Mike Portnoy says that has "no desire or interest" to play with DREAM THEATER again.
Portnoy, who co-founded the legendary progressive metal outfit more than thirty 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 He has since been replaced by Mike Mangini (ANNIHILATOR, EXTREME, JAMES LABRIE, STEVE VAI).
Mike has spent the last few months playing shows throughout the world with his SHATTERED FORTRESS project. He is joined by an all-star prog lineup for the tour, including Ross Jennings on vocals, Eric Gillette, Richard Henshall and Charlie Griffiths on guitar, Connor Green on bass and Diego Tejeida on keyboards. Together, they are performing DREAM THEATER's "12 Step Suite" in its entirety, as well as a a couple of other classics. "12 Step Suite" documents Portnoy's battle with alcoholism, and is an ensemble of five songs recorded by DREAM THEATER from 2002 to 2009, with titles that reflect his struggles: "The Glass Prison", "This Dying Soul", "The Root Of All Evil", "Repentance" and "The Shattered Fortress".
Asked by Australia's Triple M radio station how he feels about the fact that DREAM THEATER has been performing some of the songs from the "12 Step Suite" on its recent tours, Portnoy said (hear audio below): "Well, look, I left the band and they're free to do whatever they want. I have no control over that. It feels weird to me when I hear that they're performing some of those specific songs, 'cause they're very personal to me. 'A Change Of Seasons' I wrote for my mom, who died in a plane crash. So you don't get more personal than that. So when I hear these stories of them performing a song like that now, or performing one of my '12 Step' songs, it's just strange. But, obviously, I can't stop them and I can't expect them to do it or not do it — that's their prerogative — but, for me, it's a little strange. But it is what it is."
According to Portnoy, he is "on very good terms" with his former DREAM THEATER bandmates John Petrucci (guitar) and Jordan Rudess (keyboards). "We stay in touch and send each other nice e-mails and texts, and I've even gotten together with both of them," he said. "So, yeah, I stay in close contact with those two guys."
Pressed about whether he hopes that he could one day play with DREAM THEATER again — possibly at a one-off celebration show similar to the band's 2004 gig where they invited original vocalist Charlie Dominici and ex-keyboardist Derek Sherinian to perform with them in Los Angeles — Portnoy said: "I have no hopes of it, I have no desire or interest at this stage, and I don't think they do either.
"When we did that 15th-anniversary show [for DREAM THEATER's debut album, 'When Dream And Day Unite'], I was the one that reached out to Derek and I was the one that reached out to Charlie," he continued. "I even reached out to [former keyboardist] Kevin Moore for that. So I think I was always the sentimental one in the band that did that kind of stuff. I personally don't think there's anybody in the band these days that would extend an invite like that. I think that's just those guys' personality and my personality — that's the difference."
Portnoy, who celebrated his fiftieth birthday on Cruise To The Edge this past February, said that it was always part of his master plan to perform "12 Step Suite" in its entirety live on stage with DREAM THEATER. However, his exit from the band made that impossible.