Vocalist James LaBrie of progressive metal giants DREAM THEATER was interviewed on the September 28, 2010 edition of the "Used Bin Radio" show. During the chat LaBrie discussed his new solo album, "Static Impulse", as well as the recent departure of DREAM THEATER drummer Mike Portnoy. A couple of excerpts from the interview follow below (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
Q: What it is that [DREAM THEATER is] looking for in a new drummer — a technically proficient guy?
LaBrie: "Oh, absolutely. I mean, that comes first and foremost. I can assure you that all these guys [that are going to be auditioning for the drummer slot] are monsters on the kit — they are absolutely phenomenal. They are more than capable of playing everything that DREAM THEATER's done — from day one to [what we're doing now]. So they're more than capable, technically speaking. They're scary. So what are we looking for? We're looking for a few things. We wanna make sure that that person can completely absorb and represent everything that DREAM THEATER is about as far as the drums and the attitude and the personality and the chemistry; those points have to be there. These guys [that are set to audition for the band] are more than capable of playing the songs and blowing us away with their technical prowess, but we're looking for the guy that has the right chemistry and the right personality — even the right kind of flow behind the kit. And he's got [to have the right] look and we just [have to] feel comfortable around [him]. And that's really the ingredients that these guys have to have."
Q: Are you sad, James? I mean, this is a huge shift in the world of DREAM THEATER and progressive rock. It's a fucking earthquake.
LaBrie: "You know what?! I'm not sad at all. I've gotta be honest with you. I think that everyone out there needs to know that there's four guys in the band that are... We're excited, we're really looking forward to the next chapter. And I think one of the other things that everyone really has to remember is that there's four more-than-capable guys there. We're all extremely... I know everyone is out there going, 'Holy shit! Is this guy full of himself or what?' But I wanna say it like it is. There's four very capable people in the band, and we're all talented and we all know what we're doing, and we're all capable of doing everything and keeping DREAM THEATER exactly what it's been and bringing it to another level and bringing it to uncharted waters, but I think very exciting and fulfilling waters. So, no, we're not down. I can guarantee you none of us are down. We're actially pretty excited... and very positive."
Q: The relationship with the fans of DREAM THEATER has mainly emanated from Mike. So how does that get distributed now? Does it get distributed or does one guy sort of take it all on?
LaBrie: "Absolutely, it gets distributed. it gets distribtued and we all know that we have to now all be a part of that. And that's how it's gonna be distributed. It's gonna be all of us being the contact for our fans, it's gonna be all of us really making sure that there's that face-to-face [interaction] going on constantly [and] consistently. We're all ready for it. We've already started it — we're all on our various web sites, I'm on Twitter and I'm talking to people a lot and just saying what's going on and what's happening with my solo stuff, what's happening in the DREAM THEATER camp."
Q: So that means in the future of DREAM THEATER we're gonna see a lot more press interviews with John Myung [bass]?
LaBrie: "You know what?! I believe you will."
Q: I didn't even know he knew how to talk. I've gotta be honest...
LaBrie: "Neither did we. But lately he's really been extremely involved and very much a beacon for us, because he's right in there going, 'I was thinking about this,' and 'I was thinking about that,' and it's kind of cool; it's refreshing."
You can listen to the entire "Used Bin Radio" episode featuring the LaBrie interview by clicking on the audio player below.
Portnoy, who is currently out with AVENGED SEVENFOLD as their touring drummer, said of his decision to quit DREAM THEATER, "Please believe me that it is not a hasty decision . . . it is something I have struggled with for the last year or so . . . After having had such amazing experiences playing with HAIL!, TRANSATLANTIC and AVENGED SEVENFOLD this past year, I have sadly come to the conclusion that I have recently had more fun and better personal relations with these other projects than I have for a while now in DREAM THEATER."
Portnoy added, "I love the DREAM THEATER guys dearly and have a long history, friendship and bond that runs incredibly deep with them — it's just that I think we are in serious need of a little break."
The drummer said that DREAM THEATER's "endless write/record/tour cycle for almost 20 years" was the main factor in his decision. He said he wanted a "break," not a "split," but that the band decided to move forward without him.
Portnoy added in a separate post on Facebook that his current gig with AVENGED SEVENFOLD had nothing to do with his departure from DREAM THEATER, writing, "They are just as shocked as you guys."
AVENGED recruited Portnoy to play on its new album, "Nightmare", following the death last December of the band's drummer, James "The Rev" Sullivan. Portnoy was Sullivan's favorite drummer.
DREAM THEATER said in its own statement, "All of us in DREAM THEATER wholeheartedly wish Mike the best on his musical journey. We have had a long and meaningful career together. It is our true hope that he finds all he is looking for, and that he achieves the happiness he deserves. He will be missed."
DREAM THEATER supported IRON MAIDEN on a North American tour which kicked off on June 9 in Dallas, Texas and concluded on July 20 in Washington, D.C.
DREAM THEATER's latest album, "Black Clouds & Silver Linings", sold 40,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release to land at position No. 6 on The Billboard 200 chart.
DREAM THEATER's last CD, "Systematic Chaos", opened with 36,000 units in 2007 to enter The Billboard 200 chart at No. 19. 2005's "Octavarium" premiered with 27,000 copies to debut at No. 36.
In addition to the standard-version CD, DREAM THEATER's tenth studio album, "Black Clouds & Silver Linings", was also made available on vinyl LP, as well as a three-disc, special-edition CD that includes the full album, a CD of instrumental mixes of the album and a CD of six cover songs.