Mike Portnoy says that he still feels good about his decision to abruptly quit DREAM THEATER in September 2010, twenty-five years after he co-founded the progressive metal band.
Portnoy announced his departure from DREAM THEATER while he was on tour with AVENGED SEVENFOLD. He has since been replaced by Mike Mangini, who has previously played with ANNIHILATOR, EXTREME and Steve Vai.
Speaking to Noisefull, Portnoy stated about his exit from DREAM THEATER: “I know it hurt and a lot of the fans have trouble accepting it and still do to this day, and I feel bad about that. But I did give 25 years of my life to that band and to the fans of that band and I still am here for all of those fans of the band, still working my ass off 24/7 no matter what I do, for those fans. So, to the DREAM THEATER fans that have stuck with me for the last six years, I think they’re being rewarded with so much music and so much creativity. You know, I’m the hardest-working guy in the business, so if you stuck with me, you’re reaping the rewards of that. But I feel bad for the people that were so close-minded after that.”
He continued: “Do I feel good about it? Absolutely! What I’ve done in the last six years, I would never have been able to do half of that stuff had I not taken that decision. I’m proud of those 25 years I spent and built that entire band from the very ground up. I’m proud of that and it’s my legacy, but i have always felt that Mike Portnoy is much more than just the drummer of DREAM THEATER. What I’ve done since then with FLYING COLORS, TRANSATLANTIC, THE NEAL MORSE BAND, THE WINERY DOGS, ADRENALINE MOB, METAL ALLEGIANCE, TWISTED SISTER, AVENGED SEVENFOLD and the list goes on and on… You know, that right there is three lifetimes worth of creativity [laughs]… touring and albums… I wouldn’t have been able to do that otherwise. So, yeah, no regrets whatsoever. I could not be happier and prouder of what I’ve done in the last six years.”
Even though Portnoy has made peace with the fact that he is no longer a member of DREAM THEATER, he does admit to missing the control that he had in the band. “The only thing I miss, to be honest, is being the captain of a ship,” he said. “Because after I left DREAM THEATER, all of the things I’ve done after DREAM THEATER that I just mentioned, in all of those cases I’ve never been the clear leader. Everything I’ve done like FLYING COLORS, THE WINERY DOGS, they’re more collaborative roles, and to be honest, I do miss the amount of control that I had in DREAM THEATER. I was able to make 90 percent of the decisions and direction in DREAM THEATER on my own and didn’t really discuss everything and those guys kind of trusted me with that. So, I do kind of miss that.”
He added: “One of the things about being in a band is that sometimes the collaborative process can be great, but it’s also incredibly frustrating at times. Having to go through a hundred e-mails on every single decision sometimes, you pull your hair out of your head and I miss the days that I had in DREAM THEATER, where I ran the show. But, honestly, it’s okay, because that was then and this is now.”