Mike Portnoy Reflects On Media Coverage Of Dream Theater Exit

William Lee | 02-05-2020

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Mike Portnoy

It has been ten years since Mike Portnoy left Dream Theater but the acclaimed drummer is still met with the obligatory questions about the band in interview and he recently explained what he learned from the experience of leaving the band.

Portnoy was a guest on the Everyone Loves Guitar podcast and was asked about his former band and explained what he learned about how the media operates now in the internet age and differs from the music press of his youth.

Mike explained, "I learned that the Internet is a very scary thing, because that first year after the split, I just couldn't say anything without it becoming these giant clickbait headlines on these web sites.

"No matter what I said, no matter how tastefully or gracefully I tried to say it, it always got twisted and misinterpreted and turned into some sort of catchphrase clickbait headline.

"So I learned, especially in that first year after I left, that I had to just really be careful what I said, or don't say anything at all. I had to start to tread carefully.

"Because we live in this age now where everything is in real time, and people, the Internet trolls, just love to bury you - they love to run with whatever they can.

"When I was growing up, if somebody left a band, when Peter Criss left KISS, you had to wait a month to read about it in Circus magazine. Or you'd join the fan clubs to get the newsletters to get the information on these bands. When I was a kid, you had to really wait to find out the news and find out the dirt.

"Nowadays, we live in a time where everything is in real time. When I left Dream Theater, I made a post on my web site, just explaining what was happening, and then five minutes later, it just exploded. And people were acting as if I put out some sort of press release. It wasn't a press release, it was my feelings and my explanation of what happened.

"So I learned, through that whole process, you've gotta be very, very careful what you say, how you say it, or if you should even say something at all or not say anything at all. These days, I try not to even talk about Dream Theater at all. I can already see what we're talking about here is going to become a headline, and people are gonna be, like, 'Why is he lingering on Dream Theater?'

"The point is that people don't realize, when they see this quote [on a certain website], that it's coming from a thing called an interview. And what these things do is a journalist will ask the artist a question, and I like to answer the question as honestly as I can, or don't answer it at all if I choose not to.

"But I'm not lingering on these things, I'm answering a question that you're asking about my career and my life and the split. And that's what we do , we do interviews. If you can't be honest, or can't handle it, then you shouldn't do interviews. But in my case, I like to be open and honest with the listeners and the fans."

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