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Dream Theater Announces The Return Of Drummer Mike Portnoy

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It’s confirmed! Dream Theater has declared that drummer Mike Portnoy will be rejoining the group. Along with longtime members James LaBrie (vocals) and Jordan Rudess (keyboards), Portnoy will reconnect with guitarist John Petrucci and bassist John Myung, with whom he created the band in 1985 at the Berklee College of Music.

The reconfigured Dream Theater intends to get into the studio soon to start recording their 16th studio album, which will be their first with Portnoy since Black Clouds & Silver Linings (2009).

Having been a member of Dream Theater since Portnoy’s 2010 breakup, Mike Mangini will take a backseat now that the original drummer is back in the group.

“I understand Dream Theater’s decision to get Mike Portnoy back at this time,” Mangini commented. “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.”

Petrucci weighed in: “Mike Mangini’s drumming is otherworldly and I’m extremely grateful for the time he spent with us in Dream Theater. I’m very proud of all the amazing music we made together that culminated in our first Grammy 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.

He added, “I’m incredibly excited to welcome Mike Portnoy back into Dream Theater! 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!”

As for Portnoy, he enthused, “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!!”

Given that Portnoy has frequently recently met paths with his former bandmates, his comeback to Dream Theater is not entirely surprising. His appearance on Petrucci’s solo album, Terminal Velocity, in 2020 was their first joint release since the drummer’s departure from Dream Theater. Then, in the subsequent year, the two brought back Rudess to their instrumental supergroup Liquid Tension Experiment, and they released Liquid Tension Experiment 3 as their album.

In 2022, talk of a reunion gained steam. For the first time in eleven years, Portnoy saw Dream Theater live in public in March and spent time backstage with the band. Then, for the first time since Portnoy was in Dream Theater, he accompanied Petrucci on his solo tour as his drummer that autumn.

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