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DREAM THEATER’s JAMES LABRIE Says ‘It’s Great’ To Be Speaking With MIKE PORTNOY Again

Dream Theater singer James Labrie recently spoke about his current relationship with the band's former drummer Mike Portnoy.


DREAM THEATER singer James Labrie recently spoke about his current relationship with the band’s former drummer Mike Portnoy, believing everyone “carried around negativity for too long.”

Portnoy recently attended DREAM THEATER’s show at the Beacon Theatre in New York City on March 4, marking the first time the drummer watched the group perform live since his departure over 11 years ago.

The following day, Mike shared some backstage photos from the concert and included the caption: “After 36 years, I finally got to see my 1st DREAM THEATER show last night! It was a wonderful evening and it was such a pleasure to spend time with my old friends again”.

LaBrie took some time to discuss his current relationship with Portnoy in a new interview with Sonic Perspectives. Discussing how Mike’s backstage reunion with his former bandmates happened, James said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “What happened was my manager… This is, like, two hours before the show… So, you know the history with Mike and I. The thing is what was sad about that whole duration where Mike and I didn’t see eye to eye is that when DREAM THEATER started, ‘Images And Words’ [1992] and ‘Awake’ [1994], Mike and I were best friends — way back — and then we started to fall apart, for several reasons. It doesn’t matter — the details don’t matter — it’s just that we started to have a problem with one another. And so about two hours before the New York show, my manager texts me and he said, ‘Listen, Mike’s gonna be there tonight. He wants to come back and see you. He wants to make amends. I don’t mean to do this…’ And I said, ‘Frank’ — to my manager, I said — ‘you’re putting this in my lap two hours before I play in front of how many thousands of people in New York. Are you kidding me?’ So, I thought about it. You know what? I went for a walk, believe it or not. I went incognito and I went for a walk in New York. And I walked the streets and I started thinking about it, and I said to myself, ‘You know what? Enough is enough. There’s enough hate in this world; there’s enough frickin’ negativity in this world. If Mike wants to come and see me and make amends, then I should be receptive.’ And I got in touch… And John Petrucci [DREAM THEATER guitarist] was also there. So he said, ‘Mike wants to know if he can come back and say hi to you,’ like I just said. And I said, ‘You know what? Yeah. Let him know. For sure. Tell him to come back and see me after the show.’ And that’s what we did. We chatted. We had a good, long discussion. We made up and gave each other a hug and did a picture together.

“When I was out on stage before all that, I just said, ‘Hey, I just wanna let you guys know, Mike Portnoy’s here. Hey, welcome, brother, to the show.’ And that was it.

“The thing is that you get to a point in life where you’ve gotta… You can’t carry around that. Don’t carry around hate; don’t carry around negativity,” LaBrie continued. “We carried it around far too long, as far as I’m concerned, and it didn’t serve any purpose; it just served frickin’ division. It was very divisive and very damaging.

“Hey, listen, just the other day Mike texts me, and he was, like, ‘Hey, James, I just wanna congratulate you on [DREAM THEATER’s first-ever] Grammy. You frickin’ well deserve this — you and the band. Awesome. Kudos. Bravo,’ all this stuff. And I text Mike back, and I said, ‘Frick, man. Mike, that’s very admirable of you.’ I said, ‘In my book, that’s pretty damn cool for you to say these things.’ And he said, ‘Awesome, man. Love it.’

“So, it’s great to be back,” James added. “We’re talking to one another, we’re chatting and all that stuff. And that’s the kind of world that I wanna live in as opposed to negativity, hate and frickin’… It’s just not worth it. It’s not worth it.”

Portnoy walked away from DREAM THEATER back in September 2010 while on tour with AVENGED SEVENFOLD. He was replaced by Mike Mangini (ANNIHILATOR, EXTREME).

Portnoy made a recent appearance on DREAM THEATER guitarist John Petrucci’s second solo album, “Terminal Velocity”, which dropped in August 2020 via Sound Mind Music/The Orchard.