Mike Portnoy to Leave Dream Theater

I’m briefly interrupting Kon Month to bring this painfully upsetting news regarding one of my favorite bands of all time, and more specifically of my favorite musician of all time. After twenty-five amazing years of being Dream Theater’s drummer and all-about band leader, Mike Portnoy has decided to depart from the legendary progressive metal band to pursue other ventures. The official article can be found here.

The reasons as to why he has decided to leave Dream Theater permanently remain unclear, but it is clear that he will continuing his various other musical projects. There have been rumors that Mike has sold out and sees more profit in staying with Avenged Sevenfold and related material than with Dream Theater, but I find these rumors baseless considering Portnoy’s character and position as a musician. As much as this upsets me, I do wish him well in his other projects and will be keeping an eye out for them.

But can you really have Dream Theater without the godly Mike Portnoy? For years the primary writers within the band have been him, Petrucci, Myung and Rudess, and Mike has always been the fire behind the music. He and Petrucci were also the primary producer behind a majority of their albums. Honestly, I doubt that anybody would be able to replace Portnoy and take his throne atop his legacy of musicianship. No drummer out there is quite like Portnoy, whether or not they’re better than him. Despite his irreplaceable seat, Dream Theater still plans on producing a new album by next year, so we’ll just have to wait and see how things go.

My question is whether or not his timing is a coincidence. In their latest album, Black Clouds & Silver Linings, Portnoy finally finished up his Twelve-Step Suite, an eight year project detailing his recovering from past alcoholism. Is it possible that he was waiting to finish the suite before he left, meaning that he had been planning this departure for a while? Who knows, but a very peculiar coincidence indeed.

No matter what the case, this is still very saddening news, and I do hope that it turns out to a hoax, or temporary at the very least. Either way, Mike Portnoy will remain my idol within the music industry and the greatest luck to him in the future.

EDIT: Mike Portnoy’s Official Statement regarding the matter: http://www.mikeportnoy.com/forum/m2585154.aspx