Two years ago, DREAM THEATER guitarist John Petrucci released his second solo album, "Terminal Velocity", via Sound Mind Music/The Orchard. The follow-up to 2005's "Suspended Animation" featured guest musicians Mike Portnoy (SONS OF APOLLO, ex-DREAM THEATER) on drums and Dave LaRue (DIXIE DREGS) on bass. 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.
During an October 3 appearance on SiriusXM's "Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk", Petrucci stated about DREAM THEATER fans' response to his renewed collaboration with Portnoy (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "You see that right away. It makes people so happy to see that reconnection. It's literally like… Any sort of post of a photo from that, every comment is just literally, like, 'I'm crying. This makes me so happy,' blah blah blah. More than any sort of controversial, stupid thing anyone could say, the overwhelming reaction is just a great, positive feeling in the DREAM THEATER-Mike Portnoy big community. And I love that. It's the way it should be."
When host Eddie Trunk pointed out to Petrucci that the guitarist's reunion with Portnoy, including their current run of tour dates in support of "Terminal Velocity", has resulted in DREAM THEATER fans speculating about Portnoy's possible return to the band, John said: "I've been very vocal about this and outspoken and very careful about this to be clear with my intentions and Mike and I and our reuniting. The stuff that we are doing together with my solo stuff, with LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENT, with Mike touring with me, this is its own thing, and DREAM THEATER is its own thing, and the history that we now have with Mike Mangini in the band for 12 years, it's important for me to make sure that people don't misunderstand this. Because it's not good for anybody; that kind of weirdness or controversy, as we all know, it's just toxic. So I've been saying… Maybe I'm selfish but I feel so lucky that I get to do this with Mike [Portnoy] and play live with him, play this instrumental music, record, and being in DREAM THEATER with Mangini, it's like I've kind of been spoiled. I get two of the greatest drummers in the world to be able to play with. And I think it's important for people to know that and to have that clarity — I really do."
Petrucci kicked off his first headlining solo tour this past Wednesday night (October 5) at The Strand Ballroom & Theatre in Providence, Rhode Island. Petrucci performed material from "Terminal Velocity" as well as songs from his widely acclaimed debut release, "Suspended Animation".
The historic tour will run through October and November and promises to be an unforgettable night of live musicianship. The recently reunited all-female band MEANSTREAK is the special guest openers for the tour. MEANSTREAK is comprised of guitarists Marlene Portnoy (Mike's wife) and Rena Sands (Petrucci's wife),vocalist Bettina France, bassist Martens Myung (wife of DREAM THEATER bassist John Myung) and drummer Yael.
Portnoy, who co-founded DREAM THEATER more than 35 years ago, abruptly quit the band in September 2010 while on tour with AVENGED SEVENFOLD. He has since been replaced by Mangini (ANNIHILATOR, EXTREME, JAMES LABRIE, STEVE VAI).
In March 2021, Petrucci and Portnoy's instrumental progressive rock/metal project LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENT released its third album, "LTE3", via InsideOut Music. The effort arrived 22 years after the release of 1999's "Liquid Tension Experiment 2".
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."