Keyboardist Jordan Rudess of progressive metal giants DREAM THEATER has posted the following statement on his official blog regarding the departure of drummer Mike Portnoy, the band's co-founder and leader for 25 years:
"Closing this chapter is difficult because Mike and I are really close friends, have been great musical partners and he has been a vital part of DREAM THEATER. Still, opening up the next chapter is really exciting because DREAM THEATER is full of ideas and energy about the future.
"Mike is the ultimate rock drummer and I know he will be successful at whatever he does. Meanwhile, DREAM THEATER is moving forward quickly and looking forward to creating some great new music."
Rudess previously stated about Mike's decision to quit DREAM THEATER, "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.
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."