DREAM THEATER reunite with drummer MIKE PORTNOY | Revolver

DREAM THEATER reunite with drummer MIKE PORTNOY

Portnoy split with prog-metal titans in 2010
dream theater mike portnoy 2023 PROMO, Dream Theater
courtesy of Dream Theater

It's official! Dream Theater have announced the return of drummer Mike Portnoy to the group. Portnoy will reunite with guitarist John Petrucci and bassist John Myung — with whom he formed the band in 1985 at the Berklee College of Music — along with longtime members James LaBrie (vocals) and Jordan Rudess (keyboards). The reconstituted Dream Theater have plans to hit the studio shortly to begin work on their 16th studio album and first with Portnoy since 2009's Black Clouds & Silver Linings.

With Dream Theater's OG drummer returning to the fold, Mike Mangini — who has played with the group since Portnoy's 2010 split — will step aside.

"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!!"

Portnoy's return to Dream Theater is not a complete surprise, as he's crossed paths with his former bandmates many times in recent years. In 2020, he appeared on Petrucci's solo album, Terminal Velocity, making it their first collaboration since the drummer left Dream Theater. Then the following year, the pair revived their instrumental supergroup Liquid Tension Experiment, which also features Rudess, releasing the album Liquid Tension Experiment 3.

The possibility of a reunion heated up in 2022. In March, Portnoy publicly attended a Dream Theater concert — seeing them live for the first time in 11 years — and hung out with the band backstage. Then that fall, he drummed for Petrucci on the guitarist's solo tour, marking their first shows together since Portnoy was in Dream Theater.