DREAM THEATER singer James LaBrie says that he hasn't spoken to the band's original drummer Mike Portnoy in more than a decade.
Portnoy, who co-founded DREAM THEATER 36 years ago, abruptly quit the band in September 2010 while on tour with AVENGED SEVENFOLD. He has since been replaced by Mike Mangini (ANNIHILATOR, EXTREME, STEVE VAI).
LaBrie discussed his relationship with Portnoy in a new interview with Radio Forrest. He said: "I haven't spoken to Mike, to be quite honest, since he left the band. So I think that pretty much says it all."
LaBrie had previously seemingly closed the door on the possibility of a DREAM THEATER reunion with Portnoy, telling Chile's Radio Futuro in an August 2013 interview: "That possibility, I don't see it ever happening; it's not gonna happen. Because, first and foremost, Mike Mangini is a full-fledged member of the band now, he's a phenomenal drummer and he's doing everything that we could possibly want as a drummer in a band. He's helping us realize exactly what we wanna do right now musically. And he will be our drummer until the day that we finish doing this, when we conclude. Mike Portnoy was a big part of our past, but I think that's where it's going to remain. He was a drummer from the past. And as far as presently and into the future, it will be Mike Mangini, and we all feel very strongly about that. He's an incredible drummer, he's an incredible asset to the band, and he is fulfilling our wildest dreams as far as what we're doing musically and what we're doing with each album. So that's the way it stands."
Portnoy was a guest on DREAM THEATER guitarist John Petrucci's second solo album, "Terminal Velocity", which was released in August 2020 via Sound Mind Music/The Orchard. The effort marked the first time Petrucci and Portnoy recorded together in over a decade, as well as their first time playing together since Portnoy departed DREAM THEATER. John later shot down speculation among DREAM THEATER fans that it's only a matter of time before Portnoy returns to the band, telling Spain's Metal Hammer: "I think it's really important for everybody's sake — for fans to understand this. I think it's important, out of respect for both drummers — for Mike Mangini and Mike Portnoy — that there's no misconstrued thing: 'Oh, this means something else.' This is [Portnoy] playing on my solo album, which is a really happy moment for me… I don't want people to get the wrong idea. I don't wanna create any drama or weirdness, because it's all positive. I made a solo album — finally, after 15 years — and I got my friend to play drums on it, who I haven't played with in 10 years. So that's the vibe."
In a 2017 interview with Rockhok, Portnoy insisted that had "no longing to reunite" with DREAM THEATER but said that he would return to his former band "for the fans." He explained: "The ball's in their court, to be honest. I have no longing to reunite with them; it's not something I necessarily am looking to do or want to do. I'm very content with all the eighty-seven bands I currently have going, so it's something I need. But I would do it for the fans, because I'm a very sentimental person and I have a lot of great, fond memories of those guys and the times. I'm a sentimental guy, so I would never close the door on it. So, really, the ball's in their court, honestly. [But] if you're asking me the odds [of a reunion happening], I would say, don't bet on it, because I know their personalities as well and I don't think they're the type that are looking backwards."
A couple of years ago, Portnoy told Loud that he left DREAM THEATER because he wanted to expand his musical horizons. "[I didn't] want to go to my grave and just be the drummer from DREAM THEATER," he said. "I knew there was way more to what I had to offer."
Since the 2010 departure of Portnoy, Petrucci, along with keyboardist Jordan Rudess, has taken on much of the songwriting load for DREAM THEATER, including 2016's controversial double concept album, "The Astonishing", 2019's "Distance Over Time" and the band's latest LP, "A View From The Top Of The World".