Monday, September 13, 2010

MIKE PORTNOY's Sister: 'Giving Up DREAM THEATER Must Be Like Giving Up A Child' For My Brother

Mike Portnoy's sister Samantha has posted a message on the drummer's web site offering her perspective on her brother's decision to leave DREAM THEATER, the band he formed and led for 25 years. Her message follows below in its entirety.

"Before I write this, understand that this is MY statement. Mike might kill me for speaking up, but I just can't sit by quietly. I guess I'm like Mike in that way.

"PLEASE stop reading between the lines with this whole situation. There is no hidden meaning in all of this (is there ever with Mike? The guy is an open book with his fans!!).

"Everything Mike said in his interview with Eddie Trunk, in his press release or otherwise is everything he has been saying to me for the past year, at least. He LOVES the other (DREAM THEATER) guys and their families. They have grown up together, married women that were (and are) best friends, have raised their kids as best friends. They are family.

"This was not an easy decision for him as a drummer, founding band member (and band leader) or person.

"Let's put 25 years into perspective. I am 40. I met John [Petrucci, DREAM THEATER guitarist] and John [Myung, DREAM THEATER bassist] when I was 15. How many friends do I still have that I have had to live AND work with for the past 25 years? Not a single one. I can't imagine looking at the same group of people for that many years and being able to come up with new, fun ideas (that will then be judged the world over). My friends and I get stuck on doing the same things on random weekend gatherings!

"Remember, this is strictly my perspective here...

"You'd think that being a rock star would be 100% fun 100% of the time. But I know that Mike works extremely hard and takes every bit of this experience to heart.

"You might think you know, but you have no idea (to borrow a line from 'Behind the Music'). It is a part of who he is as a person, it is definitely not just a job. He's been running at a pace (with DREAM THEATER) most people couldn't keep up for a few months, much less 25 years. He just wants a break. He wants to have the chance to play with other musicians and be reminded of how special this all is. He wants to have fun and not be in charge of every detail for a bit. (And for those of you thinking he should just let others take the reins in DREAM THEATER, all I'll say is that you have no idea what you are talking about.)

"The way I see it, it's not a matter of Mike not wanting to be in DREAM THEATER (Remember, he DOES want to be in DREAM THEATER... he NEVER wanted or planned to leave the band). Giving up DREAM THEATER must be like giving up a child for him. I know it's been horribly painful. But I am extremely proud of him for recognizing that he needs to be reinvigorated and for doing what he needs to do to make that happen.

"You know Mike. He does not do anything half-assed. He wants every drop of music that DREAM THEATER releases to be perfect and fulfilling for everyone. Right now, he is guaranteeing that he can't do that. Maybe (apparently) the other guys don't feel the same about this situation, I can't speak to that, but he knows that he needs a break to be able to bring the best of himself to the table. There is no ulterior motive. He genuinely just needs a break. He needs a break that allows him to find new inspiration and have some down time. When he has done his other side projects, if you think he was not also working on DREAM THEATER stuff, you'd be incredibly mistaken.

"I guess I got a bit long-winded there... sorry, but it's torture to sit back and watch my brother getting ripped apart or criticized for making this incredibly, INCREDIBLY hard choice. And for those of you who are supporting/understanding of his decision, I want you to know HOW MUCH it is appreciated."

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."

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