Metal Wani editor in chief Owais "Vitek" Nabi recently conducted an interview with drummer Mike Portnoy (THE WINERY DOGS, METAL ALLEGIANCE, THE NEAL MORSE BAND, DREAM THEATER). You can now listen to the chat below.
Asked about possible comparisons between THE NEAL MORSE BAND's new concept album, "The Similitude Of A Dream", and DREAM THEATER's latest effort, "The Astonishing", Mike said: "I have to admit I was really resistant to do a double album [with THE NEAL MORSE BAND], because I was afraid of the inevitable comparisons to DREAM THEATER's latest album. Once they [DREAM THEATER] put out a double concept album, I was really resistant and reluctant for us to do it. And I fought the guys [from THE NEAL MORSE BAND] hard in the studio while making this record, desperately trying to keep it to a single [album], just because I could already picture the comparisons and I just didn't wanna go down that road and I didn't wanna be compared and I didn't want anybody to think that we were stealing the idea from them, which is obviously not the case. So I was really fighting those guys. But halfway through the record and the writing, we knew it had to be a double; I finally just gave up fighting and let the album be what it needed to be. And at first I was so scared and hesitant of the comparisons, but now I kind of want it to be compared, because I'm so proud of it. I really feel we came up with such a special album that I no longer really worry about that comparison. I think what we came up with is absolutely the best of the best, so I'm proud of it and think it can stand up to anything."
"The Similitude Of A Dream" will be released on November 11 on Radiant Records via Metal Blade Records/Sony. Clocking in at over a hundred minutes, the effort was described by Neal Morse as "loosely and sometimes directly based on the book 'Pilgrim's Progress' by John Bunyan. The book's original title was 'The Pilgrim's Progress' from this world to the that which is to come, delivered under the similitude of a dream, and it was originally published in 1678. The book chronicles the spiritual journey of a man from the City of Destruction to the place of Deliverance. Someone had suggested to me that I do a concept album based on this book, but I kind of forgot about it. Then when I began writing new songs last December, the suggestion came to my mind. I had never read the book, so I Googled the SparkNotes story outline and began to write some little song bits and instrumentals based on what I had read. Those bits combined with the ideas that the other guys brought to the table then miraculously exploded into this double concept album."
Portnoy, who co-founded DREAM THEATER more than thirty 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 later revealed that he tried to rejoin DREAM THEATER, only to be rebuffed.