The drummer, who co-founded DREAM THEATER more than 20 years ago, abruptly quit the band in September 2010 while on tour with AVENGED SEVENFOLD. He has since been replaced by Mike Mangini (ANNIHILATOR, EXTREME, JAMES LABRIE, STEVE VAI).
Portnoy played on AVENGED SEVENFOLD's latest album, "Nightmare", following the death of that band's drummer, Jimmy "The Rev" Sullivan, and toured with them for the entire second half of 2010.
Asked by a fan during a Twitter question-and-answer session earlier today (Thursday, December 20) if he is thinking about a possible return to DREAM THEATER, Portnoy replied, "[It's] not looking likely... They have done some irrefutable damage behind the scenes."
In a March 2012 interview with the Babylon, New York rock radio station WBAB, Portnoy stated about the dramatic way in which his split from DREAM THEATER played out in the media: "The reality is we live in an age where
everything is on the Internet in real time … Back in the day — in the
'70s, '80s and '90s — a lot of this stuff would have been behind closed
doors. We live in an age when Twitter and Blabbermouth and everything is out there in real time. So, unfortumately, a lot of the
[details behind the split] probably, really, should have not been up for public discussion and dissection, but, unfortunately, it was. . . The
difference is back [in the '70s, '80s and early '90s], only the
journalists and the record DJs and people like that were able to really
comment on the bands and the music. Now every 12-year-old kid with a
computer has an open forum to get involved. [laughs] So when you
have something like a band split or a breakup, then you have thousands
of comments feeding it and fueling it and commenting on it, it's much
different than it was back in the '80s and '90s for us. . . Anytime I
tried to defend myself, it would get ripped apart and overanalyzed and
misinterpreted, so I've learned the hard way over the past year that the best reponse is no response. And it's sad, because I've always valued
being very, very open honest with the fans. You see people like Lars Ulrich [METALLICA] and Dave Mustaine [MEGADETH] and usually the people that have the honesty and the open mouths to
talk about things are the ones that get shut down and made examples of.
So… live and learn."
Regarding the circumstances that led to his departure from DREAM THEATER, Portnoy said: "Basically, we were together for 25 years, at least 15 to 20 of
which were very, very active — you know, write-record-tour,
write-record-tour… an endless cycle. And to be honest with you, within
those cycles, I was always overseeing everything — from the production
to the DVDs to the web sites to the merchandise to the fan clubs — so I
never got a rest whereas the other guys would get to go home and have
time off with their families. So I was getting burnt out. And granted, I like doing other things with other projects and things like that, and I think that, sometimes, a break from the family — meaning, the full-time band — it was sometimes good. But anyway, towards the end, I was just
feeling burnt out. On the surface, the band was making new strides — we
had just done a tour with IRON MAIDEN, we played Madison Square
Garden for the first time. So the band was still building and growing
and developing. But after 25 years, I mean, I just felt we needed a
break. I just felt like backstage, there was no camaraderie and everyone was in separate dressing rooms. I was out there, I did a run [as the
touring drummer] with AVENGED SEVENFOLD, and I was seeing this brotherhood and this camaraderie that was exciting and inspiring to me, and I wasn't seeing that with DREAM THEATER, so I just suggested, 'Hey, guys, let's take a little break, a little
hiatus. It might do the band some good. It might internally respark the
fire and rekindle the relationship. The fans could be, maybe, a little
hungry after a year or two.' So I suggested that, and obviously, they
didn't wanna stop, they didn't wanna take a break, and I desperately
needed one — not from working, but from those guys and that endless
DREAM THEATER's first album with Mangini, "A Dramatic Turn Of Events", sold 36,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release to enter The Billboard 200 chart at position No. 8.
The band was among the nominees in the "Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance" category at the 54th annual Grammy Awards, which was held on February 12 at Staples Center in Los Angeles.