Keyboardist Jordan describes ex-drummer Mike as former friend – and says band felt free to be themselves without his presence
Dream Theater keyboardist Jordan Rudess says the band feel free to express themselves musically now Mike Portnoy is no longer part of the outfit.
And he describes the drummer as “the Dream Theater police.”
The band are poised to release A Dramatic Turn of Events, their first album after self-confessed control freak Portnoy suddenly quit the band last year. He soon asked to rejoin, but new drummer Mike Mangini had been given the job by then.
“However, one of the things we did with this new approach was to maximise who we are and make our roles even more vital. I should say I loved that approach.
“In some of the music in the past I thought the keyboards could have been stronger. Sometimes when we had a heavy riff the approach was to just double it on the keyboards.
“We took away that kind of fear and went for more harmonic ideas. I am a composer and I love using that ability. Our new approach is more open to my keyboards than in the past.”
Rudess says the band decided not to bring in a producer for the album and instead leave those duties to guitarist John Petrucci, who’d co-produced with Portnoy in the past.
“What John ended up doing was to bring out the best of everybody,” the keyboardist reports. “He worked beautifully with Mike Mangini and John Myung, our bassist – who had a new spirit about it.
“With Mike Portnoy leaving John became free. The fact that Mike left did not make us suffer.
“The biggest difference was we chose what was best for us without Mike being the Dream Theater police, telling us ‘yes’ or ‘no’.”
A Dramatic Turn of Events is released next month.