Orange County, California's AVENGED SEVENFOLD has released the following statement:"For the past few months, we've been blessed with Mike Portnoy's talent and humanity. "When Mike agreed to tour with us, it was only through the end of 2010. We always knew we'd need to find another solution for 2011 and beyond. And it's time for us to take that next step. "We know we are not ready to add another permanent member of AVENGED SEVENFOLD. We don't know if we will ever be. But if we do, it will only be with someone who is not only a brilliant drummer, but also someone we've gotten to know well on the road and off, and who you the fans have had a chance to get to know, and hopefully accept. In other words, in this family, we take these steps together, band and our extended fan family. "We are lucky to be surrounded by so many friends, many of whom knew [late AVENGED SEVENFOLD drummer] Jimmy ['The Rev' Sullivan] very well personally, as well as our band and Jimmy's drumming talent and style. These friends have introduced us to several amazing drummers. We have decided to take one of them out starting in January. He will not be a member of AVENGED SEVENFOLD. He will be someone you and we are getting to know. Perhaps this drummer will be a fit. Perhaps not. One thing is for sure. Over time we will find someone who helps us continue our quest to make the music we love for the fans we love. "Mike and the band agree that can't be him. Why? Long before there was an AVENGED SEVENFOLD, there were members of this band who looked up to Mike and, in Jimmy's case, learned a lot from watching Mike play. He is a brilliant writer, producer and, of course, drummer. Because of that, the world and we would always see it as AVENGED SEVENFOLD with Mike Portnoy. "We take a lot of pride in AVENGED SEVENFOLD being about something greater than any individuals. It's about the music, the fans and the friends and family we have as well as continuing our best friends legacy. "Please give whoever we try your love and support....and the benefit of the doubt. They won't be Jimmy. Who could be? But he will be himself, with his own special talents and creativity. And that's all we could ever look for. "Thank you again from the bottom of our hearts for everything you've done love and support us and help us get back on our feet." AVENGED SEVENFOLD is slated to hit the road in the U.S. next month as part of the "Nightmare After Christmas" tour, along with STONE SOUR and HOLLYWOOD UNDEAD. There is no word yet on whether the band will remain on that tour and enlist a new drummer. James Sullivan, AVENGED SEVENFOLD's founding drummer, was found dead in his California home last December 28 of a fatal mixture of drugs and alcohol.