Mike Portnoy, who left DREAM THEATER in 2010, was asked in a new interview with SiriusXM's "Trunk Nation" what it has been like for him to perform some of the band's music with various other musicians in the nine years since he exited the group. "Every time I do it, it feels really good — it feels like home for me," he responded. "Those are my babies. And usually the songs I'm playing are the ones that I wrote the lyrics and melodies for as well. Like when I did that whole SHATTERED FORTRESS tour playing [DREAM THEATER's] '12 Step Suite', we did about half of 'Scenes From A Memory', it was all my lyrics and melodies and vocals, so it felt very natural to be playing that stuff, regardless of who I was playing it with.
"I have no objection to playing that stuff, if it's called for and if it's needed," he continued. "It was needed for the first FLYING COLORS tour, where we did 'Repentance', because we only had one album of material. It was needed on a SONS OF APOLLO tour, because we only had one album of material. But as we go further in those bands, FLYING COLORS and SONS OF APOLLO, there's no reason to play DREAM THEATER material once we have enough music of our own — once we have a second or third album. But if there's a case or an incident where I'm asked to play that material and it's appropriate, I have no objection to playing it. It's part of me."
Asked if any of his former bandmates in DREAM THEATER have said anything to him about his decision to perform the band's material without them, and if there are any legal hurdles in him releasing any recordings of him playing the DREAM THEATER music, Portnoy said: "I haven't released the SHATTERED FORTRESS. I have a pro-shot, really well done, filmed and mixed show from that tour, and everybody asks me to release it, but I just kind of have stayed away from it, just because I don't wanna rock the boat.
"I have a really good relationship with John Petrucci and with Jordan [Rudess] these days," he continued. "On Cruise To The Edge, Jordan and I played together and we did some DREAM THEATER and LIQUID TENSION [EXPERIMENT] material together on the cruise. So I have a really good relationship with both those guys, and I just don't wanna rock the boat — I don't wanna do anything that might upset them or begin some negative feelings. We're in a good place right now, personally. And when I see those guys, honestly, we never, ever talk about DREAM THEATER; we don't talk about music. We talk about family and we talk about our friendships and what we're doing. I was with John Petrucci just two weeks ago at a show in [New] Jersey at Dingbatz. His wife was playing and a friend of mine was playing. We spent the whole time hanging out, and not once did music or DREAM THEATER come up. We were just old friends hanging out."
Portnoy, who co-founded DREAM THEATER nearly 35 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.
In November 2017, Mike 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."