John Petrucci: Portnoy coming back into the band... a little more complicated than that!

Jeb: Portnoy left the band but there was a point where he wanted to come back to Dream Theater. What would the harm have been to let bygones be bygones and let him come back? 
John: It was a little bit more complicated than that. The process by which Mike left the band was one where we tried everything to talk him out of it. We told him that it wasn’t a good idea and that we had been together for too long to have this happen. We came to the realization that he needed a change. At that point, when you’ve exhausted all efforts, then you have to face the reality of the situation, which was that we needed a new drummer. We had to roll up our sleeves and find those eight drummers that auditioned. We, then, brought Mike Mangini into the band. He retired from his tenured position as an instructor at Berklee and we began making the new album. We rearranged and restructured everything within our business as well, which meant that we made hundreds of phone calls to booking agents, record companies and management. It really was complicated to do all of this. At that point, to have Mike say, “I want to come back” you can only imagine how we felt. It was too late and too far gone. Obviously, it wasn’t something that he wanted a couple of months before so we had to wonder why it would suddenly be different now. All of the reasons that he wanted to leave for were all still there; they didn’t go anywhere. It was just too late. We had to be genuine to ourselves, to our fans, to Mike Mangini and to our future.

Full in depth interview over at