Dream Theater Announces Return Of Drummer Mike Portnoy 13 Years After Split

After more than a decade apart, Dream Theater and co-founding drummer Mike Portnoy are reuniting in time to craft the band's 16th studio album.

The lineup change was announced Wednesday morning via a press release that also confirmed the departure of drummer Mike Mangini, who took over the drum throne in 2010 following Portnoy's Dream Theater exit.

"I am overwhelmed with joy to be returning home and reuniting with my brothers!" Portnoy said in a statement. "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 left the Dream Theater with some acrimony following the tour in support of his last album with the band, 2009's Black Clouds & Silver Linings, arguing at the time that the band had grown stale and could benefit from a hiatus. But his proposal for a break was rejected by his bandmates and he summarily departed to focus on other projects.

Dream Theater hired Mangini and moved forward in a combination that paid off with the band's first-ever Grammy Award win in 2022.

For his part, Mangini explained that he is at peace with his Dream Theater tenure and understands the band's decision to bring a cofounder and longtime creative principal Portnoy back into the fold.

"As was said from Day 1, my place was not to fill all the roles that [Portnoy] held in the band," Mangini said. "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. ...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.” 

Despite Dream Theater's sustained success in the Mangini era, fans have long hoped for — even anticipated — Portnoy's comeback.

Portnoy and his former bandmates reconnected privately within a few years of their breakup. The musicians eventually explained publicl (circa 2019) that after decades of working together prior to their split, their respective families were too intertwined to support a complete schism or any prolonged personal grudges.

Portnoy and John Petrucci reunited for Petrucci's 2020 solo album Terminal Velocity and then again with Jordan Rudess for 2021's Liquid Tension Experiment.

Portnoy's return to Dream Theater comes after the 'Dream Sonic' summer North American tour with Devin Townsend and Animals As Leaders.

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