Drummer Mike Portnoy rejoins Dream Theater

More than 13 years after leaving, drummer Mike Portnoy has rejoined Dream Theater, the band he co-founded in 1985 with guitarist John Petrucci and bassist John Myung at the Berklee College of Music. Along with vocalist James LaBrie and keyboardist Jordan Rudess, they are set to enter the studio to start working on Dream Theater’s 16th studio album, its first with Portnoy since 2009’s “Black Clouds & Silver Linings.”

“I’m incredibly excited to welcome Mike Portnoy back into Dream Theater!” Petrucci said. “As an original founding member, longtime friend and incredibly talented and creative drummer,  I know that his return will bring a renewed spirit, passion and energy into DT that all of us, including our fans, will joyfully welcome. I can’t wait to roll up our sleeves and get back into the studio together!”

“I am overwhelmed with joy to be returning home and reuniting with my brothers!” Portnoy said. “There is so much shared history between us all … so many memories, so much music … to think we’re coming up on 40 years since this journey began! The idea of creating new music together is so exciting, and I absolutely cannot wait to hit the road and get to play live for a whole new generation of fans that weren’t ever able to see this lineup before … There’s no place like home!”

In his time away from Dream Theater, Portnoy performed with Avenged Sevenfold, Adrenaline Mob, Sons of Apollo, Flying Colors, The Winery Dogs, Neal Morse and many more. After he played on Petrucci’s 2020 solo album, “Terminal Velocity,” and reunited with Petrucci and Rudess for a new Liquid Tension Experiment album in 2021, his eventual return to Dream Theater seemed inevitable to many–even though all sides insisted it was not going to happen.

Mike Mangini had been the band’s drummer since Portnoy’s 2010 departure. He appeared on five Dream Theater studio albums, including its latest, “A View from the Top of the World,” released in 2021. With Mangini onboard, Dream Theater’s song “The Alien” won the Grammy Award in 2022 for Best Metal Performance.

“I understand Dream Theater’s decision to get Mike Portnoy back at this time,” Mangini said. “As was said from Day 1, my place was not to fill all the roles that Mike held in the band. I was to play the drums in order to help the band carry on. My main role of keeping our live show working tightly on a nightly basis was an intense and rewarding experience. Thankfully, I got to experience playing music with these iconic musicians, as well as some fun times laced with humor. I also really enjoyed spending lots of time with the crew. And then there’s the Grammy win, which was amazingly satisfying. To the fans: Thank you so much for being amazing to me. I cherish the pictures I have of you all losing your minds and having fun. Finally, I really love the band, crew and management, and wish them and the entire organization all the best.”  

“Mike Mangini’s drumming is otherworldly, and I’m extremely grateful for the time he spent with us in Dream Theater,” Petrucci said. “I’m very proud of all the amazing music we made together that culminated in our first GrammyY win last year and the countless magical moments that we’ve shared on stage over the past 13 years. I wish him all the best of success in his future musical endeavors.”

“It’s great to be back true to form with our original drummer Mike Portnoy,” Myung said. “We started playing together as Majesty almost 40 years ago, and I am excited to see what this next phase of Dream Theater creates for the future. I wish nothing but the best for Mike Mangini for all the blood, sweat and tears he put into DT during his 13-year tenure with the band.”

LaBrie said: “Having Mike Mangini with us all these years has been, quite simply, a terrific ride. He is one of the most amazing and naturally gifted drummers I have had the pleasure of working with. Thank you, Mike. Life is a very strange ride, and I guess that’s what makes it all the more interesting and forever engaging. Having Mike Portnoy back in the band is exactly where we and things should be. Things have a way of going full circle, and in this case, it makes perfect sense. I am excited with the prospects of this classic DT lineup being reunited. I can say with absolute confidence this will be the final incarnation of DT with many chapters still to be written well into our future. Onward and upward guys! Welcome back MP.” 

“Mike Mangini is one of the most exceptional drummers on earth, and I feel privileged that we got to create a whole body of work with him,” Rudess said. “I will always be grateful for the time we shared in the Dream Theater universe. We are so excited to reunite the core Dream Theater family. There is a resonance of spirit and vision that is unique and goes beyond words within our relationship with Mike Portnoy. On the stage and off, there is no denying the magic that happens when we are together. I’m thankful we have the opportunity to work together again as Dream Theater and am looking forward to sharing our excitement and passion with our amazing fans for a long time to come.”

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