Following the 2010 departure of Mike Portnoy, Dream Theater have moved on with new drummer Mike Mangini and, seemingly, haven't missed a beat.
The band's new album, A Dramatic Turn Of Events, is out and the band are now on the road playing live across North America.
The Portnoy situation is a topic the group will likely have to address for some time to come, and guitarist John Petrucci does just that in a new interview with Guitar World.
One of the first signs of an issue with Portnoy was the drummer's plan to tour with Avenged Sevenfold at a time when Dream Theater were planning to record.
"Mike had played on Avenged's album ['Nightmare'] and that was fine, explains Petrucci. We all do side projects when time permits. But touring with the band, that was a different story. That was taking significant time away from Dream Theater at a point when we were all planning to start recording. Initially, we put off recording to go on tour with Iron Maiden - that was too good an opportunity for us to turn down. And then when Mike said he was going on the road with Avenged Sevenfold right after the Maiden tour, that didn't feel right."
Portnoy then asked DT to take an extended hiatus, with no timeline to regroup. In the end, it was something we couldn't do, says John. Mike wanted to hold all the cards. He wanted to get back together when it suited him. We couldn't abide by that. So he decided to quit. It was quite a blow. As much as we wanted to continue as a band, we didn't want Mike to leave."
After quitting DT in September 2010, Portnoy then tried to come back to the band a few months later, but time was not on his side. Mike Portnoy asking to be back in was a problem on a few levels, maintains Petrucci. First, we were very happy to have selected Mike Mangini [as the new drummer]. Second, [Mangini] had quit his teaching gig at Berklee. We certainly weren't going to hang him out to dry when he sacrificed so much for us. Mike Portnoy was too late in asking to come back. We had moved on."
It's all a bit of a mystery to the guitarist, who has decided it's best not to second guess Portnoy's motivation. I can't speak for him. I can only see things from my point of view, he says. For him to leave a successful band, one he had been with for 25 years... he must've had his reasons. I guess he really needed a change. Maybe he was confused or conflicted at the same time. I don't know. The biggest thing for me is to not be negative or resentful. I understand the way life is, and change is part of that. People get divorced, they leave companies, they quit bands - it happens. Mike needed a change in his life. That's really the only way I can look at it."
The full Petrucci session will appear in the November 2011 issue of Guitar World.
Thanks for the report to HenneMusic.com.