Dream Theater Announces Return of Drummer Mike Portnoy
“I am overwhelmed with joy to be returning home and reuniting with my brothers!” Portnoy said in a statement. “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!”
Portnoy co-founded Dream Theater in 1985 alongside guitarist John Petrucci and bassist John Myung. The progressive metal veterans released 10 consecutive albums featuring Portnoy, from 1989’s When Dream and Day Unite through 2009’s Black Clouds & Silver Linings, and became leaders of the genre.
When Did Mike Portnoy Leave Dream Theater?
Portnoy left Dream Theater in 2010, shortly after contributing to Avenged Sevenfold’s Nightmare album following the death of their drummer, Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan. The band replaced Portnoy with Mike Mangini, who previously worked with Extreme and Steve Vai, among others.
“I understand Dream Theater’s decision to get Mike Portnoy back at this time,” Mangini said in a statement. “As was said from day one, 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. Thankfully, I got to experience playing music with these iconic musicians, as well as some fun times laced with humor. I also really enjoyed spending lots of time with the crew.”
Mangini played on five Dream Theater albums, from 2011’s A Dramatic Turn of Events through 2021’s A View From the Top of the World, the latter of which won a Grammy for Best Metal Performance for its single “The Alien.” Mangini called the win “amazingly satisfying” and ended his statement with a message of gratitude. “To the fans: Thank you so much for being amazing to me. I cherish the pictures I have of you all losing your minds and having fun. Finally, I really love the band, crew and management and wish them and the entire organization all the best.”
Dream Theater Members Comment on Portnoy's Return
Petrucci, who tapped Portnoy for a solo tour last year, also praised Mangini's musicianship and expressed gratitude for his Dream Theater contributions in a statement. “Mike Mangini’s drumming is otherworldly and I’m extremely grateful for the time he spent with us in Dream Theater," he said. "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 onstage 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!" he added. "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!”
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Gallery Credit: Ryan Reed