JAMES LABRIE On DREAM THEATER Reunion With MIKE PORTNOY: 'Never Say Never'
May 9, 2020
James LaBrie says that he "highly" doubts DREAM THEATER will reunite with Mike Portnoy in the not-too-distant future, but he doesn't rule out the possibility completely.
Portnoy, who co-founded DREAM THEATER 35 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 He has since been replaced by Mike Mangini (ANNIHILATOR, EXTREME, STEVE VAI).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 addressed the prospect of Portnoy's return to DREAM THEATER while filming a video message on Cameo, which lets users hire celebrities to record brief, personalized video messages about virtually any topic.
Asked by one fan if he has been in touch with Portnoy at all these last 10 years, with the fan adding that he wants to see a one-off-only reunion with Mike, like DREAM THEATER had previously done with keyboardist Derek Sherinian and vocalist Charlie Dominici, LaBrie responded (see video below): "I haven't spoke with Mike in 10 years, and to be honest with you, at this point in time, a reunion? I highly doubt it. But we don't know what the future holds, right? So, never say never, the saying is."
The singer had previously seemingly closed the door on the possibility of a 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."
After Portnoy posted a photo two years ago of him hanging out with DREAM THEATER guitarist John Petrucci, many fans expressed hope that it represented a thawing of tensions between the two musicians who had been friends for more than three decades. But John played down the photo's significance, telling Music Radar: "Mike and I have maintained a relationship and have been friends all these years. Our families are all good friends, and we've gotten together several times. That just was the first time we took a photo and posted a photo. [There's] nothing to read into, other than it's good to maintain good relationships. That's really all it is."
Portnoy told "The Metal Podcast" that he and John had "actually reconnected" in recent years "and gotten together many times and had dinner together with our families." He added: "The reality is he and I have been friends since the first week in college back in September of 1985, so it's a relationship that goes back  years. And our families are all friends, our wives and our kids are all friends, we all grew up together, and that's never gonna go away.
"After I left DREAM THEATER, there were some years' worth of drama and bullshit," he admitted. "But the reality is you put all that aside and friends are friends and family is family and John and I will always be friends and family."
Mike 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."