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Mike Portnoy on Stint With Avenged Sevenfold: They Weren’t Ready to Commit to Me

Few bands have gelled so perfectly with their drummer than Avenged Sevenfold and The Rev. Eight years after The Rev’s passing, Avenged seem to have finally found their guy with the immensely talented Brooks Wackerman, but before Brooks, there was Mike Portnoy. In a new interview, Portnoy elaborated on his short stint with A7X, claiming “they just weren’t ready to commit yet” to bring Portnoy into the fold permanently.

Mike Portnoy will always be a drummer of legendary status, making his name with Dream Theater and expressing technical chops rivaled by few. Portnoy was the first percussionist to take The Rev’s throne, ultimately laying down drums for Avenged’s fifth studio album, Nightmare.

Portnoy’s run with Avenged only lasted a year, and during a chat with Metal Wani, the drummer explained why. “I think when I was playing with them, they just weren’t ready to commit yet, and I think with me came too much history and focus,” Portnoy says. “So I understand why, after my commitment for the year was over, that they wanted more of an unknown drummer with Arin [Ilejay]. I get that, I totally understand that. And then, for whatever reason, that didn’t work out and they went with Brooks. I love where they’re at now, and I’m happy for the level of success that they’ve had.”

Wackerman favored some high praise from Portnoy, “I’ve always been a fan of Brooks, for many, many years — whether it be the Infectious Grooves stuff, or even recently, he did an album called Farmikos, which I loved. I’ve always been a fan of his drumming and I think he’s the perfect fit for those guys.”

Mike Portnoy has spent much of 2017 dedicated to his Shattered Fortress shows, performing his “Twelve-Step Suite” penned over a number of years with Dream Theater to chronicle his journey of sobriety. 2018 will be a busy year for Portnoy too, as he recently laid out plans involving multiple bands.

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