Mike Portnoy Hints At The Dream Theater That Never Was
Mike Portnoy has hinted at what Dream Theater would have done if he hadn’t sensationally quit the band in 2010.
He says plans were underway to make a new concept album, and he’d created the setlist for their next tour, which would have been in “an evening with” format. It would have included a performance of their 12 Step Suite, a series of five songs delivered across five different albums.
But everything changed when the drummer made his shock move – and he insists he couldn’t be happier with how things turned out, despite failed attempt to rejoin Dream Theater weeks after he’d left.
Portnoy tells Prog Sphere: “Before I left the band, me and John Petrucci were already discussing that the next record was going to be a concept album.
“And I already had the setlist written for the next tour. It was going to be ‘An Evening With’ and the first set would be the full concept album. The second set would have been the 12 Step Suite.
“But, you know, best-laid plans. Obviously everything changed.”
Since quitting Dream Theater, Portnoy has recorded six different albums and worked with a dozen different bands – and he reflects: “I could not be happier. I’m getting to do everything I’ve ever wanted to do, anything my imagination can think up.
“I’m incredibly fulfilled. If I’d stayed with Dream Theater, in the last two years I would have made one album and done one tour with one band, playing that same album over and over.
“I’m getting to play with some of my favourite musicians in the world, from Russell Allen to Billy Shehhan to Paul Gilbert to Steve Morse. I also got fill-in gigs with Stone Sour, Hail and Fates Warning. I did the Metal Masters gig with the Slayer, Anthrax, Pantera and Megadeth guys. The last two years have been the most creatively fulfilling of my entire career.”
There’s been anything major change in Portnoy’s direction – he doesn’t want to write lyrics any longer. “I don’t feel the need,” he says. “After I wrote The Best of Times for my dad, and after I completed the 12 Step Suite, I very much felt like I’d said everything I wanted to say lyrically.
“I remember saying to Jon Petrucci, ‘I’m done. I don’t want to write lyrics any more. I feel like I’ve said everything I wanted to say.’
“I guess I’m kind of in a lyrical retirement for the moment. That said, I’m about to do an album with Ritchie Kotzen and Billy Sheehan, and there’s one song I felt some inspiration for.”
Meanwhile, Portnoy has confirmed a single US show with Tony MacAlpine, Billy Sheehan and Derek Sherinian on November 18 at the BB King Blues Club and Grill in New York.