DREAM THEATER guitarist John Petrucci will release his second solo album, "Terminal Velocity", on August 28 via Sound Mind Music/The Orchard. The follow-up to 2005's "Suspended Animation" features guest musicians Mike Portnoy (SONS OF APOLLO, ex-DREAM THEATER) on drums and Dave LaRue (DIXIE DREGS) on bass. The effort marks the first time Petrucci and Portnoy recorded together in over a decade, as well as their first time playing together since Portnoy departed DREAM THEATER.
In a new interview with Spain's Metal Hammer, Petrucci said that he is fully aware that his renewed working relationship with Portnoy will lead to speculation among DREAM THEATER fans that it's only a matter of time before Portnoy returns to the band.
"I understand where people are coming from with that," John said (see video below). "One of the concerns I had, a little bit, not musically at all, but about Mike [playing on my solo record] is I didn't want people to get the wrong idea.
"Mike Mangini has been in DREAM THEATER for 10 years now. How many albums did we do together already? Three? [And] two live albums. A lot of music and touring, and he's the drummer in DREAM THEATER, so I didn't want there to be any weirdness or misconception that, 'Oh, this means that Mike's [Portnoy] gonna come back.' It's just not the case.
"I think that, for me, in a selfish way, I get the best of both worlds, 'cause I get to play with two of the greatest drummers in the world, in DREAM THEATER and with my solo stuff," he explained. "And it's great for me as a guitar player — it's wonderful.
"I think it's really important for everybody's sake — for fans to understand this. I think it's important, out of respect for both drummers — for Mike Mangini and Mike Portnoy — that there's no misconstrued thing: 'Oh, this means something else.' This is [Portnoy] playing on my solo album, which is a really happy moment for me.
"For me, I knew that that would kind of be part of the story — I accept that — so the best I can do is try to be as clear as I can," Petrucci added. "I don't want people to get the wrong idea. I don't wanna create any drama or weirdness, because it's all positive. I made a solo album — finally, after 15 years — and I got my friend to play drums on it, who I haven't played with in 10 years. So that's the vibe."
Portnoy, who co-founded DREAM THEATER more than 30 years ago, abruptly quit the band in September 2010 while on tour with AVENGED SEVENFOLD. He has since been replaced by Mangini (ANNIHILATOR, EXTREME, JAMES LABRIE, STEVE VAI).
In a 2017 interview with Rockhok, Portnoy insisted that had "no longing to reunite" with DREAM THEATER but said that he would return to his former band "for the fans." He explained: "The ball's in their court, to be honest. I have no longing to reunite with them; it's not something I necessarily am looking to do or want to do. I'm very content with all the eighty-seven bands I currently have going, so it's something I need. But I would do it for the fans, because I'm a very sentimental person and I have a lot of great, fond memories of those guys and the times. I'm a sentimental guy, so I would never close the door on it. So, really, the ball's in their court, honestly. [But] if you're asking me the odds [of a reunion happening], I would say, don't bet on it, because I know their personalities as well and I don't think they're the type that are looking backwards."
A couple of years ago, Portnoy told Loud that he left DREAM THEATER because he wanted to expand his musical horizons. "[I didn't] want to go to my grave and just be the drummer from DREAM THEATER," he said. "I knew there was way more to what I had to offer."
Since the 2010 departure of Portnoy, Petrucci, along with keyboardist Jordan Rudess, has taken on much of the songwriting load for DREAM THEATER, including 2016's controversial double concept album, "The Astonishing", and last year's "Distance Over Time".
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