Drummer Mike Portnoy has rejoined Dream Theater

Dream Theater have announced the return of founding member Mike Portnoy, over a decade after he left the line-up.

The news of his return to the prog band was shared by the band today (October 25) with a surprise X/Twitter update. “We are thrilled to announce the return of drummer @MikePortnoy to Dream Theater,” it read.

In the post, the band also confirmed that the new line-up is already set to begin work on a new studio album, which will mark their first with the drummer since 2009’s ‘Black Clouds & Silver Linings’.

Portnoy’s return also marks the restoration of the classic 1999/2000 line-up – also featuring singer James LaBrie, guitarist John Petrucci, bassist John Myung and keyboardist Jordan Rudess.

During that time, the five-piece recorded six albums, including the fan favourites ‘Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes From a Memory’, ‘Images And Words’ and ‘Train Of Thought’. Portnoy later parted ways with the prog metal heavyweights in 2011 and went on to join other projects including The Winery Dogs, Sons of Apollo and Adrenaline Mob.

We are thrilled to announce the return of drummer @MikePortnoy to Dream Theater! We will be going into the studio to begin working on our 16th studio album and the first with MP since 2009’s Black Clouds & Silver Linings! pic.twitter.com/oS7tevCQVQ

— Dream Theater (@dreamtheaternet) October 25, 2023

His return to Dream Theater also marks the departure of current drummer Mike Mangini, who was selected to join the band as part of a very public audition process back in 2011. The drummer had previously played in bands including Annihilator and Extreme, and was also part of Steve Vai‘s live band.

Back in 2005 he also took part in Labrie’s first solo album, and quit his job at Berklee College of Music in Boston to join the band. During his 12 years in line-up he played on five studio albums.

“I understand Dream Theater’s decision to get Mike Portnoy back at this time,” he said in a statement shared on the band’s official website. “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… 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 organisation all the best.”

The remaining members also shared their own respective statements about Mangini’s departure on the site.

“I’m very proud of all the amazing music we made together that culminated in our first Grammy win last year… I wish him all the best of success in his future musical endeavours,” wrote Petrucci, while LaBrie described him as “one of the most amazing and naturally gifted drummers I have had the pleasure of working with”.

“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,” added Rudess, who also shared his excitement to “reunite the core Dream Theater family”. Founding member John Myung also explained that he was “excited to see what this next phase of Dream Theater creates for the future”.

Drummer Mike Mangini of Dream Theater performs at Pala Partenope on January 22, 2023. CREDIT: Ivan Romano/Getty Images

Sharing a statement on the page, Portnoy wrote: “I am overwhelmed with joy to be returning home and reuniting with my brothers! 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!!”

Although this is Portnoy’s first time writing music with the band since 2011, he did team up with some of the members in the time since – namely in the Liquid Tension Experiment 2021 album ‘Liquid Tension Experiment 3’ and John Petrucci’s 2020 solo album ‘Terminal Velocity’.

The news of Portnoy’s return comes just weeks after Dream Theater revealed plans to enter the studio to record their sixteenth studio album later this year.

The band’s fifteenth studio album ‘A View From The Top Of The World’ was released in 2021 and was the first album to be recorded at their own studio, DTHQ (Dream Theater Headquarters).

The post Drummer Mike Portnoy has rejoined Dream Theater appeared first on NME.

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