Ex-DREAM THEATER drummer Mike Portnoy, who was involved in a messy split with his former bandmates less than two years ago, has commented further on the legal battle between QUEENSRŸCHE and the Seattle progressive rock band's ex-singer, Geoff Tate, over the rights to the group's name.
During an interview that aired on last night's (Friday, July 13) edition of Eddie Trunk's "Friday Night Rocks" radio show on New York's Q104.3 FM, Portnoy said, "I was there in Brazil when the fireworks went down [between Tate and the other QUEENSRŸCHE guys]. I was filling in, playing drums for [QUEENSRŸCHE's support act] FATES WARNING at that gig [in April 2012] in Sao Paulo, so I've had to kind of keep my mouth shut on [what happened] that [night]. But we witnessed a lot of what went down firsthand, and it was just shocking. But, to be honest, the writing has kind of been on the wall for years. Geoff and I have had our words in the press and all that kind of stuff through the years, and I've seen some of this stuff definitely in the works through the years, so it doesn't come as a surprise to me."
He continued, "I don't wanna say too much, because I think anything I say will probably used against me [chuckles], but I will say that I'm excited to see where Scott [Rockenfield, drums], Michael [Wilton, guitar] and Eddie [Jackson, bass] go. 'Cause I really do like those guys and I've always gotten along with those three guys; I think they're awesome dudes. I think, to a certain extent, they haven't been able to be themselves and have the creative outlet that, I think, all three have wanted to have for all these years. So I will just say I'm excited to see what they come out with musically and I truly support them. I really like those guys."
He added, "I've seen the writing on the all for years, since [QUEENSRŸCHE and DREAM THEATER] toured together, and some of the war of words that went down, it's no surprise to me. I know for a lot of people it's all shocking, but for [me], I've kind of seen some of the behind-the-scenes stuff through the years, so it's not so shocking to me."
Portnoy and Tate engaged in a minor public feud in 2006 over Tate's alleged "bashing" of DREAM THEATER following the two bands' co-headlining tour in the summer of 2003. (See previous BLABBERMOUTH.NET stories: Story#1, Story#2, Story#3.) The two progressive hard rock giants had originally intended to join forces for a package tour in 2000 — a plan that failed to materialize after QUEENSRŸCHE decided to take the middle slot on IRON MAIDEN's "Brave New World" tour instead. This move infuriated Portnoy, who told Metal Sludge several months later, "I have a bone to pick with [QUEENSRŸCHE]... We had a summer tour in the works being booked with them which I think would have been cool for the fans and they backed out in the 11th hour which fucked us over....I think maybe they realized that having to play after us would make their fans realize how much they suck now!"