DREAM THEATER Drummer On New Album's Internet Leak: 'I Understand The Fans'

Imhotep webzine recently conducted an interview with DREAM THEATER drummer Mike Portnoy. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow:

Imhotep: How did you feel when you learned that "Systematic Chaos" had leaked onto the web weeks or months after its release? What's your opinion on this whole MP3-file-sharing thing that's been going on?

Portnoy: "Honestly, I understand the fans. They are willing to have an album as soon as they can. I feel the same when one of my favorite bands finishes an album. I can't wait to get my hands on it, so I totally understand that. But for me, on the other side of the fence, it's frustrating sometimes because you want people to hear it directly in its full-fidelity presentation. You want them to see the artwork, and the booklet, and kinda get the whole big picture, so it's frustrating that that can't always be maintained, but, you know, it's uncontrollable. I can't get crazy about it. When I read it leaked, I was actually very calm because we expected that to happen, and to be honest, I was surprised that we held it so long without a leak, 'cause we delivered the record in mid-February, and it leaked three months after. I think we held it pretty well."

Imhotep: Charlie Dominici (ex-DREAM THEATER vocalist) and his band opened some shows along the tour. What do you feel about his return to the scene? Have you listened to his new album?

Portnoy: "Yeah, and I'm very very proud of him and I'm happy for him. He'll be probably the first to tell you that. I helped him get back on his feet, I helped him find the band, I helped him find his record deal, and I've been very supportive of trying to help him in any way I can. And inviting him to open the shows for us was is another step in that direction as well, so, I'm supportive of him. Other ex-members, like Derek Sherinian and Kevin Moore, went on to have careers on their own, so, I figure it's great that Charlie, after 15 years away from it all, is finally getting back into it."

Imhotep: Talking of Kevin, I think a lot of DREAM THEATER fans were looking forward to seeing him onstage with you on the 20th anniversary tour. Taking your relationship with him as a musician and a person into account, which would you say that are the reasons for his always kind-of-reserved-defensive attitude when it comes to talking about DREAM THEATER and getting involved in things related to the band?

Portnoy: "Well, I was disappointed he didn't do it as well; it's not like he wasn't invited. I did invite him to participate with us at the 20th anniversary. I invited him to participate on the 15th anniversary of 'When Dream And Day Unite'. The invitation has always been there but he always turned it down, so any disappointment should not be pointed at us, it should be pointed at him. That's just his nature, he's the type of person that is very strong-minded, and I have to say the word stubborn. Once he sets his mind to something he sticks to it and you can't change it. It was because of that that I realized that if he had stayed in DREAM THEATER, the band would have probably broken up. People look back and comment about 'Images And Words' and 'Awake', and look at Kevin like there was this great formula and chemistry; that's not the reality. The reality is that the personal chemistry and the working and creative chemistry would not have lasted another year or two. He's not at all interested in progressive music, he's not at all interested in heavy music, so there was absolutely no place for his taste vision in DREAM THEATER anymore."

Read the entire interview at this location.


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