Three of the remaining DREAM THEATER members — singer James LaBrie, guitarist John Petrucci and keyboardist Jordan Rudess — have issued separate statements commenting further on the departure of drummer Mike Portnoy, the band's co-founder and leader for 25 years.
James LaBrie: "Thought I would give you time to digest the news of Mike's departure.
"Mike stated that he was burnt out with the DREAM THEATER world and needed a break.
"We have to respect where he is at and where this will lead him at this particular point in time. With that being said, we are more than pumped to continue the legacy of DREAM THEATER and jump full on into the next chapter. Rest assured, it will be great. You can count on it."
John Petrucci: "Obviously you've all heard the news of Mike's departure from DREAM THEATER by now. I felt it important to open up a line of communication in an effort to kill any rumors and to promote clarity.
"I love Mike and really hope he's happy and successful in whatever he does.
"I realize that Mike was always the one to actively stay in touch with our fans, and I just wanted to let you know that I'm going to try to be at least a bit more present on both mine and DREAM THEATER's websites and to let you all know that I am here.
"To me, DREAM THEATER's story is one of defying the odds, standing for true integrity in music and creating our own success through perseverance and hard work, so although Mike's leaving is heartbreaking, I still look forward to an amazing musical journey that continues on with some of the most talented and respected musicians and composers on the planet!"
Jordan Rudess: "Everyone is asking me to comment on my thoughts about Mike Portnoy leaving DREAM THEATER and this huge change that has happened in all of our lives. I have always been able to express my feelings and do my best 'talking' through music, so I decided to voice my statement in this improvisation [see video below]. Hope you 'understand.'"
Portnoy, who is currently out with AVENGED SEVENFOLD as their touring drummer, said of his decision to quit DREAM THEATER, "Please believe me that it is not a hasty decision . . . it is something I have struggled with for the last year or so . . . After having had such amazing experiences playing with HAIL!, TRANSATLANTIC and AVENGED SEVENFOLD this past year, I have sadly come to the conclusion that I have recently had more fun and better personal relations with these other projects than I have for a while now in DREAM THEATER."
Portnoy added, "I love the DREAM THEATER guys dearly and have a long history, friendship and bond that runs incredibly deep with them — it's just that I think we are in serious need of a little break."
The drummer said that DREAM THEATER's "endless write/record/tour cycle for almost 20 years" was the main factor in his decision. He said he wanted a "break," not a "split," but that the band decided to move forward without him.
Portnoy added in a separate post on Facebook that his current gig with AVENGED SEVENFOLD had nothing to do with his departure from DREAM THEATER, writing, "They are just as shocked as you guys."
AVENGED recruited Portnoy to play on its new album, "Nightmare", following the death last December of the band's drummer, James "The Rev" Sullivan. Portnoy was Sullivan's favorite drummer.
Singer M. Shadows told The Pulse of Radio that Portnoy has done a tremendous job filling in for their late bandmate. "He's done everything with the utmost respect for Jimmy's drumming and I think he's gained a lot of respect for Jimmy's drumming," M. Shadows said. "You know, he's had to learn these songs going, 'Man, these are complicated drum parts, this guy was a hell of a drummer.' And it's fun because, you know, Mike gets to see that, but Mike's also able to sit there and bring his own style to it."
DREAM THEATER said in its own statement, "All of us in DREAM THEATER wholeheartedly wish Mike the best on his musical journey. We have had a long and meaningful career together. It is our true hope that he finds all he is looking for, and that he achieves the happiness he deserves. He will be missed."