similar situation with A.J. [Pero] passing. After the experience I had with you guys, walking in with Twisted was a very similar thing as well - those guys were still hurting; they wanted to honor his legacy. So I knew how to handle that.

"And I also did gigs with Stone Sour and all these other bands, Metal Allegiance. And all the bands I put together, The Winery Dogs, Sons Of Apollo, Flying Colors. So it's been an incredible ride, and I wouldn't have changed a thing.

"I have this tattoo here that says 'No Regrets'. Everything happens for a reason. And whether or not it worked out with you guys, or whether or not it worked out with the DREAM THEATER situation, everything happens for a reason. And I couldn't be happier with the path I've been on since that experience with you guys. And I'm grateful for the experience I had with you guys, but I'm also grateful for the way it worked out that you guys went on to do your thing. And you played with two great drummers now, and Brooks [Wackerman] is amazing - he's perfect for you guys. And I've gone on to do all the different things I do. So I think everybody's happy in the end." Watch the interview below:

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