While the onstage reunion of onetime Dream Theater bandmates John Petrucci and Mike Portnoy in support of Petrucci’s solo album is bringing great joy to longtime fans of the band, Petrucci has reiterated that his live and studio collaborations with Portnoy should not lead to speculation that the drummer is returning to his former group.
The guitarist reiterated as much during an appearance on Eddie Trunk’s Trunk Nation show via SiriusXM earlier this week. “I’ve been very vocal about this and outspoken and very careful about this to be clear with my intentions and Mike and I and our reuniting,” stated the guitarist (as transcribed by Blabbermouth). “The stuff that we are doing together with my solo stuff, with Liquid Tension Experiment, with Mike touring with me, this is its own thing, and Dream Theater is its own thing, and the history that we now have with Mike Mangini in the band for 12 years, it’s important for me to make sure that people don’t misunderstand this.”
Portnoy stepped out of the band to assist Avenged Sevenfold in completing their record and touring in 2010 after The Rev died. With a desire to explore other musical ventures, he eventually exited Dream Theater later that year, with the band welcoming Mike Mangini into the fold to take his place. Petrucci and Portnoy kept their friendship going after the drummer’s exit and shared a “Happy New Years” photo together in 2018 acknowledging their friendship. But both musicians have been very intentional when it comes to playing down talk of Portnoy returning to the group.
Petrucci tells Trunk, “It’s not good for anybody; that kind of weirdness or controversy, as we all know, it’s just toxic. So I’ve been saying… Maybe I’m selfish but I feel so lucky that I get to do this with Mike [Portnoy] and play live with him, play this instrumental music, record, and being in Dream Theater with Mangini, it’s like I’ve kind of been spoiled. I get two of the greatest drummers in the world to be able to play with. And I think it’s important for people to know that and to have that clarity — I really do.”
That said, the guitarist tells the radio host that there is an amount of satisfaction that comes with the response to the onetime bandmates playing together again. “You see that right away. It makes people so happy to see that reconnection,” says the guitarist. “It’s literally like… Any sort of post of a photo from that, every comment is just literally, like, ‘I’m crying. This makes me so happy,’ blah blah blah. More than any sort of controversial, stupid thing anyone could say, the overwhelming reaction is just a great, positive feeling in the Dream Theater-Mike Portnoy big community. And I love that. It’s the way it should be.”
While Portnoy has joined Petrucci in Liquid Tension Experiment and played on the guitarist’s 2020 album, Terminal Velocity, Petrucci’s solo tour that launched earlier this week gave the two musicians their first opportunity to play live together since Portnoy left Dream Theater in 2010. See fan-shot footage from that performance here and pick up tickets for the tour at this location.
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