Drummer’s drama left band in difficult situation.. but they’d already decided he couldn’t stay on, even though he wanted to
Avenged Sevenfold warned Mike Portnoy not to quit Dream Theater – especially if he was planning to stay with them, because they’d already decided he wasn’t the “right fit” to become a full-time member.
The band admit they were delighted when he joined them as temporary replacement for tragic Jimmy ‘The Rev’ Sullivan, who died in 2009. But they felt stuck in an uncomfortable situation when he decided to quit his own band half-way through their world tour.
Guitarist Zacky Vengeance tells Guitar World: “When Mike first came in he was sincere in the fact he was there help us fulfil Jimmy’s legacy.
“We’ll always be so thankful – and truthfully he was really the only man for the job.
“But I think he was also searching for new things to do. I know for a fact he was starting to lose his romance with Dream Theater, and that had been going on from before he knew us.
“Then our album Nightmare came out and it was number one, and the tours were huge, and I think it was exciting for him. It was pretty clear he wanted to become a member of Avenged Sevenfold
“But we weren’t ready to have a new member – and he’s not the right fit anyway.
“When he quit Dream Theater we had no say in it. He’s a grown man and he makes his own decisions. But we had urged against it, fully knowing we weren’t ready to commit to him.”
Guitarist Synyster Gates adds: “It would have been really nice: he’s a great guy and a great drummer. But he’s Mike Portnoy; he’s established. He makes more money than we can really dish out.
“And my whole thing after Jimmy died was that if we were doing to do this, I wanted to give a young kid a chance, to breathe some new life from a death.
“And Mike made some decisions that I don’t know he’s super-happy with at this point, and weren’t conducive to his wellbeing.”
Dream recently revealed that Portnoy had reconsidered his decision to leave the band he’d founded, but they’d already chosen Mike Mangini to replace him by the time he asked to rejoin.
A7X are currently working with drummer Arin Ilejay, although it’s not been decided whether he’ll replace Sullivan permanently. Portnoy recently unveiled his new band Adrenaline Mob and another project with former Thin Lizzy guitarist John Sykes, while Dream Theater are touring in support of upcoming album A Dramatic Turn of Events.